How Modi fooled India on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway or KGP Expressway Project

Less than 15 days ago, PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Eastern Peripheral Expressway or the KGP Expressway Project as it is also known as –  built at budgets running into several thousand crore with  much fanfare and hype, with the BJP IT cell going into overdrive with images of Modi riding an open vehicle, surrounded by his security guards.

Then 15 days later it rained. Not much rain, but a few hours of rain exposed the entire hype behind the projects. To know how the highway fared when exposed to a few hours of rains read the full report here. According to media reports, several craters developed next to the highway and huge cracks on the concrete slabs were seen at regular intervals throughout the highway. The concrete seemed “washed away” and spoke of low quality or inferior construction.

The Hindu reviewed the newly built highway. According to this report the much-hyped highway is a disaster. Another report by Business Standard (Read Here) also claims that the highway is a ready recipe for potential disaster.  Read the report from The Hindu below:

The point we are trying to make here is. If the highway was not ready as per the reports, why did the PM inaugurate it with such media hype and fanfare. What was the hurry? Why not complete the entire project and then inaugurate it 6 months later? Was Modi trying to score brownie points and divert attention of the masses, away from the rising prices, rising price of petrol, LPG and CNG prices? Was it another jumla dished out by the camera-crazy PM?

According to The Hindu, the starting point of the expressway is located nearly 8 km from the Haryana-Delhi border on National Highway-1 but it is a struggle to locate it because there are no signages en route. The approach road is inconspicuous with only a small board in a corner highlighting the beginning of the EPE. There is another board which indicates that the road leads to Ghaziabad, without any mention of all the other destinations connected, such as Hapur, Meerut, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad and Palwal.

Lack of proper road signs was in fact the biggest sore point of the journey. There are seven exit points on the EPE, many of which are indicated only once and if you miss those you could end up driving for much longer than you planned to.

Still worse, the exit points are named after villages situated nearby such as Baghpat, Duhai, Dasna, Dadri, Atali-Chasna. If you are not familiar with Uttar Pradesh, you will not know that these are exits leading towards Meerut, Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Noida, Greater Noida and Faridabad.

An official of the National Highways Authority of India acknowledged the problem. “We are making improvements on the basis of the feedback. Though road signs have been put up, there are many loops and inter-changes, people get confused. We will be adding more signs and will also ensure several indicators before every exit point,” he said.

No traffic monitoring
While the EPE has been called the country’s first smart expressway and was expected to be installed with the latest technology such as CCTVs, variable message signs for displaying important information for road users and overspeed checking system, on the ground we did not spot any. There was only one surveillance vehicle, which was manned by personnel who didn’t seem to have any training in crisis management or providing first-aid. As a result, there were several instances of trucks and trailers coming from the opposite direction.

The NHAI official told The Hindu that there is a plan to install Intelligent Transportion System for pro-active monitoring and taking pre-emptive actions, but it could take at least 12 months.

Works incomplete
The EPE is far from being a finished product and was perhaps inaugurated in a hurry. While the tolling will start only from June 15, construction work is still on all the toll gates, except at Baghpat where the PM inaugurated the expressway. As a result, at all entry and exit points there is only passage open for vehicles. For example, at the exit for Dadri, there is only a skeletal structure for the toll gate, which is unlikely to be ready by June 15.

Also Read: Eastern Peripheral Expressway or KGP Expressway is a recipe for potential disaster

At Duhai, the slip road for vehicles exiting from EPE and merging with the traffic on NH-58 is not ready, which is a serious safety hazard. The entrance to Duhai, too, is not ready, with only one of the two lanes constructed leading to traffic congestion. We also saw that work on painting of road markings was still on.

While the EPE promised all modern public amenities such as restaurants, washrooms, petrol pumps, repair shops, none of these exists on ground. So, if you are travelling on this highway, do remember to pack some food along.

No power or lighting
The EPE has been called the first green expressway and equipped with eight solar power plants with a capacity to generate 4 MW of electricity. However, officials say at least three solar panels have been found to be stolen. While, the NHAI has sought electricity supply from seven different zones along the expressway, many are yet to provide power. As a result, there is no streetlight during the night.

However, driving through the EPE is still a breeze as there are no traffic signals or congestion. One can complete a journey from Kundli to Noida in almost an hour, nearly half of what it would take otherwise.

For truck drivers, it also means that they don’t have to wait for 11 p.m. to enter Delhi and pay a hefty pollution cess.

According to the data collected by NHAI, the EPE is able to stop significant number of cars, trucks and multi-axle vehicles from entering Delhi and provide them an alternative route to reach Ghaziabad, Noida and Palwal. On June 3, a total of 13,100 vehicles entered EPE at Kundli and 7,400 vehicles exited at Palwal.

Officials say that the trend is on the rise and they expect this figure to double in the coming days.

Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Y.S. Malik said the exact number of vehicles being stopped from entering Delhi will be known once the Western Peripheral Expressway (Kundli-Manesar-Palwal) is open as many vehicles headed to Palwal and beyond will have the option to use both the expressways. “We expect to know the effective traffic count by December.”

Eastern Peripheral Expressway or KGP Expressway is a recipe for potential disaster

The 135-km highway, which connects Kundli to Palwal in Haryana via Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, will allow the trucks to make the journey in about half the time than they used to.

The trucks save on time and fuel, and since the new route bypasses Delhi, the capital breathes easier with fewer heavy vehicles entering the city and adding to its traffic congestion and toxic air pollution.

That, at least, is the ideal scenario. However, as of now, the expressway remains heavily under-used.

This despite the fact that the EPE has cut down the travel time between Kundli and Palwal from four-five hours to about two hours, and the toll too is being waived for the first two months.

Also Read: Major cracks, craters develop on Rs 5764 Cr recently inaugurated KGP Eastern Peripheral Expressway as digital gallery turns into a pond

The reason for the EPE’s relatively low volume of traffic may lie in the lack of adequate safety measures, especially after sundown.

A late evening reconnaissance by Business Standard showed that barring intermittent patches, the highway has no street lights.

In fact, not more than 10 per cent of the total road length of the “word-class” expressway can boast of something as basic as street lights as yet.

The darkness does not seem to deter the locals, though.

At night villagers blithely cross the highway as vehicles whizz past them at high speed. Moreover, passenger traffic coming on to the EPE via the slip roads flout the rules with impunity and chug along on the wrong side of the highway.

The violations go unchecked and the result is a recipe for potential disaster.

Also Read: How Modi fooled India on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway Project

The EPE has already had its share of accidents. In one incident on June 5, seven members of a family were killed and nine others injured when the driver of their pick-up van fell asleep at the wheel.

Though this particular mishap was not due to the lack of safety infrastructure, it is more than evident that the EPE is a high-risk zone after dark.

On an average, the EPE now gets about 600 heavy and light commercial vehicles from the Palwal side between 8 am and 8 pm daily.

“In the last one week, entry of as many as 350 trucks and 250 light commercial vehicles has been reported on the expressway,” an official assessing the traffic at the Palwal entry point told Business Standard.

According to S P Singh, senior fellow of the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), the volume of traffic on the EPE is lower than what was estimated as truckers are wary of the toll charges that will kick in shortly.

The digital weigh-in facility at the expressway’s entry points is another damper.

Once the weigh-in facility is operational, it will put a stop to the overloading of vehicles, which is not only a security hazard but also speeds up the wear and tear of the road surface.

The EPE is part of a 271-km Ring Road being constructed around Delhi.

The other half of the project, the 136-km Western Peripheral Expressway, will connect Kundli to Palwal via Manesar in Haryana.

Constructed at a cost of Rs 110 billion, the project has been executed by  Sadbhav Engineering, Jaiprakash Associates, Ashoka Buildcon, Oriental Structure, and Gayatri Projects.

