Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra can be a challenge for the Oppn too
Lucknow, Jan 7 (IANS) Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and a continuation of the Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, party leader and Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi is going to start a countrywide ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ from Manipur to Mumbai on January 14.
This yatra will be held in Uttar Pradesh for nearly 11 days. Analysts believe that the visit by Rahul Gandhi can become a challenge for the BJP-led Union government as well as the Opposition INDIA bloc.
Political analysts say that it is clear from the route plan of this nationwide yatra that Rahul Gandhi is again focusing on the politics of Uttar Pradesh and is likely to return to Amethi to interact with the people there.
During this yatra, all the INDIA bloc parties along with the ruling BJP will keep a close watch on what will be Rahul Gandhi’s political agenda among the people regarding the politics of North and South India and to what extent he is able to take along the allies of the INDIA bloc during the yatra.
Apart from this, amid the consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on January 22, the Congress leader will also have to clarify his stand on Sanatan Dharma. At the same time, the Congress needs to clarify its stand with the DMK in Tamil Nadu which has launched scathing attacks on Sanatan Dharma.
The route map of the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra’ has already been prepared. Focusing on the politics of Uttar Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi will spend most of his time in the most populous state covering 1,074 km in 11 days. The former Congress president will embark on a tour of 23 Lok Sabha seats across 20 districts in the state.
Rahul Gandhi will start the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ from Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli and subsequently visit Congress strongholds Amethi and Rae Bareli, followed by Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In every state the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ will pass through, however the seat-sharing between the Congress and its INDIA bloc allies will pose a huge challenge.
A senior Congress leader said that Rahul Gandhi’s yatra will pass through all the 22 districts in Uttar Pradesh on which the grand old party is planning to contest the upcoming general elections. The Congress has already prepared a political strategy according to which Rahul Gandhi will take out the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ through those Assembly constituencies which are extremely crucial given the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The Congress has prepared a political strategy to take out the yatra from parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Awadh, Rohilkhand till western Uttar Pradesh and the Brij region.
Of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, the state Congress wants to contest on the maximum number of seats. The Congress has formed a state committee to convince its INDIA bloc allies by shortlisting about two dozen seats which it claims as ‘strong seats’.
As per Congress sources, the issues regarding seat-sharing in Uttar Pradesh will be resolved only when both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party fight the elections together to defeat the BJP candidate. The Congress must be willing to give a larger number of Lok Sabha seats to the SP.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Spokesperson Anshu Awasthi says that Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ has had a wide political impact in the entire country. This time, the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra’ will cover 1,074 km in 11 days starting from Varanasi, Agra and reach almost all the areas of Uttar Pradesh.
This yatra is expected to have a widespread impact on all sections of society in Uttar Pradesh. It is also expected from the INDIA bloc allies such as the SP, RLD and other small regional parties that they will fully support the Congress-led Nyay yatra.
Political analyst Virendra Singh Rawat says that through the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyaya Yatra’, Rahul Gandhi will try his best to revive the political fortunes of the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, especially in Uttar Pradesh.
The Yatra will be a challenge both for the ruling BJP as well as the Opposition INDIA bloc since the rift between the SP and the Congress may not be visible on the ground, but internal discontent between both the parties cannot be negated.
After losing the Assembly elections in the three Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in December 2023, the Congress will be under extreme pressure from the regional parties to pose a formidable political challenge to the BJP.
SP National President Akhilesh Yadav has already started preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls for which he has finalised many party candidates for several Lok Sabha seats. Since the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ is completely political, all the INDIA bloc parties will keep a hawk’s eye on the statements given by various Congress leaders who are part of this yatra as well as what will be the future role of the Congress regarding the alliance with the SP in Uttar Pradesh.
Rawat says that the BJP is trying to vitiate the political atmosphere in Ayodhya with the construction of the Ram temple. After the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ (consecration) ceremony of the Ram temple on January 22, devotees from all over the country will start coming to the sacred temple town.
Due to the construction of the Ram temple, an atmosphere of mobilisation of Hindu votes in favour of the BJP seems to have been created in North India. In such a situation, Rahul Gandhi will have a bigger challenge to stop the resurgence of Hindutva being created with the help of the Ram temple.
Political analyst Ratanmani Lal says that the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ had an impact only in the districts through which the yatra passed. It did not have much political impact in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. However, the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ struck a chord with the people in Karnataka due to which the Congress was able to form the government there.
Unless a massive yatra is launched by a political outfit with a broader objective, there will be no political impact on the people of the country.
During the yatra undertaken by Akhilesh Yadav in 2012, the SP had gained widespread support in the entire state. He presented a political alternative due to which he got a resounding response from the people of the state, Lal added.
He said that the Congress is not yet able to project itself as a political alternative to the BJP. Due to the internal bickering within the INDIA bloc, the Congress will not be able to project itself as the main political opponent to the BJP. For this reason people do not expect much from the Congress and its impact will be very limited.
“The impact of the ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ among the people will be decided after the Congress tours one or two districts in Uttar Pradesh. How much involvement do local people have in this? After this yatra concludes, other INDIA bloc parties will decide what future course of action needs to be taken,” he added.
Lal says that Rahul Gandhi’s statements will also be watched closely by all the other INDIA bloc parties during his tour of Uttar Pradesh.
“One thing is certain that a yatra undertaken by a political outfit alone cannot be the parameter for deciding the results of an election.”
Regarding Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Uttar Pradesh, state BJP spokesperson Anand Dubey said: “the Congress keeps trying to relaunch Rahul Gandhi. But he is not able to succeed. He has set out to reunite an already united country. His first yatra was unsuccessful.”
“Those who have done injustice to the people of the country for the last 70 years are taking out a Nyay Yatra. In the future, the Congress will remain just archaeological material which will be used to teach history,” Dubey added.