NEW DELHI: A cross-country march led by Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi reached the capital New Delhi on Saturday, hoping to regain some of the popularity it lost to the ruling Hindu-nationalist party.
More than 1,000 people joined Gandhi’s march against “hate and division”, which aims to turn the Congress party’s fortunes around after its drubbing by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a 2019 election.
The parade, which has received a better public response than expected, will take a nine-day break in Delhi before starting its final leg on January 3, 2023, towards Srinagar in the northernmost Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Gandhi’s mother, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party leader Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra joined Saturday’s march.
The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has controlled the Congress party for decades but has also overseen its recent decline. Rahul Gandhi resigned as Congress president after the last election. The next one is due by 2024.
Sharing a picture of himself hugging his mother during the rally, Gandhi tweeted: “The love I have received from her is what I am sharing with the country”.
The “Unite India Rally” march began in September in the coastal town of Kanyakumari on the southern tip of India. It plans to cover more than 3,500 km to reach Srinagar in about 150 days.