By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri
(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)
“I thought demonetisation would benefit the nation, but it was the opposite. My business never recovered from the impact”.
On a day that saw massive crowds early in the morning – lines stretching 2 plus kilometres – we will first focus on a single individual who highlights one of the many reasons the Bharat Jodo Yatra is gaining so much mass popularity.
We met Vinayak, 48, who runs a small electrical shop in Kochi. Vinayak spoke movingly of how he “once supported demonetisation, but soon realised that it only concentrated money in the hands of a few corrupt people”. Vinayak says he endured the long wait in queues to get currency to feed his family because he thought “demonetisation would benefit the nation, but it was the opposite. My business never recovered from the impact”. He was very excited to see the Yatra passing by and believed it would make a significant positive contribution.
The day started with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi paying floral tributes to iconic spiritual and social reform personality, Sree Narayana Guru. Sree Narayan Guru embodies the ideas of social justice, freedom and non-violence; beliefs that are completely in sync with the ideas behind the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
For a part of the journey we were joined by environmental activist, politician and writer C.R. Neelakandan who walked with the Yatris as a show of support.
Earlier this morning, the padyatris commenced their morning march from Madavana Junction, travelling 13 kilometres to arrive at Edappally. The yatra passed mostly through an urban landscape of Kochi city. Yatris were accompanied by Congress leader Sachin Pilot who rejoined the yatra this morning. Today also marked the yatra crossing over from Alappuzha to Ernakulam district.
This afternoon has a full schedule lined up including interactions with personalities from Kochi’s social, business and art sector – at Njalakam Jama- Ath Convention Centre. Representatives of Kochi’s IT sector, Kochi’s transgender community, and Kerala Congress Joseph leaders will be present.
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.
Source for ground research: Aparna Ashwarya (INC Communications Department research team)
Midday Travel Facts
1. Route traveled/ major settlements: Madavana Junction, – Edappally
2. Current District Name – Ernakulam