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BJP Government in Karnataka in Rising Crisis

 

The ruling BJP in Karnataka was on Wednesday thrown into fresh quagmire as two Ministers resigned and 11 more MLAs loyal to former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa announced their decision to quit the assembly membership, raising questions about its govt's stability.

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The ruling BJP in Karnataka was on Wednesday thrown into fresh quagmire as two Ministers resigned and 11 more MLAs loyal to former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa announced their decision to quit the assembly membership, raising questions about its govt's stability.

Jolting the six-month-old Jagadish Shettar Ministry, Public Works Minister C M Udasi and Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje quit followed by high drama at Speaker K G Bopiah's office where they and 11 other MLAs tried to submit their resignation letters but in vain.

Bopaiah was not in office when the MLAs trooped in as he was reportedly out of station while the Assembly Legislature Secretary Omprakash was also not present, prompting an enraged Yeddyurappa to rush there,insisting that the government had been reduced to a minority.

The agitated MLAs insisted that their resignation letters be accepted by an official or an acknowledgement given that they are not empowered to receive them but Assembly Joint Secretary Jayatheertha Galali told them to submit resignations "when Speaker comes to office".

During the one-hour drama, a livid Yeddyurappa, who recently floated the Karnataka Janata Party, said, "Shettar government has been reduced to a minority. He has no moral right to continue in office. He should call off his tour, return to the city and resign."

Yeddyurappa said Bopaiah had been alerted on Tuesday about the resignation of MLAs, but he has left on a tour.

"It is a shameless government. Shettar should meet the Governor and tender resignation," he said.

Shortly thereafter, the 13 MLAs drove to Raj Bhavan and asked Governor H R Bhardwaj to take suitable steps for acceptance of their resignations by Bopaiah.

The governor assured us to take suitable action as per constitutional provisions," Udasi told reporters in Bangalore, adding, the MLAs submitted copies of their resignation letters to him after briefing about the non-availability of the Speaker in spite of being told in advance about their meeting him.

Karandlaje requested the governor to investigate the matter of a cabinet minister "whisking" away the Speaker to the Airport to help him fly out of the city when he was informed on Tuesday about the MLAs visiting his office.

Shettar, on north Karnataka tour, said he would decide on the ministers' resignations after consulting BJP central leadership.

He said the government faced "no problems" and enjoyed majority. "We will face the session (budget session is slated to begin from February four)."

Bhardwaj earlier said, "If there is a constitutional crisis in the state, I am ready to act." He, however, said he would not like to disturb the Jagadish Shettar government.

He said he had spoken to Shettar on Tuesday and the Chief Minister said there was nothing wrong with his government.

Earlier, Karandlaje and Udasi handed over their resignation letters to Shettar.

The first-ever BJP government in the south has lurched from crisis to crisis seeing the exit of Yeddyurappa as chief minister over corruption charges and Sadananda Gowda following pressure from the former BJP strongman to remove him.

Though handpicked by him, Yeddyurappa has also been targeting Shettar.

Yeddyurappa had quit BJP and floated his own outfit KJP last December and repeatedly put the Shettar government on notice about its stability, claiming support of 20-30 BJP MLAs.

Brushing aside the threats to his government, Shettar has said he would present the state budget on 8th February, the last ahead of assembly polls due in May.

The MLAs who have offered to quit are C M Udasi, Nehru Olekar, Thippeswamy, B P Harish, H Halappa, Suresh Gowda Patil, Shobha Karandlaje, S I Chikkangoudar, Suresh, G Shivanna, Chandrappa, V S Patil and Basavaraj Patil Attur.

In the 225 member assembly, BJP has a strength of 117 excluding speaker and it requires 113 for a simple majority.

Congress has 71 members and JDS 26. There are seven Independents and two vacancies. One member is nominated.



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Setback for Lalu, Jharkhand HC Denies Bail to Him

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Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh rejected the bail petition of Lalu Prasad, saying he was the chief minister and finance minister during the scam period.

