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Missing Cafe Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha's body found from river

The body of Cafe Coffee Day founder V. G. Siddhartha was found in the Netravathi river near Mangaluru in Karnataka on Wednesday morning, about 36 hours after he went missing on Monday evening.
V G Siddhartha
V G Siddhartha
The body of Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) founder V. G. Siddhartha was found in the Netravathi river near Mangaluru in Karnataka on Wednesday morning, about 36 hours after he went missing on Monday evening.
 
He had last been seen on a bridge on the river near Mangalaru and the police had launched a massive search to trace Siddhartha, who was suspected to have committed suicide by jumping off the bridge into the river.
 
Mangaluru Police Commissioner Sandeep Patil told journalists this morning that fishermen had found the body around 6.30 am today and informed the police.
 
Senior police officers rushed to the scene and took charge of the body, which was then sent to the Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru for post-mortem examination.
 
Patil said the family of Siddhartha had been informed and his relatives were expected to arrive soon and help in the identification of the body and completion of other formalities.
 
The body will be later handed over to the family, who will decide on the time and place of the last rites, he added.
 
About 200 people, including policemen, Coast Guard personnel, divers and fishermen, had been engaged in the search for the missing coffee tycoon, one of the best-known businessmen of Karnataka.
 
Siddhartha was on his way to Mangaluru from Ullal on Monday evening. Around 6.30 pm, when his car reached the bridge, he told his driver to stop so that he could take a walk for some time. He asked the driver to wait for him at the other end of the bridge.
 
When Siddhartha did not come even after an hour, the driver returned to the spot to look for him. He then informed the businessman's family who, in turn, informed the police.
 
Siddhartha, 60, who was the Chairman and Managing director of Coffee Day Enterprise Limited (CDEL), the holding company of all his companies, is the eldest son-in-law of former External Affairs and former Karnataka Chief Minister S. M. Krishna. Krishna, who had also served as the Governor of Maharashtra for some time, was a senior Congress leader who shifted to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in March, 2017.
 
In his complaint to the police, Siddhartha's driver Basavaraj Patil said that the businessman had gone missing after he got out of the car at the bridge and started walking while talking to someone on his mobile phone.
 
"Siddhartha got down from the car on the side of the bridge and asked me to wait for him at the other end, as he wanted to walk for a while. But he did not turn up even after an hour," said the driver in his complaint filed in Kannada.
 
Siddhartha had on March 18 this year sold his entire 20 per cent stake in the city-based software major Mindtree to the Mumbai-based Larsen & Toubro (L&T) for Rs 3,300 crore at Rs 980 per share. He wanted to raise funds to reduce his company's mounting debts.
 
"Sir (Siddhartha) and I left in a car from Bengaluru on Monday afternoon for Sakaleshpur near Hassan, where he has a house near one of his coffee estates. On reaching there by evening, he told me to drive to Mangaluru on National Highway 66. When I drove onto the bridge, he asked me to stop the car and got down, saying he would walk and get into the car at the end of the bridge on the other side," the driver recounted.
 
When Siddhartha didn't reach the other side of the bridge, the driver went in search of him but he was nowhere to be found. "I filed the complaint with the local police past midnight on his family's advice, when I told them how Siddhartha suddenly went missing," Patil told the police.
 
The port city of Mangaluru is about 350 km west of Bengaluru.
 
During the day yesterday, a fisherman in the area had claimed that he saw a man jumping off the bridge into the river at the place and time where Siddhartha was seen last.
 
"When I heard a thud-like sound in the river, I turned and saw the same man in the water struggling to float but drowned by the time I could reach the spot. As the current was strong, I could not find him in the fast-moving water, as the river is almost full and deep," the fisherman told the police.
 
Siddhartha had left Bengaluru on Monday afternoon for Sakleshpur near Hassan where he has a house and one of his coffee estates. As it was on the way to Mangaluru, he told Patil to drive towards Mangaluru after a short break at Sakleshpur to freshen up.
 
In a letter to the Coffee Day Board of Directors and employees, dated July 27, Siddhartha spoke about pressure from one of the company's private equity partners, who was forcing him to buy backshares, as well as from other lenders. He also wrote about a "lot of harassment from the previous Director General of Income Tax".
 
In a letter to the Coffee Day Board of Directors and employees, dated July 27, Siddhartha spoke about pressure from one of the company's private equity partners, who was forcing him to buy backshares, as well as from other lenders. He also wrote about a "lot of harassment from the previous Director General of Income Tax".
 
"I have failed to create the right profitable business model despite my best efforts.
 
"I would like to say I gave it my all. I am very sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me. I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares, a transaction I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend. Tremendous pressure from other lenders lead to me succumbing to the situation. There was a lot of harassment from the previous DG Income Tax in the form of attaching our shares on two separate occasions to block our Mindtree deal and then taking possession of our Coffee Day shares, although the revised returns have been filed by us. This was very unfair and has led to a serious liquidity crunch," he said.
 
"I have enclosed a list of our assets and tentative value of each asset. As seen below our assets outweigh our liabilities and can help repay everybody," he added.
 
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Yeddyurappa paid Rs 1,800 crore to BJP leaders: Report

Former Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa made payouts of Rs 1,800 crore to senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, judges and lawyers, reported The Caravan on Friday.

File photo of B S Yeddyurappa (Photo: IANS)
File photo of B S Yeddyurappa (Photo: IANS)
Former Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa made payouts of Rs 1,800 crore to senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, judges and lawyers, reported The Caravan on Friday.
 
The report said the news magazine accessed copies of diary entries in the handwriting of Yeddyurappa that note payoffs amounting to over Rs 1,800 crore to the BJP leaders such as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, the BJP stalwart L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, among others. 
 
