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Shettar replaces Gowda as Karnataka CM

NEW DELHI: Buckling under BS Yeddyurappa's pressure, BJP today decided to replace Sadananda Gowda with Jagdish Shettar as Chief Minister of Karnataka marking the third change in the state in four years. The decision was taken at the BJP core group meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, sources said.

Shettar, a Lingayat leader, who is the Rural Development Minister, is the choice for the top post of Yeddyurappa, who is calling the shots in Karnataka BJP even after his unceremonious exit as Chief Minister last year. He will be the third BJP Chief Minister in the state in four years since the party came to power there in 2008.

After the core group meeting, BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said that Gowda will come to Delhi this evening and will be meeting party chief Nitin Gadkari, LK Advani and other leaders.

"A decision will be announced after that," Prasad told reporters.

Gowda took over from Yeddyurappa in August last year.

Yeddyurappa, who was removed as Chief Minister last year in wake of corruption allegations against him, has been insisting for some time now that Gowda should be replaced with his close associate Shettar.

However, Gowda, who fell out with the Yeddyurappa camp had pleaded with the party that it should not take any decision in "haste" and sought to assert that he has strived to give a corruption-free administration in the last 11 months, after he was appointed as Chief Minister.

With this change of guard, the political history witnessed in Karnataka from 1989 to 1994 of having three Chief Ministers in a span of five years has had a repeat.

Congress, which returned to power with a massive mandate in the state in 1989, replaced Veerendra Patil with S Bangarappa. Veerappa Moily replaced Bangarappa following heightened dissidence against him. In the assembly polls held in 1994, Janata Dal trounced Congress. PTI




2 jawans injured in J&K militant attack

Srinagar: Two Army personnel were on Saturday injured in a militant attack at the highway town of Pampore in Pulwama district, police said. 

Unidentified militants opened fire on the two at Kadalbal area of Pampore, 16 km from Srinagar, on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, at 3.10 p.m., they said. 

Security forces have sealed the area and further details of the incident are awaited, they added. 

Keywords: Militant attack, Srinagar-Jammu national highway, Pampore, Pulwama district. PTI




Team Anna member Gogoi attacked

GUWAHATI: RTI activist and Team Anna member Akhil Gogoi was attacked and critically injured by suspected youth Congress activists in Assam's Nalbari district on Friday. 

Gogoi, who had gone to Punni village in Dharmapur area of the district to take stock of the flood situation, was allegedly attacked with sticks and other sharp weapons, the police said. 

Gogoi filed an FIR at the Nalbari police station alleging that the attack was carried out by six youth Congress activists at the behest of Assam Agriculture and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nilamani Sen Deka, who represents Dharmapur Assembly constituency. 

Gogoi, who is also the Secretary General of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), received head injuries. A profusely bleeding Gogoi was admitted to the Nalbari Civil Hospital in a critical condition. The police have launched an investigation into the incident, the sources added.Back





Delhi Airport Metro Express to close down from Sunday

NEW DELHI: Reliance Infrastructure-led Delhi Airport Metro Express will close down from Sunday for an unspecified period apparently due to technical problems and financial losses, a move that would affect hundreds of passengers who were relying on this corridor to reach the airport without any hassles. 

The country's first Public-Private-Partnership Metro project has had a tumultuous journey in the past 16 months after it first began operations in February, 2011. 
"The Delhi Metro has received a communication from the concessionaire this evening that they intend to stop services from Sunday," Delhi Metro spokesman Anuj Dayal said on Friday. 

However, he did not give any reason why the Reliance Infrastructure took the extreme step of closing down the Metro services for an unspecified period. 

The Reliance Infra-led company has been suffering loses as it was not able to reach its intended targets in terms of profit and ridership. However, there was no word from the concessionaire. Back




Afghanistan major ally: Hillary 

KABUL: The United States has designated Afghanistan a major non-Nato ally, giving the war-torn country special privileges as the US prepares to pull its troops out in 2014, secretary of state Hillary Clinton said on Saturday.

Clinton announced the designation, which provides a long-term framework for security and defence cooperation, during a visit to Kabul where she held talks with President Hamid Karzai. "We see this as a powerful symbol of our commitment to Afghanistan's future," Clinton said after the meeting. 

The new status, which comes into effect immediately, makes it easier for a country to purchase and finance its acquisition of US defence equipment, a US official said.

"As we withdraw, they want to ensure that they continue to have this preferential treatment," he said.

This is the first such designation by President Barack Obama's administration, which will usher Afghanistan into an exclusive club of nations that enjoy privileged ties with the United States. Other countries with the designation include Pakistan, Israel, Egypt, Japan, Jordan Korea, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

"Going forward as we move towards a more normalised relationship these are things that they can really harness," the official said.

Such status allows members priority delivery of defence articles and the right to stockpile US military hardware.

Efforts to reach Reliance Infra officials failed. It is understood that the company would come out with a public notice today, specifying reasons for its step.




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