FIR against JDS Rajya Sabha candidate for 'threatening' Congress MLAs during poll

News Network
February 27, 2024

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Bengaluru: An FIR has been registered against the JD(S) leader contesting the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka, D Kupendra Reddy, and his aides at the Vidhana Soudha police station in Bengaluru, former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Tuesday.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too confirmed that an FIR has been registered for 'threatening' the Congress MLAs in connection with the Rajya Sabha elections.

“The Congress leaders not only spoke about allurement and threat to their MLAs time and again but also registered an FIR against Kupendra Reddy and his aides,” the JD(S) second-in-command told reporters here.

Kumaraswamy said the complainant MLA did not say that he was lured, but that some other MLAs were 'approached'.

“Melukote MLA Darshan Puttannaiah of Karnataka Sarvodaya Paksha too had said that it’s true that his vote was sought but no one had lured him,” the JD(S) state chief claimed.

Kumaraswamy also said the BJP and JD(S) had decided that the votes of its 19 JD(S) MLAs and the additional BJP votes after its first preferential votes would go to Kupendra Reddy.

Siddaramaiah slammed the Janata Dal (Secular) for allegedly trying to lure Congress legislators to get its candidate Kupendra Reddy elected.

“JDS needs 45 votes (for their candidate) to win. Do they have that many votes? Even though they don’t have enough votes, they still fielded the candidate and are luring our MLAs. Do they have a conscience?” the chief minister asked rhetorically, posting on social media platform X.

“An FIR has been lodged regarding the threat to us. Our three candidates will win. There is no doubt about this,” Siddaramaiah insisted, without elaborating who, the FIR is against and where it has been registered.

Speaking to reporters at Vidhana Soudha here, Siddaramaiah slammed the minor partner in the opposition alliance, saying, “When JD(S) does not have ‘atma’ (soul), how can it have ‘atma sakshi’ (conscience)? They call themselves Janata Dal (Secular) but whom did they join with?”

He was referring to the JD(S) forming an alliance with the BJP.

The chief minister did not rule out the possibility of gaining votes from the rival camp saying the good works of his government may draw votes from the other side.

On the JD(S) allegations that the Congress had approached its party MLAs, Siddaramaiah said when the Congress has sufficient number of MLAs, there is no need to lure legislators from the opposition.

Voting is under way for four Rajya Sabha seats in Karnataka. The ruling Congress has fielded former union minister and Congress treasurer Ajay Maken and sitting Rajya Sabha members G C Chandrashekhar and Syed Naseer Hussain.

The BJP has fielded Narayansa Bhandage and also JD(S) leader Kupendra Reddy as the NDA candidate.

The Congress has 133 MLAs, excluding the Speaker, while the BJP and JD(S) have 66 and 19 legislators respectively, in the 223-member House. Others account for four. However, one Congress MLA died on Sunday.

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News Network
April 3,2024

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Sumalatha Ambareesh, the Independent MP who won from Karnataka’s Mandya constituency in 2019, announced on Wednesday that she would join the BJP and not contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

After the BJP-JD(S) coalition has fielded former chief minister and JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy from Mandya, all eyes were on Sumalatha, who defeated Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The announcement came along expected lines as Kumaraswamy had met Sumalatha on Sunday, March 31, seeking her support for the elections.

In a supporters’ meeting held at Mandya to announce her decision, Sumalatha, who is the first Independent MP from the constituency, said, “I will not be contesting this election, but I am not leaving Mandya…. Some people, when they don’t get the ticket, decide to leave the party. But, I have decided to give up my seat and join the BJP”.

Sumalatha said her options were to either contest as an Independent, join the Congress or Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“If I contest as an independent, it will be to prove something to myself. Who will benefit from that and who will lose, we have to think. We have to be mature,” she said, adding that she was “not worried about self-interest” and had turned down offers from BJP to contest at either Bengaluru North, Chikkaballapur or Mysore-Kodagu to remain with the people of Mandya.

Sumalatha said that she would not join the Congress as the party did not want her. “On the other hand, the BJP leadership took me into confidence in all issues. When even the Prime Minister says that the party needs leadership from people like me and asks me not to take any other decision, do I have respect there (in BJP) or not?” the MP asked.

Riding on a sympathy wave following the demise of her husband, former Union Minister and actor-turned politician Ambareesh, Sumalatha had defeated Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy by a margin of over 1.25 lakh votes in 2019. Though Ambareesh was from Congress, Sumalatha had contested as an Independent after the Congress denied her ticket due to the coalition arrangement of the party with JD(S) that year.

