By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
As farewells go it was hard to beat. The #BharatJodoYatra spent its last day in the great state of Rajasthan in a blaze of glory. Whether it was the volume of crowds, the enthusiasm of the participants or the festival like atmosphere with people, singers, dancers and musician all along the route, it was a spectacular send off to the Yatris.
In the morning session the Yatris walked almost 17 kilometres from Kati Ghati Park to their midday break at Lohia ka Tijara. The large portion of the journey was through Alwar town, and the streets seemed to come alive!
Yatri Ashika Kujur was amazed at the reception. “It’s incredible that we find people waiting for us from 4AM in the morning,” she said, “Children and youth especially.” She added “You cannot just force this crowd to come see you day after day. This is evidence of the success of the Yatra.”
She’s absolutely correct. An example would be – Hridyaksh has been waiting in the early morning cold with his mother; he was half sleepy but determined to catch a glimpse of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. Or Kartik who was there with his father with the same objective.
For Yatris Satyam Thakur what stood out were the raised platforms adjoining and overlooking road that the Yatris marched on, one every five hundred metres or so. “We saw kids playing karate, kids dancing, Pandits chanting bhajans, Nuns from a convent, Shiv ki baraat dancers, part workers with garlands, people dressed up as warriors, it never seems to end.” Thakur went on to add “I’ve never seen so many welcome groups and performers in one stretch since we started from Kanyakumari.” Rajasthan, it seems never fails to surprise us.
In the morning session the Yatris were accompanied by Principal Economic Advisor to the Government of Rajasthan, Arvind Mayaram; and his wife, historian and philosopher, Shail Mayaram.
At noon there was a press conference headlined by chief minister Ashok Gehlot and MP Jairam Ramesh. Speaking to the press Ramesh stated that the “Impact of the Yatra is being felt by the BJP government.” Gehlot stated that the Yatra “had shaken the BJP government and PM Modi and Amit Shah were afraid (of it’s impact).”
In the afternoon, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had two interactions. One was on the impact of mining in Aravali, while the other dealt with Art, Culture & History of Mewat.
In the evening session the Yatris walked around 8 kilometres to their ending point at Ramgarh. The occasion was made memorable by the fact that chief minister Ashok Gehlot carried the national flag for the jhanda tukri, the Congress Seva Dal team that leads the entire yatra. Along the way we also met little Namisha with her parents, decked out in national colours and wearing an “I Love My India” cap. “She has been pestering us to come see the Yatra for days now,” her parents told us, “and so we brought her here.” When we last saw her, Namisha seemed to be having a great time!
Currently in the state of Rajasthan, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long Padyatra from Kanyakumari in india the South of India to Kashmir up in the North. It is part of the party’s national mass outreach program aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.
Ground research: Aparna Ashwarya (INC Communications Department research team)
1. District name: Alwar
2. The district is also one of the major tourist hubs of Rajasthan.
3. Sariska Tiger Reserve, a national park that is home to tigers, sambhar, chitals is located in the district.
4. The city of Alwar is believed to be the place where Pandavas lived their year in hidden exile.
5. Alwar is known for its arts and architecture examples of which include Alwar City Palace, Fateh Jung Gumbad and the so called haunted Bhangarh fort.
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