Number of yatris reduce as Pancharatna Yatra travels across the state

Politics State Top Story

The crowd size varies at each district as the yatra aims to cover 106 taluks.

The Pancharatna Yatra started by the Janta Dal (Secular) party saw the participation of over 1 lakh people in Mulbagal, Kolar according to Kolar police. The yatra is now in Devanahalli, where only 750 people have turned up according to police officials.

The yatra is set cover over 106 taluks and eight legislative assembly constituencies in the state. Prathap Kanagal, State President of JD(S) IT wing and State Spokesperson said, “On the opening day we had around 85000 people. As the yatra progresses, depending on the city or village the crowd varies from 25000 people to 1000 people.” The yatra has now reached Duddanahalli, it previously covered Chikkaballapur and will also go to Tumkuru, Hassan, Ramnagaram and end at Anekal.

Similarly, the Congress recently culminated their Bharat Jodo Yatra on October.23 in the state. According to Ballari police officials, the yatra saw the attendance of two to three lakh people in the district. Anand Prasad, State General Secretary, Social and Communications Department of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) said, “The Pancharatna Yatra has no steam, they are doing it just for the sake of it. JD(S) does not have the kind of cadres or leaders like the Congress. They might be strong in Mandya or Mysore, but in any other place people would not care.” Prathap Kanagal, State President of JD(S) IT wing and State Spokesperson said, “Both yatras can happen parallelly. Our yatra has a specific message which we want to bring to the people. They did not have any specific message. They are playing their game, we are playing ours.” He added that “the main intention of the yatra is to take the proposed social reform schemes to the  doorsteps of the people. Stage one will cover old Mysore region and stage two will cover Central Karnataka, Kalyana Karnataka, and North Karnataka.”

The Bharat Jodo Yatra saw around two lakh people attending the yatra in Ballari

However, some say that padayatras (walks) will only be beneficial for the party members and not the general public. Prasad said, “We do not know who a voter is and who is not. The candidates must go door to door to reach people during elections. So, we cannot link padayatra with election campaigning.”

Carrying out such yatras is a good way of keeping the party machinery alive, said a political science professor, who wanted to maintain anonymity. “JD(S) having a yatra may not necessarily be against the Congress. The party has sensed that they do not want to lose out on the Vokkaliga  cadre.” Kanagal said that the party decided against holding rallies as it is restricted to one day. “A yatra will help us go to the grass roots level and get feedback and hear the grievances of the people,” he said.