Srinagar: The Bharat Jodo Yatra went from south to north but it has had a countrywide effect, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday and asserted that the march gave an alternative vision to the country.
Speaking at a press conference after the march ended with the hoisting of the tricolour at the Lal Chowk here, Gandhi said he got to learn and understand a lot during the over 4,000-km journey.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra has been the most beautiful and profound experience of my life, Gandhi said, adding he would think about whether a west to east yatra can be undertaken in the future.
“I met lakhs of people and talked to them. I do not have words to make you understand. The aim of the yatra was to unite India, it was against the hate and violence being spread across the country. We have had a tremendous response. In fact, no one expected to get such a love-filled response,” Gandhi said.
“We got to see the resilience of the people of India, their strength, directly,” he asserted.
The yatra, that traversed through 12 states and two Union territories, would officially conclude on Monday with a function at the state Congress headquarters here followed by a rally at the Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium.
Asked whether he would undertake a west to east yatra in future, Gandhi said, “It has just ended. So, this question is premature. Yatris have walked thousands of kilometres, let us see what happens. Yatra went from south to north but its effect was on the entire country.”
“It is a vision, a way of life for the country. This has had an effect in the entire country. Congress workers have also undertaken yatras in several states, so it has had a national effect. We will think about it (undertaking a west to east yatra), I have two-three ideas,” he said.
This is not the end but the beginning and a “first step”, Gandhi said of the yatra.
The former Congress chief said it did not just remain a Congress party yatra, as more than partymen and women, common people participated in the march.
“The Bharat Jodo Yatra has given an alternative vision. One vision is of the BJP-RSS that is filled with hate and arrogance. Our vision is about brotherhood, about opening shops of love in the market of hate, giving respect to each other,” he said,.
Gandhi said there are clearly two paths before the country and they are two ways of life.
“One is a vision to suppress people and the other is to unite the people. There will be a tremendous effect of this in politics. What exact effect it would have, I can’t say,” he said.
He said a certain gap had come between the political class, including parties such as the Congress and the BJP, and the people.
“The whole communication is through the media, interviews, and press conferences. My thinking was that this gap should be reduced. This is not just the physical gap, so one way is to walk on the road, meet them, hug them, there are other gaps as well. Earlier, there was unbiased communication be it interviews or press conference now a bias has come,” he alleged.
The media does not focus on Opposition as much as it should, he lamented.
“What we say is twisted by them (media). So I thought a new kind of political vision is needed. This is the first step and frankly a small one. In my mind there are deeper steps that can be taken which I am mulling. Let’s see about east-west,” he said.
Gandhi added the Congress yatris are keen on undertaking another yatra.
He also thanked the media, saying it had played a very important part during the yatra.
The yatra covered 4,080 km through 12 states and two Union territories. Rahul Gandhi addressed 12 public meetings, over 100 corner meetings, 13 press conferences. He had over 275 planned walking interactions and more than 100 sitting interactions.
Gandhi on Sunday unfurled the national flag at the historic clock tower of Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar as part of the yatra and said a “promise” made to India has been fulfilled.
Gandhi, along with his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, party leaders and workers, completed the final lap of the yatra earlier this morning.