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04/24/08
B Media 4 Sarvajan Hithaya Sarvajan Sukhaya-Vote For BSP-BSP releases 20-page appeal -Mr Sharief who was enjoyed a ‘cordial’ relationship with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayavati and had reportedly made his mind to join BSP and was ready to campaign extensively in the coming elections, BSP sources claimed.Helpline for photo identity cards -No need for EPIC tension, you can use other IDs -Elaborate arrangements in Bellary -100 sectoral officers to monitor enforcement of code of conduct -Criminal cases against those defacing public property -Last link of Janata parivar in Mysore breaks -Prasad Reddy has Rs. 313 crore wealth -Woman accused in criminal case in poll fray -KPCC office ransacked New system of reviewing law and order and development works -Pull your socks up, Mayawati tells officials
Filed under: General
Posted by: @ 10:57 pm

 

KARNATAKA
Jaffer Sharief threatens to quit Cong
The decision of the senior leader and one of the biggest names among the leaders from the minority community, created ripples in the party which is preparing to face the coming Assembly elections in its strong bid to regain power in the Southern state.

Jaffer Sharief threatens to quit Congress

Bangalore, Agencies:

The decision of the senior leader and one of the biggest names among the leaders from the minority community, created ripples in the party which is preparing to face the coming Assembly elections in its strong bid to regain power in the Southern state.

Protesting the denial of party ticket to his grandson in the next month’s Assembly elections in Karnataka, former Railway Minister and Congress leader C K Jaffer Sharief on Friday threatened to resign from the party.

The decision of the senior leader and one of the biggest names among the leaders from the minority community, created ripples in the party which is preparing to face the coming Assembly elections in its strong bid to regain power in the Southern state.< ?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O />

Despite the party accommodating his son-in-law from Raichur segment, Mr Sherief, a permanent invitee of CWC the highest policy making body of Congress, was ‘hell bent’ on getting a ticket to his grandson Rehman Sharief, but the Congress election committee refused to heed to his demand.

According to sources close to Mr Sharief, who was not available for comment, the disgruntled leader was now contemplating to join Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Mr Sharief who was enjoyed a ‘cordial’ relationship with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayavati and had reportedly made his mind to join BSP and was ready to campaign extensively in the coming elections, BSP sources claimed.

Rattled with the sudden turn of events that may hurt Congress badly, Congress leaders including General Secretary Digvijay Singh and others had rushed to the residence of Mr Sharief to urge him not to take any haste decision

KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES: RAJAJI NAGAR
Durgada Raje Gowda BSP
Rajajinagar represents a constituency of contrasts. It has both upmarket localities and areas dominated by slums.

Voters:  Total 1,80,006      Men: 93,711     Women: 86,295
Total wards: 7 BBMP wards - Rajajinagar, Kamakshipalya, Basaveshwaranagar,
Shivanagar, Sriramamandira, Prakashnagar, Bhasyamnagar.
Returning officer:  Naga Naik.   Ph: 9980725393

Helpline for photo identity cards

Bangalore: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has established helpline to accept complaints about issuance of Elector Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) in 21 Assembly constituencies.

The helpline can be contacted on 41757550. Apart from this, the people can also lodge their complaints through 23405403/98451959810, according to a press release.

No need for EPIC tension, you can use other IDs

Staff Reporter




Old EPICs issued in other constituencies can also be used

Minor discrepancies in the entries to be ignored




Bangalore: Those unable to get elector photo identity cards (EPICs) need not worry about exercising their franchise in the 89 Assembly constituencies which are going to polls during the first phase, as the Election Commission on Wednesday permitted the use of 17 alternative photo identity cards.

However, those who have been issued with the EPICs would be able to vote only when they produce them and failure to do so will result in losing their voting despite having their names on the electoral rolls.

They will not be permitted to use the 17 other alternative identity cards.

Old cards

In its order, the EC has also permitted the use of old EPICs issued in a different Assembly constituency. However, the voter’s left forefinger will be checked for the indelible ink mark to ensure that s/he does not vote at two places.

Discrepancies

As a number of complaints have been raised about discrepancies in the entries in the voters’ list and the EPICs, the EC has also made it clear that such discrepancies will be ignored. Minor discrepancies in the entries relating to names of elector, father/mother/husband, sex, age or address in the EPIC shall be ignored and the elector will be allowed to cast his vote so long as the identity of the elector can be established by means of that card. Any discrepancies even in the serial number of the EPIC as mentioned in the electoral roll also will be ignored.

Alternative ID cards

The Election Commission will permit the voters, who have not been issued with the EPIC, to vote provided their identities are established by production of following alternative documents: passport; driving license; Income Tax Department’s PAN card; service identity card with photograph issued to its employees by State/Central government, public sector undertakings or public limited companies; passbook with photograph issued by public sector banks/post office and Kisan Passbooks (Accounts opened on or before March 31, 2008); student identity card with photograph issued by recognised educational institutions on or before October 1, 2007; property documents with photographs such as pattas, registered deeds; ration card with photograph; SC/ST/OBC certificate with photograph issued by competent authority on or before 31-3-2008; pension documents with photographs such as ex-servicemen’s pension book/pension payment order, ex-servicemen’s widow/dependent certificates, old age pension order, widow pension order; freedom fighter identity card; arms license with photograph issued on or before March 31, 2008; certificate of disability with photograph issued by the competent authority on or before March 31, 2008; ex-servicemen CSD canteen card with photograph; Sandhya Suraksha Scheme card with photograph issued up to March 31 2008; job card, with photograph issued under NREG Scheme issued up to March 31, 2008; Yashaswini card with photograph.

Elaborate arrangements in Bellary

Staff Correspondent

‘The law will be enforced strictly to ensure smooth conduct of elections’




13 Central observers to oversee polling

27 companies of Central forces to be deployed




BELLARY: The Election Commission has made elaborate bandobust for the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in the State.

In Bellary district, as many as 13 Central observers, nominated by the Election Commission, would be monitoring the conduct of the elections in the district.

Of the 13, nine are general observers (one for each Assembly constituency) and four will monitor the expenditure incurred by the political parties.

In addition, 27 companies of Central police force (three companies for each Assembly constituency) will be deployed in the district. Apart from the Central forces, 3,400 civil police personnel from the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police to the constabulary will be drawn for election duty.

Giving this information at a press conference with regard to poll arrangements, Arvind Srivastav, Deputy Commissioner and District Returning Officer, and Amrit Paul, Superintendent of Police, made it clear that the law would be enforced strictly to ensure the smooth conduct of elections.

Mr. Paul said that the Central forces were likely to arrive soon and a detailed security map, along with categorisation of the booths, was being prepared for its deployment.

The Central forces would be deployed in some hyper sensitive booths. In booths considered sensitive, both Central forces and the police will be deployed, while in other booths, it will be only the civil police.

He said that 167 cases have been registered, including those of violation of model code of conduct, so far.

In custody

As many as 120 persons with history of disturbing the peace, law and order, have been rounded up and some of them are in judicial custody. Seventeen cases pertaining to liquor has been booked and liquor worth Rs. 5 lakh had been seized in Kudligi and Hadagali taluks.

Mr. Srivastav said that “micro observers” at the booth level would be appointed to oversee the polling process. He said that 1,579 polling booths, including 147 auxiliary booths, would be set up in the nine Assembly constituencies in the district.

As many as 8,531 personnel (four in a booth, including one presiding officer and two polling officers) would be drawn for poll duty.

The list was ready and the selection and deployment would be through computer randomisation. Electronic voting machines (EVMs) would also be allotted randomly.

The sectoral officers have been provided a few EVMs for demonstrations on how to cast a vote, for the benefit of people in their respective areas.

Circulars have been issued to the political parties with regard to the norms to be followed by the candidates while opening offices, display of publicity/campaigning material only in areas earmarked by the local self-governments, obtaining permission for use of vehicles, use of publicity material, flags and the like.

“As per the instructions of the Election Commission, we have taken all necessary steps to conduct free and fair elections in the district,” he said.

Some parties yet to select nominees

Staff Correspondent

BIDAR: Leaders of the Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are yet to announce their candidates for the Bidar and the Bidar South Assembly constituencies.

The erstwhile Bidar constituency has been bifurcated into Bidar and Bidar South segments after delimitation. The district will go to the polls on May 22. Notification for the elections will be issued on April 26 and the last date for filing nominations is May 3. Leaders of the three parties are waiting for each other to announce the candidates for the two constituencies.

According to reports, they are also waiting for disgruntled aspirants of the other parties to switch loyalties. The former Minister, Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli, and Raheem Khan are the aspirants for the Congress ticket from Bidar.

According to sources in the party, there is pressure on the Congress leadership to issue ticket to a candidate from the minority community from the segment.

The Congress has named Ishwar Khandre from Bhalki constituency and Rajshekar Patil from Humnabad constituency.

All the CMs’ sons… and one daughter

Bageshree S.

Bangalore: It is going to be the former Chief Minister, the late Ramakrishna Hegde’s daughter versus former Chief Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s son in Ramanagaram constituency.

Whether the new entrant to politics, Mamata Nichani, pitted against former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, will make a dent is a different issue. But with her entry, the total tally of former chief ministers whose children are trying their luck in the coming Assembly elections goes up to six.

In the fray

Leading the pack of sons in the fray are the children of former Prime Minister and Chief Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. While Mr. Kumaraswamy has already been a chief minister, his brother, H.D. Revanna, has held an important portfolio as the Minister for Public Works.

The late Gundu Rao’s son, Dinesh Gundu Rao, is contesting from the Gandhi Nagar constituency as a Congress candidate for the third time in a row. He had worked as a Youth Congress leader as well.

