Is Bharat Jodo Yatra changing Rahul as a person? The Cong leader answers

Is Bharat Jodo Yatra changing Rahul as a person? The Cong leader answers

Before Rahul Gandhi entered Ujjain in the seventh day of his Madhya Pradesh leg of the Bharat Jodo Yatra, he was asked by the reporters at a press conference about the impact of the country-wide march on him so far and whether it will help him – Rahul Gandhi, the person.

To which, the senior Congress leader, who has been stressing all along that he has not been thinking of “politics or the Congress” on this cross-country yatra, replied on a philosophical note, “I have forsaken Rahul Gandhi long ago. Rahul Gandhi is in your mind, not mine. This is our philosophy. Try to understand; this will help you.”

What Rahul was emphasising is that he did not embark on the yatra for political returns and its sole purpose was to convince the people of India that they would suffer irreversible damage if the country continued on its current path.

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He said the yatra had succeeded in its purpose to a large extent. “This yatra has gone beyond the Congress. It now represents India’s soul, it reflects India’s voice,” the former Congress president told a news conference at Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

When he was asked if a robust political opposition will emerge to counter Narendra Modi’s dominance after the yatra, Rahul talked about how the yatra is his tapasya (penance) and tapasya is not done to gain something. “I have no personal interest. But I strongly felt the hate and violence being spread in the country was dangerous. This will damage the country,” he pointed out.

Explaining why he embarked on this yatra, Rahul said that he had questioned himself about what was his “responsibility” and then decided to do something against this politics of hate, fear and violence. “And this feeling is shared by many people within and outside the Congress,” he said, reiterating that he did not plan this yatra for political returns. He had decided that no matter what he gets anything in return or not, he had to do this.

Even as Rahul wanted to share more about his philosophical ruminations on his motivation to pursue the yatra, communications chief Jairam Ramesh nudged him to wrap up the interaction on time.

Rahul gandhi, Bharat Jodo YatraRahul, a changed man

Meanwhile, political observers and leaders have interpreted his remarks differently. While some believed he was becoming more philosophical, others called him “a changed man”. A news report quoting a leader pointed out that Rahul is not impatient and angry anymore.

Rahul has also in the past admitted that he got irritated very quickly. According to the news report, Rahul said he used to get irritated in one or two hours but now he does not  irritated even after “eight hours”. And, he had added that it doesn’t matter even if somebody pushes him or pulls him from behind.

BJP’s barbs at Rahul have no effect

Also, at the press conference, Rahul was questioned about his reaction to BJP’s personal attacks on him, including the recent remark by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma comparing Rahul’s bearded face to that of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Rahul replied that he considered the barbs “his guru and a compass which give him direction”.

Rahul said that the BJP had spent crores of rupees to “sully his image” and that they have created an image of him. People think it is damaging for him but he finds it beneficial because the truth is with him and the truth cannot be hidden.

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“The more money they spent to sully my image, the more strength it is giving me…they are giving me that much manoeuvrability because truth cannot be hidden or suppressed,” said the Congress leader. Further, Rahul said that the BJP attacks indicated that he is on the right path. “My strength is that now I understand the RSS-BJP much better,” he added.

Sharing a memorable experience in his yatra, he said: “One little girl came one day. She gave me a letter and asked me to read it later. After she left, I read it. She wrote, ‘Don’t think you are alone. I am walking with you. I wanted to walk more but my parents won’t allow it. But I am with you’.”

The spirit of the yatra

The spirit of the yatra is to make the country concentrate on trying to change its nature. According to Rahul, this country has never been so fearful and that even in the worst of times, India had not been scared. “The people of India have a particular culture — the culture of compassion, of respect, of affection. This is our biggest strength,” he said.

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“You ask anybody — a villager, a billionaire, or the American President — they will say that India’s strength is compassion,” he said, adding that the yatra’s objective is not political.

Instead, it is to remind the people what the true nature of this country is, what the culture and history of the country is, what its DNA is. “Where India stands today, if we continue moving on the same path, the country will suffer enormous damage both at the domestic and international levels,” he said, hinting that the RSS-BJP failed to understand India and that their idea of nationalism is not in sync with India’s inherent values.

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