Govt yet to take full shape; no discussion took place on banning Bajrang Dal: Parameshwara

News Network
May 25, 2023

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Bengaluru, May 25: Senior Congress leader and minister G Parameshwara, who is awaiting portfolio allocation, today said that the party is currently focusing on forming a full-fledged government and not on banning organisations such as the RSS or Bajrang Dal. 

The statement of Parameshwara, who was once home minister of Karnataka, came a day after his Cabinet colleague Priyank Kharge said the Congress government would act against peace-disrupting communal and political outfits including the RSS. 

Kharge also said laws passed under the previous BJP regime prohibiting cow slaughter and regulating religious conversions would be “re-examined” and “withdrawn”. Even changes made to school textbooks would be undone, he had said. 

But, Parameshwara pointed out that the Congress government is yet to take full shape. 

“The government should become complete first and portfolios must be allocated. The government should reach a stage where absolute decisions can be taken. Let a full-fledged government come first. Ministers concerned will study the issues and then the Cabinet will decide,” Parameshwara said. 

Parameshwara also said statements by Kharge were his “personal opinions” and that policy decisions require discussions. “No decision can happen on the basis of statements issued by individuals,” Parameshwara said. 

On Kharge’s specific statement on acting against the RSS, Parameshwara said nothing had been discussed. “In our manifesto, we said organisations like Bajrang Dal and PFI will face action, including a ban if needed, in case they disrupt peace. Except that, nothing has been discussed,” he said. 

Parameshwara said any “anti-social and anti-people” law or rule that “disrupts peace” will be re-examined. “We’ve said that we’ll give a pro-people administration. Whatever is required for that will be done, including withdrawing some laws,” he said. 

With pressure mounting on the new Congress government to implement its five ‘guarantees’, Parameshwara asserted that they will be fulfilled. “Orders have been issued after a decision was taken in the first Cabinet meeting itself. Now, departments will work out procedures such as channelising funds. We’ve asked officials to bring details to the next Cabinet meeting,” he said. 
Slamming the BJP and JD(S) for criticising the Congress government, Parameshwara said the two parties are “jealous” after being defeated in the election. “There's no going back on the guarantees. We will implement them,” he said. 

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News Network
May 24,2023

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New Delhi, May 24: The new Parliament building, which is set to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on May 28, has found itself in the middle of a political controversy.

Congress and other Opposition parties have been voicing their displeasure at the fact that President Droupadi Murmu, who is the constitutional head of the Parliament, has not been invited to inaugurate the new structure.

Another point of contention for the Opposition is the fact that May 28, which is the birthday of Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar, has been chosen as the date for the inauguration.

This has led to a war of words between the BJP and Opposition parties.

Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) became the first party to announce that they would be boycotting the inauguration ceremony soon after invites for the same were sent out by the Lok Sabha Secretary. TMC MP Derek O'Brien said on Twitter: "Parliament is not just a new building; it is an establishment with old traditions, values, precedents and rules - it is the foundation of Indian democracy. PM Modi doesn’t get that. For him, Sunday’s inauguration of the new building is all about I, ME, MYSELF. So count us out."

Soon after, Aam Admi Party (AAP) followed suit. 

Since then, the list of parties who have come out to announce that they will be boycotting the ceremony has been increasing. Currently, these are the parties (and the number of MPs they have) who have officially announced that they will be keeping a distance when PM Modi inaugurates the new structure on May 28:

1. Indian National Congress
2. Trinamool Congress
3. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
4. Janata Dal (United)
5. Aam Aadmi Party
6. Nationalist Congress Party 
7. Shiv Sena (UBT)
8. Communist Party of India (Marxist)
9. Samajwadi Party
10. Rashtriya Janata Dal
11. Communist Party of India
12. Indian Union Muslim League
13. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha
14. National Conference
15. Kerala Congress (Mani)
16. Revolutionary Socialist Party 
17. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi
18. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
19. Rashtriya Lok Dal

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News Network
May 18,2023

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Bengaluru, May 18: Several top Congress leaders from party chief Mallikarjun Kharge to former party chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were involved in hectic parleys with Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar which finally helped to break the logjam over the top post in Karnataka.