The two sons of S. Bangarappa make for a curious story of brothers pitted against one another, with Kumar Bangarappa fighting on a Congress ticket from Soraba and Madhu Bangarappa likely to fight on his father’s Samajwadi Party ticket from the same constituency.

With talk of a Congress-SP alliance getting nowhere so far, this brother-versus-brother contest seems imminent.

S.R. Bommai’s son, Basavaraj Bommai, who was part of the huge exodus from the Janata Dal (United) to the Bharatiya Janata Party, has been given a ticket to contest from Shiggaon.

Meanwhile, J.H. Patel’s son, Mahima Patel, earlier with the JD(S), has floated his own party, Suvarna Yuga party, and is contesting from Chennagiri.

He has announced that he will go on a month-long fast after filing his nominations on April 28.

Lost chance

On the sidelights of this children’s show are those who were aspiring to be part of it but have been left behind. Kailashnath Patil, son of Veerendra Patil, who was an MLA from Chincholi constituency for one term in 1999, but lost in 2004 to Vaijanath Patil, has not been given a ticket since the constituency is now reserved.

It is interesting that while dynasty rule is the norm, sons far outnumber daughters in taking on the mantle.

100 sectoral officers to monitor enforcement of code of conduct

Staff Correspondent

Dharwad district, with seven constituencies, has an electorate of 11,81,460




Notification to be issued on April 26

1,173 polling booths to be set up in the district






Poll preparedness: Deputy Commissioner M.S. Srikar (centre) addressing a press conference in Dharwad on Thursday. Hubli-Dharwad Police Commissioner Narayan Nadamani (left) and Superintendent of Police B.S. Prakash are seen.

DHARWAD: As many as 100 sectoral officers will monitor the strict enforcement of the model code of conduct and create awareness on using the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and other election-related issues in Dharwad district which will go to polls on May 22.

Addressing presspersons here on Thursday, Deputy Commissioner M.S. Srikar, Hubli-Dharwad Police Commissioner Narayan Nadamani and Superintendent of Police B.S. Prakash gave information on the preparations for the conduct of free and fair elections in the district.

The district, with seven assembly constituencies — Kalghatgi, Navalgund, Kundagol, Dharwad, Hubli-Dharwad East (SC), Hubli-Dharwad West and Hubli-Dharwad Central — has an electorate of 11,81,460 of whom 5,78,732 are women.

Mr. Srikar said that the sectoral officers, who would be given the responsibility of 10 to 12 polling booths each, would report on any violation of the code of conduct to the Returning Officers.

Notification

Notification for the elections in the district would be issued on April 26 and filing of nominations would start on the same day, he said.

The last date for filing nominations is May 3 and scrutiny of nominations will be done on May 5. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is May 7 and counting of votes will be done on May 25.

There will be 1,173 polling booths in the district of which 134 will be auxiliary booths. As many as 1,173 EVMs, along with an additional 15 per cent of the total number of EVMs, have been kept ready.

Mr. Srikar said that 7,734 persons would be deputed as polling officials.

The Deputy Commissioner said that based on the previous records and incidents, polling booths would be divided into two categories — normal and vulnerable. Mr. Nadamani said the process of identifying vulnerable booth in Hubli-Dharwad would be completed soon. Mr. Prakash said that apart from those in Hubli-Dharwad there were 184 hypersensitive booths in the district.

Mr. Nadamani said that two police personnel would be deployed at normal polling booths and Central Paramilitary Force personnel would keep vigil at vulnerable polling booths. To a query, Mr. Srikar said that 53 per cent of the voters in the district had the Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and the process of issuing EPICs in Dharwad, Navalgund and Kalghatgi segments had already begun. In Hubli-Dharwad the process would be begin from May 2.

The Deputy Commissioner said that voters could submit applications for inclusion of their names in the electoral rolls till April 26.

Criminal cases against those defacing public property

Staff Correspondent

Four cases of poll code violation in Dharwad district: Deputy Commissioner




Restrictions on display of publicity material

Officials seize a four-wheeler which did not

have permission for canvassing




DHARWAD: The Dharwad district administration will file criminal cases against those violating the model code of conduct and defacing public property.

Deputy Commissioner M.S. Srikar told presspersons here on Thursday that four cases of violation of the code of conduct had been reported and action had been taken accordingly, including issuing notices to elected representatives.

He said that the reports about the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda’s stay at the Hubli Circuit House on April 3 and the inauguration of Basaveshwara’s statue by former MLAs and Mayor, Deputy Mayor and councillors of the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) had been sent to the Election Commission of India.

The Election Commission had issued notices to eight persons, he said.

Notices had been issued to three councillors of the HDMC in connection with the inauguration of a road work, Mr. Srikar said. Officials seized a four-wheeler which did not have permission for canvassing, in Hubli on Monday, he said.

According to the guidelines of the Election Commission, permission would not be given to any political party for displaying banners, buntings and other publicity material at public places, he said.

“All the banners and buntings displayed in the district have been removed. Strict action will be taken against those violating the rule, under the provision of the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1981,” he said.

Political parties would be allowed to display banners and buntings at the venue of the public meetings only two hours before the event, he said and added that they had to be removed within an hour after the event.

Helpline

A helpline (Ph: 2443939) has been set up on the Deputy Commissioner’s office premisesCode of conduct implementation cells had been set up in each of the seven Assembly constituencies in the district, he said.

The phone numbers of these cells are as follows: Navalgund: 08380-229240; Kundagol: 08304-290239; Dharwad: 0836-2233822; Hubli-Dharwad East (SC): 2213833; Hubli-Dharwad Central: 2213860; Hubli-Dharwad West: 2446133; and Kalghatgi: 08370-284535.

Last link of Janata parivar in Mysore breaks

Muralidhara Khajane

BSP candidate from Chamudeshwari, Jayakumar, is still loyal to Janata Dal (S)



D.T. Jayakumar

MYSORE: The last link of the Janata parivar in Mysore district has finally been severed with former Minister D.T. Jayakumar quitting the party and joining the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as its candidate from Chamundeshwari Assembly Constituency.

Despite the fact that Mr. Jayakumar was senior vice-president and member of the Parliamentary Committee of Janata Dal (Secular), the party decided against fielding him from Chamundeshwari, from where he wanted to contest, and instead favoured C. Basave Gowda, president, Mysore District City Cooperative Bank.

Frustrated with the treatment meted out to him, Jayakumar had rushed to Mysore on Wednesday after discussing with BSP State president Muniyappa, and filed the nomination papers from the BSP.

Though senior leaders, including Siddaramaiah, H.C. Mahadevappa, G.T. Deve Gowda, H.S. Mahadeva Prasad quit the Janata Dal (S) in view of the developments in the last two years, Mr. Jayakumar stayed with the Janata Dal (S) because of his loyalty to the party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda.

It is significant that, despite joining the BSP, Mr. Jayakumar continues to profess his loyalty to the Janata Dal (S) and championed its cause in an interview to The Hindu. Mr. Jayakumar said: “The BSP could win at least 10 seats and support the Janata Dal (S) in forming the Government.”

He predicted that the Janata Dal (S) would have a thumping majority in the Assembly elections because of former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s contribution to the State’s progress. He said the BSP would not hesitate to support the Janata Dal (S). “I sought ticket for backward communities and the minority in at least five constituencies in Mysore region. The Janata Dal (S) leaders were not prepared for that. I have not deserted the party for not giving me the ticket. Injustice done to backward classes and minority forced me to quit the party and contest from the BSP,” he clarified.

Upset

“Despite organising the Janata parivar for nearly 25 years, the party humiliated me by not giving me the ticket from Chamundeshwari constituency. I have left the party with great pain and reluctance and in pursuit of protecting social justice,” he said.

Though the BJP leaders invited him to contest from Chamundeshwari, he refused saying it was morally incorrect. Similar was the case with the Congress. On whether party leaders dissuaded him from deserting the party, he said that H.D. Revanna met him in the morning and assured him of a berth as Minister if the party came to power.

“How can I believe the words of leaders who have refused to field me in the constituency of my choice?” he asked.

Expressing his confidence in winning from Chamundeswari constituency, he said that his community, who were in large numbers there, would support him, along with voters belonging to backward classes and minority.

Prasad Reddy has Rs. 313 crore wealth

City Bureau

He is BJP candidate from Bommanahalli; D.K. Shivakumar declares assets at Rs. 76 crore




Mr. Reddy owns 14 cars and his real estate property is estimated at Rs. 142 crore

R. Ramalinga Reddy declares assets at Rs. 9.6 crore






D.K. Shivakumar

BANGALORE: G. Prasad Reddy, BJP candidate from BTM Layout, would be undoubtedly the richest among those who have filed their assets in the first phase of elections. His total value could be close to Rs. 313 crore as per the details in his affidavit. He has cash of Rs. 12,38,000 in his name.

He has deposits of Rs. 36,21,730 in 12 accounts in various banks. He has declared Rs. 27,52,165 as a bank balance jointly held with his wife and in his individual account.

Mr. Reddy owns 14 cars estimated at Rs. 1.03 crore, which includes two BMWs and one Honda Accord.

He owns gold jewellery estimated at Rs. 9,17,250 and his wife has 3.1 kg of gold jewellery estimated at Rs. 37,91,300. He has silver articles estimated at Rs. 13,31,000. He has invested capital in partnership firms amounting to Rs. 73,30,600.99. He owns non-agricultural lands worth Rs. 143.62 crore. He holds shares in two commercial buildings which are estimated at Rs. 142.02 crore, including residential apartments spread across in 4,52,094 sq ft which is under construction in Bommanahalli. He owns apartments and houses in Koramangala which are estimated at Rs. 14.77 crore. His wife owns a property in Roopena Agrahara estimated at Rs. 54.10 crore.

