Bypolls are key indicators on which way the political winds are blowing in a state or, indeed, even the country. In Karnataka, it is much more than that. It is about the survival of not just the government, but, more importantly, of political morality itself.
The bypolls were necessitated because incumbent MLAs from the Congress and JD(S) resigned and eventually ended as candidates of the BJP in the very same constituencies. Their “resignations” led to the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government in the state.
The math goes thus: The House strength at 222 and not the real 224 seats, since elections to the RR Nagar and Maski constituencies have been held in abeyance.
The Congress has 66 MLAs and JD(S) 34; which gets the combine to a 100 MLAs. If they choose to have a reunion, the combine would need to win at least 12 seats to form the government.
But for the BJP, which has 106 MLAs, winning at least 8 seats is crucial for its continuance, but more would also help Chief Minister Yediyurrappa stabilise the rocking boat.
For the JD(S), the Vokalliga-dominated Old Mysuru region holds the key. Of the 12 assembly constituencies the party is contesting from, JD(S) leaders having been focusing on seven seats. Including Hunsur, KR Pete, in Bengaluru (excluding KR Puram), Chikkaballapura and Gokak.
Meanwhile, the BJP is a house in turmoil. It has been witnessing severe dissensions both within the party and in its traditional Lingayat dominated seats as well.
Trouble for Chief Minister Yediyurappa has come from leaders in party who believe they have been with the party all along and deserve to contest from the seats going to the hustings. The CM has had to keep his word and ensure that the defectors get to contest those seats, as promised.
Voters, even if traditional BJP supporters, have had their own rethink and are expected to make December 9, the day of the results, a nail-biting affair.
For instance, the three seats in the Mumbai-Karnataka regions, where the party’s traditional Lingayat voters dominate are expected to swing to either the Congress or the JD(S)
Gokak ostensibly is witnessing a triangular contest between the Congress, BJP and JDS. But if reports are to be believed, the constituency is witnessing a serious anti-Jarkiholi sentiment, which puts paid to the chances of the BJP’s Ramesh Jarkiholi and his brother the Congress’ Lakhan Jarkiholi. The Jarkiholi family has had a stranglehold over Gokak for the past couple of decades.
Thus, the JD(S)’ Ashok Pujari, a well known Lingayat leader, is considered a favourite.
In Athani constituency, several groups within the BJP have opposed supporting BJP’s Mahesh Kumathalli.
In a constituency like Kagwad in Belagavi district, the three-way contest with sugar baron Shrimant Patil contesting this time as a BJP who is pitted against Raju Kage who, this time, is with the Congress.
The JD(S) Shrishail Tugashetty is expected to make this contest a close one. The independent candidate, Vivek Shetty, is also expected to attract a significant number of votes, making the Kage-Patil contest a close call.
This despite the caste composition of the constituency ostensibly aiding Kage, a three-time BJP MLA from the constituency, as he belongs to the dominant Lingayat community. The community, nevertheless, is considered a BJP vote bank. The other castes that make up the constituency are Jains, Kurubas, Marathas, Muslims and Dalits. Patil belongs to the Maratha community.
Patil’s image, as incumbent MLA, has taken a severe beating since his defection to the BJP. Voters are unlikely to forget that he wasn’t in Kagwad during the floods in August and was holed up in a Mumbai hotel with the other rebel MLAs.
The BJP’s nervousness is evident from the ill-advised acts like the joint raid on Tuesday night by the Income Tax Department and State Excise Department on the house of the Congress’ Ranebennur candidate, K B Koliwad.
The BJP is continuing to work hard on making inroads into Vokkaliga-dominated constituencies. The party wants to create history by opening its account in Mandya (KR Pet) and win Hunsur after a gap of 25 years. Yediyurappa’s was born in Bookanakere in KR Pet. The party has been giving enough hints that the party’s candidate KC Narayana Gowda will be made a minister if he wins. An important thing to be seen on results day is if the BJP does indeed make inroads into the Old Mysore region.
The Congress could indeed be witnessing a generational shift depending on how these election results go.
Former Chief Minister Siddiramiah will be the man to watch. If the BJP government collapses, he might want a Congress-led government, hopefully minus the Gowdas. But if the results don’t go well for the party, there will be many baying for his blood within the party, both in Delhi and in Bengaluru.
DK Shivakumar, the man who has borne the brunt of the Centre’s anger, is pushing hard to take centerstage.
Either way, the Congress will witness some turmoil, if government formation does not become the overriding priority come December 9.
The JD(S) is, as is its wont, going to play hard, but hopes to be merry. A cynical view might be to think that the JD(S) is about a family and its political business. But it has been an important shade in Karnataka’s political spectrum and it just might be fighting for more than just its seats. It might be for its continued relevance as a regional player.
