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Remember that adage about playing with matches? These AIADMK effigy burners should have paid heed

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Parliament committee for simultaneous Lok Sabha, Assembly polls

Elections to all state assemblies whose terms end prior to or after a time period of six months to one year from the appointed election date can be clubbed together

A Parliamentary Committee has made a strong pitch for holding of simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha elections all over the country, suggesting that it can be done in the near future. But most of the political parties which responded to the Standing Committee’s questionnaire have said the idea is a “noble” one but “difficult to implement”. “The Committee does not feel that simultaneous election in every five year cannot be held in the near future but slowly it would reach in stages for which tenure of some of the state legislative assemblies need to be curtailed or extended,” the Standing Committee on Law and personnel said in its report ‘Feasibility of holding simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies’. The report was tabled in Parliament today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While as per electoral law, elections can be held six months prior to the end of the term of a House, the term of the House cannot be extended except during proclamation of Emergency. The committee has recommended an “alternative and practicable method” of holding simultaneous elections which involves holding of polls in two phases. The panel has envisaged holding of elections of some assemblies at midterm of Lok Sabha and remaining with the end of tenure of Lok Sabha.It said the “proposed first phase” could be held in November, 2016. Elections to all state assemblies whose terms end prior to or after a time period of six months to one year from the appointed election date can be clubbed together. “The terms of some legislative assemblies may need to be extended while some of them may need to be curtailed,” it said. It admitted that gaining consensus of all political parties may be difficult in certain states.”However, in the larger context of economic development and implementation of election promises without creation of the impediments due to enforcement of Model Code of Conduct as a result of frequent elections, the prospects of holding simultaneous elections need to be weighed and deeply considered by all political parties,” the report said.The AIADMK has supported the idea in principle and so has the Asom Gana Parishad. The SAD said it supports the idea but has doubts on certain issues like mandate delivering a hung assembly. Congress and Trinamool Congress have rejected the idea saying “ideal as it may sound” it is “impractical and unworkable”. The NCP too said that the proposal is “not feasible”. The CPI said the “proposal looks ideal” but there are practical problems such as need for mid-term polls.The Law Commission in one of its reports presented the government in 1999 had also supported the idea of simultaneous polls. Out of 16 Lok Sabhas, as many as seven elected in 1969, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1996, 1998 and 1999 saw premature dissolution due to “emergence of coalition government.”

Karuna dismisses clarification from AIADMK; seeks probe on water release issue

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‘I will be with you at any time’, CM Jayalalithaa tells flood-hit people of Tamil Nadu

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Centre declares Tamil Nadu floods as ‘calamity of severe nature’; Opposition slams govt

DMK President M Karunanidhi levelled allegations of red-tapism, citing news reports. He sought the government’s response on allegations of it not properly handling the issue of discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir into the Adyar river.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that on her plea with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre had declared the floods as a calamity of severe nature.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Centre on Thursday declared the floods in Tamil Nadu as “calamity of severe nature” even as Opposition questioned ruling AIADMK’s handling of discharge of excess water from a city lake during the heavy downpour.Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that on her plea with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Centre had declared the floods as a calamity of severe nature. She also said that the Parliament Secretariat had issued a circular to MPs stating that they can allot Rs one crore worth renovation and rehabilitation efforts in the flood-affected districts from Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the state government would apprise lawmakers of the requirement in the respective districts on this matter, her party (AIADMK) MPs, totalling 49 in both Houses, had already been asked to contribute Rs one crore each from MPLADS, she said. The state government said 347 persons had died and over 3,300 heads of cattle lost so far, but rehabilitation work had been taken up in full swing.Over 17.64 lakh people were rescued and sheltered in 6,605 relief centres across the state while over 1.28 crore food packets have been distributed, it was officially stated. An amount of Rs 67.47 crore has been disbursed among over 1.11 lakh families as immediate relief.The Opposition parties, which had been critical of the Jayalalithaa government over its handling of the northeast monsoon, demanded a probe into the issue of discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir here, which flooded Adyar river, resulting in heavy inundation of the embankments.DMK President M Karunanidhi levelled allegations of red-tapism, citing news reports. He sought the government’s response on allegations of it not properly handling the issue of discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir into the Adyar river.”Sad-faced people of Tamil Nadu are awaiting a response from the AIADMK government, especially from Chief Minister Jayalalithaa,” he said in a statement.To ascertain facts behind this issue, a proper probe should be ordered into it, he demanded. His son and party Treasurer M K Stalin also made similar remarks, but the government shot back saying it had properly executed its responsibilities.Electricity Minister Natham R Viswanathan said it was due to government’s prompt work that people were moved in quick time before the river went in spate, which averted loss of life. However, there was damage to property, he admitted.CPI(M) state Secretary G Ramakrishnan blamed “official apathy” for the disaster and alleged that red-tapism over discharge of water had resulted in such a damage. He demanded that an inquiry commission under a sitting High Court Judge be formed with the members, including water management experts, to probe lapses and fix responsibility.PMK founder S Ramadoss said the problems arising out of the post-rains scenario cannot be solved by writing letters to the Prime Minister, saying “political pressure” must be exerted on the Centre to get results.An all-party meeting should be convened to discuss the matter after which Jayalalithaa should lead a delegation of members from all political parties to meet the Prime Minister to take up the issue, he urged. BJP state President Tamizhisai Sounderrajan said the government should come out with a detailed water management for the future.

Chennai floods: Aid stickers fuel anger

Relief workers allege they are being forced to paste stickers of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalitha on flood aid coming into Chennai.

