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Bharat Jodo Yatra has brought out ‘real’ Rahul Gandhi, says Jairam Ramesh

The Bharat Jodo Yatra has brought out the “real” Rahul Gandhi and completely changed the image of the Congress MP, senior party leader Jairam Ramesh claimed on Tuesday.

Responding to a question at a press conference in Washim in Maharashtra, where the yatra has arrived on its 69th day, Ramesh said the cross-country foot march led by Gandhi has nothing to do with any state inquiry and whether its impact should be assessed , then it can only be done in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress secretary-general in charge of communications said Gandhi is “not a dettol or fevicol brand”, that he should be renamed and that the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala has his own opinion on important issues.

“Before the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the BJP had created its certain image, especially on social media; it never properly portrayed Rahul Gandhi. The Bharat Jodo Yatra does not show the new Rahul Gandhi, but the real Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

“There is a complete change in his image because of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Today, the Rahul Gandhi in the media or on social media is not the one who was 70 days ago,” the former Union minister insisted.

The advantage of the 3,570 km long mass outreach program is that he is in direct contact (with people) without any intermediaries. The effect of this is that the “real” Rahul Gandhi is in front of everyone, Ramesh added.

The yatra, which began on September 7 from Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu, has so far covered 28 districts in six states.

It entered Deglur in Maharashtra on November 7 and has so far covered Nanded and Hingoli districts in the state. It passes through 12 states before reaching Jammu and Kashmir in January, having covered a distance of 3,570 km in nearly 150 days.

Ramesh said the program has nothing to do with polls and that it is a different initiative.

“It is a yatra of a political party and we are fighting political challenges like economic inequality, polarization in society. Ninety percent of the people who are part of the yatra are political.

One thing is evident in the way our party has united and the cohesion it has brought over the last 70 days… the way we started work on time. There is Indian Standard Time and there is Congress Standard Time,” he added.

The impact of the yatra will depend on the party and not Gandhi, he said.

Ramesh said that from Nanded to Washim – the districts covered in Maharashtra so far – Sewa Dal workers are visiting houses to distribute pamphlets of party messages.

“This is a door-to-door campaign. This has not happened in many years and this used to be the idiosyncrasy of Congress, but we have forgotten this because we have been in power for many years. But today there is a new start,” said the former Union minister.

Pamphlets used to be printed and then piled up in the offices of the Pradesh Congress Committee, but now Sewa Dal workers visit households to distribute them to children and women, he said.

“The Bharat Jodo Yatra is an opportunity for the party to reach people. For the first time, people have taken to the road en masse at district and block level. This is a big change in the party,” said Ramesh.

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