DKS hints at contesting from Channapatna seat vacated by union minister HDK

Agencies
June 19, 2024

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Bengaluru: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Wednesday did not rule out the possibility of contesting the Channapatna Assembly bypoll, as he maintained that he will have to abide by the "decision" of the party and voters of the segment.

"Channapatna is in my heart. Channapatna is also the place that gave me political birth," Shivakumar, also the state Congress chief, told reporters ahead of his visit to the town in the neighbouring Ramanagara district.

Channapatna bypoll is necessitated as the seat fell vacant following the election of its representative -- JD(S) leader and now Union Minister H D Kumaraswamy - to Lok Sabha in the recent elections.

The byelection schedule for this Assembly seat is yet to be announced by the Election Commission.

"Channapatna was also part of Sathanur earlier (the erstwhile segment represented by Shivakumar). I love Channapatna, I want to help Channapatna. I want to change Channapatna," Shivakumar said.

Asked whether his brother and former MP D K Suresh will be contesting from Channapatna, he said, "That is not decided. More or less, I'm asking the votes for myself."

Though there were talks earlier that Suresh, who lost from Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha segment in the recent elections, may be fielded in Channapatna, speculations are now rife in political circles, especially the grand old party, that Shivakumar may enter the fray to avenge his brother's defeat and to re-establish his clout in the region.

According to sources, if Shivakumar contests and wins from Channapatna, he may vacate the Kanakapura Assembly seat that he currently represents for Suresh.

Both Channapatna and Kanakapura are part of the Vokkaliga dominated Ramanagara district, which comes under the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha segment from where Kumaraswamy's brother-in-law and eminent cardiologist C N Manjunath won as a BJP candidate as part of arrangement between alliance partners BJP and JD(S), by defeating Suresh.

"Channapatana gave me political birth. For four times I have won in a hobli from Channapatna that came under my Assembly constituency. People there have blessed me," Shivakumar said.

"Even during the difficult times people (of Channapatna) have given us about 80,000 votes (in the recent Lok Sabha elections)," he said. "I have to repay the debt I owe to the people there by bringing in a change there. There is an opportunity to do more development there than what I have done in Kanakapura."

Stating that he is visiting temples in Channapatna to offer prayers to the gods who have blessed him, Shivakumar said he will then speak to the voters there, and listen to what voters and leaders there say. "Based on that I will decide."

On what he will do, if people want him to contest, he said: "there is no other way. I will have to listen to what my party and voters say." BJP MLC C P Yogeeshwara is said to be one of the probable candidates for Channapatna bypoll from BJP-JD(S) alliance.

Kumaraswamy's actor-turned-politician son Nikhil Kumaraswamy's name is also doing the rounds. Nikhil had lost the 2023 Assembly polls from neighbouring Ramanagara.

Kumaraswamy of JD(S) had won Channapatna in 2018 and 2023. Before that Yogeeshwara had represented the seat from BJP and Samajwadi Party. He had earlier also represented the seat both as an independent and from the Congress party.

Shivakumar has been representing the Kanakapura segment since 2008.

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News Network
July 15,2024

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New Delhi: The BJP's strength in the Rajya Sabha fell by four Saturday after as many nominated members - Rakesh Sinha, Ram Shakal, Sonal Mansingh, and Mahesh Jethmalani - completed their term.

All four were chosen - as non-aligned members - by President Droupadi Murmu on the advice of the ruling party, and formally allied with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government afterwards.

Their retirement brings the BJP's strength down to 86 and that of the party-led National Democratic Alliance to 101, which is below the current majority mark of 113 in the 245-member House.

The current strength of the Rajya Sabha is 225.

The Congress-led INDIA bloc has 87, of which the Congress has 26, Bengal's ruling Trinamool 13, and the Aam Aadmi Party and the DMK, in power in Delhi and Tamil Nadu, have 10 each.

Parties not aligned with either the BJP or the Congress - such as ex-Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's BRS - nominated MPs and independents hold the rest.

What Do BJP's Reduced Numbers Mean?

It means the government is now reliant on non-NDA parties - such as ex-ally AIADMK of Tamil Nadu and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSR Congress Party - to pass bills in the Upper House. As of now, assuming the BJP can count on the 15 votes from NDA parties' MPs, it will need a minimum of 13 additional 'aye's cast in its favour to push through bills.