In 2016 the Delhi government had moved the Supreme Court to direct the Union government to complete the two expressways in a time-bound manner.

Subsequently, the construction was expedited and the EPE was commissioned on May 27 this year.

When complete, the two arms of the expressway are expected to decongest Delhi by diverting about 200,000 vehicles that enter the capital every day.

However, unless the authorities address concerns regarding safety and under-utilisation, the laudable goals of the Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways may never be fully realized.

Source: Business Standard

Mayawati Slams Yogi Government Over Attack on Dr Kafeel Khan’s Brother Kashif Jameel

Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati slammed the Yogi Adityanath government on Monday saying that the attack on Dr Kafeel Khan’s brother in Gorakhpur and that on lawyer Ravi Tiwari in Allahabad are enough to prove that the state is witnessing “Jungle Raj”.

“The people of the state are suffering due to Jungle Raj in the state. Warnings to criminals by the CM and his ministers are also not effective. It is the result of big talks and zero delivery by the BJP,” the BSP Supremo said in a statement.

“Strict action should be taken against culprits responsible for the attack on Kashif, brother of Dr Kafeel Khan and attack on Ravi Tiwari, a lawyer from Allahabad. Time has come that the BJP should focus more on the security of citizens, and their development. If nothing concrete is done now, it might be too late. BJP’s own people, who are involved in criminal activities, must be nabbed first,” she added.

Meanwhile, Khan’s mother Nuzhat Parveen has demanded police protection for her family after her younger son Kashif Jameel was shot at by unknown miscreants on Sunday night in Gorakhpur.

Jameel (34) suffered three bullet injuries on his upper arm, neck and chin late on Sunday evening. He was immediately rushed to a local hospital.

Suspecting foul play, Khan said, “My brother has been shot at. I always knew they would try to kill us.”

Khan was the head of the encephalitis ward at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College when over 60 children died allegedly due to oxygen shortage in August 2016.

The paediatrician, one of the nine doctors accused, was charged under Sections 120(B), 308 and 409 of the IPC. However, Khan was later hailed as a ‘hero’ after it came to light that he had immediately swung into action and saved some children’s lives when the oxygen supply was disrupted.

The Gorakhpur doctor, who spent seven months in jail, was recently granted bail. Khan’s family had applied for bail on six different occasions during his seven-month detention.

All Kind of Beef must be Banned: Muslims, Christians must stop eating Beef or leave India: Swami Om

After recently targeting Christians, maverick Delhi-based Baba and former Bigg Boss contestant, Om Swami Maharaj also known as Swami Om or Om Maharaj today specifically targeted Muslims in India.

He alleged that since Muslims indulge in cow slaughter for beef and if eating all kind of beef is banned, cow slaughter will completely stop, he alleged, adding that the current laws were ineffective and unable to stop cow slaughter in India and that cow slaughter was still going on in certain parts of UP and MP as well as in South India.

Speaking to a local news channel, Om Maharaj said:

All kind of beef must be banned. Muslims and Christians in India must stop eating beef totally or else leave the country. This is a Hindu nation and beef and cow slaughter must be prohibited in this land, he said. Muslims indulge in cow slaughter for beef. If beef is completely banned, there will be no cow slaughter at all, he said.

According to media reports a hard-line Hindu group had called on Christians to be thrown out of India and stamped on images of Pope Francis while accusing him of promoting terrorism in a video being circulated on social media since May 25.

Also Read: Stop eating Pork & Beef, embrace Hindutva or else leave India

The video shows controversial Hindu leader Om Swami Maharaj with a group of about 20 people carrying placards and banners with pictures of Pope Francis not far from Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi.

Last year Sadhvi Saraswati made a controversial statement at a Hindu Conclave in Goa saying Goans must either stop eating beef in Goa or go to Portugal.

Also Read: Those who eat beef must be hung in public: Sadhvi Saraswati 

Om Maharaj made a speech before members of the group began stamping on the Pope’s image. During his speech, he accused Indian Christians of promoting terrorism and Maoism in the country and demanded they should leave India, according to a report by ucanews.com.

