Bharat Jodo Yatra: Why is Rahul Gandhi spending 18 days in Kerala, handful in UP, and skipping Gujarat?


It’s been less than a week since Rahul Gandhi kicked off Congress’s historic Bharat Jodo Yatra and it’s already facing flak from rival parties. First, it was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and now it is the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The party is upset that the Congress MP will spend more time in Left-ruled Kerala than in Uttar Pradesh where the BJP is in power.

Also read: Life on Wheels: Inside the containers where Rahul Gandhi, other Congress leaders sleep during Bharat Jodo Yatra

How many days will Rahul Gandhi spend in Kerala?

Kerala is part of the second leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which started in Tamil Nadu. Gandhi, who is the MP from the state’s Wayanad district, will spend 18 days in Kerala. He will spend around two days in Uttar Pradesh.

Why is the CPM upset?

The CPM, which is in power in Kerala, tweeted a caricature of Rahul Gandhi with a text saying that spending 18 days in Kerala and two in UP was a “strange way to fight BJP-RSS”.

“Bharat Jodo or Seat Jodo,” the party tweeted from its official handle.

According to senior Kerala CPM leader M V Jayarajan, the time spent by Rahul in various states showed that the Congress was not ready to take on the BJP, reports The Indian Express. “Rahul considers the Left as the main opponent. He and his party are running away from taking the Sangh Parivar challenge. He can’t see BJP as the main opponent. Congress cannot fight the policies of BJP,’’ he said.

Is the CPM allegation correct?

According to the report, Congress’ schedule has been altered. Now Gandhi will be spending five days in Uttar Pradesh as against the earlier two. Sources said that the change was made before the CPM criticised the Congress party over the yatra schedule.

What is Congress’s defence?

The CPM remark prompted a strong response from Congress which derided the Left as the “A team” of the BJP in the southern state.

Responding to the tweet, Jairam Ramesh, Congress general secretary in charge of communications, said, “Do your homework better on how and why yatra was planned the way it is. And silly criticism from a party that is the A team of BJP in the land of MunduModi.”

The Mundu Modi potshot was aimed at Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The Kerala Congress has attacked Vijayan before, calling him a mundu-wearing version of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Is spending more days in Kerala the only concern?

The CPM’s criticism has brought attention to Rahul Gandhi’s 150-day Bharat Jodo itinerary.

He will reportedly spend the most number of days – 21 – in Rajasthan and Karnataka, which will go to polls next year. The yatra will spend 13 days in Telangana, 16 days each in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, two days in Delhi, 12 days in Haryana, and 11 days in Punjab before it reaches Jammu and Kashmir.

There has been speculation that the days of the yatra were decided with the upcoming state elections in mind. However, Congress says that the elections are not taken into account. The yatra will not go to Gujarat, where Assembly elections are scheduled for the end of 2022 and Chhattisgarh, where polls are due next year.

Why is Gujarat excluded?

According to the planners of the yatra, it was logistically not possible to include Gujarat. This would have added to the duration of the campaign stretching over 3,500 km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

However, reports suggest that the party is divided over Gujarat’s exclusion. Many leaders wanted the poll-bound state included in the yatra.

“Several leaders from Gujarat have left the party. AAP is also making its presence felt in the state. The yatra would have given a huge boost to the party. It is shocking that the leaders who were planning this yatra did not take this into account,” a Congress leader told Deccan Chronicle.

Leaders from Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh had requested the organisers of the yatra to include both the states due for elections in the campaign. The yatra also skips most of the northeastern states.

How is the yatra schedule decided?

The days spent in every state are decided on the length of the route, security and topography, according to a report in The Indian Express. “We started from Tamil Nadu and we need to cross Kerala to enter Karnataka. We walk approximately 20 to 22 km every day. So it will take 18-19 days to reach Karnataka,” he told the newspaper.

Last week, Gandhi addressed the question of the yatra spending more in some states compared to others. “I don’t think we are spending any more time in any state. We have discussed it and I think we are giving similar time to all states,” he told reporters.

With inputs from agencies

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Bharat Jodo Yatra: Why is Rahul Gandhi spending 18 days in Kerala, handful in UP, and skipping Gujarat?
Bharat Jodo Yatra: Why is Rahul Gandhi spending 18 days in Kerala, handful in UP, and skipping Gujarat?
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