The Hindu Important Articles 17 May 2018

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# Cong. backs JD(S) as BJP falls short in Karnataka
Yeddyurappa, Kumaraswamy meet Governor to stake claimCongress tells Governor that its support to JD(S) is ‘unconditional’All parties to hold legislature party meetings todayGovernor says he is waiting for notification from Election Commission
With the cliffhanger 2018 Karnataka Assembly contest leading to a hung assembly, all eyes are now on Governor Vajubhai Vala. Both the BJP — which has emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats — and the post-poll combine of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) with 118 seats (including one BSP member and two independents), have staked a claim to form the government.

The Governor is learnt to have told a delegation of leaders from both sides that he will be deciding on the next course of action after receiving the official notification from the Election Commission. The notification is expected late on Tuesday or on Wednesday morning, an EC official said.

All three parties are holding legislature party meetings on Wednesday. Both the BJP and the Congress have said they will meet the Governor again immediately after the meeting.

While BJP state president B.S. Yeddyurappa claimed that law was on their side in the first claim to prove majority, outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that in a democracy it is the numbers that matter.

The BJP improved its tally to 103 (and a lead in another), up from 40 in 2013. While the Congress won 78 seats, down from 122 in the previous assembly, the JD(S) saw its number shrink to 37 seats from 40.

However, the Congress was quick to knock on the doors of the JD(S), which it had termed the “B team of the BJP” in the run-up to the polls. With Congress central leaders in tow, Mr. Siddarmaiah and other senior leaders approached the JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda for an alliance, with the offer of an “unconditional support” to the JD(S) by mid-afternoon.

However, soon after, BJP leaders led by its chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa and a host of state leaders met the Governor seeking an opportunity to form the Government. The party asked for time to prove the numbers. Minutes after the BJP delegation left, a large delegation of Congress and JD(S) leaders, including outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, met the Governor to stake their claim.

“All India Congress Committee has decided to extend support. We have given it in writing to the Governor that we are extending unconditional support to the government to be formed by JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy. Two independents are also with us. We have also given the same in writing to JD(S) national President and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Mr. Kumaraswamy too,” Mr. Siddaramaiah sad, emerging from the Raj Bhavan. “In democracy, the government is formed on the basis of numbers. We have it. We are confident that the Governor will go with numbers,” said Mr. Siddaramaiah, who had earlier tendered his resignation as Chief Minister.

# Cong. was ready with an alternative plan
The Congress may have played down last Saturday’s exit poll prediction of a hung Assembly publicly, but kept a plan B ready to stop the BJP from forming the government.

Sources say the final decision to offer ‘unconditional support’ to the Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) to head a coalition government was taken at a meeting between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday afternoon after she drove down to his residence.

By then, it was clear that the Congress was not in a position to return to power on its own but had won enough seats to stop the BJP by teaming up with the JD(S).

Other senior leaders such as Ahmed Patel and the party’s communication chief Randeep Singh Surjewala pitched in to articulate the party’s position in public.

Azad opened talks

After deciding to back the JD(S), Mr. Gandhi spoke to his senior colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad to approach former Prime Minister Deve Gowda and convey the decision.

But the party had started reaching out to Mr. Deve Gowda’s party last Sunday itself when Mr. Azad got in touch with JD(S) national secretary Danish Ali to discuss a tie-up.

Congress insiders claim that though the party’s internal survey had given it over 120 seats, it was ready to go all out to stop the BJP. Unlike the BJP, whose senior leaders were in Delhi on Tuesday morning, the Congress had stationed Mr. Azad and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Bengaluru for negotiations.

Clear strategy

“We knew that Deve Gowdaji was averse to going with the BJP and that’s why we had kept the channels open,’’ senior Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad told The Hindu .

Other leaders also pointed out that the party had reached out on Monday to H.D. Kumaraswamy who was then on a vacation in Singapore. And the strategy was clear: the Governor only had to follow precedents set during the Goa and Manipur Assembly elections last year and in Meghalaya this March.

