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Can't Miss the Karnataka Polls 'Bus': BJP, Congress Set Election Yatra Plans in Motion

By: Rohini Swamy

Edited By: Manjiri Joshi


Last Updated: December 13, 2022, 20:01 IST

Bengaluru, India

Siddaramaiah unveiled his ultra-luxury bus on November 14 and took it on a trial run in Kolar. (News18)

Siddaramaiah unveiled his ultra-luxury bus on November 14 and took it on a trial run in Kolar. (News18)

The ruling BJP has launched its Jan Sankalpa Yatra in Oct. The Opposition JD(S) has launched ‘Pancharatna Yatra’ led by former CM H D Kumaraswamy, while the Congress has finalised its yatras by former CM Siddaramaiah and KPCC president DK Shivakumar

The wheels are set in motion in Karnataka. To woo voters at their doorstep, top leaders from the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are planning ‘bus yatras’ criss-crossing the state.

The Opposition JD(S) has launched ‘Pancharatna Yatra’, led by former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, while the Karnataka Congress has finalised its schedule for its election bus yatras in the state, led by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar.

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The Congress’s plan was chalked out in a meeting of 10 senior Congress leaders with national president Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi on Monday.


Party sources tell News18 the BJP plans to get their netas to travel in buses across the state to gain people’s confidence and bring them back to power.


The ruling BJP set the election ball rolling with the launch of the Jan Sankalpa Yatra in October, through which chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and former BJP CM B S Yediyurappa are covering the length and breadth of the state and holding public rallies.

Initially, it was planned that Bommai would start his yatra from the northern side of Karnataka, while Yediyurappa will cover from the south. In the past two months, Bommai and Yediyurappa have been building public support. It is now believed a mega rally will be held at Davangere, with senior leaders from the Centre and state, along with PM Modi, in January-February.

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“With the spirits up after the landslide victory in Gujarat, we are hoping that both PM Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah ji will be a part of big rallies and we are sure people will receive them with much fervour,” explained a senior BJP leader.

The BJP has planned a series of yatras with star campaigners to cover all 224 constituencies.


The design of the buses, too, has attracted a lot of attention. While Siddaramaiah’s bus is ready to hit the road, the fleet of customised hi-tech buses — aptly called ‘raths’ — that the BJP has ordered are in the finishing stages, say party sources.

Siddaramaiah unveiled his ultra-luxury bus on November 14 and took it on a trial run in Kolar. Completely air-conditioned, the bus built by the Japanese company Isuzu has been altered to be separated into two. The main seating area consists of four comfortable push-back seats placed on the right side of the bus, with two more seats on the other side. A gangway separates the two portions and allows up to six people to travel together. Tables have also been attached to help conduct meetings. The rear end of the bus has been demarcated for retiring with a double bed and an attached toilet.

A hydraulic platform has been built near the driver’s end of the bus with a sunroof. The leader can be lifted above the sunroof to address public meetings while remaining in the safety of the bus if necessary. When the cost of the bus was sought, officials from Siddaramaiah’s office claimed it was taken on rent from Congress’s Hebbal MLA Byrati Suresh. Tentatively, Siddaramaiah is expected to start his yatra on January 3 from Basavakalyan in the Bidar district.

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“Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar will jointly lead the yatra which will cover 224 constituencies over 75 days. There was a general message from the MLAs that they would like both their top leaders to visit the constituencies together to show the strength of the Congress and the unity of the leadership,” a senior Congress MLA told News18.


JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy, in the 2017 assembly elections, and Nikhil Kumaraswamy, in the 2019 general election, used a similar vehicle for campaigning. The cost of the bus was estimated at Rs 1 crore.

Although still under construction, a BJP insider gave News18 a brief idea of what is being planned for the BJP leaders.

Just like Siddaramaiah’s campaign bus, the BJP’s buses will also have portable hydraulic lifts that can hoist up to four persons to the top of the bus along with the leader.

“Hi-tech campaign buses are in the process of completion for the leaders to travel and meet people. They have been customised to meet the leader’s requirements of holding strategy meetings while travelling. They will be bulletproof and will have ample seating space and luggage room, a kitchen and modern bathrooms. The buses will have LED panels on the side, which will play the achievements of our government,” the insider said.

The JDS, which has already started its ‘Pancharatna Yatra’, has been concentrating on its stronghold - the Old Mysore region. With a target of more than 50 seats in mind, Kumaraswamy is hoping to give the BJP and Congress a tough fight on at least 125 seats. The JD(S) will fight the Karnataka Assembly polls in alliance with Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s newly launched national wing — Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).

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first published:December 13, 2022, 17:32 IST
last updated:December 13, 2022, 20:01 IST