BANGALORE: Former minister and founder of BSR Party B Sriramulu’s much publicised padayatra is all set to take off from Basavakalyan in Bidar district from Tuesday.
Billed as the longest padayatra in Karnataka’s post-independence political history, Sriramulu’s 921-km walk will pass through the eight districts of Hyderabad and central Karnataka before culminating in Bangalore on June 17 where the BSR party is expected to be launched officially.
Despite claiming that his walk is to respond to the plight of the people of drought-hit districts of north Karnataka, the real goal is to lay a solid foundation for his newly floated political outfit. Besides this, the desperation to prove that he and his friend Gali Janardhana Reddy—lodged in the Parappana Agrahara Jail, Bangalore—are still capable of dictating state’s political course as they did in 2008 Assembly elections, is also driving him.
Keeping an eye on the next Assembly elections, Sriramulu wants to consolidate the votes of Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe and other Backward Classes along with his community (Valmiki) votes in favour BSR Party. It is for this reason the Padayatra is passing through Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur, Bellary, Davanagere and Chitradurga districts, where these communities are concentrated.
A close associate of Sriramulu who is overseeing the arrangements of the rally told Express: “His aim is to win sizeable seats in the Assembly elections next year and play a key role in the government formation. If he succeeds, then it will be easy for him to get Reddy released from jail.”
A Congress leader on condition of anonymity, however, said: “Sriramulu’s plans reveal a desperation for an image make-over. He cannot carry the baggage of illegal mining to be a successful politician, and hence is banking on this padayatra.”
Prayers First, Padayatra Next
Bellary: Bellary Rural MLA B Sriramulu offered ‘go’ (cow) pooja at the residence of his jailed former minister G Janardhana Reddy here on Monday ahead of his proposed 54-day ‘padayatra’ from the Anubhava Mantapa in Bidar on Tuesday.
Relatives and supporters of his community left for Bidar after the pooja to prepare for the commencement of the ‘padayatra’. Addressing the media here, Sriramulu said that the 921-km ‘padayatra‘ in north Karnataka will bring in changes in state politics. He added that he met Janardhana Reddy in jail a week ago to seek his guidance for the event. “Reddy had assisted me in every possible way and wished me success,” Sriramulu said. A few supporters possibly from ‘Valmki’ community, his sister and Bellary MP J Shanta, his relative and MLA Suresh Babu and Raichur MP S Fakirappa were also present.