BJP crisis: Ideology above self says Gadkari

A meeting that was meant to layout the road map for the Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party ended abruptly today with some tough talk by Nithin Gadkari aimed directly at B S Yeddyurappa. Those who wish to quit the party may do so today itself, why wait until tomorrow were Gadkari’s clear words during his address at the BJP meet in Bangalore today.

There has been a tug of war between the BJP leadership and B S Yeddyurappa over a change of Chief Minister and the former CM has been trying everything under the sun to arm twist the party leadership. However Gadkari who had made it clear in the morning said once again during the meeting that there is no question of dislodging the existing Chief Minister, Sadananda Gowda.

Follow the principles of the party as there is nothing bigger than that. There shall be no change in leadership and that is ruled out. If people want to quit the party or even split it while compromising on the party’s principles then do so today itself. Why wait until tomorrow and threaten?

The party cannot compromise on its ideology at any cost. For us ideology and principles are most important. The party in a bid to upkeep the principles and its ideology would not mind compromising its own government. The principles of the party cannot be compromised to fulfill the ambitions of one man.

Any problem that people are facing will be sorted out only after the Udupi-Chickmagalur by-elections. This seat fell vacant after Sadanananda Gowda resigned to his Member of Parliament membership after he took over as Karnataka CM. Gadkari also said that all internal problems in the BJP will be resolved after the by-election.

Immediately after the tough talk by Gadkari the meeting ended in a huff and all MLAs left the venue. A sulking Yeddyurappa returned to his residence and will now meet with his loyalists to chalk out his next move. He had said yesterday that a stern decision would be taken on February 27th if the central leadership fails to address his concerns. It is to be seen what would transpire out of the meeting later this evening.

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No change of guard in K’taka

The BJP leadership has made it clear that B S Yeddyurappa cannot be made the Chief Minister once again at this point in time. There has been plenty of drama in Bangalore with Yeddyurappa raising the pitch to be reinstated as the Chief Minister of Karnataka.

The entire morning saw a lot of resort politics with Yeddyurappa leading his forces of around 60 MLAs to Gadkari who is in Bangalore to discuss issues on how to strengthen the party. However those issues took a back seat and it was all about Yeddyurappa.

At the moment Gadkari is trying to strike a balance in the warring BJP. Yeddyurappa’s followers have been seeking a better position for their leader. They told Gadkari this morning that he be made the CM as there is none better than him to lead the government in the state. Moreover they have also listed out a long list of complaints against Chief Minister, D V Sadananda Gowda and said that he has been ineffective as a Chief Minister. They also complained to Gadkari that Gowda appears to be more tilted towards the Janata Dal(S) which did not field a candidate against him during the legislative council elections.

However Gadkari was adamant that there is no question of any change in guard in Karnataka at this point in time. Yeddyurappa has been since yesterday putting up a show of strength ahead of Gadkari’s visit. He even hosted a lunch at his home to gather the support of the MLAs but then that did not go too well.

Yeddyurappa will resort a couple more such antecedents when Gadkari is around. However at the moment is extremely upset that his demands have not been met. He is now busy chalking out the next move and had even said that he would take a very firm decision by February 27 which happens to be his birthday.

The next two days will be long drawn and this is an issue that Gadkari cannot ignore as the pitch appears to be raised. For the BJP central leadership it is a catch 22 situation. On one hand they cannot reinstate him as the Chief Minister thanks to the number of cases that are pending against him. It would send a very wrong signal if they do so. Yeddyurappa sure has the numbers but the party leadership will not let that affect them as they would send the signal that no one is bigger than the party.

The other option on hand is handing him the post of party leader in the state. However that too could have complications as the post is currently being held by K S Eshwarappa who is considered to be one of Yeddyurappa’s biggest enemies in the party.

Yeddyurappa on the other is playing his cards carefully. It is unlikely that he will walk out of the party at this time considering the numerous cases against him. He may make several threats but the actual decision to quit may come only when the elections are nearing next year. He is most likely to make the life of the BJP administration difficult. He would sit out of every party affairs along with his MLAs and stage a boycott.

