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Karnataka

Yeddyurappa gets ready for cliffhanger trust vote

The BJP government led by B.S. Yeddyurappa faces a crucial trust vote on Saturday in the Karnantaka Assembly that began its new session with MLAs taking oath with numbers stacked against the ruling party on its own.

BJP's chief ministerial candidate B. S. Yeddyurappa speaking to journalists after being elected to the Karnataka Assembly from Shikaripura, in Bengaluru on May 15, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
BJP's chief ministerial candidate B. S. Yeddyurappa speaking to journalists after being elected to the Karnataka Assembly from Shikaripura, in Bengaluru on May 15, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
The BJP government led by B.S. Yeddyurappa faces a crucial trust vote on Saturday in the Karnantaka Assembly that began its new session with MLAs taking oath with numbers stacked against the ruling party on its own.
 
Governor Vajubhai Vala convened the 15th Karnataka Assembly in the Vidhana Soudha here that began with the newly-elected legislators taking oath. Pro tem Speaker K.G. Bopaiah conducted the proceedings.
 
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was the first to take oath followed by Congress legislature party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Janata Dal-Secular's (JD-S) legislature party leader H.D. Kumaraswamy.
 
Legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress and JD-S were administered the oath in pairs starting with the BJP, followed by that of the Congress and JD-S as per the number of seats they all got in the bitterly fought May 12 election.
 
Among the prominent legislators present in the House were BJP leaders like former Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, B. Sreeramulu, Congress legislators D.K. Shivakumar, R.V. Deshpande, M.B. Patil, Shamanuru Shivashankarappa, and JD-S lawmakers G.T. Devegowda and H.D.Revanna.
 
The oath-taking of all the legislators will be completed before 4 p.m. for Bopaiah to conduct a floor test in the House to ascertain if Yeddyurappa has majority in the hung Assembly, as directed by the Supreme Court on Friday.
 
If the opposition legislators insist on the division of votes, the pro tem Speaker will ask the members who are in favour of the motion to vote first and those against it soon after.
 
The May 12 election across the state in 222 constituencies of the 225-member assembly, including one nominated, threw up a hung House, with no party securing majority. The nominated member is yet to be decided and polls in two constituencies were deferred.
 
Yeddyurappa requires the 112-halfway mark to win the motion or one more than the half of the members present when the floor test is conducted in the House with an effective strength of 222.
 
Of the 222 seats, the BJP won 104, Congress 78, JD-S, 37 and one each by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and an Independent.
 
As the single largest party, the BJP is eight short of the 112-halfway mark in the House.
 
As Kumaraswamy won from both Channapatna and Ramanagaram segments, the party's effective strength in the House is 36 as he can cast his vote only once.
 
Though the Governor directed Yeddyurappa to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the House within 15 days from the date of assumption of office as the Chief Minister (May 17), a three-judge bench of the top court ordered the floor test on Saturday, rejecting his plea for a week's time to prove his majority.
 
IANS
 
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Karnataka drama: SC orders floor test in Assembly at 4 pm on Saturday

The Supreme Court on Friday directed that a floor test be held at 4 pm on Saturday to determine if BJP leader B. S. Yeddyurappa, who was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday morning, has the requisite strength in the state legislative assembly.

The Supreme Court today directed that a floor test be held at 4 pm tomorrow to determine if BJP leader B. S. Yeddyurappa, who was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka yesterday morning, has the requisite strength in the state legislative assembly.
 
Governor Vajubhai Vala, while inviting Mr. Yeddyurappa to form the government after the May 12 elections to the assembly threw up a split verdict, had told him to prove his majority in the house within 15 days.
 
The order by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Mr. Justice A. K. Sikri, on petitions filed by the Congress and the Janata Dal (S), said the Karnataka government could not nominate a member from the Anglo-Indian community to the assembly till the vote of confidence is held.
 
Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the petitioners, told newspersons later that the court had also made it clear that the Chief Minister could not take any major policy decisions during this period.
 
The apex court also directed the Director General of Police to ensure the security of all the newly-elected MLAs so that they can reach the Assembly safely.
 
The Governor will now appoint a pro tem Speaker, usually the senior-most among the newly-elected MLAs, who will preside over the House when the legislators take oath in the House.
 
Mr. Singhvi said the court had also agreed to address the larger question of whether the Governor had acted correctly or not in inviting Mr. Yeddyurappa to form the government as the leader of the single largest party when a post-poll alliance had claimed in writing that it had a clear majority in the House with the signatures of the members on its side. The court said it would take up this aspect after ten weeks.
 
Mr. Singhvi said the letter written by Mr. Yeddyurappa to the Governor, staking claim to form the new government, which was submitted to the court today, clearly showed that he had not given any details on how the BJP would bridge the eight-member gap between its strength and the number required for a simple majority. "He had no basis for laying claim to forming the government," he said.
 
The Supreme Court had held a rare midnight hearing on Wednesday on the petitions filed by the Congress and the JD (S) seeking a stay on the swearing-in of Mr. Yeddyurappa, pointing out that the Governor had overlooked their claim that their post-poll alliance had a clear majority in the Assembly.
 
The BJP had won 104 of the 222 seats for which polling was held on May 12, while the Congress, which was ruling the state for the past five years, ended up with 78 seats and the JD (S) with 37 seats.
 
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The Congress and JD (S) announced a post-poll alliance even as the results were coming in, and also claimed that they had the support of two of the three other members in the house, adding up to 117 in all. The Congress had agreed to let JD (S) leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to head the government in case the alliance was invited to form the new government.
 
Mr. Yeddyurappa, also a former Chief Minister, was, meanwhile, elected leader of the BJP legislature party and he, too, staked claim for forming the government, asserting that he would be able to prove his majority in the House. Late on Wednesday night, the  Governor invited Mr. Yeddyurappa to form the government and take the oath of office on Thursday morning.
 
The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court heard the appeals by the Congress and JD (S) from 2 am yesterday till about 5.30 am, when it declined to stay the swearing-in ceremony  but directed that a further hearing on the matter would be held at 10.30 am today.
 
The court had, however, sought the communications which Mr. Yeddyurappa had written to the Karnataka Governor informing him his election as leader of the BJP legislature party.
 
The court said that the swearing-in would be subject to the final outcome of the matter before it.
 
Fearing poaching by the BJP, the Congress and the JD (S) shifted their MLAs out of Karnataka to Hyderabad in Telangana overnight last night. They were lodged in a resort near Bengaluru and a hotel in the state capital for two days after the results of the elections were declared on May 15. The MLAs, who reached Hyderabad by road only this morning, will now have to make their way back to Bengaluru so as to be in time for tomorrow's proceedings.
 
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No stay on Yeddyurappa swearing-in after midnight battle in Supreme Court

Amid jockeying for power in Karnataka, the Supreme Court early on Thursday after a midnight hearing refused to stall the swearing-in of BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa as Karnataka's new Chief Minister.

BJP's chief ministerial candidate B. S. Yeddyurappa speaking to journalists after being elected to the Karnataka Assembly from Shikaripura, in Bengaluru on May 15, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
BJP's chief ministerial candidate B. S. Yeddyurappa speaking to journalists after being elected to the Karnataka Assembly from Shikaripura, in Bengaluru on May 15, 2018. (Photo: IANS)
Amid jockeying for power in Karnataka, the Supreme Court early on Thursday after a midnight hearing refused to stall the swearing-in of BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa as Karnataka's new Chief Minister.
 
