By Saiyed Moziz Imam Zaidi
New Delhi, Jan 8 (SocialNews.XYZ) As the Bharat Jodo Yatra is about to end this month in Srinagar, the Congress is making the point that the Yatra is not political but it's a battle of ideologies. Even Rahul Gandhi has been insisting that it's an ideological battle with the BJP-RSS.
But the big question is will it translate into votes. The Congress is saying that it's impact has to be assessed. The Congress lost the last two general elections with the worst ever performances.
Party General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday that the Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) was undertaken to take on the divisive ideology and build harmony and it was not an election winning Yatra. He said, "I think we are late as we were more focussed on elections and this Yatra should have been taken out earlier because it's a battle of ideology and it may take years to neutralise the poison of hatred spread by the RSS."
Elaborating on the aim of the Yatra, the Congress leader said that this was to spread love and harmony amongst the people and the Yatra has achieved some of it "but how it will impact elections could not be predicted now."
"The message of Bharat Jodo is not limited only to the 12 states and two Union Territories through which the Yatra passes. Several state-level Yatras have already been announced, and the upcoming 'Haath se Haath Jodo Abhiyan' will take the message of Bharat Jodo to the doorstep of every Indian," Jairam Ramesh said.
The party is reaching out to potential allies as well. For instance in Uttar Pradesh the party wrote to the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal and even to the Ram Temple committee. Though none of the leaders joined the Yatra but workers of the RLD and farmers organisations extended their support to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and participated in his Bharat Jodo Yatra in western Uttar Pradesh.
BSP Chief Mayawati and SP President Akhilesh Yadav supported the Yatra and RLD Chief Jayant Chaudhary has shown his support by terming the campaign as a means to unite people.
Akhilesh Yadav did not join the Yatra but stressed that the level of unity between various opposition parties will determine the outcome of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Calling for the opposition parties to join hands, he said the process has already started. Yadav said the "Bharat Jodo Yatra is proving to be preparation for the next Lok Sabha polls and by then its impact will be felt."
Conveying his best wishes to the BJY, Akhilesh Yadav said that this is a political yatra for Rahul Gandhi which has been proceeding well. He also expressed hopes for Rahul Gandhi's success.
On the question of participating in the Yatra himself, like his ally RLD, Akhilesh Yadav said that he has an emotional bond with the Congress venture, but since it is ultimately a political programme, he chose not to become part of it.
The Congress will take a political leap in terms of alliances after the plenary session of the party in February at Raipur.
"There will be six major subjects to be debated -- political, economic, international affairs, farmers and agricultural, social justice and empowerment, youth education and employment," said Congress leader KC Venugopal.
Over 113 days, the Yatra covered more than 55 districts and 10 states and one Union Territory -- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and UP.
This Yatra is truly a listening exercise for the Congress, the Yatra listens to the people in a large number of meetings. So far there have been 87 meetings and interactions for 30-40 minutes with smaller groups, usually 20-30 people are there in these interactions.
There have been 200 planned walks with smaller groups of four-five people from celebrities to intellectuals, to activists, to ex-servicemen and kids. In addition to this, 11 large public meetings have been held in which lakhs of people have participated. There have also been 10 major press conferences addressed by Rahul Gandhi -- one in each state where the media, especially the local media, freely asked questions.