By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)
While temperatures rose a little today, the Bharat Jodo Yatris walked a picturesque route for most of the time, right alongside the sea line, with the now daily complement of beating drums, dances, roadside flags and cheering crowds along the way.
The march began at 6:30 am from Taluk Head Quarters Hospital, Haripad; as an aside the marchers had to commence their journey at an earlier time than the first few days. The previous day had ended with the tracing of another landmark – over 10 days Bharat Yatris had walked just over 200 kilometres.
We spoke to Yatri Roshan Lal Bittu, 29, from Maharastra who said that the yatra has been “a thrilling experience with amazing exposure to different cultures, languages and people”. Bittu said he was nearby when Rahul Gandhi tied a girl’s sandals. “No one saw the untied sandal, not even the father,” Bittu said, “All eyes were on Rahul Gandhi, but his eyes were on that little girl. He’s an amazing man.”
After traveling a distance of around 13 kilometres, the yatris took their midday break at the Sree Kuruttu Bhagavathi Temple in Ottappana. Other Congress leaders included K C Venugopal, MP, and Kerala Leader of Opposition, V D Satheesan.
In the morning while on the move, we met Ashraf (48) a vegetable vendor in Thoattappally village. Ashraf said that he supports the #BharatJodoYatra since it is raising the issue of rising prices. He said that due to unchecked price increases his sales have fallen; at the same time people’s incomes have also declined and reduced purchasing power.
In the afternoon, Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi will meet with farmers from Kuttanad and the neighbouring district.
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.
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