In order to revive the party and connect it with the masses, the Congress will launch its 3,570-km long Bharat Jodo Yatra on Wednesday (September 7) from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. The march will be the Congress’s biggest ever public contact programme.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra will be launched by party leader Rahul Gandhi after a prayer meeting at former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's memorial in Sriperumbudur.
The Congress on Tuesday said it is a "transformational moment" for Indian politics and a "decisive moment" for the party's rejuvenation, reported PTI.
The yatra: The 3,570-km long march from Kanyakumari to Srinagar will be covering 12 states and two Union territories in about five months or 150 days. It will be formally launched on Wednesday, but the march it will begin at 7am on Thursday (September 8). Rahul Gandhi and several other Congress leaders will take part in the march.
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, reported PTI. On average, the participants plan to walk around 22 to 23 km daily.
Who all will participate? Congress has released a list of 119 party leaders including Rahul Gandhi, who will walk the entire route from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. They will be called 'Bharat Yatris'.
Route of the march: 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 will finally finish in Srinagar.
The march that will start from Kanyakumari, will reach Kerala on September 11. Spending the next 18 days in Kerala, the participants in the march will reach Karnataka on September 30. It will remain in Karnataka for 21 days before moving to other states northwards till it reaches Srinagar, reported PTI.
Rahul Gandhi on why the march was needed: The former Congress President said that the government has blocked all paths for them and that Congress leaders, the Opposition cannot make speeches in Parliament.
"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," Gandhi had said.
Congress's rejuvenation: There is no doubt about the fact that for last few years, India's oldest party has lost the mass appeal it used to have. Not only can this march help the party connect with the masses, but also boost confidence in their party leaders and grassroots workers.
"The Bharat Jodo Yatra could also unite Congressmen and women across the country around our values and ideals as well as around service to the people, by raising issues that matter to the people and showing them that we are fighting for them," senior party leader Shashi Tharoor said in an interview with PTI.
Other small Bharat Jodo Yatras: Party's general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said that simultaneously with the main yatra, there will be separate small Bharat Jodo Yatras’ in states such as Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Odisha, Sikkim, West Bengal and Nagaland.
Anthem and live streaming: Congress released the anthem of the yatra on Monday at the AICC headquarters in Delhi. The yatra will also be live streamed on its official website https://www.bharatjodoyatra.in/.