However as of now Gadkari is trying to broker peace and would seek that Yeddyurappa and his men show some patience as this would not be the right to make any changes in the state BJP. Moreover Gadkari who was to be in Bangalore for two days has decided to finish off his meetings in just a day thanks to this embarasment. He is aware that staying here longer would only mean more menace by Yeddyurappa and his clan.

Delhi blast and the clueless probe

It has been almost two weeks since there was a blast in New Delhi in which an Isreali diplomat was injured. There have been various theories surrounding this attack and today it appears that the probe has hit a dead end.

Since the past couple of weeks both the agencies from Israel as well as the United States of America have given information on the attack. The CIA is said to have shared information with the Indian Intelligence on the case. It speaks about an Iranian link, but India has not been able to really confirm any such involvement as of now.

The details are still very sketchy said an official of the Delhi police and we do not want to jump the gun and come to any conclusion. The case is a bit political in nature and hence any wrong information or action could lead to a break down in international ties, the official also said.

This brings to us to the crucial question as to what exactly do the investigating agencies have on them regarding this case. The last known action was that they were studying a couple of calls that were made from Bangladesh’s Cox Bazaar to New Delhi a couple of days before the blast and also one on the same day. The police have found no connection what so ever between the calls and also the incident as of now. The investigators even looked into Harkat-ul-Jihadi link. However there was not sufficient evidence on hand to nail anyone with regard to this phone call.

The red bike was the next clue for the police and they did manage to seize one such bike believing that it was the same one on which the bomber was riding. The police are believed to have rounded many more such bikes and also questioned the owners only to realise that they had nothing to do with the incident. The police then dismissed the red bike theory stating that it was not leading them anywhere. They also have been investigating a cyclist theory behind this attack based on the confessions of the victims. This is at a preliminary stage, but the leads have not been encouraging as of now.

Further a couple of Iranian nationals were picked up from the Kalina area of Delhi and thoroughly questioned, but that too has not resulted in anything. Further they also tried to get their hand on more clues pertaining to both the blasts at Georgia and also Thailand. However as of now what the police say that it could have been a mere coincidence or even a stage managed job. The Indian agencies have been accused of being treading too carefully on this case as they do not want to harm their relations with Iran. Although both the US and Israel have pointed a finger at Iran, India would not jump to any conclusion and would prefer the investigation to be an independent affair. Further the Indian investigators also argue that going by the investigations in both Gerogia and also Thailand there is not much to connect it with the attack on New Delhi.

The forensics reports on the case have been slow to come by. There has been definitive evidence to show the use of a magnet which meant that the bomb had been stuck on to the vehicle. The investigators say that one cannot just come to the conclusion that if such a bomb was being used in the Middle East then it could be the same module behind the Delhi attack as well. It is not difficult to replicate this bomb. We are however leaving all options open and would like to bring out the truth rather than jumping to any conclusion.

