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The Pada Yatras are gaining importance as they connect people from all walks of life and it is for gaining political mileage for most of the political parties. Always these peaceful Yathras proved quite successful by addressing the gatherings and influencing the people about the facts and bringing them to their fold. Let us know more about padayatra after 1983 onwards due to the dire need to have alternative political parties or the emergence of regional Aspirations

The Emergence of Regional Aspirations:

The states felt a strong innate desire to see their regional Leader in the chair, with a sense of belonging, connect with the commoners and uphold their dignity. The major movement for greater autonomy of states i.e AP, Telangana, Assam, and Punjab can be considered as setting free from the National party's clutches. Let us try to comprehend the facts that led to the branching off from the Parent party and evolving a refined, regional party based on certain unique ideals. In the state of AP, the frequent change of State Heads by the constant interference of the Central government indicated that the high command has crippled the regional leadership.

The people of AP felt dejected with the Congress as it shuffled Chief Ministers frequently and the party workers too felt humiliated.

NTR Chaitanya Radha Yatra: It was realized by Mr. NTR, the most popular film actor of yesteryears and he initiated a new movement in the form of the Telugu Desam Party. It is appalling that, between 6th March 1978 to 9th Jan 1983, we witnessed the shuffle of assembly along with an influx of four new Chief Ministers at regular intervals. The point is that, there were frequent changes in the Chief Minister's chair, by the Congress Leader and this act projected the least unity and neglect among the State Leaders i.e from March 1978 to January 1983.

Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao will be remembered forever for the Radha yatra He is the founder and president of the newly launched Telugu Desham Party and he has toured complete Andhra Pradesh by the Chaitanya Ratham 4 times in 9 months covering nearly 40,000 kilometers. He is being a popular actor and could able to attract all sections of the voters His entire tour has been successfully covered in EENADU newspapers on the front pages. He mingled with people as a common man he taken his breakfast, lunch, and dinner even the bath by nearby roads, and slept under the tree shades. He was determined and he mainly focussed on Telugu Athma Govaram and we have seen how CMs are replaced by the High Command of Congress.

Mr. Chandrashekar’s Pada Yatra : We know Mr. Chandrashekar of the Janatha party has also launched Padayathras from Kanyakumari to Kashmir covering nearly 4260 kilometers in January 1983. The padayatra was quite successful and could not form the government in the 1984 elections as a sympathy wave worked out for the Congress party and Mr. Rajiv Gandhi led the congress to sweep the polls after the assassination of Smt Indira Gandhi.

  • Mr L.K Advani Radha Yatra:

We know that Mr. LK Advani took Rada yathra , held months ahead of the 1991 Lok Sabha elections to propagate the importance of Rama throughout India and Made a significant impact on Hindu voters. The Advani’s march was on Rama Temple Plank and it was religious.

  • The BJP’s Ektha Yatra:

The BJP’s Ekta Yatra (national Integration Rally mainly first began in 1991, following the 1990 Ram rath yatra and the Second Yatra was held in 2011. The 1991 National Integration Yatra, led by then BJP President Mr. Murali Manohar Joshi and began on 11 December in Kanyakumari, and he visited 14 states to promote national unity and bring all the religions to one fold.

The 2011 January 12 th Ekta Yatra was led by the BJP youth wing president Mr. Anurag Thakur, MP.

  • Bharath Jodo Yatra (BJY) by Congress:

The Yatras have made significant in view of Congress proposing Bharath Jodo Yatra (BJY) to meet and greet people from Kanyakumari to Kashmir most likely may be ended in February covering 3500 kilometers covering nearly 23 kilometers per day. During this Yatra the Congress leaders intended to meet women voters, Youth, and Prominent social activists, they are mostly focusing on Lower middle and middle-class segments. We know pretty well the Congress political space has been occupied by the Regional parties and BJP. We have even been surprised to see 8 MLAs from GOA switch their loyalties to BJP in spite of the promise in all religious temples that they will not change their party at any cost. It is astonishing to everyone in the country that on one side Congress is working hard by doing the Bharath Jodo Yatra for strengthening and revival of the congress party and it is very hard to digest this common phenomenon in all most all the states as BJP is making all efforts to weaken the Congress party and national and state level as well.

  • Praja Sankalpa Yatra:

Mr Bandi Sanjay, President of the BJP of Telangana State completed 100 days of Pada Yatra in 4 Phases covering nearly 46 assembly constituencies with a record of 40 lakhs steps and 1238 kilometers. He said that he has been inspired by the senior leaders who were doing similar Pada Yatras decided by the national leaders such as “Praja Ghosa’, BJP Bhorosa”, Dalit Sampark, Abhiyan, and Sevapaksam. Mr. Bandi has realized by doing hard work and meeting people through the Pada Yatras the BJP will be successful in achieving power in the 2024 assembly elections.

The BJP is an emerging unbeatable political party in India. The BJP is slowly penetrating into non-BJP governments in particular in the South and more specifically in Telangana State.

  • Mr. Rajashekar Reddy Pada Yatra:

Mr. Rajashekar was elected to the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Loksabha from the Kadapa constituency for four terms and the fifth term from the Pulivendula constituency. He won every election that he contested. In 2003, he undertook a 60 days long historic Padayatra, or tour on- foot of 1475 km in scorching heat, across several districts in Andhra Pradesh as part of his election campaign. He urged the party to a major victory in the following General and Assembly elections held in 2004 and repeated the same feat in 2009.

  • Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy Pada Yatra(YSR Congress):

The YSR Congress Party is an acronym for Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party i.e Youth, Labour, and Farmers Congress Party, is a regional political party in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. It was founded by Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy on the 12th of March 2011. He matured as a true leader of the masses and was appointed the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh as well as the YSR Congress Party president. Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy launched a 3,648 kms long walkathon, named Praja Sankalpa Yatra on 6th November 2017. He followed the footsteps of his father and emerged as a true politician, winning 151 seats out of 175 assembly seats and 22 Lok Sabha Seats, and TDP ended up with barely 23 seats. And finally, he achieved his ambition and dream of becoming the Chief Minister to serve the people of Andhra Pradesh. And since then, he is untiringly working to fulfill all the promises assured, during his padayatra. He is advancing all the welfare schemes that were earlier introduced by his father, the late YSR.

  • YS Sharmila Reddy Pada Yatra:

Mrs. Sharmila toured the entire state and interacted with people as a solidarity march, Odarpu Yatra after the demise of YS Rajshekar Reddy. She interacted with and consoled 310 families across Telangana in 56 days of her Odarpu Yatra covering 8,510 kilometers. She undertook the Yatra at different times in phases, and Mr. P Srinivas Reddy (Khammam) accompanied her.

Mr. Teenmar Mallanna:Mr.Teenmar Mallanna contested as an Independent candidate and We have witnessed the results of the Graduate constituency elections of Warangal, Khammam, and Nalgonda. Surprisingly, Mallanna emerged second, giving a tough fight to TRS candidate Mr. Palla Rajeshwer Reddy. He traveled extensively (Padayatra) and covered two districts extensively, as a result, connected with people.

  • Future Pada yantras:

1.Mr. Kejriwal is also Planning the Pada Yatra Ayodya to Prayagraj on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhai Patel from October 31 to November 10 covering nearly 120 kilometers. He wish to concentrate on Uttar Pradesh and he was quite successful in Punjab, and Goa to a certain extent, focusing on Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana as well.

2. Mr. Prashanth Kishore noted elections strategist is also planning his Pada Yatra will commence on October 2nd and may cover 3000 kilometers in a period of 12 months and was to meet 17,000 people to share his views and understanding and will come up with solutions and finally he wish to float his own party. 

Impact of Pada Yatras

We need to understand that political leaders who tour extensively across villages or rural areas were quite successful. Maximum Pada Yatra extensively carried out by most of the successful parties is from the Telugu Speaking States and other states are now following the trend.

Success stories:

1. We have witnessed that Late Mr. NTR before floating the TDP against Congress, toured the entire state. The Telugu Desam party stormed to power within nine months of its formation and in the year 1983 assembly elections, formed the first non-Congress government in Andhra Pradesh. It also achieved the rare distinction of being the first regional party to become the main opposition party in the Central Government during the 8th Lok Sabha from the year 1984 to 1989. The party has governed the state of Andhra Pradesh twice from 1983 to 1989 and again from1994 - 2004.

2. Mr. Rajashekar Reddy trotted the undivided Andhra Pradesh and emerged as an unbeatable leader winning two assembly elections.

3. Mr. KCR (TRS): TRS is an Indian regional political party based in the Telangana region. It was founded on 27th April 2001 by Mr.K.Chandrashekar Rao, and the sole objective was to create a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital.

The Telangana movement refers to a movement for the creation of a new state, Telangana, from the pre-existing state of Andhra Pradesh. The new state corresponds to the Telugu-speaking populace of the erstwhile princely State of Hyderabad. After several years of protests and agitations, the central government, under the United Progressive Alliance with the initiation of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, decided to bi-furcate the existing Andhra Pradesh and on 7th February 2014, the Union Cabinet unilaterally cleared the bill for the creation of Telangana state. Lasting for almost a decade, this agitation has been one of the longest movements in Southern India. On 18th February 2014; the Lok Sabha passed the bill with a voice vote. Subsequently, the bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha two days later, as of 20th February. According to the bill, Hyderabad would be the capital of Telangana, while the city would also remain the capital of the residual state of Andhra Pradesh for no more than ten years. On 2nd June 2014, Telangana State was created.

4. Mr Jagan too walked across the entire state of the undivided Andhra Pradesh i.e 1,140-km padayatra in 2003 and then floated a new party called YSRCP on 12th March 2011 and later toured Andhra Pradesh (3,648 -km-long walkathon named Praja Sankalpa Yatra on 6th November 2017) in 2014. Initially, he failed to garner support but as he seeded his genuine dreams into the hearts of the masses, he emerged successful in the 2019 assembly elections. His party won with a thumping majority and even in the recent Municipal elections, it showed its clout, cornering the TDP

Failed Stories:

With great expectations, the Praja Rajyam party founded by Mr. Chiranjeeve could barely withstand the basic political strategies in sustenance for long and finally merged with the Congress party and vanquished its significance in both the Telugu-speaking States. He could not do any Pada Yatras prior to the formation of the Praja Rajyam party Similar case to the Jana Sena party and it has realized know and making an effort to improve the Jana Sena by the next assembly elections. 

Regional Parties-Influence the Parliamentary Elections:

The 14 states with strong regional parties are Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. In fact, if they have a strong presence in state politics, they are likely to play a dominant role in the next parliamentary elections.

The regional parties improved their vote share in two-consecutive Lok Sabha elections (2009 and 2014) and the latest assembly elections held in those states such as AIADMK. DMK (2021) AITC, BJD, RJD, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSRCP (2019) TRS, etc. improved their vote share as compared to the previous elections of 2009.

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