The court, however, sought the communications which Yeddyurappa had written to Karnataka Governor informing him his election as BJP legislature party.
 
Yeddyurappa would take the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday at 9.00 a.m. at Raj Bhavan. 
 
The court said that the swearing-in is subject to the final outcome of the matter before it.
 
The bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri, while seeking Yeddyurappa's response on the petition by Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) seeking to stall his swearing-in, has directed further hearing of the matter at 10.30 a.m. on Friday.
 
During the hearing, that commenced at 2.20 a.m. and concluded with the court passing order at 5.30 in the morning, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal was asked to produce the letters which the court was told are with the Karnataka Governor.
 
The top court heard a joint petition by the Congress and JD-S challenging Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision inviting Yeddyurappa to form a new government in the state despite having 104 MLAs -- eight short of simple majority.
 
The court also issued a notice to Yeddyurappa, asking them file a reply even as former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the BJP said how long Yeddyurappa should be given to prove majority could be debated after two days.
 
The petition was filed late on Wednesday night after Governor Vala invited Yeddyurappa for an oath taking ceremony on Thursday at 9 a.m. and gave him days to prove his majority in the legislative assembly.
 
The Congress and the JD-S, who formed a hurriedly stitched post-poll alliance after a hung assembly verdict to claim a majority of 116 members in the new assembly, called the Governor's decision "unconstitutional".
 
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"The BJP has only 104 MLAs, the Governor invited Yeddyurappa to form government in an unconstitutional manner," senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the Congress, told the three-member bench of Justices A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and Ashok Bhushan.
 
Chief Justice Dipak Misra constituted the bench shortly after midnight on Wednesday to hear the matter in court number six of the Supreme Court.
 
Singhvi argued in the fully packed court room and talked about occasions when post-poll alliances have been called despite single largest party.
 
He cited the instances of Goa and Manipur where the Congress had emerged as the single largest party sans majority but post-alliances were invited to form governments.
 
He said in the case of Karnataka, it was unheard of that a Chief Minister who does not have a majority was given 15 days to conduct floor test.
 
"There is only one way a party which got 104 will get 113... I heard he asked for seven days, but the Governor gave 15 days. Elementary common sense and arithmetic against this kind of giving of time," Singhvi said.
 
He said in Jharkhand in 2005, Goa in 2017 and in the Jagadambika Pal case in Uttar Pradesh, the court advanced the date of floor test from seven days to 48 hours.
 
"It is biggest license to poaching if Governor gives 15 days to the BJP to prove majority," he said.
 
To this, the Justices Sikri, Bobde and Bhushan said they were wondering whether the Supreme Court can restrain a Governor that might lead to constitutional vacuum in a state.
 
They said that the general trend of the past Supreme Court judgements was not to issue injunction to Governor or to restrain Governor.
 
Singhvi responded: "It is not like restraining the Governor, who only acted in pursuance of the BJP letter. Act of swearing-in is less than they make it out to be.
 
"If President's rule under Article 356 can be stayed by a court, why not this (decision to invite BJP and give 15 days for floor test) in which a Governor has exercised his discretion without the aid and advice of the Cabinet?"
 
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, in his argument said everything was in the realm of "speculation" as the entire matter was still "a grey area".
 
Rohatgi who appeared for the BJP questioned the urgency of the matter to hear it at midnight.
 
"Will heavens fall if a person is sworn in in the morning?" he said.
 
Justice Sikri asked him to submit before the court how his side was claiming a majority in the House.
 
Venugopal intervened and said, "Everything is reversible. What is the great loss by waiting for 15 days."
 
Justice Bobde countered: "That is the other point. Why wait for 15 days?"
 
Venugopal said it was the Governor's decision and it was an area of darkness how Yeddyurappa was claiming to form the government.
 
"But let the swearing-in go on. This is a purely reversible situation."
 
The court observed that it was "preposterous" to argue that before MLAs take oath they were not amenable to anti-defection law. "It means open invitation to horse-trading."
 
"In a case like this where the opposite side is showing 117 MLAs support, how will you have 112?," Justice Sikri asked Venugopal.
 
The case was still being heard till early morning on Thursday.
 
IANS
 
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BJP takes early lead as counting of votes progresses in Karnataka elections

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took an early lead as counting of votes began in the crucial elections to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly this morning.

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The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took an early lead as counting of votes began in the crucial elections to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly this morning.
 
As early counting trends became available, the BJP, which is hoping to regain power after a gap of five years, was ahead in 44 of the 86 seats from where figures were available, the Election Commission said on its website.
 
The ruling Congress was leading in 25, while the Janata Dal (Secular), headed by former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda, which is expected to play a crucial role in case neither party gets a clear majority, was leading in 17 seats.
 
Polling was held on May 12 for 222 of the 224 elected seats in the 225-member Assembly. One member of the House is nominated.
 
Polling in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency in Bengaluru has been postponed to May 28 following the discovery of about 10,000 voter ID cards in a flat in the area and was countermanded in the Jayanagar constituency in the city after the death of the BJP candidadte, B. N. Vijayakumar.
 
In all, 2,654 candidates are in the fray, including 219 women. They include 222 candidates each from the ruling Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is making a strong bid to regain power after a gap of five years. The Janata Dal (S), headed by former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda, which is expected to play a key role in case neither of the two main contestants gets a clear majority, has fielded 201 candidates. There are about 800 candidates put up by various other national and regional parties and as many as 1,155 independent candidates.
 
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is contesting from two seats -- Chamundeshwari in Mysuru and Badami in Bagalkot district.
 
The BJP's chief ministerial candidate B. S. Yeddyurappa is in the fray from Shikaripura in Shivamogga district, while JD (S) state president and former Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy is contesting from Ramanagara and Channapatna seats.
 
Siddaramaiah has fielded his son Yatindra from his hometown Varuna in Mysuru district. 
 
A record 72.36 percent of the 50.7 million electors had exercised their franchise in the polling on May 12.
 
The results of the Karnataka elections are crucial in that both the Congress and the BJP will see a win in the state as a major morale booster ahead of the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram later this year and, of course, the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
No government in Karnataka has been re-elected to office since Ramakrishna Hegde managed the feat at the head of the Janata Party government way back in 1985.
 
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High-voltage Karnataka battle ends, millions vote

A high-stake battle for the Karnataka Assembly ended on Saturday evening, with around 30 million voting in an election crucial for the ruling Congress as well as the BJP and the JD-S.

 
First time voters in Karnataka share their expectations
 
 
A high-stake battle for the Karnataka Assembly ended on Saturday evening, with around 30 million voting in an election crucial for the ruling Congress as well as the BJP and the JD-S.
 
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he was "very very confident" that the Congress would retain power in the only major southern state it now rules as officials said more than 60 per cent of the over 5.06-crore electorate had voted till 6 p.m.
 
"Voting has been peaceful by and large barring a few incidents of some non-functional EVMs, missing voter names and procedural delays," an official told IANS.
 
All three main contenders for power -- the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) -- claimed they would win hands down.
 
The BJP's Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was among the first to vote at Shikaripura in Shivamogga district. He has claimed that the BJP will secure 140-150 seats and that he will invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his swearing in.
 