The NCTC FAQ

India which is one of the biggest targets of a menace called terror is faced with a peculiar situation. A body known as the National Counter Terrorism Centre which was to commence operations from March 1 onwards is in the midst of a controversy thanks to nearly 13 states mostly non-Congress opposing the idea of setting it up.
The National Counter Terrorism Centre or the NCTC for short was proposed to be set up on March 1 2012 by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The main intention is to deal with terror threats and it is being formed within the Intelligence Bureau.
The role:
The role of the NCTC is to put to rest all possible confusion regarding intelligence sharing. It would be a hub where intelligence is analysed and a decision would be taken on whether it would be actionable or not. The basic idea is to prevent confusion regarding intelligence and also ensure that none of the police forces from the state force enter into a blame game regarding intelligence sharing as one got to saw during the 26/11 attack.
Jurisdiction:
Further the body would have powers under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and would have the power to carry out searches in any corner of the country and also make arrests. It would have sweeping powers and could seek information from the Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency, NATGRID, National Technical Research Organization, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and all seven central armed police forces including the National Security Guard (NSG).
Federal structure under crisis:
Nearly 13 states have raised an objection to the setting up of the NCTC. Will it become another KGB or ISI is the big question that is being asked considering it has sweeping powers over all states. What the Chief Ministers have raised is that despite law and order being a subject matter of the state government under the Indian Constitution, the central government has chosen to override it with the creation of the NCTC.
Take this scenario for example. A suspected terrorist is holed up in a state. The officials of the NCTC would have the right to enter into that state and pick him or her up without informing the state machinery and deal with him under their laws. The role of the state becomes redundant with such powers and states would have no say or role to play in the fight against terrorism.
The states go on to say that it would be an arbitrary exercise of power by the Central agencies and this would have a bearing on the rights and privilages of the states as enshrined in the Indian constitution. The other issue which some have raised is that it suffers from deficiences and has provisions that tantamount to usurping the legitimate rights of the state.
The states have been complaining that the union government on one hand says that fighting terrorism is the joint responsibility of the states and on the other it forms a body which has been such super powers that it does not need to consult the state at all. Moreover the biggest ego clash between these states and the government is that the latter had not consulted the former before forming this body. As Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi puts it, “ If you accept the responsibility of state governments then is it not your (Centre’s) duty to consult them before forming laws?”
The other complain is that the NCTC has been formed within the intelligence bureau which has no accountability to Parliament.
The argument:
If one were to argue on behalf of the states then one would say that as per the Constitution there ought to be a proper distribution of power between the Union and State Government. While subjects such as national defence, foreign policy, issuance of currency are reserved to the Union list. However on issues such as public order, local governments and criminal law are under the jurisdiction of the state government. The role of the NCTC may be to fight terror but terrorism is broadly defined as a criminal act and hence falls under the jurisdiction of the state government.
Now going by the argument of the Central government they are bound to use the provision under Article 342 of the Constitution which gives the Centre powers to prevent illegal activities in any part of the country.
 
The apprehension:
State Governments are apprehensive that this body which would be under the control of the Union Government could so powerful that it would wipe out any power that the state governments would have in the fight against terrorism. The powers of the NCTC makes it clear that it would have the right to analyse intelligence, act on it, conduct searches and also carry out arrests. This effectively would mean that it would collect its data from the main feeder agency the Intelligence Bureau and then go about its business on its own.
Until now it was the National Investigating Agency which had such a sweeping power. However even when the NIA was carrying out an operation it needed to inform the state governments before it could act. This meant that the Home secretary of the state and also the Director General of Police was kept in the loop. However with the NCTC that appears to be missing. It is a body within the Intelligence Bureau and does not need to keep any of the state machineries in the loop. Moreover considering that it is under the IB it would not be answerable to Parliament as well. This has made the states extremely apprehensive and they feel that it would lead to a witch hunt.
The argument however tilts a bit towards the state governments considering the fact the subject matter is terrorism. Terrorism is wide spread and has both inter-state as well as international ramifications. The basic intelligence is fed by the constable from the state and then it is passed on to the higher ups. The big question would be how an NCTC would work without coordinating with the state police?
Many law makers argue that the states ought to have been consulted and a proper frame work worked out before setting up this body. The states clearly want a say in the acts of the NCTC or else it would become such a powerful body that it would begin to act on the whims and fancies of the union government. Moreover the NCTC has not been given a charter of only collecting intelligence. It is armed with the power to search and also arrest without consultation with the respective state governments. The state governments are worried that it may become a cocktail which could turn deadly as it works along with the IB. Collection of intelligence is not an open affair. Hence the states would not even know what the agency is up to or thinking. Without passing on any information an arrest could be made. States are clearly worried about two factors- one is what if the arrests are part of a campaign against a government which is not similar to the one in the centre and the second is what if the state is trying to protect someone and he is picked up without their knowledge.
Can it be shot down?
Shooting down such an agency would be foolish as India does not have a great record when it comes to sharing intelligence. The Maharashtra police in particular has been notorious where this issue is concerned and has always been quick to blame the IB for lack of information. An NCTC would solve such a problem and to decide on whether the intelligence is actionable or not would be the power bestowed with the NCTC. Many in the security agencies feel that there is a need for one such hub where intelligence is gathered and analysed and later acted upon. There is in no way that the states can counter this power which the agencies have since it is in national interest.
However the debate could be extended when it comes to powers such as searches and arrests. There is a need for a consultation process on the subject. There is a dire need for the Union Government to address this issue. Even if the centre feels that interference on matters pertaining to terrorism by the state governments is hampering the cause it could still install a body which checks the accountability of the work undertaken by the NCTC. The IB enjoys immunity alright but then the same cannot be given to the NCTC as unlike the IB this body has the power to carry out an arrest. The breaking point between the union and the states would be on this particular subject and if the centre is able to make this body accountable to any independent body not under the control of any of the government then the states may feel a bit relieved. However the states would also have to take into consideration that such a body cannot be just an agency which only analyses intelligence. If this is going to be the case then we will get back to the same rut where after intelligence is analysed and passed on the state police may not act. We would get back into blame game mode then. States while seeking some accountability would also have to bear in mind that the NCTC needs to have operationalising powers as well. If this is taken away then the very meaning is lost.
In addition to this the role of the state government in fighting terror is another aspect that needs to be addressed. If the Union Government controlled intelligence bureau and the NCTC are going to do everything on this subject then what would the states have to do. What if the states have information on terror activity? Would they have to go through the process of informing the NCTC first thus causing a delay or would they get to act on their own.
 