"The copies of the diary pages note that Yeddyurappa paid the BJP Central Committee Rs 1,000 crore; that he paid the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari Rs 150 crore each; that he gave the Home Minister Rajnath Singh Rs 100 crore; and that he paid the BJP stalwart LK Advani and the senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi Rs 50 crore each," reads the report.
 
"Besides this, the entry notes, Yeddyurappa paid Rs 10 crore for 'Gadkari's son's marriage'. The diary entries also state that Yeddyurappa paid Rs 250 crore to 'judges'; and Rs 50 crore to 'advocates (fee paid for cases)', but does not mention any names."
 
The alleged payouts were recorded by Yeddyurappa in a Karnataka state assembly legislator's 2009 diary, in Kannada, in his own hand, the report said.
 
Copies of these entries have been with the Income Tax Department since 2017. 
 
The entries regarding payments to the BJP leaders, judges and advocates were written against rows dated January 17, 2009, while the entry regarding the BJP central committee was written against rows dated January 18, 2009, said the report, adding it was unclear whether the entries were made on these dates or written in the diary on a later date.
 
Yeddyurappa served as the Chief Minister in Karnataka from May 2008 to July 2011. 
 
IANS
 

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Rahul takes Rafale battle to HAL doors

Taking the Rafale battle to the doors of HAL, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that the Modi government has "insulted, hurt and destroyed" the future of the public sector undertaking by depriving it of the offset contract with the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault.
 
Rahul Gandhi interacts with HAL employees in Bengaluru
Taking the Rafale battle to the doors of HAL, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said that the Modi government has "insulted, hurt and destroyed" the future of the public sector undertaking by depriving it of the offset contract with the French aircraft manufacturer Dassault.
 
In an hour-long interaction with about 100 former and present employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), who were directed by the management to keep away from it, he also questioned the credibility and the experience of the private company that got the Rs 30,000 crore offset contract.
 
Gandhi said firms such as HAL, ISRO and DRDO were the "temples of modern India" which were being "destroyed" by the Modi government that was indulging in corruption. 
 
"A very senior person in the government has raised questions over the 'capacity' of HAL. I ask them as to what is the capacity of Anil Ambani's company that has got the contract? What exactly is the experience this person has (in aeronautics)? The HAL's capabilities are all in front of us. You (HAL) have built HF-24, MiGs, Sukhoi and Tejas. The public sector is the backbone of the country and the defence sector," Gandhi said.
 
He said it was "completely ridiculous" to say that HAL does not have any experience. The person who got the contract has zero experience. 
 
"Does HAL have debt? No. But the person who got the contract has Rs 45,000 crore debt," he added.
 
Gandhi said, "You are the only company with the requisite experience to build that aircraft (Rafale). You are the people who built Tejas, MiG, Sukhoi. How can anybody say that you are not experienced? The forces trying to take away your future are quite powerful, quite connected," he said, adding that concerted efforts would be needed to save HAL and other public sector companies.
 
"I have come to give a message that we are going to protect your future. We are going to fight for your rights. Rafale is your right. The decision (to give offset contract) should be done only on merit. Nobody in the world who thinks objectively and takes decisions on merit can take away the offset contract from HAL."
 
He said when the Congress comes to power at the Centre its government would ensure that HAL got more orders to make aircraft. "We will not allow this government or anyone to destroy HAL or take away orders from it.
 
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Referring to the circular directing employees to keep away from the interaction with him, Gandhi said the management must have been under "pressure" from the government but "we are fighting for you too".
 
He said the HAL fraternity has been insulted and hurt. "Their hard work of the last 78 years, their patriotism, has been insulted and questioned by the government through the Defence Ministry. The gentleman who has got the contract has worked only for 12 days. The temples of modern India are being destroyed," the Congress President said.
 
Taking a jibe at the media, he said: "You (HAL employees) called me here because you feel the media is not listening to your voice. But media does not listen even to us these days. The media bosses don't want these types of conversations."
 
Gandhi said he was 100 per cent with the employees of the defence public sector undertakings and told them they were free to call him anytime 24/7 to voice their grievances. 
 
Replying to questions by reporters on Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying that the government of India had no role in deciding the offset partner, the Congress chief said the defence minister was "lying". 
 
"The former president of France (Francois Hollande) has said that the Government of India told him to give the contract to Ambani. Documentation has also come out that Dassault has said this."
 
Before interacting with the employees, Gandhi said "We are in opposition but if there is something we can do to help you we would like to do it. When we come to government we would like to do even more aggressively."
 
Mirajuddin, a former trade union leader of HAL, said the company was capable of manufacturing Rafale in India and they were agitated over the offset contract going to a private company. 
 
"We felt let down...we were not only surprised but felt insulted. We are not begging. We are demanding that our rights based on merit should be protected," he said.
 
IANS
 

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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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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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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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Modi says defence public sector companies have to perform better

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that it would no longer be enough for India to buy defence equipment from abroad and simply assemble them in the country and made it clear that the public sector needed to improve its performance in this sector.
 
Modi inaugurates Aero India-2015, says India reforming defence policies
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it would no longer be enough for India to buy defence equipment from abroad and simply assemble them in the country and made it clear that the public sector needed to improve its performance in this sector.
 
"We have been doing this in the past, without absorbing any technology or developing our own capabilities. In some areas, we are where we were three decades ago," he said in his inaugural address at the 10th edition of Aero India, the international air show here.
 
"Frankly, our public sector needs to do much better than they are doing now. We have to exploit their huge assets and a vast potential. At the same time, we have to make them accountable," he said.
 
Mr Modi said his government was focusing on developing the defence industry with a sense of mission in view of the impact it could have on the creation of jobs directly and in the related sectors and of the possible spin-off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies.
 
"This is why it is at the heart of our Make in India programme," he said.
 
"We are reforming our defence procurement policies and procedures. There would be a clear preference for equipment manufactured in India. Our procurement procedures will ensure simplicity, accountability and speedy decision making," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the government had raised the permitted level of foreign direct investment (FDI) to 49%. This could go higher, if the project brought state-of-the art technology, he said.
 
