Bharat Jodo Yatra Diary (Concluding part - from January 4, 2023 to January 29, 2023)

Bharat Jodo Yatra Diary (Concluding part - from January 4, 2023 to January 29, 2023)

In almost five months, Congress leader Shri Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ covered 12 states and two Union Territories. From Kanyakumari to Jammu and Kashmir, after covering a distance of over 3500 kms, Rahul Gandhi-led ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ concluded in Srinagar on January 29, 2023. The yatra traversed Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. On the last day of the yatra, Shri Rahul Gandhi unfurled the Tricolour at the Lal Chowk City Centre in Srinagar, a move mirroring Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru hoisting the national flag at the same spot 75 years back. The aim of the yatra was to unite India. We traveled against the hatred that is being spread, the violence that is being spread and got tremendous response. ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ did not expect to get such a huge loving response. ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ raised the issues of inflation and unemployment and even got to hear the voices of those who are under pressure from different sections be it farmers, laborers, unemployed youth or small businessmen. We are thankful to the people of the country and all those who accompanied us, the yatris of India, the rest of the people, the CRPF people, the police personnel, 12 states administration, who helped

‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. Day 119: January 4, 2023

“At first it was pitch dark; to the extent that it was impossible to see any distance. But we could see people on the roads, chanting slogans and cheering us on,” says Bharat Jodo team member Ajay Thakur.

And then the Yatra really took off – the 14 kilometres morning journey from Mavikala to the morning break at Niwara.

Accompanying Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi today were a wide variety of individuals and groups, showcasing the ‘Pull’ of the Yatra across the spectrum and for diverse constituencies. These included a number of social activists, intellectuals and bureaucrats such as Roop Rekha Verma, formerly Vice -Chancellor of Lucknow University; historian Ashok Pandey, and poet and essayist Ashok Vajpei. Also walking with Yatra was actress Kamya Panjabi.

During the day, Shri Gandhi met artisans from across sectors, from regions famous for their crafts, such as Moradabad, Agra, Aligarh and Muzaffarnagar.

In the second half of the day’s journey the Yatris covered approximately 9 kilometres from Saroorpur to their evening break at Baraut. There was a large crowd that gave a rapturous welcome to the Yatris and the corner meeting that followed.

We also met a group of athletes who said they were trying out for the BJP government’s controversial army recruitment programme.

‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’is a part of the Party’s national mass outreach programme aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.

Day 120: January 5, 2023

It started with heavy early morning fog, and while it cleared a little later, the winter day that started at Ailum village in Uttar Pradesh continued to be that way for most of the duration. The foggy conditions made for a picturesque walk.

We walked approximately 12 kilometres from Ailum to the midday break at Unchagaon.

It was a day of transitions as the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ went from Uttar Pradesh and back into the state of Haryana.

Along the route, we met people who were gathered patiently to see the Yatra. Iqbal Thekedar was there with his friends; he told us that “The Bharat Yatra is the need of the hour and the need in the country.”

Yatris were there in larger numbers at Kairana; the entire length of the town lined with excited, cheering crowds.

Along the way, the Yatris were accompanied by a number of diverse groups including those from social backgrounds and university settings. Through the 9-kilometre evening walk from Unchagaon to the UP-Haryana border near Panipat.

The end of the journey saw a brief but colourful handover ceremony between the two states, with drummers in striking red costumes welcoming the Yatris. It was time to say goodbye to Uttar Pradesh and hello to Haryana.

Day 121: January 6, 2023

For once, the Bharat Yatris had some relief as the Yatra got off to a later start than usual 6am.

But, as the Yatris commenced their approximately 10 kilometre journey from bypass Sanoli Panipat road to the midday break on the GT Road near Panipat, the walking conditions remained as ever freezing.

The Yatris were accompanied this day by a diverse cross section of individuals and groups. These included Gandhians from Khadi Ashram, environmentalist Leo Saldanha, eminent academician Sheila Jasanoff at the Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. After the tea break, they were joined by a group of handloom exporters.

The day started late but also ended comparatively early with a large public meeting at the HUDA ground in Panipat. It was at this venue that Shri Gandhi delivered a powerful speech.

Day 122: January 7, 2023

The spirit of participation, the feeling that something remarkable is happening, has characterised the Yatra since the beginning, but as time progresses, more and more people are joining the #BharatJodoYatra.

