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Journalist Gauri Lankesh Shot Dead ; Protests Organized Across the State as Karnataka Comes to a Standstill

Senior Kannada tabloid Editor and social activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on Tuesday night by unidentified men at her residence.

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Gauri Lankesh
National and international media clike, condemn the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a senior journalist and a fearless critic of right wing politics. Wikimedia
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  • Reputed journalist, editor and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on September 5 by three unidentified men outside her house
  • Lankesh was an editor of popular Kannada tabloid “Lankesh Patrike”
  • Protests have erupted in various cities in Kerala following Gauri Lankesh’s murder

Karnataka, September 6, 2017 : Protests erupted across Karnataka on Wednesday morning condemning the dastardly killing of senior Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead at her residence here on Tuesday night by three unidentified men.

Journalists, activists, writers, thinkers and women organisations were seen among the crowds that gathered in the city and across the state condemning the killing of the journalist.

People were seen gathered at the Town Hall here for a silent protest, holding placards. “You can kill a person but not their ideas,” read one placard.

Silent demonstration was also staged by journalist groups at the Victoria Hospital grounds, where the autopsy is being done.

Across the state, protests were witnessed in Mangaluru, Kalaburagi, Dharwad, Koppal among other regions, where citizens took to the streets.

Journalists in Mysuru, wearing black ribbons around their shoulders, also held a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.

Massive protests have also been planned across the country in various cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad among others.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also cancelled all his official programmes on Wednesday.

“CM has cancelled all engagements, including a day-long trip to Kerala in view of the developments since Tuesday night,” said an official from the Chief Minister’s Office.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and distress over the murder on Wednesday, saying “this can’t and should not be tolerated”.

Accusing the BJP of silencing dissent, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said it was a part of their ideology. “Anyone who speaks against BJP is silenced…” Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday.

Gauri Lankesh, 55, was shot dead by three unidentified men who had shot her when she returned home from her office in the city.

Lankesh was an editor of popular Kannada tabloid “Lankesh Patrike”.

In November 2016, Gauri Lankesh was sentenced to six months in jail after a defamation case was filed against her for a report against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. She was out on bail pending an appeal. (IANS)

 

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Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Intact

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient

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Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.
Nitish Kumar with Narendra Modi.

By Sagarneel Sinha

There have been lots of discussions among the political circles that JDU led by Bihar Chief
Minister Nitish Kumar is upset with the BJP and trying to send signals to erst allies — RJD and the Congress. This led to speculations that Nitish may once again join the Grand Alliance (GA) leaving the NDA camp. Already, RJD’s new commander Tejasvi Yadav has clearly stated that Nitish led JDU will not be welcomed in the GA. Despite all the odds, if (suppose) GA partners accommodate Nitish, he wouldn’t be the driving force of the alliance as in 2015. Also, Nitish cannot afford to go alone like in 2014 when his party fetched only 2 seats!

Then which is the correct way for JDU? It is to go with the BJP in the upcoming 2019 polls.
JDU’s advantage in this case is the present situation of the BJP. Currently, the saffron party is not in a strong position as the party would be facing anti-incumbency from a strong RJD led alliance in the state. BJP’s traditional voters are the upper castes who account for 17% of the electorate. This votebank is not enough for the party to help to win elections. The main opposition party — RJD still commands over a larger votebank than BJP. RJD is still a dominant force among the Yadavs and the Muslims who account for 31% of the population. It means BJP has to minus the 31% votes and rely on the rest — 69%. Out of these, 16% are the Mahadalits — a large portion of whom generally hail Nitish Kumar as their leader. Also, there are Kurmis, an OBC group consisting of 4% votes — considered as the supporters of JDU. Nitish Kumar himself is also a Kurmi.

Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar
Nitish Kumar Invited to Join NDA by Amit Shah After JDU-BJP Tie-up in Bihar.

JDU knows that this 15-16% votes is not enough to help the party and for the BJP too, only the 17% votes of upper castes are not sufficient. However, if these votebanks are joined together they form around 31-32%. Plus, to gain the extra votes, both the parties have the option to rely on the personal charisma of Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, there is a power tussle between the two allies to get a respectable share of seats.

This power tussle is because of a strong BJP which earlier used to be a junior ally. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections changed the political scenario of the state where BJP emerged as the largest party in terms of vote share and seats. JDU knows the reality of a new emerging BJP, though it is pushing hard to gain a respectable share of seats for the Lok Sabha elections. Instead, Nitish Kumar has another option — giving the bigger chunk to the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections and the latter playing the junior partner for the 2020 assembly elections if held timely. Given the current situation in the country, in a crucial state like Bihar, BJP can hardly reject JDU as the later still commands over 15-16% votes — a very crucial votebank for winning maximum seats in the 2019 polls. Importance of JDU can also be explained by BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to Patna to have breakfast and dinner with Nitish Kumar. Though in politics there are no permanent friends or foes, so any perfect prediction is impossible. But given the current situation, JDU and BJP parting their ways seems unlikely as both the parties are in need of each other as already highlighted by Amit Shah that the two allies would fight the Lok Sabha elections together. Smiling face of Nitish Kumar was also an indication that the meetings with Amit Shah were fine.