Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
The afternoon heat didn’t relent, but that did not prevent the #BharatJodoYatra from starting with a bang. “Despite the hot weather there were still large crowds present to cheer us on,” marvelled Pradeep Ror, Bharat Yatri.
Even the dust clouds thrown up by hundreds of marching weren’t a deterrent. The broken roads (if one can call them roads) were yet another indicator of the BJP government’s years of misrule. In fact, so bad have the highways been, that many Yatris have taken to wearing face masks for protection from the dust. Even Party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was seen wearing one.
At Baswa village along the way the Yatris found a large number of locals waiting for them. “Listening to them and after sharing their excitement, it felt that they numbered in the thousands” says Yatri Yogesh Meena.
We came across Rekha and her daughter Pari. Rekha told us that she had “left all work at home” to see the Yatra.
The Yatris traveled around 10 kilometres to their evening destination of Sanawad town, which bore a festive look in the evening with posters, flags and massive banners; with people clustered in the streets waiting to welcome the Bharat Yatris. Meanwhile there was Surendra and his son Harpit who had come because the latter insisted he wanted to see Rahul Gandhi. We do hope Harpit had the opportunity.
Speaking at a press conference earlier in tne afternoon, Congress Leader Kanhaiya Kumar said that there was an obvious “political attempt to divide the people of India, to spread hatred and fear among them.”. The Bharat Jodo Yatra’s key objectives are to combat all kinds of divisiveness – social, religious or economic. He went on to add that “the youth feel that they cannot secure employment under present circumstances and hence they are reaching out to Rahul Gandhi.”
Also in the afternoon, as has been the pattern in the Yatra, Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with displaced people from across Madhya Pradesh. In the evening Gandhi paid a visit to the Omkareshwar temple which is one of the 12 jyothirlingas across India. He had been preceded by a number of Bharat Yatris who had taken advantage of proximity and their midday rest to make a visit.
Currently in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long Padyatra from Kanyakumari in 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)
End of Day Travel Facts
1. District name: Khargone
2. Khargone district is one of India’s biggest cotton-producing regions.
3. The other major cash crops of the the district soybean and chilli.
4. Khargone city ranked 10th Cleanest city in India in Swachh Survekshan 2020.
5. It is also known for Navgraha Mandir, a temple devoted to the nine planets.
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