By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri (End of Day)
10 September 2022, 12PM: The Indian National Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra completed today’s journey on a high note, arriving in the evening at the Samuel LMS Higher-secondary school, Cheruvarakonam, Parassala, Trivandrum
The end of day also marked the successful completion of the yatra in the state of Tamil Nadu over four days, and its arrival in Kerala.
Congress party leader and MP Rahul Gandhi held a series of engagements and interactions through the day.
In the morning he had met with Asia’s first lady bus driver, and walked with unemployed youth. Later in the afternoon, at the Nesamony Memorial College in Marthandam, Tamil Nadu he met with MGNREGA workers, fisherwomen and specially abled rights activists.
The specially abled rights activists recognised Rahul Gandhi’s key role in spearheading the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, that was passed as an Act in 2016. The meeting with the fisherwomen happened in a chaupal-like environment, with a free exchange of ideas.
The yatris were given a warm welcome and an equally rousing send off by the residents of Marthandam who had lined the streets for them. “I have been waiting to catch a glimpse of Rahul,” said Jennifer, 26. “He’s my favourite politician. My cousins are also waiting for him a few kilometres from here”. Others like Jagdish, 72, were waiting In line with his granddaughter, Mobisha, 2, to offer a rose to Rahul Gandhi. All the towns in the route of Yatra witness people lined up on streets and terraces, eager to catch a glimpse of the yatris and their leaders, including Gandhi.
Meanwhile Congress workers continue to join the Yatris in other numbers. Arul Prakasam and Prakash are just two examples – they have travelled 700 kilometres from Ranipet district just to catch a glimpse of their “favourite leader”
Near the border of Kerala, at Kalikavila, Rahul Gandhi had an impromptu meeting with the owner of a tea stall, Jaikumar. Jaikumar has two unemployed children, and says he finds it hard to survive on a monthly earning of Rs10,000-12,000. He was also pleasantly surprised when Gandhi paid the bill, because of his impression that politicians usually don’t pay for anything!
Later, at a public meeting at the border of Kerala, Rahul Gandhi thanked the people of Tamil Nadu for their support. “There are people and organisations that are trying to divide the people of india on religious, language, caste and state lines. This Country belongs to everyone”.
Along the way he was met by girl students who had come to raise issues about Education. Upon their asking if they could join the yatra, he replied “Everyone can join”.
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