Chennai floods: DMK chief blames Jayalalithaa govt for ‘delayed’ relief measures

“They have now taken delayed steps to some extent,” he told reporters here and added that “they are satisfying the affected people to the extent possible.”

Hitting out at ruling AIADMK for “delayed” relief measures to flood-affected people, DMK chief Karunanidhi on Sunday said his party has started distributing relief without depending on the state. Stating that he did not wish to blame the government at this juncture when the State was grappling with the aftermath of floods, he said, “they did not take the steps that should have taken in the beginning.””They have now taken delayed steps to some extent,” he told reporters here and added that “they are satisfying the affected people to the extent possible.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, he inspected relief material deposited by party workers at the DMK headquarters, “Anna Arivalayam” here and instructed functionaries to dispatch them to beneficiaries. “That is why (as the State has taken delayed measures), we have embarked on such relief work without depending on the government,” he said.

Chennai Rains: When ‘PIB-photoshopped’ Modi and Jayalalithaa’s posters earned ridicule

Until the floods that ravaged the city of 6 million, the lofty remoteness of Jayalalithaa added to the aura around a leader with an almost hysterical following.

For both him and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the image of strong leadership created by their publicity machines was undermined.

File Photo
Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa is being heckled and abused for going missing in action after floods swept the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which she rules. It’s a salutary lesson for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who at first drew nods of approval when he rushed to Chennai last week, promising to stand by its people in their hour of need. Yet, within hours, Modi became the object of mockery on social media after his press office released a doctored photo of him inspecting flood damage. For both him and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, the image of strong leadership created by their publicity machines was undermined.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Until the floods that ravaged the city of 6 million, the lofty remoteness of Jayalalithaa added to the aura around a leader with an almost hysterical following. Devotees of the 1960s screen idol have immolated themselves in her defence in the past. Now, she faces a backlash from residents fed up with the sight of her image on billboards, aid packets and her own Jaya Plus TV channel. She has been since in public only twice during the crisis – once with Modi.Angry youths heckled a state minister and officials in Jayalalithaa’s north Chennai constituency, where people were sitting on the roadside amid sludge and mountains of garbage, their shanties swept away by the worst rains in a century. “Forget about Amma coming here, there was no sign of the party cadres,” said one of them, called Dorairaj. About 280 people have died across Tamil Nadu since torrential rains on Dec. 1 submerged tracts of Chennai under up to eight feet (2.5 metres) of water, trapping people on rooftops with no communication. There was further revulsion after a party legislator put up a poster of Jayalalithaa lifting a baby above the floodwaters, in a scene from a blockbuster movie. “Adding salt to the wounds,” said one Twitter post.Avadi Kumar, a spokesman of her ruling AIADMK party, said there was anger among the people but the administration was doing all it could to bring relief: “It is impossible to reach all areas immediately or be present everywhere at all times.”‘Acche din’Modi’s own promise to voters of good days to come for India is also starting to face disenchantment, 18 months into his five-year term, with key reforms stalled by bureaucratic inertia and political gridlock. Ambitious initiatives, such as a “Clean India” campaign, have made little headway – even as Modi has built up huge followings on social media and addressed enthusiastic diaspora Indians at packed stadiums on his many trips overseas. “If today he appears to have lost control over his own narrative, it is his own fault,” commentator Tavleen Singh wrote in Sunday’s Indian Express, urging Modi to hire a professional media team. Modi does not have an official spokesperson.Jayalalithaa, 67, in the past considered as a possible prime ministerial candidate backed by regional groups, faces an election in Tamil Nadu next year. BJP has little presence in Tamil Nadu, a state of 70 million. It would rather the iron-fisted Jayalalithaa stays in power, believing she is more inclined to back his reform agenda in parliament than her rivals. But there are concerns around her health and that she may have to curtail her campaign.Earlier this year a higher court acquitted her in a graft case for which was briefly jailed which had caused an outpouring of anger from her supporters. Some lay down on roads and tried to persuade bus drivers to go over them. “She is supposed to be a fantastic administrator. But this time there was no presence of government at all. Ordinary people did all the work that government and police were supposed to do,” said S. Raja, one flood-hit resident of Chennai.

Tamil Nadu relief efforts shadowed by ‘Amma stickers’ row, AIADMK denies role

As soon as messages went viral on social media claiming that “AIADMK workers” were asking NGOs and volunteers to paste “Amma” stickers over relief material, the ruling party sent across counter-messages.

Twitter
The ongoing relief work in Tamil Nadu has been shadowed by charges in social media that AIADMK workers were nudging NGOs to paste stickers of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on relief material, a claim dismissed by the ruling party as “false”.As soon as messages went viral on social media claiming that “AIADMK workers” were asking NGOs and volunteers to paste “Amma” stickers over relief material, the ruling party sent across counter-messages.It said such claims in the social media were totally false and asked volunteers to complain to party headquarters or police if at all such demands were made.”We wish to reiterate that there is no such message in any form to anyone from the party. It is evident that it was a rumour and work by unscrupulous elements to defame the party and our honourable Chief Minister,” a senior AIADMK functionary declining to be named, told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is a rumour, a canard spread by unscrupulous elements,” he said, adding efforts were being made to identify them. To another question, he said, “there is no need for us to insist that stickers of the CM be pasted on relief material. Our partymen are already busy discharging duties assigned to them in connection with relief work,” he said.He said there was a report of a relief-truck halted on Tiruvallur-Tiruttani Road, by some men who falsely claimed to be ruling party workers, asking them to paste “Amma” stickers and banners.Following such claims in the social media, DMK chief Karunanidhi had hit out at AIADMK “for delaying relief by many hours” so as “to paste stickers of Amma on relief materials to seek publicity.”Meanwhile, a Defence Public relations official here said Army men have been sent to Cuddalore for relief work.On reports of “logistical glitches” in relief work involving Army personnel here due to lack of coordination among State, Central agencies, he said, “Relief work is going on by the Army,” but declined to elaborate.Also Read: AIADMK asks volunteers to call and register complaints. Read full report here

Kerala, Tamil Nadu MPs clash over Mullaperiyar dam in Lok Sabha

As the clash continued, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for lunch recess.

