Bharat Jodo Yatra enters Andhra Pradesh

After a 96% turnout for the Congress presidential post-elections, the party resumed its ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh with renewed vigor and a band performance.

Of the total 9,915 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates that form the electoral college to pick the party chief in a secret ballot, over 9,500 cast their ballot at all PCC offices and the AICC headquarters in Delhi, party’s central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry announced. The results of the election will be declared on October 19, after ballots from all PCC offices reach Delhi and the votes polled are mixed before counting.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday as he reached Halaharvi under the Aluru constituency from neighboring Karnataka. Rahul continued his foot march from the Hanuman temple in Chatragudi.

‣ State Congress president Sake Sailajanath and other senior leaders received Rahul as he crossed into AP for the Yatra. Rahul will cover Aluru, Hatti Belagal, and Munikurthi in his march today. He will make a night halt at Chagi village under Adoni.

The Congress leader, who began the Bharat Jodo Yatra on September 7, briefly passed through villages in the Anantapuramu district bordering Karnataka on October 14. The Yatra will continue through AP till October 21 when he will re-enter Karnataka, en route to Telangana.

‣ Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi’s answer on ‘how he avoids tanning’ during the Yatra is going viral on social media. When asked how he avoids tanning while on the yatra, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi stated that he does not use sunscreen. “My mother sent it, but I haven’t been using it,” he added. He was speaking with locals in Karnataka on Monday.

‣ After the Presidential polling exercise, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said she had been waiting for the moment. “I have been waiting for a long time for this day,” she told reporters after voting at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters.

Sonia Gandhi, who had been the party president from 1998 to 2017, was made interim president after Rahul Gandhi resigned in 2019 over the party’s poll debacle.

Voting in the much-discussed elections, viewed by some as an exercise aimed at putting the party on the path to revival, began at 10 am at the AICC headquarters and at polling booths in PCC offices across the country. Mistry expressed satisfaction over the poll process and claimed that the election has been “free, fair, and transparent”. He, however, said that he cannot force anyone to attend someone’s meeting, reacting to Tharoor’s charge that there was no level playing field.

‣ The results of the election will be declared on October 19, after ballots from all PCC offices reach Delhi and the votes polled are mixed before counting.

‣ Mallikarjun Kharge, 80, a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka who is tipped to win the election because of his proximity to the Gandhis, cast his ballot at the Karnataka Congress office in Bengaluru. His electoral rival and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, 66, voted in the Kerala capital. Kharge said in Bengaluru that Tharoor called him up and wished him good luck and he wished him the same. The two were contesting internal polls on a friendly note to strengthen the Congress to build a stronger and better nation for future generations, he said. In Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor said he is confident of victory even though the odds were stacked against him as leaders and the establishment were with the other candidate.

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