Siddaramaiah ridiculed him after voting on Saturday, saying the BJP leader was "mentally disturbed" and that the Congress was sure of bagging more than 120 seats.
 
JD-S chief and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, his wife Chennamma and second son H.D. Revanna cast their votes in their hometown Holenarsipura in Hassan district.
 
"We expect a possibility of forming the government as we have done well to get a majority," Deve Gowda told reporters.
 
Many in Bengaluru lined up outside polling centres since 6.30 a.m. to beat the early rush.
 
Polling in Bengaluru's Raja Rajeshwari Nagar segment has been postponed to May 28 following the discovery of voter ID cards and cancelled in the city's Jayanagar seat following the death of BJP contestant B.N. Vijaya Kumar.
 
In all, voting is being conducted in 26 of the 28 constituencies in the city.
 
Karnataka has over 5.06 crore electors, including 2.6 crore men and 2.5 crore women. A total of 15.42 lakh voters, aged 18-19, have registered for the first time.
 
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The highest number of voters (6.03 lakh) are in Bengaluru South and the lowest (1.7 lakh) at Sringeri in Chikkamagaluru district.
 
Polling is being held in 58,008 stations in 30 districts, with 600 of them dubbed 'pink booths', overseen by women personnel. Over 1.5 lakh security personnel have been deployed.
 
The vote count will take place on May 15.
 
In all, 2,654 candidates are in the fray, including 219 women. A total of 222 are from the Congress and BJP each, 201 from JD-S, 1,155 Independents and 800 from other national, regional and fringe parties. About 450 contestants are in the battle from Bengaluru.
 
Siddaramaiah is contesting from Chamundeshwari at Mysuru and Badami in Bagalkot district.
 
BJP's Lok Sabha member from Ballari B.R. Sriramaulu, contesting from two seats including Badami and Molakamuru (reserved) seat in Chitradurga district, on Saturday worshipped a cow and visited temples before voting.
 
JD-S state president and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is in the fray from Ramanagara and Channapatna seats. BJP state unit President Yeddyurappa is contesting from Shikaripura in Shivamogga district.
 
Siddaramaiah has fielded his son Yatindra from his hometown Varuna in Mysuru district.
 
IANS
 
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Brisk voting underway in Karnataka Assembly polls

Voting began on Saturday on a brisk note across Karnataka to elect its 15th Legislative Assembly for a five-year term.

 
Voting begins in Karnataka Assembly Elections
 
 
Voting began on Saturday on a brisk note across Karnataka to elect its 15th Legislative Assembly for a five-year term.
 
"Peaceful polling is being held in 222 of the 224 constituencies, including 36 segments reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SC), 15 for Scheduled Tribes (ST) under tight security," an official told IANS here.
 
Denizens of Bengaluru were seen lined up outside polling booths from 6.30 a.m. to beat the rush in casting their ballots as voting began at 7 a.m.
 
Polling in Bengaluru's Raja Rajeshwari (RR) Nagar segment has been postponed to May 28 following the voter ID cards case and countermanded in the city's Jayanagar seat following the death of BJP contestant B.N. Vijaya Kumar on May 4.
 
In all, voting is being conducted across 26 of the 28 constituencies in the city.
 
During the initial hour of voting, there were reports of electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioning in some booths; power crisis in a polling station in Rajajinagar seat; voters' names missing at few booths and women clad in burqa made to reveal their faces at a Belagavi polling booth -- that led to a few hiccups.
 
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was among the first to cast his vote in Shikaripura segment in Shivamogga district of Malnad region.
 
The state has over 5.06 crore voters, including 2.56 crore men, 2.5 crore women and over 5,000 who identify themselves as the third gender.
 
A total of 15.42 lakh voters, aged 18-19, have registered to cast their ballot for the first time.
 
Voting is being held in 58,008 polling stations of 30 districts across the state, with 600 of them as pink booths, manned by all-women personnel, and 28 ethnic booths.
 
Over 1.5 lakh personnel have been stationed across the state for the election, with paramilitary forces from 585 state and central companies at 20,826 polling booths, including 12,001 critical booths.
 
Voting will continue till 6 p.m. and votes will be counted on May 15. 
 
IANS
 
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Congress, BJP lock horns in Karnataka's triangular poll contest

The ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have locked horns to outsmart each other in the Karnataka assembly election on Saturday, with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) making the contest triangular.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi and BJP President Amit Shah addressing press conference on the last day of campaigning for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, in Bengaluru on May 11, 2018.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and BJP President Amit Shah addressing press conference on the last day of campaigning for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, in Bengaluru on May 11, 2018.
The ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have locked horns to outsmart each other in the Karnataka assembly election on Saturday, with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) making the contest triangular.
 
As the only assembly poll being held in the peak summer, wth temperatures soaring, the battle royal at the hustings has the nation glued to the southern state where the stakes are high for both the national parties whose prospects the JD-S can make or mar as a kingmaker or spoiler in a fractured verdict.
 
"If the Congress is desperate to retain power defying anti-incumbency, the BJP is impatient to return to power in south India after losing badly five years ago, while the JD-S wages a lone battle to play a key role in the new government formation," a poll analyst told IANS on Friday ahead of D-day.
 
Single-phase polling will be held across the state in 223 assembly segments, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 15 for the Scheduled Tribes (STs) candidates. The election in south Bengaluru's Jayanagar constituency was countermanded following the death of BJP's candidate B.N. Vijayakumar on May 4. One member is nominated in the 225-member assembly.
 
A total of 4.97-crore electorate includes 2.52-crore men and 2.45-crore women. They will cast their ballots in 56,696 polling booths across the state amidst tight security, with 45,000 personnel from 585 the central and state forces deployed.
 
"In all, 2,654 candidates are in the fray, including 219 women; 222 are from the Congress, 222 from BJP, 201 from JD-S, 1,155 Independents and about 800 from other national, regional and fringe parties," state Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told IANS after scrutiny and withdrawals on April 27.
 
With the largest number (28) of assembly seats in a district, Bengaluru will witness a battle of sorts as 449 contestants, including 37 women, are in the race.
 
Though the Congress returned to power in 2013 after losing the mandate in the 2004 and 2008 elections, it is betting on the 'performance" of its government, under Siddaramaiah, the only Chief Minister to have completed a five-year term 40 years after the party's legendary Devaraj Urs in 1978.
 
"When the votes are counted on May 15, we will know if the Siddaramaiah-led Congress is lucky to beat anti-incumbency and return power as no outgoing party could do over the last four decades," the analyst said.
 
As the second among the six southern states to be in power besides Puducherry, the Congress has been sweating out to hold on to Karnataka, as its outcome will decide not only Siddaramaiah's fate, but also the fortunes of his party's new president, Rahul Gandhi, who took over the mantle from his mother Sonia Gandhi in mid-December 2017.
 
"More than Gandhi, the party's state unit leaders are anxious to win the election at any cost so that they could credit it to him (Rahul) for leading the party to victory and revive its fortunes for the 2019 general elections," said Pradeep Puranik, a poll pandit in this tech hub.
 
According to Congress state unit vice-president B.K. Chandrashekar, the ruling party would get 115 seats, which are more than the halfway mark (113) and will retain power.
 
"Our welfare schemes like Indira canteens, 7 kg free rice per person for every household, free milk to school students and free education to girls up to post-graduation will work in our favour, with large number of women wanting to vote. We are confident of getting majority," Chandrashekar told IANS.
 
