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Kumaraswamy takes oath as non-BJP opposition puts up unity show

H.D. Kumaraswamy was on Wednesday sworn in as the 25th Chief Minister of Karnataka at the head of a Janta Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in a ceremony in Bengaluru that brought together leaders of anti-BJP parties on a single platform exactly a year ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

 
Kumaraswamy takes oath as Karnataka CM, top politicos in attendance
 
 
H.D. Kumaraswamy was on Wednesday sworn in as the 25th Chief Minister of Karnataka at the head of a Janta Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government here in a ceremony that brought together leaders of anti-BJP parties on a single platform exactly a year ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The event showcased rare scenes of bonhomie between leaders including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, BSP supremo Mayawati, Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), N. Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), V. Narayanasamy (Puducherry), Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI MP D. Raja, RLD's Ajit Singh and RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav and former Union Minister Sharad Yadav.
 
As a few thousand cadres of the two parties cheered the leaders, Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, who represents the Congress in the coalition. Both took the oath in Kannada in the name of God.
 
The swearing in ceremony in the forecourt of the imposing Vidhan Saudha took place as dark clouds loomed over the venue after rain played spoil sport to the cadres of the JD-S and Congress, especially from the Mysuru region, who had come to witness the event.
 
In a House of 222, the Congress with 78 members stitched a post-poll coalition with JD-S (37) to keep the BJP out. The coalition also has the support of a BSP MLA, an independent MLA and a legislator from a local party. Kumaraswamy first became Chief Minister with BJP's support in 2006. He has become the 25th Chief Minister of the state.
 
None from the Bharatiya Janata Party attended the swearing in ceremony. Former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said they were boycotting the event as BJP was observing a "black day" across the state.
 
Last week, immediately after the election results were out, Yeddyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister but he quit in three days after failing to muster majority support in the Assembly. 
 
The JD-S-Congress coalition is expected to convene a short session of the Assembly to prove Kumaraswamy's majority in the House.
 
Shortly before the 4.30 p.m. schedule for the swearing in, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda was the first to reach the site after which leaders and Chief Ministers from various parties trooped in. 
 
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi came together and both were seen talking animatedly with Mayawati. Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi held each other's arms as Rahul watched them. Then it was the turn of Mamata Banerjee to approach Mayawati. Finally the leaders posed for a photograph holding each other's hands.
 
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Naidu, who quit the NDA a few months ago, was seen talking to Mamata Banerjee and both congratulated Kumaraswamy and shook hands with him.
 
While Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik did not attend the ceremony, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekar Rao came to Bengaluru on Tuesday and met both Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy. DMK leader M.K. Stalin skipped the event as he rushed to Thoothukudi where 11 persons died in police firing in the anti-Sterlite protest.
 
Kumaraswamy later described the event to reporters as a "historic moment", saying it brought a record number of national and regional leaders, Chief Ministers and others on a single platform and united them as never before. 
 
Ahead of the event, Mamata Banerjee and Chandrababu Naidu said that their participation in the ceremony was to strengthen the coming together of regional parties and they would not allow any obstacles to come in the way of these efforts.
 
"In future we will work together to protect and promote national interests. We are here to strengthen all the regional parties," Naidu said.
 
Kumaraswamy's mother Chennamma, wife Anita, three brothers and two sisters, son Nikhil and a few other close relatives were present and posed for a family picture with him. 
 
About 300 VIPs and guests were treated to lavish refreshments in the banquet hall of the Vidhan Soudha, which houses the state legislature and the secretariat. 
 
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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Kumaraswamy to take floor test on Friday

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Karnataka's new Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will take the floor test in the Assembly on Friday to prove that the Janata Dal-Secular-Congress coalition government enjoys a majority in the house.
 
"I will take the floor test on Friday to prove that our coalition government has a majority in the Assembly," Kumaraswamy told reporters after taking oath as Chief Minister in front of the state Secretariat building here.
 
Governor Vajubhai Vala directed Kumaraswamy on May 19 to take the floor test after forming his government with the Congress.
 
Expressing gratitude to the Congress for extending support to JD-S, Kumaraswamy said that a fractured verdict in the May 12 elections caused political instability in the state for a week, since no single party got a clear mandate to rule.
 
"The BJP, the single-largest party with 104 of the 222 seats that went to polls, backed off as it did not have a majority and its Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa bowed out three days after forming the government hastily," he said.
 