Protecting the federal structure:
Law makers would argue that the union government cannot be completely arrogant on this subject like the way it was during the Lokpal Bill. The country has to function as one irrespective of which party is in power. India follows a federal system and this mandates that both the Union and State Governments work in tandem. In no way can the Union Government impose its will without consulting with the state governments. For a federal system to succeed there is an urgent need to reach a consensus on matters such as terrorism which is a national concern.

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Goa’s list of criminal candidates

Out of the 129 candidates contesting the Goa Assembly Elections, 30 candidates or 23 % declared criminal cases against them. In 2007 assembly elections for the whole of Goa, 18% candidates had declared criminal cases against themselves. This is as per a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms and Goa election watch.
Amongst major parties, every party has given tickets to candidates who have declared criminal cases. INC has 9 out of 33 (27 %), BJP has 9 out of 27 (33 %), AITC has 4 out of 18 (22 %), NCP has 2 out of 7 (29%) and IND candidates have 3 out of 18 (17 %) candidates with pending criminal cases.
Out of these 30 candidates with declared criminal cases, 7 have declared serious criminal cases like attempt to murder, theft, extortion etc. INC has 2, GVP has 1, UGDP has 1, NCP has 1 and 2 such candidates from IND.
Among these 30 candidates of who have declared criminal cases against themselves, the following candidates have declared the highest number of criminal cases against them: 1) Fransico Xavier Pacheco (of GVP contesting from Nuvem) has declared 10 cases against himself including charges related to extortion and abetment of suicide 2)Arjun Anil Salgaocar (IND contesting from Sanvordem) has declared 3 cases with charges related to theft 3) Atanasio Monserrate (of INC contesting from St. Cruz) has declared 2 cases against himself including 3 charges related to Voluntarily Causing hurt. Govind Gaude, an IND candidate from Priol has declared 1 charge related to attempt to murder.
Among other major parties, A total of 92 candidates out of 129 analyzed i.e. 71% were crorepatis. In 2007, there were 41% crorepati candidates.
The candidates with maximum assets in is Dinar Purshottam Kamat Tarcar of MGP from St. Cruz constituency with assets worth Rs. 211.76 Crores followed by Nirmala Sawant, IND from Cumbarjua with Rs. 36.30 Crores and Joaquim Alemao of INC from Cuncolim constituency with assets worth Rs. 31.26 crores.
A total of 3 candidates out of 129 analyzed declared assets less than Rs. 5 Lakhs.
A total of 29 (22%) candidates out of 129 analyzed declared liabilities of Rs. 1 crore or above.
Among major parties, the average asset per candidate for INC is 8.44 Crores, for BJP is 4.21 Crores, For NCP is 10.79 Crores, for AITC is 1.96 Crores, for GVP is 3.95 Crores, for UGDP is 81.65 Lakhs, for CPI is 33.83 lakhs, MGP is 33.50 Crores and IND is 7.20 Crores.
43% candidates(55 of 129 analyzed)were graduates and above.
Out of 215 candidates contesting for of Goa Assembly Elections 2012, only 9 (4%) candidates are women.

