Today We the People of India embark upon a mission, a seven year long journey, to defend the future of India. Today we launch a movement, the Bharat Jodo Abhiyaan, that can reclaim our republic, renew our Constitutional values, rescue our democratic institutions and rekindle the spirit of our freedom struggle. A movement of resistance to the unfolding assault on our constitution, our nationalism, our civilization – indeed, the very idea of India. A movement of national reconstruction that extends its horizon from helping political change to fostering socio-cultural change and indeed combating climate change, that offers a credible hope to secure the Constitutional promise of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity for every Indian.
We are a group of citizens who have worked with various people’s movements, voluntary organizations, and political formations. Many of us have participated in the historic Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar, from despondency to optimism, from keeping quiet to expressing ourselves, from finger-pointing to taking personal responsibility and from apolitical stances to explicit assertion of our political role as citizens. The unprecedented success of this yatra places an extraordinary responsibility on everyone who shared this journey with their body, mind or soul. We launch Bharat Jodo Abhiyaan to fulfil this responsibility, to exercise our right to protect our hard won freedom and to discharge our sacred duty to defend our Constitution.
The preamble to the Constitution of India defines our ideology. It is incumbent upon us to redeem the pledge of securing for all our citizens “social, economic and political justice, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and of opportunity; and fraternity”. This commitment to constitutional values entails some concrete non-negotiable positions that we all stand for:
Bharat Jodo Abhiyaan is a mission. It is a time-bound campaign undertaken by like-minded citizens who are passionate about a cause. The functioning of BJA must reflect the spirit of this mission and be guided by the following principles: urgency, agility, swift decision making; flexibility, informality in responding and adapting; promoting and encouraging autonomous self-directed work; teamwork through consensus building and mutual trust; and, transparency in finances and functioning. The Abhiyaan will remain an open, public platform that functions through the following bodies:
Mentors: a group of senior and eminent citizens to guide and advise the Abhiyaan.
National/State Council: a broad-based representative body for major policy decisions.
National/State Working Group: a smaller executive body for day to day decisions.
The first National Convention shall nominate the first group of Mentors, a provisional National Council [NC] and a provisional National Working Group [NWG]. The NC will organise state level conventions of BJA to constitute state level bodies. State Councils shall nominate constituency level teams. NC and NSG shall be reconstituted following state level conventions in most of the states.
Abhiyaan may create the following functional bodies at different levels:
Teams: Regular functional teams for Strategic Planning & Coordination; Analytics and Data Management, Communications, Training, Finance and Operations and Support etc.
Task Forces: project team for a specific campaign or event.
Collectives: loose collaborative teams of self directed groups or persons.
Secretariat: standing team connected with each of the Teams or Task Forces.
BJA is a seven year mission to reclaim our republic. In the first phase, for the next 15 months, the BJA shall focus on making a difference in the next Lok Sabha elections by working closely with political parties that offer effective resistance to the politics and ideology of BJP-RSS, without getting into the intra-opposition differences. We propose to undertake the following:
A. Truth ‘Army’: that would identify and counter misinformation and hatred, counter the pre-existing narratives and proactively promote alternative narrative. This will require:
B. Targeted Constituency Campaign: to provide active ground level support to political parties and candidates that can defeat the BJP and its allies.
C. Movement support: Identify some key national and local movements that are helping to raise real issues of the people and support them to take their message forward and to coordinate with one another. Set up task forces for some of the key movements such as movement against unemployment that cut across states and focus on youth and social groups affected by anti-people policies of this regime. Connect with organisations that are doing constructive work towards an alternative and sustainable model of development. (Responsible: NC and SC)
D. Opposition Unity: A committee of Elders to go and speak to senior leaders of every opposition party by June 2023 to impress on them to work in a united front to defeat the BJP in 2024. (Responsible: NC)
E. Finance and Operations Team to first develop a multi-pronged fund raising strategy by Mar 23 and then act on it from Apr onwards. (Responsible: NC). Enrol several BJA Support Services Organisations. (Responsible: Finance and Operations Team)
The second phase of the Abhiyaan, post 2024 elections, would focus on the long-term cultural and ideological challenge of reclaiming the republic through building public opinion, training a large pool of fellow travellers or abhiyatris, ground action to support peoples’ movements, organisations and institutions that can be relied upon to defend constitutional values and democratic institutions. A detailed plan of long-term action will be evolved by the National Council under the guidance of the Mentors.