In this digital age, when political parties are taking the help of social media to connect with their voters, in that era the oldest party of the country, Congress is adopting the oldest method of deepening the relationship with the people. That is, the way to meet them by traveling and going to them. Now the question arises, are these trips better than social media campaigning? However, one thing that can be said without hesitation is that this country has seen many such journeys, which have created history.
Along with Congress, these parties also started journeys
Rahul Gandhi, along with several other Congress leaders, started the 3,570-km Kanyakumari-Kashmir ‘Bharat Jodo’ yatra last month. Two more yatras began on Sunday, including a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Jan Sampark Padyatra led by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and a 3,500-km-long padyatra by Bihar election strategist Prashant Kishor from Gandhi Ashram in West Champaran. Patnaik launched a mass outreach program on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti near the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneswar, calling upon BJD leaders and workers to work together for the development of Odisha.
Prashant Kishor and his supporters will try to reach every panchayat and block of Bihar during the yatra, which may take 12 to 15 months to complete. Kishor started the march from Bhitiharwa Gandhi Ashram, from where Mahatma Gandhi started his first Satyagraha movement in 1917. As the election strategist and his supporters began their “padayatra”, they were greeted by people along the way.
Former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar’s visit
Congress’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ entered its 25th day on Sunday and has reached Karnataka via Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Congress has said it is a “transformative moment” for Indian politics and a “decisive moment” for the party’s rejuvenation. In the year 1983, former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar started a foot march from Kanyakumari under the ‘Bharat Yatra’. The journey started on January 6, 1983 and reached New Delhi after six months. Although observers consider Chandrasekhar’s padyatra to be a largely successful event, the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi diminished its impact in the 1984 general election.
Rajiv Gandhi’s Journey
The then Prime Minister and Congress President Rajiv Gandhi had announced ‘Sandesh Yatra’ at the plenary session of AICC in Mumbai in 1985. All India Congress Seva Dal had run it all over the country. Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs) and party leaders made four simultaneous trips from Mumbai, Kashmir, Kanyakumari and the Northeast. The yatra, which lasted for more than three months, concluded at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan.
The Rath Yatra, led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani in 1990, was taken out to give impetus to the Ram temple movement. The yatra, which began in September 1990, was to cover a distance of 10,000 km and end on October 30 in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. It was stopped at Samastipur in northern Bihar and Advani was arrested. Several other yatras have been taken out by political parties such as the Ekta Yatra led by the then BJP President Murli Manohar Joshi in 1991, Congress leader YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s 1,400 km padyatra in April 2003, Advani’s ‘Bharat Uday’ yatra in 2004. In which the achievements of the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s six-year rule were highlighted.
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