After being postponed twice, the Janata Dal (Secular) launched its ambitious ‘Pancharatna Yatre’ from Mulbagil in Kolar district on Friday with leaders attacking the Congress for “belittling” the yatre. The party deferred announcing its candidates, though it had earlier said that names of 90 candidates for the Assembly polls would be announced.
Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy cited his elder brother H.D. Revanna’s “astrological advice” not to release the list as the reason for deferring it. “According to him today is not a good day,” Mr. Kumaraswamy said, and did not give any fresh date to announce them. The party had already decided not to release names of three constituencies out of eight in Hassan district owing to pulls and pressures from Mr. Revanna’s family.
Speaking about the party’s promise of “Pancharatna programme”, he said: “If I fail to deliver on them even after getting majority on our own, I will dissolve the party.” Targeting Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, he said: “You (Mr. Siddaramaiah) promised Yettinahole water to Kolar and Chickballapur but ended up bringing polluted sewage water from Bengaluru. Now you want to contest from Kolar and bring development.”
Turning his ire at the BJP, Mr. Kumaraswamy said: “Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is a rubber stamp. I do not know if people see him as the Chief Minister.” Appealing to the Veerashaivas to support JD(S), he said: “Veerashaiavas believe that BJP is their party. B.S. Yediyurappa was removed unceremoniously. Now it not your party but controlled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.”
Earlier, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said that both Congress and BJP governments at the Centre led by Manmohan Singh, A.B. Vajapayee, and Narendra Modi had cheated Karnataka on water issues, and the Congress has posed obstacles to Mr. Kumaraswamy.
The yatre will cover 110 taluks in 22 districts.