Awantipora: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi resumed his Bharat Jodo Yatra from here in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district today, a day after cancelling the foot-march in Anantnag district after the party alleged security lapse. The Congress on Friday had alleged that police arrangements by the Union Territory’s administration “completely collapsed”.
On the allegation, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had said pressure on security resources due to the size of the crowd, larger than planned, may have created an impression of lack of security arrangements during the Rahul Gandhi-led march.
Mr Gandhi was joined by PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, her daughter Iltija Mufti and a large number of workers from her party as the march traversed through Awantipora on Saturday.
He is likely to be joined by his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Stringent security arrangements were put in place for the yatra, with security forces sealing off all roads leading to its starting point. Only authorised vehicles and reporters were allowed to reach the venue.
There was also a three-layered security ring around Gandhi as part of the heightened security measures.
The yatra was received by enthusiastic supporters at the Chursoo area of the south Kashmir district.
Congress workers and supporters carrying the tricolour and the party’s flags turned up in large numbers to receive Gandhi.
The former Congress chief resumed his walk at 9:20 am in his now-trademark white T-shirt, but wore a sleeveless jacket over it.
Gandhi had to cancel his walk on Friday from the Qazigund area as security forces failed to manage the large crowd that had gathered on this side of the Banihal tunnel through which the leader entered the Kashmir Valley.
Barely able to walk about 500 metres amidst jostling by the huge crowd, the yatra had to halt and Gandhi’s security team advised him not to go ahead.
Gandhi then drove to the Khanabal area of Anantnag district where he stayed for the night.
The yatra which started from Kanyakumari on September 7, is scheduled to reach Pantha Chowk in the outskirts of Srinagar later in the day, after a single stop near Birla School in Galandar area of Pampore.
After a night’s halt there, the yatra would resume on Sunday morning from Pantha Chowk and will culminate near Nehru Park on Boulevard Road in the city.
On Monday, Gandhi will unfurl the tricolour at the party headquarters at M A Road here, following which a public rally at SK Stadium here for which 23 opposition political parties have been invited.