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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

EC to review Karnataka poll preparedness today
Bangalore, PTI:
Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, Election Commissioners S Y Qureishi and Naveen Chawla would hold separate meetings with representatives of political parties…

 The full Election Commission would review here tomorrow the poll preparedness of Karnataka, which goes to elections in three phases next month.

Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, Election Commissioners S Y Qureishi and Naveen Chawla would hold separate meetings with representatives of political parties, expenditure and general observers, regional and deputy commissioners and police officials.

Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar said Doordarshan and All India Radio have stopped airing/telecasting songs/films/serials featuring candidates, in observance of model code of conduct

Similar instructions have been issued to private television channels, Vidyashankar said.

He said liquor valued at Rs 65 lakh was seized in Bijapur yesterday, adding, 590 criminal cases pertaining to violation of the code of conduct have been registered in different parts of the state so far.

EC advice

BANGALORE: The Election Commission on Monday instructed the Chief Electoral Officer of the State not to appoint persons having criminal cases pending against them as polling agents for the three-phase Legislative Assembly elections.

CEC to monitor poll splurge

He said according to the final list of candidates for the first phase in which 89 Assembly constituencies are going to the polls, there are 837 contestants, including 398 independents.

The poll expenditure of candidates for the Assembly elections, especially those in the first phase of the hustings, will come under the scanner on Tuesday when the full bench of the Central Election Commission visits Bangalore.

Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar told reporters on Monday that Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami along with the two election commissioners will hold meetings with representatives of political parties,  top police officers, deputy commissioners and election and expenditure observers.

The EC will also review the preparedness for the polls and conclude its day-long visit with a meeting with the Director General and Inspector General of Police to assess the law and order situation in the state.

The police in Bijapur confiscated Rs 65 lakh worth liquor on Sunday, he said and added that so far as many as 590 criminal cases have been filed for violation of model code of conduct.

 Vidyashankar said that the Election Commission has directed Doordarshan, AIR and private television channels not to telecast or air films and serials featuring candidates in the fray.

Prominent cine artistes who are contesting elections include Ambareesh from Srirangapatna and Jaggesh from Turuvekere, both on Congress ticket.


Meanwhile, as many as 249 candidates, including former chief minister S Bangarappa, filed their nomination papers for the second phase of polls. Bangarappa filed his nomination from the Shikaripura assembly segment from where BJP chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa is contesting.
As many as 49 nominations were filed from Davangere district.


Gowda’s car seized

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda is the new addition to the list of violators of the model code of conduct.

A Toyota Innova van used by him in Nanjangud, during his visit  to inaugurate the JD-S election campaign office, was seized on Monday as prior permission had not been sought to use the MUV. The party had not sought permission to use the vehicle to take Mr Gowda for the inauguration of  the party office. The car belongs to Prathap, JD-S candidate from Chamaraja assembly constituency.

Gowda angry

Reacting sharply to the seizure, during his speech at the inauguration of the JD-S election campaign office, he said, “as a former prime minister I have a right to freely move around  the country” and also questioned whether he should obtain permission even while moving from hobli to hobli.

“I will not get the car released till the completion of the election. I will travel in another car. I will give a befitting answer to the officials after the election. Whether Rahul Gandhi had sought permission while travelling in various places of the State”, he questioned

Merajuddin booked

BIDAR: A case has been booked on Monday against Janata Dal (Secular) State unit N. Merajuddin Patel in connection with violation of model code of conduct. The police said Mr. Patel had put up a banner at the venue of a private function at Hallikhed (B) village of Humnabad taluk on Sunday. He has been booked under violation of the Karnataka Open Places Prevention of Disfigurement Act. Hallikhed village falls under the Humnabad Assembly Constituency from Mr. Patel is contesting. — Staff Correspondent

Poll code violated in Shikaripur?

Staff Correspondent

Mobbed: People greeting the former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa in Shikaripur on Monday.

SHIKARIPUR: Was the large gathering near the tahsildar’s office here on Monday a violation of the model code of conduct when the former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa arrived there to file his nomination papers?

It appears so. The police failed in controlling the crowd near the tahsildar’s office where the returning officer received the nomination papers. Entry of vehicles or gathering of more than five persons within a radius of 100 metres from the office of the returning officer has been banned. A senior police officer has been made nodal officer and put in-charge of security arrangements in and around the office of the returning officer.

He has to videograph the candidates and their supporters accompanying them and the vehicles used by them. A circular issued by the Police Department has asked the nodal officers to allow only five persons, including the candidate, inside the office of the returning officer.

The incident on Monday could have been avoided if security was tightened in anticipation of a large crowd at the time of filing of nomination papers by Mr. Bangarappa.

After offering puja at the Hucharayaswamy temple, Mr. Bangarappa came to the tahsildar’s office in a van. A large number of people followed him raising slogans.

The police stopped the van carrying Mr. Bangarappa near the barricade and asked him to go to the tahsildar’s office along with four persons only.

However, the pleas by the police were ignored and the van was taken inside the restricted area and was stopped in front of the tahsildar’s office.

Policemen deployed at the entrance to the tahsildar’s office had a tough time in controlling the crowd. Mr. Bangarappa was accompanied by Congress leaders Nagarada Mahadevappa and T.S. Mahalingappa, president of the taluk unit of the Samajwadi Party Kabaddi Rajanna and Siddhalingappa.

