Parties that are in power, as well as those in the opposition, feel that the crowds being seen in the yatra now will fizzle out by the time the yatra reaches the Hindi heartland.
“The yatra is completely directionless. The purpose of the yatra is to attack the BJP and do some image building for Rahul Gandhi who has proved to be a failure as a leader,” said BJP spokesman Harish Chandra Srivastava.
Another BJP functionary said that it was evident from the itinerary of the yatra that the Congress wants to keep a safe distance from states like Uttar Pradesh where it has a negligible presence left.
“There are maximum stakes in UP where the general elections are concerned but the Congress is avoiding taking its yatra through the state which shows its nervousness. The party leaders know that if they bring the yatra here, the lack of crowds will expose the leadership,” said a senior minister.
The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party — the two main players in the opposition — also do not seem enthused about the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
While both the parties did not officially comment on the yatra, their leaders – who spoke on condition of anonymity – said that it would make no difference to the fortunes of the Congress.
“It seems Rahul Gandhi is on a picnic and is enjoying the company of local people in the yatra. There are no serious issues or even efforts to consolidate the Congress. The momentum will peter out by the time it reaches Uttar Pradesh. In any case, the Congress is fighting itself in UP and partymen have no time for the yatra,” said a SP MLA.
Similarly, a former BSP MLA said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra was more of a ‘Bharat Ghoomo Yatra’ since it had no visible political agenda.
“Our party is not even looking at the yatra because we know that it will not have any impact on UP. You can see how serious the Congress is about its revival in UP because Rahul has ignored UP in his yatra schedule and Priyanka is holidaying instead of working on the party here,” he said.
The absence of senior UP leaders in the yatra is another factor that has made the event lose sheen in the state.
About half a dozen former UPCC presidents, when contacted, refused to comment on their ‘absence’ from the yatra. One of them said, “We are simply not required in the yatra. Rahul Gandhi knows each one of us personally but we have not even been called once to participate. Perhaps, we have outlived our utility.”
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