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OpinionsCongress’s Bharat Nyay Yatra will clash with 2024 poll preparations at ground...

Congress’s Bharat Nyay Yatra will clash with 2024 poll preparations at ground level


Significantly, this time Yatra will cover the states ruled by regional parties

By Sushil Kutty

It sounds odd calling Rahul Gandhi's ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra', “nationwide east-to-west yatra”. The yatra is east-to-west, but not nationwide. Cutting through 14 states and 85 districts is not the entirety of . It is another matter if it has a nationwide impact. Also, the claim that the Congress “hopes” to win 150 parliamentary constituencies because Rahul Gandhi travelled through 85 districts is tall.

The expiry date of “hopes” is long past. At this stage, there should be emphatic certainty. Rahul Gandhi's ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra' will be striding and “busing” through several opposition-ruled states including Mamata Banerjee's West Bengal and Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav's Bihar. These are not people who will come on the streets with flower petals and broad smiles – not when the Congress “hopes” to win 150 Lok Sabha seats courtesy the direct impact of Rahul Gandhi's ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra' on voters everywhere – at the expense of which INDIA bloc's regional party?

Can the Trinamool Congress take the risk? Can JD-U and RJD? How about the Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray Shiv Sena, not to mention the Sharad Pawar-faction of the Nationalist Congress Party, all of them INDIA bloc constituents? The Congress carries a legacy of untrustworthiness. You see, the Congress also “hopes” to contest from 300 seats and win from all of them, if not from “at least 150” of them. The Congress states it will fight seats it won in 2019 and from all the seats it came second in. This piece of straight-talk comes direct from an AICC functionary's mouth.

The grand old party might be leading the INDIA bloc, but there is also cold calculation. The Congress is pretty confident it can on its own get 150-plus and that going by the “success” of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra', the ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra' cannot be different. The ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra' is believed to have won the Congress Karnataka and Telangana; perhaps, even Pradesh. What if ‘Nyay Yatra' scores good numbers of Lok Sabha seats for the Congress from Mamata's West Bengal, and from Nitish/Tejasvi's Bihar?

Traversing through the 14 states, including West Bengal and Bihar, the ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra' will be focusing its ‘nyay-message' on the Muslim electorate, assuring the minority community that justice that eluded them under Modi rule will be returned to them once the Congress is voted to power. There has been talk of Muslims in Bengal and Bihar, almost every state, taking a conscious and collective decision to vote for the Congress in the elections – as the Congress remains the only “nationwide” political party with the “experience of ruling India”.

Mamata, Lalu and Nitish will learn of the Bharat Nyay Yatra's impact, but only after Rahul Gandhi has passed them by. By then, it will be too late. What much of the INDIA bloc does not know is that the Congress is playing with a different set of cards. The latest is that the Congress might prop up Nitish Kumar as INDIA bloc's “chief convenor” to assuage, for now, his frayed nerves while leaving Mamata Banerjee permanently out of the INDIA bloc's decision-making process.

The Congress did not like Mamata proposing Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge's name for INDI-Alliance's “PM face” when Rahul Gandhi has such a huge presence in the Opposition. The Gandhi family has been sans the prime minister's post for decades and the Congress is 100 percent certain that Muslims will vote en bloc for a Gandhi family Prime Minister. For the Muslim vote-bank, there is no alternative but to vote Congress. It is like the TINA associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For the Muslim electorate, TINA is linked to the Congress.

Voting for regional parties is wasting the vote. While seat-sharing and voting “per opposition candidate” in each of the constituencies will be ideal, it looks impossible and there is no time to crib and squabble. But getting the Muslim electorate to vote only for Congress candidates “nationwide” is possible and a done thing in the heads and hearts of Muslims. More so, because the Muslim electorate knows what another five-year term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi would mean to the whole lot of them.

So, a lot of Congress hopes lie on the ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra'. The Jodo Yatra got Congress both Karnataka and Telangana. And definitely, the east-west ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra', will bring its own largesse. The buzz and media coverage of the Congress will increase multifold. It's a chance to fuel the news cycle with daily Congress “”. But, of course, the Congress “hopes”, the Nyay Yatra will be the turning point for the 2024 general elections.

This leg of Rahul's twin-yatras will be 6200 km long, nearly double the distance of ‘Jodo', and will help build a narrative against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP wants to make 2024 ‘Modi Vs. Opposition', but the Congress wants it to be ‘Modi Vs. People's Issues'. But that is not how things are moving. The entry of ‘Lord Ram' has completely turned the game on the Congress. And some fool Congress leader has gone ahead and said “Narendra Modi is Lord Ram”.

Will the BJP look a gift horse in the mouth? Arresting a ‘Karsevak' three-plus decades after the Babri Masjid was demolished is melt-down. Cribbing why Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to do the ‘pranpratishtan' is keeping the focus on ‘Ram' and Modi. Is the BJP polarizing with the Ram Mandir issue, or is it the Congress using the Ram Mandir issue to consolidate the Muslim vote-bank behind it, just like the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra' did, and the ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra' hopes to do? The ‘Bharat Nyay Yatra' will also pass through Uttar Pradesh, where the Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav cannot survive without the Muslim electorate's back. (IPA Service)



The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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