Bharat Jodo Yatra Diary (From November 8 to December 7, 2022)
As said earlier the aim of this Yatra is to unite India; to come together and strengthen our nation. The Yatra began on September 07 from Kanyakumari and will pass through 12 states, culminating in Jammu and Kashmir – spanning a distance of nearly 3,500 Km over the course of about 150 days.
The yatra has already received an overwhelming response; lakhs of people accompanied by Congress leaders have joined the movement to raise their voice against the economic, social and political issues that are dividing our nation today. The yatra seeks to address rampant unemployment & inflation, the politics of hate and division and the over-centralisation of our political system. People from all walks of life are coming together to be a part of this historic movement. It is a celebration of India’s unity, her cultural diversity and the incredible fortitude of her people. This is an open invitation to all Indians to come and walk with us.
Day 62: November 8, 2022 Yatra started at the Mirjapur Hanuman Mandir, Kamareddy Telangana; was welcomed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Statue, Kalamandir, Degloor, and continued to end their journey at Gurdwara Yaadgar Baba Zoravar Singh ji, Fateh Singh ji. For the first time they walked in the night and it was a magnificent sight. And as they entered this holy city of Nanded it became an even more visually arresting scene. The panorama of burning torches, car headlights, media spotlights and the wavering shadows of the Yatris had to be seen. In the evening, the Yatris walked approximately 9 kilometres from KhatgaonPhata to Bhopala. And it was a diverse crowd. “We saw not just political cadres, but women with children, senior citizens with their grandchildren,” says Yatri, Keshav Yadav. In the evening, there were a number of groups that walked with Congress leaders including authors Niranjan Takle, Darshan Mondekar and representatives of Fair Price Shops Association. Note: We deeply regret to report the death of someone associated with the yatra. Krishna Kumar Pandey, General Secretary of Seva Dal was walking along with the Yatris when he suddenly collapsed. Day 63: November 9, 2022 In Maharashtra, we have the added scenes of women dressed up in iconic imagery, including Rani Lakshmibai. Today along the route, Yatris also met with NCC cadets. Speaking at a press conference, earlier in the day Congress MP Jairam Ramesh stated that the Yatris “Will walk to Kashmir, and we are prepared to meet any difficulty (to achieve this objective).” He also added, “This is a Bharat Jodo (Unite India) Yatra not an election jitao (help win elections) Yatra”. Today we also got to see the people from the famous Warkari samaj. Yatri Manoj Upadhyaya, tells us more, “The Warkaris represent the Bhakti tradition and are famous for their devotion to Vitthal, the deity of Pandharpur.” In the evening session, they walked from Naigaon to take their break for the day at Kushnoor MIDC Gate. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had an intervention with representatives of the state’s sugar, milk & bank cooperatives. They discussed how these once leading institutions had been allowed to wither away under the RSS/BJP dispensation, with significant long social and economic term impact. Day 64: November 10, 2022 Came across two young ladies – Pratiksha Ankush Manjelvar and Sandhya RavsahebVallpe, both 18, also represent the systematic failure of the policies of RSS/ BJP combined. Both have been preparing to join the Police or Comparative Government Services, but as says Sandhya, “(The authorities) are resorting to unfair practices, especially with girls, who are being disqualified for what seems like the smallest pretext.” This morning the Yatris walked from KapshiChauk to their midday break at Chandasingh Corner, Danegaon. Along the way they were joined by representatives of the MSME sector, and Auto Union workers. Yatra arrived at Nanded today, the “Karmabhoomi of the revered- Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, VishnupantShesa, Raghunath Shesa, and Vaman Pandit,” In the evening, the walkers were accompanied by NCP leaders including SupriyaSule, MP, and ex state ministers Jayant Patil and Jitendra Awhaad. Sule gifted Congress MP a copy of the Constitution. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge also arrived and joined the Yatra to address a public meeting at New Mondha Ground in Nanded. Day 65: November 11, 2022 The Yatris commenced their early morning walk from Dabhad to Ardhapur, flag raising ceremony had two additions. One was commemorating the birth anniversary of Maulana Azad. And the other was a two-minute silence for a fellow volunteer Yatri P. Ganeshan who tragically passed away in a road accident. Along the way, the Yatris were accompanied by a group of retired judges and advocates, and also a delegation from the Maulana Azad Vichar Manch. Among the other walkers, of particular note were MuskanMourya, the only known visually impaired journalist in the country and Gaurav Malak who has only 10% vision who accompanied us. We salute you both. In memory of P. Ganeshan, Yatri Our companion P. Ganeshan from Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu was hit by a speeding truck while walking yesterday evening, and lost his life in the early hours this morning. On paper he wasn’t a Bharat Yatri but we can say for certain that we have lost someone who was one of best among us, the quintessential Yatri. ‘Yatra Ganesh’ as he came to be called had covered more than 13,000 kilometres on the road. This is possibly more than anyone else in the #BharatJodoYatra. He was a dyed-in-the-blood congressman, who wanted no personal fame or glory. YatriSheeba Ramachandran says that he was selfless. “On the event of Onam, I offered to buy him new clothes,” but he refused. “He was a committed, selfless supporter of the party,” she says. YatriGaneshan, farewell. You may have gone but your memory will accompany us all right till the end. You define all that’s best about the #BharatJodoYatra. In the evening, the Yatra resumed from ChorambaPhata in Nanded district, to arrive at its halt for the day in WarangaPhata, in Hingoli district. Day 66: November 12, 2022 This morning the Yatris walked from Shevala Village to their midday break at Arati Village in Hingoli district. In the morning, Gandhi walked with Warkari leaders. In the afternoon, there is an interaction planned with eminent authors including Sahitya Akademi and Jnanpith awardees. Today, on his date of birth, we remember eminent Maharastrarian Pandurang Mahadev Bapat, environmental activist, freedom fighter Gandhian, who led the Mulshi Satyagraha. Today, as the Yatris completed their evening walk from Pardi Mod to Kalamnuri Zilla Parishad High school, it was a time to remember old friends. Namely Congress MP Rajeev Satav who had represented Hingoli constituency in Parliament and who had passed away due to COVID last year. Groups that accompanied the Yatra include leaders of the Pardhi community, who are severely underrepresented in terms of women’s education. Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with eminent authors and cultural activists from Maharashtra and Goa. A number of issues were raised by the participants including caste-based discrimination, religious polarisation, CAA, NRC, and farmer suicides. Day 67: November 13, 2022 Rest Day 68: November 14, 2022 Yatris commenced their walk from WaspangaraPhata. The rangoli artists took the day with their incredible bright colours and designs. The largest rangoli we saw was of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and it was, believe it or not, 100 square feet or more. We met on the road Abdul Ansali, Congressman representing disabled individuals. “I intend to walk across Maharashtra, and want to tell everyone that we are Hindustani and have a voice too.” he said. Also walking with us were a large group of Buddhist monks. Day 69: November 15, 2022 Yatra crossed from Hingoli to Washim district. The welcome committee greeted the Yatris on the bridge across the river Painganga. Today being the occasion of Birsa Munda Jayanti, there was an address to mark the occasion in the afternoon. In a charged address Congress MP Rahul Gandhi told “Birsa Munda sacrificed his life of India at the age of 24. The Yatris were joined by by members of Mahanirdhar Project, a group of young people from various regions of the state. The Yatris walked approximately 14 kilometres, starting from Phalegaon, Hingoli and ending at their midday designation in Anjankhed, Washim. The Yatris travelled around 10 kilometres to their evening halt at Vasantrao Naik Chauk in Washim. In the evening session, Yatris were joined by members of the Banjara samaj, a very diverse group that had a surgeon, a priest and four women, including a Principal and a representative from the Cooperative sector. Day 70: November 16, 2022 The Padyatra resumed from JambrunPhata, Near Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, in Washim to culminate around 15 kilometres later for the midday break at the Nathuram NarayandasMundada Secondary and higher secondary High school, Malegaon Jahangir, Dist. Washim. Evening stop at Medshi Village, before the Padyatris even got started some 10 kilometres away at Malegaon Jahangir. Shri Rahul Gandhi met with civil society