Fight 2023 polls unitedly; don’t speak out internal matters publicly: Rahul Gandhi to Karnataka Cong leaders

News Network
August 3, 2022

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Hubballi, Aug 3: The former Congress president attended the Karnataka unit's political affairs committee meeting, where discussions were held on organisational matters and preparations for the upcoming assembly polls.

Amid signs of rumbling within, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday night urged the party's Karnataka unit leaders to work unitedly for the 2023 assembly polls and not speak out publicly on leadership and internal matters.

The former Congress president attended the Karnataka unit's political affairs committee meeting, where discussions were held on organisational matters and preparations for the upcoming assembly polls.

Gandhi's call for unity comes amid a game of political one-upmanship between two leaders legislature party leader Siddaramaiah and state president D K Shivakumar over the chief minister's post in the event of the party coming to power in the state.

"The committee discussed party organisation and policy matters. The meeting also discussed preparations for the 2023 assembly polls.....PAC will meet frequently and take collective decisions in the interest of the party. Rahul Gandhi appealed to leaders of the party to go aggressively and unitedly against the misrule of the BJP in Karnataka and at the Centre," AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said.

Speaking to reporters here after the meeting, he said Gandhi urged party leaders to work to instal a people-centric Congress government in Karnataka.

"The entire leadership of Karnataka will join hands together and win Karnataka in the 2023 polls.....unknowingly or knowingly some statements are made here and there before the media. Don't fall for that trap, party leaders should not speak in different voices inside or outside," he added.

Stating that it has been unanimously decided not to speak about internal matters in public, Venugopal said, "There is no leadership issue at all, individual opinion is also not acceptable. The party's new MLAs and the high command will decide on the leader after winning." Several internal issues have been discussed at the meeting, he said.

"We are well-prepared to finalise the candidates, announce their names and win the elections." Several internal issues have been discussed at the meeting, he said.

The political affairs committee of the Congress met on Tuesday for the first time after its constitution on July 9. Besides Gandhi, Venugopal, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, the party's campaign committee chief M B Patil, Leader of Opposition in the legislative council B K Hariprasad, and senior leaders like H K Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao, M Veerappa Moily and G Parameshwara attended the meeting.

Rahul Gandhi's two-day visit to the state assumes significance as the Congress in Karnataka seems to be in a conundrum, with many within the party fearing it would implode ahead of the assembly polls.

There is also a palpable worry within the party about a virtual division getting created between the camps of the two key leaders, hurting its prospects in the polls.

Though both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have overtly maintained that the chief minister will be decided by party's newly elected MLAs and the high command on gaining majority in the polls, their loyalists and camp followers have been projecting their respective leader, making things messy. Gandhi will also take part in former chief minister Siddaramaiah's 75th birthday bash in the district headquarters of Davanagere on Wednesday.

Siddaramaiah's supporters have planned a grand celebration on his birthday, an apparent show of strength by his camp. The event comes ahead of the party sounding the poll bugle despite reservations from a section of the old guard which reportedly includes Shivakumar, who has said that he was opposed to the "personality cult" in the party.

Gandhi will also visit Chitradurga's Murugarajendra Mutt, a prominent Lingayat seminary in the region, during the visit on August 3, and meet Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru and seers of various mutts. During his last visit to the state in April, he had set a target of winning 150 seats and urged for unity among the party's rank and file.

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News Network
August 9,2022

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Udupi, Aug 9: The Supreme Court of India has disapproved categorically the practice of considering evidence while granting bail, or suspending a sentence, while expunging the observations made by the Karnataka High Court while granting bail to the woman who was convicted of murdering her husband, Bhaskar Shetty, a businessman from Udupi. 

The murder, when it came to light, had made headlines across the country.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and P S Narasimha agreed with the contention, made by advocate Sanjay M Nuli on behalf of the victim’s mother Gulabi Shetty, that the High Court went into the issues of the validity of the ‘Will’, which was completely unrelated to the proceedings before it.

“The High Court has grossly erred in granting suspension of sentence in such a serious crime,” Nuli argued, contending that the high court went on to decide the matter as if it was deciding an appeal.

