Archives  >  2019  >  July  >  17th

Karnataka, Again

1. What’s the story?

One week down the line, Karnataka’s woes show no signs of ebbing. As Six Things had reported earlier, multiple Congress MLAs in Karnataka had resigned last week, sending the state’s (notoriously wobbly) coalition government into a tizzy. Well, things have only gotten worse since then – at least for the current Chief Minister, H D Kumaraswamy. 18 of his serving MLAs have resigned as of today — 13 from Congress, three from JD(S), and two independent candidates. For all intents and purposes, the state seems to be on the verge of getting itself a new government.

Tell me more
Procedure dictates that the resignation of a state minister needs to be accepted by the state’s Assembly Speaker. Karnataka’s current speaker is K R Ramesh Kumar, a Congress loyalist. Till date, he has rejected all the resignations submitted. Initially, Kumar claimed to have rejected the resignations since they hadn’t been personally submitted to him in the required format. When 11 rebel MLAs followed his instructions and attempted to resign again, he still vetoed them outright. The rebels have, but naturally, moved to the Supreme Court for justice. The apex court is all set to pronounce its judgement on Wednesday.

So, what now?
It all depends on the Supreme Court, really. If it instructs the Speaker to accept resignations, then the current state government is destined to fall. If, on the other hand, it defers its judgement for a few more days, the current coalition will have that much more time to woo its rebel MLAs back into the fold. A trust vote on the floor of the assembly is now almost certain to happen this Thursday. Considering that BJP leaders in the state are now confident enough to spend their days playing cricket, things seem grim for the Congress-backed coalition.

2. Where else should I be looking at?

Mumbai, that’s where. An old residential building collapsed in the city’s crowded Dongri area this Tuesday, killing ten and injuring many more. What makes this even more outrageous is the fact that the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) had issued a “danger notice” for the structure back in 2017, demanding that it be evacuated and demolished. These instructions were, of course, not followed – and 15 families were residents of this hundred-year-old structure till Tuesday. With heavy rains lashing Mumbai, rescue efforts in this congested part of the city are expected to be slower than usual. And according to some, a colonial law may be behind it all.

3. What more?

It seems to be that time of the year. After Bihar and Assam, now Kerala may be facing its most devastating flood yet. A red alert has been sounded in six districts of this southern state, including Idukki and Malappuram, as heavy rains are expected to ravage the area in the upcoming weeks. Fishermen have been advised to stay indoors, and people have been cautioned against venturing out. After the terrible floods of 2018, the state government is being extra careful this year. This upcoming calamity is even more concerning if we consider that the state was facing a 46 per cent deficiency in monsoons till 15th July. (Climate change is real, y’all!)

4. Anything else?

In Chhattisgarh, you may be asked to donate a Quran to make up for offensive social media posts. “A 19-year-old woman, who was recently arrested for sharing an offensive social media post targeting Muslims, has been granted bail by a local court here on the condition that she donate five copies of Quran to separate institutions in the city.” The accused, Richa Bharti, was asked to donate one copy of the holy book to the local Anjuman Committee as well.

5. Is that all?

Quebec, a province in Canada, has always had a “complicated relationship with its immigrant communities.” And last week, it became the first place in North America to impose a ban on religious symbols among public servants. This ban includes Sikh turbans and Christian crosses, Muslim head scarves and Hindu tikaas. The controversial piece of legislature is called Bill 21, and unsurprisingly enough, has made many people extremely unhappy.

6. Before you leave …

Take a look at Ursula von der Leyen. She has recently been elected the President of the European Commission, and is the first female to have ever had this position. Additionally, she is the first German to have held this job in over 50 years. And even though she was just elected, she has made one of her opinions quite clear. She is not ready to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement for Brexit. (Quick recap: Back in June 2016, Britain voted to leave the European Union – an act that was named the “Brexit”. Since its inception, however, this act has been mired in controversy. Britain has not managed to leave EU yet — even though the last, official deadline to do so was back in March of this year.)

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