Editorial: Another Rahul roadshow; challenges galore

Editorial: Another Rahul roadshow; challenges galore

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Monday, January 15, 2024, 09:21 PM IST
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The next few weeks will see the Congress yatra trying to connect to people | File Photo

Rahul Gandhi has embarked on his Bharat Jodo Yatra 2.0 at a time when the I.N.D.I.A alliance faces an uncertain future and the Congress party itself is up against many challenges. The Manipur to Mumbai Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, which has begun only months ahead of the big general election of 2024, will traverse 15 states and spend several days in Uttar Pradesh covering key Lok Sabha constituencies such as Amethi, Rae Bareli and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Varanasi. It aims to highlight the alleged political, economic and social injustices the people of India are facing. The earlier version of the yatra, when Rahul Gandhi traversed 3,000km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, saw a resounding response but it failed to have any impact on electoral outcomes as is evident from the Congress party’s poor performance in recent elections in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The yatra which will continue till March comes at a time when the Opposition I.N.D.I.A bloc is struggling to put together a coherent strategy to take on the mighty BJP poll machinery. Though there seems to be some sort of consensus on Mallikarjun Kharge as chairperson of the alliance, the convenor’s post is yet to be decided with a miffed Nitish Kumar refusing to play ball. The fact that the Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena (Uddhav) stayed away from a crucial virtual meeting of the bloc does not augur well for the grouping. Seat-sharing arrangements are yet to be thrashed out though the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party appear to have reached an understanding of sorts in Punjab and Delhi.

Kickstarting the yatra in Manipur is an attempt by the Congress to focus on the ethnic turmoil that continues to rock the sensitive Northeastern state and the central and state governments’ failure to curb the violence. Rahul Gandhi made it a point to emphasise that the prime minister is yet to visit the strife-torn state. The next few weeks will see the Congress yatra trying to connect to people and focus on issues such as lack of jobs, inflation and alleged suppression of the marginalised. The yatra began on a day when Milind Deora quit the Congress to join the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, severing a 55-year bond that his family had with the Grand Old Party. It was no doubt electoral compulsions that prompted the young leader’s move but it is another prominent exit from the party and a blow to Congress prospects in Maharashtra. The party faces an uphill battle as the countdown begins for the battle of 2024.

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