Will the combinations in Telangana change now

TRS celebrates. Photo courtesy: NDTV
TRS celebrates. Photo courtesy: NDTV

The people of Telangana have made it clear and have voted for those parties which have shown some promise that they are in favour of a separate Telangana state. The issue that has rocked the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh is expected to a get dimension after the by-election and this is largely to do with the fact that the BJP managed to pick up a seat in the Telangana region of Mahabubnagar.

The fact that the BJP managed to win the Muslim dominated Mahabubnagar is being seen as a positive sign by some Telangana activists. The seat was won by defeating the Telangana Rastriya Samithi candidate and this according to the activists of the region is the beginning of a new dawn in which the region would see an alternate force.

In the by-election this was the only seat that was contested by the BJP and it did manage to win it. Prior to the election several representations were made to both K Chandrasekara Rao and also the Telangana Joint Action Committee not to field a TRS candidate against the BJP candidate. However this request was not heeded to and the TRS finally fielded a candidate who lost the seat at the end.

Telangana activists like Dr Prithviraj say that they are not looking at this victory as a win for the BJP alone. We are more excited that an alternate to the TRS has announced itself which means the process to form an alternate force in the Telangana region can now commence. We have often found that KCR has been claiming the proprietorship of the Telangana cause and more often than not he was the one who was heading the talks and it is clear that he had done nothing much about it. However with the TRS losing this seat we are now looking into the formation of an alternate force which could maintain a check and balance on the TRS. The victory of a non-TRS candidate also injects enthusiasm in the Nagam Janardhan Reddy group the United Front and the Praja Front. Moreover some of the activists of Telangana had been resting their hopes on the BJP which has always promised that it would form the state if brought to power in the centre. Had the BJP candidate lost there was a danger of the BJP looking to tie up with either Chandrababu Naidu or Jagan Mohan Reddy both of whom have been anti-Telangana. The people of Telangana hope that this victory would keep the interest of the BJP in the Telangana issue alive.

The Congress: For the Congress and the TDP it has been a disappointing day. There is already a damage control exercise that has begun in the wake of them losing all the 7 seats. While it was clear that they would lose in Telangana, the other worry is the emergence of the YSR Congress party which won at Kovuru. On the Telangana issue the Congress had been forced to react, but somehow the issue died down. The internal agreement was that they would act on the Telangana issue only before the elections so that the decision which would be fresh in the mind of the people could transform into votes in their favour. There is expected to be a fresh demand by the Congress leaders from the Telangana region to show some interest towards the cause. If the high command does not act this time then it would be curtains for them in the region.

The other big worry is the YSR Congress party which has been eroding into the vote base of the Congress. The Congress would however not worry too much about the Kovuru result as it was the TDP which lost its vote share in the by-election.

A Congress leader seeking anonymity said that the first thing that they would like to do is to boost the morale of their leaders. There are certain issues that need to be addressed and it is time for them to start working in those belts in particular which are being threatened by Jagan Mohan Reddy. In addition to this there also has to be a call taken on the Telangana issue soon or else the going could get tough.

Biju Salim-innocent or guilty?

Photo courtesy: The Hindu
Photo courtesy: The Hindu

A sub inspector from Kerala was recently picked up for allegedly forging a letter and leaking it to the press, the content of which read, “ the government had plans on hacking 200 plus emails mostly belonging to Muslims. After the news of the hacking appeared in the press there was an uproar in the Kerala assembly following which the cop, Biju Salim was arrested.

Now, whether the letter was really forged or was the arrest carried out thanks to the uproar in political circles is something that is being investigated. The police who are part of this investigation say that Salim had forged the letter and leaked it to the media knowing fully well that such a publication could well lead to a communal conflict in the state. Moreover they also accuse him being part of a larger conspiracy aimed at disrupting peace in the state. In other words what the police are trying to say is that he attempted to do something that normally any terror group would try and do and that is rake up communal sentiments in the state. One of the officers goes on to state that it is a subject matter of investigation and the various possibilities are being explored.

However there appears to be a lot of confusion regarding this case. Kerala in fact tops the list of the most watched state in the country. It is a well known fact that Kerala has become the epi centre of terrorist activities in the past couple of years. The very fact that a man like Ilyas Kashmiri chose to pick up youth from Kerala goes on to show how preferred this state is for terror activities. There are also issues such as hawala money amounting to nearly Rs 10000 crore which is being pumped into this state and according to the police a large part of it is being used for terror activities.

