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Congress in Focus

Editor’s Note

Published : Nov 03, 2022 10:45 IST

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Editor’s Note

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leaders during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Tumakuru, Karnataka on October 10.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with party leaders during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Tumakuru, Karnataka on October 10. | Photo Credit: PTI

Can Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra help heal the country and revive his party?

Ninety-two years ago, a 60-year-old man embarked on a march that would last 24 days, cover 385 kilometres, and end with a fistful of salt. It would mark the launch of civil disobedience and shake the colonial government to the core with the force of its impact. The man, of course, was Mahatma Gandhi and the event the Dandi March.

Roughly 50 days ago, Rahul Gandhi also launched a march he called the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which is to last 150 days and cover 3,570 km. His aim, Rahul said, is to heal the fractured heart of the country and talk about harmony and tolerance in place of the language of hate that has now become commonplace.

The absence of a political agenda at a time when the Congress party is at its lowest ebb ever sounds counterintuitive. It seems divorced from the real world of vote banks and election strategies. But it gives one pause. Consider this: the BJP has appropriated the religion plank, which works so powerfully in India that it overpowers considerations of hunger, joblessness, and economic decline. What equally powerful idea can the Congress unleash that could overshadow religion?

Rahul seems to think that idea could be amity. It sounds feeble in the face of the muscular rhetoric of hate, which is why he is not pitching it as an election strategy. He seems to be saying, “Let me simply walk and connect; the rest will follow.”

A lunatic? A fool? A loser? This man has heard worse and goes on regardless. At worst, he grabs our sympathy. At best, our interest. March on, Rahul.

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