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K’taka Cong MLA says audio tape released by his party to frame BJP is ‘fake’

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In a development that could leave the Congress red-faced in Karnataka, its MLA Shivaram Hebbar today dismissed as “fake” an audio clip released by the party to allege that the BJP offered money and ministerial berth to him for cross-voting during the floor test in the Assembly.

The Congress had released three audio tapes in run up to the floor test, claiming that the BJP leaders were trying to ‘poach’ on the party MLAs by offering ‘blandishments’ so that the BS Yeddyurappa government is saved.

One of the audio tapes released by the party allegedly had conversation between Hebbar’s wife and BJP leaders, who allegedly offered money and ministerial post to woo him to vote for the BJP.

However, in a Facebook post in Kanadda, Hebbar today questioned the authenticity of the audio clip, saying her wife did not receive any such call.

“This is not my wife’s voice and she has not received any such calls. The audio tape is fake. I condemn it,” he wrote.

The Karnataka polls threw up a hung Assembly, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party, but eight short of majority. Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form the government and Yeddyurappa was sworn in as chief minister.

As the floor test approached, the Congress alleged that the BJP was indulging in horsetrading and released the audio tapes to back their charges.

In the audio tape in question, B S Yeddyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra and his close associate B J Puttuswamy are heard speaking purportedly to Hebbar’s wife, offering money and ministerial position to her husband if he cross-voted in favour of the BJP during the floor test.

Vijayendra and Puttuswamy are also heard allegedly offering Rs 15 crore for cross-voting but without a ministerial berth, or Rs 5 crore with a cabinet berth. Puttuswamy is also heard allegedly saying that cases against the wife and the son, who are facing a trial in a mining scam, would be cleared.

Realising that he did not have the numbers, Yeddyurappa had on May 19 announced his decision to quit as chief minister without facing the floor test in an anti-climax to the political drama following the hung verdict in the assembly polls.

Union minister and BJP’s Karnataka election in-charge Prakash Javadekar had rubbished the audio tapes as ‘fake.’

Javadekar also had accused the Congress for releasing ‘fake’ audio clips to prevent the BJP from forming government.

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Former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar attacked in Bihar’s Begusarai

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Kanhaiya Kumar

Patna | Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s convoy was attacked in Bihar’s Begusarai on Tuesday.

According to police, “The incident took place on Monday night in Bhagwanpur police station area where Mr Kumar had made a brief stopover while returning to his home in Beehat village after addressing a public meeting.”  The police further informed that “Kumar had gone to meet a friend living on the upper storey of a building, close to which Durga Puja celebrations were on. The cavalcade of his supporters blocked a part of the street, thus hindering the movement of vehicles.”

SHO Deepak Kumar further informed, “When locals objected, the former JNUSU chief’s supporters declined to move following which both the sides started to fight, resulting in the injuries to two Puja Samiti members, even as nearly half a dozen vehicles parked on the street were vandalised.”

Speaking about the incident, Kanhaiya Kumar alleged that he is been attacked for speaking against the ruling BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kumar blamed the Bajrang Dal and the Bhartiya Janta Party Yuva Morcha for the attack. While Kumar’s party CPI has severely condemned the attack on former JNUSU president. In an issued statement, CPI wrote,” The National Secretariat of Communist Party of India severely condemns the brutal attack on Kanhaiya Kumar at Bachwada sub-division of Begusarai district of Bihar by the goons of BJP Yuva Morcha and Bajrang Dal.”

Criticising the Narendra Modi led BJP government for the attack, CPI wrote,” It is a shame on the part of the ruling clan to carry such inhuman attacks on popular student leader like Kanhaiya Kumar.” Demanding a proper investigation in the case, the statement further added that “The CPI demands immediate arrest of the culprits and severe punishment. The attack reflects the poor law and order situation in Bihar. CPI will not be afraid of these attacks of Hindutva communal forces and will fight back.”

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MJ Akbar resigns from MoS External Affairs after #MeToo allegations

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MJ Akbar

New Delhi | Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar on Wednesday resigned from his post two days after filing a defamation suit against Journalist Priya Ramani over the #MeToo allegations.

In an issued statement MJ Akbar wrote,” I have decided to seek justice in a court of law in my personal capacity. I deem it appropriate to step down from office and challenge false accusations levied against me also in personal capacity submitting his resignation.  Akbar further stated,” I have therefore tender my resignation from the office of Minister of state for external affairs.” He thanked the PM Modi and External affairs Min Sushma Swaraj for giving him an opportunity to serve the country.

MJ Akbar on 15 October filed a defamation case against Journalist Priya Ramani who accused him of sexual harassment. Former Journalist MJ Akbar was accused of sexual harassment by various female journalists in the ongoing #MeToo campaign during his tenure as Editor of various newspapers. Journalist Priya Ramani had alleged that Akbar during his tenure as an Editor of a newspaper made her feel uncomfortable and harassed her in a hotel room.

After Ramani’s allegations various female journalists including Prerna Singh Bindra, Ghazala Wahab, Shutapa Paul, Anju Bharti, Suparna Sharma, Shuma Raha, Malini Bhupta, Kanika Gahlout, Kadambari M Wade, Majlie de Puy Kamp and Ruth David spoke against Akbar.

Earlier after returning from Nigeria,  MJ Akbar termed the accusations false and baseless. Speaking to media agency ANI, the former Journalist said, “Accusations without evidence has become a viral fever among some sections.” He further added, “Whatever be the case, now that I have returned, my lawyers will look into these wild and baseless allegations in order to decide our future course of legal action.”

 

 

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Former Goa Congress MLAs join BJP after resignation

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Congress

New Delhi | Former Goa Congress MLAs  Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte on Tuesday joined BJP after resigning from the party.


Both the Congress MLAs today joined the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) after in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Goa BJP leader Sripad Naik. Both the leader had earlier met BJP president Amit Shah in the morning which lead to the speculations of both the lawmakers joining BJP.  Speaking to media after meeting Amit Shah, Subhash Sirodkar said, “We are joining BJP today. We expect 2-3 more MLAs to come, not today but in the coming days.”

When asked about the recent development Goa Assembly speaker Pramod Sawant said, “I received resignation from 2 Congress MLAs Dayanand Sopte & Subhash Shirodkar. They confirmed they’re doing this willingly, without any pressure. I accepted the resignations. The process will be completed, copies will be sent to all members of House, Guv & EC.”  He further added, “Strength of the assembly now is 38. Party strength is BJP 14, Congress 14, MGP 3, Goa Forward 3, NCP 1, independent 3. We have informed EC, it is up to them as to when there should be a by-poll etc.”

The resignation of the two Congressmen proves to be a major setback for the Congress party that demanded a no-confidence motion in the Goa assembly after CM Manohar Parrikkar was admitted to AIIMS regarding his degrading health. In the 40 member Goa assembly, the numbers of the Congress party has been reduced to 14, while the coalition of BJP (16) along with Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (3), Goa Forward Party (3), NCP(1) and 1 independent government has 24 MLAs in the assembly.

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