In the end, there was neither a dramatic show of support nor a clasping of hands to show that the Opposition was united. Rahul Gandhi’s cross-country Bharat Jodo Yatra came to an end in Srinagar on Monday. If the Congress had hoped that a long line of opposition leaders would show up to celebrate, it was in for a big surprise.
Even though Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge wrote to the heads of 23 political parties to invite them to the closing event in Srinagar, only a few leaders showed up. The Congress thought that all of the invited parties would send representatives to the event at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium in Srinagar.
“You will see the meeting on the 30th in Srinagar… the goal is for the Bharat Jodo Yatra to be over… what should be done next in terms of the 2024 elections… “There will be some talk about that,” said Jairam Ramesh, who is in charge of communication for the Congress, at a press conference at the AICC headquarters earlier this month.
What may have surprised the Congress the most is that its partners in Bihar, the JD(U) and RJD, are not there. The leaders of neither party took part in the Yatra, and they were also nowhere to be found in Srinagar.
But the Congress can take heart from the fact that all of its other allies, like the NCP, Shiv Sena, JMM, and DMK, joined the Yatra at some points. When the Yatra went into Maharashtra, Aditya Thackeray (Shiv Sena) and Supriya Sule (NCP) walked with Rahul. Sanjay Raut joined him in Jammu. There were also leaders from the DMK and the JMM at the event in Srinagar.
In the end, leaders from eight different parties went to Srinagar. The event was also affected by bad weather, as heavy snow started falling on Monday morning. Tiruchi Siva of the DMK, D Raja, general secretary of the CPI, Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP, N K Premachandran of the RSP, and K Navas Kani of the IUML were among them. There were also people there from JMM and VCK.
Rahul walked with BSP MP Shyam Singh Yadav when the Yatra went through Delhi. He also went to the event. Sources in the BSP, however, said that Singh, who is an MP from the UP district of Jaunpur, did not go to the event as a BSP representative.
“We all fought together to get the country out from under the rule of the British Raj. “All secular parties must work together to get rid of the BJP Raj and free the country,” Raja of the CPI said. While Omar asked Rahul to do another yatra from the west to the east of the country and promised to walk with him, Mufti said that the country sees a ray of hope in him.
Premchandran of the RSP said, “A historic movement was made. Rahul Gandhi has shown that he is the right person to lead the fight against these forces that cause division.