New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday told a group of civil society representatives the party’s upcoming ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is like a “tapasya” for him and that he is ready for the “long battle” to unite the country.

The Congress had announced last week it will launch on September 7 the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ — being billed by the party as the longest yatra mounted in this country over the last century.

Interacting with civil society members at the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra Conclave’ at the Constitution Club here, Gandhi said the Yatra is like “tapasya” for him, according to sources.

“I know uniting India (Bharat Jodo) is going to be a long battle and I am ready for it,” Gandhi was quoted as saying.

Stressing that the politics of the country has become “polarised”, Gandhi said the idea of undertaking the yatra is to tell that on one side there is the ideology of the Sangh and on the other side is the ideology of uniting everyone.

“We are starting this journey with the belief that the people of India want the politics of

uniting, not dividing,” he was quoted as saying during the interaction.

The ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra Conclave’ here was attended by over 150 civil society organisations, movements, professionals and Unions with the likes of Aruna Roy, Syeda Hameed, Sharad Behar, P V Rajgopal, Bezwada Wilson, Devanoora Mahadeva, GN Devy and Yogendra Yadav, participating in it.

The conclave engaged in substantive discussions and expressed broad solidarity with the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a statement issued by the civil society representatives said.

The participant organisations welcomed the decision of launching the Yatra and expressed their willingness to engage with the initiative. It was also decided that an appeal will be issued in the coming days for larger engagement of various civil society groups, Jan Andolans and individuals, the statement said.

In the morning, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh presented the details of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ to the civil society delegates and invited those speaking up on people’s issues to participate in it. Gandhi met the civil society members in the afternoon.

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