Mr. Reddy has declared that he has taken loan on his and on his wife’s name at Rs. 18,08,71,872.34 in various banks. He jointly owns a farm house with his wife in Mayasandra worth Rs 60 lakh.

What Shivakumar owns

The former Minister and Congress candidate for Kanakapura Assembly Constituency D.K. Shivakumar has declared his assets to be at Rs. 76 crore.

While Mr. Shivakumar’s individual wealth is Rs. 70.75 crore, his wife Usha has cash and assets estimated at Rs. 5.18 crore and children Aishwarya, Abharana and Aakash have gold jewellery estimated at Rs. 22.4 lakh.

The liability of Mr. Shivakumar and Ms. Usha was estimated at Rs. 60 crore.

The affidavit filed before the Returning Officer for Kanakapura constituency along with Mr. Shivakumar’s nomination paper states that the former Minister did not complete his graduation.

However, he obtained a postgraduate degree in Political Science from the Karnataka State Open University, Mysore, in 2006.

Mr. Shivakumar’s cash and bank deposits account for Rs. 2.88 crore while he has other movable assets including cash advances, claims and so on estimated at Rs. 14.15 crore.

He owns non-agricultural lands in Bangalore and elsewhere estimated at Rs. 47 crore.

He owns a commercial building at Nayandahalli estimated at Rs. 4.6 crore.

The former Minister Ramalinga Reddy contesting from BTM Layout has assets amounting to Rs 9,60, 67,179 which includes money in bank accounts in his name and in jointly operated accounts with his wife, son and daughter, and agricultural lands, non-agricultural lands, houses and apartments.

Mr. Reddy has declared that he has taken a loan of Rs. 2,42,77,522 from his relatives and friend.

Kumar Bangarappa’s assets worth Rs 4.8 cr
DH News Service, Shimoga:
Former minister Kumar Bangarappa, Congress candidate from Soraba constituency has assets worth Rs 4,88,61,473 and Rs 1,13,28,243 liabilities.

The total worth of assets in his wife’s name stands at Rs 23,28,504.

Kumar Bangarappa has Rs 12 lakh cash, Rs 4,90,481 bank deposits, jewellry worth Rs 7,07,600, Rs 1,74,90,692 claims, agriculture land worth Rs 14,28,899 and buildings worth Rs 2,75,43,801. His wife Vidyullatha is in possession of Rs 3 lakh cash, Rs 18,000 bank deposit and Rs 20,10,504 claim, the total worth of which is Rs 23,28,504.

Among the liabilities, Kumar Bangarappa has borrowed Rs 54,01,905 loan from banks, Rs 2,02,343 tax due, Rs 41,13,995 loan from other sources and Rs 16,10,000 due towards rent.

Ayanur Manjunath, BJP candidate from Bhadravati constituency owns 7 acre land near Ayanur of which one acre is plantation and a house under construction in the same. 

He also jointly owns 16 acre land with his wife near Chalikatte. Ayanur Manjunath also has two four wheelers.

Among the liabilities, he has borrowed Rs 18 lakh from banks and Rs 30 lakh from other sources.

Holenarasipura dhns:  Former minister and JD(S) leader H D Revanna, who is contesting from Holenarasipur assembly constituency, and his wife are worth crores of rupees.

As per his declaration Revanna has properties - movable and immovable and jewellry worth Rs 6 crore and a loan of Rs 11.70 lakh.

His wife Bhavani has declared Rs 6.3 crore and a loan of Rs 68.95 lakh. While his elder son Suraj is worth Rs 19 lakh, his second son Prajwal has Rs 48.5 lakh and also owns jewellry.

Cong candidate

The Congress candidate Anupama and her son Shreyas are not far behind.  Her assets are declared as Rs 4.12 crore that include movable, immovable, jewellry and vehicles.

She also has 2.5 crore in her name and Rs 1. 54 crore in her son Shreyas Patel’s name. Her daughter also has 20 lakhs in her name. Anupama has also mentioned a loan of Rs 1. 27 crore.

Mysore, dhns: Its raining crorepatis in Mysore region with many biggies contesting from rural areas declaring their assets to the tune of more than a crore. JD(S) candidate Sundaresh who is contesting from T Narasipura has property worth Rs 9 crore.

Gowda’s assets

Former minister G T Devegowda, who quit JD(S) and joined BJP, has declared property estimated at Rs 2.15 crore. Benki Mahadev, former Congress loyalist who joined BJP recently, has assets worth Rs 2 crore.

Former IPS officer Subhash Bharani, who quit a plum job to take a leap into politics is no standing close to all others with property worth Rs 1.21 crore.

Bellary, dhns: Three crorepatis filed their nominations on  from Bellary district for the upcoming elections.

Former minister Sriramulu, who filed his papers from Bellary reserved constituency as a BJP candidate, has 19.06 crore assets–Rs 8.51 crore movable assets, Rs 10.55 crore immovable assets.

He owns 12 acre agriculture land valued at Rs 6 crore,  Rs 1.25 crore house in Bellary and Rs 10 lakh worth non-agricultural land in Bangalore. He owns a Rs 1.1 crore worth house in Palace Road in Bangalore.

BJP candidate

Somashekhar Reddy, also a BJP, contesting from Bellary city is the richest nominee with a total assests of Rs 29.18 crore. He owns Rs 23.50 crore immovable assets. He owns two apartments in Bangalore and a house in Bellary. Former minister Diwakar Babu, who is contesting as JD(S) candidate, has Rs 4.52 crore assets.

Woman accused in criminal case in poll fray

Special Correspondent




G. Padmavathi is Congress candidate from Rajajinagar

She is accused of conspiracy, cheating, forgery




BANGALORE: Not just men, even a woman accused in a criminal case is contesting the Assembly elections from Bangalore.

The Congress candidate from Rajajinagar constituency and a three-time corporation councillor, G. Padmavathi, has been charged under three sections of the Indian Penal Code — criminal conspiracy (120B), cheating (420) and forgery for the purpose of cheating (468).

On a complaint by the then Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) Inspector, Muddumahadevaiah, the Ulsoor Gate police registered a case against Ms. Padmavathi and others in February 2001. The case is pending trial.

In the affidavit she filed along with her nomination papers, Ms. Padmavathi has mentioned that she is an accused in the criminal case (crime number 103/2001).

The BMTF had lodged a complaint with the police that the then chairman of the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike’s Appeals Committee, B.T. Srinivasa Murthy, and four councillors, including Ms. Padmavathi, who were members of the committee, had entered into a criminal conspiracy and fraudulently created a document to help a businessman whose building was being demolished by the BMTF.

The BMTF team demolished the fourth floor of Hotel Shiva International in Gandhinagar on December 26, 2000. When the demolition resumed the next day, building owner Somashekar produced a stay order issued by the Appeals Committee on December 22, 2000.

Order forged

During a preliminary inquiry, the BMTF officials found that Mr. Somashekar had not submitted an application to the Appeals Committee and the matter had not been discussed during the committee meeting held on December 22. The committee members had allegedly connived with Mr. Somashekar and forged the stay order to help him, the BMTF said in its complaint.

The committee chairman and the four members were also charged with violating Section 505 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act, 1976. Mr. Somashekar is also an accused in the case.

KPCC office ransacked

Special Correspondent

Supporters angry over denial of ticket to R. Manjunath



Crowd control: Supporters of the former Youth Congress President R. Manjunath who went on the rampage at the KPCC office in Bangalore on Thursday being dispersed by the police.

Bangalore: A large number of supporters of the former president of the Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress R. Manjunath on Thursday ransacked the office of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee and obstructed traffic on Queen’s Road. They were protesting against the party’s failure to nominate him to contest the Assembly elections from Hiriyur constituency in Chitradurga district.

Defeated in polls

Sources in the party said that Mr. Manjunath was defeated in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the past, but he still wanted to contest from Hiriyur. Gita Yadav has been given the B form by the party to contest from the constituency.

The protesters damaged the telephone booth and furniture. One person even tried to commit suicide by strangling himself with a scarf. Sources said that the vehicle carrying Mr. Manjunath almost crashed into the car of the former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh, which was parked on the footpath.

Union Minister of State and Karnataka in-charge Prithviraj Chavan and other leaders were holding a meeting when the supporters of Mr. Manjunath indulged in vandalism.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president M. Mallikarjun Kharge warned of stern action against those who brought discredit to the party by taking the law into their own hands.

Mr. Kharge said that the democratic process had been observed, and several high-level committees, including the Central Election Committee, had approved the lists of candidates after strict scrutiny.

Gave up seat

He said U.R. Sabhapathi, who was nominated to contest from Udupi Assembly constituency, had given up the seat in favour of Pramod Madhwaraj, as stood a better chance against the Bharatiya Janata Party. Mr. Madhwaraj is the son of the former Minister and Udupi MP, Manorama Madhwaraj, who is now a member of the BJP. Mr. Kharge confirmed that Mr. Madhwaraj had been given the B form to contest from Udupi.

Mr. Kharge said that those who were disappointed by the decision of the party to choose someone else should learn a lesson from Mr. Sabhapathi and cooperate in strengthening the hands of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in fighting the BJP. He said no one should think the he or she was indispensable.

