Rahul hits Kollam roads on 9th day of Bharat Jodo Yatra

After a day’s break, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ resumed on Friday on the ninth day of the march. The day’s leg began at Pallimukku in Kollam district and ended at Karunagappally, a municipal town in the same district, as Rahul walked in the company of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and several senior party leaders from Kerala, including Opposition Leader V D Satheesan. Rahul interacted with cashew workers in Kollam, who have been going through economic hardships for over a year following the closure of many private cashew factories.

A controversy cropped up and the party was forced to suspend three leaders, including Youth Congress state general secretary H Aneesh Khan, over allegation of forcing a roadside vendor to donate for the yatra. It was alleged that local Congress leaders vandalised a vegetable shop after its owner refused to donate Rs 2,000 for the yatra.

In his police complaint, the vendor had said: “I was ready to give Rs 500, but they insisted on Rs 2,000, which I could not afford to give. They threw away the vegetables and the weighing machine on the road.’’

Responding to the Kollam incident, Congress state president K Sudhakaran said three party workers have been suspended with immediate effect. “They do not represent our ideology and such a behaviour is inexcusable. The party is crowd-funding small voluntary donations unlike others who get corporate donations,” he said.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) youth wing DYFI attacked Congress for including Youth Congress worker Nikhil Paily, who is an accused in the murder of SFI worker Dheeraj Rajendran, in the foot march. DYFI state Secretary V K Sanoj said the Congress allowed Paily to be a part of the foot march to insult the family of Dheeraj, who was killed at an engineering college in Idukki earlier this year.

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