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  Opinion   Edit  30 Dec 2023  AA Edit | Can Rahul’s Nyay Yatra arrest the Modi surge?

AA Edit | Can Rahul’s Nyay Yatra arrest the Modi surge?

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Dec 30, 2023, 2:05 am IST
Updated : Dec 30, 2023, 2:05 am IST

During the Nyay Yatra, Rahul Gandhi will use a hybrid model of travelling both by bus and foot, and will cover 85 districts in 14 states.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (PTI File Image)
 Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (PTI File Image)

The news of the second round of senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s march, named the Bharat Nyay Yatra, which will cover India from east to west, from the troubled state of Manipur to the nation’s financial capital Mumbai, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections has predictably been met with great enthusiasm by the Congress, and dismissed as politically insignificant by the BJP.

When Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge flags off the rally on January 14 from Imphal, he would be hoping to unleash the most significant part of the Congress Party’s campaign to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his bid for a historically rare third consecutive term.

The second round of the rally, a sequel to the Bharat Jodo Yatra, will cover over 6,200 km, far more than the first one in which the Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad in Kerala covered a circuitous path from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu to Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir. During the Nyay Yatra, Rahul Gandhi will use a hybrid model of travelling both by bus and foot, and will cover 85 districts in 14 states.

The news of the yatra, long anticipated by Congress leaders and cadre, was made public by his close lieutenant and confidant, AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal, a day prior to the party’s 139th foundation day celebrations in Nagpur, in which Mr Venugopal said that the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest body, had appealed to Mr Gandhi to undertake a second yatra.

Continuing on the theme of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the Congress Party said that it had chosen Manipur to be the starting point for a reason, stating: “We want to try to heal wounds of Manipur. The yatra is for love and affection.”

The last 15 months since Mr Gandhi started his yatra have most certainly comprised of extraordinary events and changes in the fortunes of both the leader and the party. The Congress Party won three state elections — Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana — but lost in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

The Bharat Nyay Yatra, which will start from the Northeast, will also cover the crucial BJP-dominated belt of Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra, besides the state where the Congress and its INDIA alliance hopes to overshadow the saffron party — West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha.

During the yatra, besides the balm of love, the Congress would hope to raise secular but critical issues — rising prices of essential everyday items, high unemployment — and other aspects of social, political and economic justice — and hope it would create a strong connect for the party ahead of the significant Lok Sabha polls in which the party can ill-afford another drubbing. The yatra will culminate with a big rally and meeting in Mumbai on March 20.

As Jairam Ramesh argued, it will focus on fighting back against the BJP’s alleged failures of “economic disparity, social polarisation, political dictatorship” and promote the urgent need to “protecting democracy and the Constitution”.

But larger polemic and abstract rhetoric aside, the country will watch closely to see if Rahul Gandhi’s yatra, which would travel through over 350 Lok Sabha seats, will be able to counter the Narendra Modi-led juggernaut electorally and give the Congress, and INDIA, a good chance.

Tags: bharat nyay yatra, congress leader rahul gandhi, aa edit