Mr. Kharge said B forms had been given to around 50 candidates for the 66 Assembly constituencies in Raichur, Koppal, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Bellary, Chitradurga, Davangere, Shimoga, Udupi and Chikmagalur districts, which would go to the polls in the second phase of elections on May 16.

Protests continue for the second day

Special Correspondent

Supporters of Ramakrishna, Pawar stage demonstrations




Kharge visiting Gulbarga today

It has generated interest in party circles






IN PROTEST: Supporters of the former Minister, G. Ramakrishna, taking out a procession in Gulbarga on Thursday.

GULBARGA: The protests and the sense of discontent against the denial of party ticket to senior leaders in the Gulbarga district Congress continued for the second day on Thursday with supporters of the former Minister, G. Ramakrishna, taking out a procession and staging a protest in front of the District Congress Committee office for denying ticket to their leader from the Gulbarga Rural Assembly constituency.

Another group of supporters of another Congress leader from Shahabad Subash Pawar also staged an angry demonstration in front of the District Congress Committee office voicing its protest against the denial of party ticket to the leader from Gulbarga Rural Assembly Constituency.

The scheduled visit of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president M. Mallikarjun Kharge to Gulbarga on Friday has generated interest in the party circles.

The leaders, who were denied party ticket in Shahapur, Gulbarga Rural, Gulbarga South and Sedam Assembly constituencies, are likely to meet Mr. Kharge and voice their protests.

Mr. Kharge, who is scheduled to arrive here by helicopter, has no scheduled programmes in the city.

Meanwhile, a crucial meeting of the supporters of the former MLA, Shivashekarappa Patil Sirwal, at Shahapur in which several senior leaders, including the party MLC, Amatappa Kandakur, participated, decided to go by the final decision taken by Mr. Sirwal on the future course of action.

The meeting voiced its anguish over the party’s denial of ticket to Mr. Sirwal and preferring a new comer and the former Minister, Sharanabasappa Darshanapur.

Mr. Sirwal told his supporters at the meeting that he had held discussions with both Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge and the former Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, and the two leaders advised him to wait till Friday and not to take any hasty decision which would harm his political future.

“I have still confidence in these two leaders that they will do justice to me and I will wait till tomorrow before taking any final decision on the next course of action,” he said.

However, Mr. Sirwal rejected the demand made by a few speakers at the meeting that he should contest as an independent in Shahapur this time and said that this amounted to rebellion against the party’s decision. “I have a 30-year association with the party and I do not want to jeopardise it by any hasty decision,” he said. Mr. Sirwal said that there were offers from other political parties which had promised him to give party ticket to contest from Shahapur. “I have resisted all these tempting offers in the hope that the Congress will not deny me the opportunity to fight the elections this time [on its ticket],” he said.

However, Mr. Sirwal was not clear whether he would remain in the party or join another as a protest now.

There were unconfirmed reports of the Janata Dal (S) offering the party ticket to Mr. Sirwal this time against the Congress’ Mr. Sharanabasappa Darshanapur.

Incidentally, Mr. Darshanapur had contested on the Janata Dal(S) ticket in the last Assembly elections against Mr. Sirwal and won the seat for the party. The Janata Dal(S) is yet to announce its candidate for the Shahapur Assembly constituency.

BJP candidate gets relief
DH News Service,Bangalore:
The High Court on Thursday provided relief to a MLA seat aspirant of Hoovinahadagali, Bellary district, whose candidature is facing hurdle.

L Madhu Nayak, to whom BJP has issued ticket, said in his writ petition that he was working as junior engineer at Bellary Zilla Panchayat and recently obtained voluntary retirement for contesting in the ensuing assembly elections.

He was granted retirement based on his statement of no dues to the government. But, while he was preparing to file nominations, he received a communication saying that “his voluntary retirement application was taken back since he owed Rs 16 lakh to the government,” he said.

He contended before the court that his resignation had been accepted earlier and was now returned to stop him from contesting elections.

Schedule

The Hoovinahadagali assembly elections are scheduled to be held on May 16 and the last date for filing nominations is April 29. Justice L Narayanaswamy said he would stay the order returning Madhu Nayak’s resignation subject to the condition of depositing Rs 16 lakh, to which the petitioner agreed.

Following another petition by a Kushalnagar Taluk Panchayat member, the court on Thursday issued stay against exercise of presidential powers by H K Parvathi Harihara, who was recently elected as the TP’s president.

Validity

The petitioner, H J Kariappa, a Taluk Panchayat member of Congress, who had unsuccessfully contested to the post has challenged the validity of TP’s presidential elections held on February 26. He contended that secret voting was held in stead of voting by rising of hands as prescribed by rules, leading to his defeat despite there being more Congress members in the Taluk Panchayat.

 

Bad mouthing about good timing

Hebbal constituency BJP candidate Katta Subramanya Naidu and Congress nominee H M Revanna got into a fight over the ‘Muhuratha’ timing for filing the nominations.

On Wednesday, before the office could open and the returning officer could occupy his seat, the premises was crowded with Revanna and Naidu’s supporters. Returning officer Virupaksha Mysora had to take police help to make way to his seat. Naidu’s supporters, accompanied by a ‘Sastri’ started pressuring the officer to take the nomination 10:50 am sharp. On the other hand, Revanna and his supporters started fuming saying “Our candidate came first and stand a ‘first’ chance to file.” The returning officer decided in favour of Revanna — first come first serve.

Within seven minutes, both the candidates’ completed formalities but left the premises — exchanging and accusing words. 

‘Cash’ing in on publicity

Political parties do all sorts of tricks to get wide coverage in media during elections. Filing of nomination papers is one such occasion which can offer them wide publicity. Candidates are keen on getting place for their photos of submitting papers in print. Followers of a BJP candidate in Bangalore, on Wednesday, went to the extent of offering cash to a section of media to please them for the coverage. Party workers had brought packets with cash and handed over them soon after the nomination papers were submitted. While a few were seen accepting others yelled at party workers.

Discontent mounting in BJP

Staff Correspondent

Demand for changing candidate for Dharwad segment

HUBLI: The Bharatiya Janata Party ticket aspirants in the district have given an ultimatum to the party high command for changing the candidate for Dharwad constituency.

The development comes close on the heels of Ravi Shiriyannavar’s rebellion against Chandrakant Bellad, the BJP’s official candidate for Hubli-Dharwad West constituency. Mr. Shiriyannavar has announced that he would contest against Mr. Chandrakant Bellad. Leaders of the Dharwad rural unit of the BJP have threatened to field a rebel candidate if the party leadership fails to change the candidate for Dharwad constituency. The BJP has announced the candidature of the former zilla panchayat member Seema Masuti for the constituency.

Leaders of the rural unit, including its president Sanganagouda Ramanagouda, Mr. Chandrakant Bellad’s brother Shivanna Bellad, Prabhu Keshagonda and Sadanand Shivalli, have raised the banner of revolt after meeting senior leaders of the party over the issue. Addressing presspersons on Wednesday, Mr. Ramanagouda gave three days’ time to the BJP leadership for giving the party ticket to any male aspirant to contest from Dharwad constituency. “In case our demand is not met we will field an independent candidate,” he said. Meanwhile, there is displeasure among some workers over the allotment of the BJP ticket for Hubli-Dharwad East constituency, which is reserved for the Scheduled Castes. The party has announced the candidature of Virabhadrappa Halaharavi. But aspirants such as Chandrashekhar Gokakare still lobbying for the ticket.

On Thursday, BJP Dharwad city unit president Hemaraj Bhandari and 12 BJP councillors of the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation told presspersons that they would support Mr. Chandrakant Bellad’s candidature.

Errors galore at EPIC distribution centre

Sudipto Mondal




Names of several people missing in the voters’ list




— Photo: R. Eswarraj

ANXIETY: Residents of Someshwar trying to secure electoral photo identity cards in Mangalore on Thursday.

MANGALORE: The distribution of electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) may provide some comic relief to people with a sense of humour but a strife for those at the receiving end.

When Sajida Bano (26) was informed on Thursday that she had already been given her EPIC, countless thoughts came to her mind.

“I am here in front of you. How can you say that you have already given me the ID card? Has someone impersonated me?” she asked the volunteers at a centre in Someshwar. But before she could complete her sentence, the next person in the queue had replaced her in front of the camera. Ruffled by the incident, Ms. Bano said: “When I approached the front desk, I was given a slip with a number written on it and sent for photographing. At the photography counter, the volunteer entered the number into the computer which showed that ID card could not be generated as voter was not in first residual list.”

The Assistant Commissioner and Electoral Registration Officer for Mangalore Sub-Division, Sameer Shukla, said that this message appeared on the computer monitor when a person had already been issued a photo identity card .

But when he was apprised of the plight of Ms. Sajida Bano, he said: “I have got all kinds of complaints so far but this is the first of its kind.”

In one hour that this team from

The Hindu spent at the centre, several bloopers emerged, most common were errors in spelling.

For instance, people who fed F.M. Ismael’s name in to the system also took the trouble of spelling out his initial alphabets and so his name appeared in the card as, “Ef Em Ismael”.

BJP is a house divided in Puttur constituency

Staff Correspondent

Two women contestants file papers as BJP candidates

MANGALORE: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s denial to give a ticket to Shakuntala T. Shetty, former Puttur MLA, has split the party cadre in the constituency.

Mallika Prasad, official candidate of the BJP, and Ms. Shetty, have both filed their nominations for Puttur Assembly constituency as BJP candidates.

“The party will issue B form, a document required to be produced to get party symbol from officials conducting the elections, to Ms. Prasad,” K. Monappa Bhandary, president, district unit of the party told The Hindu. “There will not be any compromise,” he added.