Concurring with his contention, the bench said: “We are in full agreement with the counsel for the petitioner that the High Court has totally erred in making an elaborate discussion of the evidence. This Court has time and again observed that courts should avoid elaborate appreciation of the evidence at the stage of grant of bail.”

The bench also observed that it was “totally unwarranted” of the high court “to have made a detailed elaboration of an evidence” while granting bail.

“We, therefore, expunge all the observations made by the High Court wherever it has re-appreciated the evidence in detail and clarify that the order would be construed as a prima facie consideration of the evidence for grant of suspension of sentence,” the bench said.

The apex court, however, also said it did not find anything wrong in allowing the application filed by the convict Rajeshwari Shetty, for suspension of her sentence, as the case was based on circumstantial evidence.

The top court also directed the high court's bench, which would hear the appeal on merits, not to take into consideration any of the observations the lower court made in its order on December 23, 2021.

It also requested the high court to expedite the hearing of the appeal.

“In case the petitioner does not cooperate with expeditious disposal of the matter, the High Court would be at liberty to take appropriate steps,” the Supreme Court ruled.

The trial court, on June 8, 2021, had convicted the victim’s wife Rajeshwari, their son, and the wife's alleged paramour for murdering Bhaskar Shetty, who ran a business in Saudi Arabia and owned a hotel in Udupi, and burning his body in a “homa kund” in 2016, and sentenced the three to life imprisonment.

The prosecution claimed that Rajeshwari, along with her 20-year-old son Navneet, threw chili powder into her husband’s eyes and assaulted him with a rod. Thereafter, the two tied the victim’s hands and feet, and poisoned him. Later, they carried the body to another location and burnt it by organising a ‘yagna’. To further destroy the evidence, they threw the bones and remains into a river.

Bhaskar suspected Rajeshwari of adultery and had lodged a police complaint with Manipal police station on July 9, 2016; he was murdered on July 28. The police unearthed the murder while acting upon a missing person’s complaint filed by Gulabi.

The prosecution relied upon a DNA report to conclude the recovered body parts were that of the complainant’s son.

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News Network
August 12,2022

Udupi, Aug 12: A 32-year-old woman lost her life when the motorbike on which she was riding pillion skidded and fell when a cow suddenly came across the road at Vandse village in Kundapura taluk of Udupi district. 

The victim has been identified as Ambika, an assistant teacher at Hemmadi government model higher primary school. She was riding pillion with her husband Srikanth, who is also a teacher at Navundra government higher primary school when the incident occurred on August 11 morning. 

It is learnt that Srikanth used to drop his wife to her school before heading to his school on his motorbike. The couple has a one-and-half-year-old child.

On August 11, when their two-wheeler reached Vandse, a cow suddenly ran across the road. 

In his bid to avoid crashing into the cow Srikanth lost control over his vehicle and it skilled and fell. Even though he suffered minor injuries his wife suffered severe head injuries.  She was rushed to a private hospital in Udupi where she breathed her last by night.

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News Network
August 9,2022

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Patna, Aug 9: Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) supremo Nitish Kumar on Tuesday ended his alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The decision was taken following Nitish's high-level meeting with party MPs, MLAs, and MLCs.

Tensions between Nitish and the BJP had been rising over the past few months, with the JD(U) accusing the saffron party of weakening it. However, the resignation of Ramchandra Prasad Singh, the once trusted loyalist of Nitish, was the triggering point.

Singh, a former Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer who is popularly known as RCP, has called the JD(U) a "sinking ship" after his resignation from party. However, the JD(U) had hit back at Singh, saying its ship is sailing and not sinking.

"Yes, it is true that some of the people tried to make the hole in the bottom of ship to make it sink but we spotted it within time and repaired it," JD(U) national President Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh said on Saturday, as reported by a news agency.

"RCP Singh has his body in the JD(U) but his heart is somewhere else. During the 2020 Assembly election, Chirag (Chirag Paswan) model was used to conspire against the JD(U) to damage Nitish Kumar. This was the reason why our party reached 43 seats. This time, they were using RCP Singh to do a conspiracy against Nitish Kumar. Our leader has spotted it within time and destroyed their conspiracy."

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