If Christians don’t leave India, Maharaj said, they will use force to expel them. “We have our own ways to expel them if they don’t fall in line,” he said, adding that Christians must stop eating beef and pork if they want to continue living in India. This is not the first time, Swami Om has brought up this issue. The small-time thief and TV reality show participant who can go to any extent for publicity and self-promotion, had on two earlier occasions claimed that Christians must stop eating beef and pork and even called on Muslims in India to completely give up beef from their diet or go to Pakistan.

Also Read: Beef to be completely banned in Goa, rest of India by 2019

Maharaj spread a banner featuring a picture of the Pope on the road and then, with several others, stamped on it. Slogans of “Pope Francis murdabad” (Down with Pope Francis) were shouted. It is not known if the police intervened or if any police case has been filed yet.

The media has otherwise been very mum on this issue, possibly because Swami Om is a known attention-seeker and trouble maker.

Also ReadWho is Swami Om?

The video has caught the attention of Christian groups in central India, prompting them to approach the police to stop the video’s circulation. At the time of writing this report, the police are looking into the complaints.

Richard James, spokesman for the Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh, the ecumenical national Christian forum based in Madhya Pradesh, said the police have been alerted to the video.

“This kind of public display of hate toward any religious group or leader would not be allowed in a civilized society,” James told ucanews.com.

Jaideep Prasad, inspector general of Police in state capital Bhopal, told ucanews.com that his officers “will not allow anyone to spread discord among people with such videos.”

Madhya Pradesh is among states governed by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“I have already instructed officials to do what is necessary to ensure peace,” said Prasad on May 29.

Not just Swami Om, several other BJP leaders have upped the ante against Christians over the last one year.  Subramanian Swami, a BJP parliamentarian, moved a bill last year seeking capital punishment for cow slaughter since the animal is revered by a section of Hindus. He has continued to argue that cow slaughter should be tried as murder.

In a May 23 Twitter message, he urged Modi to cease all diplomatic relations with the Vatican. He also said the Vatican embassy in New Delhi should be sealed as the Delhi archbishop is “a formal nominee of the Vatican.”

Goa Archbishop: Constitution in danger, human rights trampled in the name of development in India

Two weeks after Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto’s remarks on the “turbulent political atmosphere” created a row, his Goa counterpart has said the Constitution was in danger while alleging that human rights were being trampled in the name of development. Urging Catholics to play an active role in politics, Goa’s Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, in his annual pastoral letter, said the community should work hard towards protecting the Constitution, more so because the 2019 general elections were around the corner.

“Today, our Constitution is in danger, (it is a) reason why most of the people live in insecurity. In this context, particularly as the general elections are fast approaching, we must strive to know our Constitution better and work harder to protect it,” IANS quoted Ferrao as saying in the pastoral letter for 2018-19, which was formally released on Sunday. Catholics account for 26 per cent of Goa’s population and wield significant influence.

Alleging that a new trend of mono-culturism was emerging in the country, the archbishop said, “In recent times, we see a new trend emerging in our country, which demands uniformity in what and how we ear, dress, live and even worship. Human rights are under attack and democracy appears to be in peril.”

Ferrao further said minorities were living in fear while development was being used as a ruse to uproot people from their land. “The various minorities fear for their safety. People are being uprooted from their land and homes in the name of development. The first victim of development is the poor person. It is easier to trample upon the rights of the poor because those who will raise their voice for them are very few,” he said.

It may be recalled that a similar remark was made by Cardinal Oswal Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), last month. Gracias had said there was “growing anxiety” among minority communities “because the government is not acting enough” to protect them.

Urging the Catholics to shun “sycophantic” politics and help strengthen democracy, the letter said, “It is advisable that the faithful play an active role in the political field; they should, however, follow the dictates of their conscience while doing so and shun ‘sycophantic’ politics. They should thus strengthen democracy and, on the other hand, help to improve the functioning of the state administration.”