The morning session was an approximately 12-kilometres-walk from Kohand Village to the midday rest at Madhuban.

In the afternoon, speaking to the press Congress MP emphasised the broad objectives of the Yatra in combating hatred and divisiveness, social and economic inequity, and the rising unemployment that are the hallmarks of the BJP/ RSS regime.

Later in the afternoon, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi had an interaction with sportspersons.

In the second session of the day, the Yatris walked around 9 kilometres from near the DAV Police Public School to their evening break at NDRI Chowk.

The Yatris entered the town of Karnal after an approximately 4-kilometre-long walk on the highway, at the very appropriately named Namaste chowk.

For the entry into Karnal seemed to spark off what seems to be one long and continuing festival of people, celebrations, performing groups and continuous music.

In the evening session, a number of individuals walked alongside Gandhi. These included Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi, Dalits Rights activist; and Dr. V. Ponraj, advisor to former President Dr. Kalam. There was also a Kabaddi demonstration that Gandhi attended along the way.

Day 123: January 8, 2023

The Yatris started their day with their usual mix of humour, and a slight urgency to get on with it. As usual the Seva Dal’s Jhandatukri led the way, accompanied by Congress MPs Digvijay Singh and Jairam Ramesh. It was pitch dark when we started and remained that way for more than an hour. It lightened up after that but still the Yatris saw little but figures, banners and posters looking in the mist.

However, the cold and the fog seemed to melt away as this group sang the old favourites – “Hum sipahi Gandhi dal ke” and that classic “Jai Jagat”.

In the morning session, a number of people walked alongside Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, including SafaiKaramcharis and MGNREGA workers.

And as always, the Yatris arrived in quick order in their walk from Dodwa-Taraori Crossing to the midday break at Samana Bahu around 12 kilometres away.

Perhaps the Yatris walking in the cold were reminded that by the end of their midday halt they were close to Kurukshetra district, also known as Dharmashetra or the “Realm of duty”, the site of the Mahabharata war, and of course also as the “Land of the Bhagvad Gita”.

The afternoon session was notable for Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi’s 10th press conference in the #BharatJodoYatra. It is also 10 more than the full round zero number of press conferences Prime Minister Modi has held in that time. While a number of questions were asked in this interaction, a few comments by Shri Gandhi stand out.

The afternoon session was remarkable for the participation of a number of senior ex-officers of the army. Later, a group of paramilitary personnel as well as members of the LIC Workers’ Union also accompanied the Yatris.

The Yatris arrived at their end of day camp after an approximately 8-kilometre-walk from Jirbari to the Old Bus stand Kurukshetra. Post the completion, Gandhi went to the nearby Brahma Sarovar (an ancient water pool sacred to Hinduism) to perform Aarti.

Day 124: January 9, 2023

Even in these conditions a number of people turned out to greet the Yatris. Some distance away, we came across Raghav who was there with his parents – labourers from Bihar and who were working in a nearby bhatti (brick factory); to watch the Yatra.

In the morning session (6:00 am – 10:00 am), the Yatris walked 14 kilometres in a straight line from KhanpurKolian to the midday break at Cross of Shahbad, Ladwa Road.

This was also declared a Women’s Day, as had been done a few times in the #BharatJodoYatra previously. That meant that it was (with a few exceptions) an almost 100 percent component of women who walked in the D Ring (the roped off security area in which Shri Gandhi walks).

In the morning session, Shri Gandhi walked alongside with a group that included Mahila Kisan representatives and families of Shaheed Kisaans. Then as the morning session ended, and the Yatris rested, Shri Gandhi went on to have an interaction with the farmers from various organisations.

The evening session began at 3.30pm, and the Yatris started their journey at Saha Crossing and walked 11 kilometres to their evening break at Mohra Maulana, Ambala.

During the evening session, Shri Gandhi was accompanied part of the way by Rakesh Tikait the farmer leader who had been at the forefront of the protest against ‘black farm laws’ of the BJP government in 2020 and 2021.

Then, during the evening tea break, Shri Gandhi met with representatives of electronics industry in Ambala.

Post the tea break, he walked with a group of social activists from ANHAD, a socio-cultural organization that is engaged in working in promoting secularism and communal harmony. Shabnam Hashmi, sister of slain activist Safdar Hashmi was part of this group.

