‘Need your blessings, not interference in politics’: DKS tells swamijis amid leadership row, asks Cong leaders to shout mouth

Agencies
June 29, 2024

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Bengaluru: Amid raging debate over the possibility of change in Chief Minister and demand for three more deputy chief ministers in Karnataka, state Congress president D K Shivakumar on Saturday asked partymen and leaders to refrain from issuing public statements on the issue and warned of disciplinary action.

Shivakumar, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister urged partymen to "shut their mouth" in the interest of the party, as he also requested seers not to interfere in political matters.

There is growing demand within the state cabinet to have three more deputy chief ministers from Veerashaiva-Lingayat, SC/ST and minority communities. Currently, Shivakumar from the dominant Vokkaliga community is the only Deputy Chief Minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet.

A Vokkaliga seer Kumara Chandrashekaranatha Swamiji of Vishwa Vokkaliga Mahasamastana Math on Thursday had publicly urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for his deputy Shivakumar.

Following this a Veearashaiva-Lingayat seer -- Srisaila Jagadguru Channa Siddharama Panditaradhya Swamiji on Friday said ministers from his community should be considered for the CM's post in case there is a leadership change, while also pitching for them to be given priority in the event of creation of additional Deputy CM posts.

"There is no discussion on any Deputy Chief Minister nor there is any question about the Chief Minister. Swamiji (Vokkaliga seer) out of affection towards me might have spoken about me. That's all. I request -- I don't need anyone's recommendation. For the work we have done, our party high command will decide," Shivakumar said in response to a question whether he had discussed with the high command the demand for more DCMs during the Delhi visit.

Addressing reporters here, he said, "Kharge (AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge), Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and I, in the interest of the party, have decided how to function. So there is no need for any MLA or minister or Swamiji to speak. If they (seers) bless us it's enough."

There is no need for any minister to comment on the CM or Deputy CM issue in public or before the media, Shivakumar said and warned that "if any MLA or anyone from the party raises it, the AICC or I will be forced to issue notice and take disciplinary action. Discipline is important in the party. There is nothing without discipline."

"I know the struggle that has gone to bring the party to this level, there is no need for any of them to speak now."

Responding to a query, the Deputy CM said, "In the interest of the party I'm telling everyone -- if you shut your mouth it will be good for the party."

Asked about seers interfering in politics, he said, "No swamiji had spoken other than now...I request all of them with folded hands, don't interfere in political matters."

A section within the Congress is of the opinion that the statement by the ministers seeking three more Deputy CMs was part of a plan by Siddaramaiah's camp to keep Shivakumar in check, amid talks that he might seek the CM post after two-and-half years of this government's tenure, and to counter his influence both in the government and party.

There is also a feeling that the Vokkaliga seer publicly urging Siddaramaiah to step down and make way for Shivakumar is a counter to the CM from the KPCC president's camp.

There was stiff competition between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for the chief minister's post after the declaration of Assembly election results in May last year, and the Congress had managed to convince the latter and made him the Deputy Chief Minister.

There were some reports back then of a compromise having been reached based on a "rotational chief minister formula", according to which Shivakumar will become CM after two-and-half years, but those have not been officially confirmed by the party.

Shivakumar has made no secret of his ambition to become the CM, while Siddaramaiah had sought public support during the Lok Sabha polls so that the Congress wins the maximum number of seats in the state, which would strengthen his position.

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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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Bengaluru: The Karnataka cabinet on Monday approved implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations, effecting a 27.5% increase in basic pay from August 1, 2024, and benefiting 12 lakh state govt employees and pensioners.

The commission, led by former chief secretary K Sudhakar Rao, was constituted in November 2022 with a six month mandate.

The final report was submitted to chief minister Siddaramaiah before Lok Sabha elections were announced in March 2024.

The commission’s recommendations include raising the minimum salary for govt employees from Rs 17,000 to Rs 27,000 a month.

The implementation is expected to widen the revenue expenditure of the Karnataka govt by Rs 20,000 crore annually. The most considerable expenditure will be the burden of Rs 7,409 crore for salaries, followed by Rs 3,791 crore for pensions and family pensions each year.

The decision comes after the previous BJP govt, just before the 2023 assembly elections, granted interim relief with a 17% salary hike for govt employees, leaving the remaining 10.5% for future discussions.

After Congress govt took office, it faced pressure to fulfil five poll guarantees and delayed the decision.

The employees, during an executive committee meeting held recently in Chikkamagaluru, decided to launch a three-phase protest culminating in an indefinite strike planned from July 29. This appears to have pressured the govt.

"We welcome the decision for providing employees with 27.5% salary hike," said Shadakshari, state president of Karnataka state govt employees' association.

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coastaldigest.com news network
July 11,2024

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka Lokayukta on Thursday, July 11, morning raided 56 locations across nine districts in connection with 11 disproportionate asset cases.

The raids are underway at two locations in Chitradurga and Davanagere, and one each in Kalaburagi, Mandya, Dharwad, Belagavi, Kolar, Mysuru, and Hassan. The officials have raided the properties of 11 government officials, including two retired government employees.

Properties related to Basavaraj Magi, Revenue Officer, BBMP (Kengeri Zone); Shivaraju S, retired executive officer from Mandya; M Ravindra, retired chief engineer at Minor Irrigation Department; Shekar Gowda, Project Director; DH Umesh, Executive Engineer; and MS Prabhakar, Assistant Executive Engineer.

Simultaneously, the Lokayukta officials are conducting raids at the properties of Vijianna, Tahsildar; Mahesh K, superintendent engineer; NM Jagadish, grade 1 secretary; and KG Jagadish, superintendent engineer.

A well-placed officer at the Lokayukta said that they had taken up DA cases even before the raids. They had done the background work to list all the properties linked to officials on whom raids are underway.

The raids are a joint operation of the Karnataka Lokayukta wing and the police wing of the anti-corruption watchdog. The Superintendents of Police (SP) with the Karnataka Lokayukta in the respective districts are supervising the ongoing raids, and over 100 officers are aiding them.

This is the third such massive raid Lokayukta has taken up this year.

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