19 November 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary (Midday) : 19 November 2022


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

The 73rd day in the road for the #BharatJodoYatra was also the 105th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi. To commemorate the occasion, only women walked alongside Congress MP Rahul Gandhi.

It was a roughly 14 kilometres walk mostly on the the Shegaon – Kherda – Jalamb axis through a rural landscape. The start of the day was headlined by Bharat Yatri Vaishnavi Gurudatt Bhardwaj who was the chief guest at the daily Seva Dal led flag hoisting ceremony. Bharadwaj at 24, is also the youngest Bharat Yatri.

Bharat Yatri Vaishnavi Bhardwaj, 24 (the youngest Yatri) was the chief guest at today’s Seva Dal led flag hoisting ceremony.

The journey was remarkable for the numbers and frequency of individual and groups women and girls lined all along the way. Very early in the morning, while still dark, we met Asha and Aanganwadi workers who had lined up to highlight their work and pay conditions. And not fifty metres ahead we came across Manda Lhase, Pratiksha Lhase, Surekha Patil and Meeta who had come to “see the Yatra and Rahul Gandhi”.

From the left: Surekha Patil, Manda Lhase, Meeta and Pratiksha Lhase got up early to watch the Yatra.

Kherda village was a scene of much excitement as the Yatra passed through. What struck us however was Priyanka who was making a rangoli outside her home. She wasn’t from the Congress but just wanted to make the Yatris feel welcome.

Priyanka, Left, is making a Rangoli to welcome the Yatris.

It’s hard to say whether llittle Abira, 3, a few kilometres ahead had the same idea in mind. But we’re sure she was having a good time on her horse!

We’re quite sure Abira, 3, is having a good time on her horse.

Whether it were the Yatris walking alongside with Rahul Gandhi, or the large groups of girl students lined up at various points along the way, or women’s groups, today was a day to celebrate all women.

On the afternoon there are two interactions – one with Bahujan thought leaders and the other with the Maharashtra Youth Conclave.

We would be remiss not to highlight yesterday evening’s massive public meeting in Shegaon. A testament to the deep roots of the INC in Maharashtra, and the organisational capabilities of the OCC, the pictures speak for themselves.

Currently in the state of Maharashtra, 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. Buldhana district is the site of the Shri Gajanan Maharaj Temple, which is a major religious and tourist attraction (Anand Sagar – developed by the Temple trust reportedly at a cost of Rs 300 crores).
2. Lonar Crater Lake, located in Buldhana, is the second largest impact crater in basaltic rock in the world.