After traversing five states in south India for two months, the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra, led by MP Rahul Gandhi, is all set to enter Maharashtra on Monday evening at Madnur Naka in Nanded district, bordering Telangana, party leaders said here on Sunday.
The BJY began from Tamil Nadu, and moved through Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana, before entering the central Indian phase from Maharashtra, with a massive crowd expected to join Gandhi.
After taking a night’s rest at a local mill ground in Deglur town, Gandhi will start the 14-day long state leg on Tuesday morning which would take him through six Lok Sabha and 15 Assembly constituencies spanning 381 kms in five districts of Marathwada-Vidarbha regions.
For the next fortnight in the state, he will undertake a gruelling four-hour morning schedule from 6 a.m. and a three-hour evening schedule from 4.30 pm, traversing through hamlets, villages, towns and cities en route, marching around 22-25 kms daily.
The MP from Wayanad, who has already won admiration for his down-to-earth attitude, enviable fitness and brisk walking style, will also address two major rallies in which Congress leaders say several lakhs of people from all over the state are expected to participate at different places en route.
After walking through Nanded, Hingoli, Washim, Akola and Buldhana districts, the BJY will enter Madhya Pradesh on November 20, though efforts are reportedly on to tweak the schedules and add three more days in Maharashtra following demands by the local leaders.
The two big rallies Gandhi will address are scheduled in Nanded on November 10 and Buldhana on November 18.
Besides, during the BJY, he conducts daily small meetings, personal interactions with the local population, impromptu street-corner meetings, mingling with the masses, discussing their concerns, the problems confronting the nation like inflation, unemployment, spiralling fuel prices, women’s safety, etc.
Top leaders of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena-UBT will join the BJY at different points.
Though NCP President Sharad Pawar had committed to march with Gandhi, the possibility seems remote now given his delicate health condition now, while the Sena-UBT President and ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray may depute a high-level delegation comprising senior leaders to walk a part of the BJY.
However, over 150 prominent leaders, civil society members, activists, NGOs, social organisations and celebrities from different walks of life will join him during the march in the state.
Gandhi started the 3,570-kms long, 150-day duration BJY on foot amid fanfare from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7 and it will conclude in Jammu & Kashmir, in early February 2023.