Congress holds convention to mobilise crowds for padayatra

The Congress held a convention in Chamarajanagar on Sunday to mobilise a large number of participants for its padayatra from Mekedatu to Bengaluru to build pressure on the BJP Government to start work on the Mekedatu project.

Addressing the convention, KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar said the party expects at least 10,000 participants from Chamarajanagar with 2,500 from each of the four Assembly constituencies.

He appealed to the gathering to be part of the inaugural of the 10-day padayatra, scheduled to start on January 9 morning, and the concluding six-km trek in Bengaluru. The padayatra will culminate with a public meeting at Basavangudi grounds, he said.

Participation on the other days for participants from Chamarajanagar is optional, he said. People from Mysuru and nearby areas will be asked to join the padayatra on the second day, he said. The Congress has scheduled a similar convention in Mysuru on Tuesday as a prelude to the padayatra and to mark the launch of the party membership drive.

Mr. Shivakumar asked the gathering to leave Chamarajanagar early on January 9 to reach Mekedatu in time for the start of the padayatra.

He said all arrangements had been made for breakfast and parking. Participants were asked register themselves on the portal titled ‘mekedatunammahakku’ to help organisers make arrangements for food and overnight stay.

About 5,000 people had registered themselves, he said, and added that the party had booked marriage choultries and put up shamianas along the route for participants to rest overnight. Though 1,000 rooms had been booked to accommodate the leaders, Mr. Shivakumar said the party will not be able to make the rooms available to all participants. However, he said he will also sleep with them in the choultries.

Mr. Shivakumar told former MP representing Chamarajanagar R. Dhruvanarayan, who is also working president of KPCC, to make arrangements for supply of sugarcane juice and coconuts to the participants enroute the padayatra.

Apart from folk artistes joining with drums and musical instruments, the Congress leader asked participants to come prepared to display their talents in singing or reading poetry.

Mr Shivakumar said the party will also issue a certificate to participants of the “historic” padayatra.

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