Ms. Shetty told The Hindu that till Thursday, no BJP leader contacted her over issuing of B form to her. “If the party does not issue B form, I will remain in the fray as an Independent candidate. I will not retire. No party leader has explained the reasons for denying the ticket to me,” she said.

Amidst reports of party members disrupting the campaign of Ms. Prasad, former MLA from Puttur K. Ram Bhat, was seen openly supporting the candidature of Ms. Shetty. Mr. Bhat was the first to open the BJP’s account in Puttur when he won the Assembly polls in 1983. He had won from the same constituency in 1978 under the erstwhile Janata Party banner.

He is said to be the mentor of Ms. Shetty and D.V. Sadananda Gowda, president of the State unit of the BJP. Mr. Gowda won from Puttur Assembly constituency in 1994 and 1999.

In the last six Assembly elections of 1983, 1985, 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004, the BJP has been united in Dakshina Kannada, particularly so in Puttur. Mr. Bhat is confident that the party will issue B form to Ms. Shetty. The last date to file nominations in the district is April 29.

New system of reviewing law and order and development works

New system of reviewing law and order and development works Lucknow: April 24, 2008 Thoroughly reviewing the law and order and progress of development works here today, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ms. Mayawati said that the poor people should get total benefits of the schemes formulated for their welfare. Expressing her dissatisfaction over the slow progress of the facilities being provided to the people of the State, she said that it was a government of poor people and not of the capitalists. She said that those sitting in the air-conditioned rooms should go to the field now. The Chief Minister was reviewing the progress of development works and the law and order of the State by holding a meeting of D.M.s, Divisional Commissioners, situation I.G.s, D.I.G.s and other senior officers. Ms. Mayawati said that the meeting had been summoned with a view that the State Government was going to complete its one year in office on 13 May 2008. She said that the meeting had been organised to focus on the welfare of the poor people of the State. The first such meeting was held on May 19, 2007, during which the State Government had spelt out its priorities clearly, she added. The common people, specially those belonging to SC/ST, OBC, minorities and economically backward upper caste people, could not benefit fully during this period, she regretted. The Chief Minister said that during her first tenure in 1995 she had created separate departments for SC/ST, OBC, minorities and disabled. She said that for the poor of the upper caste several schemes had also been formulated, but during the one year period these categories could not be benefited to the extent as targeted. She said that no laxity in it would be tolerated at any cost. Giving strict orders to the senior officers of the police department, Ms. Mayawati said that the police stations should be made totally corruption free and people belonging to the poor sections should get justice. She expressed her dissatisfaction that the SHOs were showing laxity in registering the FIRs of the poor. She said that it was highly regrettable that the SHOs were not registering the FIRs of the poor and they were initiating action against them under pressure of the touts. The Chief Minister said that the redressal of the people’s grievances should be accorded top priority and the poor people should be given a proper hearing by the senior officers. She directed the IGs, DIGs and SSPs to dispose of people’s problems quickly and arrest the notorious criminals carrying awards on their heads at the earliest. Besides, the should also ensures that the activities of the goondas, mafias and other criminals were controlled strictly and the frequency of incidents of theft, dacoity, murders, kidnapping, rapes was also brought down. She said that effective steps should be taken to maintain harmony and terrorist activities should also be checked. Ms. Mayawati said that the senior officers should remain present in the headquarters from 10 a.m. to 12 noon to listen to the problems of the people. She warned that those not complying with it would be dealt severely. She also directed the officers to compulsorily register FIRs and ensure effective action against notorious and white-collared criminals under Gangster Act and other strict acts. The Chief Minister said that the problem of naxalism was not only a problem of law and order but it was a social problem. The officers of the police and the administration should take necessary action to bring the poor and exploited sections living in the naxal affected areas in the mainstream of the society and development, she said. Those erecting tents on the roads and obstructing roads and also on other public places should be dealt severely, she added. Directing the officers to check the distribution of obscene and objectionable publicity material, she said that it hurt the feelings of other sections of society. She said that the obscene dances being organised in the name of cultural activities in various social functions should be checked. Ms. Mayawati said that in the view of elections in the neighbouring country Nepal, the patrolling at the international borders should be intensified. She further said that in the serious cases of atrocities on SC/ST, investigation should be conducted and effective action should be ensured under the SC/ST Act. Ms. Mayawati said that the State Government was fully committed to the creation of the development oriented atmosphere for free from injustice, crime, terror and corruption. She directed that under social welfare programmes attention should be given for providing all types of pension to the people and scholarships to the children of original inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath, backward and minorities. She said that cottage industries and small traders should be given full security. The Chief Minister said that stern steps should be taken for preventing the forceful realisation of revenue from the small farmers for the payment of loans being taken from banks and private money lenders. Hoardings of food items, spurious drugs and adulterated food items should be checked in the state, she said. Priority should be given to dalits in allotment of pattas and all development works should be completed within the stipulated time in the selected gram sabhas under Dr. Ambedkar Samagra Gramin Vikas Yojna. Ms. Mayawati said that Manyawar Shri Kanshi Ram ji Shahri Samagra Vikas Yojna should be implemented on war-footing. The advantage of relief works running in drought affected areas of Bundelkhand should reach the needy people. She directed to check the power pilferage, realisation of electricity arrears besides ensuring the availability of electricity in the scheduled hours. She also directed for providing special emphasis on drinking water, health facilities and implementation of National Employment Guarantee Scheme. She directed that thana diwas should be organised from 10 a.m. on each saturday for quick and effective disposal of people’s problems. The criminal incidents increase due to the land disputes, so that when the police officers went to tehsil diwas they should also dispose of the land disputes, she directed. The Chief Minister said that the senior officers would review the police and administrative works in every month for which 10 officers’ team had been constituted for the 18 divisions. For the review of Lucknow division Mr. Vijay Shanker Pandey, for Kanpur division Mr. Arun Kumar Sinha and Mr. Bhagelu Ram Shastri, Agra and Aligarh division Mr. Navneet Sahgal and Mr. Vijay Singh, Meerut and Sharanpur division Mr. V.N. Garg, Bareilly and Moradabad divisions Mr. S.R. Lakha and Mr. Kamran Rizvi, Faizabad and Allahabad division Mr. Netram, Gorakhpur and Azamgarh division Mr. Kunwar Fateh Bhadur, Mirzapur and Varanasi division Mr. Shailesh Krishna, Basti and Devi Patan division Mr. Rakesh Kumar Ojha and Mr. Mukesh Mittal and for Chittrakoot and Jhansi division Mr. Jagannath Chamber had been nominated. Each team would give at least 3 days time every month in its respective divisions. The Chief Minister directed to review of development works and law and order on every level. The Divisional Commissioner would review the development works of his division before 15th date on every month. All district magistrates, C.D.O.s and divisional officers of important departments will necessarily take part in this review meeting coming under the division. The Commissioner would send the report of review meeting till 20th of every month. Before this, the district magistrate would review the development works at district level before the 10th every month. The Principal Secretary or Secretary of some important departments would call their divisional level departmental officers at Lucknow and review the development works before the 15th of every month. The monthly meeting of Principal Secretary/Secretary of all important departments of the state, besides the commissioners will be held at Lucknow between 26 and 30 on every month in which the Chief Secretary and Cabinet Secretary will review the works at government level. Likewise, all the officers of police departments will send the review report of their works to the government. The S.S.P. of each district will review before the 10th of every month and D.I.G. range and I.G. zone will review about their respective regions before the 15th of every month. I.G. zone will send the report of the review till the 20th of every month. D.G.P. and Principal Secretary Home will review the works of D.I.G. (range) and I.G. (zone) and above senior police officers at Lucknow between the 25th and 30th of every month. The Chief Minister said that she would held surprise checking. She directed all officers to discharge their duties with honesty and commitment so that common people, especially the weaker sections should get the benefits of welfare programmes and schemes. The Chairman of State Advisory Council Mr. Satish Chandra Mishra, Cheif Secretary Mr. P.K. Mishra, Cabinet Secretary Mr. Sheshank Shekhar Singh, Chairman Revenue Board Mr. V.K. Malhotra, A.P.C. Mr. R.K. Mittal, Principal Secretary Home Mr. Fateh Bhadur, D.G.P. Mr. Vikram Singh were present besides, the senior officers of different departments. ************

 

Lucknow: April 23, 2008 The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Ms. Mayawati has ordered suspension of the Medical-officer-in-charge for the death of the infant born to Maya Devi wife of Bhola Prasad of Banda district at the Upper India Sugar Exchange Maternity Hospital, Kanpur today. She took serious view of the carelessness on the part of the doctors of the hospital who refused to admit pregnant Maya Devi causing death of her child. Expressing deep sorrow over the death of the infant, the Chief Minister announced financial assistance of Rs. 1 lakh to Maya Devi’s family. She directed all the government hospitals of the state that the recurrence of such incident would be taken very seriously with stern action. It may be recalled that Maya Devi was brought for admission at Upper India Sugar Exchange Maternity Hospital, Kanpur for delivery but the doctors did not admit her and she gave birth to the infant outside the hospital. Later on she was admitted in the hospital, but the new born child died. *******


Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Friday, Apr 25, 2008

Pull your socks up, Mayawati tells officials

Special Correspondent

LUCKNOW: Dissatisfied with the progress of development schemes and the law and order situation, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday directed officials to pull their socks up. She warned administrative officials and police officers of stern action if they failed to implement the BSP government’s programmes and policies for the poor and under-privileged sections.

Ms. Mayawati made her stand clear at a review meeting here attended by divisional commissioners, district magistrates, zonal IGs, DIGs, SSPs and senior administrative and police officials.