leaders and representatives including Medha Patkar. Day 71: November 17, 2022 LeelataiChitale, 93, is close to breaking down. We’ve met her on the morning of the 71st day of the #BharatJodoYatra. Chitale remembers the time when she, then 12, was arrested in the Quit India Movement. She is concerned about the environment of hatred being fostered in the country. She says that, knowing that people are once again fighting to unite India on the values of tolerance and respect, “I can die in peace.” The Yatris began their day’s walk of some 15 plus kilometres, the starting point at Patur village. The Yatris were accompanied this morning by the members of the Andh-Shradha Nirmulan Samiti (Anti Superstition Samiti), and also the SafaiKarmachaari Organisation. Having walked around 16 kilometres in the morning session, the evening session that started near Vadegaon Village and ended at Dhanegaon in Akola district was a comparative breeze. ‘Only’ 7 kilometres or thereabouts. Encountered cadets from the National Military School at Akola who were training to try out for the armed forces. Day 72: November 18, 2022 This morning the #BharatJodoYatra commenced at its usual 6AM start. Vandana Bhagwat the retired Professor had come from Pune with a friend but strained her foot and was using support. She was undeterred. This is a “historical event” she said “and I want to be part of it.” People that walked with the Yatra today included Mathadi workers, descendants of Ma Jijau (Shivaji Maharaj’s mother), widows and mothers of victims who lost their lives in sewage and mseptic tanks; Tushar Gandhi; ex- serviceman Lance Naik Deepchand who lost both legs and one arm in the Kargil war, and Marathi actress Mona Ambegaonkar. We would be remiss not to highlight yesterday evening’s massive public meeting in Shegaon. A testament to the deep roots of the INC in Maharashtra, and the organisational capabilities of the OCC, the pictures speak for themselves. Day 73: November 19, 2022 The 73rd day in the road for the Yatra was also the 105th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi. It was a roughly 14 kilometres walk mostly on the Shegaon – Kherda – Jalamb axis through a rural landscape. The start of the day was headlined by Bharat Yatri Vaishnavi Gurudatt Bhardwaj who was the Chief Guest at the daily Seva Dal led flag hoisting ceremony. Bharadwaj at 24, is also the youngest Bharat Yatri. The approximately 10 kilometres walk from Jalamb to Bhastan in Buldhana district, on the afternoon there are two interactions – one with Bahujan thought leaders and the other with the Maharashtra Youth Conclave. Day 74: November 20, 2022 The Yatris began their last day’s walk in Maharashtra through rural roads lined with trees and surrounded by lush green fields of pigeon pea legume (toor dal). Actor Amol Palekar and his wife Sandhya Ghokale accompanied the #BharatJodoYatra today. Other walkers included members of the Sarv Seva Sangh, eminent environmentalists, and Forest Rights Act and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) grassroots activists and community leaders. In the afternoon, there was a MahilaSammelan of 10000 women, mostly adivasis, shetkarikaamgaars and farmers. In attendance were Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, BalasahebThorat CLP, Netta D’Souza (AICC President, Mahila Congress), Harshvardhan Sapkal, MLA and other state leaders. Speaking on the occasion Rahul Gandhi spoke about the conditions and rights of the adivasi community. It was a thought-provoking speech. Day 75: November 21, 2022 Post the midday break, the Padyatriswalked the periphery of the town of Jalgaon Jamod. It was the Yatris’ last walking day in Maharashtra the Yatris walked around 8 kilometres from Jalamb to Bhastan. Yatra entered Nanded town in a dreamlike midnight, torchlit walk. A remarkable fact was the large numbers of women and youth participants in the state. Yet another highlight was the extraordinary, active participation of civil society organisations. From village housewives to women entrepreneurs, from farmers to professors, specialty needs individuals to athletes. Two individuals we met today represent the best of what the Yatra stands for. Mario, who is from the LGBTQ+ community, and his brother Yuri joined the Yatra and we met them on the road today. Day 76: November 22, 2022 Rest Day 77: November 23, 2022 Bodarli village, which today was the start of the Madhya Pradesh leg of the Padyatra, was the scene of much excitement. “So what if I’m unable to meet him personally,” said Jaili Bai, whom we saw literally dancing to the beats of the Bharat Jodo Yatra song. “Just seeing him is enough. He’s Indira Gandhi’s grandson (pota) which