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Supreme Court orders floor test in Karnataka Assembly at 4pm tomorrow

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, May 18: The three-judge Supreme Court bench on Friday ordered a floor test in the Karnataka assembly at 4 pm tomorrow.

The court was hearing the petition filed by the Congress-JD(S) combine against the decision of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state.

Noted lawyer Kapil Sibal appeared for Congress-JDS along with Sr Advocate AM Singhvi, Sr Advocate Ram Jethmalani. While Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi represented the BJP.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had also filed a petition to have an urgent hearing on the same.

Yesterday, the Congress-JD(S) moved fresh plea in Supreme Court challenging Governor’s decision to nominate an Anglo-Indian MLA to Assembly.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, and Ashok Bhushan heard the petitions, and also examined the letters dated May 15 and 16, written by Yeddyurappa to Governor Vala, staking claim to form the government.

In one of the most bitterly fought polls in recent times, the voting for 222 out of 224 constituencies took place on May 12. The major twist came in after the poll verdict that led to a hung assembly – with the BJP winning 104 seats, Congress 78 and JD(S) clinching 37 seats.

Despite Congress and JD-(S) forming an alliance and being in a strong position to form the government with enough seats together (115), Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala on Wednesday invited the BJP to form the new government.

Following the governor’s decision the Congress filed a plea in the Supreme Court on late Wednesday after which a rare midnight hearing by the three-judge bench of justice A.K. Sikri, justice S.A. Bobde and justice Ashok Bhushan was conducted that ran for hours.

After a midnight hearing, the apex court refused to stop the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as Karnataka’s new Chief Minister.

However, the Court sought the communications which Yeddyurappa had written to Karnataka Governor informing him his election as BJP legislature party.

“The swearing-in is subject to the final outcome of the matter before it”, the court stated.

Yeddyurappa took the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday at the Raj Bhavan.

Updates:

The Court Concluded the hearing by directing  floor test in Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm on Sturday.

Justice Sikri: We have to balance the equity. Balance can’t be one day submits Mukul Rohatagi. Ram Jethmalani submits that law has to be right. In this case governor has not acted properly.

Why immediate floor test, need reasonable time for MLAs to reach and vote freely: Mukul Rohatgi

A pro term speaker should be appointed and no Anglo Indian MLA should be nominated till the trust vote, said Kapil Sibal

What we ask is immediate floor test: Kapil Sibal for Kumaraswamy

Karnataka Governor hasn’t received any Letter from Kumaraswamy with all Cong and JDS MLAs signature: ASG Tushar Mehta for BJP

We question the signatures submitted by Kumaraswamy, floor test is the only option: Mukul Rohatgi

We are ready to hear you but what needed now is a floor test soon to test the majority, stated Justice AK Sikri.

Meanwhile, Kapil Sibal questioned the decision of the Governor to invite Yeddyurappa to form the Govt. In response to this SC said its a debatable one. Sibal replied, “No, its already settled one”.

We will make sure and give necessary orders to give security for all MLAs to reach house and vote in the trust vote, said the Supreme Court.

We agree for floor test tomorrow, Singhvi told the apex court and sought security for the MLAs.

During the hearing, Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued ‘Yeddyurappa claimed support, but he does not have letters of support from these MLAs or it is only his oral submissions.’

BJP is just saying they have the majority without any specific number and names whereas we had given the names and numbers, how could Governor had invited Yeddyurappa to form the Govt, stated AM Singhvi

Floor test is the best option, let the larger question on law how should Governor invite a person to form the Govt can be settled here later: Supreme Court

Even then who should be given the chance first, Congress and JDS should be given the chance to prove majority in the house first: AM Singhvi

Only alternative is a floor test for tomorrow, can’t give more time, said Justice AK Sikri.

It’s just the number game, who enjoys the majority should be invited to form the Govt, said Justice AK Sikri.

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka and BJP MLA R Ashoka filed an intervening application in Karnataka government formation matter.

While Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi who is representing the BJP said we will show the numbers (majority) where it is required, why should we show the numbers in the Supreme Court.

Rohatgi told the apex court that we are confident that we will get the majority, we might even get the support from few Congress and JDS MLAs, can’t reveal anything more at this stage.

Supreme Court asked Mukul Rohatgi to produce the letters, BS Yeddyurappa wrote to the Governor on Wednesday.

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Kerala floods: PM Modi to visit state, Death toll reaches 174

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kerala rains

Kochi, Aug 17 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi  will visit flood-hit Kerala on Friday as the state battles with extremely worst ever crisis of floods in the Indian history. The  deadly monsoon in India has triggered floods in Kerala of such a magnitude that the country has never witnessed in a century.

Modi will  discuss the prevailing situation with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with the death toll in the devastating floods increased to  174 in Kerala while 80 dams reach danger levels and more than one lakh people living in relief camps across the state, the Centre on Thursday deployed all three wings of the armed forces in a massive rescue operation.

