Congress’ hunger strike for social harmony begins on a controversial note

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NEW DELHI, APR 09,
In a bid to promote social harmony in the wake of caste violence during April 02 Bharat Bandh was organised across the country, Congress president Rahul Gandhi joined a symbolic fast on Monday at Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial.
“Today all the Congress workers and leaders are protesting against an ideology. Few days back, a BJP leader compared the Opposition with animals. But the truth is the entire country today is opposed to the Modi government. We are standing against the anti-Dalits, anti tribal, anti minority and anti farmer policies of the government.
This country won’t tolerate the hatred and violence spread by Narendra Modi ji’a government,”Mr Gandhi said and asserted that the Opposition will defeat the BJP in 2019.
Party chief Rahul Gandhi, who had given the call for such a fast, joined the event for an hour at around 1pm. But controversy struck much before that.
Even before Mr. Gandhi reached Rajghat in Delhi to participate in a protest hunger strike on Monday, senior party leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar were asked to leave, according to media reports. Both leaders, who are facing criminal cases for their role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, were reportedly asked to stay away from the event.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said only former Delhi ministers and senior leaders have been asked to be on stage with Mr. Gandhi. Mr.Tytler denied that a directive had been issued for him to stay out, and said that he had “chosen to be with (party) workers on his own.”
Then came the embarrassing pictures of Mr. Maken and other senior colleagues like Arvinder Singh Lovely eating Chole Bhature at an eatery before the upwas (fast) started at 11:30am.
“The photo was taken before 8am and the fast was a symbolic one and not a hunger strike,”said Mr Lovely in their defense.
Party communications chief Randeep Singh Surjewala, however, said “This is an event to promote harmony and everyone is welcome to participate. There are some people with conspiratorial designs to spoil the atmosphere of brotherhood.”

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