"I would like to convey to the people of Karnataka that they need not worry about the survival or duration of our government even after the trust vote as we (JD-S and Congress) have buried the hatchet to work for the state's development as alliance partners," the Chief Minister said.
 
Allaying fears over the working of the coalition government, the JD-S leader said he was ready to shoulder the responsibility for socio-economic development of the southern state.
 
"Doubts about the our government's survival are unwarranted as both parties are committed to provide an efficient administration for public welfare, especially of farmers, women, youths and senior citizens," he said.
 
Though the JD-S won 37 seats, its effective strength in the 225-member house is 36, as Kumaraswamy won from Channapatna and Ramanagaram seats. The Congress has 78 seats.
 
With the support of one MLA each from Bahujan Samaj Party, a regional outfit, and an independent, the alliance has the combined support of 117 members as against a halfway mark of 111, excluding the Speaker, in the Assembly whose present strength is 222. 
 
IANS
 
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Kumaraswamy sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka

H. D. Kumaraswamy was on Wednesday sworn in as the Chief Minister of a Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka.

H. D. Kumaraswamy (File Photo: IANS)
H. D. Kumaraswamy (File Photo: IANS)
H. D. Kumaraswamy was on Wednesday sworn in as the Chief Minister of a Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka.
 
Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office to Kumaraswamy, the state's 25th Chief Minister, at 4.30 p.m. on the grand steps of the state Secretariat in the presence of national and regional leaders from across the country.
 
G. Parameshwara of the Congress took oath as the Deputy Chief Minister. 
 
Both the leaders took oath in Kannada in the name of god, farmers and the people of the southern state.
 
A galaxy of national and regional leaders and Chief Ministers of some non-BJP states from across the country were present on the occasion.
 
Among the prominent political leaders present on the huge dais were UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, BSP supremo Mayawati, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, expelled Janata Dal-United President Sharad Yadav and Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.
 
Chief Ministers Mamata Bannerjee (West Bengal), N. Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh) and Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala) were also present at the 10-minute swearing-in ceremony.
 
Thousands of JD-S and Congress cadres and supporters from across the state, especially the Mysuru region thronged the venue braving the rain.
 
IANS
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All set for Kumaraswamy to take oath as Karnataka CM

Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy is set to take oath on Wednesday evening as the 25th Chief Minister of Karnataka, with state Congress head G. Parameshwara as his deputy in the coalition government.

H. D. Kumaraswamy (File Photo: IANS)
H. D. Kumaraswamy (File Photo: IANS)
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy is set to take oath on Wednesday evening as the 25th Chief Minister of Karnataka, with state Congress head G. Parameshwara as his deputy in the coalition government.
 
The swearing-in ceremony is expected to be attended by a galaxy of opposition leaders with regional parties cutting across political lines coming together in a show of unity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Those scheduled to be present include Congress President Rahul Gandhi, his mother and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejaswi Yadav and actor and politician Kamal Hassan. 
 
Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is also likely to attend.
 
Among the non-NDA Chief Ministers likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony would be West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Kerala's Pinarayi Vijayan, Andhra Pradesh's Chandrababu Naidu and Delhi's Arvind Kejriwal.
 
The third son of former Prime Minister and JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy, 58, won from Ramanagaram and Channapatna segments in the May 12 Assembly election.
 
Earlier in the day, he visited his parents' house in Bengaluru south and took the blessings of Gowda and mother Chennamma for becoming the Chief Minister for a second time.
 
The Chief Minister-designate offered prayers to Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari at a hill temple ahead of taking oath.
 
The JD-S-Congress combine has 117 members, including one from regional party Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janata Paksha (KPJP) and an Independent.
 
In the 224-member Assembly, which currently has 222 members, the JD-S has 36, its pre-poll ally BSP has one, Congress 78 and the BJP 104 members.
 
The JD-S agreed to form a post-poll alliance with the Congress that kept the BJP, the single largest party, away from power in its only southern bastion.
 
IANS
 
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Kumaraswamy visits Karnataka temples ahead of swearing-in

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A day ahead of his swearing-in, Karnataka Chief Minister-designate H.D. Kumaraswamy on Tuesday visited the Hindu holy towns of Dharmasthala and Sringeri to pray for the success of the Congress-(JD-S) coalition government.
 