Mullaperiyar dam

dna Research & Archives
Members from Kerala and Tamil Nadu clashed in the Lok Sabha today after a Congress member expressed concern over the safety of Mullaperiyar dam saying it was developing cracks. As soon as Anto Antony raised the issue during Zero Hour claiming that water has reached a high level in the reservoir and cracks have developed, AIADMK members rushed to the aisle, threatening to storm the Well. Members from Kerala immediately came to the help of Antony insisting that they were worried only about the safety of the dam and were not in any way opposing giving water to Tamil Nadu from the project.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the clash continued, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for lunch recess.The states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been on a long legal battle over the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam on the Periyar river. The control and safety of the dam and the validity and fairness of the lease agreement have been points of dispute between the two states.

Supreme Court to conduct day-to-day hearing on pleas in Jayalalithaa’s DA case

The Karnataka high court order had on May 11 ruled that the AIADMK supremo’s conviction by the special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing the decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

J Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to conduct day-to-day hearing on appeals filed against the Karnataka High Court judgement acquitting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and three others in a disproportionate assets case.A bench, comprising justices P C Ghose and R K Agrawal, which while admitting the appeals in July this year had not gone into the issue of staying the high court order, asked the parties concerned to give it the list of issues, which as per them, needed to be decided in the case on January 8. “Both of you (parties) settle among yourselves and give us the issues need to be decided by us, so that it can be heard quickly and disposed of at the earliest,” the bench said, adding it would hear the matter on “day-to-day basis”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench said the preliminary issues, which need to be decided, be given to it soon. On July 27, the apex court had issued notices on Karnataka government’s appeal seeking stay of the high court judgement, to Jayalalithaa, her close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives, V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, and asked them to file their replies within eight weeks. Meanwhile, the bench which has allowed an intervention application by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the matter, also asked him to file issues he wished to press before them.The Karnataka high court order had on May 11 ruled that the AIADMK supremo’s conviction by the special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing the decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. Karnataka government has, in its appeal against the May 11 verdict, taken the ground that the state government’s prosecuting agency was not made a party before the high court.The petition, filed through advocate Joseph Aristotle, has also claimed that the high court erred in computing the disproportionate assets of the AIADMK leader. The Karnataka government in its petition has asked whether the high court had “erred in law” by according the benefit of doubt to Jayalalithaa in pursuance of a Supreme Court judgment holding that an accused can be acquitted if his or her disproportionate assets was to the extent of ten per cent. The state government also claimed that the high court has erred in law in overruling the preliminary objections raised by it and added that the accused had filed their appeals against conviction without impleading Karnataka as a party.The special court had last year held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore. Meanwhile, a separate plea was filed by a Chennai-based lawyer R Rajavel, who sought court’s direction on certain questions of law which involve infringement of fundamental rights as guaranteed under the Constitution.”Whether a Chief Minister interpreted as public servant under Article 141 of the Constitution can be treated on par with the functionaries specifically defined as public servants in the statutes, because both the categories, though they are engaged in public duty, they are governed by different set of norms, rules and regulations governing their functions,” the plea stated.Taking note of the plea, the court directed the counsel to supply copy of his petition to the parties concerned including the Centre and Jayalalithaa. This plea will also be taken up for hearing on January 8.

AIADMK slams opposition for criticising folk singer’s arrest

The article also slammed DMK President M Karunanidhi for criticising the police action.

J Jayalalithaa

Facing opposition flak over the arrest of a folk singer campaigning against liquor in Tamil Nadu, ruling AIADMK on Monday charged him with making “unsavoury remarks” about “a Chief Minister” and hinted that inaction would mean it could set a precedence to target any head of state in the future. In a strongly-worded article, AIADMK mouthpiece ‘Dr Namathu MGR’ slammed opposition parties including DMK for criticising singer Kovan’s arrest, saying they were doing it for political survival. He “will criticise a Chief Minister (J Jayalalithaa) with unsavoury remarks; record it and spread it in social media like a virus and if action is taken against that, (opposition) will shout that democracy is affected,” it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
It said when action is taken for launching a “savage” personal attack against a Chief Minister (Jayalalithaa) in violation of legal principles and morality, political parties opposing it was not proper. “If people scream that democracy has been affected due to this, then degrading Chief Ministers in the future in all sorts of unsavoury terms will become a norm,” it said. It also charged the 54-year-old folk artiste, Kovan of targeting the Chief Minister with “ulterior motive at the behest” of someone and asked if it was not an “insult” to crores of Tamil people who had voted for Jayalalithaa. It said Kovan did not properly use “opportunities” provided by the Constitution of India to show his opposition. The article also slammed DMK President M Karunanidhi for criticising the police action. He had termed the arrest as “AIADMK regime’s anti-democratic action” and condemned it while demanding Kovan’s immediate release. It recalled that as Chief Minister when the Sri Lankan Tamils issue was at its peak in the state with emotions running high, Karunanidhi had used the state police to arrest activists and seize lot of related material. It alleged that he had ridiculed the death of Tamil activist Muthukumar, who had set himself ablaze in connection with this issue. Kovan, a propagandist singer of Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam’ who was campaigning for closure of state-run liquor outlets (TASMAC), was arrested under sedition charges last week. Opposition parties had criticised the police action and had sought his immediate release.

