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Assembly By-elections: Campaign Concludes for Seven Seats in Six States, Marking INDIA’s Inaugural Showdown with BJP

Seven assembly by-elections in six states end; key face-off between INDIA Opposition and BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. Voting on Tuesday.

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Assembly By-elections: Campaign Concludes for Seven Seats in Six States, Marking INDIA's Inaugural Showdown with BJP
Photo:godigit

The run-up to the by-elections in seven assembly constituencies across six states concluded on Sunday, with the voting set to take place this Tuesday.

These bypolls hold significant political importance as they mark the first direct face-off between the Opposition coalition known as INDIA and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). INDIA is an alliance consisting of 28 opposition parties who have joined forces with the goal of presenting a unified front against the BJP in the 2024 general elections by fielding joint candidates to consolidate non-BJP voters.

The by-elections are being held in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Tripura, West Bengal, and Uttarakhand.

In Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, the BJP will go head-to-head with INDIA. Meanwhile, in Kerala, the Left Development Front (LDF) led by Pinarayi Vijayan and the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress are in a contest. The unity of the opposition is emphasized in West Bengal, where the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) are competing.

The constituencies holding by-elections are as follows:

  1. Dumri (Jharkhand)
  2. Puthupally (Kerala)
  3. Boxanagar (Tripura)
  4. Dhanpur (Tripura)
  5. Dhupguri (West Bengal)
  6. Ghosi (Uttar Pradesh)
  7. Bageshwar (Uttarakhand)

The need for these by-elections arises from various factors, including the unfortunate deaths of several Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in these constituencies and the resignations of others.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Ghosi bypolls are of particular interest, as they mark the first direct contest between the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Opposition coalition INDIA in the state. The primary contest here is between the BJP’s Dara Singh Chauhan and the Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Sudhakar Singh.

In Jharkhand’s Dumri assembly seat, the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), part of INDIA, faces off against the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), an NDA member. Both alliances view this seat as symbolically significant.

In West Bengal’s Dhupguri, the CPI (M) and TMC, both part of INDIA, compete against each other, with the BJP also in the race. This triangular contest reveals the internal contradictions within the INDIA coalition.

In Kerala’s Puthuppally, the ruling LDF and the Congress-led UDF, both part of INDIA, are in a face-off following the demise of Congress leader Oommen Chandy.

Lastly, the Bageshwar bypolls in Uttarakhand feature a bipolar contest between traditional rivals BJP and Congress, with the Samajwadi Party also fielding a candidate.

These by-elections carry significant implications for both the BJP-led NDA and the INDIA coalition. They serve as a testing ground for political strength and could shape the future political landscape in these states and at the national level.

Bengaluru

Bengaluru Firm: Rs 1,500 ‘Forest Bathing’ at Cubbon Park – Viral Post

Debate erupts as Trove Experiences offers Rs 1,500 forest bathing in Cubbon Park. Is commercializing Shinrin Yoku ethical? Explore the controversy.

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Bengaluru Firm: Rs 1,500 'Forest Bathing' at Cubbon Park - Viral Post
(Image:troveexperiences.com)

In Bengaluru, Trove Experiences’ decision to monetize Shinrin Yoku, a revered Japanese practice, has stirred controversy. The offering of guided forest bathing experiences for Rs 1,500 has triggered outcry and ridicule, igniting a fierce debate over the commercialization of a sacred ritual.

Research highlights the benefits of communing with nature, emphasizing its capacity to alleviate anxiety, depression, and uplift mood and self-esteem. Shinrin Yoku, the Japanese art of forest bathing, has long served as an escape from urban chaos, offering a slow, deliberate stroll through wooded areas to soothe modern malaise and restore well-being.

However, criticism has mounted with the introduction of paid guided forest bathing experiences, a novelty in Bengaluru. Trove Experiences’ initiative has sparked a firestorm of debate with its Rs 1,500 forest bathing excursions, conducted not in a forest but at Cubbon Park, where strolling has always been free.

On Trove Experiences’ website, the description of their offering underscores the need for city dwellers to reconnect with nature amidst the stress of urban life. The immersive forest walk promises to leave participants feeling centered and revitalized.

Yet, screenshots of Trove Experiences’ pricing have circulated widely, provoking outrage and mockery. Social media users have derided the notion of paying for a forest bathing experience in a park where grass-touching remains free. The viral post on X has garnered significant attention, with thousands of likes and comments reflecting widespread skepticism and humor.

