How Rajasthan political crisis robs Congress of claims about Bharat Jodo Yatra

2 months ago 33

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NEW DELHI: Soon after the

Congress

’s Bharat

Jodo Yatra

was launched on September 7, the party has been accusing its rival BJP of “headline management” in a bid to divert the people’s attention from the ambitious programme. However, the political crisis in Rajasthan following the defiance by MLAs loyal to chief minister Ashok Gehlot has robbed the party of this accusation.
The Congress launched the Bharat Jodo Yatra (unite India march) to address three issues – to deal with the tremendous challenge of economic inequality, social polarisation and political division between the Centre and the states.
On the other hand, the BJP called the Bharat Jodo Yatra as Bharat Todo Yatra (break India march) and Congress Jodo Yatra (unite Congress march).
The Congress has hit back hard at the BJP whenever the latter tried to find fault with or mock the 3.570-km Kanyakumari to Kashmir yatra passing through 12 states and two Union territories in about 160 days.
However, the party is on the backfoot ever since the Gehlot camp defied the high command on September 26 over change in leadership in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan political crisis
Gehlot is believed to have been hand-picked by the Nehru-Gandhis to succeed Sonia Gandhi as the Congress president. However, he wanted to keep both the posts – that of the Rajasthan CM as well as the Congress chief.
But Rahul Gandhi vetoed it citing the decision of ‘one man-one post’ taken in the party’s ‘Chintan Shivir’ (brain-storming camp) in Udaipur in May.
Gehlot agreed to it but he was not ready to pass on the reins of the government to his bete noire Sachin Pilot. He wanted any one from among his loyalists to be installed as the CM.
Sonia sent leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Ajay Maken to Jaipur on September 26 as observers to elect a new Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader in place of Gehlot.
While the observers convened a meeting of the CLP, the Rajasthan CM held a parallel meeting with his loyalist MLAs. More than 80 MLAs owing allegiance to Gehlot tendered their resignation to assembly speaker CP Joshi to thwart any move by the observers to select Pilot as the CLP leader.
These MLAs called Pilot and 18 MLAs loyal to him “traitors” for rising in revolt against Gehlot in 2020. They said any of the 102 MLAs who had stood rock solid behind the Congress should be named as Gehlot’s successor.
As the Rajasthan political crisis takes the centrestage across all media, the Bharat Jodo Yatra has got overshadowed.
However, the Congress leaders are tight-lipped about the issue. Otherwise, in all controversies that had taken place earlier, the Congress blamed the BJP and said the latter had got rattled due to the ‘success” of the padyatra and wanted to create controversies to deviate the people’s attention from it.
Rahul Gandhi’s T-shirt
The padyatra was launched in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari on September 7 but actually took off a day later. On September 9, the BJP fired the first salvo at the padyatra. It highlighted the brand and cost of the T-shirt that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was wearing.
The BJP tweeted, “Look, India.”

Bharat, dekho! https://t.co/UzBy6LL1pH

— BJP (@BJP4India) 1662713101000

The Congress retorted saying the BJP did not have anything concrete and meaningful to criticise about the yatra and, therefore, was indulging in cheap gimmicks to belittle Rahul and the padyatra.
It tweeted in Hindi, “Hey, did you get scared seeing the crowd gathered in Bharat Jodo Yatra? Talk about the relevant issues. Speak on unemployment and inflation. Otherwise, if we have to discuss clothes, then (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s suit of Rs 10 lakh and glasses of Rs 1.5 lakh will also be discussed.”
Containers
Next, the BJP targetted the containers in which the 120 Bharat yatris were spending their night. It took a dig at the lifestyle of the yatris.
Congress spokesperson and general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh retaliated by saying that the BJP had got rattled by the overwhelming response that the yatra was receiving.
He said, "The allegations that have been made by the BJP IT cell with the encouragement of the prime minister to defame the Bharat Jodo Yatra show that the BJP is rattled."
Ramesh said the containers were "very basic" and "very minimal. “I wish both (Union home minister) Amit Shah and (BJP leader co-in-charge of West Bengal) Amit Malviya see these containers and then they will know what it is to live in a container. This is not like the Rath Yatra. It is not a Toyota yatra or an Innova yatra. Ours is a padyatra," he said and added that the containers were not made in China. <...

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