Surveillance is part of the job of any spy agency. Although unofficial one cannot deny the fact that it is taking place. In many cases it has been also found that governments have ordered such a probe and have often used such information to keep political rivals or coalition partners on tenterhooks. Kerala is no stranger to the evil of politics being mixed with crime. There are various small parties which have often found themselves being dragged into the terror nexus- the likes of Abdul Nasar Madani to name a few. Moreover during election time such activity is usually very high and anti social elements including small time terror organisations have been used to further political causes.

Now speaking about the case on hand there are various doubts that come to one’s mind. While there is a good possibility of the letter being forged, the events that led up to this incident tell a different picture and this is going by the manner in which the system reacted to this incident.

Biju Salim who was part of the high tech cell which was involved in surveillance and hence it is a good possibility he had information regarding secret documents and confidential orders of the government. He was part of the cell since October and had been posted there on deputation. In addition to this he was also doing his MBA after having completed his journalism and PGDCA course.

The fact of the matter remains that Biju Salim is an offender as he is not supposed to pass on such information or documents to the media. While he is part of a terror group or not is something that an investigation would tell, but the fact is that he can always be booked under the Official Secrets Act for passing on confidential information.

This case has taken many swings and it is interesting to note that his suspension from the force did not happen due to forging a document, but because he had leaked a letter which was sent by the Superintendent of Police to the Additional DGP. In the communication it was stated that an inquiry be conducted on 268 email ids of persons allegedly belonging to the Students Islamic Movement of India. However the counter attack to such a probe was that keeping a tab is illegal and especially when this list of 286 had many persons who did not even have a petty crime registered against them.

This case had many more twists and turns. When the news first came out the Chief Minister had said that the matter would be investigated and also advised the media from restraining from writing such communally sensitive articles. The probe too commenced with the angle being the leakage of the letter. Moreover a special team was constituted only to probe the leaking of the letter. This probe had in fact found that the letter had been leaked to the media, but later on it was stated that the letter was forged and given to the media with an intention of creating communal tension.

The police however say that there are many theories and they need to thoroughly probe the matter. However if the first round of probe showed that the letter had been leaked that means that there was actually a letter of this nature in place. So, why did it become a forged document later?

Email or phone tapping requires a go ahead from the Home Ministry and only then does the action become a permissible one according to an order of the Supreme Court of India. However when one has to fight a menace called terrorism, it is very important that tabs are maintained as one needs to act quick and cannot be entangled in red tape.

Cong wins Udupi-Chickmagalur

From left: K Jayapraksh Hegde (Cong) and Sunil Kumar (BJP)
From left: K Jayaprakash Hegde (Cong) and Sunil Kumar (BJP)

The infighting within the Bharatiya Janata Party did them in and the party’s prestigious constituency, the Udupi-Chickmagalur has been taken over by the Congress. The by-election to this Parliamentary constituency which was held by D Sadananda Gowda was won by the Congress by over 40000 votes.
The seat had fallen vacant after Gowda resigned as MP after he was made the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Congress candidate, K Jayaprakash Hegde won the seat by defeating the BJP’s Sunil Kumar in the by poll that was held on March 18th.
This election had gathered a lot of interest as it was considered to be a prestigious seat for the BJP. When elections to this seat was held in the year 2009, the Congress candidate, Hegde was defeated by a large margin by Gowda. However when it came to canvassing there was a lack luster effort on part of the BJP. Nithin Gadkari too had come down to discuss this election, but had to return half way as he had to deal with the problems of infighting within the party.

Yeddy off to Delhi

The budget session in Karnataka saw a full attendance today even as B S Yeddyurappa got ready to leave for New Delhi and hold discussions with senior leaders of his party.
Yeddyurappa and his 65 MLAs who were revolting seeking a leadership change in Karnataka finally agreed to attend the budget session after an assurance from the party’s central leadership that their grievances would be looked into.
Yeddyurappa who will leave for New Delhi today in the evening informed reporters that he is going as he has been invited for talks. I am optimistic and there will be an amicable solution to the problem once I finish meeting with my party’s senior leaders. While in New Delhi, I will meet all the senior leaders and appraise them of the situation and also put forth our grievances. I am confident that there the problems would be redressed and the solution would be to the satisfaction of all in the Karnataka BJP, he also added.

Shettar CM, Eshwarappa Dy. CM, Yeddy president?