Then having concluded the walk, Shri Gandhi headlined an end of day public meeting during which he spoke to a large crowd on a range of issues.

Day 125: January 10, 2023

Cold? Wet? Miserable? Go tell that to the thousands of people lined up by the roadside in freezing conditions in the darkest winter mornings of the last day of the #BharatJodoYatra in Haryana. The approximately 14-kilometre-walk from Shahpur, Ambala Cantt to the midday break at Saini Bhawan, Ambala “was an amazing way for Haryana to say goodbye” says YatriJhabar Sherawat.

In the morning session, a number of individuals walked alongside Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi. Before the midway tea break, he was accompanied by Haryanvi writers and artists.

During the tea break, Shri Gandhi met with a number of youths for an interaction on unemployment.

Then afterwards, he walked with famous poet Salma, and various representatives of scientific industries of Ambala.

This day saw only the morning session as the Yatris bid goodbye to Haryana at the end of the walk and thereafter moved to their overnight campsite.

In the afternoon, Shri Gandhi paid obeisance at the Golden Temple at Amritsar. At the end of the proceeding, he was seen emerging wearing an orange turban – and may we say he totally rocked it!

Day 126: January 11, 2023

Punjab continued to shower the Yatris with generosity as large numbers turned out on the morning walk from Sirhind to the morning break at Khalsa Ground, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Prior to the beginning of the walk, there were the visit of Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi to pay homage at the Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib, Sirhind and HazratSeyfeddin Farooqi, Rauza Sharif. This was followed by a flag handover ceremony, after which the walk began in earnest.

In the morning session, Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi walked with ex-MP Dharamvir Gandhi. Later in the afternoon, he had an interaction with senior Ex-Servicemen.

This was followed by an interaction with a panel of eminent Punjabi historians, economists, sociologists and agri experts.

In the afternoon leg of the journey, the Yatris were accompanied by a diverse group of individuals including actress Jonita Doda, a group of bar association Presidents, Commission agents and labourers.

The #BharatJodoYatra has been a lot of things – idealistic, political, struggle – but it has also been a lot of fun for those who travel it and those who watch it passing by.

Day 127: January 12, 2023

It was a straight walk of 22 kilometres for the Yatris, from Doraha, Khanna to their midday break at Samrala Chowk, Ludhiana.

This day, the Yatra was a ‘landscape mix’. The first 10 -12 kilometres being through an industrial area with a typical mix of factories and warehouses along the route. And the remaining 10 odd kilometres were in a typical city environment.

The crowd’s presence went up several notches as the Yatra entered the outskirts of Ludhiana, and then kept going up.

In the morning session, the Yatris were accompanied by Commonwealth Games medalists, eminent intellectuals from Uttarakhand and a group of RTI activists, and members of the NGO “Ek Zaria”. There was no evening session, with the Yatris retiring to their overnight camps after the conclusion of the morning session.

Speaking to a packed crowd at the end of the walk, Shri Gandhi stated that the objectives of the Yatra were to “stand up against the spread of hatred, fear and violence, the trend of putting brother against brother, caste against caste and religion against religion.”

Day 128: January 13, 2023 Rest (Lohri) Day 129: January 14, 2023

The ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ was struck by tragedy with the sudden demise of Congress leader Santokh Singh Chaudhary. Chaudhary, 76, was walking in the Yatra in the morning session from Ladowal to the midday break at Goraya, Jalandhar when he collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital in Phagwara, but was declared dead on arrival.

Chaudhary was twice an MP from Jalandhar, and three-time MLA from Punjab. He was also a minister in the Congress governments in 1992 and 2002.

The #BharatJodoYatra was suspended for 24 hours as a mark of respect. It will resume on the afternoon of the 15th.

We mourn the passing of a pillar of the Congress Party, and a fellow Yatri.

Day 130: January 15, 2023

The Yatra began at 3PM, from the Khalsa College Ground, and ended 12 kilometres later at its evening break at the Hemkund Public School.

On this day, the majority of the walk took place through Jalandhar city, which was lined by large groups of people lined all along the route.

In the afternoon, Shri Gandhi also had an interaction with a number of start-up entrepreneurs from Punjab.

Why are more and more public figures, accomplished individuals, intellectuals and thought leaders joining the #BharatJodoYatra?

