The Congress party began its massive protest called 'Mehngai Par Halla Bol' at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan on Sunday, 4 September, against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government over unemployment and price rise.
Addressing the massive crowds, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi attacked the BJP. "Hatred is rising in India. Fear of inflation, unemployment increasing in India, due to this hatred is rising. BJP and RSS are dividing the country and creating fear in the country. Only two industrialists in the country benefitting from this fear and hatred," Gandhi said.
Congress workers marching against price rise, moving from Banga Bhawan to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters, were detained by the Delhi Police, reported news agency ANI. However, NDTV reported that the police has denied any such detention.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Ashok Chavan, Mallikarjun Kharge, among other party leaders, will address the protesters, which includes party workers from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana, as well as people from other parts of the country.
The rally comes days before the party's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra,' a mass contact programme which Gandhi will launch on 7 September.
Gandhi will cover a 3,500-kilometre distance on foot, highlighting the issue of price rise and unemployment while promoting communal harmony.
Though top Congress leaders are expected to be in attendance at the rally, party president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will not partake in the protest as the two are out of the country for the former's medical treatment.
Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet, saying, "The King's friend are busy making money, while the subjects suffer due to price rise."
"Today, people have to think ten times before buying anything. The Prime Minister is solely responsible for their suffering. We will keep raising our voice against the rising prices, and the King will have to listen," he said.
The Congress has been relentless in attacking the Centre over the issues of the protest, saying that these are the issues affecting the common man and they need to be discussed at all forums.
In view of the protest, Delhi Police have made appropriate security arrangements in and around central Delhi, especially near the venue. It also issued a traffic advisory via Twitter, informing commuters about traffic and road closures, according to The Indian Express.
Unemployment and Inflation Are 'Two Brothers' Under Modi Government
The Congress on Sunday took a dig at the Centre on the issue of price rise, saying unemployment and inflation were the "two brothers" of the Modi government.
Ahead of the rally, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh spoke to the press, saying that the rally was not being held to canvas for the 2024 polls, but to highlight the two biggest issues faced by the people.
When asked about accusations that the Congress was staging protests to distract from the corruption charges against party leaders, Ramesh said, "That is not the case. We have been doing this for over a year, we did this in Jaipur too."
"People from 12-13 states are coming and we want to send an effective message to the insensitive Modi government that people are suffering from this back-breaking inflation and unemployment and solutions should be found for them," Ramesh said.
Slogans of “Rahul Gandhi Zindabad” and “Sonia Gandhi Zindabad” reverberated through the air on Sunday as thousands of Congress supporters reached the Ramlila Maidan here to raise their voice against price rise and unemployment.
Many Congress workers, who came to attend the 'Mehngai Par Halla Bol' rally, put up banners demanding Rahul Gandhi to once again lead the party.
“Rahul ji is our true leader and we have full faith in him that he will restore the glory of the Congress. He should be made the party president,” Deepesh Singh, who came to attend the rally from Muzaffarnagar in western Uttar Pradesh, said.
(With inputs from The Indian Express, NDTV, PTI, and ANI.)