Bharat Jodo Yatra was planned as a large-scale moment for Rahul Gandhi and Congress party to connect with people and understand their problems with ground level. The motto of the campaign was to make people feel connected with the Congress party and believe in its political agendas. Congress party reasoned the motive behind the Yatra to be the protest of 'divisive politics' in India being performed by BJP. Congress stands against this by connecting the whole India altogether. People have an image of Rahul Gandhi as a leader who is unaware of ground realities and situations. Congress wanted to refurbish its political stature in Indian politics.
The trip was led by Rahul Gandhi with fellow Congress leaders in his support. This journey began from Kanyakumari which is the southern part of India to the newly formed UT Jammu and Kashmir which lies in the northern part of the country. This whole 150 days' journey measured 4080 km or 2540 miles.
On 7th September, 2022, Rahul Gandhi with M.K. Stalin, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and other fellow Congress party leaders launched the campaign of Bharat Jodo Yatra. They all pledged to connect India with this journey. 12 states and 2 UTs lay in the path of the Yatra. Rahul Gandhi met and talked to people and continued walking miles. He used to take shelter at night. He carried his makeshift shelter with him which was especially built by the Tata group.
Starting from Tamil Nadu to Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh to Jammu and Kashmir, Rahul Gandhi walked through all the states. It ended on 30th January, 2023.
Preparation for Yatra
A lot of special slogans and placards were designed to invigorate people during the journey. 'Mile Kadam, Jude Vatan' was one of the most popular slogans of the campaign. And also the 'Mehangai se Nata Todo, Mil kar Bharat Jodo' became quite popular during the journey. Slogans like 'Berozgari ka Jaal todo, Bharat Jodo' was one amongst trending slogans in social media also. People who were walking with Rahul Gandhi were honored with the title 'padyatri'.
Rahul Gandhi also did interviews and rallies during this yatra.
Congress president Mallikarjun Khadge called this journey 'extraordinary' and also urged the chiefs of 21 political parties to come together in this journey for the unity of India.
On reaching Jammu and Kashmir as the last milestone of this Yaatra, Rahul Gandhi spoke at Sher-i-Kashmir stadium and conveyed his sentiments to people. He said that the Congress party is well aware of the emotions of Kashmiri people. He himself had lost his family members due to violence, so he can feel empathy with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The main focus was here that Rahul Gandhi announced to restore the status of 'state' to Jammu and Kashmir.
Highlights of the Bharat Jodo Yatra
As per the reports, people have felt connected with this yatra when it passed through their states. A huge gathering was seen at places in support of Rahul Gandhi and Congress party. Many BJP opposing parties also joined the yatra from time to time.
Some might call it a 'political stunt' and a rally to showcase Rahul Gandhi as a serious and progressive leader rather than a novice politician. As per some political experts, the working mechanism of the Congress party is still a problem. Congress should think about giving chances to newcomers to change its image of 'political party of just Gandhi family'.
Some supporters of the rally believe that this yatra has given a positive impact on minds if people and upcoming elections in big states like Karnataka in 2023 will reflect the result of this hard work. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh are some major states going for election in 2024. Also, 2024 is the election year for the central government. With this large-scale rally, Congress party has given clear indications that Rahul Gandhi will be heading the party in 2024 elections with Priyanka Gandhi's support from the backseat.