A state-wide padayatra, a social media push to woo young voters, and lessons on the party’s roots and ideology for its foot soldiers in every assembly segment. These measures form the new outreach strategy of the JD(S) as it prepares for the possibility of midterm elections amid a worsening equation with coalition partner Congress.
The JD(S) is looking to build a large support base outside the Vokkaliga dominated Old Mysuru region. The padayatra, which will be held in two phases, is expected to play a key role in helping the party broaden its appeal.
“With these three programmes, we want to reach out to youths and regain people’s confidence, thereby strengthening the party,” said JD(S) leader Y S V Datta, who is overseeing the padayatra planning. The march is likely to begin from Madikeri or Chamarajnagar, crisscrossing South Karnataka in the first phase. The second leg, which begin after a month’s gap, will cover northern parts. “We have called a preparatory meeting on June 29,” Datta said.
Until now, the JD(S) had been reluctant to embrace social media. It doesn’t have an official website or a Facebook page. But there’s consensus in the camp now that a social media presence is necessary to shape opinion and drum up support. The party will rope in professionals for the online push. “Soon, we will have an official website and a Facebook page. There is a website and there are many Facebook pages in the name of JD(S), but they were created by individual leaders,” said Ramesh Babu, a former member of the legislative council who has been appointed as the coordinator of the party’s social media activities.
Workshops will be organised in every assembly segment to help JD(S) workers, especially young ones, to understand the party’s history and ideology. “Most people think we are a family party. They don’t know anything about its history and struggles, or what is stands for,” said a JD(S) functionary.
“We introduced reservation for women in rural and urban local bodies, and a roaster system for electing heads of these bodies. There are many other initiatives. Sadly, youngsters don’t know about these things. The workshops will help workers gain an idea, so they can take the message to voters.”
Datta refused to link the planned outreach with speculation about fresh assembly polls. “Not at all. We have been planning programmes for the last past days to strengthen the party,” he said.
‘JD(S) will have new state prez soon’
JD(S) supreme HD Deve Gowda said on Monday the party would soon appoint a replacement of A H Vishwanath, who has refused to reconsider his decision to quit as the state unit president. “I will appoint a new president to the state unit in three to four days,” said Gowda. He added he would not accept Vishwanath’s resignation but pass the baton to his successor. Vishwanath resigned on June 4, citing his ill health, and took moral responsibility for the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections.