Bengaluru: The Congress on Friday took the religious route to woo voters in poll-bound Karnataka as the party kickstarted its much-touted Praja Dhwani Yatra, a week-long bus tours to north and south of the State.
It was nothing short of a temple run for the Congress leaders, who offered prayers at dargah, temples and ‘Anubhava Mantapa’, one of the important pilgrimages of the Lingayat sect of Karnataka.
While former chief minister Siddaramaiah is covering Assembly constituencies in north, Shivakumar is covering the south.
Siddaramaiah-led team, comprising 35 leaders, started the campaign from Basavakalyan in Bidar district after paying obeisance to the 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara at the ‘Anubhava Mantapa’, which is said to be the first religious parliament in the world.
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“Prajadhwani Yatra started after paying floral tributes to a portrait of ‘Jagajyoti Basaveshwara’ at Anubhava Mandapam at Basavakalyan in Bidar district, after receiving the blessings of Basavalinga Pattadevar Swamiji. My ideal is Basavadi Sharan’s philosophy of ‘practice what you preach’. My administration for five years is a proof of this,” the former chief minister tweeted.
Later, addressing the gathering at Basavakalyan, Siddaramaiah hit out at the ‘divisive Manuvadi’ who divided society on the line of castes.
“These people (BJP) worship Vivekananda. But Vivekananda had said ‘Manuvad’ and ‘Purohit Shahi’ is a curse on the country,” Siddaramaiah said.
He said Basaveshwara had dreamt of a caste-free and progressive society, founded on the principles of equality.
“The preamble of the Constitution too speaks of equality whereas the BJP believes in ‘Manuvad’,” the Congress stalwart remarked.
At the time of preparing the Constitution, RSS founder K B Hedgewar, second RSS chief M S Golwalkar, and Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar had opposed it saying that it lacks Indianness, Siddaramaiah alleged.
He recommended people to read ‘Chintana Ganga’ authored by Golwalkar to understand who is in favour of the Constitution and who is against. Leading the campaign in south, Shivakumar started from Mulbagal in Kolar district after paying homage to the ancient Ganapati temple in Kudumalai.
He later tweeted, “Worshipped Maha Ganapati’s Saligram statue at Kudumalai near Mulbagal. I prayed that the Praja Dhwani Yatra should go on without any hassle in Kolar district.” Shivakumar’s next stop was another ancient Hanuman temple in Mulbagal town. He then went to Hazrat Baba Hyder Aulia Dargah nearby and offered ‘Chadar.’ Later, addressing a public meeting in Mulbagal, the Congress State president slammed the ruling BJP in Karnataka alleging that it has failed to live up to the expectations of people and encouraged corruption.
The leader said the people are hit hard by price rise and rampant corruption in the State.
“You have seen the JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy-led government and the BJP government in Karnataka. There is no future for the State from the two parties. I want to tell the JD(S) workers that they should not get dejected because there is Congress party with you,” Shivakumar said.
He also addressed a gathering at Kolar and the Kolar Gold Field (KGF).