The Asian Age – Kumaraswamy breaks down, says want to swallow pain of coalition government

“The CM’s post is not a bed of roses, it’s a bed of thorns,” he said where he must work with coalition partner Congress.

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 15 July 2018. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy broke down and wept at a party function on Saturday that was held to felicitate his ascent to chief ministership, saying he was finding it difficult to cope with the pressures of office.

“The CM’s post is not a bed of roses, it’s a bed of thorns,” he said where he must work with coalition partner Congress, fend off opposition BJP and satisfy the aspirations of his own party legislators.

“If the pressure gets to me, I’ll have no hesitation in resigning in less than a couple of hours. I’m not after power. I was only interested in becoming CM to save our farmers from debt trap”.

With his eyes filled with tears, he told his fellow partymen: “You may be happy that your elder or younger brother became the CM. But I am not happy. I am keeping in myself all the pain, as the “Vishakanta’ (the receptacle of all poison) People gather in large numbers to listen my speech but they will forget my party at the time of voting.

I do not blame the electorate. I have undergone heart surgery for the second time and my body is working without any rest. I became Chief Minister due to the blessings of my parents and God’s grace and formed the government with the help of Congress”.

Repeatedly wiping his tears away with a handkerchief, Kumaraswamy said: “In 2006, I went against the wishes of my father and gave him a lot of pain. At that time, media was not against him. Now, I do not know what mistake I have committted or which section of society that I have hurt, but they (media) are against him.

This is haunting me. My government waived current loan of farmers up to Rs one lakh which is an additional burden on state exchequer to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore. I did not know whether I did the right thing or the wrong thing. Let the farmers decide if they are happy with my decision.”

“It’s up to to you to decide to give me poison or water. Fisherwomen in Mangaluru have launched a campaign “Kumaraswamy is not our chief minister”. I will come, meet and talk to you in two weeks and you should tell me where I have erred. I want to become ‘Vishakanta’ of coalition government to gulp poison and give nectar to you all.”

Invoking God, Kumaraswamy said nature had been kind towards him as all the dams were full and this has solved problems of farmers.

“Whether anybody supports me or not, Mother Nature is with me. Goddess Chamundeshwari is protecting me. God has given me power and I have no worries if it is snatched away from me at anytime. The Chief Minister’s post is not a bed of roses, it’s a bed of thorns”.

http://www.asianage.com/india/politics/150718/kumaraswamy-breaks-down-says-want-to-swallow-pain-of-coalition-govt.html

The Hindustan Times – SIT files first chargesheet in Gauri Lankesh murder case

The 650-page charge sheet filed before the First Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate details the role of alleged gunrunner and Hindutva activist T Naveen Kumar alone as an accomplice in Gauri Lankesh’s murder, which had triggered a nationwide outrage.

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 30 May 2018. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh on Wednesday filed its first charge sheet in the sensational case, naming alleged gunrunner and Hindutva activist T Naveen Kumar as an accused.

Naveen Kumar has been charged under section 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 118 (concealing a conspiracy) and 114 (abetment to the crime) of the IPC, and also under provisions of the Arms Act, SIT sources told PTI.

The charge sheet contains the statement of about 131 witnesses, the sources said.

The SIT has submitted that it would submit more documents relating to the case in future.

Lankesh, 55, known for her left leaning and strong anti-Hindutva views, was shot dead in front of her house here on September five last year.

Naveen Kumar was arrested for alleged illegal possession of firearm and ammunition on February 18. During the probe, the SIT claimed, it had found evidence of his involvement in the killing of Lankesh, and also arrested him in that case.

The Arms Act case against Naveen Kumar would be heard by a city court on Thursday.

Naveen Kumar, hailing from Maddur in Mandya district, was arrested with a firearm and bullets when he was waiting for a client at Majestic bus stand in Bengaluru.

Sources claimed he had not only supplied firearms to the assassins of Lankesh but also conducted a recce of the area around her residence and provided them vital inputs about her.

He is also suspected to have ferried the prime accused to a place close to Lankesh’s house.

Police said Naveen Kumar had named a man from Shivamogga Praveen Kumar, arrested by the city police in connection with an illegal arms case in May, in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.

The sources said the SIT has taken into custody four more people suspected of involvement in Lankesh’s killing.

They have been identified as Manohar Edve (30), Sujith Kumar alias Praveen (37), Amol Kale alias Bhaisab (40) and Amit Degwekar alias Pradeep.

While Edve and Praveen are from Karnataka, Kale and Degvekar are from Maharashtra and Goa respectively.

They were arrested for hatching a plan to kill Kannada writer K S Bhagawan, known for his anti-Hindutva stance, the sources said.

