BJP-JDS alliance prevents Congress from touching double digits; a repeat of 2014 results in Karnataka

News Network
June 4, 2024

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Bengaluru: The ruling Congress in Karnataka has improved its tally by winning nine seats while the BJP and JD(S) combine emerged victorious in 19 constituencies in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP won 17 seats and the JD(S) secured victory in two constituencies.

The BJP, on its own, won 17 seats, making it a happy camper as Karnataka voters continued their trend (since 2004) of giving the saffron party the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in the state. The JD(S) won two out of the three seats it contested.

Out of nine seats won by the Congress, five are in Kalyana Karnataka region. Interestingly, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, during Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s first term, the Congress won nine seats while the BJP won 17 and JD(S) two seats.

Congress, which stormed to power with a huge majority in the Assembly polls last year, was bullish on winning more than 10 seats, which it did last in 1999.

“We didn’t get the result we expected. We wanted 15-20 seats. Our calculations went wrong,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said. His deputy DK Shivakumar, who is also Karnataka Congress president, was more candid. “We expected more seats - 14 to 15 - because of the guarantees. We expected more votes for the work we’ve done. That didn’t happen,” he said.

Admittedly, the Congress’ guarantees, around which the party had designed its Lok Sabha poll campaign in Karnataka, failed to yield the desired electoral benefits.

Also, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar faced setbacks as Congress lost Mysore (CM’s native) and Bangalore Rural (where BJP defeated Shivakumar's brother DK Suresh).

But Congress has something to cheer about. Besides winning nine seats, the Congress’ vote share in Karnataka is up from 31.88% to 45.34%.

The result came in handy for the BJP to go after the ruling Congress. “The Siddaramaiah-Shivakumar government was arrogant for having 136 MLAs. People have taught them a lesson. Neither their MLAs nor the guarantees helped Congress,” Leader of the Opposition R Ashoka said.

Faced with an aggressive Congress, the BJP got the help it needed from the JD(S). Going by the result, the BJP-JD(S) alliance worked well on the ground as both parties gave their votes to each other.

The JD(S), struggling for survival after its near-rout in the Assembly polls last year, will view the Lok Sabha result as the battery it needed to recharge. “The result is the people’s reply to those who arrogantly chided JD(S) for having only 19 MLAs,” JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy said.

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Agencies
June 15,2024

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Mount Arafat, June 15: Following the footsteps of prophets beneath a burning sun, Muslims from around the world congregated Saturday at a sacred hill in Saudi Arabia for intense, daylong worship and reflection.

The ritual at Mount Arafat, known as the hill of mercy, is considered the peak of the Hajj pilgrimage. It is often the most memorable for pilgrims, who stand shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet, asking God for mercy, blessings, prosperity and good health. The mount is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Makkah.

It’s believed that Prophet Muhammad delivered his final speech, known as the Farewell Sermon, at the sacred mount 1,435 years ago. In the sermon, the prophet called for equality and unity among Muslims.

“It’s indescribable,” Ahmed Tukeyia, an Egyptian pilgrim, said on his arrival Friday evening at a tent camp at the foot of Mount Arafat.

Hajj is one of the largest religious gatherings on earth. The rituals officially started Friday when pilgrims moved from Makkah’s Grand Mosque to Mina, a desert plain just outside the city.

Saudi authorities expect the number of pilgrims this year to exceed 2 million, approaching pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.

The pilgrimage is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All Muslims are required to make the five-day Hajj at least once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to make the demanding pilgrimage.

The rituals largely commemorate the Qur’an’s accounts of Prophet Ibrahim, his son Prophet Ismail and Ismail’s mother Hajjar — or Abraham and Ismael as they are named in the Bible.

The time of year when the Hajj takes place varies, given that it is set for five days in the second week of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the last month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

Most of the Hajj rituals are held outdoors with little if any shade. When it falls in the summer months, temperatures can soar to over 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). The Health Ministry has cautioned that temperatures at the holy sites could reach 48 C (118 F). It urged pilgrims to use umbrellas and drink more water to stay hydrated.

After Saturday’s worship in Arafat, pilgrims will travel a few kilometers (miles) to a site known as Muzdalifa to collect pebbles that they will use in the symbolic stoning of pillars representing the devil back in Mina.

Pilgrims then return to Mina for three days, coinciding with the festive Eid Al-Adha holiday, when financially able Muslims around the world slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to poor people. Afterward, they return to Makkah for a final circumambulation, known as Farewell Tawaf.

Once the Hajj is over, men are expected to shave their heads, and women to snip a lock of hair in a sign of renewal. Most of the pilgrims then leave Makkah for the city of Medina, some 340 kilometers (210 miles) away, to pray in Prophet Muhammad’s tomb, the Sacred Chamber. The tomb is part of the prophet’s mosque, which is one of the three holiest sites in Islam, along with the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

In recent years, Saudi authorities have made significant efforts to improve access and avoid deadly accidents. Tens of thousands of security personnel were deployed across the city, especially around the holy sites, to control the crowds, and the government built a high-speed rail link to ferry people between holy sites in the city, which has been jammed with traffic during the Hajj season. Pilgrims enter through special electronic gates.

Saudi authorities have also expanded and renovated the Grand Mosque where cranes are seen around some of its seven minarets as construction was underway in the holy site.

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News Network
June 4,2024

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Bengaluru: Incumbent Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna, who is accused of rape and serial sex abuse, has lost against Congress’ Shreyas Patel.

Prajwal lost by 40,000 votes against Patel, which has helped Congress win the Hassan Lok Sabha constituency after 25 years. Patel had lost against Prajwal’s father H D Revanna from Holenarsipur in the Assembly polls last year.

When did the JDS-Congress tussle begin in Hassan? 

The rivarly between Deve Gowda and the Shreyas Patel's grandfather and Congress veteran late Putta Swamy Gowda began in 1985, when the latter contested against the former PM as an independent candidate but lost. Later, he defeated Deve Gowda from the seat in the 1989 state elections and also scored an upset in the 1999 general elections as well. 

In 1999, G Putta Swamy Gowda scored a major upset against HD Deve Gowda. Despite these setbacks, Deve Gowda has represented the constituency five times in the Lok Sabha. 

The rivalry continued for decades on end, with their next generations taking the fight forward. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Prajwal Revanna won from Hassan with over 6.76 lakh votes and a vote share of 52.91 per cent. With this, he marked the entry of the third generation of Deve Gowda's family into politics.

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News Network
June 2,2024

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Bengaluru: The Congress on Sunday released its list of seven candidates for the biennial MLC elections on June 13. The elections were necessitated due to the retirement of 11 members on June 17.

As expected, the Congress has fielded Karnataka Science and Technology Minister N S Boseraju and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's son Dr Yathindra Siddaramaiah.

The other candidates are Vasanth Kumar, K Govindraj, lvan D'Souza, Bilkis Bano and Jagdev Guttedar.

The party also announced Basanagouda Badarli for the forthcoming MLC byelection for a seat that fell vacant owing to the resignation of former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, who joined the Congress briefly after he rebelled against the BJP when he was denied a ticket in the 2023 assembly election.

"The election dates to fill that post have not been announced yet but our party has declared him as our candidate whenever the election takes place," a Congress leader said.

Shettar contested the assembly election in 2023 on a Congress ticket and after his defeat, his new home rewarded him with an MLC seat.

Earlier this year, he went back to his parent organisation and is contesting the Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket from Belgaum (Belagavi) constituency against Congress's Mrinal Hebbalkar, who is the son of Women and Child Development Minister Laxmi Hebbalkar.

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