BS Yeddyurappa (right) along with Eshwarappa and Jagadish Shettar. Photo courtesy: The Hindu
BS Yeddyurappa (right) along with Eshwarappa and Jagadish Shettar. Photo courtesy: The Hindu

The B S Yeddyurappa faction which has been revolting against the party has finally agreed to take part in the budget session. Basavaraj Bommai a Yeddyurappa loyalist told the media that they would take part in the session and also thanked the high command for listening to them.
This now brings up the issue as to what happened to the demand that Yeddyurappa be made the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Yeddyurappa will probably leave for New Delhi either tomorrow or day after tomorrow and hold talks with the party leadership.
The man who managed to stage a coup with 65 MLAs could not have given up the fight so easily especially when none of his demands have been met. His demand was that Sadananda Gowda be replaced as the Chief Minister by him.
However sources have indicated that Yeddyurappa could not be made the CM as of now as he still has corruption cases pending against him. The party’s leadership has made it clear that even if Gowda is changed, Yeddyurappa would not be the one replacing him. Even Yeddyurappa is aware of this and he is even ready to settle for the post of party president.
Although the BJP has not worked made public the solution to the problem it is very clear that Gowda would be changed. What Yeddyurappa would propose in New Delhi would be to replace Gowda with one time rival, Jagadish Shettar. In order to keep party president, K S Eshwarappa in good books, he would be made the deputy chief minister. Yeddyurappa would replace Eshwarappa.
However for the party’s leadership there would be a lot of thinking to be done. They would want to look weak and send across the message that they buckled to Yeddyurappa. Moreover the party has also been opposed to the idea of having a deputy chief minister and this would be a crucial decision to take in order to keep the power balance in the party intact.

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Are we ignoring the problem in North East?


There was quite a revelation made by former ISI chief Assad Durani before the Pakistan Supreme Court when he said that the Pakistan spy agency had been meddling with India’s affairs in the North East.
India has been saying this forever and has also claimed that the operations in North East which has several instances of insurgencies are all being funded by the ISI. The Harkat-ul-Jihadi in particular has been causing a great deal of trouble in both the North Eastern states. According to Durrani the ISI had paid Rs 50 crore to former Prime Minister, Khaleeda Zia during the 1991 elections.
The nexus between the ISI and the DGFI in Bangladesh is not anything new. In fact the Indian Intelligence has termed the DGFI as the cousin of the ISI which works along with the Jamait-e-Islami which used to be a political ally of the BNP government which Durrani claims to have funded. During the last ten years according to IB sources nearly 9000 trained jihadis from various countries from Pakistan and also the Middle East were sent to Bangladesh from where they were to launch operations against India and other Western countries. The DGFI in partnership even brought in the Al-Qaeda in the earlier half and later went on to create the HuJI which is the sister concern of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
The two agencies had very often worked hand in hand when it came to destabilising India. The North Eastern states have been hit by insurgency for quite some time and the ISI through the DGFI has been quick to support such groups in carrying out subversive activities against India.
Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that over the past couple of years especially between in the years 2004 to 2006 the activity against India in Bangladesh has been particularly high. It has become a preferred border for terror groups when compared to the border on Pakistan. Look at even the recent spate of arrests starting from T Nasir and the rest of the Indian Mujahideen operatives. Each one had a Bangladesh connection and all of them spoke about the ease with which they crossed over into India. The busting of the Bihar module is also another example of how elements in Bangladesh are working against the country. The ISI is well aware of the illegal immigrant problem in India especially in the North East, Bihar and West Bengal and they have used this problem to their advantage.
However the ISI has used Bangladesh a great deal in creating problems in the North East. Many would say that the problem is immense in the North Eastern states but has never received much focus due to the magnitude of the problem that we face in Kashmir and other parts of the country.The statistics in so far as North East tells the story. In Assam there are 36 terror groups that operate under various names.The ULFA, NDFB, UPDS, KLO, BLTF, DHD, KNV, RNSF, KRLO, KPF, BTF, ASF, Revolutionary Muslim Commandos , Muslim Tiger Force, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, HuJI among others are the major terror networks that operate in Assam.
In Manipur there are 39 terror groups in all that are in operation which include the UNLF, PLA, KCP, Islamic National Front (INF), Islamic Revolutionary Front (IRF) among others.
Meghalaya and Nagaland have 6 terror groups in all which are the Hynnietrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), People’s Liberation Front of Meghalaya (PLF-M) National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) – NSCN(IM) and  the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have 33 terror groups in all which are the NLFT, Tripura Tribal Volunteer Force (TTVF), All Tripura Liberation Organisation (ATLO), Arunachal Dragon Force(ADF) among others.
The casualties also tell a very sorry picture. In the last six years 1542 civilians have died in terror strikes. In the year 2006 there were 232 deaths while in 2007 and 2008 the death count due to terror strikes were 457 and 404 respectively. The years 2009, 2010 and 2011 saw 270, 77 and 80 deaths respectively. The year 2021 has seen 22 civilian deaths so far.
Although Durrani claimed before the Supreme Court of Pakistan that the ISI had funded Rs 50 crore to Bangladesh to carry out subversive activities against India, the Indian Intelligence feels that the amount could have easily surpassed Rs 300 crore by now. Bangladesh is a hot destination for the ISI in their endeavour to wage a full fledged battle against India. They would want the whole of North East to remain unstable so that they have more control over India. Most of the terror strikes in the North East are carried out by home grown elements and this actually serves their purpose as infighting is something that causes more de-stability than an external attack.
While this is one part of the problem the other issue is the emergence of a terror group known as the HuJI which has managed to spread its tentacles into India especially down South. There were a spate of attacks witnessed especially in Bangalore and Hyderabad which were primarily the job of the HuJI. It is being managed well says the IB and the sister concern of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba has managed to create a solid base in India thanks to ISI funding.

