The Congress on Saturday said that party leader Rahul Gandhi is unlikely to attend the Winter Session of Parliament due to the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra, PTI reported.

Unidentified officials told the news agency that the session may be held from December 7 to 29. A final decision on the dates has to be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.

The Congress’ general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday that it was unlikely that he and three other MPs – Rahul Gandhi, KC Venugopal, Digvijaya Singh – would attend the Winter Session.

Ramesh said that the party would inform the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha about the absence of the four parliamentarians.

The 3,570-km Bharat Jodo Yatra began in Kanyakumari on September 7, and is currently in Maharashtra. It will end in Jammu and Kashmir. The Congress has claimed that the march is aimed at countering the politics of division espoused by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

On November 10, Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule joined the march, while Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray took part in the yatra on November 11.

Ramesh on Saturday said that the fact that leaders from the NCP and Shiv Sena joined the march showed that the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition in Maharashtra was intact, according to PTI

The Rajya Sabha MP said that the yatra is likely to enter Madhya Pradesh on November 22.

Meanwhile, in response to a question on the party’s stand on reservation for economically weaker sections, Ramesh said that the Congress supports the quota, India Today reported.

“Congress party has taken a consistent position on this issue since 2014,” he said. “Congress supports reservations in education and employment for economically weaker sections in all communities without disturbing the existing reservations for SC/ST/OBCs.”

On Monday, a majority ruling of the Supreme Court upheld the Centre’s decision to grant reservation to the Economically Weaker Sections.

In 2019, the Centre had introduced the quota for those who cannot avail of the reservations granted to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, but have an annual family income of less than Rs 8 lakh.

Persons from families that own more than five acres of agricultural land or 1,000 square feet of residential land are not eligible for the quota.