means he’s my grandson too.” Later in the afternoon, Shri Rahul Gandhi will have interactions with Banana Cultivators and the power loom workers of Burhanpur. Shraddha from the activist organisation Ekta Parishad, who had come with a team of more than 20 volunteers to support the Yatra. “We will stay with the Yatra all through in Madhya Pradesh.” In the evening, the Yatris were accompanied by PV Rajagopal and other Ekta Parishad leaders, and Amulya Nidhi, leader of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, a public health group. Day 78: November 24, 2022 The Yatris commenced their walk only after a 27 kilometre drive through an alternately forested and rocky terrain. It was a mostly rural and sparsely populated landscape that they walked through, from Borgaon to Dulhar Fata around 14 kilometres away. Banana and wheat fields bordered the road most of the way. Today the Yatris were also joined for the first time by General Secretary AICC, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. We welcome her, and are sure that she will see experience first-hand the energy and excitement of the #BharatJodoYatra and the tremendous impact it is creating. Day 79: November 25, 2022 The Yatris travelled around 13 kilometres from Kherda to their midday break at Bhanbharad. The Yatris commenced their journey at the somewhat earlier than usual time of 3:30pm walking approximately 10 kilometres from Gurudwara Sahib to the evening Break at Chegaon Makhan in quick time. In the afternoon there was a tribute to TantyaBheel, 19th century figure who resisted the British rule and became a symbol for the tribal peoples. This was followed by an Adivasi Sabha at BadodaAheer, that was attended by Rahul Gandhi, and former chief ministers Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh. The Yatris started their morning walk in pitch dark at their usual 6AM departure time. The Yatris travelled around 10 kilometres to their evening destination of Sanawad town. Shri Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with displaced people from across Madhya Pradesh. In the evening, Gandhi paid a visit to the Omkareshwar temple which is one of the 12 jyothirlingas across India. Day 80: November 26, 2022 Today we walked through a number of small towns and villages in the 13-kilometre stretch from Mortakka to Manihaar. Places such as Badhgaon and Badhwa in particular witnessed higher levels of crowd participation. During the course of the morning, the Yatris were accompanied by silicosis victims, and another group comprising of intellectuals Deepak Tiwari and Sanjeev Chandorkar. In the evening, we will be joined by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge who will visit the Dr. Ambedkar Janmabhoomi Smarak, Mhow. Day 81: November 27, 2022 In the second session of the day, the Yatris walked along an approximately 9-kilometre stretch from Umeria Chowki to Balwada. At the mid-day point, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi held an interaction with MSMEs, and also with handloom workers from Maheshwar. The afternoon walking session also saw tribals leaders and activists. In the evening, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge joined the Yatris and paid a visit to the Dr. Ambedkar Janmabhoomi Smarak, Mhow. The programme included paying obeisance to Babasaheb’s mortal remains, followed by a presentation of the Preamble of the Constitution by Interstate Leaders of SC Department. Marvel, the German Shepherd joined us on the Yatra with owner Rajat Parashar who is advocating the worthy cause of animal rights. The entirely urban walk from AU Cinema to the end point some 8 kilometres later at Rajwada was lined with crowds, some waiting for the Yatris, while others had already started their celebration. In another landmark of sorts, we had the first Bharat Jodo concert at the Chimanbag Maidan. Headlined by Divine of Mere Gully Mein fame, the entertainers had the whole crowd rocking through the evening and into the night. Day 82: November 28, 2022 Today in the morning session the Yatris got on the highway to Ujjain, and walked approximately 13 kilometres to Baroli village. Along the way, the Bharat Yatris were joined by Lawyer and Activist Dushyant A and writer Arpita Chatterjee. Other notable additions were JamsetjeeDelaraJeejeeboy (descendants of Sir JamsetjeeJejeebhoy merchant and philanthropist) and Haresh and Sonal Shah (son-in-law and daughter of freedom fighter GG Parikh). All along the approximately 13-kilometre stretch from Krishna Enclave to the evening Break at Tarana Village Square, the #BharatJodoYatra continued to attract interested crowds on its 82ndday. This afternoon, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had