MYSURU: The Congress, which managed to clinch the Legislative Council elections and is in an upbeat mood, has planned a march on Azaadi Ka Amruth Mahotsav. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is using the 75th Independence Day to showcase its achievements and vision for the next 25 years, Congress leaders are set to hit the streets to rejuvenate the grand old party.
The Congress will set off on a 75-km padayatra in all districts, and reach out to people to apprise them of the party’s contribution to building the country, and also hear out the problems of the people. Having put up an impressive show in the recent Council elections, the party is full of vim to start the padayatra in the Vokkaliga heartland of Mandya, Hassan and Mysuru districts, where Janata Dal (Secular) is its main rival.
With the JDS continuing to lose steam after the fall of the coalition government, the Congress is reaching out to voters as well as JDS leaders and workers at the booth level and in panchayats, as part of its rejuvenation strategy.
Congress leaders will kickstart the padayatra from KR Pet taluk in Mandya, cover all seven constituencies and conclude in Malavalli. They will address meetings at street corners and in hoblis and outline their plans if voted to power in 2023. The party will also bring in artistes to perform skits on MNREGA, RTI, free food, education, welfare programmes for SC/STs, minorities, and a waiver of Rs 70,000 crore loans by the UPA government.
KPCC President DK Shivakumar is keen to emerge as a Vokkaliga leader and take on the HD Deve Gowda family. Opposition leader Siddaramaiah is looking to erode the JDS base and knows that a JDS loss will be Congress gain in Old Mysuru. The party, which has set a target of 130 seats, wants to up its performance in this belt, which has more than 95 assembly constituencies.
The JDS, which had one MP, three MLCs and seven MLAs in the Mandya district, lost the MP to independent Sumalatha Ambareesh and two MLCs to Congress. JDS MLC Marithibbe Gowda campaigned for Congress candidate Madhu G Made Gowda openly.
KPCC General Secretary PM Narendra Swamy said people are looking to the Congress as the JDS is losing its hold on the Mandya district. The party is left with six MLAs and is facing a leadership vacuum. This, and the fact that BJP is a non-starter here, will galvanise the party to win over fence-sitters and former panchayat members.
Former minister N Chaluvarayaswamy said that 500 Congress workers from each assembly segment will participate in a mammoth rally, to be held on August 15.