Khadi, marches by leaders part of BJP’s October 2 plan
A five page-note on the Gandhi Sankalp Yatra that BJP’s working president JP Nadda shared with his party colleagues urged them to wear clothes made from the homespun cotton that for Gandhi was a symbol of self-reliance.Updated: Sep 25, 2019 00:46 IST
When 3,229 leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lead a foot march in almost 300,000 villages next month to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, they will be dressed in khadi clothes and project an image of austerity in homage to the father of the nation.
A five page-note on the Gandhi Sankalp Yatra that BJP’s working president JP Nadda shared with his party colleagues urged them to wear clothes made from the homespun cotton that for Gandhi was a symbol of self-reliance.
“Also products like khadi bags, ethnic khadi jackets etc can be carried by all members. All members are requested to refrain from wearing flamboyant apparel and maintain the theme of saadgi (simplicity),” Nadda wrote in his letter.
BJP leaders have also been advised to avoid flashy branding of the event and ensure only Gandhi’s pictures and quotes on publicity material, a BJP leader involved in the campaign said on condition of anonymity. They have been asked to eat local food, buy articles from local artisans and cover each section of the yatra on foot.
“We want our Gandhi Sankalp Yatra to reflect the values, lifestyle and simplicity that Gandhi stood for,” the BJP leader added.
The yatra will roll out simultaneously from different places on October 2 and will run until October 31. It is seen by India’s ruling party as another way to stay close to the ground and expand in new areas by engaging its workers with the masses on an apolitical issue.
As many as 3,229 elected representatives and leaders of the party will lead the yatra, and each one of them is expected to cover a minimum of 75-100 kilometres and 90 villages over 15 days. The upper limit is 225 km and 120 villages during the same period, a second BJP leader said, asking not to be identified. India has around 600,000 so-called census villages.
“With this, party leaders will be able to cover a distance of 2.42-7.26 lakh kilometres and visit 2.90-3.87 lakh villages in 15 days,” this leader said.
Each padyatra will have at least 50 people, and every public meeting organised during its course should have at least 100 people in attendance, the party said. “Party leaders should promote Gandhi’s idea of social inclusion and invite people from all communities to these events,” the second leader said.
Apart from Gandhi, BJP leaders will also speak about the plastic menace, Jal Shakti Abhiyan, thegovernment’s water conservation programme; population control, and Digital India, the government’s massive e-governance initiative, during the exercise.
“We have to explain to people that Gandhi’s philosophy is integral to every scheme of the BJP government at Centre or in states,” the first leader said.
The yatra promotes swadeshi (indigenous products), swaraj (self-rule), swavalambi (self dependence), swachchta (cleanliness) and saadgi (simplicity); besides samman (respect), aapsi samajh (mutual understanding), swikriti (agreement), prasansha (praise) and karuna (campassion), a third BJP leader said, asking not to be named.