‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ evokes massive response in Karnataka, reminds people of Dandi March

What has inspired the people to participate in the rally is Rahul Gandhi’s thrust on adhering to the principles of probity in public life

‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ evokes massive response in Karnataka, reminds people of Dandi March

Arun Srivastava

Even as the disinformation unit of the BJP has been trying its best to create an impression, ably assisted by the mainstream media –especially the TV news channels – that the Bharat Jodo Yatra had lost velocity and thrust, the fact is that there is massive public response to it. The people of Karnataka, which goes to the polls in 2023, through which the yatra is now passing, too have shown great enthusiasm for it.

Indeed, it would not be hyperbole to say that the yatra which was like a storm in Kerala has attained the character of a hurricane in Karnataka. Even the close aides of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and senior state Congress leaders, who all worked hard to ensure a good participation in the yatra, are amazed at the response it is eliciting.

One development that ought to be paid serious attention is the attempt of Rahul Gandhi to change the contour of the politics. In the ‘Azadi Ka Amrita Mahotsva’ year in the ‘New India’ of Narendra Modi, it is interesting to underline that the polity of the country is witnessing emergence of a new type of moral politics which emphasises on upholding moral values and adhering to the moral ethics in politics.

This is quite apparent from the politics being propounded by Rahul through the yatra. This is different than the real politics being pursued by Narendra Modi’s BJP and other political parties. His political concept has virtually posed a serious threat to the existing political intrigues.

In fact, what has inspired the people to participate in the rally is his thrust on morality and ethics and adhering to the principles of probity in public life. Notwithstanding the launch of an insinuation campaign to try and discredit him, the BJP’s leadership has completely failed to achieve any degree of success in that.

While walking in Karnataka in the last four days, his thrust was on corruption acquiring the character of an institution and the Sangh Parivar, especially the Bajrang Dal, Ram Sena and the VHP, dividing the people of the state on communal lines.

For quite some time the people of Karnataka have been feeling frustrated and dejected of the politics of hatred and communal polarisation being practiced by the RSS and BJP leaders. Since the common people are scared of opposing them for fear of retaliation, the rally has provided them with a precious opportunity to ventilate their aggrieved feelings.

The people lament that Karnataka is the land of the great Guru Basavanna, who taught building an inclusive society, but the right-wing leaders have been practicing divisive politics and shattering the social harmony and brotherhood. A Congress leader said the preachings of the Guru were the guiding light of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.

Ironically, the state has witnessed the worst type of communal strife. The RSS and its organisations have split the Kannadiga society vertically. The local people nurse the view that the controversy around the hijab has been a prime example of that. They also point out that the Muslims of the state have traditionally been an integral part of the society but they now feel isolated and persecuted.

Practicing the politics of morality is really an arduous exercise. Before grabbing power in Delhi under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the BJP projected itself as a party with a difference having strong roots in moral values, but this soon turned out to be nothing but propaganda. Modi became the Maharaja of the empire of ‘New India’. The BJP soon hit the nadir of moral degradation.

It is sad that the BJP has failed to stand on the high pedestal of morality. The RSS is clearly just concerned with acquiring power at any cost. There is no denying that they helped Modi to create a ‘New India’ in which corruption, hatred and violence thrive.

It is not that the Kannadigas are naïve not to understand the implication of the transformation of the BJP and its divorce with the politics of morality. Their frustration with the prevailing political situation in the state is getting manifested in their massive participation in the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. Some experts feel that the yatra did not receive this kind of welcome even in Kerala.

The people in Karnataka appreciated Rahul Gandhi’s remarks while paying tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary that it is convenient for those in power to appropriate the legacy of the Father of the Nation, but difficult to walk in his footsteps. Already, people, especially of the rural Karnataka have been talking of his untired walkathon. He has been walking continuously for last 27 days.

People also applaud his thought, "Just as Gandhiji fought the British Raj, we ... (have) embarked on a battle with the very ideology that killed Gandhi. This ideology has delivered inequality, divisiveness and the erosion of our hard-won freedoms in the past eight years. Against this politics of himsa (violence) and 'asatya' (lies), the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ will spread the message of Ahimsa and 'swaraj' from Kanyakumari to Kashmir".

The 21-day yatra in Karnataka will touch Chamarajanagar, Mysuru, Mandya, Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Ballari and Raichur districts. From Raichur, the march will enter Telangana. Before exiting the state, a massive public rally has been planned in Ballari on October 19.

According to Congress leaders, 15,000 to 20,000 supporters are marching with Rahul Gandhi daily. What has been interesting to note is that the people of the state have been recalling the Mahatma’s march who at 60 had walked from Sabarmati to Dandi, 385 kilometres or so, to register his protest against the salt tax. In 1946, an even older Gandhi walked through riot-torn Noakhali, barefoot, for harmony.

(IPA Service)

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