In contrast, the BJP has pulled all stops to free Karnataka also from the Congress yoke and consolidate its position for its expansion south of the Vindhyas.
 
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The BJP declared its popular Lingayat leader, B.S. Yedduyurappa, as its chief ministerial nominee even before the elections were announced on March 27 although he was responsible for its defeat in the 2013 poll after he left it and formed the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP), which split its votes.
 
The 75-year-old veteran politician, however, returned to BJP in early 2014, was elected to the Lok Sabha from his home district Shivamogga in the Malnad region and was made its state unit president for leading it in the crucial assembly polls.
 
Yeddurappa was also the party's first Chief Minister in south India for three years from May 2008 to July 2011, when he was forced to resign following his indictment by the state's anti-graft watchdog (Lokayukta) in the multi-crore mining scam that rocked Karnataka for over a decade (2001-11).
 
"We are hopeful of getting majority due to palpable anti-incumbency against the Congress. We are confident of a decisive mandate to form the government on our own strength and without the support of other parties, as coalitions have failed in the past," BJP spokesperson Malavika Avinash told IANS.
 
The BJP and Yeddyurappa were beneficiaries of a 'sympathy wave' in the 2008 assembly election after coalition partner JD-S withdrew support to them in November 2007, resulting in President's rule for six months.
 
The BJP is also betting on the 'popularity' of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the development model of its NDA government at the Centre over the past four years to again upstage the Congress and JD-S this time.
 
Modi campaigned extensively across the state with 21 rallies over five days from May 1-9 and drew huge crowds with his extempore speeches in Hindi that were translated into Kannada for the benefit of the local people.
 
The JD-S, on the other hand, has been working overtime to win the poll battle on the plank of being a regional party that alone takes care of the people in the face of national parties letting down the state on all fronts.
 
"We will be single largest party with more number of seats, followed by the BJP and the Congress. With the help of Independents, we will form the next government, as the people want a local party like ours to be in power this time, as the national parties have deceived them," JD-S spokesman Ramesh Babu told IANS.
 
IANS
 
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RSS trying to crush Karnataka's spirit: Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of trying to crush the spirit of the people of Karnataka and said the Congress will win Saturday's Assembly polls hands down.

 
BJP doesn't understand meaning of term 'Hindu': Rahul Gandhi
 
 
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of trying to crush the spirit of the people of Karnataka and said the Congress will win Saturday's Assembly polls hands down.
 
Gandhi, who addressed a press conference here on the last day of campaigning, said that the Karnataka polls were not just between two political parties but between two ideologies. 
 
He alleged that the RSS was imposing its idea of oneness and was against the people of Karnataka to express themselves. 
 
"There is an idea in India that says the entire country must be ruled with one idea, one imposition and everybody must submit to that idea. That is what RSS is trying to do. Institution after institution is being attacked by the RSS," he said. 
 
"Supreme Court judges for the first time are asking people for justice. The reason for this is because the RSS is placing its people everywhere. My friends in Karnataka listen to this carefully. The idea is to crush your spirit. We will never ever allow your spirit and ideas of Basavanna to be crushed," he said 
 
The Congress President also ruled out the possibility of a hung assembly in the state. 
 
"I am pretty clear that there is going to be one outcome here which is the Congress party winning the elections hands down," Gandhi said. 
 
"On one side you have the RSS idea of one concept in the whole country. On the other, you have an idea that every single person in the country should be able to express himself, that all my friends in Karnataka should have pride in their language, in their food. That is what this fight has become. There is no half-way answer possible in this," he noted. 
 
Gandhi said the media had estimated only a few seats to Congress in Gujarat but the party came very close to defeating the BJP whose campaign was spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
 
"In Gujarat, my friends in the media said Congress will not get more than 20-30 seats. Congress came very close to defeating BJP. The Prime Minister put whatever effort he could," he added. 
 
IANS
 
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Congress, JD-S in poll tie-up, pretending to fight: Modi

Taking head-on the two rival parties of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday charged the ruling Congress and the JD-S of being in tacit alliance for the May 12 Karnataka assembly polls while pretending to fight in parts of the southern state.

 
Congress doesn't care about farmers,says Modi
 
 
Taking head-on the two rival parties of the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday charged the ruling Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) of being in tacit alliance for the May 12 Karnataka assembly polls while pretending to fight in parts of the southern state.
 
"The people of Karnataka have right to know about the alliance between Congress and JD-S because they pretend to fight in some parts of the state while being together in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as evident from the latter's support to the ruling party's corporator (Sampath Raj) in becoming the city mayor last year," asserted Modi at a public rally, organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to campaign for its candidates in the northwest district, about 70 km from here.
 
The Congress and JD-S had tied up to run the Bengaluru civic body after the 2017 elections for the state capital's 198 wards, denying BJP the mayoral post.
 
The JD-S also supported the Congress candidate Sampath Raj in becoming the city mayor in 2017.
 
Incidentally, Raj is a Congress contestant in the C.V. Raman Nagar assembly segment in the city's southeast suburb against P. Ramesh of JD-S and the two-time legislator S. Raghu of BJP.
 
Modi also alleged that the JD-S was working towards saving the Congress in the assembly elections.
 
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"The Congress doesn't speak the truth. Its members lie every day and if anyone is trying to save the image of the Congress, it is the JD-S," he alleged.
 
Reiterating his argument from earlier rallies, Modi told the voters that there was no way the JD-S could defeat the Congress to form a government.
 
"If there's a party that is capable of bringing change in the government and to the state of Karnataka and its people, it is the BJP, under the leadership of (its Chief Ministerial face) B.S. Yeddyurappa," thundered Modi.
 
The Congress-led government in the state failed to even ensure supply of water to the state, due to which several farmers had to commit suicide, he lamented.
 
Alleging the Congress was doing only "lip-service" to the farmers' issues, while indulging in corruption themselves, he said BJP has taken on a full-fledged battle against corruption.
 
"There is no way this kind of corruption can be tolerated," he reiterated.
 
Modi is on his third visit to the poll-bound state this month ahead of the May 12 Assembly polls.
 
He will later be addressing rallies in Gadag, Mangaluru and Shivamogga.
 
IANS
 
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10 dead in Kerala, TN, several fishermen missing as cyclone Ockhi heads for Lakshadweep

Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands on Friday.

 
Cyclone Ockhi: 8 killed, several fishermen missing
Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands today.
 
Four people were killed in south Kerala and five in south Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents yesterday even as the authorities mounted a massive search and rescue operation for scores of fishermen reported missing at sea.
 
One fisherman, who was among those rescued today, died in hospital here today, taking the toll in Kerala to five, official sources said.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a warning of a very severe cyclone for Lakshadweep Islands this evening and said the system was likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.
 
In a Red message issued at 1730 hours today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the system, now over the Lakshadweep  area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea, continued to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph during the past six hours and intensified further into a "Very Severe Cyclonic Storm".
 
It lay centred at 1430 hours IST today near latitude 9.1º N and longitude 73.0º E, about 90 km north of Minicoy and 220 km south-southeast of Amini Divi. 
 
"The system is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours. It is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards across Lakshadweep Islands during next 24 hours and then move north/ northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours," the bulletin said.
 
