Madhya Pradesh state Congress president Kamal Nath today asked leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to have a discourse on religion and spirituality with Rahul Gandhi, claiming it will prove he has more knowledge about these subjects than them.
Speaking to reporters in Agar on the last day of the Bharat Jodo Yatra’s Madhya Pradesh leg, before it entered Rajasthan, Mr Kamal Nath said it is a possibility that Mr Gandhi may embark on another yatra from “east to west” in the country.
Mr Gandhi started the yatra, a mass-contact initiative, from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7. The foot march will reach Jammu and Kashmir by the end of next month and culminate there.
During the yatra in Madhya Pradesh, Mr Gandhi, the former Congress president, had visited the famous Lord Mahakal Temple in Ujjain and also offered prayers at the Omkareshwar Temple in Khandwa district.
Asked about Mr Gandhi focusing on religion and spirituality in his speeches during the foot march, Mr Kamal Nath said: “I challenge the BJP, RSS and VHP leaders to have a discussion with Mr Gandhi on the issues of religion and spirituality before media persons.”
The discussion will prove Mr Gandhi has more knowledge about religion and spirituality than these persons, the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister claimed.
He said the main aim of the Bharat Jodo Yatra is to save the Constitution and culture of the country.
The yatra entered the Hindi-speaking belt for the first time and has got a huge response from the people, the state Congress chief said.
The foot march has helped in improving among the people Mr Gandhi’s image, which the BJP “distorted” through social media in the last eight years, the Congress leader claimed.
Congress workers from far off places, including Rewa and Sidhi, located about 700km away from here, have come to join the yatra and that has proved its success, he said, adding that the foot march got a huge response from people in MP, including women and children.
The BJP used to say the yatra would end in Kerala itself, but it is getting a huge response everywhere and people are coming on their own to shower their love on Mr Gandhi, Mr Kamal Nath said.
“Even those shouting Modi-Modi (in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi) got silenced with the kind of response the yatra got in Madhya Pradesh,” he said.
Mr Kamal Nath said even little girls gave their piggy banks to Mr Gandhi on the occasion as there was a lot of enthusiasm among them.
Mr Gandhi himself said his yatra got a huge response in Madhya Pradesh, especially in Indore, the former MP Chief Minister pointed out.
During the yatra, Mr Gandhi interacted with farmers, small industrialists, shop owners, women, differently-abled persons, weavers, tribals, Dalits, sanitation workers, among others, he said.
Even painters gifted Mr Gandhi his portraits made by them, he said, adding that poets, litterateurs, journalists, sports persons, film actors, social workers and intellectuals interacted with the Wayanad Lok Sabha member during the yatra’s Madhya Pradesh leg.
Earlier in the day, Mr Gandhi and Mr Kamal Nath paid floral tributes to tribal icon and freedom fighter Tantya Bheel on the occasion of his death anniversary, a Congress spokesman said.
The yatra covered a distance of 380km in the politically crucial Malwa-Nimar region of western Madhya Pradesh before entering Rajasthan this evening, according to a programme announced by the Congress party.