Pilgrimage now, state tour later

Former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has decided to hit the road next week to strengthen the soon-to-be-launched Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP).

The leader, who enrolled himself as a member of KJP soon after parting ways with the BJP on Friday, will set out on a state-wide tour on his return from a pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi temple. He plans to lead the new party to victory in at least 30-40 Assembly segments and emerge as the king-maker in formation of the new government in 2013. Though Mr Yeddyurappa announced that the party would field candidates in all 224 Assembly constituencies, insiders said the leader would announce candidates for 150 seats and tacitly back Congress nominees where the new outfit lacks a support base. The former chief minister would focus on constituencies in north Karnataka and malnad areas as part of his strategy to rout the BJP and Janata Dal (S) and help Congress candidates to emerge victorious, sources in KJP told Deccan Chronicle.

The sources said the party is contemplating to contest polls to urban local bodies early next year, and has sought a symbol from the Election Commission of India (ECI). If the party secures a symbol ahead of elections to urban local bodies, it would launch its campaign well ahead of the Assembly polls.
The leader would do his best to convince the electorate on how regional parties must be voted to power to protect the interests of the state. In fact, he would target national parties—Congress and BJP—during his tour ahead of the polls, the sources added.

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