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Ex-PM Gowda’s son-in-law to join BJP, stand against Dy CM Shivakumar’s brother in LS polls: Sources

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Bengaluru, March 13 (IANS) Former Prime Minister, HD Deve Gowda’s son-in-law, Dr. CN Manjunath, will be meeting former Karnataka Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday. Sources said that Dr Manjunath would be joining the BJP on Thursday.

Sources also said that Dr Manjunath would most likely be fielded against Deputy Chief Minister, DK Shivakumar’s brother DK Suresh from the Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha seat.

The Bengaluru Rural constituency is considered the pocket borough of the Shivakumar brothers.

DK Suresh was the only candidate in the previous Lok Sabha elections to register a win in the whole state.

Sources said that former CM Kumaraswamy had convinced Dr. Manjunath to enter politics on a BJP ticket as he wanted to avenge the defeat of his son Nikhil Kumaraswamy in the Assembly elections. Dy CM Shivakumar had ensured the victory of his confidante Iqbal Ansari against Nikhil Kumaraswamy from the Ramanagara Assembly seat.

Dy CM Shivakumar has emerged as the Vokkaliga face in the state following the Congress’ victory in the Assembly elections.

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Earlier, the influential Vokkaliga community used to rally behind the Deve Gowda family.

Meanwhile, commenting on the possibility of ex-PM Deve Gowda’s son-in-law contesting against his brother, Dy CM Shivakumar stated in Kalaburagi on Wednesday that he was not concerned by the development.

“I have no problem with the development. I respect Dr. Manjunath. I had contested against ex-PM Deve Gowda, his son former CM Kumaraswamy and won against them. I had fielded a woman candidate against Deve Gowda. Kumaraswamy’s wife Anita Kumaraswamy had also contested against me,” Shivakumar explained.

“Our government has extended the service of Dr. Manjunath to serve as the Director of the famous Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, in Bengaluru. My brother Suresh is an MP but works like a panchayat leader. Hence, there is no cause for worry. Let anyone from the Gowda family contest in the Bengaluru Rural segment,” Dy CM Shivakumar stated.

Meanwhile, ex-CM Kumarasway stated in Hassan that the BJP high command had forced him to convince Dr Manjunath to contest Lok Sabha polls.

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Sources said that Dr Manjunath had asked for a ticket from the Bengaluru North seat initially but since it is a BJP stronghold the party refused.

Later, former CM Kumaraswamy decided to field him on a BJP ticket against Shivakumar’s brother, sources added.

–IANS

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Akhil Gogoi bats for merging two regional parties in Assam

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Guwahati, May 24 (IANS) Legislator from Assam’s Sibsagar constituency and Raijor Dal chief Akhil Gogoi on Friday asserted that a “strong regional force” is required to safeguard the interest of Assam, adding that working towards that direction, his party is keen to merge with the Assam Jatiya Parishad to form a new political entity.

“Looking into the current political situation in the state, it is imperative that we need a strong regional party. We held discussions with Assam Jatiya Parishad leaders on the probability of merging the two parties into one. The discussions were positive and on behalf of Raijor Dal, we have given our consent in this matter,” Gogoi told reporters.

According to him, the ball is now in the court of Assam Jatiya Parishad.

“If they (Assam Jatiya Parishad) agree, a new political party will be formed with a new constitution. I believe that if both parties come together, we will become a formidable force to take on the BJP. In the coming days, other small parties will also come to our side,” Gogoi said.

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He also said that the regional parties hold the key to providing a better political alternative to the people of Assam.

Gogoi said that if for some “technical” reasons, Assam Jatiya Parishad turns down the proposal, a ‘United Front’ will be formed, bringing regional parties of the state into single fold.

However, the chief of Assam Jatiya Parishad, Lurinjyoti Gogoi has not issued any official statement on merging his party with Raijor Dal.

Notably, both Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal were part of a united opposition forum led by Congress in the Lok Sabha polls.

Congress left the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha seat for Lurinjyoti Gogoi and he contested the election against BJP heavyweight Sarbananda Sonowal.

