By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)
Today was an amazing day. At times it seemed to us that all of Kochi was on the road to give us company
It was in front of a capacity crowd at the Paravoor junction, Aluva that Congress leaders including Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi concluded the day’s #BharatJodoYatra. Gandhi spoke of the plight of ordinary workers, farmers, small businessmen who were struggling. “The country is in a crisis of high prices and unemployment”. He also spoke of the plight of the country’s youth “Every single youngster I meet either doesn’t have a job, or isn’t happy with the job he has.”
Clearly emphasising its ever increasing popularity the Bharat Jodo Yatra attracted record crowds this evening. So much so, that there was a jam packed, 6 to 7 kilometres long line that extended all the way from where the padyatra resumed this afternoon, from Kalamasherry municipal office, to where it ended 9.6 kilometres later at Paravoor junction, Aluva.
India may not have Kings or Queens any more, but the Bharat Jodo Yatris march this afternoon wove a path through the tapestry of India’s ancient and rich regal tradition. In the afternoon they rested at Edappally – a name that in Malayalam literally translates as “the place or palace where the kings used to take rest. And in later on the evening they finished their day’s march at Aluva, part of the erstwhile Kingdom of Travancore and was the official residence of the royal family.
In the afternoon Congress leaders had a packed itinerary. Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi met a few leaders from Kochi’s business, art and social communities. It was a free ranging discussion, covering subjects such as the misuse of democratic institutions by the Modi government, and the relevance of #BharatJodoYatra in an increasingly divisive India.
In a second meeting, young professionals apprised the Congress leadership about their challenges; in turn they were informed about how the issues of youth, professionals and businesses are a key objective of this yatra.
Finally, underlining the Yatra’s principles of inclusiveness, there was an interaction with Kochi’s transgender community, where the community spoke about their challenges and the way forward.
Clearly buoyed by the unexpectedly overwhelming response to the #BharatJodoYatra, the Congress party is already planning to replicate it elsewhere.
At a press conference in the afternoon, party General Secretary and Member of Parliament Jairam Ramesh said that the Congress was planning “Similar Bharat Jodo Yatras in Bihar, Jharkhand and UP”
“Today was an amazing day” said Yatri Shatrughan Sharma “At times it seemed that all of Kochi was on the road to give us company”
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
- Route traveled/ major settlements: Madavana Junction- Edappally- Aluva
- Edappally is a major commercial and residential region in the city of Kochi, Kerala. Being the commercial hub, it is one of the busiest junctions in Kerala
- Aluva is a constituency in the Kerala Legislative Assembly is represented by a Congress MLA. It is part of the Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency, also represented by a Congress MP.
Tweet of the day: