Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday unfurled the national flag at the historic Lal Chowk in Srinagar of Jammu and Kashmir, concluding the Kanniyakumari-to-Kashmir Bharat Jodo Yatra of the Congress party.
Amid slogans of Bharat Jodo, Nafrat Choro (United India, Leave Hate), Rahul along with sister and fellow Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hoisted the flag at Lal Chowk. He was originally supposed to hoist the flag at the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) headquarters in Srinagar on Monday.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "Rahul Gandhi was supposed to unfurl national flag on Jan 30th in PCC office, since permission to do so elsewhere wasn’t given. Last evening, state administration allowed him to do so in Lal Chowk, but under condition that it should be done today on 29th at end of Bharat Jodo Yatra."
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The security for the 10-minute event was at its peak as all roads leading to Lal Chowk had been sealed off from Saturday night and no vehicular movement was allowed. Shops, business establishments, and the weekly flea market were closed as part of the security drill for the flag unfurling by Rahul. Such arrangements are usually reserved for prime ministerial visits.
Rahul's hoisting of the flag marks the end of his Bharat Joda Yatra. Initially, Congress had been saying they wouldn’t hoist the national flag at the Lal Chowk. The party leaders, including Ramesh, would insist the party would end the Yatra hoisting the tricolour at the party office.
The Congress had intially described unfurling the national flag at Lal Chowk as a part of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) agenda. The party had said they don’t believe in the RSS agenda of hoisting the flag at Lal Chowk. The party had announced PCC HQ on Srinagar's Maulana Azad Road as the site for flag-hoisting. The PCC office is less than a kilometre from Lal Chowk.
Ramesh compared Rahul's flag-hoisting with that of first Indian Prime Minister Jawarlal Nehru, also Rahul's great-grandfather.
"Seventy-five years ago, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the national flag for the first time at Lal Chowk. Today noon after the completion of the #BharatJodoYatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir Rahul Gandhi unfurled the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar," said Ramesh.
75 years ago, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled the national flag for the first time at Lal Chowk. Today noon after the completion of the #BharatJodoYatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir @RahulGandhi unfurled the national flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. pic.twitter.com/BUaInepg5Y— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) January 29, 2023
(With PTI inputs)