It has been over three months since Congress, led by MP Rahul Gandhi, began its Bharat Jodo Yatra. The march on foot began on September 7, 2022 from Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of the country, and will culminate in Kashmir around the time of Republic Day in 2023.
Gandhi has been marching through several states, flanked by party leaders as he meets people on the way. Pictures and videos of the yatra have been shared widely on social media as activists and celebrities also joined him to show support.
As the grand old party strives to amplify its stand against the ruling BJP, this yatra has been one of the biggest events for it in recent times and has once again brought the party into the limelight. This has also once again triggered people's curiosity about the Gandhi family scion who has been trying to connect with the people on the ground.
The curiosity is reflected in Google searches in the last three months, where people have questions about his beard, marriage, people who walked with him, the schedule of the yatra and his opinion on Veer Savarkar.
BOOM looked at breakout terms on Google trends related to Rahul Gandhi for the past 90 days to see what people were the most curious about. Here's what we found:
'Rahul Gandhi on Savarkar'
'Rahul Gandhi on Savarkar' was one of the most searched queries related to Gandhi, with the highest searches from Maharashtra. While Gandhi has criticised RSS idealogue Savarkar in his speeches, a complaint was filed against him in Maharashtra in November for allegedly making "derogatory remarks" against Savarkar.
The complaint was filed by Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena leader Vandana Dongre.
Gandhi during the yatra had said that Savarkar betrayed freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel by signing a letter of apology to the British colonial government before independence.
"Veer Savarkar, in a letter written to the British, said "Sir, I beg to remain your most obedient servant" and signed on it. Savarkar helped the British. He betrayed leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel by signing the letter out of fear," a report by the Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.
Rahul Gandhi's 'new look'
Fifty-two-year-old leader's 'look' has dominated Google searches about him. Gandhi has been marching through towns and cities in his white T-shirt, brown pants and sports shoes. All of this and his beard have become his signature for the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
In fact, the yatra began with controversy as BJP took a jibe at the Congress leader for his T-shirt saying that it cost more than Rs 41,000.
People are searching for things like 'Rahul Gandhi latest photo', 'Rahul Gandhi beard', 'Rahul Gandhi new look' and 'Rahul Gandhi recent photo'. The top searches for these terms were from Delhi and Telangana. People also searched for 'rahul gandhi height in feet'.
Rahul Gandhi's 'marital status'
Besides his appearance, people were curious to know if the Congress leader is married. 'Rahul Gandhi married or single' and 'Rahul Gandhi unmarried' are the questions that people have about the political leader who initiated the Bharat Jodo Yatra, a mass movement to cover 3,570 kilometres over 150 days.
The searches for his marital status have been going up and down since September 15. The interest to know if he is married or not peaked on October 28 and November 18.
People who walked with Rahul Gandhi
Among several people who walked with Gandhi, netizens are most interested to know about actress Poonam Kaur who walked with the leader in Telangana. Pictures from the yatra showed Gandhi holding her hand as the two walked together. This had also attracted derogatory remarks by trolls on social media. However, the actress later said that Gandhi held her hand as she almost "slipped and toppled".
Kaur had to clarify after BJP's Priti Gandhi shared the picture on Twitter and wrote, "Following the footsteps of his great grandfather!!"
'Poonam Kaur' is the fourth most searched query for 'Rahul Gandhi' on Google. In related searches, people want to know about the actress's age, or just 'Rahul Gandhi and Poonam Kaur'. Most of these searches are coming from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and Chandigarh.
TV actress Rashami Desai and activist Medha Patkar who walked with Gandhi also made people curious. While Gandhi walked with other male activists and celebrities like Tushar Gandhi and Raghuram Rajan, none of their names featured on Google searches related to Gandhi.
Location and schedule
The Google search trends showed that people wanted to know where the Bharat Jodo Yatra was headed and wanted to keep up with its schedule. Two of the top search queries related to the Congress leader were 'rahul gandhi hyderabad' and 'rahul gandhi indore'. The yatra had passed through both locations in the last month.
People also searched for 'rahul gandhi bharat jodo yatra today schedule', 'rahul gandhi bharat jodo yatra live location'and 'rahul gandhi tomorrow schedule', trying to ascertain where the Bharat Jodo Yatra was headed at the time.
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