The Indian National Congress (INC) has announced a new political campaign for the 2024 general elections, called the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra (India Justice and Unity March). The campaign, led by party president Rahul Gandhi, will start on January 14, 2024 from a private ground in Manipur’s Thoubal district and end on March 20, 2024 in Mumbai. The campaign aims to cover 6,713 km in 67 days and pass through 110 districts in 15 states. The campaign will focus on the issues of economic problems, social disharmony, farmers’ distress, unemployment, inflation, and the rich-poor divide. The slogan of the campaign is “Nyay Ka Haq Milne Tak” (Until we get our right to justice).
A New Route
The original plan of the campaign was to start from Arunachal Pradesh’s Pasighat and end in Gujarat’s Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. However, due to the ethnic violence in Manipur since May 2023, the state government gave permission for a change of venue. The new route will begin from Thoubal district and end in Mumbai. The venue change was done at the last moment after a meeting between state Congress leaders and officials.
A New Message
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is a sequel to the previous Bharat Jodo Yatra that was conducted by Gandhi in 2019-20. The earlier campaign highlighted the economic disparity, societal division, and autocratic approach of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The new campaign will emphasize on the social, economic, and political aspects of justice for all citizens. Gandhi said that he wants to reach out to every section of society and listen to their grievances. He also said that he wants to showcase his vision for India’s development and democracy.
A New Challenge
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will face several challenges as it traverses across different states with diverse cultures, languages, religions, and political affiliations. Some of the states where Gandhi will visit are Manipur, Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Some of these states are considered as BJP strongholds or have been witnessing anti-incumbency against the BJP government. Gandhi will have to deal with various issues such as security threats from anti-social elements or extremist groups; logistical difficulties due to terrain or weather conditions; media scrutiny or criticism; public opinion or protests; and competition from other parties or leaders.
A New Opportunity
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra also presents an opportunity for Gandhi to revive his party’s fortunes ahead of the next general elections. The INC has been struggling to make an impact in national politics since its defeat in 2014-15 when it lost all its seats in parliament except one. Since then, it has been reduced to a marginal player with no clear agenda or leadership. Gandhi has been trying to rebuild his party’s image and credibility by launching various initiatives such as reviving its youth wing; reaching out to farmers; highlighting corruption scandals; criticizing policies; forming alliances; and conducting surveys. He hopes that his personal charisma and popularity can attract voters who are dissatisfied with both BJP and INC.