The Congress party in Rajasthan will embark on a five-day "yatra" across 13 districts in eastern Rajasthan to demand national status for the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP). The ERCP is an initiative aimed to provide essential drinking water and irrigation to the region. The Congress party believes that this yatra will pressure the Central government to fulfil its promise regarding the project. This comes ahead of the Rajasthan state assembly elections slated for the end of the year or early 2024.
The yatra is scheduled to commence on September 25, following the BJP's "Parivartan Yatra" conclusion. The Congress party hopes to garner support for its campaign and has already received over 4,000 applications for party tickets from participants.
Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra, officially announced the launch of the ERCP yatra during a media briefing. The yatra will start from Jhalawar and will include Baran, Kota, Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, Ajmer, Tonk, Jaipur, Dausa, Karauli, Alwar, Bharatpur, and Dholpur. These districts are anticipated to benefit significantly from the ERCP.
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Public meetings will also be held as part of the campaign. The culmination of the yatra will take place in Jaipur, with national leaders expected to attend.
The ERCP is reportedly worth more than Rs 37,000 crore. The detailed project report (DPR) of this project was sent to the Central Water Commission in 2017. Taking a jibe at the Opposition, Dotasra stated that the ERCP was launched for 13 districts by former chief minister Vasundhara Raje-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government and despite Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat being from Rajasthan, the project has not been given national status.
He added that Congress will create a strategy for its assembly election campaign within the next two days. Additionally, he has proposed that party leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi lay the foundation stone for the new Congress office in the coming days.
Dotasra had earlier called BJP's Parivartan Yatra a "fail" in the state. He said, "The state leaders of the BJP were called by the party high command in Delhi and scolded due to the yatra getting a poor response."
Commenting on the Prime Minister's proposed meeting in Jaipur on September 25, Dotasra said, "Five-six meetings were held which were flops, be it in Sikar or Ajmer. People are coming to our meetings while their factionalism is getting exposed in their meetings. They are not in harmony with each other."
He added confidently, "People say that the Congress government will be repeated."
In June, a video was posted in which Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had said he will get the ERCP implemented if BJP leader Rajendra Rathore came to power in the state, triggering strong reaction from the Opposition.
At the time, Congress general secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh had called Shekawat's statement the "height of shamelessness" and against the federal spirit of the country.
Pawan Khera, chairman of media and publicity of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) had said, "This statement shows that the BJP has no sympathy for the suffering of the people of Rajasthan and the BJP has not given the status of a national project or any special grant to the East Rajasthan Canal Project only because of greed for power."