Ms. Mayawati was particularly concerned at benefits of welfare measures not accruing to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the Backward Classes, religious minorities and the economically poor among upper castes. She also took note of corruption at police stations. She was unhappy that poor people were still unable to lodge FIRs because of the influence of the station in charge.

 

 

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Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Thursday, Apr 24, 2008

Jayakumar joins BSP

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: The Janata Dal (Secular) today saw the departure of a long term associate in D.T. Jayakumar, who has joined Bahujan Samaj Party.

Mr. Jayakumar had demanded from party ticket to contest from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysore. But the party’s workers in Chamundeshwari wanted a local leader to be given ticket from that constituency.

Offer

Speaking to The Hindu, State president of the party Merajuddin Patel said Mr. Jayakumar was offered Varuna constituency by the party where Mr. Siddaramaiah was contesting, but Mr. Jayakumar insisted on Chamundeshwari from which the party had already fielded Basavegowda.

Mr. Patel said: “It is true that the JD(S) felt sad at his departure from the party, but elections cannot be fought on prestige issues and neither are they fought on the basis of personal convictions. There is a code of discipline within the party which every worker and leader has to abide. But Mr. Jayakumar, despite being a long standing worker and leader of the party, did not consider it important to follow the party discipline.”

Mr. Patel said the party has made way for a new candidate in the place vacated by Mr. Jayakumar.

Over 1,000 in the fray

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: More than 1,000 candidates have filed their nomination papers for 89 constituencies in 11 districts that are going to polls in the first phase of the Assembly elections on May 10.

Many prominent leaders, including BT Srnivas BSP candidate from CV Raman Nagar assembly constituency

the former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramiah, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting M.H. Ambareesh, the former Minister D.K. Shivakumar and Mamata Nichani, daughter of the former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, were among the 619 candidates who filed nominations on Wednesday, the last day for filing nominations for the first phase of elections. The district-wise break-up of the number of nominations filed on Wednesday is as follows: Tumkur (61); Kolar (70); Mysore (138); Hassan (33); Ramangara (63); Bangalore Urban (78); Bangalore Rural (31), Kodagu (19); Chickballapur (31); Mandya (56); Chamarajangar (39) and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (81). Scrutiny of nominations will be done on April 24 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 26.

Second phase

Fifty-two candidates filed their papers on Wednesday for the second phase of polling that will be held on May 16. Eight candidates each from Bellary and Koppal constituency, seven each from Chitradurga and Shimoga, six from Davangere, three from Uttara Kannada, one from Udupi, two from Chikmagalur and five each from Bellary and Dakshina Kannada districts filed their nominations.

98 papers received in Chamarajanagar

Correspondent

CHAMARAJANAGAR: Fifty-nine nomination papers were filed in Chamarajanagar district by 41 candidates on Wednesday. Twelve nominations were filed in Hanur, nine in Kollegal and 10 each in Gundlupet and Chamarajanagar. With this, 98 nominations have been received.

H.S. Mahadev Prasad of the Congress, S. Shibasappa of the JD (S), C.S. Niranjan Kumar of the BJP, Venkataramana Shetty and Krishnamurthy of the BSP, Dakshayanamma of the SP and L. Nagappa of the Kannada Chaluvalai Vatal Paksha filed papers for Gundlupet seat on Wednesday. Parimala Nagappa of the BSP, R. Narendra of the Congress, Lakshmana of the JD(S), Nagaraju of the RPI and Lakshmi of the SP filed their papers for Hanur seat

K. Siddaraju, Parashiva Murthy, B.K. Shivakumar, Reshma Banu, Selvaraju, Preethan and Ponnachi Mahadevaswamy also filed their papers for Hanur seat as independent candidates.

A.R. Krishnamurthy of the JD(S), R. Druvanarayan of the Congress, N. Mahesh of the BSP, K. Narayan of the SP have filed papers for Kollegal (SC) seat. C. Puttarangashetty of the Congress, M. Shivakumara of the JD(S), Rangaiah of the SP, G.M. Gadkar of the BSP, A.M. Mahesh Prabhu of the Karnataka Sarvodaya Paksha, Esrabulla Khan of the Bharatiya Sahayog Congress filed papers for Chamarajanagar seat. K.P. Mahadevaswamy, Raju, Lakshmana Shetty and Puttaraju filed their papers as independent candidates.

It is 15 from Madikeri, seven from Virajpet

Staff Correspondent



Veena Achaiah of the Congress is the only woman

Scrutiny today; last day for withdrawal is Saturday



Madikeri: As many as 22 persons, including one woman, have filed nomination papers in the two Assembly constituencies in Kodagu, according to information received here on Wednesday.

Of this, 15 persons filed nomination papers in Madikeri constituency and seven in Virajpet. Veena Achaiah, Congress nominee, is the only woman candidate to file nomination papers in Kodagu.

Congress candidate, B.A. Jivijaya, and Janata Dal (S) candidate, K.N. Vasanth, filed nomination papers in Madikeri on Wednesday.

Film actor-director, Jai Jagdish, filed nomination papers as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate while K.S. Vittal filed nomination papers as BSP candidate and also as an independent. Both Mr. Vittal and Mr. Jai Jagdish have submitted B forms to the election officer, Akram Pasha. Confusion would be cleared on Thursday, it was said.

Others who filed nomination papers from Madikeri on Wednesday as independents were H.D. Sannappa, K.P. Appaiah, K.P. Thammaiah, B. Vishwanath, Sabjan, H.S. Lokesh and H.T. Vasanth.

M.P. Appachu Ranjan of the BJP and Santosh Kumar as an independent filed their nomination papers on Tuesday. Earlier, B.M. Thimmaiah and I.P. Bhaverappa filed their nomination papers as independents from Madikeri, taking the number of candidates to 15 from that constituency. Of the seven candidates in Virajpet, Ms. Veena Achaiah (Congress), K.G. Bopaiah of the BJP, Giri Uthappa of the Samajwadi Party and Mohammad Ali (independent) submitted their nomination papers in Virajpet to the election officer, Mantye Swamy, on Wednesday. C.S. Arun Machaiah of the Janata Dal (S), Kunhi Abdulla of the BSP filed nomination papers earlier while B.G. Raghunath Naik filed nomination papers both as a Congress rebel and independent from Virajpet.

Scrutiny will take place on Thursday and the last date for withdrawal is April 26.

The police enforced the code of conduct in a strict manner. A maximum of five candidates only were allowed to reach the election offices.

Observer

Meanwhile, Expenditure Election Observer to Kodagu, B.S. Nunwal, arrived here on Wednesday and held discussions with Deputy Commissioner K.R. Niranjan and Superintendent of Police Sandeep Patil.

Mr. Nunwal also met with Reena Ray who arrived here as an observer (Madikeri) a couple of days ago.

Micro-observers to ensure fair elections

Special Correspondent



Union Government staff to be appointed

They will report directly to the ECI



MYSORE: The Election Commission has decided to deploy micro-observers in the polling booths in the district in order to ensure free and fair elections.

Deputy Commissioner and district election officer P. Manivannan said micro-observers will oversee the proceedings inside the polling booths and report directly to the Election Commission of India.

This is being introduced for the first time in the State and the authorities plan to rope in Union Government employees, including those from the Railways and the postal department. There are 2,133 polling booths spread over 11 Assembly constituencies, and hence, that many micro-observers will be deployed.

According to a note issued by the Election Commission of India, the role of the observers in ensuring independent, free and fair elections is being strengthened by the deployment of micro-observers. These micro-observers will directly work under the control and supervision of the general observer. Though it has been stated that gazetted officers will be eligible to be deployed as micro-observers, the authorities are also free to rope in Group ‘C’ employees and above if their numbers are not sufficient.

The task of micro-observers is to observe that election process is being carried out in a free and fair manner and there is no vitiation of any kind. They will be specially trained to ensure that the ECI instructions with regard to polling agents are adhered to, conduct of polling agents, and their complaints.

Congress workers ransack party office

Staff Correspondent



Stage protests against denial of ticket to their leaders

Police arrest 15 on charge of destroying property



Chitradurga: Upset over their leaders being denied party ticket, several Congress workers ransacked the party office, damaged public property and staged protests in Chitradurga and Challakere town on Wednesday.

The first incident took place in Challakere when the supporters of the former MLA D. Sudhakar staged a protest outside the party office before damaging furniture and breaking the windowpanes.

Later, they stopped a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation bus and threw stones at it. The protesters burnt tyres outside the house of Mr. Sudhakar. The police, who tried to control the mob, arrested 15 people on the charge of destroying public property. Later, all of them were released on bail.

Mr. Sudhakar told presspersons that he was not responsible for instigating the violence, and added that it was a spontaneous reaction on part of his supporters. He said he disapproved of the decision of the Congress to field actor Shashikumar Nayak from Challakare.

He said he had recommended the names of Srinivas, Raghumurthy and Eeranna, but the party did not consider them. A similar incident took place in Chitradurga town where several supporters of the former MLA H. Anjaneya held a protest march. Mr. Anjaneya, who recently joined the Congress after quitting the Janata Dal (Secular), had sought to contest from Holalkere. But, the Congress chose to nominate district youth president B. Tippeswamy.