his 7th press interview since the start of the Yatra. According to Party General Secretary Jairam Ramesh, Gandhi “Answered a wide variety of questions from 17 journalists in about 40 minutes.” In the evening session, the Yatris were joined by Asha and Sarafa workers, and educationist Anil Sadgopal. Day 83: November 29, 2022 The morning walk commenced at Sanwer and ended around 13 kilometres away at Ninora, Ujjain. During the morning walk the Yatris were joined by members of the regional Goa Forward Party President Vijay Sardesai and General Secretary Durgesh Kamat. The Yatris were also joined by members of the Beedi workers union, and also the National Educated Youth Union. In the afternoon, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi paid a visit to the Digamber Jain Siddha Kshetra Shri Mahavir Tapobhumi. This was followed by a darshan of the Mahakaleshwar temple. The evening also saw a massive public rally at SamajikNyayParisar. Day 84: November 30, 2022 Rest Day 85: December 1, 2022 The Yatris began Day 85 of the Yatra and did brisk 14-kilometre walk from the RD Medical College to their midday break at Nazarpur village. Earlier in the morning – in fact very early, for they had to awaken at 1:30am – a group of Bharat Yatris took advantage of proximity for a darshan at the nearby famous Mahakaleshwar temple, and also saw the renowned Bhasmarti. The Yatris were joined for their morning walk by actress Swara Bhaskar and members of the Malwa Kisan Sanghatan. This evening walk that started at Ghatiya was ‘barely’ 8 kilometres. Joining the Yatris and Rahul Gandhi in the evening walk was a number of representatives from the National Campaign for Dignity and Survival, and also Gandhian Anil Trivedi. We also want to congratulate Assam PCC as they go into the 31stday of the #BharatJodoYatraAssam. Day 86: December 2, 2022 The Yatris’ morning session on their 86th day of the Yatra involved an approximately 14-kilometre walk from Jahanara village to their midday break near Tanodia village. In the course of the morning walk, there was an interaction with a group of ex- servicemen and their families. The Yatris began their afternoon walk from Tanodia village. Earlier in the afternoon, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with elected local body representatives; followed by one with OBC groups representatives. Later, during the course of the walk he was accompanied by representatives of the Rahat Mahila Resource Centre, a group working with victims of domestic violence in Indore. Day 87: December 3, 2022 Padyatris were able to walk the approximately 14 kilometres from Mahudiya Agar to Amla with ease. In the morning session, the Yatris were joined by a number of individuals who walked alongside. These included individuals with disabilities (today being International Day of Disabled Persons), Anil Garg, forest rights activist and Katha VachakBrijpal Shukla. The Yatris were accompanied during their walk by representatives of the Chhattisgarh BachaoAndolan, the Bundelkhand JeevikaSanghatan, and also the vocalist TM Krishna. Earlier in the afternoon Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with farmers, and representatives of cooperatives and Farmer Producer Organisations. Day 88: December 4, 2022 The Yatris walked around 14 from Lala Khedi to Soyatkalan. Speaking to the press earlier in the day, former Chief Minister Kamal Nath stated that Madhya Pradesh was “The first Hindi speaking state that the Yatra entered…People came from everywhere of their own accord.” The Yatris walked around 10 kilometres from Soyatkalan to Dongargaon and finished the Madhya Pradesh leg of their journey. Madhya Pradesh was indeed an interesting experience. As stated by Yatri Kiran Mugabasav, he observed how “Farmers struggled, rising unemployment continues to demoralise the youth, and small businesses are crippled by GST and demonetisation.” Indeed, the more we travel the more some things remain the same. Earlier in the day, Congress leaders including MP Rahul Gandhi and former Chief Minister Kamal Nath paid tribute to freedom fighter Tantya Mama on his martyrdom day. In the evening walk, the Yatris were joined by representatives from child education and rights organisation – Muskaan, and the Shehri Mazdoor sanghatan from Bhopal. Meanwhile, later in the evening, there was a warm welcoming ceremony by our hosts from the state of Rajasthan, but that’s a subject for the next diary entry! In a message to the people of the state, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said: “On the 26thof November, at Mhow, the birthplace of Babasaheb Dr. Ambedkar, we took a solemn pledge to defend the Constitution. I