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Adityanath and Siddaramaiah spar in Karnataka, focus on Hindutva in poll battle



A high-pitched poll battle is on in Karnataka where, anxious to return to power in the only south Indian state it has managed to form a government (the first time in 2008), the BJP is driving its campaign on the back of its pet theme of Hindutva.

Union minister Ananthkumar Hegde, who is rabidly anti-Muslim and had talked of changing the Constitution, is touring the state and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is a star campaigner.

For the record, Adityanath did talk about some development issues. Taunted by Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah who asked him to use his visit to the state to pick up tips to check starvation deaths back home in UP, Adityanath retorted by referring to farmer suicides and deaths of honest officers in Karnataka.

Siddaramaiah, mocking Yogi Adityanath over reports of alleged starvation deaths in UP, on Sunday tweeted: “I welcome UP CM Shri @myogiadityanath to our state. There is a lot you can learn from us Sir. When you are here please visit a Indira Canteen & a ration shop. It will help you address the starvation deaths sometimes reported from your state.”

Yogi Adityanath tweeted a retort: “Thank you for the welcome @siddaramaiah ji. I heard number of farmers committing suicide in Karnataka was highest in your regime, not to mention the numerous deaths and transfer of honest officers. As UP CM I am working to undo the misery and lawlessness unleashed by your allies.”

According to national crime statistics, Karnataka records the third largest number of farm-related suicides in the country, next only to Maharashtra and Telangana.

Addressing a BJP rally earlier in the day, Adityanath accused Siddaramaiah of pushing development in the state by five years and also targeted Siddaramaiah for remembering his Hindu roots, “just as Congress president Rahul Gandhi went to temple after temple during the Gujarat election”.

He said, “Karnataka’s chief minister says that he is also a Hindu. It is the sight of our numbers that is reminding him of Hindutva. Like Rahul Gandhi, he is now realising he is a Hindu.”

But, said Adityanath, Siddaramaiah endorses beef eating and calling himself a Hindu will not suffice. “When the BJP government was there in Karnataka it had passed an anti-cow slaughter law, but the Congress revoked it,” he added.

Adityanath further slammed Siddaramaiah for the “deteriorating” law and order situation in the state and claimed that in five years 22 people affiliated to the RSS or the Sangh Parivar were killed. In contrast, making a claim belied by facts, Aditynatah said there were no instances of communal violence in 10 months in Uttar Pradesh since he took over as chief minister.

He also said the state needs to have the BJP in power while the party is ruling the country.

Karnataka elections are due before May this year and the BJP started work on its poll plank months ago by raking up Hindu-Muslim issues. Calling the Congress an anti-Hindu party, creating a controversy over Tipu Sultan Jayanti and issues of communal violence dominate the discourse. The BJP is anxious that when the state votes for the 224-seat assembly in April-May this year, the party gets another shot at power.

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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah deletes post on reservation for Kannadigas in private sector after backlash from business community

the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.



Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday deleted his social media post on the reservation Bill, which reserves seats in groups C and D for Kannadigas only in the private sector, after backlash from the business community.

Announcing the Bill on X, Siddaramaiah said the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

The post further read, “It is our government’s wish that the Kannadigas should avoid being deprived of jobs in the land of Kannada and should be given an opportunity to build a comfortable life in the motherland.” He said that his government is a pro-Kannada government and their priority is to look after the welfare of Kannadigas.

Later after criticism from industry leaders, the Kartnataka CM deleted the post and then shared another post in Kannada that talks about giving reservation of 50% for administrative posts and 75% for non-administrative posts for Kannadigas in private industries and other organizations of the State.

Speaking to the media, Labour Minister Santosh Lad said the government is trying to introduce a law to give preference to locally available skills. He added that at the management level, it has been decided to provide reservations to 50% of the people.

At the non-management level, it has been decided to provide work to 70%, he said. If a particular skill is not available, people can be outsourced and they can be given work here. But the Government is trying to bring in a law to give preference to locally available skills, the minister further added.

In response to the government’s announcement about the passage of the Bill, industry leaders and unions voiced concerns that it would impede industry growth by pushing away skilled workers not protected by the quota. Nasscom, the apex body for the technology industry in India, stated that the Bill was “deeply disturbing”.

Mohandas Pai, a Padma Shri Awardee and former CFO and Board Member at Infosys, also said that the government must focus on increasing jobs, training, and educating Kannada youth instead of driving away investment. Karnataka is India’s best state, adding that he said we should not destroy this. Pai termed the Bill as ‘discriminatory, regressive, and against the Constitution’ even as he attacked the ruling Congress for the decision.

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Maharashtra sends controversial IAS trainee Puja Khedkar back to academy



Trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar, who has been the eye of the storm, has been asked by the Maharashtra Government to report back to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie.

A letter from Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary Nitin Gadre stated LBSNAA has suspended district training of Khedkar and has called her back for further necessary action. The letter said she has been relieved from the district training programme of the state government of Maharashtra and has been asked to join the academy by July 23 under any circumstances.

Khedkar had made it to the headlines for her alleged demands of a separate office and official car, besides using a beacon on her private luxury car without official sanction.

Earlier this month, a report regarding Khedkar and her father’s objectionable behaviour was sent by Pune District Collector Suhas Diwase to the state government.

Reports said Khedkar completed her MBBS and then appeared for the UPSC exams several times. According to her, she joined the IRS in 2019. In a later interview she said she could not join the IRS since there were some technical problems in the OBC allocation of her seat.

Thereafter, in November 2021, she applied and got appointed as the assistant director in the Sports Authority of India. She then appeared for the Civil Services Examination in 2021 and cleared the preliminary exam, the main examination, and the interview, securing the 821st rank.

However, she failed to present herself for a medical test to confirm disability claims of blindness and mental illness due to which she was getting benefits under the category of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities. Consequently, this persisted as a legal battle in Central Administrative Tribunal against UPSC.

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Supreme Court issues notice to CBI, ED on Manish Sisodia bail plea



Manish Sisodia

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the bail pleas moved by former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The Supreme Court’s decided to issue notice to the two agencies after arguments on Sisodia’s petitions for bail in two cases relating to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. The court granted two weeks to the agencies to file their views.

“Views of agencies have to be heard before any decision is taken,” said Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, pointing at the seriousness of the charges slapped on Sisodia. The former Delhi Deputy CM has been under judicial remand since February 2023 over corruption and money laundering charges.

According to Sisodia’s counsel, the charges against him are politically motivated and lack enough evidence. The counsel had sought bail on medical grounds, to which the CBI or ED objected, saying his release might hamper the ongoing investigation into the case by influencing the witnesses or tampering with evidence.

According to the CBI and ED, Sisodia’s involvement in the liquor policy scheme was responsible for substantial state revenue loss and worked in favor of private liquor vendors.

Manish Sisodia, known for his transformational work in the field of education under the Delhi government, is not the only Aam Aadmi Party leader in jail. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Satyendar Jain are also behind bars. While Kejriwal is jailed in connection with the liquor policy case, Jain is in prison for corruption charges.

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