Karnataka polls: UTK’s Mangaluru, DKS’ Kanakapura… 20 seats to watch out for

News Network
March 29, 2023

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For the May 10 Assembly elections in Karnataka, following are the 20 seats to watch out for:

1. Shiggaon: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is the sitting MLA. He won the 2018 assembly election with a victory margin of 9,265 votes against Sayed Azeem Peer Khadri (Congress).

2. Varuna: Congress stalwart and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is going back to his old constituency, which he had ‘sacrificed’ for his son S Yathindra in 2018 and went on to contest from Chamundeshwari and Badami. While he lost from Chamundeshwari to JD(S) candidate G T Deve Gowda, he won with a margin of 1,996 against the BJP candidate B Sriramulu in Badami. Now, it is his son’s turn to make the "sacrifice".

3. Mangaluru: The Congress has again fielded its Deputy Leader in Assembly, U T Khader Ali Fareed. He is the only Congress MLA in the BJP stronghold of Dakshina Kannada district.

4. Mandya: M Srinivas from the JD(S) had won the 2018 assembly election defeating the Congress candidate. The BJP, which was in the third position, now has the backing of independent MP Sumalatha, who recently extended her support to it.

5. Kanakapura: Congress state president D K Shivakumar, nick-named as ‘Kanakapura Rock’ is a seven-time MLA and has maintained his winning streak from 1989 to till date.

6. Hassan: The BJP’s Preetham Gowda broke the JD(S) monopoly last time by defeating H S Prakash with a victory margin of about 13,000 votes. This time, the JD(S) is confronted with a ‘family feud’ where Deve Gowda’s daughter-in-law (H D Revanna’s wife) Bhavani has demanded a ticket to contest from Hassan.

7. Kolar: Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had expressed his willingness to contest from here but withdrew at the last moment. The JD(S) sitting MLA K Srinivasa Gowda had sided with the Congress during the Rajya Sabha election last year in June. The JD(S) has to hunt for a new candidate.

8. Channapatna: JD(S) second-in-command H D Kumaraswamy decided to contest from here instead of Ramanagara in 2018 only to defeat the local strongman C P Yogeeshwara. Kumaraswamy is again contesting from the same constituency.

9. Shikaripura: The seat held by former CM and Lingayat strongman B S Yediyurappa is now vacant following his retirement from active politics. There is a buzz in political circles that his second son B Y Vijayendra may get the ticket.

10. Shivamogga: K S Eshwarappa, who resigned as minister following a bribery charge, is the sitting MLA here.

11. Soraba: This constituency may see the two sons of former chief minister late S Bangarappa, Kumar Bangarappa, who is a sitting BJP MLA, and Madhu Bangarappa, pitted against each other again. Last time the JD(S) gave Madhu ticket but this time he is in the Congress.

12. Gokak: Nicknamed as 'Sahukara', Ramesh Jarkiholi of the powerful Jarkiholi family of Belagavi has been representing this seat since 1999. Jarkiholi resigned from his ministerial position following a sex scandal two years ago. Jarkiholi quit Congress and joined the BJP in 2019.

13. Devanahalli: The Modi Juggernaut in 2019 had halted Congress MP K H Muniyappa’s long stint in Lok Sabha continuously from 1991. Muniyappa who had spent all his electoral politics in Lok Sabha is trying his luck from Devanahalli and he will fight the assembly election against JD(S) sitting MLA L N Narayana Swamy.

14. Gangavati: Gangavati has suddenly become important after the mining baron and former BJP minister G Janardhana Reddy decided to fight from here representing his new party “Karnataka Rajya Pragathi Paksha ''. Currently it is held by Paranna Ishwarappa Munavalli of BJP.

15. Vijayapura: Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, known for his controversial statements, is the BJP MLA here.

16. Ballari city: Former Minister, mining baron and chief of Kalyana Rajya Pragati Paksha, G Janardhana Reddy has announced that his wife Aruna Lakshmi will be fielded from here. Reddy's brother G Somasekara Reddy is the sitting BJP MLA.

17. Chittapur: Former Minister Priyank Kharge, son of AICC President M Mallikarjuna Kharge, is seeking reelection from here.

18. Koratagere: Former Deputy Chief Minister and five time MLA, G Parameshwara, is seeking reelection from here. A former state congress chief, who served in that post for eight years, he has already said he is among the Chief Ministerial aspirants.

19. Ramanagara: Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, had won the 2018 election. This time the party has fielded Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil. He had lost his maiden poll battle in the Lok Sabha election in 2019 to the BJP backed independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh from Mandya.

20. Chikkamagaluru: BJP national general secretary and four-time MLA C T Ravi, is representing this seat. 

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News Network
September 8,2023

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The BJP and the JD(S) have sealed their alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha election 2024 in Karnataka, BJP leader and former chief minister BS Yediyurappa confirmed on Friday. The agreement has been for four seats, Yediyurappa said adding that Amit Shah agreed to give four Lok Sabha seats to JD(S). JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda recently met BJP chief JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah and the meeting indicated that BJP and the JD(S) would walk into an alliance -- only the details were pending.

JD(S) came into an alliance with the Congress and formed the government with HD Kumaraswamy as the chief minister. The government was ousted after it lost the trust vote in 2019, a year after it came to power.

According to reports, JDS wanted to contest from Mandya, Hassan, Tumakuru, Chickballapur and Bengaluru Rural. BJP reportedly agreed to let it contest on four seats -- Kolar, Hassan, Mandya and Bengaluru rural.

The move comes days after Deve Gowda claimed that his party was neither with the INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) nor with the NDA. JD(S), Deve Gowda said, would fight the Lok Sabha elections independently.

