Monday, April 22, 2024

Yatra for justice


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The timing of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is perfect, but on how strongly it could impact the April-May Lok Sabha polls and formation of the next government is a matter of speculation. Rahul Gandhi who started the Yatra From Thoubal in Manipur, the scene of the recent communal conflagration and violence, says it’s an ideological odyssey and not linked to the Parliament polls, but the truth lies somewhere in between. The principal idea of this Yatra is to rejuvenate the Congress party and equip it to effectively face the ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP and Modi are, as of now, in a strong position. They aim to acquire more strength through the Ayodhya Ram Mandir inauguration on January 22, which would form the launch-pad for the saffron party’s 2024 general election campaign.
Between now and mid-March, the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is set to pass through 15 states, 110 Lok Sabha constituencies and cover a distance of 6,700 km. On its completion, Rahul Gandhi would have covered the whole of India, starting with the first edition of the Yatra from Kanyakumari in the south to Kashmir up north in 150 days from September 7, 2022. The planning of the Yatra this time is in a hybrid mode, involving both walking and motoring. The first Yatra was a success when seen from the point of view of the crowd turnout and the euphoric response it got from the people. It played a major role in re-activating the Congress party in Telangana to finally grab power there. Despite the enthusiastic support the Yatra got in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the party lost the assembly polls. A strong point with the Congress, even in its timid days, is that it has an organisational network that should be the envy of the ruling BJP. What it lacks today in state after state, is the money power, while the BJP has an abundance of it. Yet, programmes like this work mainly on manpower support at the grassroots level. The grand old party has a base in each hamlet in nearly every state. This is to Rahul Gandhi’s great advantage.
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra emphasizes on aspects like social, political, economic justice and also justice for the youth. It covers major geographical areas where the minorities – Christians and Muslims – as also the Dalits and Backward Castes are numerically strong. Faced with odds from the saffron dispensation, they are likely to back this Yatra in strong ways. The start from Manipur itself is significant. In what is a contradiction in terms the un-enthused INDIA alliance partners would watch the show from the “sidelines.”


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