The Congress on Thursday renamed the Rahul Gandhi-led Manipur-Mumbai yatra starting on January 14 as the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, which will travel through 100 Lok Sabha segments in 15 states and asserted it will prove to be as “transformative” as his earlier cross-country march.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the party is inviting all leaders of the Indian National Inclusive Developmental Alliance (INDIA) bloc to join the yatra anywhere along its route.
The yatra’s route was finalised at a nearly three-hour meeting Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge chaired with general secretaries, state in-charges, state unit chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders at the AICC headquarters here, Ramesh said at a press conference.
According to the route released by the party, the yatra would stay the longest period in Uttar Pradesh, covering 1,074 km in 11 days. It would pass through the politically-vital areas of Amethi, Rae Bareli, Varanasi and Prayagraj.
Ramesh said the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra would traverse 6,713 km in buses and on foot. The yatra will cover 110 districts, 100 Lok Sabha seats and 337 assembly segments in 66 days, starting January 14 from Imphal.
He asserted that the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra would prove to be as impactful and transformative as the earlier Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.
Explaining the reason for the renaming the yatra from the earlier Bharat Nyay Yatra, Ramesh said all members who attended the meeting including Kharge were of the unanimous view that the success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra had led to it becoming a brand in its own right and had gotten embedded in the minds of the people and that its value should not be lost.
“The ‘Nyay’ idea comes from the first line of the preamble of the Indian Constitution which secures for all its citizens justice — social, economic and political,” Ramesh said.
Then comes liberty, equality and fraternity and all these are all inter-related principles, he said.
During the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Gandhi had raised three big issues of rising inequality, growing social polarisation and increasing political tyranny and authoritarianism, and the way out of this is to ensure justice for the people, Ramesh said.
“The idea of justice is the idea of the yatra but because we had a yatra which proved to be transformative of Indian politics, everyone was unanimous that we should combine the two… Nyay is the objective of the yatra,” he said.
Ramesh also pointed out that though earlier it was announced that the yatra would cover 14 states, they also had Arunachal Pradesh in mind but there were some logistical and security issues, which have now been sorted out.
So, the yatra would now cover 15 states, including Arunachal Pradesh, he added.
Giving details of the yatra and its route, Ramesh said it will begin on January 14 from Imphal and will be in Manipur for a day, covering 107 km and four districts.
Then it will enter Nagaland and cover 257 km and five districts in two days before traversing 833 km and 17 districts in Assam in eight days, Ramesh said.
The yatra will then move to Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya for a day each.
According to the route map, the yatra in West Bengal will be for five days, covering 523 km and seven districts, and in Bihar for four days, covering 425 km and seven districts.
In Jharkhand, the yatra will cover 804 km and 13 districts in eight days, Ramesh said.
It will travel through four days in Odisha, covering 341 km and four districts and in Chhattisgarh for five days, covering 536 km and seven districts.
Ramesh said the east to west yatra will be of maximum time in Uttar Pradesh for 11 days, covering 1,074 km and 20 districts.
In Madhya Pradesh the yatra will cover 698 km and nine districts in seven days and two districts in Rajasthan for a single day.
The yatra will cover five days each in Gujarat and Maharashtra, traversing 445 km and 479 km respectively.
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra would conclude in Mumbai on March 20 or 21, Ramesh said.
Asked whether AAP leaders would also be invited to join the yatra, Ramesh said all INDIA bloc leaders would be invited to join the yatra at various points of the yatra and asserted that AAP was part of the coalition.
Ramesh also said civil society members and organisations will also be invited to join the yatra.
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra comes at a crucial juncture ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as the party seeks to revive its fortunes after a poor showing in the last round of assembly polls.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started on September 7, 2022, was credited by the Congress for its electoral gains in assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana. The party had claimed that it had enthused its rank and file and revitalised the its connect with the masses.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra covered 75 districts and 76 Lok Sabha constituencies across 12 states and two Union territories.
During the course of the Yatra, Gandhi addressed 12 public meetings, more than 100 street-corner meetings and 13 press conferences. He held more than 275 planned walking interactions and over 100 sitting interactions. (PTI)