Once an ally of the Congress -- though unnatural -- JDS was not invited to the INDIA meeting held in Bengaluru. "Some (Karnataka) Congress leaders did not want me... Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is my good friend (but) since Congress doesn't want me... I skipped," Deve Gowda said when the second meeting of the opposition alliance was held in the city.

A meeting was held on Wednesday at the residence of Deve Gowda to seek the opinion of the party functionaries on the prospective alliance. Most leaders have given their opinion in favour of an alliance with the BJP.

In 2019 Lok Sabha election, JDS won Hassan where Deve Gowda's grand nephew Prajwal Revanna contested.

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News Network
September 19,2023

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Bolstering food security, Abu Dhabi-headquartered retail giant LuLu Group International has opened its world-class sourcing, food processing and export hub in Italy.

The facility located ideally at World Trade Center Malpensa Airport Milan will further boost LuLu Group’s sourcing operations not only from Italy but from nearby European countries thereby ensuring uninterrupted supply and price stability of food products. The group aims to export food products worth 200 million euros in 2 years.

Y International Italia, the sourcing division of Lulu Group, was inaugurated by Guido Guidesi, a Regional Minister for Economic Development, in the presence of Yusuffali MA, chairman and managing director of LuLu Group.

Guidesi welcomed the UAE-based group’s new project in Italy and assured the highest level of support and cooperation that will further enhance trade ties between Italy and the Arab world.

Yusuffali noted: “As a key partner in the food security sector in the Middle East, it is our ongoing strategy to set up our own sourcing and food processing units around the world to ensure uninterrupted supply and ensure competitive pricing by eliminating middlemen.”

The state-of-the-art facility will primarily focus on sourcing, processing, storing, packaging and exporting top-quality food products from Italy to more than 255 LuLu Hypermarkets spread across GCC countries, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The focus categories will be varieties of cheeses, chocolates, fruit jams, sweet and puff pastries, organic pasta, infused extra-virgin olive oil, and high-quality sea salt from well-known Italian brands. Apart from packed food, the centre will also source and export a wide range of fruits and vegetables mainly apples, grapes, kiwi, olives, etc.

“Italy has some unique cuisines, a vast variety of fruits, vegetables, and various commodities, and we are working closely with the Italian Trade Agency to boost the export of these products to our hypermarkets. We will work closely with all stakeholders to promote the Italian brands by organising ‘Italian Food Festivals’ across our hypermarkets,” Yusuffali said.

The new project will target food exports worth 200 million euros in 2 years and create jobs in Italy.

“We will be initially exporting worth 50 million euros and expect to reach 200 million euros in 2 years. We are tying up with farmers’ cooperative societies to source fruits and vegetables, which will surely have a positive impact on the agricultural sector of Italy. In addition, this project will also generate significant employment in Italy,” Yusuffali added.

The group has similar food processing centres in the UK, the US, Spain, Turkey, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and South Africa, among others.

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News Network
September 21,2023

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New Delhi, Sept 21: There is a 'steady' and 'alarming' erosion of fundamental rights, particularly of religious and other minorities in India, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issue has told the USCIRF.

During a hearing on Wednesday, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issue Fernand de Varennes told the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that the situation in India can be summarised in three words -- 'massive, systematic and dangerous'.

The USCIRF had announced that it would hold a hearing on religious freedom in India on September 20. India has previously rejected USCIRF reports that alleged violations of religious freedom in the country.

Appearing before the USCIRF for the hearing on policy options for advancing religious freedom in India, de Varennes alleged there is a 'steady' and 'alarming' erosion of fundamental rights, particularly of religious and other minorities in the country.

'India risks becoming one of the world's main generators of instability, atrocities and violence because of the massive scale and gravity of the violations and abuses targeting mainly religious and other minorities such as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others. It is not just individual or local, it is systematic and a reflection of religious nationalism,' he said.

The hearing comes on the heels of two successful bilateral meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Joe Biden -- the official state visit of the Indian leader here in June and a bilateral meeting in New Delhi in September.

USCIRF chair Abraham Cooper claimed Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Dalits and Adivasis are experiencing 'increased levels of attacks and acts of intimidation' in India.

'The national government has continued to suppress minority voices and those advocating on their behalf through surveillance, harassment, demolition of property and detention under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. These trends and their implication for the US foreign policy should not be ignored,' he said.

Cooper alleged that for the past several years, religious freedom conditions in India have deteriorated, capturing international attention and highlighting the need for continued discussions and engagement on policy options for advancing religious freedom in the country.

The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan US government advisory body created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Its recommendations are not binding on the US government.

On May 2 this year, India rejected as 'biased' and 'motivated' a report by the USCIRF that alleged 'severe violations' of religious freedom in the country.

'The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) continues to regurgitate biased and motivated comments about India, this time in its 2023 annual report. We reject such misrepresentation of facts, which only serves to discredit USCIRF itself,' the Ministry of External Affairs had said.

'We would urge USCIRF to desist from such efforts and develop a better understanding of India, its plurality, its democratic ethos and its constitutional mechanisms,' it had said.

Modi's state visit to Washington in June reflects the close bilateral relationship between the United States and India, the USCIRF had said last week.

'However, over the last decade, the Indian government has enacted and enforced discriminatory policies targeting religious minorities, including anti-conversion laws, cow slaughter laws, legislation granting citizenship preferences based on religion, and restrictions on foreign funding for civil society organisations,' it alleged.

'Recent trends include the eruption of violence between Hindus and Muslims in Haryana in July and targeted attacks against Christian and Jewish minorities in Manipur, highlighting the need for new strategies to mitigate violence against religious minorities in India,' it said.

Since 2020, the USCIRF has recommended that the US Department of State designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

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