Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
“Stronger every day” came the tweet from the #BharatJodoYatra Twitter account, “80 days and counting!”
As to what that means on the ground, you only have to speak to Yatri Pramod Sehwag. “It was a wonderful, wonderful day,” he says, referring to yesterday’s events. “In the morning there was a large crowd turnout on the roads, men, women and children. And in the evening there was a massive public rally.”
Indeed the Yatra is attracting large crowd participation wherever it is going. Large or small crowds all along the journey, occasional folk music and dances, party cadre and local groups gathered on raised platforms (pandals) by the road side – these are some themes emerging from Madhya Pradesh as the Yatra goes by. But the intensity of participation and interest in the Yatra remains undiminished regardless of the day, district or weather conditions.
The morning walk commenced at Sanwer and ended around 13 kilometres away at Ninora, Ujjain. During the morning walk the Yatris were joined by members of the regional Goa Forward Party president Vijay Sardesai and General Secretary Durgesh Kamat. “Their participation is clear indication that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is becoming a common platform for all parties in the fight against the destructive and hate filled policies of the BJP/RSS” says Yatri Lalit Farswan.
The Yatris were also joined by members of the Beedi workers union, and also the National Educated Youth Union. In addition four student representatives from medical and nursing colleges also walked with Rahul Gandhi. The latter group were protesting the arbitrary appointments in medical colleges in the state
In the afternoon Congress MP Rahul Gandhi paid a visit to the Digamber Jain Siddha Kshetra Shri Mahavir Tapobhumi. This was followed by a darshan of the Mahakaleshwar temple.
The evening also saw a massive public rally at Samajik Nyay Parisar. Speaking to a capacity crowd Rahul Gandhi queried as to why in India “tapasvis were not being respected. Whoever is a tapasvi gets nothing from the central government, but whoever worships Narendra Modi gets everything”. He also added that while on the Yatra “I have shaken the hands of thousands of farmers, and they ask me – we do tapasya for this country, so why don’t we get the fruits of our labour?”
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.
(Note: There was no evening walk for the Yatris yesterday; it was replaced by the public rally. Therefore yesterday’s events have been recounted in a single diary entry for the day. Thus there was no morning diary.)
Ground research: Aparna Ashwarya (INC Communications Department research team)
End of Day Travel Facts
1. District names: Ujjain
2. Ujjain district is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India. The famous Mahakaleshwar temple is located in Ujjain city and has one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India.
3. Another important site is Ram-Janardan Mandir.
4. Great works on astronomy such as the Surya Siddhanta and the Panch Siddhanta were written in Ujjain.
5. Ujjain district is home to Ujjain town, one of the Hindu pilgrimage centres famous for the Kumbh mela.
6. The district has one of the largest viscose staple fiber manufacturers in Asia.
7. The city is the birthplace of great national poet Kavi Pradeep.
Tweet of the day