When Karnataka Congress president D.K. Shivakumar, legislative party leader Siddaramaiah and the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge beat the nagari (drum) on the banks of the Cauvery at Sangam on January 9, it was a wake-up call for the party cadres. The leaders kicked off a 155km padayatra from Sangam to Bengaluru, demanding speedy implementation of the Mekedatu balancing reservoir project in Kanakapura.
It was also a warning bell to the ruling BJP, and the Janata Dal (Secular), the third major party in the state, as it looked like the beginning of a revival of the Congress in the Old Mysuru region, the Vokkaliga heartland. The BJP and the JD(S) fear that the rally would galvanise the support of the politically significant Vokkaligas, the second largest caste in the state, for the Congress.
A padayatra in 2010 from Ballari to Bengaluru by Siddaramaiah, challenging a “corrupt” BJP government, had catapulted him to the chief minister’s chair in 2013. Shivakumar was hoping to tackle his opponents within the party and outside it with the ‘Namma neeru namma hakku (Our water is our right)’ padayatra. However, on the fifth day of the 11-day march, the party was forced to call it off as the Karnataka High Court rapped the government and the Congress over the massive rallies being held amid the pandemic. “We respect the sentiment of the people and the High Court and the opinion of our legislators. We believe we have a commitment towards the people and as a party that has made many sacrifices for the country, we have decided to sacrifice this rally, too, for the time being. But we will not stop the rally. We will resume it from Ramanagara once it is conducive,” said Shivakumar.
The waters of Sangam, the confluence of the Cauvery and the Arkavathi, have been making political ripples in the state. Interestingly, it has also brought the Old Mysuru region into the spotlight as the new battleground for the next assembly elections, a departure from the state’s Lingayat-centric politics in the past few decades. The region is likely to decide if the BJP or the Congress crosses the majority mark, or the JD(S), once again, becomes the kingmaker.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Hardik Walks, BJP Gains
The Patidar leader could join the BJP or the AAP after quitting the Congress; both scenarios would benefit the BJP
Lessons Life Has Taught Me
Of life’s truths and turning points that make us who we are
Who killed Shruti Hill?
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently acquitted a tribal ex-medical student in a murder case after he spent nearly 14 years in jail. However, who killed the woman is still a mystery
You end up making enemies. That's an anthologist's curse
INTERVIEW/Jeet Thayil, author, poet and poetry editor
Self-belief and teamwork powered the Indians to their maiden Thomas Cup win
THE PHILOSOPHER'S SONG
In his new album, singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad ventures on an exploration of the dark corners of his mind
MODERN LOVE: MUMBAI Available on Amazon Prime Video
HAL’s light utility helicopter could be the perfect replacement for the ageing Cheetah and Chetak fleets. Experts say it will revolutionise India’s defence aviation capabilities
CARRIERS OF CULTURE
India is the “Country of Honour” at the 2022 Cannes Film Market. Six Indian films will be screened as part of it
Log on to Yatra.gov
The pandemic scare has died down, and political parties are now planning for yatras in a big way.
Private equity's favorite tax break is one of Washington's favorite punching bags. So why can't anyone get rid of it?
CRYPTO COMES TO WASHINGTON. WILL THE MILLIONS BUY INFLUENCE?
Erin Houchin braced for the worst when a mysterious, well-financed group started buying television ads last month in her highly competitive southern Indiana congressional race.
BIDEN ANNOUNCES PROGRAM OFFERING DISCOUNTED INTERNET SERVICE
President Joe Biden announced that 20 internet companies have agreed to provide discounted service to people with low incomes, a program that could effectively make tens of millions of households eligible for free service through an already existing federal subsidy.
OUR ABORTION STORIES
With abortion rights under attack, ELLE brought together five members of Congress perhaps most qualified to discuss the issue— because they’ve been there themselves.
WHITE HOUSE SEEKS MORE POWER TO COUNTER USE OF DRONES IN US
The Biden administration is calling on Congress to expand authority for federal and local governments to take action to counter the nefarious use in the U.S. of drones, which are becoming a growing security concern and nuisance.
The Healthy Habit of Sauca
How cultivating cleanliness inside and out-can bring you peace of mind.
IN AMERICA, A FEW DAYS IN MARCH 2020 ECHO TWO YEARS LATER
The conversations went like this: It will be just a few days. It can be kept at bay. There will be some inconvenience, sure, but the world will merely be paused — just a short break, out of an abundance of caution, and certainly not any kind of major grinding to a halt. Certainly not for two years.
FED TO ACCELERATE WITHDRAWAL OF ECONOMIC AID AS PRICES SURGE
Under Chair Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve is poised this week to execute a sharp turn toward tighter interest-rate policies with inflation accelerating and unemployment falling faster than expected.
Lower Taxes on Your RMDs
When you turn 72, you’ll have to start taking minimum distributions from your IRA and 401(k). These strategies will help trim Uncle Sam’s take.
Congress Just Can't Quit Facebook
Lawmakers of both parties assail the tech giant but are hooked on its core product