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Constituency Watch: Eyeing fifth straight win from Dharwad, Pralhad Joshi faces Lingayat seer

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Bengaluru, April 8 (IANS) The Dharwad parliamentary constituency in Karnataka is considered a high-profile seat where Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi, is seeking reelection for the fifth time in a row.

This time the constituency is making news as Fakir Dingaleshwara Swamiji, a Lingayt pontiff from Shirahatti Bhavaikyate Maha Sansthan, has vowed to defeat Joshi and declared his candidature as an independent candidate. Earlier, the seer had given a deadline to the BJP to change the candidate for the Dharwad MP seat.

The Congress party has fielded a dark horse, Vinod Asuti, a young leader and a close associate of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The party is hoping to get through with the help of the Kuruba community from which Vinod hails and the minorities and Dalits.

Pralhad Joshi is confident of an easy win. The BJP is banking on the dominant Lingayat votes in the region and also the Hindutva vote bank among all castes.

The Congress was planning to field former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar from Dharwad against Joshi. However, Shettar returned to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Sources said that Shettar had demanded the ticket for the Dharwad seat but the BJP allotted him the ticket for the Belagavi seat.

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The constituency has about 18 lakh voters. Among them, the minorities, OBCs and Dalits comprise 10 lakh voters. Sources in the Congress revealed that the state leadership and the high command are seriously considering the candidature of Lingayat seer Dingaleshwara Swamiji.

Dingaleshwara Swamiji has alleged that Joshi is bent on finishing off the Lingayat leadership in the state. However, Mallikarjuna Swamiji of Marugha Mutt and Rajayogeendra Swamiji of Mooru Saavira Mutt, both prominent Lingayat seers, have distanced themselves from Dingaleshwara Swamiji.

Sources said that Joshi had not taken the leaders of the different communities including the Lingayat community into confidence. It is also alleged that Joshi attempted to finish off local leader and former CM Jagadish Shettar by joining hands with former CM Basavaraj Bommai.

However, former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has clarified that Joshi was not behind his ouster from the CM’s post. He also appealed to the Lingayats to support Joshi. Sources said that there are many forces behind the religious seer and if he gets a ticket from the Congress, anything could happen.

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Activist and political analyst Ashok Chandargi told IANS that, there is no issue with the work and development activities of Joshi who also has a clean image with no scandals. But Joshi’s ‘one way traffic’ attitude can prove to be a setback for him.

The Hubballi Idgah Maidan dispute in which 6 people were killed in police firing in 1994, played a major role in the rise of the BJP in Dharwad, in north Karnataka and in the entire state. It had become a national flashpoint. Joshi was in the forefront at that time as the president of the “Raastra Dhwaj Gourav Rakshana Samithi”.

Earlier it was known as Dharwad North MP seat. Congress candidate Vinay Kulkarni had got 4.79 lakh votes against Joshi who had won with a margin of 2.05 lakh votes. In 2014, Joshi had defeated Vinay Kulkarni by 1.11 lakh votes.

Dharwad constituency comprises of Navalgund, Kundgol, Dharwad, Hubballi-Dharwad East, Hubballi-Dharwad Central, Hubballi-Dharwad West, Kalghatgi and Shiggaon assembly constituencies. The BJP and the Congress had won four seats each in the 2019 assembly election.

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Santhosh Lad, Minister for Labour, represents the Kalghatgi assembly segment. Shiggaon constituency is represented by former CM Basavaraj Bommai.

Journalist Gururaj Jamkhandi told IANS that the constituency has a history of not going by caste considerations as it has supported the candidates on merit and the party on performance. Though religion and caste have a say in the electoral outcome, in Dharwad the voters have generally not voted on caste lines in the last 17 elections since 1952.

Senior leader Manjunath Kunnur, former chief secretary B.S Patil, Vinay Kulkarni were pitched against Joshi by the Congress. All of them tried to play the Lingayat card but failed, he stated.

Jamkhandi said that Joshi became an MP unexpectedly when Vijay Sankeshwar, an industrialist who represented the BJP three times, quit the party.

