The Congress will reach out to civil society members and like-minded political groups for the ‘Bharat Jodo’ yatra from October 2 for rallying support to combat polarisation and protect Constitution, democracy and various institutions, senior party leaders said on Thursday.
The 3500-km yatra from Kanyakumari to Kashmir will pass through 12 states and is the first such major exercise in decades, covering the entire stretch of the country from south to north, they said, days after the party announced the initiative at its Chintan Shivir in Udaipur.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi will also hold a day-long session with 70 working presidents in states, ministers in party-ruled states, besides some party spokespersons and others left out at the Shivir, and will hear them out.
The leaders said the Congress chief would announce a task force very soon to give final shape to the decisions taken in the Udaipur declaration in a phased manner.
The task force will also help formulate the party’s strategy for the 2024 general elections and make the party election-ready.
The Congress, they said, is also keen to strengthen its communication strategy and quickly formulate the party’s views on key issues confronting the country, an area flagged by leaders during the Shivir.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will have an advisory committee of senior leaders from the CWC, who will guide her and the party in taking the party position on important issues, they said.
The party has also decided to train leaders on how to articulate the party’s views on key issues before the country, which is part of the plan to strengthen its communication strategy.
The training will be done in a systematic manner in Kerala. The setting up of the training institute was also part of the 2003 Shimla declaration of the party.
The Udaipur Shivir also saw the focus on organisational matters for the first time as these overtook the political and economic issues during the discussions and the outcome.
The decisions included 50 percent representation of those below 50 years of age in party positions.
The Congress will see its implementations at block and district-level committees within the next two-three months, with the aim of keeping the average age of 45 years in these panels.
However, in the Pradesh Congress Committees (PCC) and the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party, bringing the average age to 50 years will take some time as its members are required to have more experience, they said.
On the Bharat Jodo yatra, the leaders said the Congress will also reach out to civil society members and like-minded political groups and institutions to make the yatra broad-based and reach out to the masses.
“The yatra is not just aimed at uniting the country and freeing it from the grip of increased polarisation, but also saving the Constitution, the democracy, government assets and institutions,” a senior Congress leader.
The Congress will organise public meetings in several states along its route to spread awareness about the “designs of the BJP to divide the country on religious lines due to an atmosphere of increased polarisation”, a leader said.
A committee of senior leaders will be formed to work on the route and former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi is expected to be present during its start in Kanyakumari.
The party has received an encouraging response from people from all walks of life including civil society members and those from institutions who want to associate themselves with the Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’, the leaders said.
Unlike the party’s Pachmarhi, Shimla and Jaipur conclaves, they pointed out, it was the first time in the Chintan Shivir in Udaipur that the party adopted the declaration in Hindi as the party intends to win back the 250 Lok Sabha seats in the north.
Besides, the Udaipur Shivir also saw each of the 430-odd delegates speak on important issues.
The Congress will also undertake the second phase of Jan Jagran Abhiyan from June 15 and will focus on price rise, economy and unemployment during the next three months till October.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)