The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader returned to the southern state after a day-long visit on Monday to Delhi to discuss government formation with Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
 
"Although the people did not bless me and our party with a clear mandate, I have got an opportunity again to serve them by God's grace and my parents' blessings," Kumaraswamy had told reporters on Monday.
 
Kumaraswamy will take oath at 4.30 p.m. on Wednesday in front of the Secretariat (Vidhan Soudha) here in the presence of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Delhi and Kerala Chief Ministers Arvind Kejriwal and Pinarayi Vijayan respectively.
 
The JD-S leader has asked party cadres not to erect banners, flexi boards and burst crackers as they would harm the environment, a party official said.
 
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Kumaraswamy to take oath as Karnataka CM on Wednesday

Janata Dal-Secular's (JD-S) legislative party leader H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday said he will take oath as Karnataka Chief Minister on May 23 here in the presence of several national leaders.

 
H D Kumaraswamy to take oath on Wednesday
 
 
Janata Dal-Secular's (JD-S) legislative party leader H.D. Kumaraswamy on Sunday said he will take oath as Karnataka Chief Minister on May 23 here in the presence of several national leaders.
 
"I've deferred taking oath to Wednesday on the advice of the Congress as May 21 is (ex-Prime Minister) Rajiv Gandhi's death anniversary. On Thursday, the Speaker will be elected and the date of seeking trust vote will be decided after that," Kumaraswamy told reporters here.
 
The JD-S leader told the media on Saturday that he has been invited by Governor Vajubhai R. Vala to form the government as the leader of the JD-S legislative party with the support of the Congress.
 
The invitation came a few hours after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislature party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa on Saturday stepped down as the Chief Minister ahead of his trust vote as his party with 104 seats fell short of seven seats for a simple majority (111) in the 224-member hung Assembly.
 
Though Kumaraswamy had said he would take oath on Monday, he put it off to May 23 on the Congress advice as May 21 is the death anniversary of Gandhi, who was killed in 1991 by Sri Lankan Tamil rebels at Sriperumbudur near Chennai.
 
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Kumaraswamy will be flying to Delhi to meet Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday.
 
"I will discuss with them (Rahul and Sonia) on the cabinet expansion. So far, I'm not sure about the Congress stand. We want to make sure the government is a stable one," Kumaraswamy said.
 
Apart from the Congress leaders, he has also invited Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to attend the swearing-in ceremony, the JD-S leader said.
 
The JD-S (36) and Congress (78) alliance has 117 members in the House. With the support of three others, Kumaraswamy has 6 more than the required 111 halfway mark, excluding the Speaker to prove a majority in the House.
 
This is the second time Kumaraswamy, the son of JD-S supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, will be the Chief Minister of the southern state, 12 years after the JD-S formed a coalition government with the BJP on February 4, 2006 and remained in office for 20 months till October 9, 2007.
 
IANS
 
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Kumaraswamy invited to form government in Karnataka

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Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R Vala on Saturday invited Janata Dal-Secular's (JD-S) legislative party leader H.D. Kumaraswamy to form the next government in the state, following the resignation of BJP's B.S. Yeddyurappa ahead of his trust vote.
 
"The Governor has invited me to form the next government as the leader of the JD-S legislative party with the support of the Congress, which is our alliance partner," Kumaraswamy told reporters here after meeting Vala at Raj Bhavan and staked claim to power after the three-day BJP government fell.
 
The 58-year-old JD-S leader also said the Governor had given him 15 days to prove majority in the 224-member legislative assembly, whose strength is currently 222.
 
"I have decide to form the JD-S-Congress alliance government on May 21 by taking oath at 12 noon in the Kanteerva stadium," added Kumaraswamy.
 
The Governor's invitation came hours after Yeddyurappa resigned before the trust vote, as his party with 104 seats fell short of a simple majority in the hung assembly.
 
The JD-S won 37 seats in the May 12 election, the Congress 78 while the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party and an Independent won one each.
 
Election to Raja Rajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) in Bengaluru southwest was postponed to May 28 due to electoral malpractice and in Jayanagar in Bengaluru south to June 11 after it was countermanded following the death of BJP contestant B.N. Vijaya Kumar on May 4.
 
As Kumaraswamy won from Ramanagaram and Channapatna assembly segments, the JD-S strength in the assembly is effectively 36. It also has the support of the BSP as its pre-poll ally and claimed to have the support of the KPJP and the Independent.
 
