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Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul Gandhi All Set To Launch 3,570 km-long March From Kanyakumari; Can It Revive Congress?

Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul Gandhi All Set To Launch 3,570 km-long March From Kanyakumari; Can It Revive Congress?

Bharat Jodo Yatra is a 3,570-km march from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, covering 12 states and two Union Territories in about five months. Though it will be formally launched at the rally, it will actually begin at 7 am on Thursday when Rahul and several other Congress leaders will embark on the march.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi PTI

The Congress party is all set to launch its 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' today which the party calls a "transformational moment" for Indian politics and a "decisive moment" for the party's revival. 

It is a 3,570-km march from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, covering 12 states and two Union Territories in about five months. Though it will be formally launched at the rally, it will actually begin at 7 am on Thursday when Rahul and several other Congress leaders will embark on the march.

How is the day scheduled?

Party scion Rahul Gandhi will launch the Yatra on Wednesday with a mega-rally at Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari. The party seeks to flag problems of economic disparities, social polarisation and political centralisation with the 3,570-km Yatra. It's also attempting to make gains in what it often describes as the battle of ideologies.

Before the launch of the march, Rahul took part in a prayer meeting at ex-prime minister and his father Rajiv Gandhi's memorial in Sriperumbudur on Wednesday. After that, he will attend an event in Kanyakumari where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Rajasthan's Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh's Bhupesh Baghel will be present. Rahul will be presented with a national flag made of khadi.

After the event at the Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam where Stalin will be present, Rahul along with other Congress leaders will walk to the seaside venue of the public rally where the Yatra will be formally launched. 

Before the launch of the yatra, Rahul will also visit the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue and Kamaraj Memorial in Kanyakumari.

Inauguration preparations in Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari on Tuesday was buzzing with activity on Tuesday as Congress workers geared up for the launch of the "Bharat Jodo Yatra ", which the party is touting as its biggest mass contact programme since Independence and a "turning point" in India's political history.

Posters with "welcome Rahul Gandhi" and "Bharat Jodo Yatra" written in Tamil adorned the walls of the city on India's southern tip. Flags and flyers have been put up leading up to the "Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam"

What are the leaders saying?

Congress General Secretary In-Charge of Communications Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said the Yatra is a "transformational moment for Indian politics and it is a decisive moment for the rejuvenation of the Congress party".

In a video message, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra urged people to join the Bharat Jodo Yatra wherever possible. She asserted that the Yatra was needed as "negative politics was being practised in the country and real issues of the people were not being discussed", adding that the Yatra aims to put the focus on issues of the people such as price rise and unemployment.Ahead of the Yatra, Rahul has said with all paths “blocked” by the government, the Congress now has to go to the people and tell them the truth, and that is why the party is undertaking the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra'.

"The government has blocked all paths for us. The medium of Parliament is not there. Congress leaders, the opposition, and people cannot make speeches in Parliament. Our mic is put off. We want to talk about China's attack but can't do it. We want to talk about unemployment, but we can't do that. Want to talk about inflation, can't do that," Gandhi had said at the party's 'Mehngai Par Halla Bol Rally' on Sunday.

"Our institutions, whether it is the media, Election Commission, judiciary, there is an attack on them, there is pressure on them. So, all the roads are closed for us. There is only one way left, to go to the people, the truth of the country has to be told to the people, that is why the party is undertaking the Bharat Jodo Yatra," he had said.

Ramesh has said there is a need for the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra ' because "the country is being divided".

"The first reason for the division is economic disparity, the second is social polarisation and the third is political centralisation as states' rights are being snatched away. So, it is important to unite the country. If not now, then when," he had said.

All about the yatra: Route map and participants

The footmarch will move in two batches – one from 7 am to 10:30 am and the other from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. While the morning session will include fewer participants, the evening session will see mass mobilisation. On average, the participants plan to walk around 22 to 23 km daily.

The Congress has asserted that its Yatra from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is not a 'Mann Ki Baat' in any manner, but its objective is to ensure that the concerns and demands of the people reach Delhi.

It has classified 119 leaders, including Rahul, as 'Bharat Yatris' who will walk the entire route from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. About 30 per cent of the ‘Bharat Yatris’ are women. The average age of the participants is 38.

About 50,000 non-party citizens have also registered till now to participate in the Yatra.

To coincide with the launch of the Yatra on Wednesday, 'Prarthana Sabhas’ will be held by all state units of the Congress at 5 pm, a senior leader said. At 7 am on Thursday, 10 km foot marches will be held at the block level to mark the start of the main Yatra. 

The 'padayatra' will reach Kerala on September 11 and will traverse through the state for the next 18 days, reaching Karnataka on September 30. It will remain in Karnataka for 21 days before moving to other states northwards.

The yatra will start from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and then move northwards passing through Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Nilambur, Mysuru, Bellary, Raichur, Vikarabad, Nanded, Jalgaon, Indore, Kota, Dausa, Alwar, Bulandshahr, Delhi, Ambala, Pathankot, Jammu, and culminate in Srinagar.

The classification of those participating in the yatra is -- 'Bharat Yatris', 'Atithi Yatris', 'Pradesh Yatris' and 'Volunteer Yatris'. The tagline of the yatra is 'Mile Kadam, Jude Watan'. 

(With PTI Inputs)

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