Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy resumed his "village stay" programme today and told news agency ANI he wanted to "do a minimum of two to four 'Grama Vaastavya (village stay)" such programmes in a month. The Janata Dal Secular leader had stayed at the homes of rural constituents in his earlier stint as Chief Minister. This time, though, he will spend the night in village schools.
The first village he will stay at is Chandraki in Yadgir district in the north of the state. There is expected to be a "Janata Darshan" for the people to meet the Chief Minister. There are reports the village is receiving a bit of a facelift ahead of this visit.
"My village visit is one popular programme in this state. When I was Chief Minister in 2006 - at that time there was a demand from all over the state to visit those villages. This time, whatever lapses are there during village stay in previous years, we are going to correct it," the Chief Minister said at the start of his visit.
The party today hit back at criticism from the BJP after the opposition in the state dismissed the "village stays" as public stunts. In its reply, the Janata Dal Secular claimed the programme "has helped a lot of villages".
CM's #GramaVastavya has helped a lot of villages. Unlike @BSYBJP, @hd_kumaraswamy prefers to eat home made food and not parcelled food from hotel & CM is travelling in a train!— Janata Dal Secular (@JanataDal_S) June 21, 2019
Btw, Charity begins at home. How many countries did @narendramodi visit in the last 5 yrs? https://t.co/3pudRk6GPT
A BJP leader said the village stays showed the desire of Mr Kumaraswamy to get away from political pressure in Bengaluru and enjoy some peace.
The JDS won just one seat in last month's Lok Sabha polls - Hassan constituency. The Congress, the party's alliance partner, did no better - it contested 21 seats and won just one.
"This programme is going to help in the surrounding area, not only that village. This is a new kind of village stay. I am going to meet all the people who want to share their problems with me from morning 10 am to evening 6 pm," Mr Kumaraswamy told journalists in Bengaluru.
"The ministers will also start their village stay programmes. They will teach the people. Not just ministers. I have also instructed even MLAs," he added.