The JD-S leader is likely to retain Ramanagaram from where he won for the third consecutive time and give up Channapatna, which will lead to a bye-election soon.
 
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The JD-S-Congress alliance has 117 members in the hung House with the support of three others, thus totalling half a dozen over the required halfway mark.
 
This is the second time Kumaraswamy, the third son of JD-S supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, will be the Chief Minister, and 12 years after the JD-S formed a coalition government with the BJP on February 4, 2006 and he occupied the office for 20 months till October 9, 2007.
 
Terming the turn of events on a dramatic day of developments as a victory of democracy, Kumaraswamy said the JD-S and the Congress leaders would discuss the modalities of forming their coalition government on Sunday.
 
Thanking Congress President Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia Gandhi and the party's other leaders at the central and state level, Kumaraswamy said he had invited them and BSP supreme Mayawati to his oath-taking ceremony on Monday.
 
"I have also invited Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to attend the swearing-in ceremony of our coalition government," he added.
 
IANS
 
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BJP loses Karnataka as CM Yeddy quits before trust vote

In an anti-climax to the hectic political developments since the split verdict in the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls, the BJP lost power in the state as Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned on Saturday before the trust vote as he did not have the numbers to prove his majority.

 
B S Yeddyurappa resigns ahead of floor test
 
 
In an anti-climax to the hectic political developments since the split verdict in the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls, the BJP lost power in the state as Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned on Saturday before the trust vote as he did not have the numbers to prove his majority.
 
His resignation paved the way for formation of a Congress-Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) government headed by H. D. Kumaraswamy. 
 
Congress President Rahul Gandhi targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the trust vote, saying he would have learnt lessons from Yeddyurappa having been forced to resign as the Karnataka Chief Minister two days after he was sworn in. 
 
The order for advancing the trust vote to Saturday came from the Supreme Court as the Congress and the JD-S filed a petition challenging Governor Vajubhai Vala's invitation to Yeddyurappa to form the government and his giving the BJP leader 15 days to prove his majority.
 
While the BJP had emerged as the single largest party in the elections, the Congress and the JD-S, which formed a post-poll alliance, said they had the required numbers to form the government. 
 
A little ahead of the appointed time of trust vote at 4 p.m, Yeddyurappa made an emotional speech, saying the BJP didn't get the numbers needed to prove majority in the House. "I will lose nothing if I lose power, my life is for the people," he said.
 
In his 15-minute address to the House, the 75-year-old BJP leader said there was no way he could have served the people of Karnataka, as the Congress was not allowing its MLAs even to speak to their family members.
 
Lamenting that hundreds of farmers had committed suicides across the state during the last five years, Yeddyurappa said the Congress could not ensure water for irrigating the farmlands in the state even 70 years after the Independence.
 
"My aim is to serve farmers till my last breath. I will also continue to serve all the people, including the Dalits, backward classes, weaker sections and the poor," reiterated Yeddyurappa who was the first BJP Chief Minister in south India when the party came to power on its own in Karnataka in 2008 assembly election.
 
Expressing confidence of the BJP winning in all the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies from the state in the 2019 general elections, Yeddyurappa said the party would also win in 150 seats in the 224-member state assembly in the next elections.
 
"It was my dream to be the Chief Minister of the state at a time Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister. If only people would have given us 113 seats instead of 104, we would have made this state a paradise. But I will fight for the state till my last breath. We will get 28 out of 28 seats in Lok Sabha and I will win 150 Assembly seats for Narendra Modi (in the next assembly elections)," Yeddyurappa said.
 
Asserting that the mandate showed that the state's people have rejected the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), he said: "People have voted against the Congress' misgovernance. I have faced many 'agni pareeksha' (trial by fire) in the past and this trust vote is just another one."
 
He then announced his resignation and drove to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala.
 
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In Delhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi launched a stinging attack on Modi stating that "The Prime Minister is corruption" and there was no institution "worthy of respect of the Prime Minister, Amit Shah and the RSS".
 
"I hope the BJP and the RSS learnt a lesson from this that the institutions of this country, the will of the people of this country cannot be disrespected," he said.
 
After a favourable verdict on their petition from the Supreme Court over the Governor's decision early on Wednesday, which was given a rare late-night hearing, the Congress and the JD-S had again moved the apex court on Friday seeking ouster of K.G. Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly.
 
