The Bharat Jodo Yatra a novel attempt by the grand old party of the country to revive its charisma in the political fields. The longest foot march ever began from the southernmost point of India- the Kanyakumari nearly four months ago and will compete at the last state of India. With over 3,200 kms of the Yatra covered in the first leg of the march, the Karyakartas are all set to enter India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh on 3rd December. The Bharat Jodo Yatra in itself is an improvisation of knowledge to dis advantage the Opposition.
So far, the Bharat Jodo Yatra has covered parts of Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and now will exit the national capital on Tuesday. In over 100 days, the foot march has been through 44 Districts, and 9 states and it still must cover 548 kms.
Criticism of the Modi government, the issues of social polarisation, inflation, and unemployment have captured popular imagination once again after the 2019 General Election have foregrounded the Congress against the opposition yet again.
It was in October; the BJP has placed demeaning advertisements in Kannada newspapers about Rahul Gandhi and his foot march. However, this was not a new move by the centre to stripping Rahul Gandhi of trustworthiness. Several instances during, they, ranging from his Rs 41,000 Burberry shirt, AC compartment, tying mother Sonia Gandhi’s shoe lace and donning that ever-growing beard- have worked as a fodder for the opposition’ rudimentary efforts to disdain the party. A significant shift seems to have happened in people’s perception of Rahul Gandhi, making mere mockery and gossip ineffective. Public opinion seems to have changed, and the BJP seems to be losing grip over the narrative. The united India march also endured the brunt of the media industry while it passed through Karnataka. MRT Studios had filed a complaint against Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh and Supriya Shrinate over KGF2 movie song case. Social media accounts of Congress party were frozen for a while and re-activated following the deletion of the audio from its social media platforms.
Sceptics have been doubtful about the electoral impact since the beginning of the unprecedented mass outreach program. Yet the former party President remains undaunted. The march that has covered majority of the states and UTs has not only been able to energise party leaders and cadres but folks from all walks of life have shared the road with Rahul Gandhi. Sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Madhya Pradesh’s Computer Baba, Swara Bhaskar, Kamal Hassan and Aaditya Thackeray walked alongside Rahul Gandhi. The Congress expects the program- the single most important initiative to save India from the divisive Hindutva ideology would provoke people to re-think on their electoral decisions. People opposing Hindu Rahstra, civic groups and secular political organizations aspiring peace and harmony in the country have voluntarily participated in this initiative shedding all their apprehensions and doubts about the grand old party.
Described as a war between two ideologies, the Yatras’ potential to counter the party’s own historical baggage laced with anti-democratic credentials remain unchanged. The Yatra has received immense support over the last few months. Waking up at 4 am every morning to spearhead the Yatra in the benefit of the society, walking hand in hand with fellow walkers and writing personal invitations have drawn the people’s appreciations towards the leader’ dream of liberal India. The Yatra indeed has come as an elixir for the party.
More importantly, the Yatra has been a boon for the party’s internal conflicts. It has surely come as a united camp, be it in Rajasthan where chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his rival Sachin Pilot have been at the loggerheads, or even D.K. Shivakumar and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah who appeared to bury their differences to walk together with Gandhi in the Yatra. The Kharge and Gandhi duo has also shown great synergy and managed to streamline the loop of leaders towards a common goal.
The current regime in the political arena is sustained by blatant and latent support in the society. The unity around Yatra’s message appears to be much more organic and ideological than previous experiments with opposition unity which was perceived more as cosmetic and opportunistic pre-electoral alliances. It remains to see whether the Congress would be the phoenix and keep up the momentum for the Lok Sabha polls 2024.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra will culminate its last leg of the unified march at Srinagar on January30th, the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The party resumes it walk after a nine-day break on Tuesday 3rd December in New Delhi. Huge turnout in Delhi, indicates a good play by the Samaritan. Following next is the ‘Haath Se Haath Jodo Abhiyan’ -a miniature version of the Bharat Jodo Yatra us dedicated to take the message march to the doorstep of every Indian.