Extreme bad weather and landslides on Wednesday forced the postponement of the second leg of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, which was to begin from Banihal town later this afternoon. Rahul Gandhi proceeded with the ‘Yatra’ from Ramban on Wednesday morning amid heavy rains, but had to stop due to bad weather. Now the yatra will resume on Friday after a day’s rest tomorrow.
The journey from Ramban to Banihal on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is a challenging one. The 270 km long and only highway connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country has several stretches like Panthiyal, Mehar and Magarkot which are prone to landslides during rains. Traffic on the highway was suspended on Wednesday after heavy rains triggered stone pelting at some places in Ramban district. A truck driver was killed and two others were injured during the course of the incident.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “Due to poor weather conditions and landslides in the area, the afternoon leg of #BharatJodoYatra in Ramban & Banihal has been cancelled. Tomorrow is a rest day and the Yatra will resume the day after, January 27th, at 8am.” Earlier today, Jammu & Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Jahanzaib Sirwal had said that the ‘Yatra’ started at around 9 am from Bathi with a delay of one hour due to heavy rains and completed the first leg on the 131st day.
Due to poor weather conditions and landslides in the area, the afternoon leg of #BharatJodoYatra in Ramban & Banihal has been cancelled. Tomorrow is a rest day and the Yatra will resume day after, January 27th at 8am.
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) January 25, 2023
Rahul, who started the ‘Yatra’ wearing his signature white T-shirt, later donned a black raincoat. Despite the rain, a large number of Congress workers and supporters gathered on the road with the tricolor in their hands to welcome Rahul. J&K Congress President Vikar Rasool Wani was seen walking with Rahul Gandhi and introducing him to several leaders. Rahul’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ started from Kanyakumari on September 7 and entered Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday via Punjab. At the end of the ‘Yatra’, Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to unfurl the national flag at the party headquarters in Srinagar and address a rally at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium on January 30.