Imphal: The Manipur government has imposed restrictions on the flagging off program of Congress’ Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Thoubal district on January 14, stating that the program should not exceed an hour and the number of participants should be a maximum of 3000.
The permission was issued by the office of Thoubal deputy commissioner on January 11 and was shared by the party with the reporters here on Saturday, January 13, a day ahead of the yatra.
The permission said the program should not exceed an hour as the venue is just beside and along the national highway, and traffic has to be diverted to alternate routes.
Also, the number of participants should be restricted to a “manageable limit” of a maximum of 3000 people, it said.
The Congress had changed the venue from Imphal Palace Ground to a private ground in Thoubal after the BJP-led N Biren Singh government gave conditional approval to flag off the yatra from the Palace grounds in Imphal, restricting the number of people to 1000.
The order said, “There shall be no anti-national, communal, or any adverse slogan during the rally and the Yatra,” and the organizers should fully cooperate with the state authorities. The permission for the yatra will be cancelled if any situation arises, “warranting such gatherings to be disassembled in order to maintain peace, public order, and tranquility in the area.”.
The yatra is slated to be flagged off from a private ground in the Khongjom area of Thoubal district on Sunday, and Rahul Gandhi will lead it.
AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and top leaders of the party will participate in the program, which is being held at a critical juncture as the party seeks to revive its electoral fortunes after a poor showing in the last round of assembly elections.
Manipur has been rocked by ethnic violence since May last year, which has claimed over 180 lives.
The violence erupted on May 3 last year after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organized in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The Congress will begin the Yatra from violence-hit Manipur on Sunday, in what is being seen as the party’s bid to set the narrative in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls and put the spotlight on issues such as unemployment, price rises, and social justice.
The Congress has said that it is taking out the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, which is not an electoral one but is being taken out because the government did not give it a chance to raise people’s issues in Parliament, and the initiative is aimed at re-establishing the principles of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity enshrined in the Constitution.
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will travel through 100 Lok Sabha segments in 15 states before it culminates in Mumbai on March 20 or 21. Congress believes it will prove to be as “transformative” as Gandhi’s earlier cross-country march.