Will Bharat Nyaya Yatra be a stunt? Why is Justice Katju apprehensive?

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Bharat Nyaya Yatra

Will Bharat Nyaya Yatra be a stunt? Why is Justice Katju apprehensive?

By Justice Markandey Katju

The Congress party has announced that Rahul Gandhi will undertake a 'Bharat Nyaya Yatra' from Manipur to Mumbai from 14th January 2024 to 20th March, covering a distance of 6200 kms, passing through 14 states and 85 districts.

This Yatra is evidently with an eye on the coming 2024 Lok Sabha parliamentary elections.

Rahul Gandhi's earlier Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanya Kumari to Srinagar from 7th September 2022 to 30th January 2023, covering about 4000 kms and passing through 12 states, and his speeches in America about starting a 'Mohabbat ki dukan' in a 'nafrat ka bazaar' were a flop show and a gimmick, despite all the fanfare and publicity, as they were followed by the defeat of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh ( though it won in Telangana ).

The whole aim of the Congress party and Rahul Gandhi in all this is to get the large Muslim vote bank, for without that it has a bleak future. Congress, which was in power for several decades after Independence, feels like a fish out of water without power, and its corresponding loaves of office.

For a long time Muslims were Congress voters, but after demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 Muslims left Congress in UP, the largest state in India, and went over to the Samajwadi Party ( SP ), and in Bihar to Lalu Yadav's RJD. Now the Congress is desperate to get them back.

The problem for the Congress is that other non-BJP parties also want the Muslim votes. For instance, the SP wants their votes in UP, and the RJD in Bihar. So seat sharing in the INDIA alliance of opposition parties will not be easy.

Also, when a party goes to the polls it must have something positive to offer to the people. The BJP has Hindutva to offer ( whatever its worth ). But the Congress has nothing to offer, except harping on secularism, which is only a euphemism for a desire to get Muslim votes.

The Bharat Nyaya Yatra has proclaimed its objective as 'aarthik nyaya' ( economic justice ) and 'rajnaitik nyaya' ( political justice ), which really means nothing. Everybody in India know that Indian politicians have no genuine desire to give Indians economic justice, but only seek their votes by making all kinds of tall promises to the people, when in fact all they seek is power and pelf.

Rahul Gandhi has no clue how to solve India's huge economic problems, so all his talk of 'aarthik nyaya' is claptrap and hot air.

In India politics runs largely on the basis of caste and religious vote banks, and when most voters go to vote they forget economic issues like poverty, unemployment, price rise, etc and only see the candidate's caste or religion ( or the caste or religion his party claims to represent ).

The skilfully manipulated media hype over the consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on 22nd January, and its inauguration on the 24th will certainly benefit the BJP, apart from the religious polarisation in recent years, in the coming elections.

I am afraid the Bharat Nyaya Yatra will be as much a stunt and a gimmick as the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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