Day 131: January 16, 2023

It was #Shaktiwalk, or women’s day, and as is now tradition; the Yatra was led by an all-women contingent from among the Yatris and local state representatives. This also meant that the ‘D ring’, the roped off security area that surrounds Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi as he walks in the #BharatJodoYatra, comprised mostly of women.

In the morning session – an approximately 14-kilometre stretch from Kala Bakra to Kharal Kalan – Shri Gandhi walked with JarjumEte, former Chairperson, Arunachal Pradesh Commission for Women; former fighter pilot Flight Lt. Rajiv Tyagi; lawyers and activists Nikita Sonawane and Mrinalini Ravindranath from The Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project (CPA Project), and a women’s group comprising of MGNREGA/ASHA workers.

In the evening session, the Yatra was accompanied by historian Irfan Habib, and a group of women activists of Punjab.

We decided to explore the Yatra from an outside perspective – from the point of view of the police forces who have been deputed to manage the Yatra. Every district that the Yatra passes through has had “7-10 gazetted officers and 10-15 SHOs”. In total – across all 8 districts of Punjab that the Yatra has passed through, an estimated “20-24,000 police forces have been involved.” Speaking to a packed crowd at the end of the day, Shri Gandhi spoke of the experiences of the Yatris as the #BharatJodoYatra comes to a close. “It rained, there were storms, heat….but we did not get tired. There’s a reason for this. We were using the power (Shakti) of people, which propelled us forward.”

Day 132: January 17, 2023

It was a biting cold winter morning. Yatris began their morning session at Jhingar Khurd, Tanda and ended at Ganuspur, Hoshiarpur around 14 kilometres away.

The Yatra started at 7 AM. As always, the people of Punjab turned out in large number to support the Yatris.

Along the route, the Yatris were accompanied by a group of truck drivers affected by Attari border closure, and Ex-servicemen discussing issues of enlisted & JCO ranks.Also, in a separate ceremony, handicapped and visually challenged children presented Shri Gandhi with a copy of the Constitution.

In the afternoon, Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi held a press interaction. Speaking on the media’s role he said that the Congress would like “A media that puts pressure on the government on key issues. For a Congress Government, you are a feedback channel.

In the evening, the Yatris walked around 10 kilometres from Ganuspur, Hoshiarpur to their evening break at Mukerian. During this stretch, they were accompanied by a group comprising of academics and historians of Punjab, a group of farmers and singer Rabbi Shergill.

Later in the evening, after they got to their rest camp, the Yatris were entertained by Bir Khalsa, an internationally recognised Sikh martial arts group, which featured in Channel Seven’s reality television show Australia’s Got Talent, season 10. It was an incredible performance that had the crowd rocking.

Day 133: January 18, 2023

In the space of a day the #BharatJodoYatra entered and exited the state of Himachal Pradesh. After a short but impressive flag handover ceremony, the Yatris got underway. Part of the morning and the entire evening walk was mostly through rural roads, lined with green fields and mango orchards, with the occasional clump of orange trees thrown in.

In the morning session, the Yatris walked approximately 12 kilometres after the Punjab border handover, arriving at the midday break in Indora. In attendance were Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and HPCC President and MP Pratibha Singh along with a host of senior congress leaders and cadre.

In the evening session, the Yatris walked around 10 kilometres to arrive at Malot, which was also the scene of a corner meeting. Speaking on the occasion Shri Gandhi told the audience that “Himachal is a hill state but it is easy to walk here. And the reason is that there is peace here and the people speak with a lot of love and respect. You have strength but are also peaceful.”

Day 134: January 19, 2023

It was the day the #BharatJodoYatra had to say goodbye to the state of Punjab, and say hello to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and what a day it was!

The day started off with a massive public rally at Sarna, Pathankot, Punjab.

After the lunch break, the Yatra resumed from Ferozepur Kalan to the flag handover ceremony at the Maharaja Gulab Singh Statue, Lakhanpur border on the Srinagar-Kanyakumari Highway in Kathua.

But prior to that the great state of Punjab gave a farewell to remember at the very edge of the state borders. For hours they had waited for the Yatris to arrive in front of a magnificent exhibition that comprised of massive carpeted areas, with giant sized posters laid in parallel leading up to a huge raised platform.

