Special Correspondent

Party will launch a padayatra soon: Deve Gowda

MYSORE: The strategy of the Janata Dal (Secular) for the byelection to the Assembly from the Chamundeshwari constituency will hinge on community leaders working within their sphere of "influence".

This came to the fore when former Prime Minister and party president H.D. Deve Gowda told party members here on Wednesday that "influential" leaders of the party should work within their respective areas of strength and "influence" and confine themselves to areas where they had a mass following. The message was that the leaders should campaign and strive to garner support from their core social groups. Mr. Deve Gowda, who was speaking after inaugurating an election campaign office of the Janata Dal (S)-BJP, said the party leaders would launch a padayatra and a door-to-door campaign in the constituency. Though he had seen many elections in the past, never were they fought so openly on the basis of caste, he added.

The Congress in general, and former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in particular, came under flak for "vitiating the political atmosphere" through caste politics. Mr. Deve Gowda called on the party leaders to dispel the illusion of the Congress that the coalition Government would collapse after the announcement of byelection result on December 7. Mr. Deve Gowda appreciated the BJP's gesture of not fielding its candidate in support of the Janata Dal (S). Hence, it was a direct contest between the Janata Dal (S) and the Congress. Describing the developments in recent days as beneficial to the Janata Dal (S), Mr. Deve Gowda said senior BJP leaders would also campaign in the coming days and add to the strength of the Janata Dal (S).

Responding to criticism that an "uneducated" person was nominated to contest on the Janata Dal (S) ticket, Mr. Deve Gowda said educated persons devoid of courtesy, humility and reasoning were a liability to society.

"Shivabasappa, party candidate, may be a mere matriculate, but he has enough virtues in him," Mr. Deve Gowda said.

He appealed to the party workers not to get provoked or get embroiled in violence, and said the real campaign began today.

Rajashekarmurthy, party leader, Minister for Social Welfare H.K. Kumaraswamy, Minister for Transport Cheluvarayaswamy, former Minister Manjunath, Hunsur MLA G.T. Deve Gowda, and BJP leaders Tontadarya and Shankarlinge Gowda were among those present.

A few advocates of the city joined the Janata Dal (S) along with Naguvinahalli P. Nandakumar and his supporters.