Walking With Purpose
It has been more than a year since the Indian National Congress launched Bharat Jodo Yatra (Unite India March), the mass movement orchestrated by its leader Rahul Gandhi. The march, which started from Kanyakumari at the southern tip of India and concluded in Jammu and Kashmir in the extreme north, after covering more than 4000 km and passing through several states in about 150 days, was a success on several counts, particularly in terms of garnering visibility and bonding the common people. About a year later, the grand old party has launched the movement’s second leg — Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra (India Unity and Justice March) – this time from East (Manipur) to West (Maharashtra). The march, which kicked off from violence-hit Manipur on January 14, is set to cover 6,713 km and 110 districts in 15 states, including Nagaland, in a span of just 66 days. The idea of embarking on a journey from one end of the country to the other is intriguing, besides the prospect of covering lot of grounds and interacting with people at the grassroots, but it is certainly not an easy mission. This is evident from the inconveniences faced by the Rahul-led delegation right from the start, after the government of Manipur imposed certain restrictions at the proposed venue for the yatra — Hapta Kangjeibung Palace ground in Imphal — citing the current law and order situation in the state. Considering the resources pumped into organising such a mission and the hurdles that come with it, the Congress leader’s resolve is commendable irrespective of the outcome of the march.
The Congress has termed the ongoing yatra as an ideological battle to highlight social, economic and political injustice under the incumbent BJP-led NDA government, rather than an electoral one, but it is obvious that the task has been undertaken with an eye on the crucial Lok Sabha elections which is just a few months away. Interestingly, its prequel was launched months ahead of assembly elections in several states, dubbed as the semi-finals to the 2024 general elections. However, the party failed miserably in the north-eastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland assembly polls, while it managed to overthrow the BJP government in Karnataka, which many attributed the win to Rahul’s yatra. Its performance in the recent elections is also forgettable, winning only one out of the five states that went to polls. But Rahul is undeterred by the repeated defeats in the electoral battle. Regardless of whether he succeeds in turning the tables for the Congress and the INDIA bloc in the Lok Sabha elections, his effort is laudable. The ongoing yatra will surely boost the morale of the party workers ahead of the crucial general elections.