‘Yeddyurappa can be replaced by Yeddyurappa’

BS Yeddyurappa. Photo courtsey: DNA

Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party high command has decided to remove B S Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister of Karnataka, the man himself said in Bangalore the replacement for Yeddyurappa can be Yeddyurappa only. The BJP high command had after much deliberations decided to drop B S Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister of Karnataka after accusations of an alleged land scam were made against him by the opposition. Sources in the BJP told rediff.com that the deal is however not as easy as it looks since they will need to convince Yeddyurappa not to lead a rebellion following his ouster as CM.

There was high drama in the Yeddyurappa camp following this decision of the high command. The Chief Minister who had told the high command that if he is asked to leave, he would take the government along with him had planned on taking all his ministers from his group to New Delhi to convince the high command. He was supposed to leave for New Delhi along with his ministers in the afternoon but he was advised to come alone to New Delhi and meet with the high command. Now the CM will be leaving for the capital in the evening. He said in Bangalore that there is no question of replacing him and he will not settle for anything less. I am the only person who can replace me, he told reporters in Bangalore and also added that he enjoyed the support of all the MLAs. He however said that he will go to New Delhi alone and speak with the high command.

Yeddyurappa who had survived two trust votes recently was in the midst of a controversy after allegations that he had denitrified lands to favor his sons and relatives. Yeddyurappa however claims that he has a clean sheet ordered a judicial probe into the matter. A day ago his sons also returned the lands that were denitrified in their favor. The high command is however trying to convince Yeddyurappa to step down since they feel that it would be unfair on their part to take on the UPA government on corruption charges when their Chief Minister himself is facing similar charges. They feel that their fight against the UPA will be weakened if they continue to let yeddyurappa continue as Chief Minister.

The plan: The high command however is aware that it was Yeddyurappa who led the BJP to its first victory in South India and upsetting him would mean compromising on a huge Lingayat vote bank which decides the fate of political parties in Karnataka. When they meet with him in the evening they would give him two options. The first option would be that he choses his successor himself. The second one would be an assurance that he would be re-instated if he comes clean on the issue.

The next choice: While the High Command and the rebels in the BJP favor Lingayat leader, Jagadish Shettar to be the next CM, Yeddyurappa would however not want him as a replacement. The thinking of the high command is that bringing Shettar in would keep the Lingayat vote bank intact since this community was completely behind the BJP in the last election and at no cost would they want to lose that vote bank.

Yeddyurappa is however not in favor of Shettar since he feels that he may usurp his position as the Lingayat leader in the state. If at all Yeddyurappa blinks then he would want law minister Suresh Kumar to fill the void. Yeddyurappa feels that Kumar is not ambitious and would not set up his own base and moreover would let go of the seat if there is a chance of a reinstatement.

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Jamiat Ulama files appeal in SC against Ayodhya verdict


The first of the many appeals in the Ayodhya case has been filed before the Supreme Court of India. The first appeal as filed by the Jamiat Ulama I Hind who was the second plaintiff in the case moved the Supreme Court challenging the verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.

The Sunni Waqf Board which was the main party in the case has however decided to wait another 15 days before it files its appeal. The Supreme Court may however wait another month before it hears the case finally. As per the rules all the parties still have another month’s time to file the appeal against the verdict of the High Court.

The JuH in its appeal has stated that the High Court has focused more on the circumstances and the extraneous material. Moreover it also states that the permission to perform prayers cannot change the undisputed character of the structure which finds a mention as a Mosque as per official records.

Obama calling, India on high alert


A high alert has been issued by the Home Ministry ahead of the Barack Obama visit in both New Delhi and Mumbai. The alert issued by the Home Ministry would remain in place until the President of the United States leaves the country.

The alert has been issued ahead of the various intercepts and potential threats the nation faces from Pakistan based outfits, sources in the intelligence bureau told rediff.com.

Indian intelligence agencies along with the secret service agents from the US will conduct regular drills in both New Delhi and Mumbai until the visit comes to an end. Mock drills were also conducted in both the cities ahead of the visit and all roads leading up to where the President would be staying will remain shut. The threat perception is very high and no chances are being taken, a senior official said.

Police officials say that drills will continue and security will be fine tuned from time to time to ensure that the entire visit goes off peacefully. Apart from the intel agencies of both the countries, NSG commandoes too have been roped in to take part in the security drill.