Jayalalithaa’s election to Tamil Nadu Assembly in bypoll challenged in Madras HC

Chennai: Petitions challenging the election of AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to the assembly in a byelection have been filed in the Madras High Court by two independent candidates.

Jayalalithaa. PTI

Jayalalithaa. PTI

Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana today ordered notice to Jayalalithaa, the Election Commission, state Chief Electoral Officer and the Returning Officer on one of the petitions filed by advocate T Suresh whose nomination papers for the June 27 last bypoll to RK Nagar constituency were rejected.

The hearing on another petition filed by social activist “Traffic” Ramaswamy could not be taken up and was adjourned for three weeks after the counsel for him submitted that the petitioner was hospitalised and sought time.

Suresh Kumar submitted that even though he had fulfilled the norms and the procedures of the elections as per the rules of Representation of People Act, the Returning Officer had returned his nomination papers stating that he had not filed the nomination with 10 proposers.

He further submitted that the nomination was rejected on the ground that one of the proposer’s address was wrongly mentioned in the voter identity card.

The proposer’s address was mentioned as Ilaya Mudal Street instead of Ilaya Mudali Street. Though the mistake was clerical in nature and the proposer had submitted a correction form about a year ago, the officials rejected the nomination on that ground.

He was, however, able to vote and it was recorded in the closed circuit television (CCTV) installed at polling station on 27 June, the petitioner claimed adding it meant the proposer was an eligible voter.

Hence, he wanted the court to declare as illegal the rejection of his nomination papers as improper and invalid and consequently set aside the election of Jayalalithaa.

Jayalalithaa, who returned as Chief Minister in May last after being acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in a graft case, had won the byelection with a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes against her nearest CPI rival C Mahendran.

She had contested the poll to fulfil the constitutional requirement of getting elected as MLA within six months of becoming Chief Minister.

PTI

MK Stalin rebooted: Why the DMK heir apparent is sporting a new look on the campaign trail

By Sandhya Ravishankar

A pink shirt, grey trousers, grey sneakers with neon green laces and shades to boot — MK Stalin, treasurer of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and possible chief ministerial candidate for Tamil Nadu in 2016, painted an incongruous picture for a Tamil politician as he kicked off his election yatra in Kanyakumari on Monday. Later in the day, he exchanged the pink shirt for a blue t-shirt, an even more astounding choice.

On Tuesday, Stalin went a step further — clad in a blue shirt and dark trousers, he rode a scooter in Ambasamudram, Tirunelveli district, leaving the locals in raptures.

Stalin has rarely been seen in trousers — his chosen attire usually is a crisply ironed white shirt and white ‘veshti’ (dhoti) with the DMK black and red colours on the border. Sometimes, during election campaigns, he sports a black and red scarf around his neck.

MK Stalin in an image released by the DMK

MK Stalin in an image released by the DMK

The last time Stalin was seen wearing trousers was in 2012 when he traveled with a contingent of DMK MPs to New York and Geneva to hand over petitions regarding the Sri Lankan war crimes issue to the United Nations Secretary-General and the United Nations Human Rights Council. On the day of his return to Chennai, huge posters had been plastered all along airport road in Chennai with a photograph of Stalin clad in a suit with the caption “Yes, we can!” plastered on the banner.

So why the sudden change in look?

Sources within Stalin’s camp tell Firstpost that this is a deliberate move to woo the young voters in the state. “Well, the idea is to break the ice first with the people,” said the source close to Stalin, adding, “He doesn’t want to be seen as a politician, he is going there to hear their issues and get inputs for the DMK’s manifesto. For that, he has to be seen as one among them, a common man.”

A video released by Stalin’s team shows him exhorting the people of Tamil Nadu to outrage. “Kobappadungal (Get angry),” roars Stalin in the video where he is shown walking along the sea. The video showcases the key election issues through letters written to Stalin by the people — unemployment, power cuts, water shortage, alcoholism and rising prices among others. This video will be shown on vans bearing LED screens as he continues on his yatra.

There is a growing understanding within the DMK that the electorate of Tamil Nadu has changed along with the demographics of age and aspirations. 60 lakh first-time voters will ink their fingers in 2016. A large proportion of the electorate next year will be millennials. “The current electorate seeks answers and is much more proactive,” said the source and added, “They want to know how their leader will change things for them.”

This realisation dawned on Stalin’s team following the upheaval created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign in 2013-14. And it is probably with this in mind that Stalin has shifted gears in his electoral campaign that kicked off early in September on his ‘Mudiyattum Vidiyattum’ (Let it end, let it dawn) public rallies. In a public meeting at Tirupur last month, Stalin spoke of change and solutions, getting rid of the usual J Jayalalithaa-bashing rhetoric that has thus far dominated Dravidian politics. Exhorting youngsters to join politics, Stalin outlined specifically how he would change things if the DMK was brought back to power in 2016.

