Congress rushes DKS, Hooda to Himachal to rescue Sukhu’s govt after 6 MLAs vote for BJP

News Network
February 28, 2024

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The Congress high command on Wednesday, February 28, swiftly deployed former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar to Shimla to engage in negotiations with party members, addressing the imminent risk Himachal CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu's government collapsing.

Sources revealed that Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge consulted with former party chief Rahul Gandhi and General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra regarding the developments in Himachal Pradesh.

Hours after six Congress MLAs voted in favour of the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls in Himachal Pradesh, Kharge swung into action to pacify the disgruntled lawmakers and sent Hooda and Shivakumar to the state. They are expected to reach Himachal Pradesh soon.

They have been asked to engage with the disgruntled MLAs, including six MLAs, who are learnt to be "disappointed" with the working style of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and are seeking his replacement.

The Congress government in the state faces an existential threat as six MLAs have crossed sides and are reportedly in communication with the BJP.

Adding to the Congress' woes, former state chief minister Virbhadra Singh's son Vikramaditya Singh also announced his resignation from the cabinet and said he has already spoken to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Meanwhile, the Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Speaker suspended 15 BJP MLAs over 'misconduct' and adjourned the session.

The approval of the state budget is pending in the assembly, and with the support of Congress rebels, the BJP is obstructing its passage while seeking a division of votes.

In a significant setback for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP clinched victory in the state's sole Rajya Sabha seat on Tuesday. BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan defeated Congress stalwart Abhishek Manu Singhvi, setting the stage for a potential no-confidence motion in the assembly.

The contest ended in a tie, with both the Congress and BJP candidates securing 34 votes each, indicating that at least six Congress MLAs voted against the party. The winner was determined through a draw of lots, officials confirmed.

In the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, the Congress holds 40 seats, while the BJP has 25 legislators. Three seats are occupied by independents.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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Bengaluru: With six children of Karnataka Ministers in the Lok Sabha poll arena, the campaign scene is getting spiced up in the high-stakes elections for the ruling Congress in the state. Prabha Mallikarjun, wife of Minister S S Mallikarjun, is also in the poll fray.

The grand old party tried its best to make several ministers enter the Lok Sabha election fray but none of them agreed and, instead, they proposed the candidature of their family members.

'Now, deliver' is the stern message of the Congress leadership to the ministers, putting the onus on them to ensure the victory of their kin, according to party sources.

The Congress secured only one seat in Karnataka in the 2019 general elections, and has now set an ambitious target of winning in 15 to 20 constituencies in the coming polls.

Elections in 28 constituencies in the State will be held in two phases on April 26 and May 7.

Sons of Laxmi Hebbalkar, Eshwar Khandre and H C Mahadevappa— Mrinal Ravindra Hebbalkar, Sagar Khandre and Sunil Bose— have been fielded from Belagavi (Belgaum), Bidar and Chamarajanagar, respectively.

Daughters of Satish Jarkiholi, Shivanand Patil and Ramalinga Reddy— Priyanka Jarkiholi, Samyukta Patil and Sowmya Reddy— are in contention in Chikkodi, Bagalkot and Bangalore South respectively.

Prabha Mallikarjun, wife of Minister S S Mallikarjun and daughter-in-law of veteran party leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, is the party's nominee from Davangere.

"In this 'do or die' situation, the ministers have found the Lok Sabha election a launch pad for their children and relatives. We have to see how these ministers succeed in their mission," a Congress insider said.

Barring Sowmya Reddy, who is a former MLA, none of them have any legislative experience in elections. Stakes are high for some other ministers as well.

The party has fielded Radhakrishna Doddamani, son-in-law of Congress President M Mallikarjun Kharge in the family's home turf of Kalaburagi (Gulbarga), a seat held by the BJP.

Kharge's son and Minister Priyank Kharge has taken charge of spearheading the campaign in this segment, where his father had lost in the 2019 general elections.

"Priyank has taken this election as a prestige issue given the fact that the Congress president hails from here and had represented this constituency in the past in the Lok Sabha," a Congress leader said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month launched the BJP's formal campaign in Kalaburagi in what was seen as an aggressive message to the Congress.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and State Congress chief D K Shivakumar's brother D K Suresh is seeking reelection in Bangalore Rural, where the BJP and JD(S) have fielded noted cardiologist and son-in-law of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.

The Congress which came to power in the state in May last year is seeking to ride on its five guarantee schemes of the government.

Sowmya Reddy, who is contesting from Bangalore South asked the women voters during a recent roadshow - "Do you travel in the buses? Which places have you visited in the recent past? Do you pay or travel for free?".

