After more than 100 days walking nearly the entire length of India, Rahul Gandhi, scion of the nation’s most famous political dynasty, stood before a shivering crowd in rural Himachal Pradesh as a cheer went up.

Bearded and clad in a white t-shirt, Gandhi bore none of the vestiges of wealth or elitism that have smudged his family’s name in recent years. In the village of Ghatota, Gandhi’s message to supporters on a cold day this month was a simple one: "We started this march to bring people together.”

His journey through India — a 3,492 kilometer (2,170 mile) trek from the country’s southernmost tip to the icy north of Kashmir — marks a do-or-die moment for Gandhi, 52, who was broadly written off after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party defeated his party in the last two general elections. Once an unbeatable force in Indian politics, Gandhi’s Congress Party has struggled to connect with voters and overcome a reputation blotted by corruption scandals and an exodus of leadership.