‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is about tuning in to the voice of the people: Congress
The Yatra is not a top-down sermon like ‘Mann Ki Baat’, the Congress said. Its objective is to ensure that the concerns and demands of the people reach Delhi
A combative Congress on Monday said its ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, which gets under way on September 7, will be nothing like Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’. It won’t be a sermon to the people, but actually work in the reverse—it will convey the voice of the people to the powers that be in Delhi.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road, New Delhi, Jairam Ramesh, party general secretary in charge of communications, said the Bharat Jodo Yatra was a mass-connect programme at a scale never attempted in independent India. The anthem of the Yatra (‘Ek tera kadam, ek mera kadam, mil jaye, jud jaye apna watan’), he said, also held within its melodic folds the objective of the Yatra. When it’s flagged off on Wednesday, September 7, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will be joined by over a hundred ‘Bharat Yatris’ on this 3,570 km odyssey through the country.
"Bharat Jodo Yatra, in no way in any form, is a Mann Ki Baat. It is about the concern for people. Its objective is to ensure that the concerns and demands expressed by the people reach Delhi," he said in a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's monthly radio broadcast.
"It (Yatra) is not about long speeches, preaching, dramatics, teleprompter, we are going to listen," he said, adding that the Bharat Yatris, including Rahul Gandhi, who will walk the entire distance of the Yatra, are embarking on the journey with that objective.
Ramesh said there is a need for "Bharat Jodo" because the country is being divided.
"The first reason for the division is economic disparities, the second being social polarisation and the third political centralisation as states' rights are being snatched away. So it is important to unite the country now. If not now, then when," he said.
Ramesh also informed that Rahul Gandhi is not leading the Yatra, but walking along others to highlight the issues of the people.
Ramesh said the Yatra will also be live streamed on its official website.
Before the launch of the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' on September 7, Rahul Gandhi will take part in a prayer meeting at former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's memorial in Sriperumbudur and attend an event in Kanyakumari where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel will be present and the former Congress chief will be handed over a Khadi national flag, Ramesh said.
On September 8, the padyatra (foot march) will start from Vivekananda Institute at 7 a.m. and will continue for three hours. It will resume at 3.30 p.m. the same day and continue till 6.30 p.m. Everyday, the yatra will cover 21 km.
The yatra will reach Kerala on September 11 and will continue there for 18 days before reaching Karnataka on September 30. The yatra will continue in Karnataka for 21 days..
After the event at the Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam where Stalin will be present, Rahul Gandhi, along with other Congress leaders, will walk to the venue of the public rally where the yatra will be launched.
Though the 3,570-km yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar will be formally launched at the rally, it will actually begin at 7 am on September 8 when Rahul Gandhi and several other Congress leaders will embark on the journey.
Before the launch of the yatra, Rahul Gandhi will also visit Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue and Kamaraj Memorial in Kanyakumari.
The 'padayatra' will move in two batches, one from 7-10:30 am and the other from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. While the morning session will include a lesser number of participants, the evening session will see mass mobilisation. On an average, the padyatris will walk around 22-23 km daily, Ramesh said.
He said simultaneously with the main Yatra, there will be separate small Bharat Jodo Yatras' in states such as Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Odisha, Sikkim, West Bengal and Nagaland.
Some of the main taglines of the yatra are:
'Mile Kadam, Jude Watan'
'Nafrat Chhodo Bharat Jodo'
'Berozgari Ka Jaal Todo, Bharat Jodo'
'Sanvidhan Bachayaenge, Mil Kar Bharat Jodenge'
'Mehngayi se Nata Todo, Mil Kar Bharat Jodo'.