Bharat Jodo Yatra: Congress’s poll campaign a test for Siddaramaiah, Shivakumar

The Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra will enter Gundlupet in Karnataka on September 30 after covering a distance of 511 kilometres across the state in 21 days. Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council B K Hariprasad has been made the in-charge of the yatra for the state. However, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is also a huge opportunity for Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D K Shivkumar to showcase his organisational skills and resource management to the party’s top brass, including Rahul Gandhi, ahead of the 2023 state elections.

BHARAT JODO YATRA CONGRESS’S BID TO CEMENT POSITION IN KARNATAKA

The Bharat Jodo Yatra will be vital for leaders fighting against the ruling BJP. Talking to India Today, psephologist Sandeep Shastri said, “The yatra is a Congress movement to reassert its presence nationally and in Karnataka. They have a straight fight with the BJP. It becomes even more critical for the Karnataka Congress. The yatra is vital for the state as it will help cement Congress’s reputation as a formidable Opposition.”

SIDDARAMAIAH, SHIVAKUMAR VIE FOR GANDHIS’ ATTENTION

The movement is not just Congress’s bid to reach out to the masses, it is also an opportunity for former CM and Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar to prove their mettle to Rahul Gandhi.

However, from the look of things, Siddaramaiah has, so far, remained away from the yatra. His supporters believe he has nothing to prove ahead of the polls. Siddaramaiah was not spotted even during the launch of the yatra in Kanyakumari, when all the other top Congress leaders, including Shivakumar, marked their presence.

Sources in the Congress said Siddarahmaiah will show his political prowess once the yatra enters his bastion — Mysuru — but when it enters the Vokkaliga belt, Shivakumar might have the upper hand.

Siddaramaiah was not spotted even during the launch of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Kanyakumari, where all the other top Congress leaders, including D K Shivakumar (on Gandhi’s right), marked their presence.

Ever since Shivakumar took charge, the Gandhis have been keeping a close eye on the developments in Karnataka, which is going to the assembly elections next year. The yatra, which will cover the whole of Karnataka, is being touted as an unofficial campaign to put the cadre in mission mode for elections.

Sources in the Congress said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra will be a large-scale affair in Karnataka and much bigger than Shivakumar’s Mekedatu padayatra. “Every time there is an event, DKS wants to set the bar high. There is no doubt that he can mobilise 10,000 people at a moment’s notice,” said a source in Congress.

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