IT officials raid house, office of BJP MLC R Shankar in Karnataka's Haveri

News Network
March 15, 2023

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Bengaluru, Mar 15: Days after the Election Commission of India raised concerns about politicians offering freebies to lure voters ahead of Assembly polls in Karnataka, officials from the Income Tax department on Tuesday raided the residence and office of former minister and BJP MLC R Shankar in Ranebennur in the state's Haveri district.

During the raid, the officials seized saree boxes, plates, glasses and school bags reportedly meant to be distributed among voters in the constituency.

The IT team has asked the Assistant Commissioner, Haveri, to check the bills of the items seized.and submit a report to the state government.

The IT raid did not go down well with MLC Shankar. Though he claimed he was cooperative with the officials, Shankar also alleged that the raid was conducted "at the behest of someone". The Model Code of Conduct has not been announced so far and this raid has no meaning, he said.

"I had pledged for the development of the constituency and will be committed to it. Such raids cannot deter me (sic)," said an annoyed Shankar.

The MLC further said that he had purchased all the materials after paying the requisite GST and there were no irregularities. All the bills have been documented and will be shown to officials, he said.

This is not the first time that the MLC has found himself in trouble for distributing goods in the election season - just last month, Shankar was caught distributing pressure cookers in Ranebennur's Medleri and Tumminakatti areas.

Earlier, Siddaramaiah, the former state Chief Minister and the current Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, alleged that Shankar had received money to change his political loyalty to the BJP. Reacting to these accusations, Shankar said that he will quit politics if the charges are proven.

The IT raid was not received well by Shankar's supporters either. They claimed that Shankar had been distributing essential goods to Ranebennur's people since 2012. Since he played "a big role" in making Basavaraj Bommai the chief minister, such targeted raids would spell trouble for BJP in the next election, Shankar's supporters warned.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said that the BJP had no role to play in the tax department's raid. "Agencies are given a free hand, and there is no need for the BJP to raid anybody. Let him cooperate if he has done nothing wrong" Bommai said.

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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 12,2024

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New Delhi, Apr 12: India on Friday asked its citizens not to travel to Iran or Israel amid escalating tensions between the two countries following a strike on the Iranian consulate in Syria 11 days ago.

Iran blamed Israel for the strike and there have been fears that Tehran may launch an attack on Israel soon.

In an advisory, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also urged the Indians residing in Iran and Israel to exercise utmost precautions about their safety and restrict their movements to minimum.

“In view of the prevailing situation in the region, all Indians are advised not to travel to Iran or Israel till further notice,” it said.

“All those who are currently residing in Iran or Israel are requested to get in touch with Indian Embassies there and register themselves,” the MEA said.

“They are also requested to observe utmost precautions about their safety and restrict their movements to the minimum,” it added. 

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News Network
April 9,2024

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Mangaluru/ Bengaluru, Apr 2: Karnataka’s coastal belt some of the neighbouring areas will celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on April 10, while rest of the state will witness the festival on April 11 due confusion over moon sighting. 

Muslim religious heads in twin coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi on the night of April 9 declared the end of Ramadan and beginning of Shawwal following reports of sighting of crescent moon. 

With this Eid will be celebrated on April 10 in the above region. Similarly, Muslims in Bhatkal and neighbouring state of Kerala too will celebrate the festival on April 10. 

However, Muslims in other parts of Karnataka will continue to fast on April 10 and celebrate the Eid on the following day due to non-sighting of moon in their region. 

The Karnataka Moon Sighting Committee chairman Moulana Maqsood Imran formally announced that the Eid-ul-Fitr in Bengaluru and areas of Karnataka will be celebrated on Thursday April 11. 

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