The Congress will begin the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from the violence-hit Manipur on Sunday, in what is being seen as the party’s bid to set the narrative in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls and put the spotlight on issues such as unemployment, price rise and social justice.
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will travel through 100 Lok Sabha segments in 15 states and the party believes it will prove to be as “transformative” as Gandhi’s earlier cross-country march.
The Congress has said that it is taking out the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra as the government did not give it a chance to raise people’s issues in Parliament and the initiative is aimed at re-establishing the principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity enshrined in the Constitution.
Though the Congress has stressed that this is not an electoral yatra, it comes at a crucial juncture as the party seeks to revive its fortunes after a poor showing in the last round of assembly elections.
With the BJP focusing on the January 22 Ram temple consecration ceremony, the Congress wants to put the spotlight on bread-and-butter issues through this yatra.
Gandhi had on Friday said emotional issues are being “misused” politically and attention is being diverted from real issues, in a “betrayal” of the people of the country.
In a post on X, the former Congress president said, “The youth will have to think about what will be the identity of the India of our dreams? Quality of life or just emotions? Youth raising provocative slogans or the employed youth? Love or hate?”.
The yatra will be flagged off from a private ground in Manipur’s Thoubal district, instead of Imphal, the party’s initial choice.
The state government had given the Congress conditional approval to flag off the yatra from the Palace grounds here, restricting the number of people. Therefore, the Congress decided to opt for another venue.
Manipur has been rocked by ethnic violence since May last year which has claimed over 180 lives.
The violence erupted on May 3 last year after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.