The IMD warned that, under the influence of the system, heavy to very heavy rainfall was very likely at most places over Lakshadweep area during the next 24 hours, with isolated extremely heavy falls. There could be isolated heavy to very heavy falls during the subsequent 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin also said that rainfall was very likely at many places over Kerala during the next 24 hours, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.
 
According to it, gale winds, with speed reaching 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, were very likely over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and gradual decrease thereafter.
 
Squally winds, with speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, were very likely along and off Kerala during the next 24 hours and along and off Karnataka coast during the next 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin said sea conditions would be phenomenal over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and very high during the subsequent 24 hours.
 
Sea conditions would be high to very high along and off the Kerala coast during the next 24 hours and along and off the Karnataka coast during subsequent 24 hours.
 
The cyclone could cause damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of tree branches and uprooting of large avenue trees; major damage to thatched houses, huts and kutcha houses; some damage to pucca roads; flooding of escape routes; and damage to banana and papaya trees and standing crops.
 
Storm surge of about one metre above astronomical tides was very likely to inundate low lying areas of Lakshadweep Islands, the bulletin said.
 
Fishermen along and off Lakshadweep Islands were advised not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. Similarly, fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Kerala and Karnataka coasts during the next 48 hours.
 
Ships and aircraft of the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were involved in the rescue efforts at sea while teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in the affected areas in the two states and units of the Indian Army were on standby to come to the aid of the civil adminstration, if necessary.
 
Official sources here said more than 220 people had been rescued from the sea by the Navy, ICG and IAF. Many of them were admitted to hospitals here for treatment, they said. 
 
Some of the fishermen were rescued by a Japanese cargo ship in the area. As many as 37 people were rescued by Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) of the Indian Navy which flew between Thiruvananthapuram and the sea.
 
The ICG said it had deployed nine ships and two Dornier aircraft in the area and rescued as many as 52 fishermen so far.
 
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The International Safety Net (ISN) had been activated to advise Merchant Traffic to render assistance to stranded fishermen, it said.
 
Among others, Indian Naval Ships Sagardhwani, Jamuna and Nireekshak were in the affected areas in the Arabian Sea. INS Sharda and Shardul are also sailing out soon to augment the search effort. Both ships were in final stages of embarking HADR items for assistance at Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, Indian Navy sources said.
 
In Poonthura, a coastal village near here, angry groups of fishermen and their families staged protests, alleging that the government had not acted in time and not done enough as far as the rescue efforts were concerned. 
 
Former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, both senior leaders of the Congress, visited the area today to listen to the woes of the villagers.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told newspersons that the state government had received an alert about the cyclone only on Thursday afternoon. He said the rescue efforts were also hampered by the bad weather conditions.
 
Mr. Vijayan said all possible efforts were being made to locate and rescue the missing fishermen. He said the state government had urged the Ministry of Defence to deploy more aircraft for the search and rescue operations.
 
In Lakshadweep, the authorities had issued orders for the evacuation of people from low-lying areas in Kalpeni, Minicoy, Kavratti, Agatti, Androth, Kadamath and Amini islands.
 
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Jayalalithaa acquitted in corruption case, paving way for her return as TN CM

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today acquitted by the Karnataka High Court here in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.
 
The High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Reading out the operative part of the judgement at 11 am in the court, Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state.
 
Today's acquittal means that Ms Jayalithaa, supremo of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), can return as Chief Minister.
 
After she had stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29 last year.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. She was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, a film star-turned-politician, and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The special court had sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
 
Jayalalithaa acquitted by Karnataka HC in corruption case
Celebrations broke out among Ms Jayalalithaa's supporters all across Tamil Nadu as well as outside the high court here, where they had gathered in large numbers.
 
Hundreds of people who had congregated outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai since early morning burst firecrackers, danced and distributed sweets as soon as news of the verdict by Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy ame in.
 
Mr Panneerselvam and many of his Cabinet colleagues also turned up to congratulate her.
 
On October 17 last year, Ms Jayalalithaa had been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the case after the Karnataka High Court had turned down her application.
 
Along with her, the apex court also granted bail to Ms Natarajan, Mr Sudhakaran and Mr Ilavarasi.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Ms Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

 
10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
 
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
 
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
 
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He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
  
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
 
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
 
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
 
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143
 
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SC grants bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
The Supreme Court today granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who were convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 66, the apex court also granted bail to her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each.
 
The Karnataka High Court had, on October 7, rejected Ms Jayalalithaa's bail application. While doing so, Judge A V Chandrashekhara recalled that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the past that corruption cases should be put on the fast track. He pointed out that the apex court had taken a tough stand in such cases and had described corruption as a "violation of human rights".
 
Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9.
 

 
Jayalalithaa granted interim bail by SC in DA case
The apex court today suspended her sentence and granted her bail after imposing some conditions, including that she would have to submit her paprs for the appeal against her conviction within two months, that is by December 18, and that she would not seek any adjournment of the hearings. 
 
As soon as news of the court's decision to grant her bail came, hundreds of supporters of Ms Jayalalithaa in Chennai and elsewhere broke out into rapturous celebrations.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, who has been held in prison in Bangalore since September 27, is expected to be released on bail later today or tomorrow. She will remain confined to home in Chennai while she is on bail.
 
The court fixed December 18 as the date to satisfy itself if she had complied with its order.
 
Her counsel Fali Nariman assured the court on her behalf that there would be no act of lawlessness by her party's workers in Tamil Nadu. She had sought bail on the grounds that she was suffering from various ailments and that she was a senior citizen and a woman.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly after her conviction and sentence and had to resign as Chief Minister. She is also barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
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The court held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state and emerging as the third largest party in the House.
 
Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are due in 2016 and unless her conviction is overturned by a higher court, Ms Jayalalithaa cannot contest them.
 
After Ms Jayalalithaa stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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1 dead, 14 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station on Thursday morning.

 
Chennai train blasts: 14 injured passengers stable
A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
 
Southern Railway sources said two of the injured had suffered serious grievous injuries while the others had received minor injuries.
 
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters at the scene that the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train arrived on platform number 9.
 
Three coaches of the train -- S3, S4 and S5 -- were affected by the two explosions, the sources said.
 
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said. Media reports said she was an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
 
Sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under seat 70 of coach S4 and seat 30 of coach S5.
 
Mr Mishra said the train was running slightly late and had arrived at the station at 7.05 am instead of its scheduled time of 5.45 am.
 
The injured were rushed immediately to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital near the station.
 
Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passenger, Rs 25,000 for each of those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for each of those with minor injuries.
 
Police officials, accompanied by dog squads and bomb disposal squads, rushed to the scene of the blasts immediately and platform number 9 was cordoned off.
 
The entire train was checked by the police and it later resumed its journey to Guwahati, Assam after the affected coaches were detached and replaced with new coaches.
 
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and it would resume its journey to Guwahati, Assam an hour later after the two affected coaches are detached.
 
The Railways have set up a helpline at Chennai on telephone number 044-25357398 to provide information to relatives of the passengers of the affected train.
 
Operations on other platforms as well as on the nearby suburban section continued to remain normal, Mr Mishra added.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will reach Chennai later today to probe the incident.
 
Security was intensified at Chennai Central railway station after the incidents.
 
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Among the seriously injured passengers, one was identified as Sumantho Devnath (37, Male), while the other was an unidentified male.
 