Dust storm, light rain expected in Delhi-NCR today, heatwave conditions to abate
IMD claimed in a tweet that Thunderstorm dust with light to moderate intensity rain and gusty winds with speed of 30-50 km/hr would occur over and adjoining areas of many places of Delhi, North Delhi, North East Delhi, North west Delhi, West Delhi, Central Delhi, East delhi and NCR( Loni Dehat, Hindon AF station, Ghaziabad, Indrapuram, Chapraula) Sonipat, Rohtak, Kharkhoda (Haryana) Baraut, Bagpat, Meerut, Khekra, Modinagar, Kithor , Garhmukhteshwar, Pilakhua, Hapur ,Gulaoti ,Siyana ,Sikandrabad , Bulandshahr , Jahangirabad (UP)
On Wednesday, a dust storm with light to moderate rain is expected in numerous locations in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). The India Meteorogical Department (IMD) stated the city’s maximum and minimum temperatures are predicted to be in the range of 40 and 25, respectively.
The IMD tweeted an advisory that thunderstorms, dust with light to moderate intensity rain and gusty winds with speed of 30-50 km/hr would occur over and adjoining areas of many places of Delhi, North Delhi, North East Delhi, North West Delhi, West Delhi, Central Delhi, East Delhi and NCR (Loni Dehat, Hindon AF station, Ghaziabad, Indirapuram, Chapraula) Sonipat, Rohtak, Kharkhoda (Haryana), Baraut, Bagpat, Meerut, Khekra, Modinagar, Kithor, Garhmukhteshwar, Pilakhua, Hapur, Gulaoti, Siyana, Sikandrabad, Bulandshahr, Jahangirabad (UP).
For the next two hours, light to moderate intermittent rain is expected over and near Adampur, Hissar, Hansi, and Meham (Haryana).
On Thursday, May 18, light rain is predicted for in Delhi based on the seven-day prediction for the city. The sky will mainly be cloudy, with the potential of a light rain or drizzle, according to the weather office.
The air quality will continue to be deteriorated in the city after strong winds with dust swept across the Delhi-NCR on Tuesday. Following this, visibility had reduced to 1000 metres. Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of regional forecasting centre, said the dry atmosphere is one of the reasons for the dust storms.
Following Tuesday’s severe winds and dust storm that blasted across the Delhi-NCR, the city’s air quality had taken an alarming dip.
The monsoons, which are awaited across India, are likely to make landfall in Kerala on June 4. Usually, the monsoon arrives on May 31 or June 1 but the delay will be made up as the phenomenon progresses on its south-west to north-east arc. With extreme temperatures right from a cold sytart to May to dust-laden winds in mid-May, the weather in the country is paying the price for accelerating climate change.
Security lapse at Navjot Singh Sidhu’s Patiala home, says it will not deter him from raising his voice against Punjab
After his release from jail, he slammed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its law and order in the state.
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has filed a complaint with the Punjab Police after he spotted a suspicious person wrapped in a grey blanket on his terrace. He alleged a security lapse at his Patiala home. He couldn’t catch him as he fled after his servant raised an alarm.
Taking to Twitter, Sidhu said, Today on the terrace of his residence an unknown suspicious character wrapped in a grey blanket was noticed around 7:00 pm, the moment his servant went out raised the alarm, and called for help, he immediately ran and escaped.
The 59-year-old further said that he has spoken to DGP Punjab Police and has also informed SSP Patiala. He said the security lapse will not deter him from raising his voice for Punjab.
Punjab Police registered a case in this matter. According to the reports, the Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police Varun Sharma visited his residence after the complaint and is currently investigating the matter. The CCTV footage of the area is also being scanned, reports state.
Cricketer-turned-politician came out of the Patiala Central Jail on April 1 after serving nearly 10 months in a 1988 road rage case. After his release from jail, he slammed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its law and order in the state.
He said Democracy is in chains. Punjab is the shield of this country. When dictatorship came in this country, a revolution also came, led by Rahul Gandhi.
Sidhu also slammed the Mann government over the pruning of security of slain singer Sidhu Moosewala and also making it public.
Air India Delhi-San Francisco flight suffers tech glitch before take-off, returns to stand
The airline has not given any official statement in this matter.
Air India flight which was en route to San Francisco from Delhi on Monday had to be returned to the stand because of a technical glitch. The San Francisco-bound flight suffered a tech issue before take off.
According to the reports, the aircraft which was carrying over 200 passengers from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) had to be replaced with another aircraft. Later, the passengers were accommodated in another aircraft.
The airline has not given any official statement in this matter.
Earlier today, another Air India incident occurred where a London-bound flight returned to Delhi’s IGI airport after a mid-air brawl between an unruly passenger and the flight’s cabin crew.
A brawl ensued between a passenger and the crew members shortly after it departed from the airport at around 6:35 am. The onboard ruckus forced the plane to turn around and return to Delhi again where the raucous passenger was deboarded and handed over to the police at the airport.
Air India apologized to the passengers on the affected Delhi-London flight for the delay and inconvenience caused to them due to the incident and assured them that efforts will be made to ensure such incidents do not occur in the future.