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Karnataka passing through "some of the darkest days", she says

Charging the BJP government in Karnataka with betraying the people’s mandate, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday made a strong pitch for “change” in the State as it was passing through “some of the darkest days.”

“I remind the young generation that these are some of the darkest days ...People want change. The need for change is now, and now,” she said in her first campaign rally in Karnataka, which goes to assembly polls on May 5.

“The BJP has completely ignored your mandate, they have completely betrayed the mandate of the people of Karnataka,” she charged, as she attacked the Government on various fronts, including the “breakdown” of the law and order.

On illegal mining scam in Karnataka, she said the mining mafia has destroyed environment, and charged the BJP government with serving only its “narrow and selfish political ends“.

She said there was a time when industries competed with one another to invest in Karnataka but the situation now is “opposite”. Now the industries are leaving Karnataka because of corruption, government interference and infrastructure issues, she said.

Noting that Karnataka has had a glorious past and brighter future awaiting, she said this is possible only if there is political stability. “Therefore this political stability is essential. A stable government is need of the hour for Karnataka.”

Ms Gandhi said the immediate task for the Congress in the State is to restore the image of Karnataka as a “bright state” of the country. “Congress will ensure this Karnataka thrives and prospers”.

K’taka polls: JD(U) candidate dies

JD(U) candidate Devappagouda G Patil contesting from Sindagi Assembly constituency today died at a hospital in Solapur in Maharashtra, an official said.

Patil (55) was admitted to Bijapur Hospital five days ago after he suffered a heart attack while campaigning. Subsequently, he was shifted to Solapur Hospital for further treatment.
Deputy Commissioner Shivayogi Kalasad, who is district election officer, said he has informed the Chief Electoral Officer about Patil’s demise.

The elections to the 225-member House will be held on May 5.

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Pakistan High Commission has granted visa to four members of Sarabjit’s family

Four members of Sarabjit Singh’s family have been granted visa by the Pakistan High Commission to meet the Indian prisoner who is in “deep coma” and put on ventilator support after being assaulted by jail inmates in Lahore.

Sarabjit’s sister Dalbir Kaur on Saturday said that the High Commission in Delhi has issued visa to the family and she along with his daughters Poonam, Swapandeep Kaur and the prisoner’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur would be travelling to Lahore.

However, she did not say when they will leave for Pakistan.

A doctor examines Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh who was attacked in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail, at her residence in Amritsar on Saturday. Sarabjit’s wife Sukhpreet Kaur and daughters Poonam and Swapandeep are also seen. Photo: PTI

Besides visa to four family members, she said government officials have informed her that Pakistan government has allowed one family member to stay in the Lahore hospital where Sarabjit, whose condition continues to be critical, is under treatment.

Last night, Dalbir Kaur had made a strong appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur to do the needful to arrange the visa for Pakistan so that the family could visit Sarabjit, who is on death row in Kot Lakhpat jail.

Sarabjit was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Punjab province in Pakistan, that killed 14 people in 1990. His mercy petitions were rejected by the courts and former President Pervez Musharraf.

His family says he is a victim of mistaken identity and had inadvertently strayed across the border.

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