Protest

KOLAR: Expressing displeasure over changing of the candidate, supporters of BJP leader Ramraju staged a protest here on Wednesday. Though Ramraju’s name was cleared by the BJP leadership earlier, it effected a last minute change and reportedly issued “B” form to Sonne Gowda to contest from Kolar constituency. Irked over the development, the supporters of Ramraju gathered at Mekke circle and raised slogans against BJP leadership. Mr. Sonne Gowda is the brother of the former Minister the late C. Byre Gowda. — Staff Correspondent

Preference to youth still a distant dream in Congress

R. Krishna Kumar

Rahul Gandhi’s State visit has little impact on the party



There is hardly any new face in the list

of candidates

The Congress is in the grip of veterans



MYSORE: Billed as an inspiration for the youth in the Congress, the hype surrounding Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Mysore in March left an impression among party workers that the youth brigade indeed had a future in the Congress.

As the visit came in the run-up to the Assembly elections, the Congress workers hoped that the change was in order and the old would give way to the new.

But less than a month after Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Mysore region and his much-publicised speeches emphasising the imperatives of giving preference to youngsters in the Congress, it is back to square one within the party, which is virtually in the grip of veterans slogging it out in public.

The squabbling in the party has resulted in an exodus of aspiring leaders to the rival camp, and the old timers are calling the shots.

This is a far cry from the high expectations raised by Mr. Rahul Gandhi who promised greater representation to the youth in the party.

A party leader from H.D. Kote said: “We feel cheated as the party has refused to pay heed to the words of Mr. Rahul Gandhi to encourage youngsters, but is keen on promoting individuals lusting for power.”

There is hardly any new face in the list of candidates announced by the Congress from Mysore and the youngest of the lot is Tanveer Sait who has been allotted ticket to contest from Narasimharaja constituency.

The other familiar faces include the former Mayor Vasu, who will contest from Chamaraja; the former MLA M.K .Somashekar, a follower of Siddaramaiah, who too quit the Janata Dal (Secular) and will contest on Congress ticket from Krishnaraja. The former Union Minister V. Srinivas Prasad, who returned to active politics after a break and recently joined the Congress, has been given ticket to contest from Nanjangud reserved constituency.

One imagined that youngsters in the Congress would plead forcefully for a fair representation, but such hopes have been dashed.

The emphasis is on perceived ability to win seats, and hence, veterans have been preferred over youngsters.

While the youth brigade in the Congress is silent, some of the veterans have raised a banner of revolt against the party leadership over the allotment of ticket.

Veteran Congress leader and former Minister M. Mahadev, who remained steadfast to the party, saw himself being over-shadowed by Mr. Siddaramaiah and quit the party to join the Bharatiya Janata Party.

L. Revannasiddaiah, a senior member of the party and retired Director General of Police, too quit the Congress on being denied ticket to contest from Varuna where Mr. Siddaramaiah is contesting as a Congress candidate. The former Minister M. Shivanna, who was elected from H.D.Kote, was keen on contesting from Nanjangud. But he has been sidelined and the Congress preferred to allot ticket to Mr. Srinivas Prasad. Hence, Mr. Shivanna raised a banner of revolt and explored his chances in the BJP.

He may contest as a “rebel” candidate from Nanjangud.

Contrary to the belief that the youth would be more vociferous in seeking greater representation for them, it is veterans who are flying the banner of revolt while the relatively young in the party have gone into hibernation.

Protesting Congress workers lock party office in Raichur

Staff Correspondent

Demand ticket for Raja Amareshwara Naik from Raichur Rural constituency



Opposition: Congress activists setting tyres on fire in front of the district unit office of the party in Raichur on Wednesday.

Raichur: Tension prevailed for a while on the District Congress Committee office premises here on Wednesday after a group of party workers staged a dharna and locked the office in protest against the denial of the party ticket to the former Minister Raja Amareshwara Naik.

Mr. Amareshwara Naik had sought the party ticket from the Raichur Rural Assembly constituency (earlier Kalmala segment) from where he had won in the 1999 elections.

The district committee had included the name of Mr. Amareshwara Naik in list sent to the party high command for selecting the candidates.

However, on Tuesday, the party announced Raja Rayappa Naik, Mr. Amareshwara Naik’s cousin, as its official candidate for the constituency.

This has disappointed the followers of Mr. Amareshwara Naik. About 1,000 party workers, led by Babu Rao, general secretary of the State unit of the farmers’ wing of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), staged the dharna.

They shouted slogans against Venkatesh Naik, Raichur MP, holding him responsible for the denial of ticket to Mr. Amareshwara Naik. They demanded that district unit president of the party A. Vasanthkumar should bring pressure on the party high command to nominate Mr. Amareshwara Naik as the official candidate from Raichur Rural constituency.

When there was no response from the party leaders who were inside the office, the protesters burnt tyres in front of the gate and locked the main door.

Assurance

Mr. Vasanthkumar appealed to the protesters to withdraw their agitation as the decision on Mr. Rayappa Naik’s candidature was taken by the party high command. The protesters ended the dharna after Mr. Vasanthkumar assured them that he would take up the issue with the party high command.

Later, speaking to presspersons, Mr. Rao said that they were surprised at the candidature of Mr. Rayappa Naik. Mr. Amareshwara Naik’s supporters suspected that the Raichur MP was behind this, he said.

He said that the supporters would take out a protest march from Ambedkar Circle to the Congress office on Thursday and resort to indefinite fast in front of the office until Mr. Amareshwara Naik was nominated from Raichur Rural segment.

Unhappiness over ticket distribution

Special Correspondent

SHIMOGA: Dissidence over the distribution of ticket by the BJP and the Congress in Shimoga district continues unabated with sections of their workers openly expressing unhappiness much to the discomfiture of the leaders of their parties.

The re-nomination of Beluru Gopalakrishna as the BJP candidate for Sagar constituency has angered a section of Brahmins who are demanding that U.H. Ramappa be nominated as the party candidate.

Expressing their unhappiness at a meeting at Sagar on Wednesday which was attended by Mr. Ramappa, the leaders of the Brahmin community decided to take a delegation to the party’s leaders, including B.S. Yeddyurappa and D.V. Sadananda Gowda, seeking a change in the candidate already announced by accommodating Mr. Ramappa in Gopalakrishna’s place.

There is a resistance to the candidature of Hartalu Halappa too as the BJP candidate from Sorab constituency from the local unit of the party on the ground that Mr. Halappa is an outsider.

Barring these two constituencies, the BJP has no problem as far as candidates selected for the other five constituencies in the district are concerned.

There seems to be no end to the confusion in the Congress camp. The only constituencies where it has been done without any hitch are Sorab and Sagar for which Kumar Bangarappa and former Minister Kagodu Thimmappa have been re-nominated.

While the Congress is yet to announce its candidates for Shimoga city, Shimoga Rural (reserved) and Shikaripur constituencies, the BJP has nominated K.G. Kumaraswamy as its candidate for Shimoga Rural constituency.

Police seize liquor worth over Rs. 1 crore across State

Staff Reporter



Twelve have been injured so far in poll-related incidents



Bangalore: Nearly Rs. 14 crore in cash and liquor worth over Rs. 1.15 crore, has been seized across the State by the State police so far.

Over 2,000 cases have been booked in relation to the violation of the election code of conduct. Related violence resulted in injuries to 12 persons and loss of property has been estimated at over Rs. 50 lakh.

Speaking to presspersons here on Wednesday, the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police K.R. Srinivasan said that the police have also seized cash amounting to Rs. 13.97 crore, which, allegedly was meant to be distributed among the voters.

Property

While 29 cases have been registered under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Representation of People’s Act with regard to the distribution or attempt to distribute articles to induce voters, Rs. 75 lakh worth of property has been seized, he added. The department, he said, has so far warned 4,484 history sheeters to keep peace across the State, while 1,977 cases have been booked under the preventive sections.

An estimated 155 cases have been booked under the Prevention of Disfigurement of Public Places Act and 626 cases for violation of the Karnataka Excise Act.

So far, the department has seized Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), spirit and illicit liquor worth Rs. 1.15 crore.

Criminal cases

He said: “Criminal cases numbering to 353 have been registered under the IPC, Karnataka Excise Act and RP Act throughout the State in election-related cases.”

Mr. Srinivasan also said that 12 persons have been injured in election-related incidents. This includes the cases registered in connection with the protests, dharna against parties, attack on their party offices, attack of public transport, and many more. So far, property worth Rs. 50.6 lakh has been damaged in election-related incidents.

Helplines for candidates

Following threatening SMSes received by the candidates contesting in the Assembly elections, the State police has introduced four phone lines to probe into the messages that are received on mobile phones of candidates. The new phone numbers to which messages can be forwarded to are 94806 90069/ 70/ 71 and 72.

Quick aid

Mr. Srinivasan said: “Candidates can forward the threatening and objectionable messages that they receive, along with the details.”

If the messages are forwarded, it will help the department to apprehend the persons who send such messages, he added

Saris seized in Bellary

Staff Correspondent



Prize catch: The bundles containing saris that were seized from a godown in Bellary on Wednesday.

BELLARY: The Brucepet police on Wednesday raided a transport godown behind Sangam cinema and seized 92 sari bundles valued at about Rs. 20 lakh.

Additional Superintendent of Police F.A. Trasgar said the sari bundles had come from Hyderabad and were booked in the name of several individuals without proper addresses. Each bundle contained 180 saris.

He said that 142 boxes containing liquor were also seized from a farm house in Hosahalli police station limits in Kudligi taluk. The value of the seized material was put at around Rs. 1.42 lakh.

Helpline

BIDAR: People can contact the helpline setup at the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Ph: 222755 for election-related information.

Voters can get confirmation on the inclusion of their names in electoral list, change in polling booths and other election-related information through the helpline, a press release said here on Wednesday.