“There are 85 lakh youngsters in the waiting list at the state Employment Exchange,” said Stalin at the rally in Tirupur earlier this month. “I give an assurance to all youngsters of Tamil Nadu that we will create incubation centres to bring in new industries in the state. We will revamp the Employment Exchange itself and bring in private companies, conduct group discussions to ensure employment opportunities for our youth,” he said.

Specifics of this nature are a first for the Karunanidhi-led DMK, a party widely seen as being steeped in corruption and dynastic politics. Stalin’s father M Karunanidhi preferred to issue statements against his political rivals, whether MG Ramachandran or Jayalalithaa of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. If all else failed, Karuna would take the freebie route, promising free colour TVs and playing the caste card. His rival and current Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa too prefers to issue statements decrying Karunanidhi’s moves and motives. Many years have passed since either of these two prominent Tamil politicians walked the dusty roads of the state or mingled with the common man or woman.

Stalin on the other hand, is walking his talk so far. He has been riding autorickshaws, walking in market areas and his team says he will also ride a bicycle as he continues on his ‘Namakku Naame’ yatra across the state. He is kissing babies, shaking hands with bus drivers and students, posing for photographs with elderly vegetable vendors and sipping tea at local chai shops with the locals.

For Stalin, this routine could well be the only option to take on Jayalalithaa in 2016. A discredited and weakened DMK with a nonagenarian leader faces a tough challenge from the rival Dravidian behemoth, the AIADMK, which has been rolling out freebies and welfare schemes with abandon. A personality battle with Jaya would severely backfire on Stalin. Speaking of development, change, aspirations and a connect with young voters is likely to work better for 2016. Stalin’s team has decided that Jayalalithaa’s larger-than-life image can only be countered by a politician who is seen as accessible, approachable and likeable by the masses.

Can Stalin be that? He is certainly trying.

Tamil Nadu: Setback to Vaiko’s MDMK as two senior functionaries quit party

Vaiko categorically stated at a party meet in Tirupur that his party would not forge an electoral pact with either AIADMK or DMK.

File Photo
In a significant setback to MDMK, two senior functionaries on Friday quit the outfit alleging that party chief Vaiko had taken a unilateral stance in connection with forging an alliance for next year’s Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. Party treasurer and senior leader, R Masilamani resigned from his post and primary membership. Madurai Rural District Secretary, P Saravanan too tendered his resignation. The development assumes significance as only yesterday Salem District Secretary Thamaraikannan and party women’s wing secretary Kumari Vijayakumar quit the party to join DMK in the presence of party chief Karunanidhi. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last week, Kancheepuram district secretary Palavakkam Somu too had switched allegiance to DMK. Vaiko, however, put up a brave face, stating that party workers were with him and that only those who had expectations and had held posts had quit “I am happy if their expectations get fulfilled now,” he told reporters at nearby Mamallapuram. Saravanan did not, however, buy Vaiko’s argument, whom he accused of taking unilateral decisions. “He has been taking unilateral decisions without consulting district secretaries, functionaries and workers,” he said.”Only two months back he told us that the we could fight polls alongside the DMK and he changed his stance soon after,” he said. “He now says that the party will face polls by leading the five-party People’s Welfare Front. This won’t succeed and retaining deposits itself will not happen anywhere, leave alone winning,” he said. “We told him that the party should align with one of the two big parties (AIADMK and DMK) of the state,” he added.On September 15, Vaiko categorically stated at a party meet in Tirupur that his party would not forge an electoral pact with either AIADMK or DMK. He had said that the party would face polls alongside CPI, CPI(M), and VCK and also try to rope in the MMK which are part of the People’s Welfare Front. The five party combine PWF was a recent initiative of these parties to “fight for the people’s issues and anti-people central and state policies.”Masilamani, meanwhile, told reporters in Villupuram district that he was shocked by the announcement made by Vaiko in the Tirupur conference about the election alliance and confirmed he has resigned from the primary membership.Though the duo have not disclosed their future moves, it is expected that they may join DMK following other colleagues who had quit just ahead of them.

Say tata to other salts, ‘Amma salt’ is coming to a shop near you!

As of August 2015 around 6,760 metric tonnes of Amma Salt were sold in the state, an ‘overwhelming response’ in the state, it said.

Claiming overwhelming response in Tamil Nadu to the launch of low cost ‘Amma salt’, the Jayalalithaa government today said it soon planned to expand sales pan India.”Sale of Amma Salt will be launched in New Delhi,Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh soon by the Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation”, the policy note tabled in the assembly said.As of August 2015 around 6,760 metric tonnes of Amma Salt were sold in the state, an ‘overwhelming response’ in the state, it said.Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, addressed as “Amma” (mother) by her supporters, had launched Amma Double Fortified Salt, low sodium salt and refined free flow iodised salt on June 11 last year, priced at Rs 25, Rs 21 and Rs 14.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The AIADMK government has been launching various initiatives under the “Amma” brand, including Amma Unavagam (Hotels), Amma Water (drinking water) and Amma Cement The policy note also said that the state government planned to distribute Amma Salt in five kg and 25 kg packs to hotels, hospitals and hostels in the State.

