10 September 2022

Yatra Diary (Midday)


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri (Midday)


10 September 2022, 12PM: The Indian National Congress commenced the Day 3 of its Bharat Jodo Yatra with a 7AM flag hoisting at Mulagumoodu town panchayat in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. 

The flag raising was followed by a welcome ceremony for congress party leader and Member of Parliament, Rahul Gandhi, performed by primary school children at the St Mary’s International School. 

In the first half of the day the marchers travelled through Swamimardayam, on to a midday halt at the Nesamony Memorial Christian College in Marthandam, in the Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu.  The route of the march on both Swamimardayam and Marthandam was lined with Congress flags, banners and locals who were out on the streets to witness the procession.

The marchers included Member of Parliament Digvijay Singh, party General Secretary and Member of Parliament Jairam Ramesh, Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar, apart from national, state and local Congress party leaders and cadres.

Along his march, Rahul Gandhi continued to directly engage and interact with locals. He met the first lady bus driver in Asia, Vasanthakumari, 63. He had a brief interaction with sanitation workers in Marthandam. He also interacted with local unemployed youth who accompanied him part of the way. “*42% of our youth are unemployed. Is Bharat’s future secure if theirs isn’t? We walk for them all.

We walk for jobs.*” he said. 

He was accompanied by individuals such as Usaiah, 62, who has independently traveled hundreds of kilometres from his residence of Medpalli, Telangana to join the yatris. 

Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar, while talking about the yatra said, “While the objective of this yatra was to highlight social, economic and political inequity, it’s already more than that.  Walking along the roads we are actually connecting to local cultures, languages, architecture, even the local flora and fauna.  It’s a mass connect movement at a fundamental level”.

In the later half of the day the yatris will cross the state border into Kerala, this marking the end of the program in the state of Tamil Nadu. The day’s journey will end across the state border, in Cheruvarakonam, Kerala.

Starting on 7 September 2022, 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. The Congress Party has billed the Bharat Jodo Yatra as its biggest mass contact program since Independence.