Gowda will present budget, but crisis still on

There appears to be come calm in Karnataka with B S Yeddyurappa and his 65 MLAs agreeing that Chief Minister of Karnataka, D Sadananda Gowda would be the one presenting the budget. However they have also stated barring five to ten MLAs from the Yeddyurappa camp, the rest would boycott the budget presentation that is to take place tomorrow at the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
Yeddyurappa who is locked in a resort along with 65 of his followers has conveyed to the party’s central leadership that they have not given up their demand of a change in the leadership, but would not oppose the idea of Gowda presenting the budget. However only 5 to ten of Yeddyurappa’s followers would attend the budget session while the rest would continue to remain in the resort and boycott the session. In addition to this they have also sought from the central leadership to send an emissary down from New Delhi to hold talks with the revolting leaders.
The central leadership has been firm on its view that there would be no change in leadership in Karnataka. L K Advani in particular has been opposed to this idea and even on March 15th he had conveyed the same when some of Yeddyurappa’s followers met with the top leadership. However the central leadership needs to intervene in the matter as the support base of Yeddyurappa very surprisingly went up since Sunday. On Sunday he had carted in 55 MLAs and by Monday the number of MLAs shot up to 65. They have all signed on a document sent to the central leadership in which a demand to convene a legislator party meeting was made. The idea is to tell the BJP that the CM does not enjoy the support of a majority of the MLAs and hence he be changed once he finishes presenting the budget.

Support for Yeddy rises as leadership says hold on

The drama in Karnataka is expected to drag on for some more time with the central leadership telling the B S Yeddyurappa faction to wait at least another three days. The message from the party leadership came even as Yeddyurappa and his followers sent across a letter with the support of nearly 65 MLAs urging the leadership to convene a legislature meeting.
The central leadership which has been holding talks with the Yeddyurappa camp has said that a decision cannot be taken in haste. Moreoever many leaders like Nithin Gadkari are not in New Delhi at the moment and a decision can be taken only once they return. Yeddyurappa has however not commented and hopes that something positive would come out. They are also hopeful that the party leadership would come out with a suitable formula.
Meanwhile the number of MLAs in the Yeddyurappa camp went up by nearly ten. On Sunday he along with 55 MLAs moved into a resort. However by Monday evening he got the support of ten more MLAs thus taking his number to 65. The BJP has 117 MLAs in all and need 112 to remain in power.

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Porn scandal Karnataka- Action against 1

The committee which was probing the porn scandal in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly has recommended action against just one BJP, MLA, Lakshman Savadi. The report will be submitted before the House and action would be taken accordingly.
Savadi along with another MLA, CC Patil were caught watching a porn clip in the assembly. It was alleged that the clip was sent to Savadi by another MLA, Krishna Palemar. All the three who were ministers at that time were forced to resign following the scandal.
However the committee has faulted only Savadi as there appears to be direct evidence against him.

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What has the BJP RESORTED to?

