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‘Labour shut down to hit normal life in Karnataka’

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Bengaluru: Normal life will be affected on Wednesday across Karnataka in view of the day-long shut down called by trade unions in protest against the government’s anti-labour policies and in support of their demands, a union leader said. “About 15 lakh (1.5 million) workers, including employees of public and private sector enterprises, banks, insurance firms and labourers in diverse sectors, are participating in the strike across the state,” Karnataka’s CITU general secretary S. Prasanna Kumar said. As all employees of state-run and private transport corporations, members of taxi and auto unions have agreed to join the strike, buses, taxis and autos will be off roads in cities and towns across Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubballi, Hassan, Belagavi and Kalaburgi.

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“Though it is a 24 hour strike for us (trade unions), transport workers have assured us they will not ply vehicles, including buses, cabs and autos from dawn-to-dusk (6 a.m.-6 p.m.) in cities and towns as they are also against the Road Transport and Safety Bill, 2014, as it is draconian, anti-labour and regressive,” Kumar asserted. The unions, however, exempted movement and supply of essential commodities, including milk, vegetables, groceries, hospitals, nursing homes and ambulances from the strike. “We expect schools and colleges to remain closed in the absence of public and private transport, and hope private firms also extend support to our cause,” Kumar added. About 50,000 bank employees, including about 20,000 in Bengaluru, are also participating in the all-India shut down. “All employees of state-run, regional, rural, cooperative banks working in about 4,000 branches across the state will be on strike,” Bank Employees’ Federation of India (Karnataka) general secretary Ratnakar Shenoy said. Though officers of all banks, including the State Bank group are not participating in the strike, they are extending support to the employees in support of their demands, besides expressing solidarity with labour unions.

“We are participating in the strike to protest against the government’s anti-labour policies through new amendments, increasing privatization, outsourcing and contracts, FDI policy, lowering state holding in public sector banks up to 33 percent from 51 percent in some nationalized banks,” Shenoy said. About a lakh employees and workers from across the state will assemble at Town Hall in the city centre to participate in a massive protest demonstration organised by various central and state trade unions. Members of 10 trade unions and their affiliated labour organisations have called for the day-long strike after many rounds of talks failed on ensuring Rs.15,000 minimum wages and social benefits for millions of workers in the organised sector.

(IANS)

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)