Buoyed by Bharat Jodo, Congress mulls yatra from west to east

The party is happy about the response to Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra so far

Updated - November 21, 2022 02:28 pm IST

Published - November 20, 2022 10:27 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party workers and supporters during the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, in Buldhana district on November 19, 2022.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party workers and supporters during the party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, in Buldhana district on November 19, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Encouraged by the response of the Bharat Jodo Yatra so far, the Congress is exploring the idea of a similar yatra from west to east next year.

Though the plans are still at a discussion stage, if the yatra takes place, it will be on hybrid mode where the yatra will be on foot as well as using vehicles to cover difficult geographical terrain.

“I can’t give you a guarantee but since this yatra is from south to north, there could be one from western India to eastern India. There is a possibility,” Congress communication chief Jairam Ramesh told reporters in Maharashtra last Friday.

“The kind of response and support we have got from the people and the way it has changed the perception about the Congress, I think we have to continue the yatra. It [yatra] is a way for the party organisation to connect with the people,” he added.

Mr. Ramesh quoted former party chief Rahul Gandhi as saying how the Opposition is not given its space in Parliament to raise issues such as inflation, unemployment or the border face-off with China.

“The Prime Minister hardly comes to Parliament, Bills are passed without much scrutiny. So, what’s the way to raise people’s issues. He [Mr. Gandhi] said the yatra is one such mechanism,” the Congress communication general secretary said.

Along with the main Bharat Jodo Yatra, the party also started yatras in States that are not covered by the main yatra route.

State-specific yatras

Right now, three State-specific yatras are on in Assam, Odisha and Tripura and on December 28, the party’s foundation day, West Bengal and Bihar will also launch their own versions.

Many in the Congress argue that such yatras not only give the party an opportunity to revitalise its organisational structure down to the grassroots but it also allows the party to break the “stereotypes” set by the BJP as well as the narrative set by a section of the mainstream media.

Last month, on the day of Mallikarjun Kharge’s taking over as Congress President, general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal had said, “They [the BJP] have only one agenda and that is to demolish Rahul Gandhi. I am very happy to say that through this journey, people of India are themselves realising the real face of Shri Rahul Gandhi”.

“The people of India are now demolishing the ‘lie machine’ of our opponents. That is what we are witnessing through this yatra,” Mr. Venugopal added.

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