“Their involvement in Gauri Lankesh case is very much likely. That’s why we have taken them into custody and are interrogating them closely,” said a source in the SIT.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/sit-files-first-chargesheet-in-gauri-lankesh-murder-case/story-Xk4I9h9W6O7Ans5YH9TplJ.html

The Hindu – Parameshwara to be Karnataka Deputy CM

Special Correspondent

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 22 May 2018. Congress will get 22 Cabinet berths, and Janata Dal (S) 12

After eight days of political upheaval in Karnataka, Janata Dal (Secular) Legislature Party leader H D Kumaraswamy will be sworn in as Chief Minister on Wednesday, pending formation of a full-fledged Ministry and allocation of portfolios.

Meanwhile, after several rounds of meetings and consultation during the last week, an understanding was reached on sharing of berths in the Ministry between the Congress and the JD(S).

With the size of the Ministry fixed at 34, the Congress will get 22 berths, including that of Deputy Chief Minister, while the JD(S) will get 12, including the Chief Minister.

On Wednesday, Governor Vajubhai Vala will administer the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Kumaraswamy on the steps of the Vidhana Soudha at 4.30 pm in the presence of a galaxy of national leaders who are in the forefront of an effort to form a united non-BJP coalition.

Mr Kumaraswamy, 58, will be sworn in as the Chief Minister for the second time. He was the Chief Minister for 20 months in the JD(S)-BJP coalition government during 2006-07. G Parameshwara (67), the Dalit face of the dominant partner Congress, will also be sworn in on Wednesday. He will be the Deputy Chief Minister.

K C Venugopal, who is AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka, said that given that the Congress number (78) in the Assembly double that of the JD (S) (36), the Congress will get the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly while the Deputy Speaker will go to the JD (S).

Thirty two Ministers and portfolio allocation will be decided after the floor test of the coalition government headed by Kumaraswamy on May 24. There are 221 elected members in the Legislative Assembly and the coalition partners have 117 members, including one BSP and two independents.

The Ministry expansion and allocation of portfolios will be delayed since both parties have decided to take into account factors such as caste, region, experience, service to the party and age, for giving ministerial berths to legislators.

Co-ordination committee

The Congress – JD (S) have also reached understanding on formation of the coordination committee comprising members of both parties to evolve common minimum programme. “Within one or two days the coordination committee too will be announced,” Mr Venugopal said.

Besides former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, prominent leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Chief Ministers of Kerala, Odisha, Delhi, West Bengal and Puduchery are expected to participate in the event.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to observe Wednesday as black day, arguing that the formation is a subversion of the people’s mandate.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/parameshwara-to-be-karnataka-deputy-cm/article23962528.ece?homepage=true

BBC News – India Karnataka: Modi ally resigns in regional crisis

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suffered a setback after the chief minister of the southern state of Karnataka resigned minutes before a vote of confidence in the assembly.

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 19 May 2018. B S Yeddyurappa said he could not get the numbers to secure a majority.

A coalition government will take over and replace the chief minister, who has held office for less than three days.

The Supreme Court ordered the vote when the opposition Congress complained the BJP lacked the necessary support.

The BJP won 104 of the 222 seats in recently concluded state polls, but fell short of a majority by eight seats.

The Congress emerged as the second largest party and declared an alliance with a regional party, Janata Dal (S), which won enough seats to give their coalition a majority in the new assembly.

But the governor, Vajubhai Vala, invited the BJP to form the government and even allowed their candidate, BS Yeddyurappa, to be sworn in as chief minister.

His controversial decision had led to a major standoff, with many calling it a violation of the constitution.

Opposition parties challenged his decision in the Supreme Court, which ruled that the BJP had until 1600 (1030 GMT) on Saturday to win over eight members from the opposition alliance to form the government.

Analysts believe losing Karnataka would have been a major blow for Congress which rules only three of India’s 29 states. The BJP and its allies are in power in 21.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-44166194

The Hindu – Magic no: 111 – a cliffhanger likely in Karnataka

Only cross-voting or abstentions from the Congress-JD(S) combine could help B.S. Yeddyurappa; now there are only 221 members as H D Kumaraswamy was elected from two seats.

Nagesh Prabhu

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 19 May 2018. The new one-man Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of B S Yeddyurappa, which is seven members short of a majority of 111 in the Karnataka House of 221 members, thus faces an uphill task in proving its strength during the floor test on Saturday.

Although Karnataka has a 224-seat Assembly, polls were held for 222 seats. Elections to two seats were deferred. Further there are now only 221 members as Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy was elected from two constituencies, Channapatna and Ramangaram.

The BJP won the highest number of seats with 104 MLAs. The Congress with 78 MLAs, the JD(S) with 36 and three others are also individually not in a position to form the government.

