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2 more Cong. MLAs quit in Karnataka

After situation turns tense, one legislator is escorted by the Police Commissioner to Raj Bhavan

Hopeful still: Karnataka Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar, along with Congress leaders Murli Deora, left, and Sanjay Nirupam, right, waiting outside a Mumbai hotel where the rebel MLAs were put up, on Wednesday.Prashant WaydandePrashant Waydande

The corridors of the Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday witnessed the unfolding of a political drama triggered by the resignations of Congress legislators K. Sudhakar (Chickballapur) and Housing Minister M.T.B. Nagaraj (Hoskote). It ended with the former having to be escorted out by the Police Commissioner to the Raj Bhavan, amid trading of charges by the Congress and the BJP.

On a day the BJP knocked on the doors of Governor Vajubhai Vala over Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s decision to hold an inquiry before accepting the resignations of 11 Congress-JD(S) legislators, Mr. Sudhakar and Mr. Nagaraj tendered their resignations.

Soon, theatrics began with KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao, Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge and former MLC Nazeer Ahmed blocking Mr. Sudhakar near the back entrance of the Vidhan Soudha and restraining him from leaving. They took him into the chambers of Industries Minister K.J. George to convince him to withdraw his resignation.

BJP stages dharna

BJP leaders who had got wind of this rushed to the spot and staged a dharna in front of the closed doors, urging the Congress leaders to let go of Mr. Sudhakar. Another team of leaders led by BJP MLC Ravi Kumar approached the Speaker to seek his intervention. They also filed a written complaint with the Speaker’s office.

Mr. Ravi Kumar also accused the Congress of “taking away” Chikkodi-Sadalaga legislator and Congress whip Ganesh Hukkeri, who also met the Speaker on Wednesday evening.

The situation became tense with the arrival of former Chief Minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah.

10 Congress MLAs join BJP in Goa

Party strength down to 5 in House

Another shocker: Goa CM Pramod Sawant greeting former Opposition leader Chandrakant Kavlekar and other Congress MLAs in Porvorim on Wednesday.Atish PomburfekarAtish Pomburfekar

Political instability in Karnataka spilled over into neighbouring Goa on Wednesday, with two-thirds (10 out of 15) of the Congress MLAs breaking away to merge with the ruling BJP.

The group, led by Leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, met Assembly Speaker Rajesh Patnekar in the evening and gave him a letter, informing him about their split.

The MLAs include Atanasio Monserratte, Jeniffer Monserratte, Francis Silveira, Philip Nery Rodrigues, Cleaofacio Dias, Wilfred D’Sa and Nilkant Halarnkar.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who was present when the group reached the Assembly , said the 10 MLAs had merged with the BJP.

With the 10 MLAs changing sides, the strength of the Congress in the House will be down to just five MLAs.

The BJP’s strength in the Assembly has now gone up to 27. The Goa Forward Party has three MLAs while the NCP and the MGP have one each. There are three Independents.

To a question, Mr. Sawant said no new inductions in the Cabinet were on the cards.

Mr. Kavlekar said he and other MLAs decided to join the BJP as development works in their constituencies were suffering as they were in the Opposition.

“We have seen Mr. Sawant’s working style. He is working for the progress of the State. We decided to join hands with him. Being in Opposition, our development works were also suffering,” he said. The MLAs joined the BJP unconditionally, he claimed.

SpiceJet technician dies in freak accident in Kolkata

Rohit Pandey

In a freak accident, Rohit Pandey, 22, a SpiceJet technician, died after he got stuck in the hydraulic door flaps of the main landing gear of a Q400 aircraft he was attending to at the airport on Wednesday.

The hydraulic doors “inadvertently” got closed, leaving Pandey trapped there, SpiceJet said in a statement. The landing-gear doors of the Bombardier Q400 aircraft had to be broken to rescue him but he was declared dead, it said. The accident happened at 1.45 a.m.

A complaint of “unnatural death” was filed at the Airport police station. A police team visited the accident spot, an officer said, adding that forensic experts would now collect evidence.

Aircraft maintenance engineers The Hindu spoke to said such an accident was rare. “I have never heard of such a thing in my 26-year career. Either he did not follow the SOP or was instructed wrongly by a senior to get the work done quickly,” a senior engineer said.

Hailing from suburban Mumbai, Pandey was the breadwinner of the family.

World Cup ends in agony for Kohli’s men

Lose to New Zealand by 18 runs, fail to cross the semifinal hurdle yet again

When the nation gasped: M.S. Dhoni gets run out during the World Cup semifinal between India and New Zealand at Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday.AP

A World Cup semifinal spread over two days concluded with minutes that stretched between agony and ecstasy.

Under dull afternoon skies masked by low-slung clouds, India suffered an 18-run defeat to New Zealand at Old Trafford here on Wednesday. The Men in Blue failed to get past the World Cup’s last-four stage, like in the previous edition at Australia in 2015.

Chasing New Zealand’s 239 for eight, India stumbled right at the start, collapsing to 24 for four in 10 overs as seamers Trent Boult and Matt Henry (three for 37)bowled incisive spells. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, K.L. Rahul and Dinesh Karthik fell quickly and the remainder of the clash was more about hitching hopes on Ravindra Jadeja’s fiery 77 and his 116-run seventh-wicket partnership with M.S. Dhoni, who scored 50.

It boiled down to 52 from the last five overs, but with Boult dismissing Jadeja and Dhoni being run out, the miracle never happened, a defeat became inevitable and India finished at 221.

Finally, Kohli’s words from the post-match press conference lingered: “To go out on 45 minutes of bad cricket is heart-breaking.”

Worker safety code Bill gets Cabinet approval

It seeks to merge 13 labour laws

A Bill that seeks to merge 13 labour laws into one code on occupational safety, health and working conditions that would apply to all establishments with 10 or more workers was approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, paving the way for its introduction in Parliament.

The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Bill, 2019, which would impact “40 crore unorganised workers”, was approved at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

The Bill was the second of four proposed codes that aim to merge 44 labour laws, with the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 that was approved on July 3 being the first, Labour and Employment Minister of State (independent charge) Santosh Kumar Gangwar said.

Mr. Gangwar added that the Wages Bill, which covers minimum wages and other wage issues, would be introduced in Parliament in “two or three days”.

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