Bharat Jodo Yatra faces task of sustaining tempo after Kerala leg

Express News Service

KOCHI: As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra completed 15 days on the road, with hundreds of people walking 325km from Kanyakumari since September 7,  there is visible momentum on the ground for the Congress and it will attract more people and eyeballs at least for another three days when the yatra is in Kerala. But the big question is whether this yatra, which is termed ‘historic’ by the party leaders, will gather pace and momentum when it enters the BJP terrains of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as the padayatra progresses. Also, there have been questions on why the yatra, which is aimed to unify the people against the “communal and divisive forces”, is taking full 18 days in Kerala, where BJP has zero representation in the state assembly. “As far as we are concerned, CPM is the ‘B’ team of BJP, and Congress is the Opposition party in Kerala,” Jairam Ramesh, MP and party general secretary in charge of communication.

Rahul himself addressed the question of CPM’s criticism that the yatra is spending lesser time in Uttar Pradesh. “The reason is that the yatra is from one end of India to another end. So, we are not going to Bihar, we are not going to West Bengal and we are not going to Gujarat. There is a limit to the route that we can take,” he said. As far as countering BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul said Congress has a view on what needs to be done in the state.

Leaders pointed out that the 3,750km padayatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar is the longest undertaken by the Congress in the history of the country, and the party machinery in Karnataka is pretty strong to ensure that the momentum is maintained. The yatra will tour Karnataka for 21 days, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for 16 days each, and Rajasthan for 21 days, as per the schedule.

Former Karnataka minister and Congress leader K J George pointed out that Kerala is a small state “like a corporation” whereas it will be difficult to get such a large number of people throughout the route in Karnataka. “Karnataka is so vast and the yatra is touring rural areas of the state. We had recently conducted massive rallies and another flag march on August 15,” he said.

Ajay Kumar Lallu, former UP Congress president, who’s a full-time member of the yatra, expressed the confidence that the march will get a warm reception in the BJP-ruled state, where it is touring only for five days.

Rahul, responding to this query, said, “My expectation is that it will not matter which state we go to. The effect of the yatra will be the same in state after state regardless of who is running that state because there is an underlining problem now in India and the people of India, particularly the youth, are feeling tremendous pain.”

KOCHI: As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra completed 15 days on the road, with hundreds of people walking 325km from Kanyakumari since September 7,  there is visible momentum on the ground for the Congress and it will attract more people and eyeballs at least for another three days when the yatra is in Kerala. But the big question is whether this yatra, which is termed ‘historic’ by the party leaders, will gather pace and momentum when it enters the BJP terrains of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as the padayatra progresses. Also, there have been questions on why the yatra, which is aimed to unify the people against the “communal and divisive forces”, is taking full 18 days in Kerala, where BJP has zero representation in the state assembly. “As far as we are concerned, CPM is the ‘B’ team of BJP, and Congress is the Opposition party in Kerala,” Jairam Ramesh, MP and party general secretary in charge of communication.

Rahul himself addressed the question of CPM’s criticism that the yatra is spending lesser time in Uttar Pradesh. “The reason is that the yatra is from one end of India to another end. So, we are not going to Bihar, we are not going to West Bengal and we are not going to Gujarat. There is a limit to the route that we can take,” he said. As far as countering BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul said Congress has a view on what needs to be done in the state.

Leaders pointed out that the 3,750km padayatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar is the longest undertaken by the Congress in the history of the country, and the party machinery in Karnataka is pretty strong to ensure that the momentum is maintained. The yatra will tour Karnataka for 21 days, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh for 16 days each, and Rajasthan for 21 days, as per the schedule.

Former Karnataka minister and Congress leader K J George pointed out that Kerala is a small state “like a corporation” whereas it will be difficult to get such a large number of people throughout the route in Karnataka. “Karnataka is so vast and the yatra is touring rural areas of the state. We had recently conducted massive rallies and another flag march on August 15,” he said.

Ajay Kumar Lallu, former UP Congress president, who’s a full-time member of the yatra, expressed the confidence that the march will get a warm reception in the BJP-ruled state, where it is touring only for five days.

Rahul, responding to this query, said, “My expectation is that it will not matter which state we go to. The effect of the yatra will be the same in state after state regardless of who is running that state because there is an underlining problem now in India and the people of India, particularly the youth, are feeling tremendous pain.”