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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, who is touring parts of Karnataka's old Mysuru region ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018, on Friday met the erstwhile royals of Mysuru at the Mysuru Palace. BJP leader Ananth Kumar and the party's chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa were also present with Shah. Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah took a dig at Amit Shah for calling him anti-Hindu, saying that the BJP president should first clarify whether he was a Jain or Hindu. Siddaramaiah also accepted the challenge of Janata Dal (Secular) state president H D Kumaraswamy, who dared him to contest from the Chamundeshwari seat.
In Mysuru today, Amit Shah hit out at the state's Congress government over what he alleged were the killings of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers under Congress rule. As part of his "Karunada Jagruti Yatre", the BJP president is touring the Mysuru, Chamarajanagara, Mandya, and Ramanagara districts between March 30 and 31. Shah might be smarting from the major slip of tongue he suffered this Tuesday when he said that if there was to be a competition for the most corrupt government in India, the one to top it would be the B S Yeddyurappa government.
Recently, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, too, toured the region for two days. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is also camping in Mysuru since yesterday and willbe there until April 2. He will be taking part in the campaign activities there. Ahead of the polls, the Siddaramaiah-led state government has written to the Centre recommending official recognition of the Lingayat and Veerashaiva communities as religious minorities. This development comes after the state Cabinet decided to recommend to the Centre grant of religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva Lingayats.
The Election Commission has announced that the Karnataka Assembly polls 2018 will be a single-phase election, with voting for the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly on May 12 and counting on May 15.
Here are the top 10 developments related to the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 and the Amit Shah-Siddaramaiah verbal duel:
1) Amit Shah says BJP will ensure justice after coming to power: BJP President Amit Shah, who is touring Mysuru, today condemned the alleged killing of BJP and RSS workers under Congress rule, news agencies reported. "More than 24 workers have died and the police hasn't taken any action against the killers, they are roaming around free," alleged Shah, adding, "Siddaramaiah government's end is nearing and once BJP is in power, we will ensure justice."
Condemn the killing of BJP & RSS workers under Congress rule. More than 24 workers have died & the police hasn't taken any action against the killers, they are roaming around free. Siddaramaiah govt's end is nearing & once BJP is in power we will ensure justice: Amit Shah #Mysuru pic.twitter.com/IuUVnY4hQi— ANI (@ANI) March 30, 2018
2) Amit Shah clears the air on 'Yeddyurappa most corrupt' gaffe: Speaking in Karnataka today, Amit Shah addressed his slip of tongue, which must have left Yeddyurappa red-faced, news agencies reported. "In a slip of tongue, I said that Yeddyurappa govt is corrupt instead of Siddaramaiah's, and the entire Congress party started to rejoice," Shah said, adding, "I want to tell Rahul Gandhi, that I might have made a mistake, but the people of Karnataka will not."
In a slip of tongue, I said that Yeddyurappa govt is corrupt instead of Siddaramaiah's, & the entire Congress party started to rejoice. I want to tell Rahul Gandhi, that I might have made a mistake but the people of Karnataka will not: Amit Shah in Mysuru. #KarnatakaElection2018 pic.twitter.com/IvYhbe8Yt3— ANI (@ANI) March 30, 2018
3) 'No political alliance between BJP andd Mysuru royals: Amit Shah today met the erstwhile royals of Mysuru at the Mysuru Palace. BJP leader Ananth Kumar and former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa were also present along with the BJP president. News of the slated meeting had triggered speculations about the erstwhile royal family supporting or joining the BJP.
However, the scion of the royal family, Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, has ruled out any political entry and said that he got to know about Shah's meeting with the family through the media.
"I have got this information only through the press. I can't say anything about it," he told reporters in Mysuru, when asked about the meeting with Shah. "I have told several times that I'm not interested in politics. There is no chance at all about me joining any party. I'm not interested in politics. Through social work, we will continue our relationship with the public," he said.
4) Amit Shah touring old Mysuru region from today: Ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018, Amit Shah is from today touring parts of the old Mysuru region, where the BJP had not clinched even a single seat in the previous election. As part of his "Karunada Jagruti Yatre", Shah will tour Mysuru, Chamarajanagara, Mandya, and Ramanagara districts on March 30 and 31.
Out of the 26 seats in the four districts, considered as the Vokkaliga heartland, the BJP did not win even a single seat during the 2013 Karnataka Assembly elections. Further, the region is the home turf of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who hails from Mysuru. Former Chief Minister and state JD(S) chief H D Kumaraswamy and senior minister D K Shivakumar also enjoy considerable influence in the region.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi, too, toured the region for two days recently. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is also camping in Mysuru from yesterday until April 2 and will take part in the campaign activities there.
This is the fourth leg of the BJP chief's tour in Karnataka. He has already covered parts of coastal and Malnad, north, and central regions of the state.
Click here to read our detailed coverage on the Congress vs BJP contest ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018: Gaffes & guffaws on Karnataka: Shah, Malviya err; 'fabulous' start for Cong
5) Amit Shah to visit Suttur mutt and other temples: Continuing with his visits to the state's mutts, Shah will also visit the influential Lingayat seminary in the region, the Suttur mutt, and also the Ganapati Sacchidananda Ashrama. The BJP chief will also visit the famous Nanjanagudu Srikanteshwara and the Melukote Cheluvanarayanaswamy temples.