He also said the government had permitted investments upto 24% by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and there was no longer a need to have a single Indian investor with at least a 51% stake. 
 
"Industrial licensing requirements have been eliminated for a number of items. Where it is needed, the process has been simplified. We are expanding the role of private sector, even for major platforms. Our goal is to provide a level playing field for all. We speak in terms of national capacity, not public sector or private sector," he said.
 
More than 250 Indian companies and more than 300 foreign firms are participating in Aero India. Defence ministers, senior officials and hundreds of business leaders from around the world are attending the event.
 
"This is the largest ever Aero India. This reflects a new level of confidence within our country and global interest in India. To many of you, India is a major business opportunity. 
 
"We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment in the world. That may be music to the ears of some of you here. But, this is one area where we would not like to be Number One!" Mr Modi said.
 
"Our security challenges are well known. Our international responsibilities are evident. We do need to increase our defence preparedness. We do have to modernize our defence forces. 
 
"We have to equip ourselves for the needs of the future, where technology will play a major role. As a nation of one billion people, we also have huge requirements for managing internal security. We are increasingly integrating technology and systems into it.  These opportunities make Aero India an important international event," he said.
 
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Mr Modi said Aero India was not just a trade fair for defence equipment but a mega meeting of one of the largest global supply chains, with the most advanced technology and complex equipment  
 
He said it was a platform to launch India's defence manufacturing sector, stressing that a nation with a strong defence industry would not only be more secure but also reap rich economic benefits. 
 
"It can boost investment, expand manufacturing, support enterprise, raise the technology level and increase economic growth in the country," he said.
 
He said that, in India, the defence industry in the government sector alone employed nearly 200,000 workers and thousands of engineers and scientists. They produce an output of nearly 7 billion dollars annually. It also supports a very large pool of small and medium enterprises. 
 
He said the country's defence industry in private sector wass still small but it already employs thousands of people.
 
"This is despite the fact that nearly 60% of our defence equipment continues to be imported. And, we are spending tens of billions of dollars on acquisitions from abroad. There are studies that show that even a 20 to 25% reduction in imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India. 
 
"If we could raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% to 70% in the next five years, we would double the output in our defence industry. Imagine the impact in terms of jobs created directly and in the related manufacturing and services sector! Think of the spin off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies!" he said.
 
Mr Modi said the offsets system was a crucial instrument to develop and upgrade our defence industry. 
 
"We have introduced significant reforms in our offsets policy. I am acutely aware that it still needs a lot of improvements. We will pursue them in consultation with domestic industry and our foreign partners. I want our offsets policy not as a means to export low-end products, but to acquire state-of-the art technology and skills in core areas of priority," he said.
 
He pointed out that government's support for research and development was essential for defence sector. And, it should also be accompanied by a degree of assurance on purchase. 
 
"We are introducing a scheme to provide up to 80% of funding from the government for development of a prototype in India. And, we are also launching a Technology Development Fund. 
 
"For too long, our research and development has been confined to government laboratories. We must involve our scientists, soldiers, academia, industry and independent experts more closely in research and development," he said.
 
Mr Modi said that, while it had made its export policies clearer, simpler and predictable, the government would also abide by the highest standards of export controls and international responsibility. 
 
"We will expand our exports, but we will ensure that our equipment and technology do not fall into the wrong hands. India's record in this area has been impeccable and it will remain so," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said he was pleased with the positive impact of the government's policies and noted that the Indian private corporations had responded with enthusiasm.
 
"There is new excitement in our small and medium scale sector. Many of the biggest global firms are forming strategic partnerships in India. Some of them have already begun using India as part of their global supply chains or engineering services." he said.
 
He also expressed happiness that the first set of parts from the joint venture set up in September last year by Dynamatic Technologies and its collaborator Boeing, to manufacture critical parts for a Boeing helicopter that is sold globally, was ready for shipment today.
 
"But, we still need to do more. We have to further reform our acquisition and approval processes. We must indicate a clear roadmap of our future needs. 
This must take into account not only new technology trends, but also the nature of future challenges," he said.
 
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Mr Modi said there was need to pay attention to developing supply chains, with emphasis on innovation and bridge the gap between prototype development and quality of production. 
 
"We must develop a financing system suited to the special needs of this industry. It is a market where buyers are mainly governments, the capital investments are large and the risks are high. We must ensure that our tax system does not discriminate against domestic manufacture in comparison to imports," he said.
 
Mr Modi said that, more broadly, the defence industry would succeed more if the manufacturing sector were transformed in India.
 
"We need great infrastructure, sound business climate, clear investment policies, ease of doing business, stable and predictable tax regime, and easy access to inputs. We need a national industry that produces advanced materials, the most sophisticated electronics and the best engineering products. Over the last eight months, we have worked hard to create that environment for you. 
 
"Above all, we need a vast pool of highly skilled and qualified human resources for the defence industry. Our aerospace industry alone would need about 200,000 people in another ten years," he said.
 
He said the government would set up special universities and skill development centres to cater to the defence industry, just as it had done in atomic energy and space. "I have especially invited the State Governments to come here with package of facilities to attract investments in defence manufacturing," he said.
 
"We want to develop an industry is dynamic. It should constantly stay at the cutting edge of the global industry. I am confident that India will emerge as a major global centre for defence industry. We have the basic building blocks for it in India; and, a large nation requirement. We will build an industry that will have room for everyone – public sector, private sector and foreign firms. 
From sellers, foreign firms must turn into strategic partners," he said.
 
"We need their technology, skills, systems integration and manufacturing strength. The nature of industry is such that imports will always be there. In turn, they can use India as part of their global supply chain," he said.
 
He said defence budgets around the world were becoming tighter and India's frugal but sophisticated manufacturing and engineering services sectors could help reduce costs. 
 