And as they waited in Madhopur, the crowds grew in numbers as did the anticipation. The silver coloured mashaals were laid side by side on the road and seemed to grow brighter as evening fell. A warm welcome awaited the Yatris in J&K in the form of a public meeting attended by thousands. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and President of National Conference, Farooq Abdullah, too was present, to receive Shri Rahul Gandhi. The students of Delhi Public School, Pathankot had been waiting, smartly dressed, for the Yatra to pass by.

Day 135: January 20, 2023

It was a memorable day, for the spirit and toughness that the Yatris displayed in overcoming really unfavourable weather conditions in a straight 20-kilometre-walk.

Yatris got up around 5:30 AM to prepare for the planned 7 AM start. But as time passed the drops turned into a steadier drizzle and the start was postponed first to 7:30 AM and then finally 8 AM. You really had to be there to feel the spirit and the good cheer that characterised this long (20 odd kilometres from HatliMorh Chowk to Channi, Kathua, there being no afternoon session) freezing and wet day. For YatriShatrughan Sharma, it was “Amazing that people were turning out in this weather to support us.”

A number of prominent people walked with us today, as is the norm in the Yatra. There were I.D Khajuria and colleagues from the International Democratic Party. AmrishJasrotia, President, People’s United Front. And a group from Dakshinayan Abhiyan, a movement launched by Padma Shri Ganesh Devy, a scholar, linguist, and an activist.

For those who would question the Yatra, or the patriotism of those who walk it, go ahead and ask Honorary Captain Bana Singh why he walked with the #BharatJodoYatra.

Day 136: January 21, 2023 Rest Day 137: January 22, 2023

It was supposed to get colder as we walked north, but this day started not very cold and became progressively warmer as time went by.

And what a day it was! “Day 128 of #BharatJodoYatra” writes Congressman Jairam Ramesh started with tributes to Girdhari Lal Dogra. A stalwart Congressman and staunch Nehruvian, he was J&K’s Finance Minister for 20+ years and a two-term MP.

And the vibe continued. There were a number of people turned out on the stretch between the starting point at HiranagarMorh to the end of the journey near Duggar Haveli, Samba. We came across Mohammed Taj who was waiting with a long queue of compatriots and who was there because he “Believed that the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ was the most important political event of the times.”

There were a number of interactions this day, with diverse groups engaging with Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi. Chief among them were the President of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association with a delegation of lawyers, and former leaders of Democratic Azad Party (DAP).

Day 138: January 23, 2023

Today was also likely the last of the long walks – the 20 plus kilometre marches were done in one go. The Yatris started their walk from Vijaypur, in Samba district and ended near Satwari Chowk in Jammu. It was a straight walk along the highway in a mostly urban landscape.

The spirit of celebration with which Jammu welcomed the Yatris was memorable. Dazzling white horses by the roadside, colourfully dressed marching bands, people singing along and dancing – they had it all.

It was a long and diverse list of individuals who interacted with Shri Gandhi today. There was Kavitha Kuruganti, author, agricultural expert and activist known for her work on sustainable farm livelihoods and farmers’ rights. A Pahari delegation met to discuss tribal issues. Then there was Riya Kaluriya and others from the Gen. Zorawar Singh Memorial Trust. Furthermore, Shri Gandhi also met with Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

At the tea break point, there were interactions with Kashmiri Pandits, Mahila Congress office-bearers from Jammu and Peoples Democratic Party leaders.

The 20-kilometre-long Yatra ended with a corner meeting attended by a capacity crowd.

We take this occasion to celebrate the 126th birth anniversary of #NetajiSubhasChandraBose - A national icon who worked to create a united India.

Day 139: January 24, 2023

The morning walk was a short one of around 6 kilometres or so, starting from the Sitni Bypass area at 8 am and ended at 9:30am at Nagrota. A significant portion of the walk was through the army cantonment area of Nagrota.

Along the way, Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi met with a delegation from Ladakh, celebrated author Perumal Murugan, and actor Urmila Matondkar.

The weather however seemed to take a turn for the worse at the lunch spot at Jhajjar Kotli. The skies seemed to darken and the wind speeds picked up. However, the Yatris spent the free time with their typical vim and energy.

Meanwhile, Shri Gandhi and other Congress leaders held a press conference in the afternoon. Responding to a question Gandhi reiterated the goals of the Yatra.

The afternoon session was another short walk of around 8.5 kilometres.

Yatris walked through Udhampur to a rousing reception by crowds everywhere. It didn’t seem to matter that it was cold and wet, still the crowds came.