# BJP will try for alliance with JD(S)
Stung by the Congress’s move to align with the Janata Dal (Secular) to form a government, the BJP, which has emerged as the single largest party, has decided to do “everything possible,” including wooing the JD(S) for a “long-term alliance.”

If that fails, the party is expected to try to woo MLAs from both Opposition parties.


“Our immediate priority is to buy time so that the disgruntled leaders in the JD(S) will reconsider the political sustainability of their alliance with the Congress,” a BJP leader said.

‘Traditional opponents’

Pointing out that the Congress and the JD(S) have been traditional opponents as their candidates have fought each other hard, he said the BJP would try to convince the JD(S) that its alliance with the Congress would not be sustainable. “We are pinning our hopes on the fact that the alliance between these two parties cannot last,” he said, recalling the exchange of words between the leaders of both parties in the run-up to the election.

“We will propose a long-term alliance with the JD (S) as we are not competing with them in most of the seats. In fact, we are thinking of convincing them about the possibility of having a pre-poll tie-up for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections too,” he said.

He indicated that the BJP was not averse to even trying out operation Kamala , a strategy of making the Opposition MLAs to quit and re-contest on its ticket, if its efforts to convince JD (S) to forge an alliance with it failed.

# 18 dead in Varanasi flyover collapse
A portion of a flyover under construction near the railway station in Varanasi collapsed on Tuesday afternoon, killing at least 18 persons. More persons are feared trapped under the debris, officials said. Eighteen bodies have been recovered from the accident site, U.P. Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said.

# G.T. Deve Gowda becomes giant-killer
He faced an opponent who proclaimed himself the “next Chief Minister” in the run-up to the Assembly elections, but JD(S) leader G.T. Deve Gowda has emerged as a giant killer and defeated his political bete noire Siddaramaiah by a margin of 36,072 votes in Chamundeshwari.

# BJP wins six of seven seats in Shivamogga
The BJP has produced a stunning electoral showing in its bastion Shivamogga district, winning in six of the seven Assembly segments. B.S. Yeddyurappa has won from Shikaripur constituency by defeating G.H. Malathesh of the Congress by a margin of 35,397 votes.

# Soros’ foundation to close Hungary operations
Group to relocate to Berlin; blames repressive policies of Prime Minister Victor Orbán government
The foundation run by U.S.-Hungarian billionaire George Soros said on Tuesday that it was closing operations in Hungary and relocating to Germany in response to the “repressive” policies of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government.

“Faced with an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are moving their Budapest-based international operations and staff to the German capital, Berlin,” said the network.

Mr. Orbán, reelected last month for a third consecutive term in office, has long accused Mr. Soros and non-governmental organisations he funds of orchestrating immigration and plotting to undermine the cultural fabric of Europe. “We won’t be shedding any crocodile tears,” the government’s press office said on Tuesday, reacting to the departure.

‘Stop Soros’ package

OSF said the decision follows the latest steps by Mr. Orbán to “impose further restrictions” on NGOs.

Earlier this year, citing national security concerns, the government announced a so-called “Stop Soros” package of draft laws aimed at “shedding light” and clamping down on NGOs receiving funding from abroad. The proposals include a special tax on such NGOs, secret service surveillance of their staff, and a ban on individuals deemed to be involved in “illegal immigration”.

Orbán’s reelection

Mr. Orbán, who won by a landslide in the April 8 election, on Monday said the “Stop Soros” package would be among the first Bills tabled to the new Parliament in the coming weeks.

The theme of thwarting Mr. Soros’s alleged efforts to encourage immigration dominated the election campaign during which Mr. Orbán said some 2,000 “mercenaries” paid by the billionaire were working in Hungary.

“It has become impossible to protect the security of our operations and our staff in Hungary from arbitrary government interference,” said Patrick Gaspard, OSF president in Tuesday’s statement.

The “Stop Soros” measures follow a series of large-scale taxpayer-funded information campaigns in recent years attacking the billionaire.

OSF said more than 100 staff in Budapest would be affected by the move to Berlin, around 60% of whom are Hungarian nationals.

Source:- The Hindu

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