The Congress will launch its much-touted 3,570-km Bharat jodo yatra on Wednesday at a mega rally in Kanyakumari as it seeks to flag problems of economic disparities, social polarisation and political centralisation, while also attempting to make gains in what it often describes as the battle of ideologies.
Before the launch of the 'Bharat jodo yatra, former Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will on Wednesday take part in a prayer meeting at former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's memorial in Sriperumbudur.
He will then attend an event in Kanyakumari where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel will be present and the former Congress chief will be handed over a Khadi National Flag.
After the event at the Mahatma Gandhi mandapam where Stalin will be present, Rahul Gandhi, along with other Congress leaders, will walk to the venue of the public rally where the yatra will be formally launched.
In a video message, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra urged people to join the Yatra wherever possible. She asserted the Yatra was needed as negative politics was being done in the country and real issues of the people were not being discussed.
She said the aim of the yatra is to put the focus on issues of the people such as price rise and unemployment.
Though the 3,570-km yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, covering 12 states and two Union Territories in about five months, will be formally launched at the rally, it will actually begin at 7 am on September 8 when Gandhi and several other Congress leaders will embark on the march.
Before the launch of the yatra, Rahul Gandhi will also visit the Vivekananda Rock memorial, Thiruvalluvar statue and Kamaraj memorial in Kanyakumari.
Ahead of the yatra, Rahul Gandhi has said that with all paths allegedly blocked by the government, the Congress now has to go to the people and tell them the truth, and that is why the party is undertaking the Bharat jodo yatra.
"The government has blocked all paths for us. The medium of Parliament is not there. Congress leaders, the Opposition people cannot make speeches in Parliament, our mic is put off, we want to talk about China's attack, can't do it, we want to talk on unemployment, can't do that, want to talk about inflation, can't do that," Gandhi had said at the party's mehngai par halla bol rally on Sunday.
"Our institutions, whether it is the media, Election Commission, judiciary, there is an attack on them, there is pressure on them. So all the roads are closed for us, there is only one way left, to go to the people, the truth of the country has to be told to the people, that is why the party is undertaking the Bharat jodo yatra," he had said.
Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh has said that there is a need for "Bharat Jodo" because the country is being divided.
"The first reason for the division is economic disparities, the second being social polarisation and the third political centralisation as states' rights are being snatched away. So it is important to unite the country now. If not now, then when," he had said.
The padayatra will move in two batches, one from 7-10:30 am and the other from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.
While the morning session will include a lesser number of participants, the evening session will see mass mobilisation.
On an average, the padyatris plan to walk around 22-23 km daily.
The Congress has asserted that its Yatra from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is not a mann ki baat in any manner, but its objective is to ensure that the concerns and demands of the people reach Delhi.
The party has classified 119 leaders, including Gandhi, as Bharat yatris who will walk through the entire distance from Kanyakumari to Srinagar.
The padayatra will reach Kerala on September 11 and will traverse through the state for the next 18 days, reaching Karnataka on September 30.
The yatra will remain in Karnataka for 21 days before moving to other states northwards.
The yatra will start from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and then move northwards passing through Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Nilambur, Mysuru, Bellary, Raichur, Vikarabad, Nanded, Jalgaon, Indore, Kota, Dausa, Alwar, Bulandshahr, Delhi, Ambala, Pathankot, Jammu, and culminate in Srinagar.
The classification of those participating in the yatra is -- Bharat yatris, atithi yatras, pradesh yatris and volunteer yatris.
The tagline of the yatra is mile kadam, jude watan.