–IANS

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Jeep ride to Dudhsagar waterfall in Goa barred from June 1

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Panaji, May 24 (IANS) The adventurous journey of 14 km by Jeep to the Dudhasagar waterfall from the Bhagwan Mahavir National Park at Collem in South Goa will be closed from June 1 for the proliferation of wildlife during the monsoon season.

Every year, more than two lakh domestic and foreign tourists flock to this tourism circuit located in the Bhagwan Mahaveer National Park, which remains closed for taxi operations every year during the monsoon.

The Deputy Conservator of Forests informed that the Dudhsagar waterfall tourism circuit will be closed for vehicle movement with effect from June 1 for the proliferation of wildlife and due to the advancement of monsoon in Goa.

The jeep ride to the waterfall is likely to commence in September or October.

–IANS

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NE states likely to witness moderate to very heavy rainfall for 3 days from Sunday

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Guwahati/Agartala, May 24 (IANS) Most northeastern states will witness moderate to very heavy rainfall for three days from Sunday due to a severe cyclonic storm arising from a depression over the central Bay of Bengal, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast on Friday.

An IMD statement said that the depression is very likely to continue to move north-northeastwards and intensify into a cyclonic storm over the east-central Bay of Bengal by Saturday morning.

The cyclonic storm would intensify into a severe cyclonic storm by Saturday night, continue to move nearly northwards and is very likely to cross Bangladesh and adjoining West Bengal coasts between Sagar Island and Khepupara around Sunday midnight as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 110-120 kmph, gusting to 130 kmph.

The IMD said that light to moderate rainfall at most places, with heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places, is likely to occur in Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland from May 26 to 28.

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Isolated extremely heavy rainfall is likely over Assam and Meghalaya on May 27 and 28, Mizoram and Tripura on May 27, and Arunachal Pradesh on May 28, the IMD statement said.

–IANS

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All arrangements in place for voting in J&K's Anantnag-Rajouri constituency: CEO

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Srinagar, May 24 (IANS) J&K’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P.K. Pole said on Friday that all arrangements are in place for smooth, fearless, and secure voting in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency on Saturday in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha polls.

All polling staff and security personnel have been deputed at their places of duty, he said.

“All necessary arrangements, including comprehensive security protocols, have been made for the elections. We have made all the arrangements for the elections. Security has been put in place in all the districts of the constituency. We are expecting a good voter turnout in the region,” the CEO said.

Polling staff and security personnel drawn from CAPFs and J&K Police have been deputed in all the five districts of Poonch, Rajouri, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian where the 18 voting segments of this constituency are situated.

A total of 2,338 polling stations for 18,36,576 voters – 9,33,647 males, 9,02,902 females, and 27 third-gender voters – have been set up. The voter list also includes 17,967 persons with disabilities and 540 individuals over the age of 100.

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There are 25,000 migrant voters in the constituency for whom special polling stations have been set up in Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi.

For uninterrupted communication with polling staff at remote booths, satellite phones and wireless sets have been provided.

As many as 19 polling stations are located along the Line of Control, (LoC) where additional security deployment has been made.

There are 20 candidates in the fray in this constituency. However, the main contest is between National Conference candidate and senior Gujjar/Bakarwal leader Mian Altaf Ahmad, Peoples Democratic Party President and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and J&K Apni Party’s Zafar Iqbal Manhas. The BJP has unofficially supported the Apni Party candidate and has not fielded any candidate in this constituency.

Pahari community living in Poonch and Rajouri districts form a significant number of voters in the constituency. This community was given ST status by the Centre recently. In addition to the Pahari community, Gujjar/Bakarwal community also forms a significant part of the constituency’s electorate.

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Mian Altaf Ahmad has a predominant influence among the Gujjar/Bakarwal community which cuts across party lines since he is considered to be the religious leader of this community.

Voting starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday and will end at 6 p.m.

Polling for the constituency was due to take place in the third phase on May 7 but subsequently deferred to the sixth phase due to weather conditions. With this, LS elections will end in J&K.