"India can also be a base for export to third countries, especially because of India's growing defence partnerships in Asia and beyond. 
 
"A strong Indian defence industry will not only make India more secure. It will also make India more prosperous. 
 
"Aero India can be a catalyst in realizing our goals. That is why I am here today. So, as we look at these wonderful aircraft and enjoy the amazing fly pasts, I also hope we can get some business done. And, sow the seeds of successful new ventures and partnerships – to give our people new opportunities, to make our nations safer, and the world more stable and peaceful," he added.
 
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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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Karnataka bye-elections: Heavy turnout in rural areas, poor in Bengaluru

An estimated 62.18 per cent average voting was registered in the crucial bye-elections on Thursday to 15 Karnataka Assembly constituencies, whose results will have a key bearing on the state's political future.
 
"The average voting for all the 15 Assembly seats after polling ended at 6 p.m. is an estimated 62.18 per cent, with heavy turnout (over 75 per cent) in 8 rural segments and below 50 per cent in 4 Bengaluru seats," poll official G. Jadiyappa told IANS here.
 
The final percentage is likely to go up marginally, as voters were still in queues after the gates of the polling stations were shut at 6 p.m., he added.
 
A record 86.40 per cent was registered in Chikkaballapur, a rural constituency, about 60km east of Bengaluru.
 
Congress defector K. Sudhakar is the ruling BJP's candidate in this prestigious seat.
 
K. R. Pete in Mandya district recorded a whopping 80 per cent. BJP fielded K. C. Narayana Gowda, a Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) defector from this rural segment.
 
Similarly, Yellapur in Uttar Kannada district registered 77.52 per cent. The BJP fielded Congress defector Shivaram Hebbar from this rural constituency.
 
Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural district registered an estimated 76.19 per cent. The ruling BJP fielded Congress defector M. T. B. Nagaraj, who declared a whopping Rs 1,223 crore worth of assets in his nomination affidavit.
 
Athani in Belagavi district in the state's northwest region, recorded 75.23 per cent, where Congress defector Mahesh Kumatahalli contested on a BJP ticket.
 
Likewise, Hunasuru in Mysuru district registered 74.47 per cent. The BJP fielded JD-S defector A. H. Vishwanath from this rural seat.
 
Gokak in Belagavi district has registered 73.08 per cent. Congress defector Ramesh Jarkiholi contested on the BJP ticket in this high-profile seat.
 
Hirekerur in Belagavi district recorded 72.42 per cent. The BJP fielded Congress defector B. C. Patil from this rural segment.
 
As in the past, the four assembly segments in Bengaluru registered below 50 per cent, with the lowest -- 37.50 per cent -- in K.R. Pura in the city's eastern suburb. Congress defector Byrathi Basavaraj is the BJP candidate from this urban seat.
 
Similarly, Mahalakshmi Layout in the city's northwest, had a low turnout of 40.47 per cent. The BJP has fielded JD-S defector K. Gopalaiah there.
 
Shivajinagar in the heart of Bengaluru also witnessed a low turnout of 41.13 per cent. The BJP fielded its former corporator M. Saravana from this high-profile urban segment.
 
Yeshwanthapura in the city's north, however, had a modest turnout of 48.34 per cent. Congress defector S. T. Somashekar is the BJP's candidate in this urban seat.
 
Voting percentage in the other three assembly segments was Kagwad 69.76, Ranibennur 67.92 and Vijayanagara 58.93.
 
Barring glitches in the EVMs and voters names missing in the electoral list in some polling stations, voting was peaceful amid tight security.
 
There were also reports of voters boycotting the polls in some areas over various issues.
 
The 15 constituencies had nearly 38 lakh eligible voters - 19.25 lakh men and 18.52 lakh women.
 
As many as 165 candidates, including 126 Independents and 9 women are in the fray in the 15 Assembly seats, necessitated by the resignation -- and subsequent disqualification -- of 14 Congress and three Janata Dal-Secular rebel MLAs which led to the collapse of the then H. D. Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD-S coalition government.
 
However, bye-elections are being held in only 15 seats, since there is ongoing litigation in the Karnataka High Court over the results of two seats -- Muski (Raichur district) and R.R. Nagar (Bengaluru) in the May 2018 Assembly elections.
 
The BJP and the opposition Congress contested in all the 15 Assembly seats, while the JD-S fielded candidates only in 12 seats.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on December 9.
 
The outcome of the bye-elections will decide the survival and continuation of the four-month-old BJP government in the southern state.
 
The ruling BJP, which has 105 members, including one independent but excluding the Speaker, needs to win seven more seats to have a majority in the 225-member Assembly, whose current strength is 223.
 
The Congress has 66 members, the JD-S 34 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one.
 
IANS

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Brisk to moderate voting in Karnataka bye-elections

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Voting in Karnataka's 15 Assembly bye-elections on Thursday gathered momentum and polling was brisk to moderate in many segments since afternoon, an official said.
 
"Voting has been brisk to moderate in most of the Assembly segments since afternoon registering 47 per cent average at 3:00 p.m., with highest in Chikkaballapur in the southern region and lowest in K. R. Pura in Bengaluru East," poll official G. Jadiyappa told IANS.
 
Barring glitches in the EVMs (electronic voting machines) and voters names missing in the electoral list in some polling stations in all the assembly seats, voting has been peaceful amid tight security.
 
"As voting percentage has been surging since post-noon in constituencies other than in Bengaluru, higher turnout will be advantage to us as the electorate tend to favour the ruling party in bye-elections," BJP's state unit spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS here.
 
Polling percentage at 3:00 p.m. in Athani was 56.05, Kagwad 51.41, Gokak 53.3, Yellapur 56.21, Hirekerur 56.6, Ranibennur 53.50, Vijayanagara 47.38, Yeshvanthapura 38.83, Mahalakshmi Layout 30.73, Shivajinagar 32.72, Hoskote 54.12, K.R. Pete 59.86 and Hunasur 57.44.
 
