Praising Rahul Gandhi's determination, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal on Saturday said during the initial days of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, there was a delicate situation in which the former Congress chief faced severe knee problems that forced him to think about whether he should be replaced by someone else.
Mr Venugopal, a close confidante of Mr Gandhi, said the predicament had even forced Priyanka Gandhi to tell him that her brother might be giving up the nationwide foot march due to the severe pain and hand over the baton of the yatra to senior Congress leaders.
"His knee pain had aggravated when the yatra entered Kerala on the third day of its commencement from Kanyakumari. One night, he called me to tell (me) about the severity of his knee pain and suggested carrying out the campaign by replacing him with any another leader," the senior Congress leader said during a function organised at Kerala Congress headquarters in the evening to honour the Bharat Jodo yatris from Kerala.
Narrating the sequence of events that he had faced when the yatra that began from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, 2022 entered Kerala, Mr Venugopal said a yatra without Rahul Gandhi was "unimaginable" for the Congress workers and leaders.
"Then came Priyanka Gandhi's call to inform about the severity of knee pain Rahul suffers. She even thought of suggesting to hand over the campaign to other senior leaders," the Congress general secretary said, adding those were anxious moments wherein he stood with folded hands, praying for divine intervention.
Finally, a physiotherapist suggested by Rahul Gandhi joined his medical team and treated him. "With God's grace, his pain was cured," Mr Venugopal told the gathering at the function also attended by senior party leaders including A K Antony.
The yatra led by Rahul Gandhi had entered Kerala on September 10, and it traversed through the state for 19 days.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra had ended on January 30 in an opposition show of strength, with leaders of several parties joining Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as he capped his ambitious 145-day journey that covered some 4,000 kilometres from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.