From Arunachal to Maharashtra: Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0 aims to be INDIA bloc’s ‘brahmastra’ campaign

Scheduled to begin by year-end, Rahul Gandhi's BJY 2.0 will metamorphosise into Opposition bloc's mass ground outreach programme ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

ByAnusha Ravi Sood

Published Sep 11, 2023 | 2:33 PMUpdatedSep 11, 2023 | 4:11 PM

Rahul Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Kerala.

The Congress is all set to launch Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0, 11 months after its first leg concluded in January this year.

Likely to begin from Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeastern part of India, Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0, led by the party’s Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, is likely to conclude in Maharashtra.

With 2024 Lok Sabha elections in mind, Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0 is set to become a show of Opposition unity and a joint effort, passing through the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

Sources in the Congress said the Bharat Jodo walkathon, that played a huge role in altering public perception of Rahul Gandhi and Congress on the ground in its first leg, will be a four-month long exercise ending right before the schedule for notification of election for the Lok Sabha election in 2024.

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Bharat Jodo yatra 2.0: INDIA bloc’s mega campaign

Unlike its first leg — which Congress repeatedly insisted was not a political exercise — the second leg of Bharat Jodo Yatra aims to metamorphosise into a largescale ground campaign for not just Congress, but the entire Opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc.

“It will be INDIA’s brahmastra campaign. Leaders of our alliance parties are keen on hosting Bharat Jodo Yatra in their respective states — whether it is in West Bengal or Uttar Pradesh. Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Bharat Jodo Yatra will be a massive on-ground outreach campaign for the whole Opposition bloc of INDIA,” a senior leader of the Congress who is involved in the planning and strategy for Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0, told South First.

The first leg of Bharat Jodo Yatra was launched by DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in Kanniyakumari — the southernmost point of mainland India.

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More leaders to join walkathon

While several leaders of Opposition parties — including Mehbooba Mufti of the People’s Democratic Party, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Aditya Thackeray of the Shiv Sena (UBT), and Supriya Sule of the National Congress Party — participated in the walkathon at different points to show solidarity with Rahul Gandhi and his initiative, Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0 will see a more concerted effort by leaders of INDIA bloc to display unity especially when the front is faced with questions of coordination, seat-sharing formulae leading to disagreements.

The decision to launch the yatra from Arunachal Pradesh, too, sources suggest, has been a conscious one to highlight the interests of Northeastern states.

While a west to east route map was initially considered, the Congress is said to have decided on a fresh route map to conclude Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0 with a bang in Maharashtra, where the Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Nationalist Congress Party — both split in factions — can also assert influence and dominance of Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar, respectively.