New Delhi: One of the touted claims of Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi was to unit opposition against Modi. Not long ago, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had said that people of India would see a meeting in Srinagar on January 30 which would discuss the next course of action in the context of 2024 elections. But nothing of that sort happened.
People could only see the brother-sister duo’s fun snowball fight in Srinagar. The real fight was missing. The very purpose of Bharat Jodo Yatra fell flat. Even, a photo-op of clenching of hands, showcasing opposition unity in a dramatic show of support was missing. The hard labour of the Congress to showcase Rahul Gandhi as a legitimate unanimous face of the Opposition in 2024 elections, came a cropper.
Old friends were missing
Old Congress friends Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar gave a total miss to the Gandhi scion’s show, including the last day of the yatra in Srinagar. As many as 15 opposition parties out of the 23 invited, kept a safe distance. Remaining eight parties attended the Srinagar event. DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, CPI general secretary D Raja, the National Conference’s Omar Abdullah, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, RSP’s NK Premachandran and the IUML’s K Navas Kani were present and also there were representatives of the JMM and the VCK.
I have killed Rahul Gandhi
The yatra had its unsavoury episodes vis-à-vis a few statements from Rahul Gandhi, which were, perhaps, to ventilate his intention towards an image makeover. The most striking comment was this: “Rahul Gandhi is in your head. I have killed him. He does not exist anymore. Rahul Gandhi is not in my mind. He is gone. Gone. The person you are seeing is not Rahul Gandhi.”
Surprisingly, the Bharat Jodo protagonist Rahul Gandhi had stayed away during Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections. Perceptibly, his party wanted to measure if it can register victories and claim the results as masterstroke. Instead, BJP registered a record-breaking victory in Gujarat where Congress had fought brilliantly in 2017 assembly elections. Himachal win was also attributed to local factors and the tradition that the electorates in this state throw out every ruling party after five years.
Controversies in Yatra
There was another twist in the tale. Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan walked with Rahul Gandhi in the yatra, and thereafter the hit jobs of BBC documentary on PM Narendra Modi and Hindenburg-Adani episode took place.
In November, Rahul Gandhi made a few controversial speeches. He criticised Veer Savarkar during the Maharashtra leg of the yatra. On November 15, 2022, he claimed that the freedom fighter took a pension from the British. Two days later, he reiterated that Veer Savarkar helped the British Government and wrote mercy petitions “out of fear”.