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Ready for any probe; Yeddyurappa about audio tape on toppling game




Bengaluru | Accusing Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy of indulging in ‘third grade’ politics, Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa Sunday said he was ready for any inquiry into an audio clip about his alleged bid to destabilise the coalition government in the state.

The audio tape war is set to play out in the assembly on Monday, with Yeddyurappa saying that his party would raise the matter about an audio tape in which Kumaraswamy is heard purportedly discussing cash-for-seat with supporters of an MLC seat aspirant, which had stirred a controversy in 2014.

“The Chief Minister is doing third grade politics. He is indulging in blackmail, conspiracy. The Chief Minister had himself sent the MLA’s son (Sharan Gouda) to the guest house whereI was staying at around 12:30 in the night and made him speak to me. They have kept the part of discussion (in the tape) that they needed as record, leaving the rest,” Yeddyurappa said.

Pointing out that the Chief Minister had himself claimed that he had sent the MLA’s son to him, Yeddyurappa said, “It is true that he (Sharan Gouda) had come and spoken to me. “What happened…all those things let’s see in the future, but the Chief Minister has stooped to the level of sending someone and getting the conversation recorded. No Chief Minister in independent India has behaved in such a manner,” he told reporters in Hubballi, adding that he was ready for any inquiry.

Facing turmoil in the Congress-JD(S) ruling coalition that has cast a shadow over the stability of his government, Kumaraswamy had on Friday released the audio clip in which Yeddyurappa is purportedly trying to lure JDS MLA Naganagouda through his son.

Yeddyurappa, who is at the vortex of the row over his alleged bid to poach the ruling coalition MLAs for the past few weeks, was quick dismiss the clip as “fake” and a “concocted story”. He had on Friday dismissed the claim by the Chief Minister that he had spoken in the audio about a ‘Rs 50 crore’ offer to the assembly speaker.

“I will retire from politics if it (the allegation) is proved If I had spoken like this(about the speaker), if it is proved,I will resign as an MLA and quit politics,”he had said.

Referring to the audio involving Kumaraswamy that had stirred a controversy in 2014, Yeddyurappa Sunday said that demanding Rs 25 crore to make someone an MLC was an unforgivable offence. “We have the documents, tomorrow we will hand it over to the Speaker…

We have to bring out the true colours of the Chief Minister who had stooped to the level of demanding Rs 25crore to give it to MLAs (in return for votes). It should also be inquired into,” he said.

Kumaraswamy was at the centre of a controversy in July 2014 after an audio CD surfaced of him purportedly telling supporters of MLC seat aspirant Vijugowda Patil, the then JDS leader from Bijapur district, about the demand for money from his party MLAs in return for votes.

In the tape, Kumaraswamy was purportedly heard telling the supporters, “Each MLA (of JDS) is asking for one crore. They are saying you make anybody the MLC.” At another point, Kumaraswamy was heard saying, “40 people (JDS MLAs) are asking for 40 crore…This is my fate.”

Meanwhile, reacting to Yeddyurappa’s comments, Kumaraswamy said he was ready for any discussion on the audio tape involving him. “Yeddyurappa, who had called it (tape) mimicry the other day has now conceded (about speaking to MLAs son) today. Mostly Lord Manjunatha Swamy of Dharmastala has given him sense,” he said.

Speaking to reporters here, he said “he (Yeddyurappa) has said that he will come with some old thing (audio tape) tomorrow (to assembly)… let him come, I’m ready. Did I ask for money? I don’t have money… It was discussed within theparty and not to lure other party people with Rs 10 or 20crore as Chief Minister.” Kumaraswamy said the Speaker would take a call on the further course of action regarding the tapes.

Taking serious note of his name being dragged in the purported conversation involving Yeddyurappa in an alleged bid to lure a JDS MLA, Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar had said he would take up the issue in the House on Monday and had gone through the letter and tape sent to him by the chief minister.

Hitting out at Yeddyurappa, Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said his statement madeit clear what he was up to. “Yeddyurappa is mad after power and wants to topplea constitutionally formed government at any cost to become ChiefMinister,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara said now that Yeddyurappa has accepted that he spoke to the MLAs son, he has to announce his retirement as he had claimed that he would quitpolitics.


Pulwama attack: Shiv Sena MLC wants boycott of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir





Mumbai | Against the backdrop of the Pulwama terrorist attack that claimed lives of 40 CRPF personnel, a Shiv Sena MLC wants people from other parts of India to boycott tourism in Jammu and Kashmir for two years.

Sena legislator and spokesperson Manisha Kayande said boycotting tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, “where youth, women and children pelt stones on security forces”, would hurt the economic resources of the northern state. “The need of the hour is to counter the mentality of keeping the state on tenterhooks by targeting Indian jawans,” she said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Noting that Jammu and Kashmir is a beautiful state that attracts visitors from across the globe, Kayande said, “Tourism benefits the local people. If these resources earned are used against the country and the security forces, Indians should boycott tourism in the state for next two years.”

“Whenever there is an encounter between militants and security agencies, locals pelt stones on jawans to help militants get away,” she claimed. The Sena leader also demanded boycott of all Chinese goods, saying that country was supportive of Pakistan, which has been fomenting trouble in India.

China on Friday condemned the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but declined to back India’s appeal to list the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

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Rajinikanth and his party won’t contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls

News Desk



Chennai | Actor turned politician Rajinikanth has announced that he along with his party Rajni Makkal Mandram won’t be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

In an issued Press release Rajinikanth stated that his party Rajni Makkal Mandram (RMM) will not support any party and added that its focus will on next assembly elections. The Tamil actor also appealed to his supporters to that he wants them to vote for a party which will solve Tamil Nadu’s water issues.

Rajinikanth further mentioned that his photo or party symbol should strictly not be used for any propaganda. On 31 December 2017 Rajinikanth had announced his entry into politics with the intention to contest in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections in all 234 constituencies.

Out of the 2014 Lok Sabha election held on the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK won 37 seats while PMK and BJP managed to win 1 seat each. DMK and Congress failed to win even a single seat in Tamil Nadu.

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Lok Sabha polls: Mumbai Congress promises jobs, unemployment allowance




Mumbai | The Mumbai Congress is set to roll out a campaign aimed at providing employment to youth in the megacity and a monthly allowance to unemployed people if the party is voted to power in the Lok Sabha polls.

The campaign, titled ‘Chalo Ward Abhiyaan’, taken up in view of the “rising unemployment in the country”, will commence from Monday, Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said in a statement. The city Congress unit has already started working on the plan and printed around six lakh forms, he said.

The Youth Congress workers will be visiting every house in all the Assembly segments in Mumbai to ensure that every youngster fills these forms, Nirupam said. “Those who fill the forms will be given allowance cards. If we are voted to power, the allowance card holders will be given preference in employment, or else they will provided unemployment allowance,” he said.

Nirupam said people between 18 and 40 years of age would be eligible for the unemployment allowance. The new Congress-led governments in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have already announced unemployment allowances of Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000 per month respectively, he noted.

Nirupam also said that unlike the ruling BJP, the Congress will “actually walk the talk”, if it is voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.

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