Lead by former minister SA Ramdas, the five-day padayatra is aimed at regaining the BJP's lost ground in the city's three assembly constituencies, which form part of Mysore Lok Sabha segment and trying to win the electorates in Mandya and Ramnagaram districts. Crucially, Ramanagaram's four assembly segments are part of Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency, which Congress won during the bypoll two months back. BJP is strong in other four segments attached to Bangalore Rural parliamentary segment.
The BJP made it a big show even as Ramdas, who went into political hibernation for over two months after his defeat in the assembly polls in May, is seeking to reconnect with the people again. He is leading the padayatra and spoke about various issues en route like the corruption, internal security threats and terrorism. It was also a show of strength by the BJP too. The party's MLC G Madhusudana, who has fallen out with Ramdas, attended its launch. Former MP and MLC C H Vijayshankar, who is preparing to contest the polls, marched some distance with Ramdas.
Though over two thousands were part of the padayatra when it was launched at the Balarama Gate of the Mysore Palace, as it reached its Day-1 stopover Yeliyur in Mandya district, the crowd has melted to a little over hundred. The former minister-led padayatra will traverse through Mandya, Ramnagaram and Bangalore rural district to reach the IT City on November 17 to coincide with Modi's rally. Seeking to project Modi, the padayatra is aimed at bracing for the Lok Sabha polls and targeting youths. A large number of women wearing saffron coloured saree were part of the event when it was launched in the city by former CM Jagadish Shettar. Addressing the activists, Shettar said: "Modi is the real leader of the nation. Indians are looking at Modi to provide them an able leadership. Modi's leadership is essential for India."
BJP activist Manjunath's son Rahul, dressed as Swami Vivekananda, attended the event and address the gathering. The party activists welcomed the leaders en route to Yeliyur, 30 kms from the city on the border of Mandya taluk. The yatra will travel 30 kms on an average daily.