The Jharkhand High Court today rejected the bail plea of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav in connection with the second case related to the Rs 950 crore fodder scam of the 1990s. Lalu was sentenced to three and a half years in the case by a special CBI court in Ranchi on January 6. He had appealed for bail a week after his conviction.

This is one of the six cases lodged against Lalu in connection with the scam.

Justice Aparesh Kumar Singh rejected the bail petition of Lalu Prasad, saying he was the chief minister and finance minister during the scam period.

The Public Accounts Committee kept the file for years, but no action was taken.Dismissing Lalu Prasad’s defence, the judge said all the scam cases seemed to be done in his knowledge. Hence, the court is not inclined to release him on bail, the bench observed.

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Unprecedented Buzz Around Meghalaya and Nagaland Elections

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Election campaigning has reached fever pitch in Meghalaya and Nagaland ahead of assembly elections on 27th February.

The political temperatures have particularly soared in poll-bound Meghalaya and Nagaland after Thursday’s (February 22) rallies. While leaders of all parties in the fray are going all out to woo voters, people want the day to day challenges that they face to be addressed by those who come to power.

These challenges range from lack of clean drinking water to poor condition of roads and from lack of power connections to unemployment. Lack of adequate infrastructure is visible in the two states and people want the gap to be filled by the new governments.

The states may be different but issues that people face in the two states are quite similar. Meanwhile, the Congress too is reaching out to voters for support in the elections.

A look at the political scenario in Nagaland shows that out of 60 seats in the state assembly, Naga People’s Front or NPF is contesting on 59 seats.

Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) has put candidates in 40 seats, BJP is fighting in 20 constituencies and Congress on 19 seats.

In the 60 seat Meghalaya assembly, BJP is contesting on 47 seats, Congress on 59 seats and NPP on 53 seats. The two states will go to polls on 27th February and results would be announced on 3rd March.

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AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal Sent to 14-day Judicial Custody

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Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal have been sent to judicial custody for 14 days in the matter of the alleged assault on the Delhi Chief Secretary

A Delhi Court has reserved order on the bail petition by the duo till Friday. For now, they have been sent on a 14-day judicial custody.

The two MLAs, on expiry of their one-day judicial custody, were produced before metropolitan magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon who heard their bail applications and put up for hearing a fresh application filed by the Delhi police seeking their custodial interrogation to ascertain why the chief secretary was called at the midnight.

Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon said that orders on the bail pleas of AAP lawmakers Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

On Wednesday, Ms Tandon had refused a Delhi Police plea for police custody of the MLAs and sent them to judicial custody till Thursday.

The chief secretary alleged that he was beaten up by the two MLAs in the presence of Arvind Kejriwal at the chief minister’s residence here on Monday night, where he had been called for a meeting.

Prakash’s medical report confirmed that he had been assaulted, even as the Aam Aadmi Party sought to rubbish his claims, calling them wild and ludicrous and challenging his assertion that the meeting was about the release of funds for a celebratory round of advertising by the Delhi government, saying it was about rations not reaching people because of faulty implementation of Aadhaar.

While Jarwal was arrested on Tuesday night, Khan surrendered at a police station here on Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, protests continue over the issue. BJP workers staged a massive protest outside Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence. BJP has demanded that action must be taken against the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as well.

Congress has also targeted AAP over its alleged conduct.

On the other hand, AAP continues to call the allegations fabricated. Party members held a demonstration over the issue.

Earlier on Thursday, members of AAP protested outside Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s home after he condemned the alleged assault of the chief secretary. Workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party also protested against the AAP outside Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s house on Thursday, demanding Kejriwal’s resignation as chief minister. They claimed Kejriwal was present at the time the two AAP MLAs allegedly assaulted the Delhi chief secretary, so he must take responsibility for the incident.

After a body of Indian Administrative Services Officers protested against Prakash’s alleged assault, the home minister had said “civil servants should be allowed to work with dignity and without fear”, and that the Home Affairs Ministry had sought a report from Baijal.

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