Yatra proved that Congress has the cadre to compete with BJP
Bharat Jodo Yatra started on 7th September from Kanyakumari and ended in Srinagar, Kashmir on January 30 covering around 4000 kilometers in almost 137 days. It was a foot march that crossed through 12 states, 75 districts and 2 union territories of India. It was an open invitation to all the sectors of India whether poor, rich or from any background. The yatra has already received an overwhelming response. Lakhs of people accompanied by Congress leaders joined the movement to raise their voices against the economic, social and political issues “that are dividing the nation”.
According to Rahul Gandhi, it has given an alternative vision of politics to India. Reiterating his position that the Bharat Jodo Yatra had opened “a shop of love in the market of hate” (Nafrat Ke Bazaar Me Mohabbat Ki Dukaan), he talked about an alternative vision of politics. Mr. Gandhi talked about the restoration of statehood for J&K He said the tremendous response the yatra has received from people has unnerved the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is allegedly doing everything possible to harm Gandhi’s image and using diversionary tactics to mislead the public from the real issues they are facing today.
People are affected by poverty unemployment and other such issues. There have been a lot of positives from this yatra and negatives as well. Rahul Gandhi inaugurated a road in Rajasthan which was closed since 1993 as it was connected to a Dalit minority village. There was caste-based violence at that time in that region but when the road was inaugurated it was called Bharat Jodo road which connected Lingayat settlements to Dalit dwellings and a strong message was sent to the minorities of the country that they are not alone and that Congress is listening to them. Though it was a political move, it surely was a beneficial step to benefit and uplift the downtrodden minorities of India. Also, the tricolor hoisting in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir was a strong message to the people who had made it a political vote bank to hoist tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. Rahul Gandhi met all sectors of society and from all walks of life. He gave a strong message to BJP that people are won by love and not by hatred. Gandhi was seen tying the shoelaces of a girl aged about 10-11 years who walked alongside the Congress leader which clearly sends a message of peace and being down to earth
One thing has become clear: the yatra has proved that Congress has the cadre to compete with the BJP. The yatra was a success in BJP strongholds especially Uttar Pradesh. However, the biggest opportunity ‘would be to strengthen the party structure in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, which are big and where the Congress is no more a visible political force. Elsewhere, in states like Gujarat, the party structure needs to be strengthened.
There are negatives from this yatra as well for Congress which need to be read. I would like to mention some big negatives. Many prominent opposition parties chose to stay away. These included the Bharat Rashtra Samiti of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, which continue to explore a non-Congress, non-BJP third front. Congress is exposed to the people now if the party will not uplift itself now it can be none as they had tried their last trick by placing Rahul Gandhi on the national front.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra has also sent a strong message to the camp of the BJP that they should act politely and with ease to the people’s sufferings. It is all the love that is being accepted by people, not the hatred.