'Not intimidated': Rahul hits back at Himanta, says Assam CM's actions helping yatra get publicity
HAJO: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he does not get "intimidated" and fights for truth even if the world stands against it, remarks that come amid repeated confrontations between his party and the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government in Assam during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra'.
Gandhi also said he was happy and wanted the BJP to disrupt the yatra as it was helping it in getting publicity.
The remarks by Gandhi, who once again accused Sarma of being "one of the most corrupt chief ministers" in the country, came after the Assam chief minister said he has instructed the Director General of Police (DGP) to register a case against Gandhi for "provoking the crowd" to break barricades, and called their actions "Naxalite tactics."
The Rahul Gandhi-led yatra was stopped from entering the city, triggering protests from Congress workers who broke barricades and raised slogans.
Gandhi also claimed that he was "not allowed" to interact with students of a private university in Meghalaya as part of the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' at the "instructions" of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
"BJP had the experience of the earlier yatra, it started from Kanyakumari and they maintained that it would not have any impact. Slowly its impact started being felt and a crescendo was formed in Jammu and Kashmir. Now their thinking is to disrupt it first. The problem for them (BJP) is that by disrupting the yatra, they end up helping it," he said at a press conference here.
"So frankly, I want them to disrupt the yatra, stop me from going into colleges. They stopped us from going into a college, we spoke to students outside, and it was seen by the whole country. So I am happy, do it (disrupt the yatra) as much as you (BJP) want, we are enjoying it. It is for our benefit," Gandhi said.
Asked about the hindrances and alleged violence against the yatra, Gandhi said at the presser, "I would not call it violence. He (pointing to the state Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah) got slightly hurt. We are tough people. We can take all this."
'Case against me shows fear in their hearts'
Hours after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma asked the DGP to register a case against the Congress leader for "provoking the crowd" to break barricades, Rahul claimed that "fear in their hearts" has led to such a direction.
He also criticised the chief minister for a social media post in which the chief minister had made a "derogatory" statement about Dalits and backward castes.
"They are jumping up and down now, filing a case against me. The case shows the fear in their hearts. They are afraid as people of Assam are standing up as 'tufan' and 'andhi' (storm) against them," Gandhi said, addressing a public meeting at Goreimari in Barpeta during his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra'.
Referring to a post by the chief minister on X, Gandhi said, "Your CM said Dalits and people belonging to backward castes are born to serve general castes. What can be more insulting for Dalits and backward castes? Why are you silent? You should not be silent, you are being insulted. You should keep your words in front of the CM. I will do it. Dalits, OBCs, Adivasis, minorities are not lesser than anyone," he asserted.
Gandhi, who is leading the Yatra from Manipur to Mumbai, added, "Our job in this march is to open 'mohabat ki dukan' in 'nafrat ka bazar'. We work to unite people."
'We are not scared of them'
On the BJP workers disrupting the yatra, Gandhi said they don't try to attack and even if they do, it does not affect him.
"I don't get scared of these things. I don't get intimidated. Abuse me, disturb me, or target me, I don't get intimidated. I fight for my truth and even if the whole world stands on the other side, it does not matter to me. Once I make up my mind and fight for my ideology, I do not get intimidated," the former Congress chief asserted.
The Congress is benefiting from what the Assam Chief Minister and the Union Home Minister are doing and the yatra has become the main issue in Assam, Gandhi said.
"As far as stopping me from visiting a temple, university and also preventing the 'padyatra' here is concerned, it is their style, it is part of intimidation tactics; we don't get intimidated by these people, we are not scared of them," the Congress leader said.
Elaborating on BJP workers lining up to protest against the yatra, Gandhi claimed that they were holding party flags in one hand and with the other they were waving at him.
"What kind of protest is this? Mr Himanta thinks it is a protest, it is no protest that is taking place, they are lining up to shout slogans, we are perfectly happy for them to line up there," he said.
Gandhi said, "There is a clear problem in the state...The chief minister of the state is one of the most corrupt chief ministers in the country.
Wherever I move in the state, people tell me -- that there is massive unemployment, massive corruption, massive price rise, farmers are struggling and no youth can get a job in this state. These are the issues we are raising."
He said the yatra is about five pillars of justice that will give strength to the country -- participation, justice for youth, labourers, women and farmers.
The Congress party will put forward its programme for the five pillars of justice over the next one or one-and-a-half month, he said.
Asked about the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple in Ayodhya and how he would counter the wave it has generated in the country, Gandhi said, "It is nothing like that, that there is a wave...this is the BJP's political programme and Narendra Modi ji did a function and a show there, it's good, but we have told you, we have clarity about our programme which is about five justices to strengthen the country."
Talking about the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), Gandhi said on one side, there is Narendra Modi and the RSS and on the other is the INDIA bloc, which is an ideology and has 60 per cent of the country's votes.