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The 3570-Km Padayatra That Will Define Congress And Rahul Gandhi’s Future

The Indianisation of Rahul Gandhi begins on Wednesday (Sep 7). The real test for him as he takes up a padayatra in the fashion of many in India, from Mahatma Gandhi downwards, is whether he can sustain a 150-day walk covering 3,570 kms. The padayatra is his biggest attempt to revive a sinking party as he hits the ground that he has rarely done as a politician more prone to taking foreign breaks periodically. He is to begin this campaign with a visit to his father’s memorial in Sriperumbudur on September 7 morning and then to the starting point of the padayatra where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin will give him a national flag to carry on his march. The walk is loaded with symbolism and if Rahul is serious enough in walking from one end of India to the other, he stands some chance of washing off the image of a person born with a silver spoon in a political dynasty. While he is still inclined not to worry about who becomes the Congress President, he will assume the mantle of campaign leader for the 2024 elections. If he can simply double the Congress 2019 tally of 52, he would be giving his party and the combined opposition half a chance to down the BJP. But first, he would have to be seen walking like an Indian on home soil.