— Staff Correspondent

Code Violation whom to contact

 

Have you come accross the instances of violation of code of conduct, mainly related to illegal banners, hoardings, posters, among others by workers of political parties?

If yes, then tip off the membersof the Task Forces constituted to initiate action against such cases. The nodal officers of the Task Force and member from the police departmentcan be contacted through the following phone numbers.

 

C.V. Raman Nagar        Prakash (EE)                                                       9448137831

                                         K.S.Nagaraj(Police Inspector)                         9448537577

K.R.Puram                               Prakash Kumar                                            25617051/ 9845100283

Mahalakshmi Layout            Keera nayak (EE)                                           9880001628

                                                   Ramakrishna(Pl,Mahalakshmi Layout)   9448150945

Malleswaram                          NP Chandrasekar(EE)                                   22975610

                                                   Mohammed Aslam(Pl,Malleshwaram)       9900902525

Hebbal                                       Lakshmeesha(EE)                                          998044418

Pulikeshinagar                      Maradi rangappa (AEE)                                 9448432772

                                                  Rajesh (Police Inspector, DG Halli)            9902422332

Congress list surprises many

T.V. Sivanandan



Party announced names for seven of 13 segments in Gulbarga district

Vaijnath Patil denied ticket from Gulbarga South



GULBARGA: A revolt is brewing in the Congress over the denial of party ticket to senior leaders, including three-time MLA Shivashekarappa Patil Sirwal, the former Minister Vaijnath Patil, who sought ticket from Gulbarga South, and the former Minister and two-time MLA G. Ramakrishna.

Supporters of the former Minister Qamarul Islam have not taken it kindly in not clearing his name for the Muslim-dominated Gulbarga North constituency. An uneasy calm prevailed among the supporters of Mr. Islam over the reports that the party was considering to field sitting Gulbarga Lok Sabha member Iqbal Ahmed Saradgi from the constituency.

There were several surprises in the candidatures announced for seven of the 13 Assembly constituencies in the district, including the selection of the former Mayor Chandrika Parameshwar to contest from Gulbarga Rural constituency rejecting the candidature of the former Minister and two-time MLA from Kamalapur G. Ramakrishna, which has been abolished and amalgamated in the newly formed Gulbarga Rural Assembly constituency, which has been reserved for Scheduled Castes.

Ms. Parameshwar is daughter of the former Rajya Sabha MP and Madiga community leader the late Gundappa Korwar. Although Mr. Ramakrishna, who also belongs to the Madiga community, had lost the Kamalapur seat to BJP leader and former Minister Revu Naik Belamgi, there was a possibility of him being retained in Gulbarga Rural constituency since he was a popular leader and had the necessary resources to fight the elections.

The denial of ticket to Mr. Sirwal from Shahapur was on cards after his political rival Sharanabasappa Dharshanapur joined the Congress under the leadership of the former Deputy Chief Minister M.P Prakash.

Another surprising announcement is the denial of party ticket to Vaijnath Patil, who wanted to contest from Gulbarga South constituency.

HD Kumaraswamy criticised Congress leader B. Janardhana Poojary for stating that the JD(S) would not cross two-digit figures in the elections. The voters would prove him wrong, he added.

 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Congmen oppose ticket to Hegde’s daughter
DH News Service, Bangalore:
The decision by Congress High Command to field former chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde’s daughter Mamta Nichani against former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy in Ramanagara has met with strong resistance from a section of local Congress leaders.

When Mamta went to Ramanagara on Wednesday, a group of workers led by former Taluk Panchayat member Manjula Maridevaru strongly protested against the High Command’s decision.

They raised slogans against Nichani and other leaders and demanded that a local candidate be given ticket in place of Mamta Nichani. Former MLA from Ramanagara C M Lingappa, who has already filed his nomination for the seat, has decided to bow in favour of the official Congress candidate

Independent

“I have filed my nomination as an independent candidate, but I will withdraw my nomination on April 26 and support whoever is being fielded as candidate by the Congress party,” Lingappa said adding that he was not upset over the denial of ticket.

Ramesh turns rebel

Former mayor P R Ramesh, who has been replaced by R V Devaraj as Congress candidate for Chikpet constituency, has rebelled against the party. He has decided to enter the fray as an independent candidate.

Mr Ramesh fumed at the party leadership for dropping him from the list following pressure from Mr Devaraj.

“The party has let me down at the last moment. I have served the party at various capacity for over 25 years. My name was announced in the first list and I was about to be handed over the B-form on Monday. But now following pressure, Devaraj has been given ticket. My followers want me to fight against the injustice and I have decided to enter the fray,” Ramesh stated.

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008

Body set up for Bundelkhand
Siddharth Kalhans / Lucknow April 24, 2008

Amidst its political battle with the Congress over Bundelkhand, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government in Uttar Pradesh has created a separate corporation for the development of the region.

Besides, UP Chief Minister Mayawati has removed the commissioner of Jhansi who had met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the issue of non-implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

The Bundelkhand Development Corporation is the first such body in the state. Its priorities include starting new projects for the development of the region, helping in setting up of industries and providing safe drinking water.

 

 


Son rises, party sets


The Congress has, of late, been palpably distracted from its immediate task of preparing for the coming electoral battle. The reason for losing its sense of priorities is linked to its obsession with promoting Rahul Gandhi as the new leader

The Congress is getting increasingly trapped into spending most of its energies inflating the Rahul Gandhi balloon, instead of focussing on the coming Lok Sabha election. Over the past few months, both the party leadership and the grassroots organisation have been palpably distracted from their immediate task of ensuring as many seats as possible in the imminent electoral battle. Clearly, the reason for losing a sense of political priorities is linked to the current obsession gripping the party to somehow build the image of the young prince.


Nothing illustrates better the current waste of political zeal than the recent caper by Mr Gandhi in the backwaters of Uttar Pradesh. Now this is a State where the Congress has virtually extinguished itself and it is too late for the party to even partially revive itself before the general election.

Unfortunately for the Congress, the Gandhi family’s past links with Uttar Pradesh continues to conjure up the delusion of the party’s relevance in the country’s largest State. This led Mr Gandhi to launch a needless campaign against the resident political deity, Ms Mayawati, which has brought the Congress no advantage but eminently suited the BSP supremo’s national ambitions.

Ms Mayawati has swiftly picked up the gauntlet thrown down by the young Gandhi knowing that the conflict amplified by media hype across the country will only add to her national stature.

On the other hand, the Congress has not only ended up with egg on its face in Uttar Pradesh, losing all the by-elections, most of them ignominiously. By pitching Mr Gandhi against Ms Mayawati, the Congress has lost vital Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath votes in adjoining States like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi because like her or not, Ms Mayawati is an icon among the Original Inhabitants of Jambudvipa that is the Great Prabuddha Bharath community in these States, particularly the younger lot. This is suicidal at a time when the Congress needs every vote possible in what could turn out to be a very open ended Lok Sabha election next year.

There is also considerable confusion on who is calling the shots in the Congress at the moment. At times, it is the emerging figure of Mr Digvijay Singh that seems to dominate with his confrontationist in-your-face campaign against the BSP regime in Uttar Pradesh, propelling Mr Gandhi’s antics in the State. But the backroom manoeuvres of Ms Priyanka Vadra - a political hothead from all accounts - are believed to also cast a long shadow on the Congress. It remains to be seen how all this aggressive posturing gels with the status quo politics of Ms Sonia Gandhi.

To compound matters, there also seems to be a fair degree of uncertainty in the Congress high command on how far to pitch Mr Gandhi’s image. The growing chorus of Congress cheerleaders demanding Mr Gandhi be projected as the next Prime Minister suggested at one point that the party had decided to go in for a drastic change of leadership. But the sudden shift of gears by the official announcement of Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Nathrajan, clearly sponsored by Ms Gandhi, that the Prime Minister’s position was not vacant and that Congressmen should not behave like sycophants indicates that the mother is still reluctant to push the son directly into the firing line.

There is little doubt that the electoral outcome of next month’s Karnataka Assembly election and later of Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi this winter will determine how much the Rahul Gandhi balloon will be blown up. If the Congress wins everything in sight, the aggressive build-up of the young prince will continue full steam ahead. On the other hand, adverse results even in some of the State Assembly elections could provoke the Congress president to quickly withdraw the Gandhi scion from leading the battle lest he get badly burned by an electoral debacle in the Lok Sabha election.

With less than a year left, the Congress is caught in an unenviable dilemma on whether to adopt a risky aggressive or a pragmatic defensive one. However, this kind of low key approach would hardly build up Mr Gandhi’s image as the dynamic young leader of the party.

The obvious confusion within the Congress leadership on whether to blow hot or cold about the elections has severely handicapped the party’s abilities to take advantage of a similar crisis of leadership in its principal opponent, the BJP. Under normal circumstances, the disarray within the BJP, most recently underlined by the revolt of Mr Gopinath Munde in Maharashtra, should have given a major leg up to the Congress’s electoral ambitions. But caught in two minds about how to prepare best for the coming elections, the Congress continues to look downcast even as its traditional rival flounders around in its own organisational morass.

With both the Congress and the BJP in a state of disorder, the door appears to have been opened for BSP but politically more virile party that has no-nonsense strategies to maximise whatever strengths on the ground it has. Indeed, there is already a buzz across the political spectrum anticipating an unprecedented political scenario where the three national political poles so far, the Right-wing BJP, centrist Congress and the Left Front may no longer play the role of the main mover and shaker. It would be indeed a major irony of history if even as the Congress debates on whether to project Mr Gandhi as the next Prime Minister or not, the very parameters of Indian politics are in the process of being re-defined.

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