'We the People' to deepen democracy and improve living standards in Dakshina Kannada

News Network
March 13, 2023

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Mangaluru, Mar 12: 'We the People', a new civil society organisation, was launched at a function organised at Fr. L.F. Rasquinha Hall of St. Aloysius College in the city recently. The organization aims to deepen democracy and improve the living standards of citizens in the Dakshina Kannada.

During the launch, experts highlighted the importance of citizens' participation in the effective functioning of a democratic system. They urged citizens to bring any observed deficiencies to the attention of the authorities and emphasized the critical role civil society organisations play in this process.

The function was presided over by Padmanabha Ullal, a senior social worker, and retired officer, who also launched the organization's website, www.we-the-ppl.org. In his address to the gathering, Ullal emphasized the need for citizens to take responsibility for identifying and reporting problems and grievances. He stated that only through people's participation can the system work more dynamically.

The chief guest, Katyayani Chamaraj of Civic Bangalore, expressed concern that the government has the wrong policies for solving the problems of the municipalities. She urged civil society organisations to inform local government bodies of people's demands.

"The Ward Committees are not allowed to function properly, and Area Sabhas have not been constituted yet. Unlike rural areas, a social audit is not done in urban areas. Civil society organisations should constantly make local government bodies aware of the people's demands. Advocacy should be done for people's work; if unavoidable, issues can also be challenged in court," she said.

Prof. D. Jeevan Kumar, Hon. Professor of Karnataka State Rural Development and Panchayat Raj University, Gadag, quoted comparative studies and gave suggestions for developing the democratic system in India. Melanie Kumar, a freelance journalist, spoke about the dangers of social media.

President of 'We the People,' Prathapchandra Kedilaya, explained the organisation's aims and objectives. He also announced that the Association would be convening a brainstorming meeting with social activists from across the Dakshina Kannada district within the next ten days. The purpose of this meeting would be to address the various social issues affecting the region.

The Vice President, Mariete Fernandes, welcomed the gathering. Secretary Oswald Periera gave a vote of thanks. Treasurer Suresh Nayak and Executive Members Bhaskar Kiran, Dilip Vas Naik, Gladys Monteiro, and Steevan Dsouza participated in the inaugural.

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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 7,2024

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Purulia: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday alleged the central investigating agencies were asking TMC leaders to either join the BJP or face action.

Addressing an election rally in Purulia district, she alleged agencies such as the ED, CBI, NIA and the I-T Department were working as 'arms' of the BJP.

"Agencies such as the NIA, ED and CBI are being used to harass TMC leaders. They are carrying out raids without prior information, and barging into houses. What the women would do if someone entered their house when everyone was asleep in the dead of night?" she asked.

Banerjee was referring to Saturday's incident in Bhupatinagar where a team of the NIA was attacked by a mob when it went to arrest two accused in a blast case.

"The agencies are asking our leaders and activists to either join the BJP or face action," she alleged.

Asking people not to fall for any provocation, Banerjee alleged the BJP was fanning communal passions during Ram Navami.

The chief minister also accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of depriving West Bengal of funds for MGNREGA and PM-Awas schemes.

She said the state government will provide Rs 1.2 lakh for building houses for the poor.

"The EC will not give permission to us to give the money now. After the elections, we will construct the houses of the poor," she said.

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News Network
April 13,2024

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Tehran, Apr 13: Iranian armed forces have seized a container ship near the Strait of Hormuz amid rising tensions across the region after a deadly Israeli attack on Iran’s consulate in Syria.

The incident comes amid Israel bracing for Iranian retaliation after the regime's April 1 strike on a building in the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed seven IRGC military advisors, including two generals.

The ship was commandeered by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the elite force that lost seven members in the Syria strike, Iranian state media reported on Saturday.

“The ship has now been guided towards the territorial waters of our country,” state-run IRNA reported.

The vessel was identified as the Portugal-flagged MSC Aries, which reportedly departed from a port in the United Arab Emirates en route to India. 

Footage from the deck of the vessel obtained by The Associated Press news agency on Saturday showed soldiers rappelling down from a helicopter.

The helicopter appeared to be a Soviet-designed Mil Mi-17, which is operated by the naval forces of the IRGC.

Zodiac Maritime said in a statement that MSC is responsible for all vessel activities.

“Title to the vessel is held by Gortal Shipping Inc as financier and she has been leased to MSC on a long-term basis. Gortal Shipping Inc is affiliated with Zodiac Maritime,” it said.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) had said a vessel was seized by “regional authorities” 50 nautical miles (92km) northeast of the UAE’s Fujairah in a waterway vital to world trade.

Another Israeli-linked container ship was attacked and damaged by a drone in the Indian Ocean in late November, which the United States blamed on Iran.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a post on X that the move by Iran was “a pirate operation in violation of international law”.

He called on the European Union and “the free world to immediately declare” the IRGC a “terrorist organization and to sanction Iran now”.

The Gulf of Oman is near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a fifth of all globally traded oil passes. Fujairah, on the United Arab Emirates’ eastern coast, is a main port in the region for ships to take on new oil cargo, pick up supplies or trade out crew.

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