In an address to the Indian diaspora here, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said he decided to launch his Bharat Jodo Yatra was because the normal tools used for politics were being controlled by the BJP and RSS.
Rahul arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday morning, kicking off his six-day visit to the US during which he is slated to meet American lawmakers, think tanks and also deliver lectures at the Stanford University and Harvard Club.
He is currently travelling on an ordinary passport, after he had to surrender his diplomatic passport following his disqualification as a Lok Sabha MP.
In his address on Tuesday evening, Rahul Gandhi said: "Few months ago, we started a walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Prior to this, we found that the normal tools we used for politics like conversations like this, public meetings were not working in India.
"All the instruments we needed to do politics were controlled by the BJP and the RSS. People are threatened and we also found that it was in some way it difficult for us to act politically. That was the reason why we decided to walk from the southern-most tip of India."
Rahul also pointed out that when he started the yatra, he wanted to see what would happen next.
"After 5-6 days we realized that walking 4,000 km is not an easy thing. And I had an old knee injury that acted up and I thought that I was in real trouble. But I said I have no choice but to walk despite the pain. Then a surprising thing happened. I started noticing that after walking 25 km, I was not getting tired at all. We used to start at 6 a.m. in morning and finished walking by 7.30 p.m. and we I asked people walking if they felt tired, they also said that they were not tired.
"I realised what was actually going on, it was not us who were walking, it was India that was walking. And the large number of people coming from all walks of life were creating an atmosphere of love and affection. And everyone was walking together and that's where we came up with the idea, 'nafrat ke bazar me muhabbat ki dukan kholni hai'," he said.
He said that the government tried everything against his mega walkatahon, but the support grew.
Slamming the government, the Congress leader said: "The assault that is taking place in India is taking place on our way of life."
He then said that different languages and different people all are being attacked, adding that all great thinkers and gurus emphasized that one should not remain under the impression that one knows everything.
"The world is too big and too complicated for any person to understand that he knows everything. This is the only disease that we have in a group of people in India who are convinced that they know everything. And they think that they are sitting with God and having a conversation what is going on, And of course the Prime Minister is one such specimen," Rahul said.
"At the heart of this is mediocrity that they actually don't understand anything. Because in life you cannot understand anything if you don't listen. Biggest lesson I learnt from the yatra is that we have many things to learn from everyone.
"We as the Congress are committed in making India a fair place. We believe deeply that India today in terms of its treatment of Dalits, tribals, poor people, minorities is not a fair place. There's a lot that can be done," the Congress leader added.
Besides interacting with the Indian diaspora, Rahul is also meet venture capitalists, tech executives and students at Silicon Valley while in California.
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