By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
From the size of the waiting crowds in Yemminagur town and the enthusiastic reception they gave this morning to the #BharatJodoYatra, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Congress party was in power in Andhra Pradesh. The lines of people on either side of the roads seemed unending. It spoke to the popular appeal of the yatra that thousands turned out today in Andhra Pradesh at a time when the party has been at its weakest in the state.
But that could be changing. Mohan and his son Dharmik Raj were part of the crowd; Mohan said he was apolitical, but had come because he “wanted see the marchers and Rahul Gandhi.”
Others were encouraging about the concept of the Yatra. Nagesh, also waiting by the road side, the “Yatra is a wonderful idea, but the Congress needs to do more in the state.” We plan to do exactly that, Mr Nagesh, not just in Andhra but all across India.
For now it was an incredible environment with thousands of excited watchers and participants, with drums beating and music playing.
But the underlying serious issues that define this yatra remain just as important. Yatri Yogesh Meena met on the road a group of women who said that “The position of women, be it social or economic, had worsened in their state.”
The Yatris started from Banavasi at 6AM, an earlier than usual start, and walked around 9 kilometres in mostly pleasant conditions, arriving at Mugati for their midday rest.
In the afternoon Congress MP will meet with individuals impacted by employment issues. These include unemployed youth, and also employees of the Vizag steel plant and the Life Insurance Corporation.
Currently in the state of Andhra 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)
Midday Travel Facts
1. Current District Name – Kurnool
2. The struggle for liberation against the Britishers in Kurnool goes back to the 1800s. Leaders like Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy, Muthukukr Gowdappa and Nawab Rasool Khan, the last Nawab of Kurnool fought against the British East India Company
3. The district is known for the Kurnool Circular issued by the Kurnool District Congress Committee during the Quit India Movement,1942. Since leadership was preemptively arrested by the British. the Kurnool circular served as a guiding pathway for the people during the movement.
4. Kurnool city, the district headquarters, is referred to as the Gateway of Rayalaseema.