Aaditya Thackeray Joins Bharat Jodo Yatra, Marches With Rahul Gandhi In Maharashtra

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The cross-country foot-march has entered its 65th day.

New Delhi:

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader and former Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray on Friday joined the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ being led by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi at Kalamnuri in Maharashtra’s Hingoli. The two leaders walked side by side while waving to the people lining the way.

“Bharat Jodo Yatra is much more than politics, it is about the idea of India,” Aaditya Thackeray told NDTV after marching for two hours.

“This is for democracy, for country, this is for idea of democracy. This is what vibrant democracy is about,” he added.

His party colleague and the leader of the opposition in the state Legislative Council Ambadas Danve accompanied Aaditya Thackeray inj the march. Former MLA Sachin Ahir joined in too.

Party Chief Uddhav Thackeray has also been invited to take part in the march during its Maharashtra leg.

The cross-country foot-march has entered its 65th day.

The gesture signals closeness between the two parties, with different ideologies, which agreed on a common minimum program to form the now-removed Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra.

Several prominent leaders have participated in the Rahul Gandhi-led march so far. The Congress party has consistently maintained that anyone who agrees with the message of the Yatra — to stand in solidarity with people from different communities across the country — can join them. 

Rahul Gandhi has also been attacking the BJP-led state government on Maharashtra losing some big projects to other states — an issue that Aaditya Thackeray has been consistently raising.

Aditya Thackeray and Rahul Gandhi have come together at a time when a new government in the state will contest its first poll after the Shiv Sena split and BJP backing rebels to bring down the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. With the civic body polls (BMC) and other Municipal Corporation elections ahead, Aditya Thackeray’s visit could mean that the two parties will contest these elections in an alliance.

When Chief Minister Eknath Shinde rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray, he cited the alliance with Congress and NCP as one of the reasons to do so. In spite of the big political setback, it’s noteworthy that Aaditya Thackeray has publicly reaffirmed his party’s relationship with the Congress, hinting at an ideological shift in the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray).

Flowers were showered on the participants in Seni village in Nanded’s Ardhapur taluka, with the march entering Hingoli district at Choramba Phata.

In Hingoli, a group of people who arrived to cheer the march, including many women and children, even brought an elephant along.

Among those who stood along the route and shouted slogans in support of the march and sought implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ (ORO) were 22 former servicemen.

“We feel the Congress can fulfil this demand (OROP),” former Army man Sahebrao Hone told news agency PTI.

Mr Gandhi interacted with people along the route of the march.

On Thursday, Nationalist Congress Party leaders Supriya Sule and Jitendra Awhad had taken part in the march. While NCP chief Sharad Pawar was invited to join the yatra, he could not participate due to ill health.



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