While many saw Delhi Archbishop Couto’s remarks aimed at the BJP government, even though he denied targeting any particular political party, it leaves little to imagination Ferrao’s letter was directed at whom. Criticising Couto, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said there was “no discrimination against anyone”, while BJP president Amit Shah said “polarising people in the name of religion” was “not appropriate”, even as opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury backed the Delhi archbishop.

Source: Indian Express (IANS)

Elections 2019: In a run up to polls, BJP to spend over Rs 12,000 crore on Social Media, Ads and Digital PR in the next 12 months

BY PRANAV GHOSH | Mumbai | 26th May 2018: According to informed sources, media planners, social media experts, advertising industry professionals and election strategists, the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will spend over Rs 12,000 crore in the next 12 months in a massive build-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

IndiaScoops.com spoke to nearly 150 experts from various fields in India and abroad to arrive at these figures and the real picture is still more shocking. Of this figure, 50 per cent of the above amount of Rs 12,000 crore will be spent 3-4 months before the elections.

About 60 per cent of the total amount, or Rs 8000 crore is expected to be in black money or will be spent indirectly – not by the party – but by its well-wishers, party supporters and sympathizers and industrialists close to the BJP in a proxy digital war that has almost begun on social media.

Experts claim that about Rs 4-5000 crore will be paid abroad, from party supporters in the US, UK and Europe, but online campaigns will be directed at audiences and viewers in India.

A pro-BJP group in the US is creating about 500 new Facebook pages, 1000 Twitter accounts and about a 200-odd “news” websites, to peddle BJP  fare and propaganda to the masses which will targeted and directed at Indian viewers. Another similar group based in Canada is working in the same direction.

The BJP and its arms will employ about 7 lakh professionals pan-India to run its online campaigns, social media promotions and other related work like online poster and artwork design, etc., over the next 12 months. In the two months prior to the election, at least 10 lakh professionals will be employed full-time all over India in a massive digital war. An additional 20 lakh free-lancers and party workers will support this 7 lakh-plus digital army throughout the year.

Also Read: BJP hires more than 5000 IT professionals for final Karnataka Election salvo

2014 Figures

According to an article published in the Hindustan Times dated 20th April 2014, Media buyers and sources close to the BJP’s campaign said the party could end up spending about Rs 5,000 crore by May 12,2014, when the last phase of polling takes place. Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, which is handling the BJP’s media planning, refused to say anything beyond “we are moving as per the approved plan”. This was in 2014, when the Modi wave was at its peak. This time in 2019, the BJP is much richer, much stronger and more desperate to win and will go all out to ensure a resounding majority like it got in 2014.

But a veteran media planner, who is working closely with the BJP, told HT on condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media: “Planned spends on all media, including print, television, outdoor, internet and radio would be close to Rs 4,500 crore. The party has set aside an additional Rs 500 crore, which will be used, based on need, to beef up the campaign in critical constituencies and states in the last few days of campaigning.” This is on record and the figures quoted are from industry experts. It does not include the local spend by MPs and their supporters as well as third party sympathizers and “well-wishers”.

According to an article in The Hindu dated 19th April 2014, Anand Sharma, former Union Commerce Minister in UPA 2,  was quoted as saying, “The use of money and resources by the BJP in these elections is unprecedented. At least Rs. 10,000 crore is being spent by the party to project only one person.

On TV, the BJP bought about 2,000 spots a day across Hindi, English and regional news, general entertainment and sports channels. A spot in most popular entertainment channels cost about Rs 80,000 per 30 seconds. The budget: Rs 800-1,000 crore. It spent another Rs 150 crore during the T20 World Cup. The online and radio budget is about Rs 35 crore, the same HT article dated 20th April 2014 had claimed. Asked to comment on its ad budget, a senior BJP leader said, “The expenditure would be about Rs 700-750 crore.”

