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Bharat Jodo Yatra: A display of the BJP's desperation in Karnataka
The discontent in the BJP is evident in the four full-page ads it released to attack Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai, who ridiculed Sonia Gandhi for walking merely a "little distance."
It was difficult to say in Bengaluru on Thursday whether the Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to publish four full-page "advertorials" on the top pages of four local newspapers was motivated by desperation or mockery. The similar editorials, which resembled regular newspaper front pages, contained previous, published items, some from 2010, that were critical of or made fun of Rahul Gandhi and Congress. The most significant "lead article" said that the Congress member who is currently on the Bharat Jodo Yatra was present at a wedding reception in 2008 when terrorists struck Mumbai.
The fine print on the advertorials stated that the state BJP unit had released the advertising. However, other than a few stray remarks, the ploy received little response. However, they did demonstrate how alarmed the BJP is in Karnataka as a result of the enthusiastic response to the Bharat Jodo Yatra and the birthday celebrations of the former chief minister Siddarmaiah, both of which were attended by Rahul Gandhi. If the purpose of the advertorials was to overshadow the Yatra, it wasn't very successful.
While chief minister Bommai took a shot at Congress President Sonia Gandhi while she was walking a short distance in the Yatra in Mandya district, the state BJP unit admitted to having paid for the advertorials in the four pro-BJP Kannada dailies, namely Samyukta Karnataka, Kannada Prabha, Hosa Diganta, and Vishwavani. Sonia Gandhi left after walking for a half-kilometer. That's alright. He asserted, "As far as we are concerned, it had no effect.
In the first five days of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state, the BJP produced two advertisements, according to Congress MLA and party spokesperson Priyank Kharge. There will probably be further attempts to discredit the walkathon. But the enormous public support for the Yatra thus far is driving the BJP in Karnataka to come up with innovative strategies to attack it.