However, as the Karnataka government informed about the live telecast of the floor test proceedings to ascertain the majority support to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, the petitioners on Saturday decided not to press their plea against the pro-tem Speaker.
 
The May 12 election across the state in 222 constituencies out of total 224 threw up a hung House, with no party securing majority. Polls in two constituencies were deferred.
 
Of the 222 seats, the BJP won 104, Congress 78, Janata Dal-Secular 37, and one each was bagged by the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party, and an Independent.
 
As JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy won from both Channapatna and Ramanagaram segments, the party's effective strength in the House is 36.
 
The Congress and the JD-S had staked claim to form government with Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister.
 
IANS
 
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Rajastan Royals beat Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL tie

Rajasthan Royals defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 30 runs in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash here on Saturday.
 
Chasing a target of 165 runs, RCB folded up for 134 runs in 19.2 overs.
 
Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal led the hosts' charge, sponging up almost the entire RCB top and middle-order to return impressive figures of 4/16 in his four overs.
 
Pacers Ben Laughlin and Jaydev Unadkat picked up two wickets each.
 
Earlier, Rahul Tripathi smashed an unbeaten 80 off 58 balls to take Rajasthan to a respectable 164/5.
 
Brief scores:
 
Rajasthan Royals: 164/5 in 20 overs (Rahul Tripathi 80 n.o.; Umesh Yadav 3/25) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore: 134 in 19.2 overs (AB De Villiers 53; Shreyas Gopal 4/16).
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Yeddyurappa quits as Karnataka CM before trust vote

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned on Saturday before facing a crucial trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly with the numbers stacked against the BJP in the newly elected House, bringing an end to a political thriller that began after the May 12 elections threw up a hung verdict.

 
B S Yeddyurappa resigns ahead of floor test
 
 
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned on Saturday before facing a crucial trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly with the numbers stacked against the BJP in the newly elected House, bringing an end to a political thriller that began after the May 12 elections threw up a hung verdict.
 
In an emotional speech in the Assembly, Yeddyurappa said the BJP didn't get the numbers needed to prove majority in the House. 
 
"I will lose nothing if I lose power, my life is for the people," he said.
 
In his 15-minute speech, the 75-year-old BJP leader said there was no way he could have served the people of Karnataka as the Congress was not even allowing its MLAs to speak to their family members. 
 
"If only people would have given us 113 seats instead of 104, we would have made this state a paradise. But I will fight for the state till my last breath. We will get 28 out of 28 seats in Lok Sabha and I will win 150 Assembly seats for Narendra Modi (in the next Assembly elections)," Yeddyurapa said. 
 
He then he would resign as the Chief Minister of Karnataka and after the speech, drove to the Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala. 
 
The resignation comes two days after he took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of the state.
 
The May 12 election across the state in 222 constituencies of the 225-member assembly, including one nominated member, threw up a hung House, with no party securing majority. Polls in two constituencies were deferred.
 
Of the 222 seats, the BJP won 104, the Congress 78, the Janata Dal-Secular, 37 and one each was bagged by the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party and an Independent. 
 
As JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy won from both Channapatna and Ramanagaram segments, the party's effective strength in the House was 36.
 
As the single largest party, the BJP was short of crossing the halfway mark.
 
Yeddyurappa required 111 members to win the motion or one more than half of the members present at the time of the floor test in the House, which has an effective strength of 221.
 
Though the Governor had 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 Supreme Court ordered the floor test on Saturday, rejecting his plea for a week's time to prove his majority.
 
IANS
 
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Yeddyurappa resigns as Karnataka CM before trust vote


File photo of B S Yeddyurappa (Photo: IANS)
File photo of B S Yeddyurappa (Photo: IANS)
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa resigned on Saturday before facing a crucial trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly with the numbers stacked against the BJP in the newly elected House.
 
The resignation came two days after he took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of the state.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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New Karnataka assembly session begins, MLAs take oath

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Governor Vajubhai Vala on Saturday convened the 15th Karnataka Assembly in the Vidhana Soudha here. It began with the newly-elected legislators taking oath.
 
The 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.
 
After these three, legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress and JD-S would be administered the oath.
 
Later in the day at 4 p.m., there will be a floor test conducted in the House to ascertain Yeddyurappa's majority, as ordered by the Supreme Court on Friday.
 
