Sonia Gandhi today joined her son Rahul Gandhi's 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' in Karnataka, participating in a public event after a long gap compelled by health worries.
Joining Rahul Gandhi's march in Mandya, the Congress president walked a short distance, surrounded by a large crowd of slogan-shouting party workers, before getting into a car. She returned to the march later.
She is expected to address a rally in Ballary to galvanise the party in the BJP-ruled state that will vote in a few months for a new government. She had earlier visited a temple in Begur village and offered prayers on Wednesday.
The Congress tweeted a photo of Rahul Gandhi tying his mother's shoelaces during the walk, captioning it "Ma (mother)".
मां ❤️ pic.twitter.com/0UgqF9hfw6— Congress (@INCIndia) October 6, 2022
The Congress's nationwide campaign, which began in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari on September 7, entered Karnataka on September 30.
Sonia Gandhi arrived in Mysuru on Monday afternoon. This is her first public outing after a Covid infection earlier this year. She had last participated in a roadshow in Varanasi in 2016.
Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar said it was a matter of pride for the party that Sonia Gandhi joined the march.
"After Vijayadashami, there will be Vijaya (victory) in Karnataka. We are proud that Sonia Gandhi has come to walk on the streets of Karnataka. We are coming to power in the state, and BJP is on its way to shutting its shop," Mr Shivakumar said, targeting the ruling party over allegations of corruption and bribery.
Rahul Gandhi plans to walk 3,570 km through 12 states in his campaign to "unite India" and send a message against what he calls the "divisive politics" of the BJP. The campaign, for which Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders have been sleeping in containers, aims at rallying party workers after multiple defeats.
The Gandhis' march for unity comes at a time the Congress is struggling with fissures and prepping for a landmark internal election that will deliver a non-Gandhi party president after 25 years.
The Gandhis have pledged to keep out of the election and have denied endorsing either Shashi Tharoor or Mallikarjun Kharge. Mr Kharge, who is close to the Gandhis, is widely tipped to be the next Congress president though the party insists that there is no "official" candidate.