Asset Increase:
Number of re-contesting MLAs analyzed for Goa 2012 Assembly Elections– 35
The average asset of these MLAs as declared in 2007 is Rs 2, 70, 06,081 (2.70 crores).
The average asset of these MLAs as declared in 2012 is, Rs 8, 10, 00,111 (8.10 crore).
Average asset growth for these re-contesting MLAs is Rs 5, 39, 94,030 (5.39 crore).
Average percentage growth in assets for these MLA is 200%.
Shyam Satardekar of INC from Curchorem constituency has the highest increase in asset worth Rs.25.30 Crores (from 4.89 Crores to 30.20 Crores), followed by Joaquim Alemao of INC from Cuncolim constituency with an asset increase of Rs. 22.13 Crores (from 9.12 Crores to 31.26 Crores) and Pratapsingh Rane of INC from Poreim constituency with an asset increase of Rs. 17.04 Crores (from 8.82 Crores to 25.87 Crores).
The highest percentage increase (1559%) has been for Alexio Reginaldo Loourenco of INC from Curtorim constituency. His assets rose from 7 lakhs in 2007 to 1.16 Crores in 2012. He is followed by Pratap Gauns of INC from Sanquelim constituency with a percentage increase of 1526% (5.58 lakhs in 2007 to 90.81 Lakhs in 2012) and Nilkanth Halarnkar of NCP from Tivim constituency with an increase of 968% (30.09 Lakhs in 2007 to 3.21 crores in 2012).

ITR and PAN
Among all the candidates analyzed Shyam Satardekar (INC) has declared the highest annual income in his affidavit submitted to the ECI at the time of his nomination at Rs. 5.05 Crore followed by Govind Sawant (INC) at Rs. 3.39 Crore, Nirmala Sawant (IND) at Rs. 3.16 Crore and Joaquim Alemao (INC) at Rs. 2.11 Crore as per their last filed Income Tax Returns.
A total of 10 candidates (8%) out of the 129 candidates analyzed by the Goa Election Watch have declared that they have never filed income tax returns.
Out of the 10 candidates analyzed who have never filed income tax returns, AITC has 4 (22% of the 18 candidates analyzed) followed by UGDP with 3 (43% of the 7 candidates analyzed), CPI with 2 (50% of the 4 candidates analyzed), BJP with 1 (4% of the 27 candidates analyzed) who have never filed ITR.
Top 3 candidates with maximum assets but who have never filed IT returns are Ramakant Borkar of UGDP contesting from Cortalim has the highest total assets of Rs. 1.76 crores, followed by Mario Morais of AITC from Cuncolim with assets of Rs. 1.74 crores and Vishnu Wagh of BJP from St. Andre with Rs. 1.25 crores respectively
5 (4%) candidates have not declared their PAN details of which AITC has the maximum number of candidates (3) who have not declared their PAN details. CPI has 2 out of 4 candidates analyzed who have not declared their PAN card details.
Top three candidates with maximum assets but not declared their PAN card details are Pedro Caitano Pires of CPI contesting from St. Cruz constituency has the highest assets with worth Rs. 69.65 lakhs followed by Kamlakant Gadekar of CPI from Maem with assets of Rs. 6.24 lakhs and Shashi Panjikar of AITC from Priol with Rs. 6.15 Lakhs respectively.

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Youth plan on suing NIA

The two youth from Belthangady who were questioned by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) have decided to move the state Human Rights Commission alleging harassment- both physical and mental. It is also alleged that the officials of the NIA had harassed members of their family.

At a press conference in Mangalore, a member of the Sanathan Sanstha N Madhava informed the media that the duo were harassed mentally and physically by a team of the NIA. We would move the state Human Rights Commission alleging harassment, he also informed while adding that the family members of theirs’ too were harassed.

The youth who were questioned by the NIA happen to be related to a person by the name Jayaprakash alias Anna, a resident of Puttur. He has a reward of Rs 25000 on his head and is said to be a player in the Malegaon case. His role has also been probed in the Goa blast case and today the NIA is looking to see if the two cases had any connection and whether they were inter-linked.

The NIA has been trying to elicit more information on Anna who is a resident of H. No. 2-116, Balthia House, Nooji balthilap Post-Puttur, Dakshin Kannada, Puttur 574221 Mangalore. The name of this person also figures in the most wanted list put out by the NIA. He has been termed as a proclaimed offender by the NIA.

