Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has on Friday reportedly cancelled his walk as part of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ for the day after it entered Kashmir Valley with the party alleging a security lapse. The 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' will conclude on January 30, 2023 in Kashmir. Rahul Gandhi has been walking since September 7, 2022.
By the time the yatra comes to an end, he would have walked for nearly five months, starting from Kanyakumari and passing through many states, gathering enthusiastic crowds along the way. It is learnt that he often covered over 20 kilometres a day ignoring warnings of Covid-19 infections because of the crowds. During the yatra Rahul Gandhi was joined by the young and the old, the rich and famous and by poor people and the common man. Walking together with people and taking them along is in itself an important task.
Add to that his youth and energy, which connects with a young country. His effort was not likely to end the problems of the Congress and whether the support he got during the walk will convert into votes remains to be seen. But one thing is certain. The Yatra has once and for all ended the whole ‘Pappu’ narrative.
Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan who joined the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan in December said that Rahul Gandhi is no way a “Pappu”, that he is a smart, young and curious man and that the image is unfortunate. He was portrayed as the Gandhi scion who was clueless, especially when it came to politics, but owed his position only because of the dynasty.
This was probably because the Congress had done poorly in two general elections and in many state elections. Even after doing well the Congress party lost its MLAs to the ruling dispensation as was the case in Goa. The Yatra has transformed his image into someone who has something different to offer, a vision centred around harmony.
At the same time, it has refurbished the Congress’s credentials as a party of national unity upholding the values of pluralism. One cannot expect Rahul Gandhi to create miracles in the elections. Since he is not the president of the Congress party the responsibility of elections is now not on his shoulders.