Those with minor injuries were identified as follows:
 
1. Shaiful Haque – 27 years Male
2. Anjanedu– 29 years Male
3. Vimal Kumar Das – 43 years Male
4. Shagun Kumar Rai– 23 years Male
5. Altaf Khan – 17 years Male
6. Uma – 35 years Female
7. Jitendra Mohanto Deka – 58 years Male
8. Sari – 21 years Male
9. Murali – 27 years Male
10. Bijoy Kumar – 14 years Male
11. Sudanchand Debnath – 64 years Male
12. Surendra Varma– 31 years Male
 
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Kannada actor, three accomplices arrested on assault charge

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Kannada cine star 'Duniya' Vijay and his three friends were arrested here on charge of assaulting a gym trainer, police said on Sunday.
 
"We have taken Vijay (44) and his three friends into custody on a complaint by the victim's relative Kitti for questioning though there are conflicting reports about the crime and its reasons," Assistant Police Commissioner (West) Ravi Shankar said.
 
A metropolitan court remanded the accused in 14-day judicial custody till October 6 after the police produced them before its judge at his residence in the city.
 
"The accused have been lodged in the city central jail, as they have been remanded to judicial custody for investigating the assault charge," said Shankar.
 
According to the complaint, the accused forcibly whisked away gym trainer Maruti Gowda outside an event hall on Saturday night and assaulted him in a moving car before freeing him after police warned the actor.
 
"The accused and the victim went to watch a bodybuilding event at the Ambedkar Bhavan in the city centre on Saturday night and quarrelled over some issue. They forcibly pushed Gowda into a car and drove away and thrashed him for over an hour while driving around the city," said Katti in the complaint.
 
Denying the assault, Vijay told the police that it was his fans who attacked the latter for abusing him during the fracas at the hall.
 
"We will investigate the case after recording the statement of the victim, admitted at a private hospital with bruises," said Shankar.
 
The 'rebel' actor shot to fame when his fans began calling him Duniya Vijay after his Kannada film "Duniya" became a blockbuster over a decade ago.
 
Some of Vijay's other films like "Chanda", "Junglee", "Johny Mera Naam Preethi Mera Kaam" and "Jayammana Maga" have also turned into box office hits since then.
 
According to international magazine Forbes latest list of wealthy Indians in the celluloid world, Vijay's net worth is $21 million (Rs 151 crore).
 
"Vijay is on bail after he was arrested in another case on June 8 on charge of obstructing police from investigating an accidental death of two stunt actors by drowning during a film shoot in a city lake in November 2016, in which he was the hero," a police officer said.
 
IANS
 

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Rajnath chairs Southern Zonal Council Meeting, 27 items discussed, 22 resolved

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the 28th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council here on Tuesday at which 27 issues came up for discussion and 22 were resolved.
 
The Council expressed deep sorrow and sympathy to the people who lost their lives and property in the floods caused by the fury of the monsoon in the southern part of the country. The Council was informed that the Central Government would not lag behind in providing the requisite assistance to the States concerned in this regard.
 
The Council reviewed the progress of the implementation of the recommendations made at the last meeting relating to security to fishermen, introduction of peninsular tourism trains, uniformity in allocation of funds in proportion to population of SC/ST for scholarship for all the courses, optimum harnessing of renewable energy available in the Southern States without endangering grid security and development of Puducherry Airport.
 
Thereafter, the Council took up issues which relate to Pulicat lake dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu fishermen over fishing rights, menace of red sander smuggling in the holy Seshachalam hills, and supply of Krishna water to augment the drinking water supply to Chennai city.
 
Issues relating to fishing in coastal States in Southern Zone, checking of antibiotic residues in aquaculture shrimp export, scheme for modernization of State Police Forces in the States of Southern Zone, issuance of 'No Objection Certificate' (NOC) for LPG godown site plan, and issues pertaining to the biofuels programme also figured in the meeting.
 
Prior to the meeting of the Council, the Standing Committee of the Council met here on November 28, 2017 when seven issues were resolved. These were the extension of high speed rail corridor between Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore up to Udupi, revision of ceiling on Profession Tax by the Union Government, giving infrastructure status to housing by the Central Government, inter-State animal movement, promotion of oil seeds and oil palm cultivation to augment availability of vegetable oils, inclusion of Puducherry in Central Finance Commission and security of fishermen from Puducherry.
 
The five Zonal Councils (Western, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Center Zonal Councils) were set up under the States Re-organisation Act, 1956 to foster Inter-State cooperation and coordination among the States.
 
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The Zonal Councils are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-State transport, and so on.
 
They are the regional fora of cooperative endeavour for States linked with each other economically, politically and culturally. Being compact high level bodies, specially meant for looking after the interests of respective Zones, they are capable of focusing attention on specific issues taking into account regional factors, while keeping the national perspective in view.
 
It was emphasized that it has been the objective of the present Government to strengthen the institution of the Zonal Councils as well as the Inter-State Council in order to promote and maintain a good federal atmosphere of cooperation among the States and between the Centre and the States as well.
 
As a result, during the last four years, two Council meetings and three Standing Committee meetings of the Southern Zonal Council were held. Apart from this, eight Council meetings and twelve Standing Committee meetings of other Zones were also held. In these meetings, about 600 issues were discussed, out of which 406 issues were resolved.
 
The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Puducherry; Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu; Finance Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment and Minister for Tourism, Karnataka; Minister for Health, Puducherry and the Union Minister of State for Home, Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and senior officers from the Central and State Governments.
 
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Petrol, diesel to be cheaper by Rs 2 in Karnataka

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Petrol and diesel will be cheaper by Rs 2 per litre across Karnataka from Tuesday following a reduction in state cess, the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said on Monday.
 
"The sales tax levied by the state on petrol and diesel is 32 per cent and 21 per cent respectively, which has been reduced by 3.25 per cent and 3.27 per cent respectively," the statement added.
 
"... the fuel price will thus decrease by Rs 2 per litre," the CMO tweeted.
 
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy also announced the relief at a public event at Kalaburagi, about 620 km from here.
 
Petrol price in Bengaluru is Rs 84.74 per litre and diesel Rs 76.16 per litre, according to the Indian Oil Corp. The average prices of petrol and diesel across the state are Rs 84.80 and Rs 76.21 per litre respectively.
 
Bengaluru has lakhs of vehicles, including 45-50 lakh two-wheelers and 20-25 lakh cars and other four-wheelers. 
 
Andhra Pradesh had earlier announced reduction in petrol and diesel prices by Rs 2 per litre. Rajasthan reduced the fuel prices by around Rs 2.50 by cutting Value Added Tax by 4 per cent. West Bengal too had reduced the price by Re 1.
 
IANS
 

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Congress wins majority in Karnataka civic polls

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Karnataka's ruling coalition partner, the Congress, won a majority of the seats across 10 of 22 districts during vote count for 105 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) on Monday, the State Election Commission (SEC) said.
 
In the civic body polls held on August 31, the Congress has won 982 seats out of the total 2,662 seats, with a majority in 10 districts including Ballari, Bidar, Gadag, Mysuru, Uttara Kannada and Raichur, the SEC said in its website.
 
On the other hand, the Congress' leading ally in the state government, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), trailed behind winning 375 seats and a majority in its strongholds of Hassan, Mandya and Tumakuru districts.
 
