The Bharat Jodo Yatra, launched on September 7 at Kanniyakumari, completed 30 days on Friday, having covered a distance of over 700 km across Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.
Former party chief Rahul Gandhi, who has been at the yatra centre stage, is expected to address a press conference on Saturday to share his experiences so far.
Starting the Karnataka leg of the padayatra by walking alongside a young girl dressed as Bharat Mata (Mother India) at Mandya district, Mr. Gandhi was joined by the late Gauri Lankesh’s mother, Indira, and sister in the evening.
“Gauri stood for Truth. Gauri stood for Courage. Gauri stood for Freedom. I stand for Gauri Lankesh and countless others like her, who represent the true spirit of India. Bharat Jodo Yatra is their voice. It can never be silenced,” Mr. Gandhi tweeted while sharing the picture of him walking with Ms. Indira, holding her hand.
In the next 120 days, the Congress is not only hoping that the padayatra would become a path to its political revival revival by raising issues like inflation, unemployment and communal polraisation through ‘divisive’ politics but also repackage Mr. Gandhi as a people’s politician.
“It’s a transformation of the Congress party and it shows the real Rahul Gandhi coming out. I would not say it is the new Rahul Gandhi but the real Rahul Gandhi that is being seen,” Congress communication chief Jairam Ramesh told PTI, adding that Mr. Gandhi’s interactions with civil society, party workers and his super fitness are what comprises the “real Mr. Rahul Gandhi”.
The Congress has carefully showcased the compassionate side of Mr. Gandhi by sharing images of him tying the shoe laces of his mother and party chief Sonia Gandhi, delivering a speech in Mysuru despite a heavy downpour and enthusiastic interactions with youngsters in the past 30 days.
Apart from the image make-over, the party has also aimed to bring together different factions in States like poll-bound Kerala.
“We are on the roads, on the streets, we are fighting the BJP. We are taking the battle to their camp. We are raising issues. We are not reacting. Now, the BJP is reacting to us and that I think is the greatest contribution of the yatra. It’s psychological rather than electoral,” Mr. Ramesh added.
(With PTI inputs)