By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)
“The country needs change and this unprecedented yatra will bring it”
17 September 2022: At an end of day public meeting in Cheppad, Kerala, Congress Leader and Member Of Parliament Rahul Gandhi, addressing a large crowd, stated that the nation was reeling under the impact of high prices and unemployment while the BJP government was focusing on frivolous issues. “On the one side you have two or three big businesses and on the other crores of people are unemployed”, he said “and the government systematically attacks small businesses, farmers and labourers”. He also thanked the highly charged crowd for “supporting the yatra, walking with this yatra and putting all your energy behind the idea of this yatra”
This was at the day’s culmination of the padyatra, that had recommenced earlier in the evening from GDM Auditorium in Kayamkulam.
The yatris continued to march with their usual energy and passion, supported by thousands of participants and those who came to watch.
Meanwhile we came across Shankar (28) Sabin (25) and Achu (33) who run a food joint together near Cheppad. They stated that they support the Bharat Jodo Yatra, because Rahul Gandhi speaks for youth, workers and is focused on increasing employment. They said that “the country needs change and this unprecedented yatra will bring it”
Earlier in the afternoon Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with youngsters on the issue of unemployment. He also engaged with special needs students of the Sabarmati Special School. Gandhi said he was very pleased to note the efforts the school and its teachers and staff were making to support the students, so that they too could realise their dreams and make a contribution to the nation. Gandhi stated that he had previously met special needs activists and had committed to raise their issues in Parliament.
In a response to a question in the meeting with youngsters, Gandhi stated that India had an unemployment issue because we have not become a producing nation, unlike China, Thailand or even Vietnam. While we had made advances in the software sector, this success hasn’t been replicated in most other fields. Also the rise of monopolies was anther factor behind the unemployment crisis.
Incidentally Cheppad, where today’s march ended, is the site to the St George Orthodox Church, an ancient Christian pilgrimage centre that is also home to 800 year-old murals or traditional paintings.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is presently in the state of Kerala. Over 19 days in the state, it will cover 7 districts over 450 kilometres, before it enters Karnataka on October 1. Today’s afternoon yatra commenced from GDM Auditorium and ended with a public meeting in Cheppad.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long padyatra from Kanyakumari in the South of India to Srinagar in the North. It is part of the party’s national mass outreach program aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.
Midday Travel Facts :
- Distance traveled this day (Source: Yatri Vaibhav Walia’s walking app): 24 Km/ 30,172 steps
- Route traveled/ major settlements: Kayamkulam – Cheppad – Haripad
- Current District Name – Alappuzha
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