Three possibilities

Before the Assembly begins its session at 11 am on Saturday, all political parties are expected to hold a meeting of their respective legislature groups and issue a whip.

There are three possible scenarios that Mr Yeddyurappa could hope for to save his government.

In the first scenario, seven members of the Congress-JD (S) combine must indulge in cross-voting. Failing that, the Chief Minister could win the trust vote if 14 newly elected members do not take oath as MLAs before the vote of confidence procedure begins, thereby reducing the members in the House to 207.

The BJP, with 104 members, will then have more than the half-way mark.

In a third scenario, 14 members of the Congress – JD(S) combine could abstain from voting when Mr Yeddyurappa moves the confidence motion. This again reduces the number of MLAs voting to 207.

However, in case seven members of the opposition either cross-vote in favour of Mr. Yeddyurappa or do not vote at all, they face disqualification for six years under the Anti-Defection Law.

While the BJP claimed it has the support of MLAs from other parties, the Congress and the JD(S) insist that they are united and have the numbers to form the government.

However, the allies have also expressed fears of the BJP luring their MLAs and getting them to resign their seats or abstain from voting during the floor test. Congress sources meanwhile said Anand Singh, three-time MLA who won from Vijayanagara (Ballari) on their ticket, has not joined the other party MLAs.

“The BJP is using the Enforcement Directorate to threaten us. It has threatened Anand Singh as well”, JD(S) State president H D Kumaraswamy said.

Congress leaders also released a recording of a telephonic conversation, purportedly between mining baron G Janardhan Reddy and Basanagouda Daddala, a Congress MLA, where the former is heard wooing the latter into the BJP camp.

Releasing the recording, V S Ugrappa, Congress MLC said it clearly proved that the BJP was resorting to “dirty tricks” to woo MLAs and engineer defections ahead of trust vote. However, Union Minister and Karnataka in-charge Prakash Javadekar rubbished the conversation as “fake”.

http://www.thehindu.com/elections/karnataka-2018/magic-no-111-a-cliffhanger-likely-in-karnataka/article23930725.ece

The Statesman – Karnataka verdict, Siddaramaiah’s Lingayat gamble backfires

Siddharamiah had decided to grant minority religion tag to a small section of the Lingayat community, which follows the teachings of 12th century saint Basavanna, much to the annoyance of the Veershaiva Lingayats

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 16 May 2018. Chief minister Siddharamiah’s gamble to divide the dominant Lingayat community by granting minority religion tag to a small section of the community which follows the teachings of the 12th century saint, Basavanna, has bombed.

This is evident from the Assembly election results, declared on Tuesday, which saw the BJP becoming the single largest party in the state bagging 104 of the 222 Assembly seats, polls for which were held on 12 May. The ruling Congress managed 78 seats while the JD-S accounted for 37.

Over ten of the sitting ministers lost in a tough contest, including law minister T B Jayachandra, Ramnath Rai and Vinay Kulkarni. The latter had spearheaded the movement for the grant of a separate religion tag to the Lingayats.

His defeat is considered as a slap in the face of the Congress for its attempt to divide the dominant community.

Conversely, however, another major leader of the movement, M B Patil, water resources minister in the Siddharamiah government, sailed through from Bableshwar in Vijapura, with a margin of 27 000 votes.

Together the two Congress leaders had made a determined bid to divide the Lingayat community leading Siddharamiah to grant the followers of Basava a separate religion tag, much to the annoyance of the Veershaiva Lingayats.

Even though the discontent within the community did not come out in the open during the elections, at least it was not visible, the final results appear to prove that the chief minister’s decision did prove costly for the ruling party.

For the Congress, the defeat comes as a rude shock because it was banking on dividing the dominant Lingayat community which has tended to support the BJP, especially, its chief ministerial candidate and community leader B S Yeddyurappa.

Under Siddharamiah, the party had carefully planned the division, having learnt from the manner in which the BJP lost the 2013 polls. The party lost power that year as the Lingayat votes got split after Yeddyurappa separated from his parent party to form the Karnataka Janata Paksh.

Obviously, this ploy did not work for the Congress.

According to information available here, the BJP seems to have done well in the Lingayat-dominant belt of the state.

What perhaps gives the Opposition party the most satisfaction is that chief minister Siddharamiah lost to JDS’ G T Deve Gowda by a margin of over 36,000 in Chamundeshwari. The consolation for him though came in Badami, which he won against BJP’s backward caste leader, Sriramulu, even if with a small margin of 1,600.

The Yeddyurappa-led party, meanwhile, swept Udupi district winning all the five seats. It also decimated the ruling Congress winning seven of the eight seats from Dakshina Kannada where the ruling party was holding sway till recently.