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 929 seats, with majority in seven districts including the coastal districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada.
 
Independents won 329 seats across the 22 districts, while other fringe parties and regional outfits won another 34.
 
The civic election verdict shows the BJP performed well in its traditional bastions of coastal districts, while the Congress retained its position in its strongholds of northern districts.
 
The result in Vijayapura district in the northern part of the state threw a hung verdict, with both Congress and BJP winning eight seats each of the total 23 seats, while JD-S won two seats and Independents five.
 
In the event of no party getting majority on its own in the election, the Congress and the JD-S have decided to forge a post-poll alliance to keep the BJP out of power, similar to May 12 state Assembly election which threw up a hung verdict, a JD-S official told IANS earlier.
 
Polling took place last Friday across 22 districts of the state spread over 29 city municipalities, 53 town municipalities, 23 town panchayats and 135 wards of three city corporations -- Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru.
 
A record average of 67.5 per cent voter turnout was registered across the state for the civic polls.
 
The polling in 45 seats of Kodagu district's civic bodies has been postponed due to recent heavy rains and flooding in the region.
 
In the 2013 ULB elections held in 4,976 seats, the Congress had won 1,960 seats, while BJP and JD-S had won 905 seats each, and Independents bagged the remaining 1,206 seats.
 
IANS
 

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Voting underway in Karnataka civic polls

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Moderate polling is underway since this morning for the election to 102 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) across Karnataka, a poll official said on Friday.
 
Polling started at 7 a.m. amid tight security, the official added.
 
About 40,000 security personnel have been deployed in cities and towns to maintain law and order across the state where voting will continue till 5 p.m.
 
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being used in the poll.
 
Voting is being held in 2,529 wards spread over 29 city municipalities, 53 town municipalities and 23 town panchayats and in 135 wards of the three city corporations.
 
In all, 8,340 candidates, including 2,306 from the Congress, 2,203 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and 1,397 from the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) are in the fray for the ULBs, while 814 are contesting in the city corporations, including 135 from Congress, 130 from BJP and 129 from JD-S.
 
A total of 36 lakh voters are registered for exercising franchise in the ULB wards and 13.33 lakh in the three towns of Mysuru, Shivamogga and Tumakuru.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on September 3 and most of the results are expected by night or early the next day.
 
Though the civic election was earlier scheduled to be held in 105 ULBs, it has been postponed in three of them -- Somwarpet, Virajpet and Kushalnagar due to heavy rains and flash floods early in August in the Kodagu district, about 270km from here.
 
In the 2013 ULB elections held in 4,976 seats, the Congress had won 1,960 seats, while BJP and JD-S had won 905 seats each. Independents bagged the remaining 1,206 seats.
 
IANS
 

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Kumaraswamy regrets tiff over Nirmala visit to Kodagu

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Terming the controversy over Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to Karnataka's flood-hit Kodagu district on Friday as unfortunate, Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday regretted the inconveniences caused to her.
 
"Though the state government and the district administration have ensured and followed protocol despite the tough situation in the region during her visit, it was unfortunate that the Defence Minister had to go through certain inconveniences which we regret," said Kumaraswamy in a post on the social media platforms Facebook and Twitter.
 
Admitting that he was pained at the turn of events, the Chief Minister said he spoke to her on the reported tiff over protocol with state Tourism and district in-charge Minister Sa Ra Mahesh.
 
"I believe this is the time to forget the differences and forgive each other and join hands in the rehabilitation of the flood-affected people. The grave situation in the district warrants it. I look forward to the support of the central government, especially of the Defence Minister," said Kumaraswamy.
 
Lauding Nirmala Sitharaman for helping the state government in the rescue operations and visiting the flood-hit areas, the Chief Minister said the state and relief agencies were jointly working to rehabilitate the flood-hit people with the Union government's support.
 
"Mahesh has tirelessly worked to oversee the rescue and relief operations by being with the teams on the ground since day one," he said.
 
Kumaraswamy's comments came a day after the Defence Ministry clarified reports in the media that Nirmala Sitharaman was "angry with Mahesh" at the flood-review meeting at Madikeri over the issue of protocol.
 
The media reports also alleged that Mahesh made personal remarks against the Minister.
 
The controversy arose when Mahesh objected to the Defence Minister meeting ex-servicemen, as her visit was for reviewing the rescue and relief operations in which the Army, Navy and Air Force were also involved.
 
"On completion of the field visit, as per the programme, the Defence Minister was interacting with ex-servicemen who had also been affected by the floods when the (state) Minister insisted that meeting with the officials be conducted first," said the Ministry in a statement.
 
When Nirmala Sitharaman clarified to Mahesh that ex-servicemen's welfare was part of her ministry and her meeting with them was scheduled in the programme by the district administration, the latter insisted that she stop the interaction and proceed to the review meeting with the officials.
 
IANS
 
 

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Defence Ministry says remarks by Karnataka Minister about Nirmala Sitharaman in "poor taste"

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Stating that certain personal remarks made by Karnataka Minister Sa Ra Mahesh, the Kodagu district in-charge, against Defence Minister Niramala Sitharaman were in "poor taste", the Ministry of Defence today said they had “lowered the dignity of the upper house of  Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and show utter lack of regard and knowledge about the Indian polity.”
 
The statement came following a controversy that arose during a flood review meeting with the district administration by Ms. Sitharaman, who was on a visit to Kodagu.
 
Media reports had referred to the Minister expressing her anger with Mr Mahesh when he insisted that a meeting with district officials involved in relief work be conducted first as they had to leave for relief work in the flood and landslide-affected district in southern Karnataka.
 
The Ministry, in a statement, said, “In order to clarify the matter, it is imperative that a detailed account of the sequence of events is brought out. The tour programme of the Defence Minister was finalised by the district administration of Kodagu in consultation with the public representatives. This programme was approved and circulated to all concerned two days prior to her arrival.  Subsequently, on the request of the district administration, an interaction with the veterans was added to the schedule.
 
“On completion of the field visits, as per the program, she was interacting with ex-servicemen who had been adversely affected by the floods, when the District in-charge minister objected and insisted that meeting with the officials be conducted first. Ms Sitharaman clarified that the welfare of ex-servicemen was an essential part of the Ministry of Defence and the same was scheduled in the programme. However, the district minister insisted that the RM (Raksha Mantri) immediately stop the interaction and proceed to the meeting with the officials.
 
“While it was extremely unfortunate, in order to avoid the situation from deteriorating, she immediately halted the meeting and proceeded to the venue of the meeting with the officials. The venue was already set up for the press conference and hurriedly the officials were summoned to sit among the mediapersons for the review. It was unprecedented to hold a meeting with the officials, with all the mediapersons present.
 
“The Minister then heard the grievances of the waiting ex-servicemen. In spite of district administration finalising the programme and Ms Sitharaman following the same in its entirety, it is unfortunate that the Minister behaved the way he did.  Subsequently, the personal remarks made against her were also in bad taste, which does not merit a response.”
 
“It has also been noted that there has been gross misrepresentation with regard to the use of the term ‘parivar’ by the Minister during the press conference. One of the four departments of the Ministry of Defence is the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare and in that context, it was stated that all ex-servicemen are part of the MoD ‘parivar’. Any other inference is misconstrued and uncalled for,” the statement added.
 