The YSRCP (11) and the AIADMK (4) are the BJP's two most obvious 'allies', even if its relationship with the latter has been fractious since they split in December last year, months before the election.

Jagan Reddy's YSRCP has lent issue-based support to the BJP in the past, so at least 11 votes seem assured for Mr Modi's party. Former Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's BJD lent similar support too but, since it was beaten by the BJP in the May-June state election, has said it will not do so now.

The BJD has nine Rajya Sabha MPs.

If the AIADMK is unwilling to offer support, and the BJD of Naveen Patnaik has turned away, the BJP will then turn to votes from nominated members.

There are a total of 12 nominated members in the Rajya Sabha. Although non-aligned when brought in, since they are chosen by the government, in practice they tend to support the ruling party.

Non-aligned parties like the BRS, which has four MPs, and independents may also come into play.

Vacant Seats

There are a total of 20 seats vacant at this time, including 11 held by elected members for which polls are expected this year. Of these, there are two seats each in Maharashtra, Assam, and Bihar, and one each in Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Tripura.

The BJP-led alliance has the numbers to win seven - from Assam, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Tripura. And if it can keep its flock together in Maharashtra, it will win two more from there.

This could give the BJP as many as nine extra seats. If it wins those, and with the nominated members' votes, as well as the YSRCP's, it will have more than enough to cross the majority mark.

There are also four seats vacant from Jammu and Kashmir, which is expected to hold an Assembly election by September 30, in line with a Supreme Court order.

The Telangana seat is likely to be won by the Congress, which swept to power last year.

This is crucial because it will give the party enough votes to claim the Leader of the Opposition post in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress will then hold the LoP seat in both Houses.

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News Network
July 6,2024

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Mangaluru: The dreams of a young girl in Dakshina Kannada district have been tragically cut short. Seventeen-year-old Anita, a first-year PU student from a private college in Beltangady, ended her life, unable to bear the fear that her cherished dream of becoming a doctor might never come true.

Anita, a resident of Bolmanaru in Puduvettu village, passed away after ingesting rat poison. Despite the desperate efforts to save her life at a private hospital in Mangaluru, she succumbed to the poison on July 3. 

She had taken the poison late on the night of June 29, and was initially rushed to a hospital in Ujire on the morning of June 30 before being transferred to Mangaluru for more advanced care.

In a heart-wrenching two-page suicide note, Anita poured out her anguish and hopelessness: "I could not score well in the 10th grade. I dreamt of becoming a doctor and took science in PU, but I am struggling with the subjects. I am responsible for my own death. No one else is to blame."

Anita's story is a sobering reminder of the immense pressure and emotional turmoil that young students can face. Her untimely death leaves behind a community in mourning and raises urgent questions about the support and guidance we offer to our youth.

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News Network
July 16,2024

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A shooting near a mosque in Oman killed at least four people and wounded several others in a rare act of violence in the Gulf nation.

The attack early on Tuesday took place in Wadi al-Kabir, a district east of the capital city, Muscat, during a major religious event for Shia Muslims.

Video from the scene shows people fleeing near the Imam Ali Mosque, its minaret visible, as gunfire rings out followed by a voice saying, “Oh God!”

Omani police said they’re taking “all necessary security measures and procedures … to handle the situation”. They gave an initial casualty toll of four killed and “several” injured.

“The authorities are continuing to gather evidence and conduct investigations to uncover the circumstances surrounding the incident,” police said on social media platform X.

No motive or potential suspects were identified in the attack. A state of emergency was declared in the area.

‘Remain vigilant’

It appears some of the victims were Pakistani expats as Pakistan’s ambassador “visited three hospitals and met with the wounded”, an embassy statement said, adding, “all Pakistanis residing in Oman are requested to cooperate with the authorities”.

The US Embassy in Muscat issued a security alert following the shooting and cancelled all visa appointments on Tuesday.

“US citizens should remain vigilant, monitor local news, and heed directions of local authorities,” the embassy wrote on X.

Such an attack is rare in Oman, a frequent regional mediator with a low crime rate. It comes during the Muslim day of Ashura when Shia Muslims commemorate the seventh-century battlefield martyrdom of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

Many Shia mark Ashura by performing a pilgrimage to Imam Hussein’s shrine in the Iraqi city of Karbala. Sunni Muslims commemorate the day through fasting. 

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