Bengaluru, Dec 3 (IANS) Campaign for by-elections to 15 Assembly segments on December 5 in Karnataka peaked on Monday, with leaders of the three mainstream political parties, including the ruling BJP and their candidates wooing the electorate to vote for them, a poll official said.
"Electioneering gained momentum since Saturday and peaked on Monday as campaign ends on Tuesday evening in all the 15 Assembly constituencies," the official told IANS here.
The by-elections have been necessitated due to the disqualification of the 14 Congress and 3 JD-S) rebel legislators after they resigned from their Assembly seats in mid-July in protest against the former coalition government's poor functioning.
The by-elections will be held in Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapura, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijaynagara, Chickballapura, K.R. Pura, Yeshwanthpura, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagara, Hosakote, K.R. Pete and Hunsur.
By-elections in two Assembly segments -- Muski (Raichur district) and R.R. Nagar (Bengaluru) have been withheld due to litigation in the Karnataka High Court over their results in the May 2018 state Assembly elections.
Vote count is on December 9.
"All our state unit leaders, including Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, three Deputy Chief Ministers G.M. Karjol, Ashwath Narayan and Laxman Savadi and dozen cabinet ministers have been campaigning in all the 15 Assembly segments to ensure the victory of our contesting candidates," BJP's state unit spokesman G. Madhusudhan told IANS.
As many as 165 candidates, including 126 Independents and 9 women are in the fray for the 15 Assembly seats.
The BJP and the opposition Congress are contesting in all the 15 Assembly seats, while the JD-S has fielded candidates in 12 seats, which will witness triangular contests.
In three seats -- Athani in Belagavi district, Yellapura in Uttara Kannada district and Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural district, the contest will be straight between the BJP and the Congress.
The BJP has fielded 11 former rebel Congress and 3 former rebel JD-S legislators who joined the party on November 14 after the Supreme Court on November 13 allowed them to re-contest though it upheld their disqualification by former assembly speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar on July 25 and July 28.
The BJP has fielded its former corporate Sarvana from the prestigious Shivajinagara constituency in Bengaluru central.
For the Congress, its former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, party's state unit chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and other senior leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge have been campaigning in all the 15 assembly seats.
JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and his third son and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy have been leading the campaign with other senior leaders and legislators in the 12 assembly segments it is contesting.
"We are not contesting in three seats to avoid dividing 'secular' votes and ensure the victory of the Congress candidates for political reasons," JD-S general secretary Ramesh Babu told IANS.
By Nirbhay Kumar
New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms have topped the list of customers complaints list for over-charging ever since the new indirect tax regime Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1, 2017.
Restaurateurs came second, followed by entertainment and media firms.
As per official data, as many as 42 consumer complaints were registered against various FMCG companies with many of them found to be not passing the benefits of lower tax rates.
As GST rates were cut across various categories in the GST Council meetings to reduce tax incidence on consumers, the companies were expected to pass on the benefit by lowering prices in proportion to the rate reduction.
It was, however, found that many companies had not passed on the benefit of lower tax and indulged in profiteering. Complaints were later filed against them and the GST anti-profiteering watchdog National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) took up the cases.
Some of the FMCG majors like Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), Procter & Gamble India (P&G) and Nestle were found to have profiteered from the lower tax regime.
In the latest case, the NAA last week ordered Nestle to deposit Rs 73.15 crore with Consumer Welfare Fund for not passing GST rate reduction benefit to consumers. The FMCG major has, however, said that it will consider appropriate action after studying the same.
Experts said that it is very difficult for FMCG companies to assess the exact impact of the lower tax given that they have multiple similar products in one category.
Moreover, they sell products for as low as Rs 2 for a shampoo pouch and when the rate is lowered they are not in the position to exactly assess the impact on price. Even if the assessment is done and it is found that the price should be lower by 30 paise, transaction becomes difficult as currency of that amount is not available.
"Because of multiple products of similar kind it is difficult for FMCG companies to arrive at a particular price. There are very small units like toffee selling for Re 1. In this case it will be very difficult to arrive at net impact of rate cut," said Amit Bhagat, Partner, Dhruva Advisors.
Besides FMCG, many restaurants are also facing complaints with 14 cases being lodged. Two complaints were filed against sanitary ware firms. Media and entertainment firms have six complaints against them.
(Nirbhay Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)