“Joshi had brought all central government schemes to the region. Electrification of railways, doubling of railway tracks, new trains, Vande Bharat and Sampark Kranthi trains. Hubballi Airport was extended and developed. IIT, IIIT institutes came to Dharwad,” he stated.

–IANS

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Dalit youth assault: Junagadh protesters demand fast-track probe, addition of Section 120B

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Junagadh, June 12 (IANS) A protest rally was organised in Junagadh on Wednesday in support of the Dalit community demanding justice for NSUI leader Sanjay Solanki, who was allegedly assaulted by the son of a BJP MLA following a verbal altercation.

The rally, which began at the Babasaheb Ambedkar Chowk, saw participation from leaders and members of the Dalit community.

The protesters marched to express their solidarity with Solanki and put forth their demands before the state government.

“The Dalit community through the rally has put forth four primary demands to the government: the addition of Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) against all accused individuals, the appointment of a special public prosecutor to handle the case, a fast-track trial to ensure the case is resolved within six months and emphasis was placed on holding the accused accountable, specifically targeting Jayaraj Singh Jadeja and his family,” sources said.

The controversy began on May 30 when Sanjay Solanki, the president of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) city unit, filed a complaint alleging assault by BJP MLA Geetaba Jadeja’s son, Jyotiradityasinh alias Ganesh Jadeja alias Ganesh Gondal and his associates following a verbal altercation at Kalwa Chowk, Junagadh.

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Solanki claimed he was kidnapped, taken to a deserted farm in Gondal, and subjected to further assault and humiliation, including being forced to apologise on video under threat of a firearm.

Following the complaint, Ganesh and the others involved were arrested by Junagadh police on June 5.

In a show of solidarity, Dalits held a rally demanding strict action against Ganesh Jadeja, and others involved in a caste-based atrocity case.

The protest led to the closure of Gondal’s Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC), the largest wholesale market in Gujarat, on Wednesday.

Operations at the APMC in Gondal town, located in Rajkot district, came to a complete halt.

–IANS

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Sachin Pilot to address students at Oxford University on Friday

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Jaipur, June 12 (IANS) Oxford University in the UK has invited senior Congress leader Sachin Pilot to address its students on June 14.

The university has invited Pilot to share his views and have a detailed interaction with the students and the faculty on a wide range of issues.

The event is open to the public and can be accessed online as well, said a member of Pilot’\s team.

“I will be speaking at the Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government on Friday, 14th June at 2 PM (UK) / 6.30 PM (India). I look forward to an engaging interaction with the students and faculty members there. The event is open to the public and can be joined online,” Pilot said in a post on X.

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No fresh incident in Manipur's violence-hit Jiribam, BJP MLA raises concern on breach of CM's security

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Imphal, June 12 (IANS) No fresh incident was reported from Manipur’s violence-hit Jiribam district in the past 24 hours, officials said on Wednesday, while a key MLA of the ruling BJP raised concerns about the security breaches of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh’s advance security convoy on Monday and demanded an inquiry into this incident.

Police officials in Imphal said that combined security forces comprising Assam Rifles and state police commandos are continuing their strict vigil in Jiribam and adjoining areas, and no fresh incident was reported from the district, adjoining Assam, during the past 24 hours.

However, tension still prevails in the mixed-population district inhabited by Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis, Muslims and non-Manipuris, where a wave of violence broke out after the killing of 59-year-old farmer Soibam Saratkumar Singh on June 6.

A senior police official said that two police checkposts, a forest beat office, and at least 100 houses were set afire in Jiribam by attackers on June 7 and 8.

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The district administration has imposed a curfew in Jiribam and adjoining Tamenglong district for an indefinite period.

An official in Imphal said that Governor Anusuiya Uikey requested the Chief Minister to take all possible steps to bring the situation under control.

More than 940 people, mostly belonging to the Meitei community, have taken shelter in newly set up seven relief camps after the violence.

Jiribam had so far largely remained unaffected by the ethnic violence which has affected Manipur since May 3 last year, and the strife between Meiteis and Kuki-Zomi in several districts has so far claimed over 220 lives in both communities.

Over 1,500 people in both communities and over 70,000 people have been displaced from their homes and villages in the over-a-year-long ethnic violence.

The rioting has also left thousands of houses, government and non-government properties, and religious structures destroyed or damaged.