–IANS

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Odisha: Third phase of polling on May 25 with BJP eyeing a breakthrough

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Bhubaneswar, May 24 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had never focused so much on Odisha as it has been doing in the 2024 elections as the party hopes to wrest the power from the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

After the talks on alliance with BJD failed to materialise, the BJP resorted to an aggressive campaign mode in Odisha with party heavyweights from across the country visiting the state almost every day.

The third phase of polling in Odisha — for Lok Sabha and Assembly — will be held on Saturday (May 25).

Hardly a day passed without any BJP star campaigner and local heavyweights of the party addressing a poll rally in Odisha in the last couple of weeks.

Leading the campaign from the front is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has so far addressed several poll rallies and also held massive roadshows in different parts of the state.

PM Modi has so far visited thrice to Odisha and addressed seven massive rallies at different constituencies of the state this month.

He has also led two massive roadshows at Bhubaneswar and Puri on May 10 and 20, respectively.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit the state again on May 29 for election campaigning.

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also visited the state several times for election campaigning in the last few weeks.

HM Shah also held a massive roadshow at Cuttack on May 15.

Other senior leaders who have so far campaigned in the state include Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP national president J.P. Nadda, former Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Union Minister Giriraj Singh, cine stars Hema Malini and Arun Govil (who played the role of Lord Ram), and Chief Ministers of Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh — Himanta Biswa Sarma, Yogi Adityanath and Vishnu Deo Sai, respectively.

“Though PM Modi and other central leaders had visited the state during the previous elections as well, yet the campaign by BJP was never as intense in the past as it is this time,” said veteran journalist Rajaram Satpathy.

Not only has the frequency of visits to the state by senior BJP leaders increased but also the central leaders of the party, who used to avoid targeting the BJD government in the past, are now hitting out at the ruling party in the harshest possible way, a political analyst said.

The BJP strategists have weaponised several local issues to wrest power from BJD, aiming to end the nearly 25-year-old rule of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

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Major issues raised by BJP leaders during their campaign include a threat to Odisha Asmita (self-identity), missing keys of Ratna Bhandar, the treasury of Jagannath Temple at Puri, demolition of Mutts during Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor Project, massive corruption and hijacking of the Central government schemes by BJD government, etc.

Among all the major poll planks, a threat to Odia Asmita, ‘Bhumiputra (son of the soil) vs outsider’ and Ratna Bhandar issues have taken centerstage in the election campaigning in the state.

It is pertinent here to mention that V.K. Pandian, the Tamil Nadu-born former Odisha cadre IAS officer, has emerged as the second most powerful leader in the ruling party and a probable successor to CM Naveen Patnaik.

According to analysts, the BJP leadership has been seeing it as a golden opportunity to strike an emotional chord with the voters by raking up the issue of threat to Odia Asmita, Odia culture, literature and language with an ‘outsider’ VK Pandian taking over the reins of government post elections.

The party’s top brass have unleashed a virulent attack against the ruling dispensation by constantly raking up the issue of threats to Odia culture, language and literature.

All the BJP leaders, from PM Modi to Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, are assuring the voters in Odisha that if the BJP comes to power, a Bhumiputra will become the Chief Minister, not an ‘outsider’.

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The missing keys of Ratna Bhandar is one of the major issues being raised in every election rally by the BJP leaders.

PM Modi stated during one of the public rallies in Kandhamal that the keys of Ratna Bhandar have been missing for the last six years.

He said the devotees of Lord Jagannath and the people of Odisha have the right to know what happened to the keys.

“Why were duplicate keys made? Is the Ratna Bhandar opened during the night using duplicate keys? Are the ornaments of the Lord stolen? The government set up a Commission but its report has not been made public yet,” said PM Modi.

The party promised to make public the commission report on the Ratna Bhandar and unravel the truth behind the missing keys issue as soon as the BJP comes to power in the state.

How much the party has succeeded in swaying the voters in its favour with the help of these issues will only be ascertained with the declaration of results on June 4.

–IANS

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