Bandh over Cauvery water row affects normal life in Bengaluru

News Network
September 26, 2023

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The Bengaluru bandh called by farmers and Kannada organisations on Tuesday and backed by the BJP and JD(S) in protest against the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu evoked partial response, with most of the public services functioning normally, but fewer people venturing out.

'Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti,' an umbrella outfit of farmers' associations and other organisations led by farmer leader Kuruburu Shanthakumar, has given the call for today's dawn-to-dusk (6 am to 6 pm) Bengaluru shutdown.

Shanthakumar and other leaders of the 'Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti were detained by the police at the Mysuru Bank circle, as they were trying to hold a protest march towards Town Hall.

Several activists of Kannada organisations were also whisked away by the police at Town Hall, as they gathered there to stage a protest.

Farmers' leaders and Kannada activists hit out at the government for allegedly using police force to curtail the protests and bandh.

Farmers and pro-Kannada organisations are likely to stage a protest at the Freedom Park, which is a designated place for such demonstrations.

City police have taken adequate security measures to respond to any violence that may happen during the protests. About 100 platoons have been deployed.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda said that prohibitory orders under Section 144 are in place across the city from midnight on Monday to midnight on Tuesday in the wake of the bandh.

Also, according to existing restrictions and court orders, there is no permission for any bandh or procession in the city, he said, 'No one can forcefully implement the bandh by using force, other than in cases where someone wants to observe it voluntarily.'

Meanwhile, a Karnataka bandh, a state-wide shutdown, has been called, on September 29 by 'Kannada Okkuta', an umbrella organisation for Kannada organisations, led by Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj. They are not supporting today's bandh.

Bengaluru Urban district Deputy Commissioner Dayananda K A has declared a holiday for all schools and colleges in the city on Tuesday, in view of the bandh.

Though cab services, autos and hotels/ restaurants were seen operating, drivers and hotel operators said not many people were coming out to utilise the services.

Similar is the case with Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses and Metro rail services, as the usual rush was not seen at bus and metro stations.

Ola-Uber Drivers' Association and Hotel Owners' Association have said that their services will be normal today.

They have extended support for the September 29 Karnataka bandh called by pro-Kannada organisations, stating that in the midst of financial difficulties, they cannot afford to lose two days of work.

Most private companies and firms, including those in the IT sector, asked their employees to work from home.

Some malls in the city have decided to remain shut. Many shops and establishments were also seen not functioning as usual in the morning hours.

The opposition BJP and JD(S) which have been targeting the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government of failing the state by releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, have supported today's bandh, and have announced that they will take part in the agitation.

With protests intensifying, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Monday had said the government will not curtail them but underlined the importance of maintaining peace.

Protests have continued in various parts of Karnataka, following the Supreme Court's refusal to interfere with orders of the Cauvery Water Management Authority and Regulation Committee, directing the state to release 5,000 cusecs of water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Farmers organisations and pro-Kannada outfits have been staging protests in Cauvery river basin districts Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagara, Ramanagara, Bengaluru and other parts expressing their anger and urging the state government not to release water to the neighbouring state.

Karnataka has been maintaining that it is not in a position to release water, taking into account its own need for drinking water and irrigation for standing crops in the Cauvery basin areas, as there has been water scarcity due to deficit monsoon rains.

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News Network
December 4,2023

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Results of assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana came out on Sunday. Of the four states that went to polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won with a comfortable majority in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The Congress, on the other hand, dethroned the K Chandrashekar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government in Telangana. 

Assembly elections 2023 results at a glance

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Rajasthan: Vasundhara Raje, Mahant Balak Nath or Diya Kumari?

The buck of 'Who will become Rajasthan's next Chief Minister' is revolving around four names at present. Two-time CM Vasundhara Raje, controversial seer Mahant Balak Nath, Rajsamand MP Diya Kumari and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat are the top four names in fray for the top post in Rajasthan. 

The two-time Chief Minister bagged the Jhalrapatan seat by 53,193 votes ahead of Congress' Ramlal. Vasundhara Raje is hailed as the first woman CM of Rajasthan and has been the BJP's face in the state for more than two decades.

