A strong Congress is an important pillar of Opposition unity and its allies should understand that the party will not allow itself to be weakened, senior leader Jairam Ramesh said on Monday.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, he said the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ has infused new energy in party organisation and claimed that the BJP is rattled by the response it is getting among the people.
Ramesh said the yatra is aimed at strengthening the Congress, which is important for Opposition unity.
“I am happy that after the Bharat Jodo Yatra, everybody has seen that the elephant has awakened, the elephant is moving forward and all parties are seeing what the Congress is doing,” he said.
Noting that statements will keep coming from the BJP and from the Congress allies, Ramesh said Opposition unity will only be possible when the Congress is strong.
“Opposition unity does not mean weakening the Congress. Our allies should also understand that we will not allow ourselves to be weakened further. We will strengthen ourselves. A strong Congress is an important pillar of Opposition unity,” he said.
Bharat Jodo Yatra is not for Opposition unity, it is to strengthen the Congress, Ramesh asserted.
“If it results in Opposition unity, it is good and we welcome it. But our priority is to strengthen the party organisation. To make it more effective,” he said.
In five days of the ‘Kanyakumari to Kashmir’ yatra, a total of 102 kilometres will be completed by this evening, Ramesh said.
“I had said the Bharat Jodo Yatra would not be a Mann Ki Baat but about people’s concerns. I did not know it would also become a concern for the BJP. They are rattled,” the senior Congress leader said, adding that the people’s response has made the BJP nervous.
“We don’t expect Cabinet ministers to speak the truth…I will not stoop to their level. Will not fall to the level of the home minister (Amit Shah) and some other ministers,” he said in an apparent reference to Shah’s T-shirt barb at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Ramesh said with the yatra in its fifth day having gone through Tamil Nadu and now in Kerala, there is “new enthusiasm and energy” in the party organisation.
“We wanted to rejuvenate our party. New energy and enthusiasm in the party is visible. It has been a good beginning, people’s response is very good,” he said.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm in other states as well,” he added.
Responding to a question on attack and counter attacks between the BJP and the Congress, Ramesh said the RSS and the BJP are not ready for aggressive responses from the Congress.
“If they will be aggressive. We will be double aggressive. But the Bharat Jodo Yatra is to unite people,” he said.