The Congress party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) led by former president Rahul Gandhi is set to enter the first Hindi-speaking state — Madhya Pradesh — on November 23 (Wednesday).
Even as the Yatra would be entering the state a bit delayed behind its pre-programme schedule, party sources said almost all programmes will remain the same.
Senior Congress leaders — from Delhi to Bhopal, have maintained that BJY is not an event for “electoral gains”. The party leaders claimed that it would be a “revolutionary moment” for not only national politics but Congress as well.
Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister Suresh Pachouri on Monday told IANS: “Rahul Gandhi’s BJY has nothing to do with politics. Its only purpose is to save the harmony, brotherhood, and protect the Constitution of India. It is to raise the voice of farmers and poor people.”
When asked about the recent war of words between the state’s ruling BJP and the Congress, Pachouri said: “Whatever the BJP is saying and planning to do, we are neither worried of it nor discussing it. We are completely focussed on BJY. The people have started supporting the yatra.”
However, according to some sources, the Congress is looking at the Yatra as a “launch pad” to kick-start its preparations for the next Assembly elections scheduled to be held in the later part of 2023.
The young faces of Madhya Pradesh Congress claimed that BJY will set the tone for polls.
The Madhya Pradesh Congress led by state unit chief Kamal Nath had started its preparations soon after the pan-India Yatra began from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7.
The Congress has organised as many as 18 sub-yatras from all 230 assembly constituencies in the state.
According to a senior Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee functionary, the yatra will cover three regions of Madhya Pradesh — Malwa (Indore, Ujjain), Nimar (Burhanpur Khandwa, Khargone and Madhya Bharat’s part Agar and Susner districts during the next 13 days, which will began from November 23.
“The social and economic issues of the all three regions are different from each other. In some places, there are farmers issues, tribal issues, while in some other parts issues are like small businesses, unemployment. Rahul Gandhi will meet several sections of people and listen to their issues… certainly it is going make an impact here,” the veteran Congress leader claimed.
Notably, besides visiting religious places such as Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar Temple, Rahul Gandhi would go to the birthplaces of tribal leader Tantya Bhil in Khandwa and B.R. Ambedkar in Indore’s Mhow.
He will meet those displaced by the construction of various dams, including Sardar Sarovar, tribals who were displaced by the relocation of African cheetahs, people who would be displaced if diamond mining is allowed in Buxwaha, banana farmers of Burhanpur, along with women from various self-help groups and the eunuch community of Indore.
BJY will pass through Khargone district where a communal clash broke out earlier in April.
Some who might walk a short distance with Gandhi tentatively include tribal victims of atrocities, victims of hate crimes and violence, as well as women’s groups working against rising crimes against women.