Jayalalithaa returns to Tamil Nadu Assembly as CM; populist schemes back on track

Jayalalithaa returned to the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday as Chief Minister once again and the entire Assembly was on its feet to welcome her. Amma (Mother) as she is affectionately called by the people of Tamil Nadu has announced many populist schemes over the last two years. These schemes have endeared her more to the masses. Here’s a look at some of the welfare schemes she has launched…

Jayalalithaa

Jayalalithaa returned to the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Monday as Chief Minister once again and the entire Assembly was on its feet to welcome her. Amma (Mother) as she is affectionately called by the people of Tamil Nadu has announced many populist schemes over the last two years. These schemes have endeared her more to the masses. Here’s a look at some of the welfare schemes she has launched…Amma TheatresNow that Jayalalithaa is back as chief minister, the Amma Theatre scheme which was on hold all these months, is likely to see daylight. The Chennai Corporation had identified seven locations already for these theatres in the city, namely T Nagar, Basin Bridge, Kotturpuram, Ramapuram, Pulianthope, Kodambakkam and Wall Tax Road. All these theatres will be air-conditioned and the price of the ticket is likely to be less than Rs 25. Tickets will be sold at the counters only.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amma CanteensThese low-cost eateries were launched across the state to give all the low-income workers a good meal at Rs 10. The idlis are priced just Rs 1 for one! These canteens are a great success because even professionals have taken to eating lunch at The Amma Canteens as the quality is good and cost is low. Laptops for studentsOver 11 lakh laptops are in the process of being distributed free to students across the state by the AIADMK government. This initiative costs the government about Rs 1100 crore. Over the last four years more than 21 lakh students have already been given free laptops.Mixer, grinder and fanEvery home needs the basic mixer, grinder and fan felt the AIADMK government and in a bid to fulfil a homemaker’s needs, the government has started distributing these items free of cost to beneficiaries.Small bus servicesWhile the regular PTC buses are plying on major roads, Jayalalithaa has launched the ‘small bus’ service to connect the suburbs to bus stands and railway stations. She also had stated that 6000 new buses would be bought by the government.Amma CementJayalalithaa launched the Amma Cement Scheme to help people buy a bag of cement at a subsidised cost of Rs 190. There were some caveats – those eligible to buy under this scheme should be constructing a maximum area of 1500 sq ft and the maximum allotment was 750 bags per person. People could call the toll-free number 1800-425-22000 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., or log on to www.ammacement.com for more info.Amma PharmaciesThe increasing prices of medicines had Jayalalithaa launch a scheme for this too. The Amma Pharmacies, as they are called, were launched in 2014 and medicines are being sold at a reasonable price.Amma Water and SaltWater and salt have also been packaged under the Amma brand and are being sold across the state at subsidised rates.

J Jayalalithaa says no arithmetical error by High Court in DA case

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (CM) J Jayalalithaa on Monday denied that Karnataka High Court has committed “arithmetical error” while acquitting her in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case and claimed that the Income Tax Returns she had filed established the scrutiny of assessment which the court had accepted while granting her the relief.Questioning the locus of petitioner K Anbazhagan, a DMK leader, the AIADMK Supremo said that the high court had examined all the documents including those pertaining to the gifts she had received and also the loan from the banks. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to the appeal filed by the Karnataka government and also the DMK leader challenging the high court order, Jayalalithaa sought the Apex Court “not to grant a stay” on the high court’s order which let her off.She also surged the top court to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the plea did not raise any question of law which the Supreme Court needed to decide.Denying that there was any mathematical miscalculation in the high court verdict, she said “the loans received are based on the documents produced as well as documents of Indian Bank particular…The high court has discussed in detail and it has accepted them on law and principle. The high court had dealt with the evidence and most of the documents have been accepted.” Regarding the allegations about the gifts she had received, Jayalalithaa said “she was public servant during the period mentioned (1991-1996). She was Chief Minister but not a government servant. Throughout trial, the prosecution had not raised the issue nor provided any rule which mandates a CM to inform the government either of the assets or expenditure incurred in a particular year. In the appeal, the Karnataka government has challenged the high court order on grounds that it was not given “ample opportunity” to place its argument before the high court and the judge had also committed “arithmetical errors.”Jayalalithaa had to quit as CM soon after the trial court had convicted and sentenced her to four- years jail term in September last year but the Karnataka High Court’s acquittal order in the 18 year-old graft case had cleared her way to come back to power.On May 11 this year, the high court had said that she was entitled to acquittal as the quantum of disproportionate assets was not more than 10 percent.Karnataka said that the mathematical and totalling errors in the judgment led to the acquittal adding that on revaluation, disproportionate assets will go up from 8 percent to 76 percent.“The judge having found the disproportionate assets to be to the extent of Rs. 2, 82,32,812 erred in holding that the accused are not guilty. The judge committed a serious error of law in not appreciating properly the ratio…The court has considered the values as arrived by the prosecution and therefore deducted one item under the head assets, one item under the head income and has calculated the disproportionate assets and the percentage at 8.12 percent.“The amount arrived by the high court is clearly based on miscalculation and if properly calculated , the amount of DA should have been Rs 11,99,58,203 which is 34.50 percent,” it said.Jayalalithaa, her close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives, were on September 27 last year sentenced to four years in jail for accumulating wealth disproportionate to known sources of income. It also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on the AIADMK chief and Rs 10 crore fine on each of the three other convicts.

Prohibition first task if DMK voted to power, vows Stalin

Seeking to target the ruling AIADMK over prohibition issue, DMK treasurer M K Stalin on Mondayvowed that implementing prohibition will be the first task if his party is voted to power in the Assembly polls next year.

