South First Exclusives 2023: The stories we broke first, reports you won’t find anywhere else!

In 2023, South First broke several significant news stories that demanded the attention of the people. Here are the highlights among them.

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 31, 2023 | 8:00 PMUpdatedDec 31, 2023 | 8:00 PM

South First exclusives

With a small team of journalist and barely 15 months since our launch, South First has broken several stories, bringing you a string of exclusive reports.

In 2023, South First broke several significant news stories, brought you pre-poll surveys (we got it right!), and reported extensively on exclusive investigative reports. Here are the highlights among them.

South First-Peoples Pulse Exit Poll gave the Congress a clear majority in Telangana

When the results of the Telangana Assembly election 2023 were declared, it precisely aligned with what South First – Peoples Pulse’s pre-polls and exit-polls had predicted. While the pre-poll survey carried out by Peoples Pulse for South First between 15 and 25 November, immediately after the withdrawal of nominations, had predicted an edge to Congress, the Exit Poll conducted on 30 November — the date of polling — put the Congress firmly ahead of others in Telangana.

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When South First Karnataka Exit Poll predicted Congress could cross halfway mark

The South First-Peoples Pulse carried out Pre-polls, Tracker polls and Exit Poll for Karnataka Assembly elections. The reports had predicted a clear edge for the Congress. The Exit Poll shows that Congress could get 42 percent of the vote share, with projected seats of 107 to 119 while the actual results gave the Congress 135 seats with a vote share close to what South First Exit-poll survey predicted.

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Emergency exit unlocked on-board Indigo flight, co-passenger claims it was BJP MP Tejasvi Surya

It was South First that broke the story of BJP MP Tejasvi Surya unlocking the emergency exit on-board an Indigo flight. What should have been seen as a violation of air safety norms, was hushed up by everyone involved until South First reported about it. Following South First’s report, Indigo, DGCA and Minister for Civil Aviation acknowledged that it was the BJP MP who tampered with the emergency exit while the flight was being readied for takeoff.

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A ₹17-crore ‘white elephant’ in Bengaluru, and unaffordable bone marrow transplants

South First uncovered the reality faced by families needing critical paediatric bone marrow transplantations at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology. While promises of accessible and affordable treatment were made, they remain unfulfilled, forcing families to grapple with financial constraints, emotional turmoil, and the excruciating pain of deciding to let their children go. This is the story of promises breaking lives.

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KAS officer who headed KKHACS, that was accused of irregularities by Priyank Kharge, is now his private secretary

In May this year, soon after the Congress came to power in Karnataka, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Priyank Kharge demanded an investigation into mismanagement of Kalyana Karnataka Regional Development Board (KKRDB) funds.

Kharge alleged financial irregularities even in the Kalyana Karnataka Human Resources Agriculture and Cultural Society (KKHACS) under its president and secretary, and demanded an investigation. Ironically, the man who was secretary of KKHACS — the body accused of irregularities by the minister himself — had been appointed as private secretary to Priyank Kharge.

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‘Karnataka’s former industries minister Murugesh Nirani evaded tax, encroached government land’

Karnataka’s former minister for large and medium industries Murugesh Nirani had evaded property tax, encroached on government land and built a factory on non-approved land, according to a report submitted to the Lokayukta. Documents accessed by South First under RTI showed that the Bagalkot district administration submitted a detailed report recording several violations by firms owned by the minister and senior BJP leader.

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Why poll strategist Prashant Kishor picked Showtime Consulting over his brainchild I-PAC

Even as Prashant Kishor downplayed his visit to Andhra Pradesh on 23 December, with TDP scion Nara Lokesh and discussions with former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu as a “courtesy visit”, those in the know suggested bigger plans are at play. Kishor, who declared that he was retiring as an election strategist in 2021, visiting poll-bound Andhra Pradesh and meeting Chandrababu Naidu has sent the YSRCP — his former client — into a tizzy.

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Curious case of the dead requesting deletion of their names from voters’ list in AP

Civil societies and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP)— the main Opposition in the state — have claimed that the YSRCP has been applying for bulk deletion of voter names in Andhra Pradesh using Form-7. To aid this process, opposition and activists claim, the party has been misusing a network of nearly 10 lakh people – volunteers, secretariat workers and Gruha saradhis – appointed by the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government and the party.

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