“The BJP’s spending is at least four times that of the Congress,” said Santosh Sood, former COO, Rediffusion Y&R, a media buying agency. This time in 2019, it is expected to be 6 to 8 times that of the Congress, senior politicians claim.

Government & Election Commission Spending in 2014

According to a PTI report dated 16th March 2014, the projected expenditure to elect the 16th Lok Sabha is set to rival the USD seven billion (approximately Rs. 42,000 crore) spent by candidates and parties in the 2012 US presidential elections.

A study carried out by Centre for Media Studies on poll spendings says “unaccounted for” money pumped in by “crorepati” candidates, corporates and contractors has pushed up the expenditure to elect 543 MPs.

Out of the estimated Rs. 30,000 crore, the exchequer will spend Rs. 7000 to Rs. 8000 crore to hold the electoral exercise for the 16th Lok Sabha.

While the Election Commission is likely to spend around Rs. 3,500 crore, the Union Home Ministry, Indian Railways, various other government agencies and state governments will spend a similar amount to put in place means to ensure free and fair poll. In 2019, the figure is likely to go up by at least 25 per cent.

According to an article in FirstPost dated 5th March 2014,  BJP and Congress are planning to spend Rs 400-500 crore on an ad blitz, and the parties organisations could end up spending another Rs 500-1,000  crore for other forms of campaign-related expenses – banners, hoardings, organisation of public meetings, transport of key campaigners by helicopter or chartered flights, etc. Assuming the smaller regional parties together spend as much as the Congress and BJP put together, we are talking of total party spends in the region of Rs 2,000-4,000 crore.

Add the candidate spends,  and general election 2014 will cost anywhere from Rs 10,145 crore to Rs 17,000 crore for the parties. Add the Election Commission’s own expenses and the cost of deploying forces to ensure a free and fair poll, we should be looking at a total democracy cost of anywhere from Rs 11,000-18,000. In 2019, experts estimate the total expenses of Lok Sabha 2019 to be in the range of Rs 30,000 crore.

Modi Govt Ad Spend in 3.5 Years

The Modi government spent a whopping Rs 3,755 crore on its publicity in three-and-a-half years till October this year, a reply to an RTI query has revealed recently.

The expenditure on advertisements from April 2014 to October 2017 on electronic and print media and outdoor publicity is Rs 37,54,06,23,616, according to the reply given by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. Again these are official figures. The unofficial figures including monies spent by well-wishers and party friends is almost double this amount.

NRI US Billionaire Bizman offers USD 1 Mn to Garland Amit Shah with Chappals?

According to some Facebook posts circulating since the last 24 hours, an Indian-born NRI US billionaire businessman has offered USD 1 Mn to the person who succeeds in garlanding BJP National President with a garland of chappals. It seems the business magnate was totally pissed off with the horse-trading going on in Karnataka, post the election results were declared on the 15th of this month.

From the FB posts, which could be circulated either by his supporters or by troublemakers, it seems the businessman originally hails from Karnataka and was pained with the political happenings in his home state.

The news has been doing the rounds on Facebook since the last 24 hours, particularly in Indian communities in the US. The name of the businessman is only mentioned as Ramesh Kumar Rao, but no photograph or further details are available. IndiaScoops.com has not been able to verify this news and does not claim it to be authentic.

It could be a hoax or prank news or the posts could be put up by troublemakers. Or was the bizman drunk or did he loose his mojo after making a wild dare? We will possibly never know.

We have tried to identify the businessman, but at the time of writing this article, were not able to find anyone by that name who matches the description in the posts. Most of the posts too have got auto-reported or manually reported by Facebook users and have been blocked or deleted. No photograph of the bizman was provided in the FB posts.

The news was trending on Thursday night (IST) in FB groups of the South Indian community living in the US. It was also widely shared on WhatsApp and other messaging platforms. However, by Friday morning the posts could not be spotted on Facebook, possibly because they got auto-reported as spam.

