New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi’s “Bharat Jodo Yatra” is seen by many as the Congress’s all-in effort to sway public perception in favour of its most prominent face ahead of the 2024 national election. But the Congress MP suggested yesterday that the campaign is not about him at all.
“I let go of Rahul Gandhi years ago. Rahul Gandhi is on your mind, not mine. Understand. Try and understand. (on hearing applause) See, someone is clapping. Do you understand? One person has understood. This is the philosophy of your country. Understand it, it will be good for you,” Rahul Gandhi said in response to a question.
A journalist had asked him to describe what perspective “Rahul Gandhi” was gaining from the people of India during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
To another question on the positive takeaways from the yatra, he said: “It has taught me immense patience. Earlier I used to get irritated for one or two hours. Now I remain patient up to eight hours.”
Another reporter asked whether he should have launched a mass connect campaign like this earlier.
“Everything happens on its own time. When the time is right, then it works. It won’t happen before that. I had thought about such a yatra when I was 25-26. Even Jairam (Ramesh) ji doesn’t know but I had planned this in detail a year ago. Then because of Covid or other reasons, it didn’t happen. So now is the best time for the yatra,” the Congress MP said.
He called the campaign a “tapasya (penance)” to stand up for the idea of India, “which is being damaged and destroyed by the RSS-BJP”.
Rahul Gandhi’s comments about “letting go of Rahul Gandhi” were seen by many to align with his refusal to return to the post of Congress president, which he quit in 2019 after back-to-back election defeats to the BJP.
In the middle of his yatra, which began weeks before the Congress president election, he firmly disassociated himself from the contest and asserted that he was not in the running for the top post.
Yesterday, he refused to answer a question on leaders who have “deserted” the Congress in Madhya Pradesh saying: “This question needs to be asked to the national Congress president (Mallikarjun Kharge) and the Madhya Pradesh Congress leadership. But in my opinion, we should not repose faith in them (those MLAs) if they had been bought with money to bring down the elected government.”
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