The controversy surrounding Trove Experiences’ commercialization of Shinrin Yoku underscores broader questions about the ethical boundaries of monetizing sacred practices and the commodification of nature’s healing benefits. As debates continue, the clash between commercial interests and cultural reverence remains unresolved, leaving many to ponder the true essence of Shinrin Yoku amidst the uproar.

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Bengaluru

Tejasvi Surya Faces Backlash at Bengaluru Campaign Event

Tejasvi Surya faces criticism at Bengaluru campaign event as investors demand answers on Guru Raghavendra Co-operative Bank scam.

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Tejasvi Surya Faces Backlash at Bengaluru Campaign Event
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Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya encountered a turbulent situation during a recent election campaign event in the city. The event, held at the Laxmanrao Imandar auditorium, took an unexpected turn when investors who had suffered losses in the multi-crore scam involving the Guru Raghavendra Sahakara Bank Niyamitha demanded accountability from the parliamentarian.

The investors, visibly frustrated by the delay in compensation for their losses, sought answers from Surya and other leaders present, including Basavanagudi BJP legislator L A Ravi Subramanya. Despite attempts by the leaders to assuage their concerns, the investors remained dissatisfied with the responses provided.

Footage from the event circulated on social media platforms, capturing the moment when Surya was escorted out of the venue by his security personnel. During his exit, he engaged in heated exchanges with some of the investors who approached him with their grievances.

The incident drew attention from various political quarters, with Karnataka Congress seizing the opportunity to criticize Surya’s handling of the situation. The party took to Twitter to highlight the MP’s departure from the event, characterizing it as an escape through an “emergency exit door.”

In response, Surya’s office released a statement accusing Congress workers of disrupting the meeting and attempting to derail the BJP’s campaign efforts. The statement condemned the alleged tactics employed by Congress workers, including pushing and shoving attendees, and emphasized the BJP’s commitment to a positive and development-oriented campaign.

The controversy surrounding the campaign event underscores the ongoing fallout from the Guru Raghavendra Co-operative Bank scam, which came to light in 2020. Despite efforts by regulatory authorities and the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation to mitigate the impact on depositors, many individuals remain uncompensated for their losses.

The Enforcement Directorate’s investigation into the scam revealed instances of fund misappropriation and financial irregularities, leading to the attachment of the bank’s properties worth Rs 159 crore. With over 15,000 depositors yet to receive full compensation, the Karnataka government’s decision to hand over the probe to the CBI reflects the seriousness of the situation.

As the election campaign in Bengaluru South unfolds, the incident involving Tejasvi Surya serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by politicians in addressing the grievances of affected constituents amidst ongoing controversies and political scrutiny.

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Bengaluru

Fatal Bike Accident in Bengaluru: Man Dead, Two Injured in Pit Fall

Tragedy struck in Bengaluru as a bike accident claimed a life and left two critically injured after plunging into a water pipeline pit. Get the details here.

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Fatal Bike Accident in Bengaluru: Man Dead, Two Injured in Pit Fall
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A tragic incident unfolded in Bengaluru, leaving one man dead and two others critically injured after their bike veered off the road and fell into a pit dug up for a water pipeline. The mishap occurred on Sunday, shocking locals and prompting questions about safety measures in construction zones.

According to police reports, the bike’s rider failed to notice the deep pit and drove straight into it. Despite efforts by locals to rush the injured to the hospital, one of the bikers succumbed to his injuries on the spot, while the other two are battling for their lives in critical condition.

Eyewitnesses lamented the lack of barricades or warning signboards near the pit, blaming civic authorities for negligence. A complaint lodged by one of the survivors demands action against the water board contractor responsible for the site.

In response, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board refuted allegations of lax safety measures, asserting that barricades were indeed in place. However, they claimed that the riders were intoxicated, which led them to overlook the warning signs.

Ram Manohar, Chairman of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, emphasized that corrective measures would be taken pending the outcome of the police investigation. He cited reports suggesting that the bikers were performing a wheelie, a risky maneuver where the front wheel is lifted off the ground, contributing to the accident.

Regardless of the circumstances, the incident underscores the importance of safety protocols in construction areas and the need for both authorities and citizens to remain vigilant on the roads. As investigations continue, the hope is that lessons will be learned and actions taken to prevent such tragedies in the future.

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