Ever since the Karnataka Assembly results were declared on May 13, both the leaders started garnering support of MLAs close to them while mustering support for themselves.

The supporters of both, meanwhile, started building up the momentum in support of their respective leader and a poster war erupted.

As the race for the top post heated up, Kharge appointed three observers -- Sushilkumar Shinde, Jitendra Singh and Deepak Babaria -- and the first meeting of the Congress Legislature Party was convened on May 14. Supporters of both the leaders continued to raise the pitch by raising slogans in support of their leaders outside the CLP meeting venue.

All Congress MLAs authorised the party chief to appoint a leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), who would also be the new chief minister.

Keeping the consultation process alive, the newly-elected MLAs had authorised Kharge to appoint the new CLP leader, after which the scene shifted from Bengaluru to Delhi. The observers also held one-on-one consultations with all MLAs and sought a secret ballot from all of them, the results of which were tabulated and shared with party chief the next day.

In the national capital, the three observers along with party general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal and AICC general secretary in-charge Randeep Surjewala arrived and held a meeting with Kharge.

With Siddaramaiah emerging as the frontrunner in the race and after the report of observers, the party leadership asked him and Shivakumar to arrive in Delhi for further consultations. While Siddaramaih arrived on Monday evening, Shivakumar cancelled the meeting citing health issues.

This complicated the situation for the party as it hardened its stand against Shivakumar, who arrived the next day.

Tuesday saw the entry of Rahul Gandhi in the consultation process, who drove down to Kharge's residence and held a meeting on the Karnataka government formation for over an hour-and-a-half.

A series of fresh consultations started once again with Kharge meeting both of them separately, as also with the two general secretaries on Tuesday.

The final round of talks started on Wednesday when both the leaders met Rahul Gandhi at his residence. In the meantime, Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah also spoke to Sonia Gandhi, who was away in Shimla on a vacation. Sonia also asked Shivakumar to speak to Kharge and Rahul to sort out the matter, sources said.

The hectic parleys continued from Monday and went on till the wee hours of Thursday to break the deadlock in deciding on the Congress' chief ministerial pick in Karnataka as both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar presenting their cases before the top brass.

The leadership issue in Karnataka lingered as Shivakumar had dug his heels in and asserted that he be made the chief minister as the party staged a stunning victory in the southern state under his presidency.

Sources said after Rahul Gandhi told both the leaders to sit together and work out a solution with Kharge, it was the party chief who told Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar to hold talks with Venugopal and Surjewala, and sort out the differences and agree to Siddaramaiah as chief minister, whose leadership abilities and mass support helped him clinch the top post.

The decision, sources said, was chalked out in the wee hours of Thursday when all parties agreed to accomodate confidantes of both the leaders and asked Shivakumar to continue on the post of state Congress chief till the next year's Parliamentary elections.

To maintain his number 2 position in the Karnataka government, Shivakumar was made the only deputy chief minister.

The chief minister and his deputy along with over 20 ministers in the cabinet would take oath on May 20 in Bengaluru, where leaders of several political parties would also be invited.

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News Network
May 24,2023

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Mangaluru, May 25: A complaint has been filed against Belthangady BJP MLA Harish Poonja at Puttur town police station over his speech raising false allegations against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

In his complaint on Tuesday, municipal councillor Mohammed Riaz said Poonja, during the BJP’s election victory celebrations at Belthangady on May 22 had alleged that Siddaramaiah was responsible for the murder of 24 Hindu workers. He also handed over the video of the incident to the police along with the complaint.

He said such charges against the Chief Minister are condemnable and asked the police to hold an enquiry and take strict legal action against Poonja.

The audio and video clips of the speech in which he strongly criticised Hindu workers who campaigned for Congress during the Assembly elections had gone viral on social media.

"You sought a vote for Siddaramaiah who got 24 Hindu activists killed. You sought a vote for Congress which is proposing a ban on Bajrang Dal," he had allegedly said in the speech.

BJP had been claiming that during the previous tenure of Siddaramaiah between 2013 and 2018, coastal Karnataka region witnessed murders of Hindu activists. The party also alleged that the Siddaramaiah government had withdrawn cases against SDPI workers.

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