Tensions and setbacks: Rahul Gandhi is in crosshairs...What's happening to his Bharat Nyay Yatra in Assam?

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is in crosshairs as his second season of the nationwide rally, the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra has met with an impasse in Assam where the Congress cadres and the state police ran into a clash that has sparked tensions across the state. The simmering chaos has now led the Chief Minister of Assam to direct the state police chief to register a case against the Congress leader. 

Rahul Gandhi has begun Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra earlier this month in Manipur and he will be carrying out this rally till mid-March with Mumbai as his final destination. Last year, Rahul Gandhi plunged into a nationwide rally that gave the party key political gains and when his Bharat Jodo Yatra covered the south-north direction of the country, the second season of the rally will be covering east to west. 

The Congress leader had a good start for his rally from violence-hit state of Manipur and when his yatra reached the BJP-ruling state of Assam on Monday - January 22 when all eyes were on the consecretion of Ram Temple in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When Rahul Gandhi tried to visit Sri Sri Sankar Dev Satra temple in Haiboragaon in Assam, his entry was prohibited, which led to heated exchanges and altercations between the Congress cadres and authorities. 

Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to offer prayers to the deity before starting his rally from Assam. As he was not allowed to enter the temple, the leaders of Mahila Congress had staged a dharna to protest against denial of permission to Gandhi to visit the temple. Rahul Gandhi had joined the dharna and questioned the police over the prohibition, for which the authorities told him that he will be allowed to visit the temple only at 3 pm, after the conclusion of pran pratishtha in Ayodhya.  

Rahul Gandhi asked, "Will PM Modi now decide who will visit a temple and when." "We do not want to create any problems, simply pray at the temple." In the wake of the prohibition, Rahul Gandhi's plan to visit the temple was cancelled and following a denial of entry inside the Guwahati city, the Congress unit in Assam on Tuesday - January 23 announced that the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will go through the Guwahati highway. Nevertheless, Rahul Gandhi faced another hindrance as he resumed his yatra on Tuesday. 

When the Congress leader tried to visit the University of Science and Technology that lies on the Assam - Meghalaya border. Rahul Gandhi has planned to address the students of the varsity. However, the institution has denied permission to the Congress leader by citing that the programme didn't have a nod from the Deputy Commissioner of the Ri-Bhoi district. 

In a letter to the Assam Congress chief, the university said that it has regretted the last minute cancellation of the programme that was scheduled in its Central Auditorium and assured that Rahul Gandhi will be invited to their youth festival as a speaker. While the university has barred Rahul Gandhi's entry, it has been reported that the students of the varsity came out of the premises to greet him. 

According to reports, Rahul Gandhi's bus has turned towards Guwahati city after which the state police blocked the procession. Congress cadres and Assam police have clashed against each other in Guwahati and as the cadres tried to remove the barricades, the fresh wave of attacks has escalated the tensions. The police resorted to the lathi charge to mitigate the tensions and to disperse the Congress workers. 

After tensions that prevailed for thirty minutes, the yatra had proceeded through the Guwahati highway. Following the clashes, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has asked the Assam police chief to register a case against Rahul Gandhi. Sarma slammed that Rahul Gandhi has provoked the crowd in Guwahati and said that the unruly behaviour of the Congress cadres had resulted in a massive traffic jam in Guwahati. 

Responding to a tweet by Indian Youth Congress National President BV Srinivas on the clashes, Himanta Biswa Sarma wrote, "These are not part of Assamese culture. We are a peaceful state. Such 'naxalite tactics' are completely alien to our culture. I have instructed the DGP of Assam Police to register a case against your leader Rahul Gandhi for provoking the crowd & use the footage you have posted on your handles as the evidence." 

"Your unruly behaviour and violation of agreed guidelines have resulted in a massive traffic jam in Guwahati now", he added. Reacting to the chaotic scenes, setbacks, and to the directive from the Chief Minister to register a case against him, Rahul Gandhi said, "Whatever the Assam CM is doing against the Yatra, it benefits the Yatra. The publicity that we might have not got, by doing this the Assam CM & Union Home Minister Amit Shah are helping us. Now, the main issue in Assam is the Yatra...It is their intimidation tactics...Our message of Nyay is reaching the people." 

Slamming Himanta Biswa Sarma, Rahul Gandhi further said, "The chief minister of the state is one of the most corrupt chief ministers in the country. Whenever I move to the state people tell me- that massive unemployment, massive corruption, massive price rise, farmers are struggling & no youth can get a job in this state. These are the issues we are raising & we are being very successful in it." "There is an idea of Nyay behind this Nyay Yatra. Congress party will bring forward its five pillars of justice in the next one month which give the country power", he added.