"Voting has always been moderate to heavy in semi-urban and rural areas unlike in cities where urban apathy to voting has been the bane of elections in the past, too," lamented Madhusudan.
 
Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa appealed to the electorate to exercise their right to vote in large numbers and strengthen democracy.
 
In a related development, Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi said the ruling party was poised to win a majority of the Assembly seats and its government would survive and continue in power till 2023 when the 5-year term ends.
 
"As our government has been serving the people well, especially in providing relief to the flood-hit, they want Yediyurappa to continue as chief minister. Hence they will vote in favour of our candidates in the bye-elections," Savadi told reporters after casting his vote at a polling stations in Naganur village of Athani in Belagavi district.
 
The 15 constituencies have nearly 38 lakh eligible voters, including 19.25 lakh men and 18.52 lakh women.
 
"The Election Commission has declared paid leave for the voters working in public or private offices to exercise franchise in their polling stations," asserted the official.
 
As many as 165 candidates, including 126 Independents and 9 women are in the fray in the 15 Assembly seats.
 
The BJP and the opposition Congress are contesting in all the 15 Assembly seats, while the JD-S only in 12 seats.
 
The 3,185 polling stations have a total of 8,326 ballot units and 8,186 controlling units and 7,876 VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) for casting the ballots.
 
The vote count is on December 9.
 
The outcome of the bye-elections will decide the survival and continuation of the four-month-old BJP government in the southern state.
 
The ruling party, which has 105 members, including one independent but excluding the speaker, needs to win seven more seats to have a majority (112) in the 223-member Assembly, with two vacancies and one nominated member with voting right.
 
The Congress has 66 members, JD-S 34 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one.
 
Though there are 17 vacancies in the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated from the Anglo-Indian community with voting rights, bye-elections in two seats -- Muski (Raichur district) and R.R. Nagar (Bengaluru) have been withheld due to litigation in the Karnataka High Court over their results in the May 2018 Assembly elections.
 
The BJP has fielded 11 Congress and three JD-S defectors who joined the ruling party on November 14 after the Supreme Court on November 13 allowed them to re-contest .though it upheld their disqualification by former Assembly Speaker K. R. Ramesh Kumar on July 25-28.
 
The ruling party has fielded its former city corporator Sarvana from the prestigious Shivajinagara constituency in Bengaluru central after the party's high command declined to admit former Congress leader Roshan Baig, who represented the seat seven times.
 
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Voting begins in Karnataka's 15 Assembly segments

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Voting began in 15 Assembly segments in Karnataka where bye-elections are being held to fill the vacancies caused by the resignation and disqualification of the 14 Congress and 3 JD-S rebels in July, an official said.
 
"Polling began at 7:00 a.m. in all the 15 Assembly constituencies amid tight security to elect the new legislators. Voting will be allowed till 6:00 p.m.," an Election Commission official told IANS here.
 
The bye-elections are being held in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K. R. Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K. R. Pete and Hunsur Assembly seats.
 
The 15 constituencies have nearly 38 lakh eligible voters, including 19.25 lakh men and 18.52 lakh women.
 
"The Election Commission has declared paid leave for the voters working in public or private offices to exercise franchise in their polling stations," asserted the official.
 
As many as 165 candidates, including 126 Independents and 9 women are in the fray in the 15 Assembly seats.
 
The BJP and the opposition Congress are contesting in all the 15 assembly seats, while the JD-S is in the fray for 12 seats.
 
The 3,185 polling stations have a total of 8,326 ballot units and 8,186 control units and 7,876 VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) for casting the ballots.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on December 9.
 
IANS

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Football ISL: Juanan fires Bengaluru to the top

Bengaluru FC extended their unbeaten start in the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (ISL) to seven games with a narrow 1-0 win against Odisha FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
 
Centre-back Juanan (36') scored his first goal of the season to secure Bengaluru's third win of the season and take them to the top of the table. After seven matches, Carles Cuadrat's side has 13 points while Odisha are sixth with six points.
 
The teams were off the blocks in quick time and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was called into action within minutes. Nandhakumar Sekar latched onto a pass from the deep, cut in from the left to shift the ball to his right foot and attempted a ferocious strike that looked destined for the bottom right corner but a vital fingertip save by the Bengaluru goalkeeper kept the shot out.
 
The teams missed chances to score as Jerry Mawihmingthanga shot wide from a corner and Sunil Chhetri failed to hit the target from a Udanta Singh cross. With the contest heating up, centre-back Juanan showcased his centre-forward skills to give Bengaluru the lead. Nishu Kumar's lob into the box was flicked into the defender's path by Erik Paartalu before the Spaniard outfoxed Carlos Delgado to send a scuffed shot that went in off the post.
 
The Blues had the chance to double their lead just before the break when Chhetri took advantage of a misplaced pass and charged at the Odisha defence. He spotted Udanta's run to his right and set him up for a shot, but the winger tried to return the favour and failed to find his teammate.
 
Odisha stepped up their efforts and chased an equaliser after the break. In the 55th minute, Marcos Tebar's header forced a fantastic reflex save off Gurpreet. The ball fell at Diagne's feet, but the Bengaluru custodian pulled off another good save to deny the defender from close-range.
 
Minutes later, Udanta found Chhetri in the centre whose shot was blocked by Delgado. The rebound was hit well by Dimas but Arshdeep Singh got his body behind the shot to save.
 
The goalkeepers had a busy night in between the sticks. Gurpreet was vigilant in goal and kept out strikes from Marcos Tebar and Xisco to keep his team in the lead as the clock ticked towards the final whistle. At the other end, Bengaluru threatened through set-pieces and crosses from wide areas. Arshdeep did well to push behind Erik Paartalu's powerful volley off Dimas' delivery from a corner-kick.
 
