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Congress fighting political challenges, Bharat Jodo Yatra has brought unity in party: Jairam Ramesh

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The Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra has brought unity in the Congress in the last 70 days as the party has been fighting political challenges, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on Tuesday.

The foot march, a mass contact initiative of the Congress, entered its 69th day on Tuesday and reached Washim district in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra from Hingoli. Addressing a press conference in Washim, Ramesh said Gandhi will also address a public meeting of tribals on the occasion of the birth anniversary of iconic tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda. Targeting the Centre, Ramesh claimed the Forest Rights Act and the Land Acquisition Act 2013 have been weakened and this is specially harmful for tribals.

The legislations were brought during the rule of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Ramesh alleged that the Narendra Modi government’s policy was to forcefully take the land of farmers and give it to the big companies. The Bharat Jodo Yatra has nothing to do with the vote bank. It’s purpose is above politics, the Congress leader said. ”It is the yatra of a political party and we are fighting political challenges,” he said. ”One thing is clearly seen that the way our party has united in the last 70 days…the way we have started working on time. There is an Indian Standard Time and there is a Congress Standard Time,” he added. On Tuesday morning, Gandhi started the foot march from Phalegaon in Hingoli district. Ramesh, former Maharashtra minister Yashomati Thakur and other party leaders walked along with Gandhi. Ramesh remembered tribal leader Birsa Munda on his birth anniversary on Tuesday.

He posted a tweet saying, ”Today is the 69th day of #BharatJodoYatra and the 147th birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, born just 15 days later than Sardar Patel. But tragically, he died in a British jail in Ranchi at the very young age of 25.” ”An adivasi (not vanvasi as the RSS calls tribals), Birsa Munda should be an inspiration to ALL Indians. The causes for which he laid down his life, particularly tribal land rights are still most relevant today,” Ramesh added.

The government had last year declared November 15 as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’ on the birth anniversary of Munda to remember the contribution of tribal freedom fighters. The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started from Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, has so far covered 28 districts in six states.

It entered Deglur in Maharashtra on November 7 and has till now covered Nanded and Hingoli districts in the state. The yatra will cover a distance of 382 km across five districts of Maharashtra before entering Madhya Pradesh on November 20.

It will pass through 12 states before culminating in Jammu and Kashmir in January after covering a distance of 3,570 km over nearly 150 days.

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