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Karnataka cabinet expansion at the earliest: Siddaramaiah




Bengaluru | Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Sunday said the much awaited expansion of the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition cabinet in Karnataka would take place “at the earliest”. “We will have to do it (cabinet expansion); we will do it as soon as possible,” he said.

Speaking to reporters in Hubballi, he referred to the ongoing elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and said the party’s state leadership would soon seek Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s time to discuss about the expansion.

“It (expansion) will happen at the earliest…elections are about to end there (in MP and Rajasthan). In between we will seek time to discuss and do it,” the head of the Congress-JD(S) coalition coordination committee said. State Congress Chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara had recently said the cabinet expansion would take place within this month.

The cabinet expansion and appointment of MLAs as heads of boards and corporations that was to take place in October was put on the back burner by the Congress-JD(S) coalition, as the schedule for the November 3 bypolls to two assembly and three parliamentary seats in the state was announced. Several MLAs, especially those from the Congress, who are aspirants for ministerial posts, have been demanding the expansion to be taken up at the earliest.

Some of them, including former Minister M B Patil and senior legislator B C Patil even met Congress General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Vengopal on Saturday to put forward their case.

According to Congress sources, many MLAs feel that this is the right time for cabinet expansion, with the ruling coalition winning two of the three Lok Sabha seats and both the assembly constituencies. This would be the second cabinet expansion since the coalition came to power in May in a post-poll tie-up between Congress and JD(S). Under the power sharing arrangement reached by the two parties, Congress will have 22 ministers and the JD(S) 12. In the earlier exercise on June 6, Kumaraswamy had inducted 25 ministers, taking the ministry’s strength to 27.

However, the lone BSP Minister in the coalition cabinet N Mahesh, who was inducted from JD(S), quit his post in October, citing personal reasons, but said he would continue to support the ruling coalition. There are now six vacant ministerial positions left for the Congress, and two for the JD(S).

The decision to expand the cabinet has come amid speculations that some disgruntled Congress MLAs were still being wooed by the BJP, besides reported factionalism within the party. With the growing number of aspirants and limited ministerial berths in hand, Congress is preparing a list of MLAs to be appointed as heads to boards and corporations,in an effort to prevent any kind of resentment, party sources said.

Responding to a question about Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwaras statement that he was ready to take up the responsibility of Chief Ministership if the high command so desired, Siddaramaiah said the top post was not vacant now. “Parameshwara has said that if given an opportunity he has the capacity to become Chief Minister, but where is it (CM post) vacant now? In Congress, there are several leaders who have the capacity and eligibility to become Chief Minister. “He (Parameshwara) has said that he too is eligible to become Chief Minister. “What is wrong in that? Ultimately it is to be decided by the high command and MLAs,” he added, while noting that the Congress was in the coalition government with JD(S) due to the fractured verdict in the assembly polls.

Also, the chief minister’s post was not vacant, with their alliance partner currently holding the position, Siddaramaiah said. Responding to a question, Patrameshwara on Saturday had said that he was ready to take on the responsibility as chief minister if the high command so wished.


Naveen Patnaik not interested in Odisha’s development: Yogi Adityanath





Bhawanipatna/Nachuni (Odisha) | Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday said his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik has “betrayed the people” as he is not interested in the development of the state.

Addressing party workers at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district and later at Nachuni in Khurda district, Adityanath called for a change in the state government to make Odisha prosperous.

He said Odisha can also develop like Uttar Pradesh if a BJP government is installed in the state.

“Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is not interested in the development of the state, rather in his personal agenda. He (Patnaik) has betrayed the people of Odisha,” Adityanath said and called up the people to end the 19-years of BJD rule in order to make the state prosperous.

He criticised Patnaik for not implementing the Centre’s popular welfare schemes like Ayushman Bharat and PM-Kisan.

“The poor people have been deprived of the benefits being given by the BJP-led central government,” the UP CM said.

Slamming the Odisha government for its alleged inefficiency, the firebrand BJP leader said the Naveen Patnaik government has constructed only 17 lakh pucca houses for the people in the last 19-years of its rule while the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has provided 20 lakh houses to the poor in less than two years.

“If the BJP is given a chance to form the government in Odisha, the state will witness quick development like Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Odisha will witness the state as well the national elections in a few months.

While lauding the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme, Adityanath said Odisha government’s KALIA yojana has no stability and is shrouded in corruption from the beginning.

“While the UP government has so far identified 1 crore beneficiaries for PM-Kisan, Odisha government has not prepared its list,” Adityanath alleged.

The UP CM also criticised the Odisha government for taking credit in providing rice to poor people at Rs 1 per a kilogram for which “bulk of the finance was borne by the Centre”.

While the BJP-led central government is contributing Rs 29 for one kg of the subsidised rice, the Odisha government’s share is mere Re one, he claimed.

In his speech at both the places, Adityanath showered praise on Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for his work and said Ujjawala Yojana had provided 12 crore new LPG connections in the last four-and-half-years, more that what was achieved since Independence.

Adityanath also flayed the opposition for making fun of the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY).

“When subsidies under the Ujjwala Yojana started getting credited to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries, they (Opposition parties) understood the PMJDY’s importance,” he said.

The BJP government’s agenda is development for all, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, he said, adding that Odisha has a crucial role to play in the upcoming parliamentary elections to make Narendra Modi Prime Minister for the second time.

He asked party workers to put up a spirited effort to replicate BJP‘s success in the state as they have done during the 2017 panchayat elections.

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India objects to Pakistan’s use of abusive language at ICJ





The Hague | India on Wednesday strongly objected to the abusive language used by Pakistan’s counsel in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), urging the UN court to draw a redline.

Harish Salve, the former solicitor general of India while presenting India’s case before the ICJ, drew the court’s attention to the abusive language used by Pakistan through its counsel Khawar Qureshi on the second day of the hearing.

“The language echoed in this court… perhaps this Court may lay down some redlines. The transcript is peppered with words such as shameless, nonsense, disgraceful… India takes exception to being addressed in this fashion in an international court.

“India strongly objects to abusive language of Pakistan’s counsel,” Salve said as the International Court of Justice began the second round of public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.

Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

On Wednesday, India will have a maximum of 90 minutes to submit its final arguments in the case. Pakistan will also get 90 minutes to respond to India’s arguments on Thursday.

The ICJ is expected to deliver its verdict in the summer of 2019.

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Govt created situation where calls of violence against Kashmiris being openly executed: Yechury




Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi | CPIM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday alleged that the government has “tacitly and overtly” created a situation in which calls of violence against Kashmiris were being given and executed.

In a Facebook post, he said the terror attack in Pulwama, in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives, was a result of “colossal failure of politics” in the state.

“Instead of fixing responsibility, upholding the basic democratic norm of accountability, we see that the Modi government has misused the support given by the political opposition to bring the perpetrators of this heinous terror attack to justice, to hide its failures.

“It has tacitly and overtly created a situation where calls for violence against Kashmiris, who are as much a citizen of India as any RSS member, are being openly given and executed. This is shameful, undemocratic and blatantly ‘anti-national’ politics from BJP-RSS,” he said.

He said there should be accountability and fixing of responsibility for the loss of lives.

“Particularly when the J&K governor talks of intelligence failure. In 2008, after Mumbai terror attack, the Union home minister and the Maharashtra chief minister had to resign. The current establishment cannot hide behind the coffins of our martyred jawans,” he said in his post.

Yechury claimed that the number of local militants has risen during the tenure of this government and alleged that the number of deaths of both civilians and security forces has also risen during this period.

“In playing petty politics, the Modi government has finished all middle ground in Kashmir and strengthened the militancy. Who is accountable for the mess now? BJP governors speak of boycotts of Kashmiris? Will this enable normalcy to return,” he asked.

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