Seeking to target the ruling AIADMK over prohibition issue, DMK treasurer M K Stalin on Mondayvowed that implementing prohibition will be the first task if his party is voted to power in the Assembly polls next year.Stalin reaffirmed his party position here today leading a protest demonstration as similar agitations were held across Tamil Nadu seeking prohibition.”I would like to stress this and make it categorical. As soon as DMK assumes power, as a first task we will implement prohibition, we will do it,” Stalin said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Elections for the State Assembly are scheduled to be held by April next year.Mounting pressure on the AIADMK regime over the issue which is already facing a string of protests by opposition parties, voluntary outfits and section of students, he alleged that the ruling party “opened up liquor outlets in every nook and corner.”Referring to DMK chief Karunanidhi’s declaration last month that steps will be taken to implement prohibition if his party wins general elections next year, Stalin said, “He (Karunanidhi) will utter only what he is going to do and it will happen (implementing prohibition) and in front of you I would like to vow that it will be done.”Seeking to blunt opposition criticism on prohibition, Electricity Minister Natham Viswanathan had recently said that the opposition parties were agitating on this issue “only to gain political mileage and damage reputation of the government.”The protests seeking prohibition intensified after the death of Gandhian activist Sasi Perumal during an anti-liquor agitation on July 31 in Kanyakumari district.Opposition parties MDMK, MMK and VCK gave a call for a statewide bandh on August 4 seeking dry law but it was successful only in a few pockets like Kanyakumari and saw a lukewarm response in other parts of the state.

PM Modi meets Jayalalithaa at her residence

Though Jayalalithaa was not present during the launch of the National Handloom Day celebrations at the University of Madras here, state Finance Minister O Panneerselvam read out her speech that warmly welcomed Modi.

Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
In a significant gesture seen in the the backdrop of the NDA’s push to garner support for its key economic reforms bills in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at her Poes Garden residence.Though Jayalalithaa was not present during the launch of the National Handloom Day celebrations at the University of Madras here, state Finance Minister O Panneerselvam read out her speech that warmly welcomed Modi. Earlier in day, Jayalalithaa had welcomed Modi at the airport.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his address, the Prime Minister also thanked “Dr Jayalalithaa”, the state government and the people of Tamil Nadu for successfully organising the event. From the function venue, the Prime Minister drove straight to the Chief Minister’s residence. She warmly welcomed him at the doorstep.During the discussions, she is understood to have taken up issues concerning Tamil Nadu including inter-state river disputes with Karnataka and Kerala and presented a memorandum. The meeting assumes significance in the wake of AIADMK’s broad support to the Modi government on the NDA’s controversial Land Acquisition Bill in the Lok Sabha although Jayalalithaa had raised some reservations on it citing farmers’ concerns ahead of its passage in the Rajya Sabha.AIADMK has 37 members in the Lok Sabha and 11 in the Upper House.

PM Modi inaugurates National Handloom Day, stresses on better innovation and marketing

PM Modi also urged the film industry to promote handloom products.

Narendra Modi in Chennai

Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday arrived in Chennai on a day’s visit to launch the National Handloom Day.LIVE Updates: 13:25 IST Friday, 7 August 2015PM Modi said that steps will be taken to ensure social security of the weavers. He also advocated enlarging use of e-commerce to increase sell of handloom products. 13:08 IST Friday, 7 August 201512:56 IST Friday, 7 August 2015PM Modi says there is lack of awareness about rich tradition of Indian handloom products across the globe. He also rues the fact somehow Indians haven’t been able to market the products properly. PM gives a suggestion that film industry should take up the initiative to promote handloom products in their movies. 12:51 IST Friday, 7 August 2015PM Modi urges people to use handloom in daily lives. He stresses on the importance of making it popular among the youth. PM congratulated the Tamil Nadu government for hosting such event. …………………………………………………..Besides launching the Handloom day, the Prime Minister will also present Sant Kabir awards and National Awards for handloom weavers for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 on the occasion. Police have sanitised the venue –Centenary Auditorium of Madras University– and have since Thursday taken the premises under their control with traffic restrictions around the venue.Earlier, he was received at the airport by Governor K Rosaiah and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, among others.Jayalalithaa presented the Prime Minister with a bouquet on his arrival. This is the Prime Minister’s first visit to the Tamil Nadu capital since he assumed office.Flags of AIADMK and BJP were seen in some of the places through which the Prime Minister’s cavalcade passed. Tight vigil is being maintained all over the city in view of Modi’s visit with multiple layers of security having been put up on the occasion. Top police officials are directly supervising the security arrangements.This is PM Modi’s first full stint visit in Chennai. Modi’s only earlier visit here was when he made a brief stopover and had a 15-minute meeting with Jayalalithaa at the airport in June last year.An exhibition showcasing master creations of the awardees is also being inaugurated on the occasion in the adjacent senate building of Madras University.Prime Minister Modi is likely to meet the Chief Minister at her Poes Garden residence. With agency inputs

LIVE: PM Modi stresses on better branding of handloom products

He will also be presenting awards to handloom weavers.

