18 September 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary
(End of Day)


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)

“People are giving us yatris the same love as Rahul Gandhi”

18 September 2022: A massive crowd – estimated as running into the tens of thousands – accompanied the Bharat Yatris today as they marched through a region rich in culture and history. Haripad where the marchers commenced their journey is an area of snake boats, music, dance and drama. It is also known for being one of the major rice producing regions in India. And Punnapra where they ended their day has gone down in history for the famous Punnapra-Vayalar Uprising, a series of struggles by industrial workers against the Travancore state.

In the last couple days Congress leaders have been meeting with local students. “A country that’s growing fast but isn’t creating jobs, this is a strange thing” Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi told a group of college students during an interaction organised during the midday rest period of the #BharatJodoYatra yesterday. The students were expressing concern with unemployment rates being the highest in 45 years.

“I don’t have a problem with brain drain if we give our youngsters a choice and then they go”, Gandhi added, “But today they’re going because their skills are not being utilised”. The discussion brought to the forefront one of the reasons that the yatris are marching – complete apathy by the BJP towards increasing, even historically high, unemployment, while making claims of economic growth.

During the afternoon rest period Congress leaders also met with farmers from Kuttanad, Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta.

Post their midday break at Karuvatta, the Padyatra resumed from Purakkad to complete the day’s journey at Vandanam. Bharat Yatri Jhabar Sherawat from Rajasthan described his journey as “An incredible experience. People are giving us yatris the same love as Rahul Gandhi. They refuse to accept money from us when we go to a tea stall or try and buy nimbu paani”

At an end of day corner meeting at Vandanam, Alappuzha, Gandhi said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra was an attempt to bring India together, an India that has “been divided by the BJP and RSS along religious, caste and language lines”

The padyatris will halt for the night at Carmel College of Engineering & Technology, Aravukadu, Punnapra.

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 commences in Karnataka on October 1.

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.

(Local area research by Aparna Ashwarya, INC Communications Department)

End of Day Travel Facts:

  • Distance traveled this day (Source: Yatri Samrat Jena’s walking app): 24.3 Km/ 31,000 steps
  • Route traveled/ major settlements: Haripad – Thottapally- Karuvutta – Purakkad – Vandanam
  • Current District Name – Alappuzha

Tweet of the day:

Video of the day: