Disqualified MLAs, who helped bring down HDK govt, now a headache for BSY

Agencies
August 23,2019

Bengaluru, Aug 23: Having a tightrope to walk by pacifying disgruntled MLAs who missed out on cabinet berth, coupled with allocation of portfolios to new ministers, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday decided to consult BJP central leadership to deal with the situation.

Some disqualified former legislators of the Congress and JD(S) who helped bring down the coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy reportedly are piling pressure on Yediyurappa, seeking their pound of flesh and plum portfolios.

"Today evening I will go to Delhi and meet our national President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will come back tomorrow evening or the day after morning," Yediyurappa said.

Asked whether the allocation of portfolios would take place after his return from Delhi, Yediyurappa said: "Today we will discuss and take a decision."

More than three weeks after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister, Yediyurappa expanded his cabinet last Tuesday, inducting 17 Ministers.

Though the expansion brought an end to the nearly month-long wait for the cabinet to take shape, it led to some heartburn in a section of the party as several MLAs continued to make no secret of their displeasure after missing the bus.

With several MLAs openly expressing displeasure over being left out, Yediyurappa has been making attempts to douse the embers, by reaching out to them.

The Chief Minister on Thursday too tried to pacify miffed legislators including Sullia MLA Angara S, even as the Bunt community threatened protest citing lack of representation in the ministry, and Bovi community members staged protest in front of his residence seeking induction of a minister from their community.

Even as attempts are on to pacify sulking MLAs, a phone conversation between eight-time Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti, around whom several disgruntled MLAs are reportedly rallying, with Congress legislator party leader Siddaramaiah led to speculation about the former's next political move.

Speaking to a news channel, Katti confirmed his talk with Siddarmaiah last night, but ruled out joining the Congress and clarified that he was with BJP.

"He (Siddaramaiah) called me last night and addressed me as a minister, I told him I'm not minister to which he said he was aware of it and hence called. He is my good friend...I may meet whenever we are both are in Bengaluru. But, I'm not joining Congress leaving BJP, I'm 100 per cent in BJP," he added.

Yediyurappa has kept 16 ministerial posts vacant to accommodate some more BJP members and from among those 17 disqualified former legislators who helped him come to power.

However, the disqualified MLAs seeking plum portfolios is said to be causing a delay in the allocation of portfolios for the new ministers, despite rooms being allotted to them at Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat.

Reflecting the situation by stating that this government too was a coalition government in a way, Minister V Somanan in response to a question about S A Ramdas not being made minister, in Mysuru said, "Now 17 of us have become ministers, still 16 berths are remaining. When filling those 16 positions who all have to be considered that our state and national leaders will decide," he added.

Meanwhile, several disqualified MLAs, including Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumatahalli, S T Somashekar, Byrati Basavaraj, AH Vishwanath are in Delhi amid reports that they had expressed keenness to meet BJP's central leadership on their political future.

Speculation that they may make attempts to meet some top BJP leaders gained momentum with BJP leader C P Yogeshwar accompanying them to Delhi.

Stating that they are in the national capital to meet lawyers who are representing them in the Supreme Court, where their plea challenging disqualification was pending, Vishwanath, a disqualified MLA, indicated that they will also try to meet Amit Shah.

"Amit Shah is not in town, once he is back we will seek appointment and try and talk to him on several issues concerning the state including flood situation, getting aid for the state among other things," he told reporters in Delhi in response to a question.

The then Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law, which they have challenged in the Supreme Court.

On getting relief from the apex court some of them would be inducted into the cabinet as per the arrangement agreed upon, BJP sources said, pointing out that Yediyurappa has kept 16 berths still vacant.

According to reports, the disqualified former MLAs are seeking a meeting with Shah to get assurance about their political future, and are also likely to meet Yediyurappa who will also be in Delhi.

Pointing out that BJP government came to power in Karnataka as 17 MLAs came out of the Congress-JD(S) government, Minister K S Eshwarappa said: "as we don't have a complete majority, we have got their cooperation to form the government.'

"So it is our duty to give them suitable positions. At no cost we will betray them," he told reporters in Vijayapura.

