Rahul’s tapasya – A new padayatra
By G Krishna Mohan Rao*
Raipur: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is on a padayatra spree. After Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, he is now considering beginning another padayatra of the ‘Congress Tapasya’ from Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh to Porbandar in Gujarat. Sharing this information with the media, the Congress Party general secretary and in-charge of communications, Jairam Ramesh said that there was a lot of enthusiasm and energy among the party workers for another Yatra. The proposed Yatra, from East to West, would be a shorter duration than the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which was about 4,000 km from South to North.
While addressing the plenary session of the All India Committee here, Rahul said that the party should formulate a new plan to carry forward the tapaysa undertaken through the Bharat Jodo Yatra and that he along with the entire country will participate in it, indicating another such initiative. The 135-day-long Bharat Jodo Yatra began on September 7, 2022, and ended in Srinagar on January 30, 2023, passing through 14 states. Many AICC office bearers felt that the new padayatra culminating at Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace of Porbandar would send the right signals to millions of people.
Stressing that the new proposed padayatra would be a shorter one and the details and logistics would be worked out in the next few weeks, Jairam said that its format could be a bit different from Bharat Jodo Yatra which was from south to north and this being from east to west passing through several Hindi heartland states. It may not have such an elaborate infrastructure that was mobilised for the Bharat Jodo and may have fewer yatris. Jairam said that the new Yatra would largely be a padayatra but there are jungles and rivers on this route.
It is learnt, that the new Yatra, which is yet to be named, would be a multi-model Yatra, but mostly it would be a padayatra. With elections in Karnataka in April 2023, rains from June and again state polls in November 2023, the Yatra may have to be undertaken before June or before November 2023, Jairam said.
The Raipur plenary unanimously echoed that Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Yatra was a real turning point. Many Congressmen felt that it not only revitalised the Congress party but also rebranded Rahul Gandhi. The Yatra also made a perceptible difference in Rahul’s personal popularity.
Seniors recalled that during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul completely refrained from indulging in electoral politics and he even avoided the polls in Gujarat. The Yatra, which went through 14 states, smashed the notions of invincibility of the Rashtriya Swayansevaj Sangh (RSS) and the Sangh Parivar. It was also recalled that the Yatra had focused on real issues like national unity, democratic spirit and critical livelihood concerns and Rahul Gandhi also tried to offer hope and voice to the weaker sections.
Party men feel that the new Yatra is expected to be more aggressive with Rahul Gandhi articulating new issues before the nation and at cost, the Congress must focus on not losing the momentum, gained through Bharat Jodo Yatra.