Stage is set for the entry of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan with the Gehlot Government removing all hurdles, in the form of protests and threats by various groups, and resolved a political tussle and verbal spat between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former Deputy CM Sachin Pilot.
The yatra is scheduled to enter the state from the Jhalawar district on Sunday evening.
After four days of high-level negotiations, the Gurjar Arakashan Sangarsh Samiti (GASS), which had threatened to stop the RaGa Yatra in the Gurjar dominated districts over their demands of quota, agreed to welcome the Yatra on an assurance by the government’s envoy, Minister Ashok Chandana.
Gurjars have been demanding the implementation of a 2019 and 2020 agreement with the government on 5 per cent quota for the Most Backward Class (MBCs) in recruitments and to clearance of backlog.
“An agreement was reached between the state government and the Gujjars to set up a committee to look into their demands within a month,” Devnarayan Board Chairperson Joginder Singh Awana told the media.
Another hurdle to the yatra was Jaipur Municipal Corporation-Heritage councillors who were holding hunger strike and sit-in for a week demanding formation of 21 working committees at the JMC-H. Three MLAs, including a Cabinet Minister, P S Khachariawas, on December 1 conceded their demand. These councilors, under a Congress Mayor, were threatening to create problems on the eve of the RaGa’s rally, but they too have relented on the government’s assurance.
On a demand of Congress MLAs, CM Gehlot had to bring in an amendment by giving ex-servicemen quota within the merit category obliging to the OBC Front and the Jat Mahasabha which were protesting against the shifting of the 12.5 per cent quota within the OBC, SC, ST, MBC and EWS quota implemented by the previous BJP government in 2018.
In yet another major development that cleared the BJY routes, AICC general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP K C Venugopal effected reconciliation between the CM and his former deputy, Pilot, who had been indulging in verbal sputters for long on over the CM’s chair.
Holding hands of Gehlot and Pilot along with the PCC president Govind Singh Dotasara, Venugopal told the Media aloud, “This is the Rajasthan Congress. We are completely one. Both have agreed to work unitedly not only till the yatra for 18-days but till the elections and RaGa has made it clear that both of them are ‘assets’ for the party”.
Having resolved all major issues, the Congress party was ready to take on BJP’s Jan Aakrosh Rath Yatra launched by party President JP Nadda on December 1. Geholt called it a ‘flop show’ with thousands of chairs at the meeting of the BJP president remaining empty.
Thus, the entire Congress government (almost all ministers) and Pradesh Congress Committee executives are waiting for the RaGa’s yatra through Jhalawar district’s Chawli Circle where they will be holding a night stay.
The BJY will commence on December 5 from Kali Talai in Jhalrapatan at 6 am. Chief Minister Gehlot, PCC President Dotasara, Pilot and thousands of party workers and participants will welcome the yatris at different locations. The yatra will pass through 18 assembly constituencies of six districts including Jhalwar, Kota, Bundi, Sawaimadhopur, Dausa, and Alwar. These districts are dominated by Gurjar, Meena, and SC-ST vote banks.
The entire route of the yatra is adorned with posters and banners alongside by different of leaders including Pilot, Gehlot, Dotasara and party high command leaders, party president Mallikarjun Kharge, Venugopal, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Interacting with SNS, Dotasara said the RaGa Yatra would be the longest ‘padyatra’. The party has selected ambitious yatris through an interview conducted recently and 300-500 partymen, social workers and general public would join yatra, he added. The party high command has strictly directed the Congressmen and leaders to avoid media statements related to Yatra, Dotasara reminded.
Preparations for the yatra are at the final stage. The Rajasthan Police have deployed 4,000 personnel to monitor the entire yatra across six districts which will culminate on December 21.
“The cops will follow the Yatra on the move,” ADG-Police Traffic V K Singh told SNS when contacted.
Besides cops, senior ADGs, DIGs, and SPs of respective districts would be there on a round-the-clock duty during the Yatra, Singh said, adding the general traffic would be diverted from the actual route of the yatra.