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The 'Bharat Jodo' Yatra by Congress against the central government's anti-people and anti-democratic policies has begun in Kanyakumari under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi. With the slogan 'Mile Khadam, Jude Vatan' (Walk together, unite the country), this rally is the biggest political campaign planned by Congress in post-independence India. The journey will cover 12 states and two Union Territories and end in Kashmir, covering 3570 km on foot in 150 days. Extensive preparations have been made for the journey. It is also noteworthy that 30% of the participants are women. At a press conference convened on Wednesday, the Congress leaders announced that Rahul and his team are coming out to reclaim the country by addressing the concerns of India, which has been vitiated by the administration spreading fear and hatred. That is why this campaign, a need of modern India, is getting great support. Despite political differences with the Congress, people from various sections of the society have expressed solidarity with the Yatra.

Although it is widely believed that such a journey is to prepare the party for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress leadership does not acknowledge it. The party's official explanation is that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is to expose the anti-people regime of the central government led by Narendra Modi and their politics to divide the country. Be that as it may, whoever comes out with a call for unity at this critical juncture when the country is heading towards outright fascism with the ruling administration's blessing, is to be welcomed. It is promising that a party that still has roots in rural India, although not as strong as before, has taken this initiative. It will also be an opportunity for Congress to understand firsthand why they it has suffered this much loss of strength. These realisations may also be useful on the electoral front. In that sense, 'Bharat Jodo' may also become a platform to restore organisational cohesion beyond the slogans raised in the unity march. Every democrat in the country should take up the political slogans put forward by Congress in this journey. There is no way but to participate in the efforts to expose a regime that upholds the ideology of hatred, divides the country, destroys the economy, and throws asunder constitutional values. Twelve years ago, India was one of the few countries that held on to stability when the recession hit the US and Europe. Despite all the problems of corporatism and corruption, one would agree that the financial management of the then-central government led by Manmohan Singh was remarkable.

But things are different now. The latest reports state that Modi's 'economic reforms' have brought the country to the brink of starvation. Even before the economic impact of the Covid pandemic, the government had brought the country into the middle of a crisis. The country is currently experiencing the highest unemployment rate in history. Happening parallel to this is large-scale looting by submitting everything to corporations. These iniquities need to be brought to an end. The awful actions carried out using the brute majority in the Parliament are beyond this. Hindutva is making its march inside and outside the parliament. While the Sangh Parivar dream of Hindu Rashtra is being pushed through legislation inside the Parliament, the frenzied mobs outside the Parliament are lashing out at the minorities. In the last eight years, how many lynchings has India witnessed!

It also needs to be checked whether Congress was prepared to take the side of the victims and speak up against these atrocities. Although these are mentioned in the press release prepared as part of the 'Bharat Jodo' march, they are portrayed only as part of the divide and rule strategy of the government. Apart from discrimination, the main weakness of that party is that it is not ready even now to openly say that this is a genocidal plan. The Congress would do well too realise that India's minorities, Dalits, and Adivasis still have a lot of hope in the party. These people can be seen along the paths taken by Rahul and his team. They may also see their blood stains splashed in the violent march of Hindutva. The message of unity raised by Bharat Jodo will be actualised only when the party pays heed to the struggles of communities that have been relegated to the margins of the country. We wish that it becomes possible.

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TAGS:Bharat Jodo mile khadam jude vatan Rahul Gandhi Congress 
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