Bengaluru, who were denied a second goal by the post from a good Dimas free-kick, looked to be the fitter team in the final minutes as they stood firm and defended well to prevent a late show.
 
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Karnataka set for crucial Assembly bye-elections on Thursday

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Karnataka is set for bye-elections on Thursday in 15 Assembly constituencies, whose results on December 9 will decide the continuation of the over four-month-old BJP government in the southern state.
 
"All preparations and arrangements, including tight security, have been made to conduct free, fair and peaceful polling in the 15 Assembly segments across the state's southern and northwest regions on Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m," poll official G. Jadiyappa told IANS here.
 
Bye-elections will be held in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K. R. Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K. R. Pete and Hunsur.
 
Bye-elections in two assembly segments -- Muski (Raichur district) and R.R. Nagar (Bengaluru) --  have been withheld due to litigation in the Karnataka High Court over their results in the May 2018 Assembly elections.
 
The 15 constituencies have over 38 lakh voters, including 19.25 lakh males and 18.52 lakh females.
 
"Voting will be held in 4,185 polling stations, including 884 critical across the 15 Assembly segments, with 5 (constituencies) in the Bengaluru region, 6 in the northwest region, two in the old Mysuru region and one each in northern and southern regions," said Jadiyappa.
 
The polling stations have a total of 8,326 ballot units and 8,186 controlling units and 7,876 VVPATs ((Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) for the day-long voting.
 
As many as 165 candidates, including 126 independents and 9 women are in the fray in the 15 Assembly segments.
 
The BJP and the opposition Congress are contesting in all the 15 assembly seats, while the JD-S has fielded candidates in 12 seats, which will witness triangular contests.
 
In three seats -- Athani in Belagavi district, Yellapura in Uttara Kannada district and Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural district, the contest will be straight between the BJP and the Congress.
 
The BJP has fielded 11 Congress defectors and 3 JD-S defectors who joined the ruling party on November 14 after the Supreme Court on November 13 allowed them to contest the bye-elections though it upheld their disqualification by former Assembly Speaker K. R. Ramesh Kumar on July 25 and July 28.
 
The BJP has fielded its former city corporator Sarvana from the prestigious Shivajinagara constituency in Bengaluru central after the party's high command declined to admit former Congress leader Roshan Baig, who represented the seat seven times.
 
Though the 13-day high-voltage campaigning ended on Tuesday evening peacefully, barring stray incidents, all the contestants have hit the streets to canvass door-to-door in their respective constituencies with their supporters and party cadres to woo voters.
 
"Security has been tightened and vigil stepped up in addition to deployment of additional forces to ensure peaceful polling and prevent any untoward incident in all the 15 Assembly constituencies," a senior police official told IANS here.
 
In Bengaluru, where bye-elections are being held in 4 seats -- K. R. Pura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara and Yeshwanthapura, deputy police commissioners of the jurisdiction areas have been deputed to supervise the security arrangements.
 
"Of the 1,064 polling stations in the four Assembly segments across the city, the Election Commission has declared 238 booths as hypersensitive and 826 as sensitive," the official said.
 
The police also issued a ban order under section 144 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) to prevent assembling of more than five persons while the state excise department prohibited sale of liquor since Tuesday evening to Thursday midnight on the direction of the state's chief electoral officer.
 
In all, over 21,000 polling officials and about 19,000 security personnel, including the state police and central forces will be on duty in the 15 Assembly segments for conducting the bye-elections.
 
The poll panel's teams, including flying squads seized cash, liquour and other materials valued at a whopping Rs 10.7 crore from political parties, leaders and candidates in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
 
IANS

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Football: After hat-trick of draws, Odisha eye win against Bengaluru in ISL

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Odisha FC will be out to break their string of draws with a victory when they host defending champions Bengaluru FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
 
Josep Gombau’s side comes into this tie after playing out three successive draws, two goalless results against ATK and Kerala Blasters, followed by a 2-2 draw away to Chennaiyin FC.
 
The pattern of play in all these matches have been similar. They dominated the ball with slick movement and passing, but failed to take their chances and convert their dominance into results.
 
As Gombau seeks to deliver results, he faces a tough challenge in Bengaluru FC. The Blues are undefeated in the league so far and boast a water-tight defence which has conceded only two goals in six matches.
 
“It is a beautiful game against Bengaluru, who are one of the strongest sides and the current champions of the ISL. I think it will be an interesting game because both teams play similar football. I am happy with the way we are preparing well for this game and the mentality of the team,” said Gombau.
 
Odisha will bank on Aridane Santana, who has scored four goals so far, to help breach the Bengaluru backline. But much will depend on playmaker Xisco Hernandez who has the ability to carve open any defence. He has also shown his eye for goals, racking three goals up so far. The Spaniard will be pumped up for the battle against his former team and will play a huge role in the outcome of Wednesday’s encounter.
 
Much will also depend on the midfield battle as two technically-gifted sets of players go up against each other. The likes of Marcos Tebar, Vinit Rai and Xisco Hernandez love to get on the ball and dictate play. But so do Bengaluru’s midfielders, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado and Raphael Augusto.
 
“Odisha are going to fight against us for possession of the game, and it's going to be an interesting game. Josep Gombau is a hard-working, honest person and a good coach. He loves to play attacking football,” said Bengaluru coach Carles Cuadrat.
 
Bengaluru come into this game after a gut-wrenching 1-1 draw in Hyderabad where an injury-time equaliser from Robin Singh denied them a win. Cuadrat’s team were all over Hyderabad FC throughout the game and should have scored more goals to put the tie to bed.
 
Lack of goals has been a worry for the Blues despite Sunil Chhetri’s recent scoring run. The injured Michael Onwu and Ashique Kuruniyan are yet to open their accounts for the season while Udanta Singh has just one goal to his name so far.
 
