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Cong launches 'Azadi Gaurav' foot march from Sabarmati Ashram; aims to highlight party's role in country's development

Cong launches Azadi Gaurav foot march from Sabarmati Ashram; aims to highlight partys role in countrys development
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Ahmedabad: The opposition Congress on Wednesday launched the Azadi Gaurav Yatra from the Gandhi Ashram here in Gujarat to commemorate 75 years of Independence and showcase the role played by the party in the freedom struggle and the country's development post-1947, a kick-off of sorts to the Gujarat election campaign.

A Congress leader said that party president Sonia Gandhi and MP Rahul Gandhi have decided to organise the yatra "to remind our new generations about the sacrifices made by our leaders in achieving freedom from the British Raj".

The yatra will pass through four states before reaching the final destination Raj Ghat in Delhi on June 1.

The 1,200-km foot march will cover five districts in Gujarat in the next ten days, Congress leaders said on the occasion.

Hundreds of Congress Seva Dal members attended a prayer meet organised at the Hriday Kunj in the Ashram this morning before embarking on the padayatra while holding the party's flag in their hands.

Mahatma Gandhi had driven all the major activities of Independence as well as upliftment of the society from the Ashram, popularly known as Sabarmati Ashram. He had stayed in this ashram for many years before proceeding for a march to Dandi to break the salt law on March 12, 1930.

The yatra is organised to commemorate 75 years of Independence and to showcase the role of Congress in the freedom struggle and its contribution to the country post-independence, they said.

The foot march was flagged off by Congress leadership including Gujarat in-charge Raghu Sharma, state unit president Jagdish Thakor and others.

"As the country commemorates 75 years of India's independence, our national president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have decided to organise the 'Azadi Ki Gaurav Yatra' to remind our new generation about the sacrifices made by our leaders in achieving freedom from the British Raj," Sharma told reporters.

He said the yatra will pass through five districts in Gujarat over the next ten days before entering Rajasthan, which will be covered in 42 days. The yatra will pass through Haryana and Delhi before culminating at Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi.

Sharma said that the yatra assumes significance as it is being organised at a time "when the country feels threatened by communal forces which have become a threat to democracy".

The 'Azadi Gaurav' march intends to spread social cohesion and communal harmony, and raise awareness among the new generation about sacrifices made by Congress leaders for independence, he said.

"At least 100 volunteers will remain present throughout the foot march. More members and supporters will join them en route to the four states over the next two months," said Seva Dal chief organiser Lalji Desai.

Gujarat Congress said in a statement that the role of the Congress party in Independence will be presented through tabloids in five districts of Gujarat. Contributions made by the Congress party in the 60 years after independence will also be showcased through displays.

Cultural events, including traditional performances by local artists, will be held during the yatra.

To connect with different communities, food collected from donors during the trip will be stored with the idea of "Anna Meele To Man Meele." (connecting hearts through food), the statement said.

A programme titled "Ek Sham Shahido Ke Naam", dedicated to martyrs who died while protecting the country will be organised over the next ten days at the spots where the yatra will halt for the night in Gujarat.

Throughout the yatra, leaflets on the prologue of the Constitution will be handed over to the citizens with the slogan, "Save the Constitution", Congress said.

The yatra aims to connect three lakh people in Gujarat over the next ten days, it said.

Gujarat, a bastion of the BJP, goes to the polls in December this year.

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