The Congress’ Kanyakumari-to-Kashmir Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi will enter Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, where he will be visiting religious centres and the birth places of Dr BR Ambedkar and tribal icon Tantya Bhil, besides offering prayers at Narmada, said leaders aware of the development.
Congress general secretary and Rahul’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, will join him on the yatra for the first time on Wednesday and will remain part of it for four days.
The yatra will cover 382 kms in the state and it comes a year ahead of the assembly elections, slated for December 2023.
“Every day (of the the yatra) is dedicated to a particular theme such as respect to farmers, women, labour, martyrs, tribue to Covid-19 victims and unemployment day,” said Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath.
During the Yatra, Rahul Gandhi will visit a gurudwara and Omkareshwar temple in Khandwa, Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain and Goddess Bagulamukhi temple in Agar Malwa. He will also perform special pooja with chanting of vedic mantras of the river Narmada and Shipra, Nath said.Gandhi will also visit the temple of Jain Swami Prayagji Maharaj in Ujjain. In India, the fourth highest Jain population are from MP.
He will also pay floral tribute at Bhimjanmbhoomi, birth place of Dr BR Ambedkar. He will be visiting Pandhana in Khandwa district, birth place of Tantya Bhil. Bhils are considered as an important vote bank in western MP, where most of them live.
Madhya Pradesh Youth Congress president Vikrant Bhuria said, “In MP, Rahul Gandhiji will spend a lot of time at tribal villages. He will address tribal population and also unemployed youth in Khandwa and Indore.”
Around 1,500 social cultural and regional organisations will join the yatra, said Jitu Patwari, Congress MLA from Rau, Indore. As the Narmada Bachao Andolan has already joined the yatra, those displaced by different dams will meet Gandhi in Khandwa and Khargone.
“Rahul Gandhiji is on a mission to remove hatred from our country without any other agenda. His visit to temples or any other famous places is a matter of faith only. People are so excited to join him. The 17 sub-yatras which are going on in Madhya Pradesh will join Bharat Jodo Yatra in different cities. This yatra will boost the confidence of the party workers and will increase the faith of people who are being misguided by the ruling party,” said Patwari.
A special song written by Gulzar and sung by Vishal Shekhar will be released in Indore. The yatra will also be joined by religious story narrator Pandit Pradeep Mishra, who recently gained popularity for attacking the state government on many issues in Ujjain.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched a Kranti Veer Jananayak Tantya Bhil Gaurav Yatra in all tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh. Senior BJP leaders have said that the purpose of the yatra is to popularise the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) (PESA) Act and to thank the state government for its enactment. However, it has also been seen as an attempt by the BJP to counter the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra. Gaurav Yatra will be concluded on December 4 in Pandhana. A function was organised on Sunday in Kukshi Dhar to start the yatras.
BJP state president VD Sharma said, “More than Bharat Jodo yatra, people are excited about the Gaurav Yatra. Rahul Gandhiji is not a mass leader and he should accept this fact. The yatra is just a formality. People, who were cheated for 50-60 years, will not trust the Congress which doesn’t have their own ideology. Visiting temples, Gurudwara and pooja will not help Rahul, who belongs to the Tukde-Tukde gang.”