Manipur: Hamro Party president to join Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra
As the Congress looks to regain popularity in the Darjeeling hills, is Ajoy Edwards' support suggesting a new entrant to the I.N.D.I.A. bloc?
Hamro Party chief Ajoy Edwards, who swept the Darjeeling local body polls in 2023, left for Imphal on Saturday, 13 January, to walk with Rahul Gandhi on his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, set to start on Sunday, 14 January.
The Nyay Yatra is expected to reach Mumbai by mid-March and aims to cover a distance of over 6,000 kilometres in all.
Edwards’ participation in the rally provides a broad outline of the new political alignment that is emerging in the hills. It would appear that the Indian National Congress is looking to follow a cooperative strategy as it is planning with allies in the INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) bloc elsewhere. Keeping the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency—which the Congress did once have a majority in—within the bloc would certainly be an aim.
“The yatra is being initiated by a political party, but it has invited all the people who need justice to join the march. We are walking for the Gorkhas who need justice,” Edwards told The Telegraph.
The Congress has been working to revive support in the North Bengal tea belt, a territory where Congress and INTUC, its trade union front, had a strong base for years.
According to party sources, Edwards had met Gandhi in December and there were indications that the Hamro Party was leaning towards cooperation with the Congress and might perhaps join the INDIA bloc.
Gandhi on his yatra will cross from Manipur to Assam, and four days later, enter Bengal from Baxirhat, which is on the Assam–Bengal interstate border.
On Republic Day, 26 January, the Nyay Yatra will be in Bengal, expected to be crossing through Cooch Behar, The Telegraph has reported, citing party sources.
The Congress has declared that it is taking out the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra because the government did not give it and other Opposition parties a chance to raise people's issues in Parliament.
The entire Bharat Jodo initiative has been aimed at re-establishing and upholding the principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity enshrined in the Constitution, on behalf of the citizens of India, making sure they are heard and called to engage right from the grassroots.
While the original Bharat Jodo Yatra focused on liberty, equality and fraternity, the Nyay Yatra—as declared in its name—will focus on justice.