In all there will be 5000 security personnel on guard to take care of the President’s security. Out of this 2000 have been put in charge to guard the hotels in which he will be staying. The first rung of the security cordon would be formed by the US personnel who would accompany the president. The second rung too would comprise US personnel who are already in India while the rest of the three rungs would be manned by the police of the respective cities and also the NSG commandoes.

Security personnel say that guarding the Mumbai coast has been given the most precedence since the alerts speak of serious threats from the sea. While the Indian navy and coast guards have already taken their position they will be assisted by the US Navy too. The Peleliu, an assault ship from the US Navy which carried choppers is also on guard at the Mumbai coast and will remain stationed till the visit comes to an end.

In addition to this all boats on the coast will stay off until the Presidential visit comes to an end. All areas around the Taj Mahal hotel have been santised and there will be no vehicular movement around the area until the visit is over. The Mumbai police have also banned bursting of crackers in all areas that the president would be paying a visit.

Security agencies are have also ordered closure of the air space for around half an hour at the time of the arrival of air force one. All areas which the president would be visit and also the Taj Mahal hotel where he would be staying have been declared as no flying zones, police sources also informed.

The police have advised the people not to venture out at the time the Presidents convoy moves on the road. The police say that all traffic movement will be halted when the convoy of the President moves.

‘India should stop riding piggy on the US’


India has expectations galore from the Barack Obama visit and a lot of persons are expecting that the US President would make the right noises so that it reaches loud and clear to our neighbours.

As Obama prepares to commence his much hyped India tour, experts on national security say that there is nothing to expect from him on the Pakistan front and the better thing to do would be to take care of our own security.

C D Sahay, former Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing says in this chat with rediff.com that let us focus on playing the good host instead of expecting a bag of goodies from the President. At no point of time am I suggesting that this visit is not important, but I guess what we must realize is that we need to fight our own battles and stop riding piggy on the US.

Our most serious problem is Pakistan and instead of expecting the US to solve our problem, we should have a proper policy in place to deal with this problem. How can we fall back on the US instead of developing our own intelligence. The only way to keep terror at bay which originates in Pakistan is to develop our own might and improving our intelligence.

I find it strange when India acts as though it needs the US to solve the problems pertaining to Pakistan and Afghanistan. I agree that we have a huge problem from these two nations, but don’t you think we should be the one’s handing out information and helping the rest of the world solve this problem considering that these two countries are our neighbours. Even on the terrorism front, the world should be coming to India for information. I know at the moment it is tough since the US has a better presence in Afghanistan and also Pakistan when compared to us. However instead of waiting for an Obama to come to India and address this issue, we rather change our mindset and start fending for ourselves. I feel that this kind of dependence on the US is unjustified.

India has been addressing the concern about the supply of arms to Pakistan. Once again let us not expect a Obama to come to India and address that issue. Instead we should think of matching them in this regard. Do not expect Obama to solve this problem. Instead increase our own defence preparedness to such a level that we could deter any sort of misadventure.

Yes there is a noise being made on the David Headley issue. We must not forget that it is entirely the prerogative of the US to permit his extradition or not. Try the man in absentia and I am sure that the US will not prevent that. I feel that we have got a lot of information from him and that gap which was present at the time of the 26/11 investigation has been filled up. Seeking his extradition at this point of time is just an emotive issue and I am sure not much will happen even if India tells Obama about the same. I think India should move on try Headley and Sayeed in absentia and then diplomatically handle the issue. Diplomacy has an important role in such matters and crying before the US president is not the solution over here.

The other issue which will come up during the visit is regarding the permanent member of the UN security council. I am sure India would want a statement from Obama in this regard and the same will be expected from the Chinese premier who will visit at the end of the year. I don’t think India should cry on this issue and expect the world to take notice of us. The day we start mattering to the world they will come to us and I feel that this is the way it ought to be.

The President is coming down and don’t expect him to come here and pursue our interest. He is here to pursue his own interest and let us not expect him to grant us everything that we ask for. Treat him as an honourable guest and do not expect too many sound bytes from him.

On the terrorism front which is a major concern, do not expect an Obama to act. Terror can stop not if Obama speaks, but it does only if we keep our house in order. As I said sound bytes may be there, but such sound bytes give comfort to the nation and a false sense of achievement for the government. Do not expect the US to compel our neighbours. Obama will have his own compulsions.

