Press Trust of india

Bharat Jodo Yatra’s first anniversary: Cong to hold ‘padyatras’ in 722 districts on Sep 7

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New Delhi: The Congress on Monday announced that it will hold ‘padyatras’ in 722 districts on September 7 to commemorate the launch of Bharat Jodo Yatra last year and take the “nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukaan (shop to spread love in a market of hate)” message to the people.

Addressing a press conference alongside senior leader Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary in-charge K C Venugopal said, “Bharat Jodo Yatra had an electrifying effect all over India and on our cadre.

He said that all those who believe in democracy and the values of this country are also very much enthused by the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

“September 7, 2022, was a great day for the Indian National Congress. On September 7, 2022, our leader Rahul Gandhi embarked on the historic ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, the longest padyatra ever by any political leader of our nation,” he said.

The 136-day march, covering 4,081 kilometres in 12 states and two Union territories, 75 districts and 76 Lok Sabha constituencies, left an indelible impression on people’s minds, Venugopal said.

During the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, Rahul Gandhi shared his views with crores of citizens through more than 100 meetings, group interactions, 275 walking interactions, 100 corner meetings, 13 massive public meetings, 12 press conferences and countless continuous meetings, the Congress leader said.

“The yatra addressed the burning issues of the country, including the back-breaking price rise, unprecedented unemployment, cronyism, divisive politics and brazen threat to national security due to Chinese aggression,” the Congress general secretary said.

Certainly, the Bharat Jodo Yatra had a great impact on the Karnataka election campaign also, he noted, adding, “One of the reasons we won Karnataka in a bigger way is the yatra covering 580 km in the state.”

Venugopal claimed the country’s political atmosphere is showing changes after the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

“Therefore, commemorating the Bharat Jodo Yatra on its first anniversary, we are launching 722 Bharat Jodo Yatras all over the country,” Venugopal said.

Between 5 pm and 6 pm on September 7, foot marches led by party leaders, Congress Working Committee members, CLP leaders, Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs, state in-charges, MLAs and MPs will be held in every district, he said, adding that after the yatra, there will be a Bharat Jodo rally.

In a post on microblogging site X, he said the Bharat Jodo Yatra was a historic event that changed the course of Indian history.

“To celebrate the anniversary of the monumental feat accomplished by Rahul Gandhi ji and thousands of Congress workers, we will be holding a Bharat Jodo Yatra in every district on September 7. Each yatra will culminate in a Bharat Jodo Rally in the district,” he said.

Venugopal said 722 districts of India will once again be reminded of the message of “Nafrat ke bazaar mein mohabbat ki dukaan (setting a shop to spread love in the market of hate)”.

Rahul Gandhi launched the yatra on September 7, 2022, in Kanyakumari. It ended on January 30 this year as Gandhi capped his ambitious 145-day journey in Srinagar.

“I have not done this (yatra) for myself or the Congress but for the people of the country. Our aim is to stand against the ideology that wants to destroy the foundation of this country,” Gandhi had said at the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Srinagar at a rally marking the grand finale of the cross-country march.

During the course of the yatra, Gandhi addressed 12 public meetings, more than 100 street corner meetings and 13 press conferences. He had over 275 planned walking interactions and more than 100 sitting interactions.

Several experts had said a big takeaway from the yatra for the Congress had been Gandhi’s image transformation — from a reluctant and part-time politician to one who is mature and taken seriously by opponents.

With over 4,000 kilometres under his belt, Gandhi had managed to catch the attention of his supporters as well as detractors.

The march saw participation from a cross-section of society, including film and TV celebrities such as Kamal Haasan, Pooja Bhatt, Riya Sen, Swara Bhasker, Rashami Desai, Akanksha Puri and Amol Palekar.

Besides, writers and military veterans, including former Army chief Gen (Retd) Deepak Kapoor and ex-Navy chief Admiral (Retd) L Ramdas, and noted people such as former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and ex-finance secretary Arvind Mayaram had also participated in the yatra.

Opposition leaders such as National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Sanjay Raut and NCP’s Supriya Sule, had also walked alongside Gandhi at various points in time during the march.

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