Congress warms to t-shirt idea: Party workers from Amethi in white tees march alongside Rahul Gandhi

Synopsis

As the yatra resumed after the new year break, hundreds of Congress workers from Amethi walked in the Uttar Pradesh leg of the march donning white tees. After a night stay in Mavikalan village in Baghpat, the march led by Gandhi started its onward journey Wednesday morning. He was again seen wearing the white t-shirt that he has sported for much of the journey.

Agencies
Over 1,200 party workers from Amethi, the erstwhile Congress bastion which elected Rahul Gandhi to Parliament three times in a row before his defeat in 2019, joined the march at Ghaziabad’s Loni border on Tuesday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a white t-shirt in the biting cold has been a hot topic of discussion — and not just in top political circles. As the yatra resumed after the new year break, hundreds of Congress workers from Amethi walked in the Uttar Pradesh leg of the march donning white tees. After a night stay in Mavikalan village in Baghpat, the march led by Gandhi started its onward journey Wednesday morning. He was again seen wearing the white t-shirt that he has sported for much of the journey.

The Kanyakumari-to-Kashmir yatra will travel through Uttar Pradesh for two days and enter Haryana’s Panipat by Thursday evening via Baghpat and Shamli.

Over 1,200 party workers from Amethi, the erstwhile Congress bastion which elected Rahul Gandhi to Parliament three times in a row before his defeat in 2019, joined the march at Ghaziabad’s Loni border on Tuesday.

According to Amethi district Congress chief Pradeep Singhal, the party workers are likely to interact with Gandhi and urge him to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi.

“Rahul Gandhi Ji has been our Lok Sabha MP and the people of Amethi share a special bond with him,” Amethi district Congress general secretary Anil Singh told PTI.

Earlier, state Congress leader Ajay Rai had claimed that Gandhi would contest next year’s general elections from Amethi. However, there has been no word from the party so far on the former Congress president fighting the next parliamentary elections again from the seat which he lost to the BJP‘s Smriti Irani.

Amethi district Congress office bearer Narendra Mishra, who is participating in the yatra, said 70 per cent of the party workers from Amethi are wearing white t-shirts with ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra‘ and ‘Amethi’ written in Hindi on the front. On the back, the tees have photos of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Singh said 1,500 such t-shirts were made and have also been distributed among Congress workers from Rae Bareli, Pratapgarh and Sultanpur districts. A few office bearers of the party’s unit party pooled money to buy the t-shirts.

“We drew inspiration from Rahul Gandhi who has been walking from the south to the north of the country in a t-shirt. Also, we want Amethi to be distinctly visible in the Uttar Pradesh leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra,” Amethi district Congress general secretary Anil Singh said.

Former Congress MLC Deepak Singh, who is participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, said the march has galvanised the party workers in the state. “Through this yatra, Rahul Gandhi has been successful in sending the message that democracy is being murdered (by the BJP government, he claimed.

Deepak Singh had recently handed an invitation for the Yatra to the representative of Union Minister Smriti Irani in Amethi.

Rahul Gandhi wearing a t-shirt during the yatra as north India shivers in cold has been a matter of much discussion in the last few weeks.

A couple of days earlier, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid, who is the state coordinator of the yatra, had said, “Rahul Gandhi is superhuman. While we are freezing in the cold and wearing jackets, he is going out in a T-shirt (for the Bharat Jodo Yatra). He is like a yogi, he has called himself so, doing his ‘tapasya’ (penance) with focus.”

Gandhi, while replying to questions at a press conference on Saturday, had said, “Why is there so much disturbance because of the t-shirt? I do not wear a sweater because I am not scared of winter. I am thinking of wearing a sweater once I start feeling cold.”

In September, the BJP had targeted Gandhi by suggesting that a t-shirt he wore during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ cost more than Rs 41,000.

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