Overall what I guage is that this visit will be negative. After he leaves, I am sure a lot of us will talking of the things he did not do or give to us. Let us not raise our expectations too high and let us think of playing a good host.

Obama’s visit: Terrorist planning attacks, security cover tightens


Ahead of the important visit of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India security arrangement across India are at an unprecedented high. Security arrangements are not restricted just to the cities that the US president would be visiting, but there has been a general advisory to all police chiefs across the country to step up security in their respective states.

The intelligence bureau has picked up at least 18 alerts and intercepts ahead of this high profile visit and sources in the intelligence bureau say that 6 are specific in nature. IB sources told rediff.com that there are threats specific to the places that the President will visit, but terror groups are planning on carrying out attacks in other parts of the country. They are fully aware that it will be next to impossible to penentrate into the cities where the President would visit, but they will try and attack places in a big way in order to cause embarrassment to the Indian establishment.

Home Secretary of India, G K Pillai had said recently that there are intercepts specific to Jammu and Kashmir since terror groups would be trying to make a point over there. He also said that terror groups had undertaken a similar operation ahead of the visit by George W Bush.

The IB says that over the past couple of weeks there has been a build up in the Valley and the state administration has been specifically told to beef up security in those areas. Terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba will be looking to carry out an attack in the Valley since they would want the US to express solidarity with their movement over there. Based on this input, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah has already begun reviewing security with top officials. The J&K police would not want a repeat of the Chattisingphora village incident in which 36 sikhs were gunned down ahead of the Bush visit in the year 2000.

In the Valley, the police have been relying heavily on the Indian army to ensure that no untoward incident occurs when the president visits India. There has been stepped up vigil on the borders in order to avoid any sort of infiltration. In addition to this all locals are being checked and scrutinized, sources told rediff.com.

According to the intercepts terror outfits are attempting to carry out fidayeen strikes on a large scale especially in the Valley. In addition to this they are also planning on hostage crisis which according to them causes the maximum impact.

Security in Delhi too has been beefed up. The Delhi police will press in at least 8 rings of security the president and traffic will be completely cleared off the road when he travels. This security is in addition to the security the President would already come with when he visits India. All the places which the president will visit will be out of bounds for the public, the Delhi police have said. The Delhi police will work in tandem with the para military forces for the security of the US President.

In Mumbai too the security would be similar but due to the numerous high rise buildings in the city, sharp shooters will be deployed. The people will be advised not to loiter around unecessarily where the President would be visiting and any suspicious movement will not be tolerated the police say. Unwanted vehicular movement will be curbed at the time of the visit, police sources say. The Mumbai police will also have for their support additional forces both from other states and also para military forces to guard the US president.

The existing security of the President is already tight and they would be working in tandem with their Indian counterparts during the visit. There is a security review on a daily basis and all information and steps taken are being shared with the US agencies sources also pointed out.

In the wake of the alert put out by the IB, security in other parts of the country too have been beefed up. Checking at public places, identifying new comers into a city are all being taken care of at the moment. Since there are attempts being made to divert the entire attention of the Obama visit, security agencies have been directed to take all measures to prevent any untoward incident which would cause embarassment at the time of this visit.

BJP govt sails, rebel BJP MLA’s disqualified


It was a sigh of relief for the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka, with the Karnataka High Court upholding the order of the Speaker which had disqualified the 11 rebel BJP MLAs. Justice V G Sabahith who was appointed as the third judge in the matter in a reasoned order upheld the order of the Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

The 11 MLAs from the BJP had questioned the order of the Speaker disqualifying them. The speaker had disqualified them based on a complaint by the party members that they had indulged in anti party activities and had tried toppling the government. The speaker had disqualified them hours before the B S Yeddyurappa government had taken the crucial trust vote two weeks back.

The matter was taken up to the court and a division bench comprising Chief Justice G S Kehar and Justice N Kumar had delivered a split verdict. The CJ had upheld the order of the speaker but Justice N Kumar had set it aside. The matter was then placed before a third judge for a final decision.

Justice Sabahith who heard arguments for a week agreed with the order of the Chief Justice and held that the speakers decision was not bad in law and the right decision in accordance with the law was taken as per the guidelines available before him.