She was referring to 'Shakti' guarantee that offers free rides to Karnataka women in non-luxury government buses within the state. Reddy explained to the people about the four other guarantees— 'Gruha Lakshmi', 'Gruha Jyoti', 'Yuva Nidhi' and 'Anna Bhagya'.

"Who brought 'Achchhe Din'? Is it Congress or the BJP? Which 'Achchhe Din' you will vote for?" Reddy asked the women voters.

In Belagavi, Mrinal Ravindra Hebbalkar, is taking on BJP candidate and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.

In campaign meetings, Minister Laxmi Hebbalkar reminded the crowd how Shettar had joined Congress when the BJP denied him a ticket in the 2023 Assembly election, only to return to the saffron party a few months later.

"Shettar is from Hubballi and we are from Belagavi. We know the problems prevailing here better than any 'outsider'. Today, BJP people are saying that they vote for Shettar keeping Prime Minister Narendra Modi in mind, but I want to know why he joined Congress and abused the BJP, Modi and former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa," the minister asked.

The BJP swept the 2019 general elections in Karnataka winning 25 out of the 28 seats, while an independent backed by the party also won. The Congress and JD(S) which fought the elections together, secured one seat each.

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News Network
April 11,2024

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Bengaluru, Apr 11: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the party's unit in Karnataka have highlighted the statement of Class 12 Board exam topper from the state, Vedant Navi, and claimed that "it was a matter of pride as their schemes were bringing effective social and economic changes".

The Congress on Thursday launched a social media campaign by releasing posters and short videos.

Rahul Gandhi in his social media post said, “Such 'Success Stories' make me believe and ensure that our 'Mahalakshmi' guarantee of putting Rs 1 lac every year in women's accounts will prove to be a revolutionary step to shaping the country's fate.”

“Congress's Gruha Lakshmi scheme going on in Karnataka under which more than 1 crore women get Rs 2,000 every month, using the same money a mother taught her son Vedant and he got second rank in the whole state in PUC exam,” Rahul Gandhi stated.

“Vedant's story is a living example of Indian women's penance and willpower to strengthen the house with pai-pai. Imagine, when women of poor families across the country will get Rs 1 lakh every year through the 'Mahalakshmi Yojana', how many Vedantas will change the future of the family with their talent? This historic plan of Congress will give the dreams of poor families a flight into reality,” Rahul Gandhi said.

The Congress in Karnataka said the schemes of the government were giving succour to the people. “It is a matter of pride that in a span of 10 months, our government’s schemes are bringing effective social and economic changes,” the party claimed.

“It is a testimony to the success of the Gruha Lakshmi scheme that the family of Vedant, who secured first rank in the Arts stream, was supported by the money provided by the Gruha Lakshmi scheme. Our schemes have brought changes in many people’s lives. The Congress party has built the lives of the people and thereby built the nation,” the Congress stated.

Vedant Navi had secured first rank in Arts Stream in Karnataka. He is the overall second-topper.

“My father is no more. My mother faced difficulties as the family was debt-ridden. In this crunch time, the money received through the Gruha Lakshmi scheme (Rs 2,000 every month given for women heads of family) helped my studies and hostel stay and other expenditures,” Vedant had stated.

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News Network
April 17,2024

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Dubai: Dubai was slapped by heavy floods as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was hit by extremely heavy rains on Tuesday. The desert city received over a year and a half's worth of rain in just a day even as heavy thunderstorms lashed other parts of the UAE.

Roads turned into rivers as they were filled up with water. Shopping centres like Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates were also seen flooding.

Schools across the UAE have been shut and are expected to remain closed on today as well.

According to a report by India Today, Dubai airport received about 100 mm of rain in just 12 hours on Tuesday and a total of 160 mm in the last 24 hours.

On average, Dubai receives about 88.9 mm of rain in a year, which concludes that the city received more than a year's rain in a day.

Dubai International Airport said on Wednesday it was experiencing significant disruption due to bad weather and was working to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

Flights have been delayed or diverted and impacted by displaced crew, the airport said in a statement, adding that recovery would take some time.

Dubai's Emirates airline said that it was suspending check-in for passengers departing the airport from 8 am (0400 GMT) on Wednesday until midnight due to operational challenges caused by the bad weather and road conditions.

Dubai International was temporarily diverting arriving flights on Tuesday evening because of a storm, and operations were suspended for 25 minutes earlier in the day.

According to India Today, the airport stopped flight operations and issued a warning earlier today on X.

The Dubai International Airport requested the passengers to check their flight status.

Employees in Dubai have been told to work from home.

The UAE Government took to X and said, "Based on the directives of the Council of Ministers, it was decided to extend remote work until tomorrow, Wednesday, April 17, for all federal government employees, with the exception of jobs that require presence at the workplace, taking into account the weather condition that the country is going through."

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