The NIA by questioning the two youth were trying to gather more information on Anna who they believed was in touch with them. It is said that both the youth who are brothers were living with Anna in Goa and hence they could know about his whereabouts. It is also said that Anna had married a relative of the two youth and that is how they are connected.

While investigations are still on, the investigators have not found any link as of now between the blasts and the two youth. It appears that they were only trying to get information on Anna and his whereabouts.

Jayaprakash is said to be a member of Sanathan Sanstha which has been blamed for the Goa blasts case. The NIA which is seeking clues into the various blasts allegedly carried out by Hindu extremists is also trying to find a link with the Goa blasts case. Abhay Vartak the chief of the Sanathan Sanstha however denied any link. When asked about Anna and his association with the organisation, he said he is not aware of this person.

The fight for the Lingayat vote share

The war of words between the Guru and Shishya never seem to end. Sadananda Gowda who became the Chief Minister of Karnataka with the blessings of B S Yeddyurappa appears to have fallen out with his mentor. There has been a flurry of words between the two since the past few days. Sadananda Gowda has however decided to take the matter to another level and has been cozying up to the Lingayat community which had once called B S Yeddyurappa as their undisputed leader.

The party boss, Nithin Gadkari will be here in Bangalore tomorrow for a high level meeting of the Karnataka BJP workers. But will issues pertaining to the party be discussed or would be another round of peace talks which Gadkari would have to once again over see?

Ever since Yeddyurappa stepped down as the Chief Minister of Karnataka there has been an attempt by some leaders in the party to side line him. However Yeddyurappa has been adamant has decided that he would not sit quiet until he is given an important position in the party. He ran a parallel force within the party while claiming that he enjoys the support of 60 MLAs. However his biggest confidence was the support that he enjoyed with the Lingayat community who considered him to be their undisputed leader.

It is a well known fact that the Lingayat community with a 17 per cent vote share is a major player in any election. Yeddyurappa who began every programme with a visit to the Tumkur Siddaganga Mutt, the mother of all Lingayat mutts had become extremely possessive about the status he enjoyed with this community. The BJP too was well aware that they needed to deal with Yeddyurappa with velvet gloves due to this support.

However today one gets to see a turn of events and there is a deliberate attempt that is being made by Sadananda Gowda himself to erode into that support base enjoyed by his mentor. He started the war of words by calling him a narada muni. Yeddyurappa retorted by calling Gowda as a CM by luck. Moreover there has been a coming together of Jagadish Shettar and Gowda in the past couple of months and this has been a worrying factor for Yeddyurappa. Shettar not only is a major leader in the party, but is also a Lingayat. Yeddyurappa had infact opposed tooth and nail the selection of Shettar as the Chief Minister as he knew that Shettar would first erode into his Lingayat support base. He did manage to wade away that threat and installed Gowda as the Chief Minister, but today even in his wildest of dreams he did not expect that his boy would turn against him and worse try and muster up the support of the Lingayat community.

The Lingayat community has however not been too vocal about the turn of events. There is a section of the community which still subscribe to Yeddyurappa, but the bigger worry is the deathly silence on part of the Siddaganga Mutt, the mother of all mutts on this issue. Very recently at a function at the Siddaganga Mutt, Yeddyurappa was not invited. The indications of trouble brewing for him was clear. Then there was another programme at Gokak town at Panchamashali convention in which Gowda and state party chief, K S Eshwarappa were present. Some of the community leaders even took at a dig at Yeddyurappa blaming him for doing little for the community.

Yeddyurappa may still have the support of this community but he is surely a worried man as the Siddaganga Mutt episode could be quite a turning point for him. There is in no way that he can take this lightly since this mutt accounts does have control over at least 15 per cent of the 17 per cent Lingayat vote share in Karnataka.

Yeddyurappa has now decided to go on the offensive. He says that the attempts to keep the Lingayats away from him is a wasted effort as he still is their undisputed leader. Some top leaders are trying to divide the community and I have been told about this, but their attempts will not succeed. The Lingayats have stood by me in tough times and they will not let go of me, but those trying these tricks will leave the party soon he said.

