Bharat Jodo Yatra: BJP’s desperation showing in Karnataka

Release of 4 full-page advertisements by BJP to discredit Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka CM Basavraj Bommai mocking Sonia Gandhi for walking only a ‘short distance’ show the disquiet in the party

Bharat Jodo Yatra: BJP’s desperation showing in Karnataka

Naheed Ataulla

In Bengaluru on Thursday, it was hard to tell if it was desperation or derision that drove the Bharatiya Janata Party to release four full-page ‘advertorials’ on front pages of four regional newspapers. The identical advertorials, resembling normal front pages of newspapers, carried old and published reports, some dating back to 2010, which were critical of or mocked at Congress and Rahul Gandhi. The most important ‘lead story’ maintained that the Congress MP currently on the Bharat Jodo Yatra was attending a wedding reception when Mumbai was attacked by terrorists in 2008.  

The advertorials carried a fine print acknowledging that the advertisements were released by the state unit of the BJP. But barring stray comments, the gimmick drew no reaction. But they did show how rattled the BJP is in Karnataka following the overwhelming response to first the birthday celebrations of former chief minister Siddarmaiah, which was attended by Rahul Gandhi, which was followed by the Bharat Jodo Yatra. If the advertorials were meant to overshadow the Yatra, the attempt failed to cut much ice. 

While the state BJP unit admitted to have paid for the advertorials in the four pro-BJP Kannada dailies, namely Samyukta Karnataka, Kannada Prabha, Hosa Diganta and Vishwavani, chief minister Bommai took a swipe at Congress President Sonia Gandhi walking a short distance in the Yatra in Mandya district. ``Sonia Gandhi walked for half a Km and left. That's okay. As far as we are concerned, it made no impact,'' he claimed.  

Congress MLA and party spokesperson Priyank Kharge pointed out that the BJP had released two advertisements in the first five days of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state. More attempts are likely to be made to discredit the walkathon. But the overwhelming show of support from the people so far for the Yatra is forcing the BJP in Karnataka to devise newer ways to discredit it.   

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