This verdict comes as a relief for the BJP government which would have been reduced to a minority had the court ruled in favour of the 11 rebels. Today the BJP has 107 members including the vote of the speaker and one independent in a house which has been reduced 208 after 16 members including 5 independents were disqualified. The magic number that is required to remain in majority is 105 and the BJP had managed those numbers after the governor ordered it to take a second trust vote in three days. The strength of the opposition had however come down to 98 from 100 after two Congress MLAs quit the party last week.

Counsel for the BJP rebels, A S Ponnana told rediff.com that they would study the order and now would prefer an appeal before the Supreme Court of India.

Meawnwhile the case of the five independents who were disqualified will be taken up on November 2.

Will the HC verdict be in BJP’s favour?

The Karnataka high court will deliver the crucial verdict on the 11 rebel BJP MLA’s tomorrow. Justice V G Sabahith who was appointed third judge after there was a divided verdict of a division bench will pronunce the order at 2.30 pm on friday.

This verdict will be crucial to the bjp government which had survived two trust votes two weeks back. If the third judge rules in favour of the 11 bjp mlas that would mean they would be permitted to vote and the BJP government would be reduced to a minority.
The rebels who were dis qualified by the speaker had moved the court against the same. While the chief justice had upheld the order of the speaker the other judge had struck it down following which a third judge was appointed.

Muslim law board to file Ayodhya appeal next week


The appeal in the Ayodhya case will be filed before the Supreme Court of India in the first week of November, a senior member of the All India Muslim Law Personal Law Board said. Professor Sulaiman, senior member of the Board who has been in the core committee told rediff.com that the final copy is more or less ready and the appeal will be filed before the Supreme Court in the first week of November.

On the line of arguments that they would advance before the Supreme Court of India, he said that the main point of contention would be that that the verdict of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court is more of a suggestion than a direction. It is not possible to implement such an order and more importantly the very foundation of their case has not been considered while the order was passed. He further said that various issues had been framed during the course of the arguments before the High Court and the final judgment was not pronounced on the basis of the issues that were framed.

When asked about the possibility of a settlement as suggested by the High Court, he said that the question does not arise. Even now despite the High Court saying that the land be divided into three parts the other party continues to insist that we Muslims let go of the entire land. Nothing has changed in the past 19 years. In the past two decades we have had discussions 11 times and each of those times, we were told to let go of the land.

Karnataka: IT raids on BJP MLA’s


Sleuths of the Income Tax department have conducted raids on the residences and offices of two BJP MLAs and have seized unaccounted money according to sources. Raids were conducted in 60 different places this morning and have also seized documents.

Sources told rediff.com that raids were conducted at the residences and offices of Suresh Babu and Nagendra. Their offices at Bellary, Bangalore and also their residence were raided and searched by IT department officials. The sleuths have seized money which is unaccounted and documents. The two leaders will be questioned further in this regard. Sources also maintained that more such raids will be conducted in the days to come.

The raids coincide with the statements of Chief Minister of Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa who after winning his second trust vote had said that he would launch an inquiry into the unaccounted and illegal money that had been used to horse trade MLAs in Karnataka leading to destabilizing of his government.

Deve Gowda questions CJ’s order in rebel MLA case


Former Prime Minister of India, H D Deve Gowda has cast aspersions on the order of the Chief Justice of Karnataka with regard to the order passed by him in the case pertaining to the 11 rebel BJP MLAs. Addressing media persons in Bangalore he questioned the order of the Chief Justice which had upheld the order of the speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in which 11 rebel BJP MLAs were disqualified.

Gowda said that the Chief Justice should introspect in this regard. This is the second allegation being made against the Chief Justice in the past three days. On Monday another MLA, Vishwanath too had made a similar allegation against the Chief Justice. These allegations come in the wake of the Chief Justice sharing the dais with Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa at the Mysore Dusshera celebrations that were held last week.

Gowda also accused both the Congress and the BJP in Karnataka of making attempts to finish off regional parties. He said that desperate attempts were being made to wipe out regional parties from Karnataka and other parts and such things ought to stop immediately.

Meanwhile the Congress in Karnataka has launched a second round of protest against the ruling BJP. The Congress leaders have been protesting the horse trading of their MLAs by the BJP.