Kolar: JD(S)’ ambitious “Pancharatna Ratha Yatre” that was kick-started at Kurudumale here on Tuesday morning, with an aim of win at least 123 seats and independently forming a “government of Kannadigas” in Karnataka after the 2023 Assembly polls, has now been put off for a week, due to rains.
Earlier in the day, a special puja was performed by JD(S) at the Kurudumale Ganesha temple here, in the presence of the party patriarch and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who flagged off the ‘Pancharatna Ratha Yatre’.
However, as there was continues rains in the region, JD(S) leader and H D Kumaraswamy later, citing the downpour and the forecast that it may continue for next couple of days, announced the decision to put off the Yatre by a week, and said that it will resume, as soon as there is respite from rains.
The former Chief Minister, who had recently said that he would announce the first list of candidates for 123-126 seats out of total 224 on November 1, today also indicated that there might be a slight delay in doing this, as he wishes to make the candidates take the pledge of loyalty to the party.
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He also said that more than 40 per cent of JD(S) candidates will be youth.
“In three phases this ratha yatre will visit all the districts. Visit a minimum of 40 villages in at least one Assembly constituency every day, there will be six to seven small meetings, meetings at zilla panchayat centres, and grama ‘vastavaiya’ (overnight stay in one village) every day,” Kumaraswamy said eaelier in the day.
Speaking to reporters after offering special puja, he said there will also be interaction with people from all sections of the society during the Yatre.
“Our aim is to form an independent government of Kannadigas with the blessings of the people of Karnataka in the 2023 Assembly polls. This Pancharatna Ratha Yatre is an effort to earn the trust of the people, and during the yatre instead of speaking about other parties, we will speak on programmes,” he added.
Kumaraswamy had in the past headed a coalition government with both national parties in the past, for 20-months with BJP from February 2006, and with Congress for 14 months after the 2018 Assembly polls.
This Yatre is to inform people about a five-fold programme called ‘Pancharatna’ that the JD(S) plans to implement on coming to power, which include quality education, health, housing, farmer welfare and employment.
The first phase of Pancharatna Yatre will cover Assembly constituencies in Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Tumakuru, Hassan, and Ramanagara districts and is expected to end on December 6 at Anekal near Bengaluru.
Interestingly, the erstwhile Janata Dal under the leadership of Deve Gowda had launched its 1994 electoral battle from Kurudumale, and the party then went on to win majority seats and form the government under his leadership.
Noting that the first list of candidates is ready, Kumaraswamy further said, “I have already given instructions to them (candidates) to begin work, I also had held discussions regarding inviting them here to officially announce the list, but most of them are in the constituencies as I had asked them organise a programme of hoisting flags on houses on account of Kannada Rajyotsava.” He said he will discuss with Deve Gowda and decide whether to announce the list in a couple of days before the media.
“I want to make them (candidates) take a pledge, to ensure that after winning election stay loyal to the party and will not defect to other parties falling prey to their allurements. You have seen the BJP’s behaviour, what they had tried to do in Telangana, what Sisodia is saying in Delhi (alleged attempt of poaching),” he said.
Kumaraswamy indicated that if the list is not announced by the end of the day today, it may be done in a few days at the party office in Bengaluru, by making candidates pledge loyalty before Gowda.
Noting that there is pressure from party workers for him to contest from Kolar and that he will make his decision known at an appropriate time, the JD(S) leader also expressed confidence about the party winning at least five out of six seats in the district.
He also claimed that his party is so strong in the district that even a normal party worker can face Congress leader and former CM Siddaramaiah, in case he decides to contest from Kolar.