Life on Wheels: Inside the containers where Rahul Gandhi, other Congress leaders sleep during Bharat Jodo Yatra

Hundreds of Bharat Yatris including Rahul Gandhi will spend around 150 days on the road. They will spend the night in 60 containers mounted on trucks. The former Congress chief has an AC container with a fridge; for women, these rooms on wheels come with attached bathrooms

FP Explainers September 12, 2022 11:39:36 IST
Life on Wheels: Inside the containers where Rahul Gandhi, other Congress leaders sleep during Bharat Jodo Yatra

The yatris who participate in the Bharat Jodo Yatra spend the night in truck-mounted containers, which the Congress says, have minimal facilties. Image courtesy: @Jairam_Ramesh/Twitter

It’s Day 5 of Congress’s historic Bharat Jodo Yatra. After Tamil Nadu, about 230 yatris led by former party president Rahul Gandhi are continuing their Kerala leg, which started on Sunday and is expected to last 19 days.

There are 119 “Bharat Yatris” who will walk the entire distance of 3,570 km, from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, while “Atithi Yatris” will join for a short distance.

Every day, they halt at a new campsite and spend the night in about 60 containers mounted on trucks that move from place to place. There are two-bedded containers for senior Congress leaders and six or 12-bedded ones for the other yatris. Most containers come with an attached toilet. Rahul Gandhi has a container to himself, where he will be spending around 150 nights.

Also read: Kanhaiya Kumar, Pawan Khera: Look who’s joining Rahul Gandhi for Congress’ Bharat Jodo yatra

So what’s inside Gandhi’s container? How is it different from the others? We take a look.

AC, fridge in Rahul Gandhi’s container

The containers are parked in colour-coded zones, which are marked depending on the number of beds they have. Those in the yellow zone have only a single bed. Gandhi says in one such container, which is reportedly marked as Container No 1.

A picture of one of Mahatma Gandhi’s marches is pasted outside the container along with the quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Life on Wheels Inside the containers where Rahul Gandhi other Congress leaders sleep during Bharat Jodo Yatra

Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the yatra, will also spend 150 days on the road. Image courtesy: @INCIndia/Twitter

Unlike most other containers, Rahul’s “bedroom” during the Bharat Jodo Yatra has a double bed, a small sofa, an air-conditioner, a small refrigerator and an attached washroom.

His security personnel spend the night in the van marked Container No 2, reports The Indian Express.

Two-bedded containers for senior leaders

The containers in the blue zone have two beds each and a washroom. Senior party leaders such as Congress general secretaries K C Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh, and Digvijaya Singh are staying in two-bed containers.

“We have 60 containers here. These containers move from one site to another. There is a one-bed container which Rahul Gandhi uses,” Ramesh told reporters.

“There is a two-bed container which Mr Digvijaya Singh, Mr K C Venugopal and I use, there is a four-bed, six-bed, eight-bed and 12-bed containers,” he said, adding that his container has two bunks and is like a second AC train compartment.

The containers do not have a place for a meal. While there is no television inside, there is a fan.

Special containers for women

Containers parked in the pink zone of a campsite are for women yatris. These come with four beds – lower and upper decks – and attached bathrooms. The beds come with space for storage.

In the red and orange zone, containers are furnished with bunk beds. These can accommodate four people and do not have an attached washroom.

A container which can accommodate up to 10 people doubles up as a conference.

Life on Wheels Inside the containers where Rahul Gandhi other Congress leaders sleep during Bharat Jodo Yatra

These containers are set up at a new campsite every evening. Image courtesy: @INCIndia/Twitter/Twitter

No liquor, tobacco and other rules

A housekeeping team maintains all the rooms and the bedding and linen are changed daily. The yatris have to drop their laundry at a specific location on the campsite and their clothes are ironed and washed every few days.

Some containers have been turned into toilets and marked with a “T”. There are seven toilets – five for men and two for women.

There is an area designated at every campsite to have food. The meals, which are only vegetarian, are prepared by an external agency which sources local produce. Eating inside the vans is discouraged.

General camp guidelines put up in various containers state that consumption of liquor, tobacco and smoking is prohibited.

‘Containers not made in China’

Ramesh refuted allegations that the containers were made in China. “The facilities are very basic. It is like what you would expect while travelling in a second AC rail compartment,” he said.

Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party, Ramesh said that the ruling party only has “propaganda” to peddle. “The allegations that have been made by the BJP IT cell with the encouragement of the prime minister (Narendra Modi) to defame the Bharat Jodo Yatra show that the BJP is rattled,” Ramesh said.

The BJP is making these allegations in its nervousness, he claimed. “They should come and see what the reality is. We are not hiding anything, there is complete transparency. Look at the way we are staying, it would take about 160 days (to complete the Yatra),” he said.

This is “very basic” and “very minimal”, Ramesh said. “I wish both Amit Shah and Amit Malviya see these containers and then they will know what it is to live in a container. This is not like the Rath Yatra. It is not a Toyota yatra or an Innova yatra. Ours is a padyatra,” Ramesh added.

Rahul Gandhi, along with several of his party colleagues, embarked on the 3,570-km Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari on Thursday.

The march would cover 12 states and two Union Territories in about five months. It is moving in two batches from 7 am to 10.30 am and from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm. While the morning session includes fewer participants, the evening session sees mass mobilisation. The participants plan to walk around 22 to 23 kilometres every day.

The average age of “Bharat Yatris” is 38 and about 30 per cent of them are women. About 50,000 citizens have registered to participate in the march.

With inputs from agencies

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