This session was also notable for the participation of Congress leaders from Uttarakhand who walked in the Yatra to highlight the emerging environmental and humanitarian crisis in Joshimath and the complete failure on part of the BJP central and state governments to proactively address the situation. In turn Shri Gandhi stated that he would visit Joshimath in February on the completion of the Yatra.

Day 140: January 25, 2023

There was plenty of time to contemplate the natural beauty surrounding them. The Yatra was slated to begin at 8 AM, a relaxed beginning for Yatris (used to 6AM starts).This too was delayed to 8:30AM due to adverse weather conditions.

Yatris started from Bathi. It was a very short walk – barely 4 kilometres till the end point near Hotel Usman, Ramban.

It was a picturesque walk on a mountain road overlooking a red and swollen river Chenab. The Yatra was led off by the Seva Dal with its usual vim and energy, followed by the main body of Congress cadres, leaders and local crowds.

However, as soon as the Yatra was to start for its next stage, news came that the road ahead had closed due to falling rocks making it unsafe to venture ahead. As a result, the second half of the journey was cancelled and the Yatris returned to their place of rest during the previous night.

And even the return wasn’t easy as a number of Yatris were halted en route due to landslides. It was a somewhat strenuous time for those stuck.

Day 141: January 26, 2023 Rest (Republic Day) Day 142: January 27, 2023

The morning’s walk was a comparatively short one, starting from the Railway Station Banihal to the break at the Banihal Toll Plaza about 3.5 kilometres away.

A number of leaders came to support the Yatra this day, including former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. The walk ended soon enough as the Yatris crossed the toll plaza and soon after they crossed the Banihal Qazigund Road Tunnel they were through into the next phase of the Yatra.

Easier said than done, as for once there was a security lapse that resulted in a serious threat to Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi, which resulted in his having to cancel his participation in the second half of the Yatra.

The Congress Seva Dal got underway and led the Yatra as usual. There was an immense crowd that continued the walk as has always happened in the Yatra. And the Yatris walked around 13 kilometres (from Army Goodwill Public School to their end point near Vessu Industrial estate, Anantnag) with energy and high spirits, as usual.

Thus ended an eventful day of the Yatra. There are three more left to go, when we raise the national flag in Srinagar.

Day 143: January 28, 2023

The heart achingly natural beauty of Kashmir continued to enchant as the Yatris began their journey from village Chursoo, Awantipora and ended 12 kilometres near Pampore. This day only saw the morning session, after which the Yatris retired to their evening camp at Pantha Chowk.

On this day, the Yatris were joined by a number of Congress leaders including AICC General Secretary Smt. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra; Selja Kumari, former Union Minister and MP and now AICC In charge Chhattisgarh; PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti; Punjab PCC President Raja Warring and MP Deepender Hooda.

Except for a few stretches, the majority of the walk was through mostly uninhibited terrain.

There was a poignant moment when the Yatris stopped by in Pulwama to pay homage to the Indian security force personnel who died in the Pulwama attack in 2019.

Day 144: January 29, 2023

At the end, the Congress Party did what it had always promised – we raised the National Flag in Srinagar.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh tweets:

“Today noon Kanyakumari to Kashmir #BharatJodoYatra completed at Lal Chowk after covering 4080kms, 12 states & 2 UTs, walking for 116 days. @RahulGandhi addressed 12 public meetings, 100+ corner meetings, 13 Ji’s PCs, alongwith 275+ planned walking interactions & 100+ sitting interactions.”

The morning began as usual, with the Yatris in their containers preparing for the day ahead. This day the Yatris had the luxury of a 10 AM start.

While the Yatra had a later than expected start, the crowds building up all along the route more than made up for the delay.

And even though the walk was a short one, all who participated – whether as Yatris or as part of the crowd – knew it had a tremendous impact.

The walk was followed by a short but moving ceremony, as we raised the National Flag at Lal Chowk. “To listen to the Jana Gana Mana being sung in Srinagar,” said Yatri Lalit Farswan, “Made those long hard days of the Yatra totally worthwhile.”

The end of the Yatra was followed by a press conference headline by Congress MP Shri Rahul Gandhi. And so culminated the long walk that was ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. We have been thinking for a while now about what could be the best way of closing the diary. Perhaps appreciating Congressmen and all the believers for the yatra and its experiences.