In a related development, H D Kumaraswamy of the JDS braved the competition in Ramanagara and Chennapatna, the two constituencies from which he contested. Now he will need to vacate one.

BJP’s Yeddyurappa, himself had a comfortable win from his constituency in Shikaripura just as Siddharamiah’s son, Yathindra, sailed through comfortably in Varuna, a seat vacated for him by his father.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/karnataka-verdict-siddaramaiahs-lingayat-gamble-backfires-1502636583.html

The Tribune – Congress government in Karnataka to recommend religious minority tag to Lingayat

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 19 March 2018. The Karnataka Cabinet on Monday decided to recommend to the Centre grant of religious minority status for the numerically strong Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayat community, a move that has stoked a huge row months before the state goes to polls.

A meeting of the Cabinet considered the recommendations of the Karnataka State Minority Commission (KSMC) amid reports of division among ministers and seers of the community striking a discordant note on the issue of giving separate religion status for Lingayats. The cabinet had twice deferred a decision on the issue.

“After due deliberations and some discussions on concerns of various sections of society, the cabinet has decided to accept the recommendations of the Karnataka State Minority Commission,” Law Minister T B Jayachandra said.

He said the commission, based on the report of an expert committee, has recommended considering grant of recognition as religious minority to the Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayats (Believers of Basava Tatva (philosophy) under section 2 (d) of the Karnataka State Minorities Act.

“It was also decided to forward the same to the central government for notifying under Section 2(c) of the Central Minority Commission Act,” he told reporters.

Jayachandra said the decision would not affect the rights and interests enjoyed by the existing minorities.

The demand for a separate religion tag to Veerashaiva/Lingayat faiths has surfaced from the numerically strong and politically influential community, amid resentment from within over projecting the two communities as the same.

The Lingayat/Veerashaiva community that owes allegiance to the “social reform movement” initiated by Basaveshwara has a substantial population in Karnataka, especially in the northern parts of the state.

One section led by Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha has asserted that Veerashaiva and Lingayats are the same and religious status be given to them.

The other group wants it only for Lingayats as they believe that Veerashaivas are one among the seven sects of Shaivas, which is part of Hinduism.

Of late, some Lingayats have also stated that they were open to having the Veerashaivas under their umbrella, but that Lingayat nomenclature was non-negotiable.

The KSMC had formed a seven-member committee, headed by retired high court Judge HN Nagamohan Das in December last year. The committee submitted its report on March 2.

The committee in its report has said that Lingayats in Karnataka could be considered as religious minority.

“Veerashaivas, who consider Basavanna as Dharma Guru, vachanas as sacred text, wear Ishta Linga, and believe and follow Vachana tatva, may be considered as part of Lingayats”.

The ‘effective date’ of the notification would be, as may be notified by the state government, after meeting the procedural requirements, Jayachandra said.

It would also be after taking note of the possible impact of such grant of recognition to other minorities or the non-minorities or the public at large, he added.

According to reports, there were heated arguments during the cabinet meeting between ministers belonging to both Lingayat and Veerashaiva camps, with both sides sticking to their stand.

However, Jayachandra dismissed the reports and said it was a “unanimous decision”.

The decision is seen as an attempt by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to wean away a section of the communi ty towards the Congress. BJP chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa hails from the Lingayat community.

Lingayats/Veerashaivas, estimated to form 17 per cent of the state’s population, are considered the BJP’s traditional voter base in Congress-ruled Karnataka.

The Cabinet decision was slammed by the BJP, which accused Siddaramaiah of “playing with fire” for vote bank politics and carrying on with the ‘Divide and Rule’ legacy of Britishers in India.

“Congress carrying ‘Divide and Rule’ legacy of Britishers in India. Siddaramaiah ji is playing with fire for vote bank politics. Why has Congress done this before elections? Why haven’t they done it 4 years back?” BJP general secretary in-charge of Karnataka P Muralidhar Rao said in a tweet.

Opposition BJP leader in the assembly Jagadish Shettar said the Siddaramaiah government was dividing the society for the sake of politics, keeping the election in mind and accused it of “igniting fire”.

Sri Veera Someshwara Shivacharya Swami of Rambhapuri Peetha of Balehonnur, one of the seers heading the Veerashaiva camps, condemned the Cabinet decision.

He claimed although the decision had already been taken because of a “conspiracy of a few people”, the “Veerashaivas together will fight it” and were now considering their legal options.

Meanwhile, Minor scuffles were reported between Lingayat followers and Veerashaiva followers in Kalaburagi on Monday.

The clash broke out when the Lingayat followers were celebrating the government’s decision and Veerashaiva followers were protesting it. PTI/Agencies

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/cong-govt-in-karnataka-to-recommend-religious-minority-tag-to-lingayat/560269.html