Shah's schedule also includes a meeting with Dalit leaders and lunch with them. He will also interact with organic farmers and women, take part in a anT convention, visit the Channapatna Craft Park, and interact with silk growers and representatives of the silk industry.
Click here to read all about BJP President Amit Shah's gaffe in Karnataka: 'Corrupt Yeddyurappa': Will Amit Shah faux pas benefit Siddaramaiah, Cong?
6) Siddaramaiah asks Amit Shah to clear the air on his religion: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took a dig at Amit Shah for calling him anti-Hindu. Shah had said at a press conference at Davangere three days ago that Siddaramaiah was not an 'AHINDA' leader (a Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes, and Dalits) but an 'AHINDU' (anti-Hindu) leader. Siddaramaiah retorted that Shah should first clarify his position on whether he is "a Hindu or not".
"Amit Shah is a Jain. He needs to clarify first whether he is a Hindu. Jain is a separate religion. How can he talk about me like that," Siddaramaiah said. He added that Shah was scared of him due to which he was making "baseless" allegations against him.
7) Siddaramaiah to contest from Chamundeshwari seat: Siddaramaiah on Thursday said that he would contest in the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections from the Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru. Accepting the challenge of JD-S state President H D Kumaraswamy, who dared him to contest from the seat on Wednesday, Siddaramaiah said, "I will contest from Chamundeshwari seat on a Congress ticket and win with the blessings of the people as I had in the past."
While the 69-year-old veteran leader has contested from the same seat seven times since 1983 and won five times, he was re-elected from the Varuna seat in the 2013 Assembly polls. "I have full faith and belief in my voters. They will not listen to him (Kumaraswamy) or will they let me down. If he has guts, let him also contest from here. Will see whom the people will elect," he said.
Kumaraswamy told reporters sarcastically that he would return to Chamundeshwari after the poll results to give his reaction to the "defeat" of Siddaramaiah by the electorate.
8) Siddaramaiah's app disappears: After the Congress party's official app vanished from the Google Play Store, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's app has also gone missing. This comes after a person on Twitter alleged that the app was selling personal data of the users to a private company. On clicking the links that come up after a Google search, a message reads, "This content is not available in your country yet. We're working to bring the content you love to more countries as quickly as possible. Please check back again soon."
French security researcher Baptiste Robert, who is known by his Twitter username Elliot Alderson, said that the name, phone number, date of birth, gender of a user is sent to a private company.
1/ People asked me if this tweet is true or not. Let's talk about this app. https://t.co/XuTWC0pm6r— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) March 29, 2018
2/ Every time, I open the app I have this pop up: "Internet speed is too slow". As a consequence, I was unable to make a dynamic analysis and so confirm the tweet above. pic.twitter.com/fZT6Z7Ein9— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) March 29, 2018
3/ I decompiled the app and found this code in the registration method. During the registration, the name, phone number, date of birth, gender of the user is send to https://t.co/mYIwWi6Pf1. pic.twitter.com/PX2TdMAXnS— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) March 29, 2018
4/ As I cannot make a dynamic analysis, I cannot say if they ask the user consent.— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) March 29, 2018
5/ Their backend seems broken... pic.twitter.com/9U1IBAA4Q4— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) March 29, 2018
7/ Contrary to yesterday, I'm unable to find the app in the PlayStore this morning. Do they remove it?— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) March 29, 2018
8/ Link of the app in the PlayStore: https://t.co/yDtgsYAv1o— Elliot Alderson (@fs0c131y) March 29, 2018
9) Congress expels MLA Malikayya Venkayya Guttedar for joining BJP: The Congress expelled senior party MLA Malikayya Venkayya Guttedar after he announced his decision to quit the party and join the BJP ahead of the Assembly polls in Karnataka. Guttedar, who is a six-time MLA from Afzalpur and a former minister, has been reportedly unhappy with the Congress and its state leadership for some time over Chief Minister Siddaramaiah not considering him for a ministership.
Subsequently, the Karnataka Congress expelled Guttedar from the party for six years, citing his "anti-party" stand as the reason. "Afzalpur MLA and Karnataka Housing Board Chairman Malikayya Guttedar has been expelled from the party for six years, for his anti-party stands," said Karnataka Congress quoting its President G Parameshwara in a statement.
Guttedar met state BJP Chief B S Yeddyurappa yesterday. The ousted Congress leader said that he had spoken to Siddaramaiah over phone before taking the decision. "There was confusion, which party I will join. I have decided to join the BJP under the leadership of Yeddyurappa, quitting Congress," Guttedar told reporters.
10) Siddaramaiah seeks recognition of Lingayats and Veerashaivas as religious minorities from Centre: The Karnataka government wrote to the Centre recommending the official recognition of the Lingayat and Veerashaiva communities as religious minorities. In a letter written to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the Siddaramaiah-led government urged the Centre to consider the representations of the Lingayat and Veerashaiva communities who believe in Basava's teachings and recognise them as a religious minority.
The state government further noted that upon such recognition, the Centre may take necessary action to notify the Lingayat and Veerashaiva Lingayats as a religious minority under Section 2(c) of the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992.
Watch: BJP President Amit Shah today met Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji of Suttur Math
With agency inputs