In the May 12 assembly election held in 222 constituencies across the state, the BJP won 104, Congress 78, JD-S 37 and three others, including one Independent, one from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and other a regional party, Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP). 
 
IANS
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Congress, JD-S MLAs leave for Bengaluru

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After camping here for the entire day, Karnataka MLAs belonging to the Congress and the Janata Dal-United (JD-S) left for Bengaluru late on Friday.
 
With the Supreme Court on Friday directing the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka to prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly on Saturday, the legislators of the two parties left for Bengaluru by road.
 
Over 115 MLAs of the two parties, along with their leaders, left in five luxury buses, accompanied by a large number of vehicles of Congress leaders of Telangana. Amid tight security, the long convoy left the two hotels after 10.30 p.m.
 
The MLAs arrived here early in the day after the night-long journey and checked in into the two hotels. They were shifted to Hyderabad to protect them from poaching by the BJP.
 
Hours after their arrival here, the Supreme Court directed Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to take the floor test at 4 p.m on Saturday.
 
On a day of fast-paced developments, former Karnataka Chief Ministers H.D. Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah flew to Hyderabad to hold crucial meetings to discuss the strategy to be adopted in the state Assembly on Saturday when the BJP government seeks a trust vote.
 
JD-S leader Kumaraswamy, Congress' Siddaramaiah and top leaders of the two parties attended the meeting at the Taj Krishna hotel, where Congress MLAs were camping. They also discussed the appointment of BJP legislator K.G. Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker by the Governor.
 
Kumaraswamy joined the meeting a couple of hours after Siddaramaiah held a meeting with all 76 MLAs of the Congress party. The meeting of Congress legislature party unanimously elected Siddaramaiah as its leader.
 
Kumaraswamy, who has already staked claim to form the government with the support of the Congress, later drove to Novotel, where 36 MLAs of his party were camping.
 
IANS
 
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Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah hold strategy meet in Hyderabad

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Former Karnataka Chief Ministers H.D. Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah and other leaders of the Congress and the JD-S held a crucial meeting here on Friday evening to discuss the strategy to be adopted in the state Assembly on Saturday when the BJP government seeks a trust vote.
 
Janta Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader Kumaraswamy, Congress' Siddaramaiah and top leaders of the two parties attended the meeting at the Taj Krishna hotel.
 
The two former Chief Ministers flew in to Hyderabad hours after the MLAs were shifted here by their respective parties to prevent them from being poached by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the crucial floor test in the new Assembly.
 
Siddaramaiah drove to the Taj Krishna and began consultations with the party leaders in the wake of the Supreme Court judgment directing Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to take the floor test at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
 
According to Congress sources, the senior leader gave directions to the MLAs to ensure coordination to defeat the trust vote. The meeting was attended by all 76 MLAs of the party.
 
Kumaraswamy, who has already staked claim to form the government with the support of the Congress, also reached Hyderabad and drove to Novotel, where his party MLAs were camping since their arrival in the city early on Friday.
 
The JD-S leader held a meeting with the party leaders and discussed the strategy to be adopted on Saturday. He later drove to Taj Krishna for a meeting with Congress leaders and MLAs.
 
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Three bus loads of MLAs arrived here after their night-long road journey from Bengaluru. This happened after the plans of the two parties to move the legislators to Kochi failed.
 
All 76 Congress MLAs checked in at Taj Krishna in Banjara Hills. The bus carrying 36 JD-S MLAs first stopped at Park Hyatt in the same area but was later taken to Novotel Hotel.
 
Police have made tight security arrangements at the two hotels. Media persons have been barred from entering while security personnel were frisking visitors before allowing them in.
 
Congress leader Madhu Goud Yashki, who accompanied the MLAs from Bengaluru, told reporters that the BJP was shamelessly trying to poach the MLAs. He said the BJP would fail as the Congress-JD-S enjoyed a majority.
 
Telangana Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, senior leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir and others met the party MLAs at Taj Krishna.
 
Within hours of the MLAs checking in at the hotels came the Supreme Court judgment directing the BJP government in Karnataka to prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly on Saturday.
 
Meanwhile, the leaders of the two parties were busy making arrangements to take their MLAs back to Bengaluru. Sources said the legislators may fly to the Karnataka capital in a chartered plane.
 
IANS
 
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