Karnataka Congress revels in Rahul Yatra afterglow: Shivakumar & Siddaramaiah's 'unity', motivated workers – The Indian Express

Before Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra began, the friction between the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah, the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and former Chief Minister, threatened to intensify and push the party into a crisis ahead of elections in 2023.
However, after 24 days of the yatra in Karnataka and multiple rallies, Gandhi appears to have succeeded in patching up the differences between the two leaders, albeit temporarily, by resorting to a public show of unity between the two leaders, both of whom harbour chief ministerial ambitions. Gandhi’s attempts to end the differences between Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah led the BJP to label his padayatra a “Congress Jodo Yatra”.

Another positive for the KPCC is that the mobilisation that occurred during the march has “revitalised and energised” the party rank-and-file and provided them with much-needed inspiration. Though the state Congress had its tails up due to the success of the “PayCM” campaign, the yatra offered an additional boost ahead of the rough and tumble of the election season.
Most of those who participated in the yatra had a hard time believing that the party, often described as being on its deathbed, could pull off such a degree of mobilisation for the yatra with this degree of success. The opinion, however, is divided on whether this success will translate into votes come April 2023 when the state heads to the polls.
While the Congress is expected to benefit in regions where Gandhi marched, such as the Vokkaliga heartland of old Mysuru, its impact is uncertain in parts such as coastal Karnataka and the Mumbai-Karnataka region through which the yatra did not pass, said some Congress leaders.
“We have warmed up our cadre for the big boxing bout,” All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala told The Indian Express, referring to the coming elections. According to him, Congress workers have been galvanised in every constituency and leaders from each district have marched with Gandhi. The event had succeeded in creating leaders at every level of the state unit, Surjewala claimed, adding that it would be a game-changer for the party.
DK Shivakumar’s assertion that the party would win 150 seats in the Assembly elections due to the Yatra reflected the new-found confidence in the state unit. “The momentum gained by the yatra will be sustained till the elections next year. We have more programmes lined up to expose the ruling government.”
However, not everyone is certain about the electoral impact of the march. Congress working president Satish Jarkiholi maintained that it was too early to assess whether support for the yatra would convert into votes. “When elections approach, various issues come up that alter a party’s prospects,” he said. Unlike the constituencies the Yatra passed through, there won’t be a direct impact in other segments of the state, some feel.
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