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Karnataka seeks Rs 2,000 crore aid from Centre for flood victims

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Karnataka on Friday sought Rs 2,000 crore interim relief from the central government for relief and rehabilitation of flood victims in the southern state's Kodagu district.
 
"I appeal to you to release an interim relief of Rs 2,000 crore to enable the state government rehabilitate Kodagu's flood-hit victims," said state Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.
 
The Chief Minister's office released the letter to the media on Friday night.
 
As per initial estimates, the huge loss caused by heavy rains, floods and landslides to the infrastructure, public property and crops is feared to be Rs 3,000 crore.
 
The letter also highlighted the large-scale destruction the natural calamity caused to crops, coffee plantations, spices and arecanut (beetle nuts) across the hilly district, about 270 km southwest of Bengaluru.
 
Thanking Modi for enquiring about the situation in Kodagu on August 19 and providing help in the rescue operations through the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, the Chief Minister said the landslides changed the geomorphology and river course in the region.
 
"As the arterial roads connecting Kodagu have been battered, relief operations and the movement of essentials like food, drinking water and medicines were hampered," recalled Kumaraswamy. 
 
The torrential rains, landslips and floods during the southwest monsoon from August 14-22, claimed 17 lives and damaged over 2,200 houses.
 
"Undeterred by the devastation, the state machinery and the district administration rescued over 4,500 people and provided shelter to 7,500 people in 53 relief camps, served 50,000 food packets and supplied rice, oil, pulses, salt and sugar," added the letter.
 
IANS
 

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3,500 rescued in Kodagu, rains hit rescue work

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About 3,500 marooned people were rescued in Karnataka's worst flood-hit Kodagu district even as incessant rains hampered relief work, the government said on Sunday.
 
"The Indian Army, Navy and other state and central agencies have rescued more than 3,500 people so far," a statement from Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy's office said.
 
Of the hundreds stranded across this flood-hit hilly district, about 270 km from Bengaluru, the 3,500 rescued till Sunday noon have been shifted to 30 relief camps and efforts were on to reach the others held up on hilltops.
 
The exact number of people still stranded across the district could not be ascertained from the officials.
 
Located in the Western Ghats mountain ranges, the coffee-growing district is the worst-hit due to the south-west monsoon rains since June first week.
 
The incessant rains have been causing flooding and landslips across the region, damaging the arterial roads.
 
Over 60 people have been stranded in Mukkodlu village of the district, but airlifting them has not been possible due to bad weather, Kumaraswamy said on Saturday.
 
About 300 people were rescued on Saturday, including more than 30 senior citizens and 50 children.
 
About 60 Dogra Regiment soldiers, 12 naval divers, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) officials, 525 fire service personnel and Home Guards are among those working on rescue operations.
 
In total, over 1,000 rescuers from state and central agencies have been engaged in the rescue operations.
 
Hundreds of volunteers from state capital Bengaluru and across the state have been gathering relief material, including dry food, water, milk, clothing and medicines, and distributing them to those in the temporary shelters in the district.
 
The water being released from Harangi reservoir in the district across Harangi river, one of Cauvery's tributaries, has been adding to the flooding of towns and villages in the region.
 
Over the last 24 hours, the district received an average rainfall of 5.4 cm, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Few parts of the district received rain upto 11.5 cm.
 
Revenue Minister R.V. Deshpande has been overseeing the rescue and relief operations.
 
The state-run Karnataka State Road Transport Corp (KSRTC) on Sunday resumed all its intra-state bus services towards Kodagu and Mangaluru and inter-state services towards Kerala.
 
The bus services were suspended over the past few days towards Kodagu, Mangaluru and flood-hit Kerala due to the landslips and damaged roads caused by the rains.
 
The South Western Railway's (SWR) train services were, however, cancelled or partially suspended and diverted between Yesvantpur in Bengaluru and Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram, Mangaluru to Karwar in Uttara Kannada due to landslides and floods.
 
The SWR on Sunday transported relief material including water, food, milk, clothing etc., for thousands of people living in shelters in neighbouring Kerala.
 
IANS
 

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1,500 stranded in flood-hit Kodagu of Karnataka; CM visits affected areas

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Karnataka Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy on Saturday visited the flood-hit Kodagu district in the southern state, where hundreds are marooned in villages and towns due to heavy rains.
 
"At least 1,500 people are stranded in various parts of the district, but the rescue officials have not been able to reach them due to bad weather and landslides. Efforts are being made to rescue them," Kumaraswamy told reporters here.
 
The Chief Minister earlier in the day held a meeting with district officials on the flood situation in Kodagu, and on heavy rains lashing coastal and south interior districts.
 
He made an aerial survey of the coffee-growing district, about 270km from the state capital Begaluru. THe district is one of the worst-hit districts in the southern state.
 
"The officials are trying to airlift people in the district, but the weather has not been very favourable," the Chief Minister said.
 
Heavy rains, flooding and landslips in the district have claimed six lives so far, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
 
The state has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of those who lost their lives due to the rains.
 
The Chief Minister earlier announced Rs 200-crore fund to take up relief measures in the rain-hit districts.
 
IANS

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Infosys CFO M D Ranganath quits to pursue "professional aspirations"

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IT services major Infosys today said its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) M. D. Ranganath, a key managerial personnel, had resigned from his position to pursue "professional aspirations".
 
A press release from the company said its Board of Directors had, at its meeting today, accepted his resignation.
 
The release said Ranganath would continue in his current position till November 16, 2018. The Board will immediately commence the search for the next CFO, it said.
 
"After a successful career spanning 18 years in Infosys including as CFO for the last three crucial years, I now plan to pursue professional opportunities in new areas," Ranganath said.
 
"I am grateful to Infosys for giving me the opportunity of serving as CFO of this global iconic company. I am proud that over the last three years, during a critical phase of the company, we delivered strong and consistent financial outcomes, maintained high standards of financial reporting, built a world class finance team, further strengthened the company’s competitive position and thereby enhanced value to the stakeholders. I thank the Board, management team, my colleagues in the finance team and all the stakeholders for their wholehearted support during my tenure. I wish the management team all the best as I pursue opportunities outside the company," he said.
 
Nandan M Nilekani, Chairman of the Board said, “Over the last 18 years Ranga has played a pivotal role in the growth and success of Infosys. During his long stint in the company, I have seen him in a wide spectrum of leadership roles and in each of them he has delivered results with distinction. With Ranga as CFO, the company has in the last three crucial years, delivered a strong and resilient financial performance on multiple fronts, implemented an efficient capital allocation policy and earned the respect of all stakeholders through enhanced value creation. On behalf of the Board, I thank Ranga for his excellent contribution to the company and wish him all the very best in his endeavors.”
 
Salil Parekh, Chief Executive Officer said, “Ranga and I have worked closely over the past few quarters in shaping the strategic direction of the company. I admire his strong financial acumen, deep understanding of the company’s business and ability to deliver consistent results. He played a crucial role as the CFO and provided strong leadership for the company. I am confident that over the next few months Ranga will ensure a smooth transition. I thank him for his lasting contribution and wish him all the best.”
 
During his 18 years in Infosys, Ranganath has been a part of the Infosys Leadership team and has played several leadership roles in the areas of consulting, finance, strategy, risk management and M&A and has worked closely with the Board and its committees in formulating and executing strategic priorities for the company.
 
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