As per media reports, the BJP is not very keen on Raje having a third tenure as the Chief Minister. She, however, is still seen in Rajasthan as someone who challenged patriarchal norms and led a public and private life on her own terms.

Another name that can be considered for the top job in Rajasthan is that of Gayatri Devi's granddaughter and Rajsamand MP Diya Kumari. Previously, she was an MP from Sawai Madhopur. She is known for social work and was initially considered as an outsider in Sawai Madhopur.

Diya Kumari, however, gained popularity in the constituency due to developmental work. She hails from the Rajput community. If the BJP wants to go the Yogi Adityanath route in Rajasthan, then Baba Balak Nath stands a chance. Balak Nath is a Lok Sabha MP from Alwar but has contested from the Tijara seat instead.

He is also hailed as the 'Yogi of Rajasthan' and heads the Baba Mastnath Math in Rohtak. The Math runs a university, hospital, medical college and a school among other key institutions. Baba Balak Nath hails from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category. 

Moving away from the firebrand options, the BJP can also appoint Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Shekhawat, who was elected as a Lok Sabha MP from Jodhpur, is being seen as a strong contendor for the CM post. During the election campaign, Shekhawat was mired in a public spat with former Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot over the Sanjivani Credit Cooperative Society Scam. 

Madhya Pradesh: Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Kailash Vijayvargiya or Jyotiraditya Scindia? 

The BJP won Madhya Pradesh on Sunday with a thumping majority but did not declare who will lead the state critical to ensuring victory in 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Among the probable names for the CM post being tossed around are Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Jyotiraditya Scindia. 

Shivraj Singh Chouhan is the longest serving Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh as of now. Chouhan, also hailed as Mama by the electorate, contested the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections 2023 from Budhni, his stronghold since 2006.

The BJP's win in MP can be attributed to welfare schemes such as Ladli Behna and CM Kisan Nidhis initiated by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government.  But the clout held by Jyotiraditya Scindia in the state, especially in the Gwalior-Chambal belt, cannot be sidelined either.

Scindia has actively campaigned in the state. He, however, has maintained that he is not interested in the Chief Minister post. Kailash Vijayvargiya's name is also doing the rounds for Madhya Pradesh CM post. The six-time MP has never lost an assembly election and has been a state government cabinet for more than 12 years. 

He was in charge of BJP's Haryana election campaign in 2014 wherein the saffron party gained a majority in the assembly election. Soon after this feat, he was appointed as the BJP national general secretary by Amit Shah in 2015 and the new BJP leader in West Bengal. 

Chhattisgarh: Raman Singh or Arun Sao?

In Chhattisgarh, the BJP is stuck in a conundrum of whether to give Raman Singh his fourth term as Chhattisgarh CM or to make a change. The possibility of Raman Singh being given the fourth term as the CM cannot be ruled out as he is known for his organisational abilities and implementation of programmes aimed at improving the conditions of SCs and STs in Chhattisgarh.

Singh has been a member of the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly since 2004 and also served as a Minister of State in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government in 1999. He was also appointed the National Vice President of the BJP in 2018. 

If the BJP wants a change, it is also likely to pick state BJP chief Arun Sao for the top job. Sao can be considered if the BJP is looking for an OBC face to become the Chhattisgarh CM.

He has represented the Bilaspur Lok Sabha constituency for 3 consecutive terms so far and has strong influence among OBCs. Others who could be considered are Member of State for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh, former BJP state chief Vishnu Deo Sai and Ramvichar Netam. 

Telangana: Revanth Reddy or Uttam Kumar Reddy?

After defeating the KCR-led BRS comprehensively, the Congress is now faced with the dilemma of 'Who will become the Chief Minister of Telangana'. Three top Congress leaders are in the fray to win the top job in Telangana-- Revanth Reddy, Uttam Kumar Reddy, and Bhatti Vikramarka Mallu.
As the Telangana Congress chief, 54-year-old Revanth Reddy has been instrumental in leading his party to victory in the southern state. After being appointed as Telangana Congress chief, he was seen on ground leading protest on several issues against the BRS government.

Another candidate that the Congress could consider for the top job is former Telangana Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy. He was replaced by Revanth Reddy as the Telangana Congress chief. Despite this, Uttam Kumar Reddy is massively popular among party workers in the state.