Meanwhile, according to a report in The Hindu, BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday congratulated newly sworn-in Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, while accusing the Congress of propagating “corrupt and divisive politics.”

Shah took to Twitter to remind the Congress, in a sarcastic vein, of its “glorious history.”

“President of the Congress (Rahul Gandhi) obviously does not remember the glorious history of his party. The legacy of Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s party is the horrific Emergency, blatant misuse of Article 356, subverting the courts, media and civil society,” he said in a series of tweets.

“Who has the people’s mandate in Karnataka? The BJP, which has won 104 seats, or the Congress which dropped to 78 seats, whose own chief minister and ministers lost by big margins. The JD(S) who won only 37 seats and lost their deposits in several others,” he said.

BJP offers rival MLAs Rs 100 crore each in Karnataka to join party, help form Govt

Kumaraswamy has accused the BJP of offering ₹100 crore to some of its party members and MLAs to join the party.

Speaking at the Janata Dal Legislative Party meeting, Mr. Kumaraswamy warned the BJP that if it tried ‘Operation Lotus’ once more it would backfire.

“If the BJP indulges in horse trading I will not sit quiet. I am not a Sanyasi to keep quiet and watch the proceedings,” he said. “I would like to tell the Governor that he should not allow horse trading.”

Union Mininister Prakash Javadekar dismissed Mr. Kumaraswamy’s charge that BJP was offering ₹100 crore to lure its MLAs, calling it “imaginary.”

Meanwhile, outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of encouraging horse-trading. “We have 117 MLAs. Governor has to give the opportunity to us (JD(S)-Congress combine) to form the government,” he said.

“We want to thank people for their support. People don’t want BJP in Karnataka,” he adds. “JD(S) MLAs are being offered Rs 100 crore each. Where is this black money coming from? They are supposedly the servers of poor people and they are offering money today. Where are the income tax officials?”, “BJP is misusing its power. They are distorting democratic principles. Operation Kamala is an example of this,” he said.

“BJP is desperate to come to power. Me or my party, are not power hungry”, says Kumaraswamy. “We (JDS and Congress) have more numbers than the halfway mark. BJP are nine seats shorter than needed,” he adds. “Forget ‘Operation Kamal’ being successful, there are people who are ready to leave BJP&come with us. If you try to poach one from ours, we’ll do the same & take double from you. I’m also telling the Governor to not take any decision which encourages horse-trading,” he said.

“BJP has also made an offer. If I side with them, the majority will be 140. But I feel responsible that I have already caused a dot in my father’s political career already because of my decision to go with the BJP in 2004 and 2005,” said Kumaraswamy. He also accused the BJP of working against secular fabric of the country. “I didn’t ask for the CM post, the Congress have offered me unconditional support,” the JDS leader said.

Meanwhile in a recent new update, BS Yeddyurappa will be sworn in as the new Karnataka CM at 9.30am on Thursday with Karnataka Governor Valubhai Vala inviting the BJP to form the government first, ahead of the other claimant – the JDS-Congress combine. The BJP will have to prove its majority in a floor test. Yeddyurappa had sought seven days for it. The governor took the decision after consulting with former Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi, who favoured inviting the single largest party first, in this case the BJP.

The JDS and Congress had met the governor at the Raj Bhavan in the evening when Vala had assured he will consult legal experts and consider the precedents of Goa and Manipur. The JDS-Congress combine has 117 MLAs, well clear of the magic mark. The Congress is expected to address a press conference soon. The party has previously said that it would move the Supreme Court if denied the chance to form the government first.

Parrikar will need at least 2.5 months complete bed rest on returning to Goa: US doctors

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is undergoing medical treatment in the United States, said in a recent video message that he will return to his home state in the next few weeks. The video message was played at a BJP workers’ meeting addressed by party president Amit Shah.

