The swipe – delivered at a public meeting in Madhya Pradesh’s Burhanpur during the Bharat Jodo Yatra – was a reference to the prime minister’s radio programme.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday hit out at prime minister Narendra Modi and his ‘Mann ki Baat’, declaring his party listened to the people’s voice for eight hours a day and spoke for 15 minutes. The swipe – delivered at a public meeting in Madhya Pradesh’s Burhanpur during the Bharat Jodo Yatra – was a reference to the prime minister’s radio programme, in which he addresses the nation for up to 30 minutes every month.
“We interact with people in between the yatra. We hear people’s ‘Man ki Baat’ for about eight hours and speak for about 15 minutes. Not like PM’s ‘Man Ki Baat’… we listen to what is on the mind of farmers, youth, women, labourers and small-scale traders…” Gandhi said.
The Congress leader – who is leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra – said he would walk 370 km in Madhya Pradesh and refuted the ruling BJP’s claim it is impossible to cover the yatra’s stated 3,300 km. Gandhi pointed out he had already arrived in Madhya Pradesh and had covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.
The yatra is scheduled to end in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.
“I am very happy today we are taking our first step in Madhya Pradesh. We will have a lot of talks, will hug you a lot and will understand the problems of the farmers and people. The problem is slightly different in every state and in every district,” Rahul Gandhi said.
He also referred to the fall of the Congress’ government in the state, and said, “… they (the BJP) bought 20-25 of our corrupt MLAs.” Congress leader Kamal Nath resigned as chief minister in March 2020 after 22 MLAs jumped to the BJP and brought down his government.
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On the yatra’s first day in the state, Rahul Gandhi was joined by his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, as well as her husband Robert Vadra and son.
Also joining the Gandhis was former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot – the optics of Pilot marching with the Gandhis is significant given continuing murmurs of discontent within the Rajasthan unit over the feud between Pilot and chief minister Ashok Gehlot.
Rajasthan – one of the few states the Congress controls – will hold an election next year.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Modi slammed the yatra and the Congress, calling the former a march for power. The prime minister – in his home state of Gujarat to campaign for the BJP ahead of next month’s election – also listed insults allegedly levied at him by the Congress.
He challenged the Congress to a ‘face-off’ with the focus on developing Gujarat. The BJP – in power in Gujarat for nearly three decades now – is widely expected to cruise to a win.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by GOVT.in staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)