reiterate that pledge to the people of Madhya Pradesh, and promise that a day will soon come when the Congress will fulfil the trust they have placed in us.” We also thank the state of Madhya Pradesh, and now look forward to the next stage of our journey. Day 89: December 5, 2022 A grand welcome was afforded to the #BharatJodoYatra yesterday evening as the Yatris entered the great state of Rajasthan. But it was this morning that the Yatra truly began in Rajasthan, an approximately 14-kilometer stretch that the Yatris walked from Kalitalai village to their midday break at BalibordaChauraha. The Yatris walked around 9 kilometres from Nahardi to their evening break at Jhalrapatan and so completed the first day of their journey in Rajasthan. During the evening session the Yatris were joined by a group of Gandhians from the state, led by Sawai Singh ji, President of the Rajasthan Samagra Seva Sangh, and also activist Pratibha Shinde. At a press conference earlier in the day, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh stated about the RSS/ BJP “They had no role to play in our freedom struggle, they had no role to play in the framing of the Constitution, they actively opposed Gandhiji’s Quit India movement…. RSS has a divisive ideology… that is dangerous to the nation.” Day 90: December 6, 2022 “Dear Rahul,” said the letter, “I hope that your Yatra succeeds… you win the next election… and become the next Prime Minister of India.” Bannesingh Thakur, 89, was sitting by the roadside when he saw Yatri Satyam Thakur and called out to him. Bannesingh, proud to be a Congress worker for more than five decades, just wanted to show his appreciation in the form of a letter to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. The Yatris were accompanied for part of their journey by women from the Sahariya tribal community, and also Hemant Kasat, Vedic scholar who discussed Vaishnavism and Shaivism. There were others who had come to watch the Yatra because they appreciated the work that previous Congress regimes had done. For example, those like Santhosh had come with her fellow MNREGA workers, recalled that “the scheme was the gift of the Congress government.” The Yatris were joined this evening by Professors Shyam Sunder Jyani, environmentalist and academic, and later, representatives of the farming community. Day 90 of the Bharat Jodo Yatra was also the 66th MahaparinirvanDiwas of statesman Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. We pay deepest homage to a great man. Day 91: December 7, 2022 The Yatris were transported to the starting point (a kilometre or so away from their place of overnight rest) they could see the people lining the road by the time they started their 14 kilometre walk from Dara Station to Mandana. No wonder then, that Congress MP Jairam Ramesh called it the most encouraging (utsahjanak) day in the state thus far. “I personally have never seen such a response in the morning so far,” he stated, referring to the crowds. The Yatris were accompanied this day by representatives from the Mazdoor Kisaan Shakti Sanghatan, and also domestic workers and other unorganized sector workers. Tomorrow’s walk, incidentally, will be the single longest in the Padyatra so far – a stretch of 23 kilometres! “The Yatris will get through it,” says Dhanak. And we’re sure they will. At a massive public gathering in Kota today, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi stated that at the beginning, when the #BharatJodoYatra started “We though they this would be a difficult journey. First there was the heat, then it rained and now it’s becoming colder… but we’re not tired because you, the people of India, have given this Yatra your love and support… and made our task easier.” Along the way the Yatris were joined by representatives of the Ekal Nari Shakti Sangathan (ENSS), an organisation dedicated to supporting and empowering low-income “women alone.” The Yatris walked 10 kilometres from Mandana to their evening break at Cablenagar, Kota. In the evening the Yatris were treated to a musical event headlined by famous Kabirpanthi and folk singer Prahlad Singh Tipanya, and also Rajasthani Kathputli dance performances. “It was such a wonderful experience,” said Yatri Vaibhav Walia. Speaking to the press earlier in the day Congress MP Jairam Ramesh stated that in the previous 90 days of the #BharatJodoYatra the party has held 60 corner meetings, 8 big rallies and 7 press interventions led by Rahul Gandhi (not counting press interactions with other party leaders). These numbers clearly highlight the intensity and commitment with which the party is spreading the message of the Yatra.
Report compiled by Shri Arun Garg