AA Edit | Rahul yatra finally gets attention

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

How politicised all events become in a deeply polarised nation

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Bongaigaon district, Assam, on Wednesday. (Image: PTI)

Like the sequel of a hit movie struggling to match its success, Congress scion Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra was progressing without capturing much public attention when it had life breathed into it during its tortuous passage through Assam.

Embroiling the event in controversy by barring its passage into the capital Guwahati, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswas Sarma may have bestowed it with a dose of national notice. The avowed grounds on which it was restricted was even more risible, purportedly because the yatra would affect the smooth passage of city traffic.

In getting an FIR registered against Rahul for inciting the public, the government was only adding fuel to the fire. The Congress MP, now engaged in running his second yatra from east to west, could be faulted for keying up his crowd of supporters into breaking the barriers that the police had put up.

His yatra, regardless of its political bent in its message as a vote gatherer more than a public awakener, had a right, within reasonable bounds of rules and regulations, to have a passage through populated centres to draw attention to its focus.

How politicised all events become in a deeply polarised nation is reflected in the pinpricks or plaudits they receive during their conduct depending on which alliance the ruling party of the state belongs to. But given the generally smooth way in which the Bharat Jodo Yatra ran last year from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, the Assam imbroglio was seen to have been brought about by a needless intervention.

The history between Mr Rahul Gandhi and Mr Sarma, once a bulwark of the Congress, may have been instrumental in the way this yatra met with official resistance in Assam. Considering there is no knowing what great effect roadshows will have on which way the voter will finally make his choice in the polling booth, it does appear that way too much is made of these things by both sides. But that is the story of Indian politics.

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