Though Sumalatha was keen on joining the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and contesting from Mandya, it has not panned out due to BJP’s alliance with JD(S) in 2024.

Mandya, which Sumalatha represents, is a Vokkaliga bastion which has largely favoured either the JD(S) or Congress over the years. Due to this, the BJP-JD(S) coalition went with Kumaraswamy, a top Vokkaliga politician of the state.

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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 5,2024

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Bengaluru: A striking feature in the candidates list for the April 26 Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka is the presence of members of Janata Dal (Secular)'s first family.

Former Prime Minister and JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda's son H D Kumaraswamy, son-in-law C N Manjunath and grandson Prajwal Revanna are all in the fray.

While state JD(S) chief and former Chief Minister H D Kumararaswamy is contesting from Mandya, Prajwal Revanna is seeking reelection from Hassan.

However, Manjunath, an eminent cardiologist, is contesting from Bangalore Rural on a BJP ticket, as per the arrangement between the alliance partners.

With the entry of cardiologist Manjunath into the poll arena, at least nine members of Gowda's immediate family are or have been in electoral politics.

Gowda is a Member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, while Kumaraswamy is an MLA from Channapatna, which comes under the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency.

Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha had represented Ramanagara as MLA in the previous assembly, and Nikhil, who is the JD(S) youth wing leader, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Mandya and 2023 assembly polls from Ramanagara.

Gowda's elder son and former Minister H D Revanna -- father of Prajwal -- is MLA from Holenarsipura, his wife Bhavani Revanna was a member of the Hassan Zilla Panchayat. Their other son, Suraj, is an MLC.

The Gowda family currently has its representation in all the four major houses of public representatives- Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

This will be for the second consecutive time in the Lok Sabha elections, when three members from Gowda's family are in the fray from constituencies of the old-Mysore region (south Karnataka), which is considered to be the party's stronghold, because of the dominance of the Vokkaliga community here, to which they belong to.

Gowda (Tumkur), Prajwal Revanna (Hassan), and Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil (Mandya) had contested the Lok Sabha poll in 2019, but only Revanna emerged victorious. In fact, he was among the only two candidates from the then ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance, who won; the other being D K Suresh of Congress from Bangalore Rural.

As part of the seat-sharing deal in this Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, the BJP would contest in 25 constituencies and the JD(S) in the remaining three -- Mandya, Hassan and Kolar. JD(S) has fielded M Mallesh Babu from Kolar.

In the 2023 assembly polls, three members of the Gowda family had contested - Kumaraswamy (Channapatna), H D Revanna (Holenarasipur), and Nikhil Kumaraswamy (Ramanagara). In the 2018 assembly polls, both Kumaraswamy and Revanna had won.

Kumaraswamy, who had then won from two seats - Ramanagara and Channapatna - vacated Ramanagara, which his wife Anita Kumaraswamy subsequently won in the bypolls.

According to some political observers, the perception in some quarters about JD(S) being too family-centric is one of its major drawbacks.

James Manor, University of London professor, who has been a keen observer of Karnataka's politics, during a webinar ahead of assembly polls last year had said, family-centred politics is causing discontent and leading to desertion. 'JD(S) suffers from over-centralisation and dictatorial leadership.'

However, Kumaraswamy has time and again defended family members contesting polls stating that , '....our family members will contest where we don't have a capable candidate, to protect the interest of our party and its workers.'

However, the JD(S)'s dynastic party image has always been used by its political opponents to target it.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress president D K Shivakumar, had a dig at Gowda for fielding his son, grandson, and son-in-law, and asked 'Were there no other candidates (in JD(S))?'

'None of them is going to win...JD(S) is a party that has lost strength. If it is really strong, why did they make their son-in-law contest on a BJP ticket?' he said.

Some political analysts held the view that JD(S)' inability to grow beyond the Vokkaliga dominated old-Mysore region -- other than certain select pockets of north Karnataka -- is seen as among its other key drawbacks.

Speculations are already rife in JD(S) circles that Nikhil is most likely to be the party candidate from Channaptna assembly segment, in case Kumaraswamy wins in Mandya.

Ahead of assembly polls last year, differences in the Gowda family had come out in the open with H D Revanna's wife Bhavani wanting to contest from Hassan, but Kumaraswamy had opposed it and finally gave the ticket. 

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