Keeping an eye on the 2018 Assembly elections, the Karnataka government has announced a scheme to provide subsidised religious tourism packages for places in and around the state.
The scheme was launched by CM Siddaramaiah on Wednesday at Vidhana Soudha to mark World Tourism Day.
The government says that the scheme, named Puneeta Yatre, will promote tourism in the state and help people explore Karnataka‚Äôs religious heritage and spiritual history.
Speaking at the launch, the Chief Minister said that "Karnataka is a land of diverse cultures and religions. People of different faiths undertake tours to numerous destinations to pay homage to their sacred deities. 'Puneeta Yatre' will enable our people to visit most incredible religious sites revered for its temples, exquisite churches and mosques, and explore the fascinating architectural brilliance of these places".
State Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge said that the tour packages will include transport and accommodation.
Twenty-four AC deluxe buses of KSTDC and KSRTC will be deployed for operating these tours, which will include special darshanas at the Temples, the government said.
The scheme will take off in two phases, with the first phase starting on September 27 and the second phase starting on October 15.
The first phase will have nine packages and the second phase will have 12 packages for people to choose from.
Tourists can make reservations at the official website of the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation.
This announcement is in line with a host of populist schemes implemented by the Congress with the assembly election in sight. The hustings are most likely to be a three-way contest between the ruling Congress, and BJP and the JD(S) which are currently at the Opposition.