The 921-km walk the talk
By Express News Service - BANGALORE
Published: 17th Jun 2012 12:18:09 PM
With Karnataka politics being pulverized by caste equations and calculations, Bellary Rural MLA B Sriramulu’s marathon 921-kilometre-long padayatra from Bidar to Bangalore that concludes today (June 17th) at the city’s Freedom Park, is expected to have a lasting impact on the poll fortunes of the three major parties, BJP, Congress and JD(S), at least in a few districts, in the 2013 state assembly elections.
Sriramulu’s padayatra targeted 51 Assembly segments with a sizeable population of the Valmiki community to which he belongs. This does not substantiate Sriramulu’s claim of not identifying with any caste or community. After Lingayats, Vokkaligas and Kurubas, Karnataka has the fourth largest population of Valmikis (1.20 crore) in 10 districts, 26 assembly segments in Chitradurga, Bellary, Raichur, and Koppal with a sizeable population of the community will be the deciding factor in any election.
Sriramulu’s padyatra through the drought hit north and north-eastern districts of Karnataka was high on glam quotient. Considered as the longest padayatra in Karnataka’s post-independence political history, Sriramulu was accompanied by his sister and Bellary MP, J Shanta, his brother-in-law and Raichur MP, Sanna Fakkirappa, MLAs from Bellary district Somashekhar Reddy, Sureshbabu, Nagendra, actress Rakshitha and a crowd of 1500 people. One dozen chefs, a truck-load of groceries, over one and a half lakh rotis, 50 kg of groundnut chutney and a truck load of bed-sheets were some of the arrangements made to take care of the food and lodging needs of Sriramulu and his 1500 fans during the padayatra.
The MLA, once a street fighter, attracted a huge crowd during the padyatra. Confident about the fortunes of his newly formed party, BSR (Badavara Shramikar Raithara) Party in the next state Assembly elections, Sriramalu said, “With BJP and INC riddled by dissensions, regional parties will have a big say in Karnataka and my party will prove this.”