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Congress fights against political challenges, Bharat Jodo Yatra has united the party: Jairam Ramesh

The Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra has brought unity to the congress over the past 70 days as the party faced political challenges, senior congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on Tuesday.

The foot march, a mass contact initiative by the Congress, entered its 69th day on Tuesday, reaching Washim district in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region from Hingoli.

Speaking at a press conference in Washim, Ramesh said Gandhi will also address a public gathering of tribals to mark the birth anniversary of iconic tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

Ramesh targeted the center, claiming that the Forest Rights Act and the Land Acquisition Act 2013 have been watered down and that this is especially harmful to tribes.

The legislations were introduced during the reign of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Ramesh claimed that the policy of Narendra Modi’s government was to take farmer’s land by force and give it to the big corporations.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra has nothing to do with the voice bank. Its purpose is above politics, the congressman said.

“It is the yatra of a political party and we are facing political challenges,” he said.

“One thing is clear: the way our party has united in the past 70 days…the way we started work on time. There is Indian Standard Time and there is Congress Standard Time,” he added.

On Tuesday morning, Gandhi began the foot march from Phalegaon in Hingoli district. Ramesh, former Maharashtra minister Yashomati Thakur and other party leaders walked with Gandhi.

Ramesh remembered tribal leader Birsa Munda on his birthday on Tuesday.

He posted a tweet saying, “Today is the 69th day of #BharatJodoYatra and the 147th birthday of Birsa Munda, born just 15 days later than Sardar Patel. But tragically, he died in a British prison in Ranchi at the very young age of 25. “His life, especially the tribal land rights, are still most relevant today,” Ramesh added.

The government had last year declared 15 November as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’ on Munda’s birthday to commemorate the contribution of tribal freedom fighters.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started on September 7 from Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu, has so far covered 28 districts in six states.

It entered Deglur in Maharashtra on November 7 and has so far 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 passes through 12 states before reaching Jammu and Kashmir in January, having covered a distance of 3,570 km in nearly 150 days.

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