[WSMDiscuss] Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul Gandhi's Remarkable Rise from "Pappu" towards the Lead National Figure -- even if Intimate and Adorable

Sukla Sen sukla.sen at gmail.com
Fri Oct 14 05:35:51 CEST 2022

Here is a press conference held by Rahul Gandhi on October 8 in Karnataka.
Fielding questions, including obviously unfriendly ones, with ready
This contrasts all too starkly with Modi's dogged refusal to face
any--whether in India or abroad. (To be very precise, there had been a
solitary exception in which he -- with Amit Shah by his side -- did not
answer any question directed at him.)
Even aided with a teleprompter, a few fragments from his prepared speeches
would also be highly relevant here:
*AA*. <https://twitter.com/geetv79/status/955832814326333442?>.
*BB*. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa7SfpkhKrs>.
*CC*. *And nothing to beat this* -- delivered to an august gathering made
up of top-notch Supreme Court judges and members of legal community: <
https://youtu.be/epCOrZ6VLv4> (19:15 - 19:17 mins.) or <

Also look up: <https://twitter.com/kunalkamra88/status/1525670562659733504>
and <https://fb.watch/eZOi3oMf0m/>.

*Some Yatra glimpses*.

*I*. *AA*.  Rahul Gandhi explains his (personal) mission as regards the
Yatra. Whether sincere or contrived, doubtlessly pretty articulate: <
*BB*. Explains the aims of the Yatra, in plain and simple Hindi: <

*II. *Rahul Gandhi walks hand-in-hand with the mother, and sister, of the
slain Bangalore journalist Gauri Lankesh:
*AA*. <https://twitter.com/i/status/1578365514921168896>.
*BB*. <https://twitter.com/RahulGandhi/status/1578350612659720193>

*III*. Rahul Gandhi marching together with a band of young and enthusiastic
performers of street theatre:

*IV*. Rahul Gandhi walking in the company of transgender activists while
conversing with them:
*This one is especially noteworthy as it makes bold to challenge
deep-seated and widespread social prejudices*.

*V*. In conversation with a differently abled boy, while lending a hand to
help him keep pace: <https://youtu.be/bkx34mkY6HY>.

*AA*. With highly elated young girls:
*BB*. With happy young boys: <
*CC*. Young girls doing traditional Aarti to greet him: <
*DD*. Congress response to Election Commission's attempt to thwart such
lively interactions:

*VII*. In *the rains -- and still fully charged up:*
*AA*. <
*This one has become almost iconic*.
*CC*. <https://twitter.com/INC_Television/status/1580385332981383168>.
*VIII*. Hugeness of the March:
*AA*. <https://youtu.be/Jq5c1jE5zQg>.
*BB*. <https://twitter.com/INC_Television/status/1580724689919676416>.
*IX*. Eager and warm welcome by the locals: <
*X*. Explaining his strategy for job creation in a public meet:
*XI*. Paving a lane to reconnect the Dalit community with the rest:
*XII*. Discussing problems of sanitation workers with the representatives: <

*XIII*. Here is a noteworthy write-up, by a veteran scribe, assessing the
Yatra and its prospects at its very initial stage:

*A tweet by a Congress leader about the ongoing "Bharat Jodo Yatra (BJY)"
led by Rahul Gandhi claimed somewhat extravagantly, "Padyatra (walking on
foot) transformed Shankar into Shankaracharya, Nanak into Guru Nanak,
Mohandas into Mahatma Gandhi, Vinayak into Vinoba Bhave and Prince Ram into
Lord Ram. Those who make fun of padyatras are foolish. They do not know
history." *

*How far is Rahul Gandhi's yatra likely to transform him and his party's
political fortunes? It will require huge physical energy from Rahul Gandhi
and his companions. Most people can walk for a few hours or a couple of
days, but to continue walking for 150 days is a test of endurance and
morale of different magnitude.*

*Initial public response to the 3,500 km walkathon should put party
sceptics on the backfoot who thought the yatra a somewhat outdated mode of
political mobilisation. Media reports suggest that people are spontaneously
welcoming the Congress yatris (political pilgrims) and joining them for
long stretches of the march. One report described the BJY as "more akin to
a moving carnival than an arduous struggle." Still, it is early days yet to
forecast how the BJY will pan out, and it might become overloaded with too
many expectations.*

(Excerpted from: <

Today, a month and a week since its launch, the Yatra has quite visibly
been able to create a buzz. In fact, something more than that. No doubt
about it.
It has not only triggered a wave of goodwill and active support, but, it
has also been able to breach barriers and reach out to non-traditional
constituencies. That's quite significant.

The carnivalesque mood of the Yatra -- strikingly different from the
all-too-familiar stereotypes -- is not only helping to connect, but, also
pretty much in keeping with the lead figure's studied and persistent
efforts to offer an image of leadership -- warm, empathetic and humane --
visibly counterposed to 56" aggressive machismo, as deliberately conveyed
also via the three lions of the modified Ashok Stambh.
This is of course very much in harmony with the alternative agenda being
put on the table.

Nonetheless, not to forget that the Yatra has yet covered just about
one-fifth of the distance.
It's still physically a hugely challenging task.
Apart from that, one really doesn't know what nasty tricks are awaiting
down the line including physical attacks.
But, *after all and above all, it has stirred up hopes -- in the midst of
deep despair*.

*Now, it's our job to nurture it -- to reinforce it. *
*It calls for collective endeavour.*
*And that's the only (plausible) way to escape from the looming disaster*.
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