“Most of the games we were dominating. We have to finish those games well. We have not been good enough in certain aspects, and we have to work on that. I am not worried about not getting goals. Sunil is an experienced player. He is giving us solutions. Ashique and Udanta are young players and they are improving,” Cuadrat said.
 
Odisha’s backline has not exactly been rock-solid, conceding eight goals in six games. With Carlos Delgado doubtful after an injury he picked up against Chennaiyin FC, Bengaluru will want their forwards to make an impact.
 
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Football: Man-down Hyderabad rescued by Robin in ISL tie against Bangalore

An injury-time strike by Robin Singh helped 10-man Hyderabad FC salvage a draw against Bengaluru FC in a thrilling Hero Indian Super League (ISL) tie at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium here today.
 
A second-minute strike by Sunil Chhetri looked enough for Bengaluru to pick three points before Robin scored against his former side at the death to help his side pick an important point.
 
Laldanmawia Ralte and Sahil Panwar were handed a start by Phil Brown as he made a couple of changes to their line-up from the defeat to Chennaiyin FC. Meanwhile, Cuadrat named an unchanged starting eleven from their 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters.
 
In less than two minutes, the visitors took the lead through Sunil Chhetri. Kamaljit Singh’s poor clearance found Ralte whose pass went straight into the path of Chhetri who made no mistake in slotting the ball home.
 
The defending champions saw more of the ball and continued to create openings as Hyderabad struggled to close down their opponents.
 
There was a penalty shout when Harmanjot Khabra’s cross from inside the box was allegedly handled by Gurtej Singh but the referee chose not to pay heed to it.
 
After the half-hour mark, they could have doubled the lead from a corner. Dimas Delgado’s corner found Albert Serran but the Spanish centre-back couldn’t sort his feet out inside the box.
 
After the break, Hyderabad had a chance from a set-piece. However, Marcelinho’s attempt sailed over the bar.
 
The home side were reduced to 10 men with Sahil Panwar bringing down Udanta Singh in the 56th minute. This was after Udanta was through on goal after a brilliant run by Ashique Kuruniyan who evaded past a couple of defenders.
 
From the ensuing free-kick, Chhetri tried to sneak one under the wall but the ball fizzled out for Augusto inside the box. His attempt was just about kept out by Kamaljit, much to the relief of Phil Brown.
 
Marcelinho was booked for a dangerous lunge on Raphael soon after but was lucky to get away with just a yellow card.
 
In the 67th minute, Kamaljit came to Hyderabad’s rescue once again as he punched out Udanta’s cross with Kuruniyan lurking at the near post. He followed it up with another save to keep Kuruniyan’s attempt out after Chhetri did ever so well to find him inside the box.
 
Augusto, Chhetri and Udanta combined in the final third but neither of the trio could apply the finishing touch. 
 
Brown threw Robin Singh into the mix in their search for an equalizer and the former Bengaluru striker didn’t disappoint. Marko Stankovic picked a pass for substitute Ashish Rai who pulled it back from the right for Robin to place it home.
 
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EC files FIRs against Yeddyurappa over 'casteist' speeches


File photo of B S Yediyurappa (Photo: IANS)
File photo of B S Yediyurappa (Photo: IANS)
The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday said two first information reports (FIR) have been registered against Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa over his speeches soliciting votes in the name of caste.
 
"Alleged speech made by B.S. Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka on caste lines in Gokak and Shiruppi village in Kagwad Assembly constituency on November 23 have been inquired into," said Additional Chief Electoral Officer (expenditure monitoring) Priyanka Mary Francis in a statement.
 
Francis said two FIRs have been registered in relation to the speeches in Gokak and Kagwad.
 
The ECI charged six check post officials and suspended two of them for not checking the vehicle of Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai at Hanakere check post on November 20.
 
"An FIR has been registered in Maddur police station against the driver of vehicle trailing the Home Minister's vehicle for not cooperating with the check post officials," said Francis.
 
The entire team at the check post has been replaced.
 
Similarly, the ECI suspended four official of its static surveillance team for not properly checking the vehicle of Yediyurappa's son B. Y. Raghavendra, a member of parliament, on November 25 at Varaha check post.
 
Bye-elections for 15 Karnataka Assembly seats are scheduled on December 5.
 
IANS
 

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Football ISL: Hyderabad face stern Bengaluru test

Defending champions Bengaluru FC will look to pick up their third win on the trot when they go up against new entrants Hyderabad FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium here on Friday.
 
After registering three draws in their first three matches, Carles Cuadrat's men defeated rivals Chennaiyin FC 3-0 and Kerala Blasters 1-0 to get their title defence back on track.
 
Up next for them is a struggling Hyderabad side away from home, a proposition Cuadrat believes will not be easy. Phil Brown's side is at the bottom of the standings with three points from five matches, which includes one win and four defeats so far.
 
"Hyderabad need the points, so it's going to be a tough game for us. Especially after you lose a game in the manner that they did, you want to come back from it and be focused so they are going to be better than they were before," said Cuadrat said ahead of the game.
 
His opposite number Phil Brown did admit that Hyderabad were feeling the pressure but trusts his team to perform.
 
“We do not deserve to be where we are in the league table. However, if we keep on working hard and put honest performances, things will change. We are feeling the pressure as we are 10th. But all I can ask is that the boys give their 100% while they are representing the club,” said Brown.
 
The game against the Blues will be Hyderabad's most difficult yet, considering both teams' defensive records. The unbeaten Bengaluru side has conceded just one goal and that too not from open play and have the most number of clean sheets in the sixth season of ISL.
 
On the other hand, not only has a side managed by Brown failed to keep a clean sheet in ISL, but Hyderabad have also conceded a league-high 12 goals in five matches.
 
Bengaluru midfielder Dimas Delgado, after failing to make the desired impact in the first three games, has found his rhythm in the last two matches with two assists to his name. Skipper Sunil Chhetri, who started the season playing as a left-winger supporting Manuel Onwu, played centrally and scored a goal each in the last two games.
 
