The Congress on Tuesday launched the logo, tagline and website of its upcoming ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, billed as a mass contact programme of an unprecedented scale. Addressing a press conference, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the main yatra will cover 3,570 km from Kanyakumari in the south to Kashmir in the north over a period of about five months beginning September 7. Simultaneously, smaller ‘Bharat Jodo Yatras’ will be taken out in various states.
Digvijaya Singh, who heads the party’s yatra organising committee, told the press conference that Congress president Sonia Gandhi wants people from every religion, caste and community participate in the campaign. Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi will participate in the yatra from Kanyakumari. “There will be 100 ‘padayatris’ who will walk from start to finish. They will be ‘Bharat Yatris’. Around 100 people will keep joining from the states through which this yatra is not passing, these people will be ‘Atithi Yatras’. Around 100 yatris will be involved from the states through which the journey will pass, these will be ‘Pradesh Yatris’. At a time, there will be 300 padayatris,” Singh said.
Responding to a question, he said, “Rahul Gandhi is a big leader of the country and will be a ‘Bharat Yatri’ in the yatra.” Singh said the country has not witnessed neither a ‘padayatra’ nor any mass contact programme of this scale before. “We are proud that the Congress, which secured independence for the country through a people’s movement is now aiming to bring back social harmony and prevent the country from losing its character through people’s movement,” he said. “We want to bring the Bharat Jodo Yatra in the form of a public movement,” he said. Singh and Ramesh unveiled the tagline of the yatra — ‘Mile Kadam, Jude Watan’– a four-plage pamphlet.
The leaders also launched the website and urged those wanting to participate in the yatra to register on it. “Ek tera kadam, ek mera kadam, mil jaye to jud jaye apna watan (one step yours, one step mine, together they can unite India),” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet and also put the logo of the yatra as his Twitter profile picture.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted the tagline of the yatra and put the logo as her Twitter profile picture. Several Congress social media handles changed their profile picture to display the logo. Ramesh said Rahul Gandhi has identified three main reasons of the Bharat Jodo Yatra — economic, social and political.
He said the yatra was needed as there were grave economic challenges confronting the country on account of inflation, unemployment and concentration of economic wealth and growing regional disparities. He also pointed to social polarisation based on caste, religion, dress, food and language. Ramesh alleged there were political challenges on account of the growing use of the Centre’s institutions and the complete weakening of the states. The foot march will cover 12 states and two Union territories.