Congress party is in its revival mode but BJP has successfully hijacked media and social media by negative narrative. In such a scenario it is difficult to say how much Rahul Gandhi will fetch it for the ailing party. Congress actually cleaned the carpet by removing Gandhi family members as party president. The allegation of nepotism and family control will take a back seat. Bharat Jodo Yatra, was kicked off by Rahul Gandhi from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, may be the last resort for the party’s revival ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election, but for the rival BJP it is a topic to mock the principal opposition party.
The Congress has put its heart, mind and soul in the 3,570-km Kanyakumari to Kashmir padyatra which comes about a month ahead of the crucial election for the post of party president on October 17. These two are the most significant events in the Congress calendar ahead of the next parliamentary election. While Yatra looks to be super successful as hundreds of people are joining the march with Rahul Gandhi. You can see a mesmerising female fan following Rahul during this yatra.
However, the BJP has sought to downplay the yatra which the Congress leaders claim is not political. Bharat Jodo Yatra was conceived by Sonia Gandhi at the party’s ‘Chintan Shivir’ held at Udaipur in Rajasthan in May. Congress organised this padyatra as one of the measures to revitalize the party. The Congress’s stocks have been falling in the last eight years. It has lost two Lok Sabha and majority of the assembly elections during this period proving that its mass support has radically gnarled. Besides, several of its leaders have quit the party, dealing a major blow to the strength and image of the party.
After continued defeat Congress leaders got demoralised. The yatra, therefore, may be the last ditch effort by the Congress to win back the support of the masses and galvanise the party workers by instilling a sense of hope and confidence. Padyatras have a significance of their own and this is transformational politics. This is what politics is about, not of abuse, vendetta and vilification.The Congress seems to be convinced that yatras do help political parties, be it by Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March, former prime minister Chandra Shekhar’s Kanyakumari to Rajghat padyatra, former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Yatra in 1990, BJP veteran leader LK Advani’s rath yatra over Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya or, more recently, Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s padyatra in 2017. Though the South to North main Bharat Jodo Yatra will pass through 12 states and two Union territories before culminating in
BJP’s opinion about Bharat Jodo Yatra may be a desperate effort for the Congress; it is a topic of ridicule for the BJP. The Congress states that the Bharat Jodo Yatra was not only aimed against the alleged divisive politics of the BJP, but to revive the entire party organisation from the block to the state-level in the country. AICC General Secretary in-charge of Communications Jairam Ramesh said the yatra is a “listening yatra” where concerns of the people from all walks of life would be heard by Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi as he walks 3,570 km from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu to Jammu and Kashmir.
Rahul Gandhi interacts with common people, living in vans, having food at party workers office and leading a very normal life during yatra. He is hell bent on giving people a sense of belonging. Gandhi would be interacting with the fishermen who are protesting against the Vizhinjam port project as well as leaders of the anti-K-Rail movement and other such agitations in the state.
Meanwhile, BJP is engaging in divisive politics and spreading fear and anger in the country. ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ led by party leader Rahul had unsettled the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which had resorted to unnecessary diversionary tactics. The padayatra has evidently worried the BJP and has prompted them to target T-shirts, containers, socks, shoes and hairstyles. Let them raise whatever question they want and play whatever mischief on the social media. Their only objective is to derail Congress. Congress is not in a mood to get bullied and diverted. While the `Bharat Jodo Yatras’ will pass through 12 States over 148 days, smaller rallies will be organised in the other ‘non-yatra’ States including Assam, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Congress is one of the world’s largest and oldest political parties of its kind; the Indian National Congress was formed on December 28, 1885, by British civil servant Allan Octavian Hume. In its initial days, the party was not formed to demand independence from British rule. It was rather set up to bring together a group of educated individuals on a common platform to influence policy making. Even after Independence, the Congress party has ruled over Indian politics. In the 15 general elections since independence, the Congress has won on six occasions and has led the ruling coalition another four times.
Seven Indian Prime Ministers have been elected from the party and six others had been former members. Jawaharlal Nehru, Gulzarilal Nanda, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P V Narsimha Rao and Manmohan Singh were active members of the party during their prime ministerial tenure. On the other hand, Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, V P Singh, Chandra Sekhar, H D Deve Gowda, I K Gujral had been members of the Congress before their appointment.