Meanwhile taking a dig at disqualified Congress legislators, Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao said Yediyurappa should make at least one of the Deputy Chief Minister for their "sacrifice."

"Let them be satisfied soon by giving the Deputy Chief Minister and other key portfolios in the government for their efforts in bringing down the coalition government. They have to get a reward for it.

At least one of them should be made DCM, as Yediyurappa is CM because of them," he said.

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God will help you only if you put all your efforts: Siddaramaiah on Sriramulu's comment

News Network
July 16,2020

Bengaluru, Jul 16: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday hit out at state Health Minister B Sriramulu for stating that "only God can save Karnataka" from COVID-19 and asked him to resign from his post.

Speaking to media here in Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah said, "The government cannot say that we are helpless. Why is the government in power? You have power and you have money. It is your primary duty to serve the citizens of the state."

On being asked about Karnataka Health Minister's statement, the Congress leader said: "Let him resign and go out. God will help you only if you will put all your efforts."

Meanwhile, President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee DK Shivakumar tweeted "Karnataka's Health Minister saying 'Only God can save Karnataka' reflects poorly on @BSYBJP govt's ability to handle the Covid crisis. Why do we need such a government if they cannot tackle the pandemic?"

Sriramulu had said on Wednesday that either people should inculcate awareness or only God can save them from COVID-19.

"Who can save us at this time? It's either God or people should inculcate awareness in them. Congress leaders are involved in political mudslinging at this time. This is not fine and it will not help them in any way," the Minister had said.

"It is a crucial time, in the interest of the general public. I request all the Congress leaders not to indulge in loose talk regarding the issue, it leads to more panic situation among the general public. We are ready to adhere to any punishment if we did any wrong thing," he had added.

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Extend lockdown in Bengaluru for one more week: BBMP Mayor

News Network
July 17,2020

Bengaluru, Jul 17: Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Mayor, M Goutham Kumar on Friday called for an extension of lockdown in the city for one more week due to rise in the COVID-19 cases.

"It will be better if we get more time to tackle COVID-19 cases, we wish for the extension of lockdown for one more week. We have given the proposal to the government," said M Goutham Kumar, BBMP Mayor.

"After the number of cases increased in Bengaluru, BBMP started antigen test in containment and hotspot zones of Bengaluru to tackle the cases which have crossed 2,000 mark," he added.

Along with Mayor, BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar has also proposed the state government to extend lockdown in Bengaluru for one more week.

"The number of cases in Bengaluru increasing in Bengaluru rapidly. BBMP has inaugurated more than 200 vehicles in Bengaluru for the use of the antigen test," said Anil Kumar, Commissioner BBMP.

According to the Union Health Ministry, there are 51,422 COVID-19 cases in the state.

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5 including child burnt alive, 30 injured as bus catches fire in Karnataka

News Network
August 12,2020

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Chitradurga, Aug 12: At least five people were burnt alive and over 30 passengers were injured when a moving bus caught fire on National Highway-4 at Kasturi Rangappanahalli Gate in Hiriyur taluk, Chitradurga district of Karnataka today. 

The dead were identified as Sheela (33), Sparsha (8), Samrudha (5), Kavitha (29) and Nischitha (3). According to police, all victims were moving from Vijayapura to Bengaluru and the bus caught fire at 3: 45 AM. The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

The mishap occurred when a private bus was running from Vijayapura to Bengaluru. Preliminary reports said that bus was carrying over 35 passengers. The injured were sent to government hospitals in Hiriyur and Chitradurga.

This is the third incident of a bus catching fire in Hiriyur taluk limits. The bus ferrying passengers regularly from Vijayapura set its journey at 9 PM and was supposed to reach Bengaluru at 6: 30 AM having 32 passengers on board. A passenger who survived the accident said that except for a small break at 11 PM, the bus was moving non-stop.

As the fire started near the engine, the driver of the bus along with the cleaner stopped the bus and jumped out. Basavaraj Kodihal a BMTC staff who was travelling back to Bengaluru for joining duty post-COVID-19 said that the thirst which occurred helped him to save a life.

Police have rushed to the spot and clearing the jam occurred after tragedy on the highway. This is the third incident of a bus catching fire in Hiriyur taluk limits.

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