Bharat Jodo Yatra: Key opposition leaders in Uttar Pradesh including Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhary are unlikely to attend Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra in UP while Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti has accepted the invitation to join Rahul Gandhi when the yatra will enter Jammu and Kashmir. Other non-BJP leaders in UP who have also been invited are yet to take a call.
Congress said that it has invited several leaders of non-BJP parties, including Akhilesh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati and RLD's Jayant Chaudhary, to take part in the Uttar Pradesh leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra from January 3.
Akhilesh, Jayant pre-occupied with party programmes; Mayawati waiting for invite
Akhilesh Yadav and Jayant Chaudhary are unlikely to participate in the yatra due to "preoccupation" with their party programmes, their party leaders said.
"The schedule of SP president Akhilesh Yadav related to party programmes has already been decided and he is unlikely to attend the yatra," SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said.
There had also been no discussion in this regard in the party, Chaudhary said when asked if any other leader of the party would be participating in the yatra.
In a similar vein, RLD chief spokesman Anil Dubey said, "I do not think that Jayantji will be going for the yatra."
He is preoccupied with party programmes which have already been planned, Dubey said, adding that the decision on whether any other leader of the party will participate in the Yatra will be taken by the party president.
The BSP is still waiting for the Congress invitation for the yatra and any call on participation in it will be taken by party president Mayawati, a senior BSP leader said on condition of anonymity.
Nevertheless, BSP MP from Jaunpur Shyam Singh Yadav was present in the yatra in Delhi, walking alongside Rahul Gandhi for three hours "but in what capacity is not known", he said.
Mehbooba Mufti to join Kashmir leg of 'Bharat Jodo'
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said she will be joining the Kashmir leg of the "Bharat Jodo Yatra".
"I've been formally invited to join @RahulGandhi ji for his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Kashmir today. Salute his indomitable courage and I believe it is my duty to stand with someone who has the courage to challenge fascist forces. Will be joining him in his march towards a better India," the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said in a tweet.
National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah is also expected to take part in the yatra when it enters Jammu and Kashmir.
SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar also not sure
Another invitee SBSP president Om Prakash Rajbhar said that he got a phone call from Salman Khurshid but has yet to get a formal letter of invitation.
"We will decide the matter after talking to party members by December 30 whether to participate in it or not," Rajbhar said.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Congress on Tuesday released the route map of the party's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in the state which will enter Ghaziabad's Loni area on January 3 and travel to Haryana via Shamli's Kairana.
The next day, the yatra will reach Mavi Kalan in Baghpat and pass through Baghpat city and Sisana, Sarurpur and Barot in the same district. On January 5, the yatra will reach Alam in Shamli district and pass through Kandhla, Uncha village and Kairana.
Kairana falls in a communally sensitive region and the alleged exodus of Hindu families from the area became a major election issue in the 2017 assembly elections and was again raised by the BJP in the state polls early this year.
The Yatra, which started from Kanyakumari in September this year, will now be entering the state where Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, in-charge of the party's Uttar Pradesh unit, will accompany former party president Rahul Gandhi.