On the 24th day of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi began the day by offering floral tributes at the statue of Bhagwan Birsa Munda in Khunti. During this visit, Rahul Gandhi met with members of the fourth generation of Birsa Munda’s family, honoring them. Khunti, located in Jharkhand, is the birthplace of Bhagwan Birsa Munda, a revolutionary warrior of the Indian Independence Movement. The principles of self-rule, democracy, and justice championed by Bhagwan Birsa Munda remain relevant today.
Following this, accompanied by a large crowd, the Nyay Yatra sets off for the next phase. Rahul Gandhi encountered some women. These women told him that the previous government had taken away their lands without providing any compensation.
Members of the Pathalgadi movement in Khunti also had a meeting with Rahul Gandhi today. They shared their grievances with him and made him aware of their demands. They requested Rahul Gandhi to ensure the resolution of cases against their members and the return of their land. The Congress leader assured them he would write a letter to Chief Minister Champai Soren regarding this matter and expedite its resolution.
Rahul Gandhi also made a stop in a small tribal village, where he interacted with the residents. Senior journalist and tribal rights activist Dayamani Barla informed Gandhi about the difficulties faced by the villagers. They discussed in detail how tribal lands were being usurped.
Upon reaching Gumla’s bus stand, Rahul Gandhi addressed the waiting crowd. Once again, he criticized the central government for its injustice towards tribals. Gandhi said, ‘People from various sections of Jharkhand have told me that not only in Jharkhand but throughout the country, land is being taken away from tribals without any compensation.’ He highlighted the need to amend the PESA and land acquisition laws to protect tribal rights.
Expressing opposition to the central government’s actions, Rahul Gandhi declared, ‘We brought two laws – PESA and Land Acquisition Law. The Land Acquisition Law clearly states that no one’s land can be taken without the consent of the Gram Sabha. If the land is taken, it will be compensated four times the market rate, and if not utilized within five years, it will be returned. In Jharkhand, lakhs of acres of land have been taken by the previous government. A Land Bank was created, but it was not utilized. The tribals here have told me it has been five years, and now this land should be returned to us. This is a significant issue for the tribals.’
The Yatra continued, and after a brief afternoon break, Rahul Gandhi addressed the press in Basiya, Gumla, along with Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh. Gandhi responded to questions from the media, touching upon various issues, including the prime minister’s statement on the OBC issue, the upcoming elections, and the Congress-India alliance.
In response to a question about the Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament regarding the OBC issue, Rahul Gandhi said, ‘This question is not about an individual. It is about millions of poor people in India. So, in the speech, when the Prime Minister says whether I am OBC or not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how many people in this country are OBCs.’
Responding to a question about a viral video showing him feeding a biscuit to a dog, Rahul Gandhi dismissed the BJP’s comments on the incident. He explained that ‘Because he (the dog) was absolutely nervous, he was trembling. When I gave him the biscuit, he got scared, so I told his owner, brother, please give it to him, he will eat it from your hand. Then the owner gave it to him, and he ate it, so what is the issue? What is the obsession of these BJP people with dogs? What harm have dogs done to them?’
हम आजादी के लिए लड़े, देश को हरित क्रांति और सफेद क्रांति दी। हमने शिक्षा व्यवस्था खड़ी की और टेलीकॉम क्रांति लेकर आए।— Congress (@INCIndia) February 6, 2024
इसी तरह हम देश में दिख रही एक और कमी को ठीक करना चाहते हैं।
देश में पिछड़ों, दलितों और आदिवासियों के साथ अन्याय हो रहा है। जातिगत जनगणना इस अन्याय के खिलाफ… pic.twitter.com/hnFRrP9ktD
On another question, if your government is formed now, what steps will be taken for OBCs? Shri Rahul Gandhi said, ‘I have said it clearly, we will implement the caste census. Demonetization and GST have destroyed the lives of people. So, those who used to create employment, and who used to provide employment to the country, have been destroyed by Narendra Modi ji and Adani ji by implementing demonetization and GST. So, we will first change GST. We cannot do anything about demonetization, Narendra Modi ji has done that. So, GST will be changed. After that, we will implement a new financial plan for small and medium businesses, and our focus will be on ensuring that backward class people, Dalit class people, tribal people and poor people get full benefits.’
Following a lunch break, the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra resumed from Simdega, heading towards the Jharkhand-Odisha border. During this segment, a group of women associated with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) met Rahul Gandhi to discuss the difficulties faced by MGNREGA workers in Simdega. They highlighted how these workers were not getting any jobs, and even those employed were not paid for a year. Rahul Gandhi assured them of finding a solution to their problems.
The day concluded with a halt in Birmitrapur on the Jharkhand-Odisha border for an evening break and the national flag handover ceremony. During this event, the Jharkhand Pradesh Congress President handed the national flag to the Odisha Pradesh Congress President. After the flag exchange, Rahul Gandhi addressed the crowd, stating, ‘I wanted this to be a walking yatra, but since it is election time, the party decided to conduct it by bus and jeep. The goal of this yatra is the same: to unite India.’
After this address, the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra resumed its journey towards Panposh, Odisha, for the night’s rest.
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