Yatra seems to be the keyword in the Karnataka assembly elections 2018. All parties have resorted to yatras in a bid to connect with the voters. In fact all the three Chief Ministerial candidates from the BJP, Congress and JD(S) have been part of yatras since the past couple of months.
B S Yeddyurappa of the BJP has addressed 185 public rallies, covered a distance of 10,500 kilometres in the past 85 days as part of the Parivarthana Yatra.
Siddaramaiah of the Congress on the other hand has addressed 120 public rallies in 30 districts during his 30 day Nava Karnataka Nirmana yatra.
H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) launched the Karnataka Vikas Yatra from Chamundeshwari in November and covered several districts.
The yatras in Karnataka only go on to show that every party is leaving no stone unturned in a bid to claim Vidhan Soudha. The dates of the elections have not yet been announced and each party appears to have completed at least one full round of campaigning.
Analysts say that each one wanted the early bird advantage and hence decided to go on these yatras. They wanted to tell the people that the state is already in election mode and yatras are the best way to connect.
Within the BJP, many are happy with the Parivarthana yatra. This yatra also got a pat on the back from the BJP's national president, Amit Shah. BJP leaders say that the yatras have done a world of good for them and more importantly it has helped Yeddyurappa consolidate his position.
The yatra for the BJP was also necessary since the unit was hit by internal bickering and fighting. The yatra was also an attempt to show that the party stands united. The unity factor for the BJP is extremely crucial as it would like the people of the state to forget the nightmare when it was power until 2013. The party was hit by infighting and even saw a change of three Chief Ministers.
The BJP says that the unity factor was very crucial and the yatra has helped them overcome the troubles of infighting to a large extent. The yatra was attended by all leaders of the state unit and this was important for the party, BJP leaders also say.
For the Congress too, the rallies addressed by Siddaramaiah has helped. He focused entirely on the performance of his government. There were some teething troubles for the Congress at first. There was talk within the Congress that Siddaramaiah had started addressing these rallies to consolidate his position further. Many within the Congress felt that he should not be projecting himself as a CM candidate so early and should wait for the party high command to make an announcement.
Dr. G Parameswhar, the head of the Congress state unit too decided to galvanise a party workers in around 100 constituencies where the Congress had lost in 2013. However the rally did not take off as expected and slowly fizzled out. The Congress now claims that there is no tussle between Parameshwar and Siddaramaiah over the CM's post. The Congress says that it has always been the norm that the person ruling the state goes into elections as the CM candidate.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|