Four Capital Ships of Indian Coast Guard have reached Kochi and joined the Disaster and Relief Team. 24 teams are already working in flood affected villages. Indian Coast Guard so far has rescued 1764 people and guided 4688 people to safer locations.

“Had a telephone conversation with Kerala Chief Minister just now. We discussed the flood situation across the state and reviewed rescue operations.

“Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding,” he tweeted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas on Saturday. The Indian Meteorological Department (MeT) on Thursday indicated a slight reduction in rain intensity over Kerala in the next 48 hours.

Many rescue team members reported that they were unable to rescue people even after they had reached near houses due to huge compound walls and heavy inflow of water.Red alert has been issued in all 13 districts except Kasaragod today. Red alert has been issued for tomorrow also in Ernakulam and Idukki districts. 94 people have lost their lives in the floods.

The Railway Recruitment Board postponed exams scheduled for today in the state taking note of the flood situation.

Five units of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) have reached Thiruvananthapuram this morning and deployed for rescue operations. 35 teams are expected to reach there on Friday.

Around 50 people from Pathanamthitta were airlifted on Thursday and brought to the state capital.

Meanwhile, fishing boats from Kollam reached the flooded areas as the rescue operation with the aid of defence personnel continued.

“We have requested more fishing boats and fishermen who have experience in operating the boats. They have all started arriving in the Pathanamthitta and Chengannur areas,” the Chief Minister said.

Reports said hundreds of people are perched on the roofs of their houses in Pathanamthitta, where attempts to airlift some marooned families have failed.

Traffic on the national highway between Ernakulam and Thrissur is being regulated since last night.

Rahul R. Nair, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police, said hundreds of people need help. “Shortage of boats is the biggest problem,” said Nair.

“We have been stuck on the road for hours now and we are going to Chennai for the marriage of our cousin sister. The prospective bride is in the vehicle. We do not know how we will reach there,” said an anxious relative of the bride.

Train operations between Ernakulam and Angamaly have also been stopped, but operations resumed through the Alappuzha sector to the state capital, while the Kottayam sector remains closed. Likewise, the train services resumed operations through the Nagercoil sector.

The current crisis took a turn for the worse when, in a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala were opened on Tuesday following incessant rains in the higher reaches of the ghats.

The famed tourist destination of Munnar continued to be in a bad shape, an official said. The Sabarimala temple also remained cut off by the river Pamba.

The hilly district of Wayanad, connected to Kannur and Kozhikode through a hill highway, has also been badly hit with the overflowing Banasura Sagar dam waters creating havoc. Several landslides were reported in the area.

In Wayanad alone, more than 20,000 people have been put up in relief camps, authorities said.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Miniter Pinarayi Vijayan and asked the defence forces to speed up rescue and relief operations.

“Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala,” the Prime Minister said, according to a statement.

Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha chaired a meeting on the Prime Minister’s instructions and asked the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF to mobilise additional manpower, boats and helicopters to scale up the relief measures in Kerala.

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Ashes of Atal Bihari Vajpayee to be spread in ‘all holy rivers of Uttar Pradesh’

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

New Delhi, Aug 17: The ashes of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be spread in all the holy rivers of Uttar Pradesh including Ganga, Yamuna, and Tapti, to respect his grand stature. 

“Ashes of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be spread in every river in Uttar Pradesh including Ganga, Yamuna, and Tapti, to respect his grand stature”, UP government announced.

The Bharat Ratna awardee was cremated with full state honours on Friday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and other senior political leaders including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and thousands of people attended the last journey of Vajpayee.

The BJP stalwart took his last breath at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Delhi on Thursday evening following a prolonged illness.

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee was strong advocate of South Asian cooperation: Saarc

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

New Delhi, Aug 17: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc)  on Friday expressed condolence over the death of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and described him as a strong advocate of cooperation within the South Asian region.

“We have lost a great statesman, politician, writer, poet, and above all a humane person committed to peace”, in a message to Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, Saarc Secretary General Amjad Hussain B. Sial said.

Sial, who hails from Pakistan and assumed office as Saarc Secretary-General in March 2017, remembering Vajpayee’s statements at the 10th Saarc Summit in Colombo in 1998, in Kathmandu in 2002 and in Islamabad in 2004, stated that the vision of former Prime Minister for a self-reliant and fully integrated South Asia continues to guide the Saarc process even in the contemporary scenario.

He also recalled Vajpayee’s “grand diplomatic gesture” of taking bus rides to Lahore and Dhaka during his Prime Ministership.

“Besides, as the three-time Prime Minister of India, Late Shri Vajpayee’s leadership greatly contributed to the prosperity and stability of India, and the country attained steady economic growth and became a leader in information technology,” the Saarc Secretary General asserted.
“On behalf of officials at the Saarc Secretariat and on my own behalf, I wish to convey our sincere condolences to the bereaved family, the government and the people of India on the sad demise of Shri Vajpayee.”

The former Prime Minister and a BJP Starwalt passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Delhi on Thursday evening following a prolonged illness.

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