Reddy is a former Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot and a Lok Sabha MP from the Nalgonda Constituency. He served as the MLA from Kodad between 1999 and 2009 and from Huzurnagar between 2009 and 2019. 

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News Network
November 20,2023

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At least 15 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli forces' direct strikes on Indonesian Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in the northern part of Gaza as the brutal aggression on the besieged strip enters its 45th day.

Israeli forces opened fire and launched artillery strikes on the Indonesian Hospital and the surrounding areas in the early hours of Monday.

Reports said Israeli forces are going to repeat what happened at al-Shifa Hospital and will also occupy the Indonesian Hospital as tanks surrounded the place.

Last week, Israel raided Al Shifa, Gaza’s main hospital claiming that it was a Hamas “operational center,” sharing unverified images and videos of what it said were Hamas weapons and equipment.

According to the medical team, the Indonesian Hospital was targeted without prior warning.

The strikes prompted staff at the hospital to appeal for urgent help from the United Nations and the Red Cross.

Following the strikes, the government media office in the Gaza Strip warned of another massacre that could be committed in the Indonesian Hospital.

Medical authorities in Gaza said the hospital has a capacity of 140 patients, but currently, there are more than 650 patients inside it.

The hospital is also sheltering thousands of displaced Palestinian people who sought refuge from the Israeli aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Multiple casualties were also reported in an Israeli airstrike that targeted the nearby Kuwait School where hundreds of families have been sheltering.

Also on Monday, the bodies of more than 30 Palestinians were transferred to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza after Israeli strikes hit the refugee camps of Bureij and Nuseirat.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have repeatedly targeted hospitals, residential buildings, mosques, and churches. Under the Geneva Convention, attacks on hospitals are strictly prohibited.

Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for Palestinians hoping to be spared Israeli bombardments, which began early in October.

On October 17, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured by Israeli airstrikes on al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City. The attack has been condemned as an act of genocide by many governments around the world.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has urged the United Nations secretary-general to form an international committee to visit hospitals in the besieged strip to counter Israel’s “false” claims that they are used as launch pad for anti-Israel operations. Hamas has noted that the claims are aimed to “justify” Israel’s attacks on hospitals in Gaza.

The Israeli aggression has so far killed more than 13,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and injured more than 30,000 others.

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News Network
November 28,2023

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Hyderabad: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he aims to put an end to hatred in the country and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be defeated at the Centre for the purpose.

Addressing an election rally at Nampally here, he alleged that RSS, Modi and 'hardliners' have spread hatred in the entire country.

Congress coined a slogan of 'opening a 'mohabbat ki dukaan' (shop of love) in the 'nafrat ke bazaar' (market of hate)' during his Bharat Jodo Yatra, he said, adding that as he fights Modi, 24 cases have been filed against him in various states -- and the courts summon him from time to time.

"First time, for defamation, I got two years' punishment. My Lok Sabha membership was cancelled. My government house was taken away. I said I don't want it. My home is in the hearts of the crores of poor people in the country," he said.

An MP-MLA court in Uttar Pradesh on Monday summoned Gandhi in a 2018 defamation case over alleged 'objectionable' comments he made against Union minister Amit Shah.

Rahul Gandhi made no reference to the UP court summoning him in his speech in the rally at Nampally here.

"The fight is ideological and I cannot compromise on it," Gandhi said.

Attacking AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, he asked how many cases are there against him.

Claiming that agencies like ED and CBI are behind himself all the time, Gandhi asked if any agency is behind Owaisi.

The question arises why there is no case against Owaisi, and the answer is that the AIMIM president helps Modi, he claimed.

He also accused AIMIM of fielding its candidates to damage the Congress and help the BJP in various states.

My aim is to erase hatred in the country and, for that, Modi should be defeated in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi said.

If Modi is to be defeated in Delhi, BRS President and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao should be defeated in Telangana first, he said.

He alleged that the BRS, BJP and AIMIM are working together, and pointed out that the BRS had supported the Modi government in Parliament.

He also sought to know if there are any cases against KCR. 'He (KCR) runs the most corrupt government,' he said.

Agencies like ED, CBI and IT are not behind KCR or AIMIM, he said. 

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