However, IndiaScoops.com spoke to the doctors attending to Parrikar in the US. “The doctors are of the opinion that Parrikar will need at least 60 to 80 days of complete bed rest even if he chooses to return to Goa on completion of chemotherapy. We will definitely not advise him (Parrikar) to undertake any strenuous activity and not even travel. He is advised to stay at home only and take complete bed rest for at least 60 days. His body needs to heal naturally and it takes time. I would ideally recommend 90 days of complete bed rest,” the head of the department told IndiaScoops.com.

Parrikar is undergoing treatment for a pancreatic ailment at a hospital in the US, where he was admitted in the first week of March after being treated at Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital, reports India Today.

“My treatment is moving along successfully and I am confident that in the next few weeks I will be able to be there with you in full-swing,” Parrikar stated in the video message.

According to India Today, Parrikar appeared in the video in his trademark half sleeves shirt and detachable spectacles. He looked fresh and lost a lot of weight. His hair was intact despite undergoing a series of chemo-therapies.

He appealed to party workers to start work for the Lok Sabha election due next year. “We have to ensure that BJP wins both seats. We have to work to retain the Narendra Modi-led government in power,” he said.

Political observers believe the BJP has killed two birds with one stone through the video message. It has sent out a clear message that Parrikar, the state’s tallest BJP leader, is getting ready to be active in politics again.

Meanwhile, churches and temples across the State of Goa have organised prayer services and prayer meetings for their CM. Even the Archbishop of Goa, Daman & Diu remembered the CM in a prayer service and called upon the congregation to pray for the speedy recovery of the ailing Parrikar. Goa has a sizable Christian population which is over 30 per cent.

IndiaScoops.com wishes Manohar Parrikar a speedy recovery…

with inputs from India Today & agencies

BJP has pumped in over 15 lakh fake Voter ID cards into Karnataka: Cong

Congress leaders from Karnataka have accused the BJP of printing and circulating over 15 lakh ‘fake’ voter ID cards into the State with a view to manipulate the voting process.

The fake ID cards are printed in Maharashtra and have been brought into Karnataka over the last 2-3 weeks, to ensure ‘fake’ voting for BJP candidates, Congress leaders alleged. This allegation comes even as authorities seized nearly 10,000 fake voter ID cards from a flat in Rajarajeshwari Nagar Assembly constituency in Karnataka on Monday.

Congress leaders from Karnataka who spoke to IndiaScoops.com claimed that along with fake VOTER ID CARDS, Kannada and Konkani speaking people who are now domiciled in Maharashtra and Goa and having voting  rights and cards of constituencies in different pockets of Maharashtra and Goa, are being brought into Karnataka on the sly over the last one month. They are being paid Rs 3000 to Rs 5000 to come to Karnataka, stay in the State for 10-15 days and cast their vote for the BJP. Fake election voter ID cards are being provided to them, a senior Congress leader alleged.

Meanwhile, a massive controversy rocked Karnataka after nearly 10,000 “fake” voter ID cards were seized from a flat in Rajrajeshwari Assembly seat, prompting the BJP to demand countermanding of the election claiming Congress was behind the racket, a charge dismissed by the latter as a “lie”. With just three days left before Karnataka goes to poll, the BJP and Congress, the two main contenders for power, went after each other’s jugular, each claiming the flat belonged to a woman associated with the rival party. Addressing a press conference, Union minister Prakash Javadekar claimed Congress candidate and sitting MLA Munirathna Naidu was behind the alleged racket, which was exposed by BJP worker Rakesh.

Congress spokesman Rajdeep Singh Surjawala hit right back, alleging that the flat owner Manjula Nanjamari and Rakesh had BJP connections and both contested Bengaluru Municipal Corporation elections on the tickets of the saffron party.

Karnataka’s Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar had called a press conference last midnight where he said besides the cards, form 6A (application for inclusion of name in electoral roll by an overseas elector) with counterfoils were found. He said that the colour in the counterfoil appeared unusual, and that an inquiry was on. Javadekar said thousands of fake cards with hologram, lamination machines, and computers were seized by police after BJP workers informed it about the racket, and demanded a thorough forensic inquiry.