By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
“It was a bitterly cold morning,” says Yatri Anulekha Boosa. “But still they were there”. The ‘they’ she is referring to were men, women and children of all ages who seem to be flocking to the #BharatJodoYatra in Rajasthan in large numbers despite the weather challenges.
And so it proved today as well. As the Yatris were transported to the starting point (a kilometre or so away from their place of overnight rest) they could see the people lining the road. And by the time they started their 14 kilometre walk from Dara Station to Mandana, a sizeable crowd had built up that accompanied them most of the way. Yatri Sushil Dhanak believes that the “crowds numbered in the tens of thousands.”
No wonder then, that Congress MP Jairam Ramesh called it the most encouraging (utsah janak) day in the state thus far. “I personally have never seen such a response in the morning so far,” he stated, referring to the crowds.
Most of the morning walk was on a highway cutting through rural country, fields of mustard greens on either side of the road. “There were maybe the one or two villages along the way”, says Dhanak.
The Yatris were accompanied this day by representatives from the Mazdoor Kisaan Shakti Sanghatan, and also domestic workers and other unorganized sector workers.
Tomorrow’s walk, incidentally, will be the single longest in the Padyatra so far – a stretch of 23 kilometres! “The Yatris will get through it,” says Dhanak. And we’re sure they will.
Currently in the state of Rajasthan, 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)
Midday Travel Facts
1. District name: Kota
2. Kota district is famous for its handcraft art (Kota Doria), fairs and festivals and architecture (Kansua Temple, Haveli of Devtaji, etc).
3. Kota is emerging as one of the biggest manufacturers of fertilizers in Asia.
4. Kota is also a hub for various educational coaching institutes for IIT-JEE and Medical Entrance Exams.