On Monday, over 1,000 Congress workers marched nearly six km to present a memorandum to the district collector in the central Gujarat city of Nadiad. The memorandum was created at the end of a one-week exercise in which Congress workers went out to people to learn about the local difficulties they were dealing with.
The Jan Adhikar Padyatra, the idea of Rajya Sabha MP Shaktisinh Gohil, who was nominated Gujarat unit president of the party two months ago, will take place over a three-month period in 33 districts and eight municipal corporations.
The Padyatra is aimed at bonding with the grassroots ahead of next year’s important Lok Sabha elections, following the party’s lowest-ever result of 17 seats in assembly elections in December 2022. The party has even failed to gain official recognition for the role of opposition leader.
Winning even a single seat in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections would be a victory for the Congress, as the BJP had won all 26 seats in Gujarat in the previous two elections.
“It is our duty as the opposition party to raise people’s voices,” Gohil told THE WEEK. He stated that the Congress is appealing to all individuals who have left the party but have changed their minds to rejoin.
He further stated that they are urging BJP ‘page presidents’ to join the Congress and give the party a chance. “We are telling them that they have been used by the BJP,” he explained.
‘Page presidents’ and ‘page committee members’ are part of a system created by the BJP in Gujarat in which party employees are assigned to each page of the electoral roll and keep in touch with the local population.
Before becoming state party chairman, Gohil and other Congress workers walked almost eight km from the Sabarmati Ashram to the party’s headquarters in Ahmedabad.
Before the yatra begins, Congress workers will reach out to the people in each of the 33 districts and eight municipal corporation areas.
Manish Doshi, a spokesperson for the State Congress, described it as a novel idea. He stated that throughout the yatras, the party maintains a desk called Haath se Haath Jodo (Joining Hands), where anyone who agree with the party’s beliefs can join.
According to Ahmedabad-based political analyst Vidyut Joshi, the yatra is a wonderful start, but it may not totally revitalize the party.
He believes it is vital to delve into the specifics of what is ailing the Congress. According to Joshi, any party needs youthful blood to survive for a long time.
After the Seva Dal was nearly defunct in the 1980s, the Congress began to face a shortage of youthful blood. Indoctrination is required, and a person’s views are formed when he or she is young, according to Joshi.