Meanwhile, in the wake of suspected militants attacking the advance security convoy of the Chief Minister in Kangpokpi district on Monday, leaving one security personnel injured, BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh demanded action against the officials concerned. He also said that the state government should initiate an enquiry into the lackadaisical attitude of the officers who were given advance intelligence reports by the state government regarding the situation in Jiribam earlier this year.

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Singh, the son-in-law of Chief Minister Singh, in a post on X, said: “These officers should be held accountable for the loss of lives and property of all those affected and, pending such enquiry they should be suspended and strict action should be taken up against them as per procedures prescribed by law.”

“Along with their associate officers, they should also be held accountable for the ambush on the state police team heading as an advance cavalcade for the Chief Minister, which is also related to the Jiribam incident,” he said.

“As a Member of the Legislative Assembly of the state, I demand that the state government have the order issued immediately and fix responsibilities against all the officers and people involved, and further ensure that the people of Jiribam be given adequate security and allowed to continue living at the original place of residence sooner than later.”

–IANS

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BJP-led Odisha govt announces re-opening all four entry gates of Jagannath Temple

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Bhubaneswar, June 12 (IANS) Keeping its poll promise, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Odisha, in its first Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, took the decision to re-open all the four entry gates of Lord Jagannath Temple at Puri for the devotees from Thursday morning.

The devotees were allowed to enter the 12th century shrine only through the main gate as the other doors have been closed since the Covid period.

Speaking to mediapersons, Odisha Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi said: “We have taken four important decisions in the first Cabinet meeting after the formation of the government. The four doors of the Jagannath temple have been closed for the devotees for the last couple of years. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised to open all the four doors in its election manifesto.

“Keeping in view the promise and the emotions of 4.5 crore Odia people, we took the decision that the council of ministers will visit Puri and ensure the doors open in the presence of the government,” Majhi added.

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He also announced the Cabinet’s second decision regarding the setting up of Rs 500 crore corpus fund for the conservation, preservation, proper management and development of the 12th century shrine.

CM Majhi also announced the decision of the cabinet to fulfill another major promise made by the BJP in its manifesto.

The party had promised to increase the Minimum Support Price (MSP) on paddy to Rs 3,100.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal to introduce a new policy ‘Samrudhha Krushak policy’ to address different problems faced by the farmers and to ensure the payment of Rs 3,100 per quintal paddy.

The concerned department has been instructed to prepare guidelines in this regard.

The government will implement the proposal within 100 days after the receipt of detailed guidelines.

Majhi also told the mediapersons that the concerned department has been asked to prepare guidelines and a detailed framework for the implementation of the ‘Subhadra Yojana’, one of the major poll promises made by the party.

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The women beneficiaries will get a cash voucher of Rs 50,000 each which they can encash within a period of two years. CM Majhi said that this scheme will be implemented within 100 days of the formation of the government.

Besides, the BJP government brought joy to the journalists in Odisha by allowing their entry into the Lok Seva Bhavan, the state secretariat, after four years.

The previous BJD government has stopped the entry of journalists into the state secretariat since the Covid-induced lockdown in March 2020.

–IANS

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Haryana CM approves allotment of 976 'Khel' nurseries

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Chandigarh, June 12 (IANS) Haryana Chief Minister Nayab Singh Saini on Wednesday approved the allotment of 976 ‘Khel’ (sports) nurseries in government and private schools and institutions under the Khel Nursery Scheme.

Previously, the government allotted 1,100 Khel nurseries each year. The number of nurseries has been increased to 1,500 from FY 2024-25, with about 500 of these nurseries being managed by government coaches on government infrastructure.

An official spokesperson said applications are invited annually from government and institutions, with the availability of a coach, adequate playground facilities, and the ability to accommodate up to 25 players who will receive scholarships. The selection process involves District Sports Officers conducting physical inspections of the applicant’s premises.

He said scholarships under this scheme are awarded at the rate of Rs 1,500 per month for players aged eight to 14 years and Rs 2,000 per month for players aged 15 to 19 years.

Additionally, coaches of these Khel nurseries receive an honorarium of up to Rs 25,000 per month.

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–IANS

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