Bharat Jodo Yatra & Rahul’s T-shirt politics

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Omkar Dattatray

There is no dearth of subjects in the murkier field of politics in our largest democracy of the world. During the past we have seen politicians of all hues and colors doing petty politicking on various subjects as per their need and political expediency. The politicians irrespective of the party affiliations do politics to suit their selfish political interests. The people of this country called Bharat have seen onion politics, BJP’s Pakuda politics, Mandal and cammandal politics, Mandir-Masjid politics and so on and so forth. But these days the T-Shirt politics and debate has made circles in the political lexicon of the country because congress leader and scion of Gandhi family is on Bharat Jodo Yatra wearing T-Shirt in these days of severe cold. The pad Yatra of Rahul Gandhi is a social movement, festival and Yatra and primarily this crucial Yatra is social but it is the politicians of BJP who are giving a political color to this Yatra for love, affection, peace, equality and communal harmony which stand disturbed and destroyed by those political parties which rule the country at present. Therefore it is not Rahul Gandhi who is politicizing his T-Shirt but the BJP and some other parties of insignificance who are politicizing the T-Shirt of congress leader. Rahul Gandhi has rightly commented that his T-Shirt is not a simple piece of cloth but is the shield which prevents him from the blind opposition of the BJP and other smaller parties and it is again his T-Shirt which arms him to fight the divisive politics of the saffron parties. The T-Shirt debate and politics shows that India is all about Testosterone. The machismo and identification of the young men with testosterone-driven enthusiasm and leadership that is what the t-shirt has come to represent. The T- Shirt shows that Rahul is young, energetic and dynamic leader true to his word as there is no difference between his words and deeds. The T-Shirt of Rahul Gandhi has given sleepless nights to BJP and other opponents. It is the wearing of the T-Shirt in severe cold and mist which has made his political rivals restless and uneasy and they took out for the alibis to sabotage his Yatra but they are not successful in their selfish political designs. Isn’t there too much conversation about Rahul Gandhi’s t-shirt on his Bharat Jodo Yatra and nothing about real issues which matter much? Everyone is saying, how could he walk in a plain white t-shirt in 4degree Celsius in this cold? People are talking wrong things and do not talk substance. But such non serious talk about t-shirt is meat and potatoes of the Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra that is likely to hit where it hurts most. The machismo and identification of young men with a testosterone -driven enthusiasm and leadership -that is what the t-shirt has come to represent in these days in politics though it is all devoid of any substance. For second time in the course of the congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, party leader Rahul Gandhi’s T- Shirt has generated controversy. If it was the alleged high -priced T-Shirt earlier, it is only T-Shirt which has led to a debate on his missing Jacket. Rahul 52, embarked on the ambitious 3570 km Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanya Kumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7and just two days later the T-Shirt he was wearing during the Yatra drew the people’s attention.BJP said the Nehru-Gandhi scion was wearing a Burberry T-Shirt which was priced at Rs 41,257. On this allegation, congress hit back saying BJP was targeting superfluous issues. Rahul meanwhile, switched over to non-branded white T-Shirt thereafter. However by the time the Yatra reached Haryana on December 21,the public discourse too switched to Rahul’s T-Shirt again and the lack of any Jacket despite the biting cold weather. While others accompanying Rahul in the Yatra such as former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda and congress Raj Sabha member Randeep Surjewala, were seen loaded with warm clothes, he was wearing only a half sleeved white colored T-Shirt. There is something super human in Rahul wearing a half sleeved T-Shirt and this is going to influence the politics of congress and it may give some dividends to congress in the nine state assembly elections, because congress revival is going to happen with this pad Yatra of Rahul. But the people are not impressed and affected by such cheap politics of the BJP and politicizing the T-Shirt of Rahul Gandhi and the numbers of the people participating in the Yatra swelled with each passing day. The Ghost of the Rahul’s T-Shirt has terrified the BJP and they are seeing bad dreams even during the day time. Rahul himself broached the ‘only T-Shirt’topic when the Yatra reached Delhi on December 24.Addressing a rally at the Red Fort he said media persons who asked him if he did not feel cold. I thought they are asking me but why do they not ask same question to farmers, laborers and poor children of India.” Rahul Gandhi’s T-Shirt shot into prominence on December 28,on the occasion of congress party’s 138 th foundation day at the party headquarters in New Delhi when a media person asked him whether he would continuously keep wearing only T-Shirt. Rahul quipped, “Jab Tak Chal Rahi Hai-Nahi Kaam Karegi To Dekhenge. There is something unique about Rahul Gandhi and winter of 2022.It is the first year when the Wayanad MP is seen without any warm clothes during winter season, otherwise he has worn a Jacket in the past..Several congress leaders and party supporters hailed Rahul for wearing t-shirt in biting cold and credited spirituality for it. Some said Rahul is a super human being. Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said on twitter,”How can one survive in 6degree Celsius only in a T-Shirt? Such self control and self power belongs only to ascetics. “Whatever it is, the fact is that there is some secret in Rahul wearing a T-Shirt during the course of his Pad-Yatra in the biting cold and it is going to influence the voters in the ensuing state assembly elections and the repercussion of the T-Shirt politics and the revival of congress through Bharat Jodo Yatra will find a echo in the general elections of 2024 and the pad Yatra of Rahul may work wonders in general elections which are about 400 days from now. Finally Rahul has broken his Tapasya as he has surrendered before cold and gave good bye to his T-Shirt and he is now seen in a hooded chester jacket. But this switch over to a raincoat was temporary as the energetic and dynamic leader has again wearied a t-shirt. In the end let the BJY of Rahul Gandhi influence the course of Indian politics in the right way and ensure congress revival at the political landscape of our democracy. The fact is that Rahul’ s Pad Yatra has attracted huge masses of people all along the Yatra route and his BJY cannot be ignored or overlooked as it is going to influence the course of politics in the country. The political pundits opine that Bharat Jodo Yatra will bring political dividends to congress though this Yatra is a social initiative and movement but ultimately it is going to change the political history of the nation and thus the BJP is very uneasy over the success of Rahul’s Yatra.
(The author is a columnist,
social and KP activist).