16 September 2022

Yatra Diary (Midday)


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

(With inputs from Gaurav Pandhi)


Ajay VB (24) & Sachin V (23) with friends, Kollam

16 September 2022, 12PM: After a day of rest on the 15th, the Bharat Jodo Yatra commenced with a flag raising ceremony at the camp site in Pallimukku, Kollam. Post that, the padyatris started their march from Polayathodu junction, Kollam.

Kollam residents turned out in large numbers to welcome and cheer on the marchers. An ancient trading town with ties to Roman, Chinese and Arabic civilisations, today called the southern gateway to the Kerala backwaters, Kollam is also known for the Malayalam Calendar, Kollavarsham, that was was created in the city. 

While the previous day (15th) the yatris had taken the opportunity for contemplation and rest, today’s yatra commenced with the same sense of fervour, anticipation and excitement as before. Locals Ajay VB (24) & Sachin V (23) said that “We are here as concerned citizens to show support for the the Yatra and it’s fight for social, cultural and economic justice”. They also stated that India needs a movement like the Yatra to to bring people together. A similar enthusiasm and energy could be seen in Rupesh from Haldwani, Uttarakhand who had settled in Kollam, and who with his small business staff had been waiting since 7AM just to catch a glimpse of the yatra and Congress leaders.

Accompanying Congress MP Rahul Gandhi were Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, VD Satheesan (CLP), Rajendra Prasad (District Congress Committee President) and a number of state MPs and MLAs.

Along the route Gandhi stopped at a tea shop to engage with the locals. He also met Swiggy workers who walked alongside part of the way. In another incident a group of school children inside buses on their way to school were chanting his name.  Gandhi approached the buses & to the utter delight of the students, entered one to meet those on board.

Today’s journey till midday, told from another perspective- Bharat Yatra Samrat Keshri Jena’s app!

The marchers arrived for their midday break at Neendakara, Kollam. In the afternoon there are planned interactions with a number of groups including cashew workers, cashew entrepreneurs, trade union and leaders of RSP & Forward Block.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra is presently in the state of Kerala. Over 19 days in the state, it will cover 7 districts and over 450 kilometres, before it enters 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.