There clearly is a big battle on in the Karnataka BJP. The anti Yeddyurappa faction is of the view that he has been arrogant, adamant and has been running a parallel within the party. Shettar and Gowda also feel that Yeddyurappa daily bickering and pin pricks are getting too over bearing. He has been very defiant and it is high time he understands that it is very difficult to accommodate him when there are so many pending cases of corruption against him.

Yeddyurappa on the other hand has been stepping up the pressure and go to the meeting with Gadkari tomorrow seeking a more active role in the party. His supporters say that they would appraise Gadkari about how Gowda and the rest are trying to sideline Yeddyurappa.

Gadkari will be in Bangalore until 25th and his purpose of the visit was to discuss the following issues- pump up the party image, prepare for the by-elections and also get ready for the assembly elections next year. Will these issues be discussed or not considering this embarrassing battle that is on would have to be seen in the next two days.

Will Jagan benefit from CPM-TDP fall out?

The decision by the CPM in Andhra Pradesh to fight the upcoming by-elections on its own has left the political arena in the state open. The biggest jolt thanks to this decision by the CPM was borne by the Telegu Desam Party which saw this party as a natural ally.

CPM state secretary BV Raghavulu had said two days back that his party would not forge any alliance with the TDP during the forthcoming by elections. He also made it clear that the party would also not back any of the candidates fielded by the TDP.

Chandrababu Naidu has stated that he would try and set things right and ensure that the two parties fight elections as allies. However at the moment the CPM is no mood to buckle down and has stuck to its stand of facing the elections all by itself. However this move has left Jagan Mohan Reddy interested and he would try his best to enter into an alliance with the CPM. There are contradictory remarks by both the CPM and also the Y S R Congress party on the issue of an alliance. While the CPM maintains that it would not enter into an alliance with any other party, the YSR Congress on the other hand says that there have been some feelers which indicate that the CPM wants a tie up with them.

The forthcoming by-elections are very crucial for all the four major parties in Andhra Pradesh (Congress, TDP, TRS and YSR Congress Party). For the YSR Congress party it would be more important since this would be the first time that the power of Jagan Mohan Reddy will tested in areas other than his home town of Kadapa. However the bigger issue for Jagan would be the Telangana issue. He has been accused no end of not taking a stand on the issue. He has also decided not to filed any candidates from the Telangana area. His strategy was always very clear and that was to have a united Andhra Pradesh. His intentions of wooing the voters from the Seema-Andhra region since day one was very clear.

However Jagan would like to have his share in Telangana as well. An alliance with the TRS appears to be very unlikely at the moment. The TRS is confident that it could take Telangana and would not want any alliance as it does have the capacity to win the elections by itself. Moreover they would not want to associate with Jagan at this moment since it would convey a wrong message to the voters of Telangana.

In such a scenario, Jagan would try his chances with the CPM which has a small share in the Telangana region. Moreover the CPM also has a share in the tribal areas which constitutes around 9 per cent of the vote share. In addition to this Jagan would also wait and watch what the CPI would do and try and a forge an alliance with them as well.

Forging alliances with both the CPM and CPI would go down well for Reddy as he would then manage to weaken the TDP which has relied on these two parties in the past. Moreover an alliance with the CPM and CPI would also ensure that Reddy would have a role to play in the national level and he would not just be restricted to Andhra Pradesh only. It is a long term plan said a member of the YSR Congress party and we are hopeful that it would work out.

This also shows the complete change in approach adopted by Jagan Reddy. It is clear that he is targeting only the TDP and not the Congress ever since a plethora of CBI cases fell on his head. He would not want to weaken the Congress at this moment and would instead try to edge out the TDP and become the major opposition in the state. The battle with the Congress would however be on the election battle field alone and the other methods of robbing away MLAs have been clearly put on hold.

The fight against the TDP would not only be on the election field or with alliances. It would also be legal. Jagan Reddy’s legal team is already preparing the paper work to approach the Supreme Court against Naidu in the illegal assets case. In addition to this they would also lure more out of the TDP and ensure that the party is weakened to a great extent.