Photo courtesy: The Hindu
Photo courtesy: The Hindu

For the BJP in Karnataka it all started at a resort and today when one looks at the scenario it appears that their legislators have spent more time in a resort than at the Karnataka legislative assembly or even their respective constituencies.

The BJP coming to power itself was a big event as the party launched itself for the first time in South India. Just before B S Yeddyurappa could take over the administration of the state, the central leadership organised a session at a resort where the legislators were given a talk about how the BJP should function in Karnataka.

It was all promise at that time and it appeared that the BJP would not only complete its term smoothly but would come back to win the next election as well.

However that was not to be and ever since it took over in Karnataka not a single day has passed without the party facing a problem and interestingly more due to infighting.

Apart from running to a resort each time there was a political crisis, one also got to see the number of times that MLAs changed loyalties. First it was Renukacharya who was part of a revolt against Yeddyurappa. However he returned to the Yeddyurappa camp after claiming that he has forced into conducting that rebellion. Then we saw the Jagadish Shettar-B S Yeddyurappa love-hate story. Just a year back they were at logger heads when Yeddyurappa wanted Sadananda Gowda as the CM. In fact Shettar lost the internal poll to Gowda who was at that time Yeddyurappa’s man. Today Shettar and Yeddyurappa are together and have sworn to oust Gowda from the chair.

Today Yeddyurappa has tucked himself away at a resort along with 55 of his MLAs. If Yeddyurappa decides to worsen this then it is curtains for the BJP which has 117 MLAs in the House. The only option that it would have is to form a government with the Congress which has 78 MLAs and we all know that is never going to happen.

In the 46 months that the BJP has ruled it MLAs have more often than not raised some issue or the other and each time around the focus just shifted to some resort or the other. Today it is probably for the first time in 46 months that Yeddyurappa has resorted to the resort while all the other times he was the one at the receiving end.

The one who started it all for the BJP was former tourism minister and mining baron Janardhan Reddy. He was upset with some officials in Bellary being transferred. With sheer power of the wealth he managed to take nearly 40 MLAs along with him to a resort and threatened to pull down the Yeddyurappa government. Apart from seeking the reinstatement of a couple of his officials he had also rooted to make Jagadish Shettar the CM. He however had not kept all his MLAs in one resort. He parked some in Bangalore, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. The crisis lasted nearly 15 days and finally after some back door assurances regarding the officials and also the ouster of Yeddyurappa’s favourite MLA, Shobha Karandlage the crisis came to an end. However the MLAs who were with the Reddy brothers did not have quite a happy ending and there were murmurs that he did not give them what was assured once his demands were met.

While things appeared to a bit calm it was the turn of Renukacharya who today is in the Yeddyurappa camp to lead another round of protest. He vanished with a couple of legislators to a resort in Goa. His demand was to remove Yeddyurappa. At that point in time it was Janardhan Reddy who was sent by none other than Yeddyurappa to have a word with the MLAs. However these MLAs who were part of the Reddy camp just a few months back refused to even meet with him. Finally Yeddyurappa had a word with Renukacharya and the crisis came to an end.

The BJP had formed the government with the support of some independent MLAs and also a couple of leaders from the Congress and the JD(S) who had party hopped as part of the operation Lotus programme. Now it was their turn to create trouble and 18 of them went away to a resort near Bangalore. The BJP was in trouble once again and they had to face a trust vote. However a day before the trust vote the Speaker dismissed all these legislators which ensured that they did not have a vote. The BJP managed to sail through but the Governor felt that the result was not a fair one and directed the CM to take another vote. The court had however at that time refused to interfere with the order of the speaker as a result of which Yeddyurappa survived yet again.

Then came the mining report which took the name of Yeddyurappa. Much drama followed and finally Yeddyurappa stepped down. There was a leadership crisis that followed. Yeddyurappa proposed the name of Gowda while the rival camp wanted Shettar in. Both camps then agreed that the legislators would elect the candidate for CM. In a bid of preventing any kind of trading both camps parked their loyalists at separate resorts until the day of the vote which finally Gowda won.

Ever since Gowda took over the trouble has only been caused by Yeddyurappa. He has sought his reinstatement and in the bargain even fell out with Gowda. While there are many theories to the fall out, Yeddyurappa maintains that he had been cozying up to Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy. However the other version is that the central leadership was grooming Gowda as the next leader and this was not going down too well with Yeddyurappa who says that he had single handedly brought the BJP to power in Karnataka.