Bharat Jodo Yatra Has Brought to Fore ‘Real’ Rahul Gandhi, Says Jairam Ramesh

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The Bharat Jodo Yatra has brought to the fore the “real” Rahul Gandhi and completely changed the Congress MP’s image, senior party leader Jairam Ramesh asserted on Tuesday.

Responding to a question at a press conference in Washim in Maharashtra where the yatra has reached on its 69th day, Ramesh said the cross-country foot-march led by Gandhi has nothing to do with any state poll and if its impact has to be assessed, then it can only be done in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress general secretary in-charge of communications said Gandhi is “not a dettol or fevicol brand” that he has to be rebranded and the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala has his own views on key issues.

“Before the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the BJP had created his certain image, especially on social media; it never portrayed the right Rahul Gandhi. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is not showing the new Rahul Gandhi, it is showing the real Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

“There is a complete change in his image due to the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Today, the Rahul Gandhi in media or on social media is not the one who was 70 days back,” the former Union minister maintained.

The advantage of the 3,570-km mass outreach programme is that he is in direct contact (with people) without any middleman. The effect of this is that the “real” Rahul Gandhi is before everyone, Ramesh added.

The yatra, which started from Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, has so far covered 28 districts across six states.

It entered Deglur in Maharashtra on November 7 and has till now covered Nanded and Hingoli districts in the state. It will pass through 12 states before culminating in Jammu and Kashmir in January after covering a distance of 3,570 km over nearly 150 days.

Ramesh said the programme has nothing to do with polls and it is a different initiative.

“It is a yatra of a political party and we are fighting political challenges like economic disparity, polarisation in the society. Ninety per cent people who are part of the yatra are political.

One thing is clearly seen in the way our party has united and the cohesion it has brought in the last 70 days…the way we have started working on time. There is an Indian Standard Time and there is a Congress Standard Time,” he added.

The impact of the yatra will depend on the party and not Gandhi, he said.

Ramesh said from Nanded to Washim — the districts covered in Maharashtra so far — Sewa Dal workers are visiting homes to distribute pamphlets containing messages of the party.

“This is a door-to-door campaign. This has not happened in many years and this used to be the peculiarity of the Congress, but we forgot this because we were in power for many years. But today there is a new start,” said the former Union minister.

Earlier pamphlets used to get printed and then pile up in Pradesh Congress Committee offices, but now Sewa Dal workers are visiting households, distributing them to children and women, he said.

“The Bharat Jodo Yatra is an opportunity for the party to reach out to people. For the first time people have hit the road in large numbers at district and block levels. This is a big change in the party,” Ramesh said.

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