Bharat jodo yatra in which senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir for 148 days is going to be historic. He will be the first national leader to undertake such an arduous walkathon for so many days. Many NGOs are planning to join the yatra as a sign of solidarity to his fight against the BJP. It is said that the yatra will make or break the Congress party.
The 3500-km yatra will be flagged from Kanyakumari on September 7 with a huge rally. The Congress, which has been facing a tough time with senior leaders deserting it one by one, is expected to bounce back during the walkathon. The mass contact programme is expected to give dividends to the party in 2024 elections. The Congress has been losing its steam ever since it lost the 2014 elections followed by 2019 defeat. A number of senior leaders such as Kapil Sibbal, Ghulam Nabi Azad had left the party. Leaders of Shashi Tharoor and Ananda Sharma calibre are in two minds not knowing what to do in the absence of any overtures from the Gandhi family and the organisational elections fast approaching. As demanded by Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tiwari and Karti Chidambaram, the Congress will release a list of voters in the party presidential elections. All the contestants will be given a list but it will not be uploaded in the official website.
The Congress leaders say the yatra is not political and it is planned to restore peace in the country and to prevent polarisation on religious lines. During the foot march Rahul will listen more and talk less. “It is peace yatra to get back our diverse India without the hatred when the ruling dispensation divides and subverts democracy in State after State” Congress spokesperson Dr. Shama Mohamed told NDTV.
Sonia Gandhi’s mother passed away in the weekend. Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka had attended the funeral in Italy as they are already abroad.
Digivijay Singh, a senior Congress leader, said on Thursday that the march will start on September 8. The participants will walk for six to seven hours every day and hold mass contact programmes with people across the country. Marches will be organised from 7 am to 10 am in each assembly constituency across the country to coincide with Bharat Jodo Yatra. MK Stalin, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and chief of the DMK, which is in partnership with the Congress.
Critics of Rahul Gandhi have been questioning his yatra. It is better for Rahul to first Congress Jodo instead of thinking of Bharat Jodo, they say. When the Congress is sinking, Rahul refuses to take up the mantle and goes on yatra leaving the others to fight for the post of president of the party. The party has been without a regular president for three and half years. It is unheard of in the annuls of world politics that a national party as big as the Congress will be allowed to be managed on ad hoc basis. Instead of Rahul meeting the Congress leaders and workers, what is the point in meeting ordinary citizens, question the critics.