Karnataka’s richest politician! Cong MLC candidate Yusuf Sharif declares assets worth Rs 1,744 crore

News Network
November 24, 2021

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Bengaluru, Nov 24: The upcoming Karnataka Vidhan Parishad election has turning out to be the battle of billionaires. And it is led by Congress candidate Yusuf Sharif, who has declared assets worth ₹1,744 crore before the state election commission on Tuesday.

The 54-year-old is the owner of Umrah Developers and is known to flaunt his wealth.

He used to work as a scarp dealer, and rose to riches in the years that followed. Sharif owns two Rolls Royce cars. His name recently came to limelight after one of his cars was seized over suspicion that taxes were not paid.

One of the Rolls Royce cars was bought from actor Amitabh Bachchan.

Known as 'Gujari Babu' or 'Scrap Babu', Sharif has faced cheating cases in the past.

The Congress on Monday announced the names of 20 candidates for the biennial elections.

The election to 25 Legislative Council seats will be held on December 10, according to schedule announced by the Election Commission earlier this month. Their term is ending on January 5, 2022. The results will be declared on December 14.

The polling body said that legislative council polls will also be held in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra on the same date.

The model code of conduct came into effect in the constituencies concerned immediately after the announcement by the poll panel.

The last date for withdrawal of candidature is November 26.

The chief secretaries of all the states where elections are scheduled to be held have also been directed to depute a senior officer to ensure that the extant instructions regarding Covid-19 containment measures are complied with while making arrangements for conducting the elections, the election commission said. 

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News Network
January 10,2022

Mangaluru, Jan 10: Dakshina Kannada Member of Parliament and Karnataka BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel tested positive for COVID-19 on January 10.

In a tweet, Mr. Kateel said he has tested positive for COVID-19, and he is asymptomatic. Those who have come in contact with him in the last few days should get themselves tested, he added.

This is the second time Mr. Kateel has tested positive for COVID-19. He was earlier in quarantine during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020.

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News Network
January 2,2022

Bengaluru, Jan 2: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka has again stirred the hornets' nest in the state by declaring that it will set more than 35,500 temples that come under the Muzarai department free from government regulations.

The Opposition, Congress, has said that it will not allow the BJP to enact such a law. State Congress President DK Shivakumar stated that a decision will be taken on this matter on January 4, after holding a meeting of its senior leaders.

The BJP's announcement came during the recent state executive committee meeting in Hubballi right after the Muzarai department took the decision of getting the temples audited.

Successive Congress governments and the secular leaders have not dared to touch upon the subject of bringing transparency in temple managements and holding powerful temple authorities responsible for accounts. Even the Siddaramaiah government, branded as anti-Hindu, did not address the issue. The recent decision of freeing temples from government control by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has surprised many.

The declaration has kicked off a debate in the state. Congress' Shivakumar has charged that the decision on temples will be a historical blunder. He said that the decision is a conspiracy to hand over the temples to the RSS and BJP leaders.

Chakravarthy Sulibele, the founder of Yuva Brigade, told IANS that the BJP has taken a good and wise decision to hand over the temples' managements to the Hindu community. The concept of 'taking control' originated during the time of the Mughals and the Britishers. The Britishers, being an occupying force, even brought legislation such as the 'Endowment Acts' to take control of Hindu temples, he said.

"When the government is managing the affairs, there is room for suspicion. Temple administrators take decisions at their convenience rather than the devotees' convenience. Wherever there is less money in the collection boxes before temples, they neglect them totally," he opined.

"The administrators will break all traditions when there is a VIP or minister's visit to the temple. In the temples where there is private management, such things are not encouraged. Here, they go against all the traditions to please ministers and block devotees. The total administration should go to community members," he said.

However, Shivakumar questioned how temples that come under the Muzarai department be given to community members for administration. He said that it is the wealth of the government, and that collections are in crores at these temples.

Actor and Tamil Nadu BJP leader Khushboo Sundar has praised the Karnataka BJP government for taking a stand to free the temples from the control of the government authorities. "It is an extremely important decision as every other religious institution is free, except temples," she said.

Chief Minister Bommai stated that Hindu temples have suffered a lot under the control of state authorities and bureaucrats. Several rules and by-laws are detrimental to the development of temples. The new bill will be brought before the cabinet before the budget session.

The temple authorities will be under the regulation of the government, but they will be able to utilise their funds for the development of temples without having to wait for the nod of the government, he maintained.

After the attacks by Shivakumar, Bommai has stated that "we are not handing over the temples to anyone. The temples are being freed from the regulations of the government. Shivakumar's opinion is against the Hindu temples and Hindu devotees."

Siddalnga Prabhu, member of the Rajya Dharmika Parishat, told IANS that it is a good decision, but that the disadvantages are more if one considers the pros and cons of the decision. Presently, deputy commissioners and administrators discuss the issues and there is accountability from the temples, he said. "The temples have properties and we have seen disputes and attempts to take away the land belonging to temples. Giving independence to 'A' and 'B' grade temples is okay as they have a good source of income. But, what about 'C' grade temples," he said.

Sources in the Muzarai department told IANS that the matter is yet to be discussed with the ministry. The fears expressed are about the temple money being taken by the government for other purposes. However, the income of temples will be deposited in bank accounts of the temples and it will be utilised for their development. The Muzarai department will take 10 per cent of the income and utilise it for the repair and renovation of 'C' grade temples. Since this is the case, there is no scope for freeing the temples, a senior official in the Muzarai department said.

Whenever a structure is registered as a mosque and prayer hall, it comes under the Karnataka State Wakf Board, which is a government body. There is a misconception and the government has to give more clarity on the issue, the official stated. The efforts by the Muzarai department to streamline the system at the famous Kukke Subramanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district is well appreciated by the devotees, the official said.

There are 1.80 lakh temples in Karnataka, among which 35,500 temples come under the Muzarai department. As per the records of the Muzarai department, there are 207 'A' grade temples that get an annual income of more than Rs 25 lakh, 139 'B' grade temples that have an income between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 24.99 lakh. These 'A' and 'B' grade temples are required to submit accounts annually, as mandated by the law.

Only four temples in the state i.e. Chamundeshwari temple of Mysuru, Yediyur Siddalingeshwara temple, Ghati Subramanya temple and Banashankari temple of Bengaluru are submitting audit reports every year. Barring these temples, cash-rich temples and the managements of those temples having huge incomes through commercial activities and commercial complexes have not submitted accounts.

At a time when temple accountability is being sought and powerful temple managements are warned of legal action, the announcement by CM Bommai has raised many questions. With the Opposition Congress' declaration that it won't let it happen — after the Anti-conversion Bill and the ban on cow slaughter — the stage is all set for a 'temple dangal' in the state in the coming days.

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News Network
January 13,2022

Benagluru, Jan 13: The Karnataka Congress on Thursday suspended its Mekedatu foot march amid surging Covid-19 cases in the country.

“We are temporarily stalling our foot march. Once the third wave subsides, we will resume our March from Ramanagara,” says Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah.

The party was holding a 10-day padayatra or 'Walk for Water' demanding a balancing reservoir across Cauvery river at Mekedatu in Ramanagara district.

Several party leaders, including Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, tested positive for Covid-19. 

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