Asics and Adidas, no-fuss everyday shoes and some even barefeet… As Congress leaders and workers hit the road for their ambitious 3,570 km Bharat Jodo Yatra, shoes are the sole — but not only — concern.
The dress code is white and Congressmen and women are mostly adhering to it. Adding a splash of colour in that sea of monochrome is the sheer variety of footwear.
If former party president Rahul Gandhi chose a pair of sturdy blue Asics shoes, according to party insiders, general secretary Jairam Ramesh went for Adidas. Their party colleague Kanhaiya Kumar said he doesn’t need any special footwear and the party’s in-charge for training Sandesh Sachin Rao walked the first day of the yatra barefeet.
Rahul Gandhi, along with several party leaders, embarked on the Bharat Jodo Yatra on Thursday, marking the beginning of a cross-country outreach campaign from Kanyakumari to Kashmir aimed at reviving its electoral fortunes.
As they walk the political talk, several leaders are carrying multiple pairs of shoes.
Rahul Gandhi, sources said, is carrying a couple of pairs of shoes in readiness to walk an average of 22-23 km a day.
Ramesh, the party’s general secretary in-charge communications, found Adidas the most comfortable.
“I decided that since I am going to be walking such long distances, I need to be comfortable. So I tried out five different brands. I found this Adidas pair very comfortable.” Asked about Congress leaders sporting sports shoes for the Yatra, Ramesh said, “I am sure they have invested in shoes.” While many Congress leaders were seen wearing sports shoes keeping in mind the walk ahead, there were some who seemed unfazed by the long distance.
Asked if he got a new pair of shoes for the long distance ahead of the yatra, ‘Bharat Yatri’ Kanhaiya Kumar said he doesn’t need any special footwear; he is from Bihar and always prepared to walk long distances.
The ‘Bharat Yatris’ are those who will walk the entire 3,570 km distance. The 119 Congress men and women were seen wearing largely white attire – kurta-pyjama, shirts, T-shirts, saris and salwar-suits.
The Bharat Yatris have also been issued standard Khadi bags which have a water bottle, an umbrella and a pair of T-shirts.
The march will cover 12 states and two Union Territories in 150 days.