"When you are one of the best strikers in the country, you have to contribute a lot to the team and the team will be reliant on you. Chhetri has scored twice already and he's always getting into good positions and I'm happy with his performances," said the Bengaluru coach.
 
Hyderabad, who have scored just one goal from open play this season, are reliant on Marcelinho to produce the goods in front of goal. 
 
The likes of Bobo, Marko Stankovic and Robin Singh will be expected to step up and deliver with the team desperately looking for three points. Their only win this season came against Kerala Blasters at home and Brown needs the tables to be turned sooner rather than later.
 
“We have the utmost respect for Bengaluru. They showed last season what they can do. The consistency of Bengaluru is something great. They are being able to pick the same consistently, the same strike force, but we have not been able to do that yet. We have to find ourselves,” said Brown
 
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350 houses damaged, no deaths in Bengaluru lake breach

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The Hulimavu lake breach damaged several houses with gushing water in the vicinity, but caused no deaths or injuries, an official said on Monday.
 
"No death or injury was reported at the Hulimavu lake breach, but 350 houses were affected with waterlogging," Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Joint Commissioner Rama Krishna told IANS.
 
The Hulimavu lake breach occurred on Sunday afternoon due to a man-made cause, said Krishna.
 
According to Krishna, nearly 4 to 5 feet of water from the 145-acre Hulimavu lake's water level emptied into the nearby areas.
 
He said the civic body has brought the situation under control but is yet to zero in on the people responsible for the disaster.
 
"A police complaint has been launched, there is no CCTV footage to identify the culprits. The police is searching for them," Krisha said.
 
The civic body's revenue department is in the process of assessing the damage, doing it house to house.
 
Meanwhile, state government has announced a relief of Rs 50,000 for the damaged houses and set up a rehabilitation centre, providing food and clothes to the affected people, Krishna said.
 
IANS
 

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Motorsport: Gill, Mascarenhas, Fabid tumble out; Chetan wins 4th Round of INRC

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Chetan Shivram and Dr Bikku Babu took advantage of the pull-outs by most of the heavyweights to stage a dramatic comeback for MRF in the Champions Yacht Club FMSCI Indian National Rally Championship here on Sunday.
 
The speedy but shrewd duo made it a spectacular 1-2 for the Reds as the carefully laid out but treacherous stages wiped out anybody who dared to challenge them. Starting from the fifth and fourth positions, Chetan and Dr Bikku preserved their cars before going all out in the final stage to claim the mantle of winner and runner-up in the K-1000 Rally.
 
Defending champion and overnight leader Gaurav Gill was among the biggest casualties as he cried out in the morning itself, with his car refusing to even start after the belting it received on Day 1. He and all his favoured JK Tyre Motorsport teammates bit the dust, allowing a free run to the MRF men.
 
Akshara’s Chetan Shivram, who had won Round 2 as well in almost similar fashion, emerged as the overall INRC Championship leader with this victory. He (with Dilip Sharan as co-driver) claimed his own category too, the INRC 3, with an overall timing of 1:47:37:300 hours. 
 
That was just 12 seconds faster than Dr Bikku Babu (with Milen George) of Team Champions, who pursued him relentlessly all through the day. The doctor finished ahead of Chetan in the day’s first stage, SS5, and even beat him to the post in the last one, SS8, but that wasn’t good enough to topple Chetan. It, however, fetched him the INRC 2 trophy.
 
“The top guns may not have fired today but we couldn’t have hoped for a more thrilling finish. It was good to see so many of the INRC 2 and 3 teams making a mark here, ahead of the known champions,” Hema Malini Nidamanuri, co-promoter of the INRC, said.
 
After the shock exit of Gaurav Gill, order seemed to have been restored, with another JK favourite Dean Mascarenhas winning SS5. But he promptly fell in the next stage, leaving the field for Championship leader Fabid Ahmer. But the MRF driver, who was nursing his car carefully, suffered a puncture in the next and tumbled out.
 
In the SUV Challenge, Gagan Karumbaiah of Team Champions took the first place to all but seal the 2019 title.
 
CYC FMSCI INRC, Round 4 Provisional Results:
 
INRC Overall
 
1) Chetan Shivram/Dilip Sharan (Akshara) - 1:47:37:300 hr; 2) Bikku Babu/Milen George (Team Champions) - 1:47:49.900 hr; 3) Amittrajit Ghosh/Ashwin Naik (Mahindra Adventure) - 1:51:04.300 hr
 
INRC 2
 
1)  Babu/Milen George (Team Champions) - 1:47:49.900 hr; 2) Sahil Khanna/Rajit Kadian ( Snap Racing) - 1:52:00.200 hr; 3) Younus Ilyas/Harish Gowda - 04:50:24.200 hr
 
INRC 3
 
1) Chetan Shivram/Dilip Sharan (Akshara) - 1:47:37:300 hr; 2) Jacob K.J/Murthy PVS (Arka Motorsports) - 1:53:35.600 hr; 3) Pradeep Kumar/Ahammad Ansary (Pipe & Pipe) - 2:19:58.000 hr
 
INRC 4
 
1) Mujeeb Rahman/Gautham CP (Privateer)- 1:55:17.900 hr; 2) Shirole Prakhyat .H/Bharat S.M (Privateer)- 1:57.16.300 hr; 3) Satish Peddineni/Vinay Kumar P. M (Team Champions) - 2:33:19.500 hr
 
SUV Challenge
 
1) Gagan Karumbaiah/Thimmu Uddapanda ( Team Champions): 1:75:22.600 hr;  2)Thomas Kuncheria. M/Dwarakanth Sudarshan (Privateer): 02:13:41.200 hr; 3) Sanjay Agarwal/Smitha N (Team Champions): 05:03::07.100
 
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