“By hoisting the tricolour at Lal Chowk, the promise made to India was fulfilled today. Hate will lose, love will always win. There will be a new dawn of hopes in India,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
Later addressing a press conference, the Congress leader said that the multi-state Bharat Jodo Yatra has been “deepest and most beautiful experience” of his life.
“Bharat Jodo Yatra received a great response in the country. We saw the resilience and strength of the people of India during this journey. We also got to hear about the issues being faced by farmers, and unemployed youth in the country,” Rahul said during a media briefing in J&K’s Srinagar. The Congress MP from Wayanad said that the yatra will have an impact on the Indian polity but added that he cannot tell yet what exactly it will be.
3,570 kms 12 states
The yatra began on September 7 from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and passed through 12 states, culminating in Jammu and Kashmir – spanning a distance of nearly 4,000km over the course of about 134 days. A host of Congress leaders walked over 4,000 kilometers during the campaign, spearheaded by Rahul Gandhi, and was dubbed by the grand old party as the “turning point in Indian politics”.
Many noted personalities from various walks of life showed support and joined Bharat Jodo Yatra bandwagon with Rahul Gandhi leading from the front.
Since it kicked off from Kanyakumari, the yatra covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
With this yatra, Rahul managed to catch the attention of his supporters as well as detractors.
Celebrities, eminent personalities and acadamicians joined the Congress leader during various legs of the yatra, walking alongside him from time to time.
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan who has been critical of policies by the government took part in the march. Actor-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt participated in the Congress-led march in Hyderabad. Actor Swara Bhasker, who is known for her strong opinions against the government also joined Gandhi when the yatra was passing through Madhya Pradesh.
From Raghuram Rajan to Riya Sen, top personalities grace Bharat Jodo Yatra
<p>The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, is passing through Rajasthan. The yatra completes 100 days on Friday.</p>
Comedian Kunal Kamra joined Rahul when the yatra reached Jaipur. Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan walked with Rahul Gandhi when the yatra entered Delhi. Veteran actor Amol Palekar and his wife, writer and filmmaker Sandhya Gokhale participated in the yatra in Maharashtra’s Buldhana. Actor Riya Sen also joined the yatra in Maharashtra. Actors Rashami Desai and Akanksha Puri also joined him.
Controversies have been part and parcel of the yatra and it started with the BJP attacking Gandhi for wearing a Burberry T-shirt allegedly worth Rs 41,000 in Tamil Nadu to which the opposition party had hit back with a “10 lakh suit” barb directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During the course of 3 months, BJP and Congress continued to trade barbs, be it over the grand old party tweeting a picture of khaki shorts on fire or the ruling party taking a swipe over a video of Rahul Gandhi meeting a controversial Christian pastor.
Even Gandhi’s beard made it to the war of words between the two parties with Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a poll rally in Gujarat claiming that the former Congress chief had started to look like the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Rahul Gandhi was also targeted for wearing only a T-shirt during harsh winters. To which, the Wayanad MP said that the media is only reporting on his T-shirt while ignoring torn clothes of many children and poor farmers. He also said he would wear more clothes if he feels cold, which hasn’t been the case so far. However, he was seen wearing protective clothing when the yatra entered Jammu.
Will the yatra revive Congress’s fortune?
The yatra comes at a time when the Congress is facing its worst-ever phase in Indian politics. The party is in power on its own in just three states (Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh) and has been relegated to the third or fourth position in almost every state where there’s a regional player.
Due to its lackluster performance, several leaders have also questioned the party’s style of functioning, with the dissenting G23 leaders routinely taking on the leadership over Congress’s organisational structure.
The yatra is presumed to be Congress’s last-ditch effort to infuse energy among its dejected cadre base and revive hopes that it can be a formidable force in future elections.
However, whether the yatra will translate into any electoral dividend remains to be seen. A clearer picture of the impact on the party’s electoral fortunes would emerge in the assembly polls this year, including in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which were covered well by the Yatra.