By Ram Kumar Kaushik
Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Indian National Congress party, is set to embark on a second leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a nationwide foot march aimed at unifying the country. The follow-up yatra will cover the length of the country from east to west.
Rahul's new test – East to West
Congress General Secretary and in-charge of Communication – Jairam Ramesh told the media that there was immense enthusiasm among the party leaders and Karykartas on the first leg of Bharat Jodo Yatra which covered nearly 4,000 kilometers from Kanyakumari in the south to Kashmir in the north. Its success prompted demands from various quarters for a similar exercise from the east to the west.
Format not decided yet
Ramesh told reporters that the party planned a probable route for the second leg. Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh might be the starting point and it might end at Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace- Porbandar in Gujarat. He added that Yatra's format would not be the same. A new formation is being strategised.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm and energy. I also think personally it is needed but the format of the east-to-west yatra may turn out to be different from the format of the south-to-north Bharat Jodo Yatra,” he said.
Party sources indicated that the follow-up yatra will be a hybrid one with a lesser number of permanent yatris due to logistical issues. Ramesh suggested that the yatra may not have the elaborate infrastructure that was mobilised for the Bharat Jodo Yatra earlier and may have fewer yatris. He added that it would largely be a padayatra but there are jungles and rivers on this route, and it would be a multi-modal yatra, but mostly it would be a foot-march.
Yatra likely to be in its and pieces
It is also unlikely to be a continuous yatra like the first one, as it is an election year, and the party cannot divert its attention much from routine organisational and election work. The yatra is expected to be of a shorter duration than the first Bharat Jodo Yatra, with Ramesh indicating that it may have to be undertaken before June or before November, given the upcoming elections in Karnataka and the monsoon season.
With the emphasis on the Bharat Jodo Yatra at the Plenary Session, it appears that the Congress party is serious about a second leg of the yatra from the east to the west, which could be a reality once the delegates overwhelmingly support the idea
The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.