The YSR Congress party would have a meeting of its MLAs later today in which the strategy would be chalked out to fight the up coming elections. 17 MLAs and 5 MLCs would be part of this meeting. Apart from the discussion on strategy there would also be discussions regarding future post poll alliances.

Two picked-up for Malegaon/Goa blasts

Two persons have been picked up from Belthangady in Mangalore in connection with the Malegaon and Goa blast case. It is learnt that the two persons belonging to the Sanathan Sanstha were reportedly picked for questioning for their alleged role in the Malegaon and Goa blast case.
Sources informed that the two persons picked up are Vinay and Uday. However details regarding their alleged role in the case has not been elaborated as yet by the investigators. The duo have been taken by the investigating agencies for further questioning.
A team of the investigating agency had gathered information based on the questioning of the other accused in the case and picked up the duo from Belthangady at 5. PM on Monday. However the duo appear to be low ranking operatives in the case, but it is hoped they would throw more light on the rest of the absconders and also the case.
The NIA which is probing the case would however have to get into their fold Ramji kalsanghra, Sandeep Dange and Suresh Nair in order to complete investigation.

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Headley- Will the extradition happen?

A couple of days back a New Delhi court took cognizance of the charge sheet filed against David Headley and also Tawwahur Rana in connection with the 26/11 attack. Immediately after this the topic regarding the extradition of both these men to India so that they could be tried under the Indian legal system.

India today is armed with a court order and very soon it would write to the United States of America seeking an extradition of the two men so that they could be tried in India. However the question is whether this would be a reality or is India simply going through the process more as a formality.

Sources say that an extradition is next to impossible under the given scenario. It was a well known fact that the trial against Headley at least would be conducted in absentia. His plea bargain arrangement made it clear that he shall not be extradited to either India, Pakistan or Denmark. While this is one of the arrangements he had entered into with the US authorities there is also another aspect to this case.

When the entire Headley issue began spilling out, India was desperate to lay their hands on him. After much deliberations and waiting it was agreed that he would be interviewed by the Indian agency, the National Investigating Agency. Under the system prevailing in the United States of America the accused is given the option of whether he would like to speak to any other investigating agency other than the one in the US itself. In the case of Headley, the NIA had a tough time as it was mandatory that he needed to be convinced first to speak with the Indian agency especially after he had entered into a plea bargain with the US. It was only once that he agreed to do the same were the Indians allowed to question him. However that too came at a price as he once again made it clear that he would speak and also reveal all only if there is no insistence that he is extradited.

Even in the case of Rana the case would remain the same. Although he is wanted for the offense committed in India, it is the US which had first shot at the trial. Before seeking an extradition, India would first need to question him. Moreover he cannot be brought down unless the trial against him is complete over there. Another issue that the NIA faces is that they can speak with Rana only if he wants to speak. In case he refuses then there is nothing that could be done about it even by the US as the law protects him. However there is one option that India has to seek his extradition and this would be a pure technicality. Headley has been charged under 12 counts in the US and this is what he had entered into a plea bargain for India would look to seek his extradition on the other counts on which a plea bargain has not been sought. Another option that is available is for India to state that when the plea bargain was entered into India was not taken on board despite him being an offender for a major offence on the Indian soil.

An extradition appears to be far fetched at the moment and it appears that India is just going through a formality. It is highly unlikely that even the US may agree to an extradition considering the assurance that was given to Headley at the time of the plea bargain. India will need to really push this issue legally as Headley does enjoy an immunity in terms of extradition. The US will need to consider this apart from fight a legal battle with Headley himself before any such assurance can be given. Moreover it is very likely that Headley would consider a legal option in case of any extradition offer by the United States.

What does the NIA do now in such an event? There is an option to fight the legal battle against Headley where he would not be present the procedure known as in-absentia. The statements which have been given to an Indian investigator can be used during the proceedings. India would also have to consider whether the proceedings from a foreign court could be used in an Indian court. Although there is no bar on something like this, it would still have to be examined as the accused cannot be extradited. However when the trial begins, the Indian law mandates that the accused be given an opportunity to defend the charges against him. This is mandatory under the Code of Criminal Procedure. In such an event, the trial may have to be conducted through video conferencing, legal experts say.