Congress leader and member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi started day three of the Bharat Jodo Yatra from Mulagumoodu in Kanyakumari at 7 am on Saturday. While Saturday's events will end at 7 pm, the padyatra campaign will last for around five months as Gandhi, along with other Congress leaders, travels from Kanyakumari to Jammu and Kashmir.
Gandhi took to Twitter on Saturday morning and said, "42% of our youth are unemployed. Is Bharat's future secure if theirs isn't? We walk for them all. We walk for jobs."
On Friday Gandhi said all Opposition parties needed to unite. He told The Indian Express, "It is the responsibility of the entire Opposition to come together, and I am pretty confident… Everybody has a role in it. It is not that the Congress party is the only party… everybody has a role in it. And that discussion is in progress."
What is the Bharat Jodo Yatra?
The Congress said that the aim of the yatra was to unite the country on certain problems faced by the country.
The website created for this event reads, "People from all walks of life will join the Yatra at various points, and march together. It will be a celebration of India's unity, a festival of hope that will come alive with musical programs and contests that anyone can participate in."
After launching the mega event on Wednesday, Gandhi criticised the BJP saying it was making attempts to divide the country. The Indian Express quoted him as saying, "The BJP thinks it can divide this country along religious lines and on the lines of language… this country cannot be divided… this country will always remain united."
The tagline of the yatra is "Mile Kadam, Jude Vatan".
Where will it take place?
The yatra, which began in Kanyakumari on Wednesday, will continue till Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir. It will cover over 3,750 km. It will pass through states and union territories such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
Some of the key places it will cover, according to the Bharat Jodo Yatra website, include Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Neelambur, Mysuru, Bellari, Raichur, Vikarabad, Nanded, Jalgaon Jamod, Indore, Kota, Dausa, Alwar, Bulandshahar, Delhi, Ambala, Pathankot, Jammu and Srinagar.
However, it misses much of Uttar Pradesh which used to be a Congress bastion during its heydays. States like Bihar and West Bengal are also not part of the route.
How long will it take?
The will be completed over a period of 150 days or around five months.
Who will participate in the yatra?
The Congress said that anyone and everyone was welcome to participate. The launch of the yatra saw Tamil Nadu CM Stalin participate. Congress leaders such as Shashi Tharoor and Kumari Selja have already participated in the march. Kanhaiya Kumar and Pawan Khera are among the "Bharat Yatris" who will participate in the walk. Senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi are also likely to be a part of it.
The Congress said, "People from across India, political parties, social activists, intellectuals, writers, artists and other eminent personalities," will participate.
Where will the participants stay during the yatra?
According to reports, 230 yatris will stay in 60 containers during the five months. PTI quoted Congress leader Jairam Ramesh as saying, "We are staying in the containers since yesterday. There are 60 containers in which about 230 people stay. Every day the containers will move to a new site mounted on trucks. Some are two-bed containers, some are four-bed, some six-bed and some 12-bed"
The report said that containers had fans but no TVs. Food for the yatris was being organised by local Congress state units.
What is the significance of the yatra?
The Congress has said that this was a means to rejuvenate the party. Ramesh described it as "sanjivani" or a lifesaver for the Congress party. "I am 100 per cent sure this Bharat Jodo Yatra is the 'sanjivani' for the Congress, it is a lifesaver, it is going to revive the Congress, it is going to refresh the Congress, it will renew the Congress, it will be a Congress in a new avatar," Ramesh was quoted by PTI as saying.
The Congress has faced terrible losses in most recent elections and has also seen several significant faces leaving the party.
A message by Sonia Gandhi, read out during an event in Kanyakumari, called it a "landmark" occasion. According to a PTI report, the message read, "This is a landmark occasion for our great party with such a glorious legacy — the Indian National Congress. I am confident that our organisation will be rejuvenated."
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