The Congress on Monday asserted that its 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is not a 'Mann Ki Baat' in any manner, but its objective is to ensure that the concerns and demands of the people reach Delhi.
The Opposition party released the anthem of the Yatra, that will be launched from Kanyakumari from September 7 with Rahul Gandhi along with over 100 'Bharat Yatris' embarking on a 3,570 km metres journey. The party has billed the Yatra as an unprecedented mass contact programme ever undertaken in Independent India.
The Yatra anthem was launched at the AICC headquarters here at a press conference addressed by party general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh who said its lyrics -- 'Ek tera kadam, ek mera kadam, mil jaye, jud jaye apna watan' -- signify the objective of the Yatra.
"Bharat Jodo Yatra, in no way in any form, is a Mann Ki Baat. It is about the concern for people. Its objective is to ensure that the concerns and demands expressed by the people reach Delhi," he said in a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's monthly radio broadcast.
"It (Yatra) is not about long speeches, preaching, dramatics, teleprompter, we are going to listen," he said, adding that the Bharat Yatris, including Rahul Gandhi, who will walk the entire distance of the Yatra, are embarking on the journey with that objective.
Ramesh said there is a need for "Bharat Jodo" because the country is being divided.
"The first reason for the division is economic disparities, the second being social polarisation and the third political centralisation as states' rights are being snatched away. So it is important to unite the country now. If not now, then when," he said.
Asked who will be leading the Yatra and when a new Congress president is elected on October 19, will there be a change in leadership of the Yatra, Ramesh said Rahul Gandhi is not leading the Yatra, but walking along others to highlight the issues of the people.
Ramesh said the Yatra will also be live streamed on its official website.
Before the launch of the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' on September 7, Rahul Gandhi will take part in a prayer meeting at former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's memorial in Sriperumbudur and attend an event in Kanyakumari where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel will be present and the former Congress chief will be handed over a Khadi national flag, Ramesh said.
After the event at the Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam where Stalin will be present, Rahul Gandhi, along with other Congress leaders, will walk to the venue of the public rally where the yatra will be launched.
Though the 3,570-km yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar will be formally launched at the rally, it will actually begin at 7 am on September 8 when Gandhi and several other Congress leaders will embark on the journey. Before the launch of the yatra, Rahul Gandhi will also visit Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar Statue and Kamaraj Memorial in Kanyakumari.
The 'padayatra' will move in two batches, one from 7-10:30 am and the other from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. While the morning session will include a lesser number of participants, the evening session will see mass mobilisation. On an average, the padyatris will walk around 22-23 km daily, Ramesh said.
He said simultaneously with the main Yatra, there will be separate small Bharat Jodo Yatras' in states such as Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Odisha, Sikkim, West Bengal and Nagaland.
The tagline of the yatra is 'Mile Kadam, Jude Watan'.
PTI ASK SRY