As the Pancharatna Yatre of the Janata Dal (Secular) crossed 50 constituencies this week after its launch in November, it seems to have created a buzz in several constituencies as the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress — yet to announce their candidates — have so far not launched their Assembly segment-wise campaigns.
Second list soon
While it is being widely speculated in political circles that the Election Commission of India is likely to announce dates for elections in the third week of March, the Congress has launched the Prajadhwani campaign and the BJP has launched Vijaya Sankalpa Yatre which are not Assembly segment-specific campaigns. On the other hand, the JD(S), which announced the list of 93 candidates, including 31 incumbent legislators, has taken its Pancharatna Yatre to the village and hobli level. It is likely to release its second list in the next few days.
A couple of Congress leaders acknowledged that the JD(S) now had the early starter advantage in several constituencies represented by its legislators, but faced an anti-incumbency factor. “Even in constituencies not represented by the JD(S), the crowd during the yatre has been good,” said a Congress leader. Acknowledging that the early start of the campaign has given the JD(S) the advantage, a BJP leader from Old Mysore region said that the strategy of announcing the candidates and then taking out the yatre had its advantages.
The JD(S), sources said, is also strategising on the conversion of these numbers into votes, a problem that the party has faced as it has failed to capitalise on the popularity of its leader H.D. Kumaraswamy. “Voters are being approached based on segregation of caste, income, age, employment, qualification, and issues. Panchratna Yatre is being followed up by candidates visiting individual homes,” said a leader. Further, the war room in Bengaluru has kept the candidates on their toes as they are being asked to geotag locations on their movement. “We are hopeful that the vote conversion rate will be higher this time. Booth-level committees will be forming teams as a follow up of Pancharatna Yatre.”
Meanwhile, JD(S) sources claimed that the Grama Vastavya (village stay) of Mr. Kumaraswamy had been hugely successful and that if the party came to power, these villages would be taken under a scheme called ‘CM’s Model Village’ for their comprehensive development. By the third week of March, Mr. Kumaraswamy is expected to have stayed in at least 100 villages.