Key moments from Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra
The Bharat Jodo Yatra formally concluded on Monday with a function at the Jammu and Kashmir Congress headquarters in Srinagar. It was followed by a rally led by Rahul Gandhi at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium - where the Congress and other like-minded parties are expected to join
The Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY) ended on Sunday in Srinagar with a flag-hoisting ceremony at the iconic Lal Chowk’s clock tower.
The Rahul Gandhi-led yatra concluded along with other Congress leaders in Jammu and Kashmir after passing through 12 states and two union territories over 150 days.
Here’s a look back at the Congress’ 3,500 kilometre-long foot march across the country:
From Rahul Gandhi’s shirt to his beard:
The verbal feud between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress started during the Bharat Jodo Yatra’s leg in Tamil Nadu with the BJP attacking Gandhi for wearing a Burberry T-shirt allegedly worth ₹41,000. The Congress hit back with an attack aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his alleged “ ₹10 lakh suit” and “ ₹1.5 lakh glasses”.
Another war of words broke out over the BJP “exposing” Rahul Gandhi for lying after he was spotted wearing a thermal. The Congress reacted just as sharply with Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi saying that the former Rahul does not feel cold in winter, because “he is wearing the shield of truth.”
From former governor and ex-RAW spymaster to actors and singers: Prominent faces who joined the yatra
On December 14, a furore erupted between the BJP and the Congress after former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan joined the BJY and shared space with Rahul. Another row erupted between the parties as former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) secretary Amarjit Singh Dulat joined the yatra on January 3, with BJP leaders indicating that the former spymaster played a large role in “Kashmir’s fiasco.”
Social rights activist who spearheaded the Narmada Bachao Andolan Medha Patkar’s presence at the BJY sparked a debate with Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel who labelled the yatra as “anti-Gujarati.”
As the days went by and the yatra reached different states, actors such as Urmila Matondkar, Swara Bhasker, Pooja Bhatt, Amol Palekar, Riya Sen, boxer Vijender Singh, and hip-hop artist Divine, participated in the countrywide walkathon as well.
How the yatra sent rumbles across the country’s political landscape:
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan, who also met Rahul in January on the sideline of the yatra, extended his support to the Congress and Rahul Gandhi. The Makkal Needhi Maiam party chief revealed that he felt it was his “duty as an Indian” to voice his anguish by joining the yatra in a conversation with Rahul Gandhi.
Despite a tense situation in Rajasthan, after chief minister Ashok Gehlot slammed his former deputy Sachin Pilot and called him a ‘gaddar’ in an interview, the yatra served as a temporary truce between the two dissenting leaders.
The Shiv Sena too voiced its support for the yatra. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar dubbed the yatra “immensely useful” for the Congress. Senior NCP leader Supriya Sule also extended support and joined the walkathon.
While the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dismissed the yatra, terming it of “no consequence”, the BJP actively criticized the yatra throughout its journey.
Controversies that plagued Congress’ countrywide foot march:
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh raised questions over the government’s claims on surgical strikes and raised accusations of peddling lies, which dragged the Indian Army’s actions into the furore.
Singh’s questions led to an inflamed response from the BJP, which said that the Congress insulted both Prime Minister Modi and the Indian Armed Forces. In response, Rahul Gandhi dismissed Singh’s remarks as “personal” and not of the party.
An internal row broke out within the Congress after Dongra Swabhiman Sangathan Sangathan Party (DSSP) leader Choudhary Lal Singh decided to join the yatra. Congress spokesperson Deepika Pushkar Nath resigned from the party on January 17 over this, alleging that he compromised the 2018 Kathua rape case by “brazenly defending” the rapists of the eight-year-old girl.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra formally concluded on Monday with a function at the Jammu and Kashmir Congress headquarters in Srinagar. It was followed by a rally led by Rahul Gandhi at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium - where the Congress and other like-minded parties are expected to join.
To mark the end of the yatra, 12 opposition parties will attend the concluding function uut of 21 invited parties. Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are among the parties to skip the function.