The crowd outside the tahsildar’s office surrounded Mr. Bangarappa’s van as he came out of the tahsildar’s office. Nearly, 5,000 people had assembled to greet Mr. Bangarappa, who is contesting against the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Revolt may harm Congress in at least a couple of segments

Vishwa Kundapura

Former Minister Srinivas Gowda is facing a formidable rebel

KOLAR: Though most rebel candidates have withdrawn from the contest, rebellion is discernible in some constituencies of Kolar and Chickballapur districts. Though the Congress, the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular) have heaved a sigh of relief following the withdrawal of rebels from the fray, the latter, who are contesting as independents, seem poised to give sleepless nights to some official candidates.

It was particularly so in the headquarters of the two districts. While R. Varthur Prakash remains in the fray against the former Minister K. Srinivas Gowda, official nominee of the Congress in Kolar Assembly segment, it is G.H. Nagaraj against the Congress candidate S.V. Ashwathnarayan Reddy in Chickballapur constituency.

Despite the Congress’ attempt to play down the presence of Mr. Varthur Prakash in Kolar, the latter is considered as a formidable rival to the official candidate. Not heeding the advice of the party leadership, Mr. Varthur Prakash has chosen to remain in the fray saying he will give a tough fight to the three-time MLA, Mr. Srinivas Gowda.

“My social work in the constituency which includes distributing free books to poor students, financial aid to women’s self-help groups are the basis for my confidence,” says Mr. Varthur Prakash.

Besides, the hold over the Kolar City Municipal Council, which is being ruled by supporters of Mr. Varthur Prakash, is expected to give an edge to the latter in the urban area tilting the balance in his favour, according to political observers.

“Voters are wise and aware about the evils of the role of money power in politics,” was the argument put forth by Mr. Srinivas Gowda’s camp.

Chickballapur is another constituency where the Congress is likely to feel the heat of rebellion. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) member G.H. Nagaraj, a close relative of MP, R.L. Jalappa, has preferred to remain in the fray as an independent.

Though the withdrawal by another KPCC member, C. Anjanappa, from the fray has provided some respite to the Congress leadership, Mr. Nagaraj’s presence is expected to pester it in the constituency.

In Malur too, the former MLA, A. Nagaraj, has raised the banner of revolt.

He is pitted against J. Krishna Sing, official nominee of the Congress. Block Congress president R. Ashok remains in the fray against the Congress candidate N.H. Shivshankar Reddy in Gowribidnur.

Doddachowdappa is the rebel candidate of the Congress in Mulbagal constituency. Social worker S.N. Subba Reddy’s withdrawal in Bagepalli too has reduced to some extent the burden of dissidence in the Congress. Likewise, Ramachandrappa’s withdrawal in Kolar Gold Field (Scheduled Castes) segment has brought back the smiles on the faces of senior Congress leaders.

The presence of rebels is likely to affect the Congress in at least a couple of constituencies.

Denied ticket, three senior leaders desert Congress

T.V. Sivanandan

Basavaraj Patil Attur joins BJP

Vittal Heroor and Raju Gowda may follow suit

GULBARGA: The Congress suffered a jolt in its bid to recapture its hold in the Hyderabad Karnataka region in the Assembly elections with the resignation of three senior leaders, including the former Ministers, Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli and Basavaraj Patil Attur, and the reported decision of the former MLA from Surpur, Raju Gowda, and the former MLC, Vittal Heroor, who recently joined the Congress after quitting the Janata Dal (Secular), to resign from the party.

Miffed by the rejection of their claims for party ticket, the three leaders decided to part ways with the Congress.

While Mr. Nagamarapalli had sought the party ticket from Bidar after his traditional constituency Aurad was reserved for Scheduled Castes in the delimitation process in Bidar district, Mr. Attur had sought re-nomination from Basavakalyan and Mr. Heroor, a respected leader of the Kabbaliga community, had sought ticket from Afzalpur constituency in Gulbarga district and Mr. Raju Gowda sought the ticket from Surpur constituency.

The four leaders, after getting clear signals that their claims would not be entertained by the party, had decided to resign.

While Mr. Attur has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mr. Heroor and Mr. Raju Gowda are likely to follow him. Mr. Attur is likely to be nominated as BJP candidate from Basavakalyan.

Mr. Nagamarapalli has not yet decided on his future course of action.

Mr. Heroor has decided to resign from the party after it was made known to him by the party leaders that the party ticket has been given to the former Minister, Malikayya Guttedar.

Mr. Raju Gowda decided to resign after the party indicated that the ticket would be given to Raja Venkatappa Naik.

The resignation of Mr. Nagamarapalli and Mr. Attur, two senior Lingayat leaders, from the Congress is likely to alienate the powerful Lingayat community from the party in the region.

However, not many senior leaders from Congress have ditched it in Raichur or Koppal districts.

Tacit understanding

BANGALORE: BJP chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa on Monday alleged that the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) had entered into a tacit understanding for the elections. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Yeddyur-appa said that the “nature of selection of candidates” by the two parties showed that they had a tacit understanding.

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