Narendra Modi in Chennai

Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday arrived in Chennai on a day’s visit to launch the National Handloom Day.LIVE Updates: 13:08 IST Friday, 7 August 201512:56 IST Friday, 7 August 2015PM Modi says there is lack of awareness about rich tradition of Indian handloom products across the globe. He also rues the fact somehow Indians haven’t been able to market the products properly. PM gives a suggestion that film industry should take up the initiative to promote handloom products in their movies. 12:51 IST Friday, 7 August 2015PM Modi urges people to use handloom in daily lives. He stresses on the importance of making it popular among the youth. PM congratulated the Tamil Nadu government for hosting such event. …………………………………………………..Besides launching the Handloom day, the Prime Minister will also present Sant Kabir awards and National Awards for handloom weavers for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 on the occasion. Police have sanitised the venue –Centenary Auditorium of Madras University– and have since Thursday taken the premises under their control with traffic restrictions around the venue.Earlier, he was received at the airport by Governor K Rosaiah and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, among others.Jayalalithaa presented the Prime Minister with a bouquet on his arrival. This is the Prime Minister’s first visit to the Tamil Nadu capital since he assumed office.Flags of AIADMK and BJP were seen in some of the places through which the Prime Minister’s cavalcade passed. Tight vigil is being maintained all over the city in view of Modi’s visit with multiple layers of security having been put up on the occasion. Top police officials are directly supervising the security arrangements.This is PM Modi’s first full stint visit in Chennai. Modi’s only earlier visit here was when he made a brief stopover and had a 15-minute meeting with Jayalalithaa at the airport in June last year.An exhibition showcasing master creations of the awardees is also being inaugurated on the occasion in the adjacent senate building of Madras University.Prime Minister Modi is likely to meet the Chief Minister at her Poes Garden residence. With agency inputs

Over 4,400 students dropped out of IITs, NITs in three years: HRD Minister Smriti Irani

New Delhi: Over 4,400 students dropped out of IITs and NITs in the last three years due to various reasons including “academic stress”, the government said on Thursday and assured that corrective actions have been initiated.

As many as 2,060 students dropped out from various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) from 2012-13 to 2014-15, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani informed the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

During this three-year period, 2,352 students dropped out from the National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

“The reasons for dropouts may be attributed to shifting to other colleges/institutions, personal reasons, medical reasons, getting jobs during PG courses, inability to cope with academic stress etc,” Irani said in a written reply.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTIHRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

HRD Minister Smriti Irani. PTI

In 2014-15, IITs witnessed 757 dropouts which was higher than 697 dropouts (2013-14) and 606 (2012-13). During this period, IIT Roorkee saw the highest number of dropouts at 228, followed by IIT Kharagpur (209) and IIT Delhi (169). Interestingly, there were no dropouts at IITs in Mandi, Jodhpur, Kanpur, Madras and Ropar during 2014-15 period.

There are 16 IITs and 30 NITs in the country.

Of the NITs, there were 717 dropouts in 2014-15, lower than 785 seen in the year-ago period. In 2012-13, the dropout numbers stood at 850.

Irani said there is a mechanism for helping students who are under stress. The government is committed to address issues related to academic stress, she added.

Listing out various initiatives that are in place to minimise dropouts at IITs, Irani said there is a guidance and counselling unit, headed by a faculty member. It works closely along with a number of faculty counsellors and advisors to “identify students facing emotional difficulties and guide them to professional counsellors for help”. Interestingly, while responding to a supplementary query on whether academic pressure is causing suicide by IIT students, Irani asserted this was “incorrect”.

Referring to the member, the Minister said his indication that “children in the IIT ecosystem and IIT family are committing suicides because they are unable to keep up with the pressure that the academic environment in the IIT has, is incorrect”.

Irani also assured that any challenge that IIT students present to the faculty within the IIT ecosystem would be met in a supportive fashion.

To another query, she said, “I had said that I contest the fact that there is no mechanism available within the IITs to address issues with regard to either academic stress” or that more problems are faced by children from weaker segments of society.

“I would like to firmly state here with all humility that to say that students do not take stress is not a statement that I made. I said that we have provided a mechanism that a student under stress within this eco system can approach and seek help and guidance from,” Irani noted.

She was responding to AIADMK member M Thambidurai, also the Deputy Speaker, who asked the Minister about the anomaly in the written and oral responses.

To a query about IIT Roorkee expelling 73 students last month for less academic scores, Irani said the IIT’s action was challenged in court. The court had upheld IITs’ right to ensure that academic performance, that the students themselves gave an undertaking to uphold, was met.

“IIT, Roorkee undertook an initiative to take these students back only if they yet again fulfill those academic standards that they gave an undertaking when they entered into the system,” she noted.

AIADMK member P Sundaram asked her about the issue at IIT, Chennai where students were apparently prevented from enriching their knowledge through forums like Periyar-Ambedkar Study Circle.

In response, Irani said in the case of IIT Chennai, it is the institution, the Academic Executive Council and the Students Council which has elected representatives of student bodies within the institution, that set benchmarks for activities undertaken by any individual within that campus.

PTI

Smriti Irani concedes academic stress leading to drop-outs in IITs, NITs; rejects notion it’s causing suicides

Interestingly, while responding to a supplementary query on whether academic pressure is causing suicide by IIT students, Irani asserted this was “incorrect”

File Picture

Over 4,400 students dropped out of IITs and NITs in the last three years due to various reasons including “academic stress”, the government said on Wednesday and assured that corrective actions have been initiated.As many as 2,060 students dropped out from various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) from 2012-13 to 2014-15, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani informed the Lok Sabha during Question Hour.During this three-year period, 2,352 students dropped out from the National Institutes of Technology (NITs).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The reasons for dropouts may be attributed to shifting to other colleges/institutions, personal reasons, medical reasons, getting jobs during PG courses, inability to cope with academic stress etc,” Irani said in a written reply. In 2014-15, IITs witnessed 757 dropouts which was higher than 697 dropouts (2013-14) and 606 (2012-13). During this period, IIT Roorkee saw the highest number of dropouts at 228, followed by IIT Kharagpur (209) and IIT Delhi (169).Interestingly, there were no dropouts at IITs in Mandi, Jodhpur, Kanpur, Madras and Ropar during 2014-15 period. There are 16 IITs and 30 NITs in the country. Of the NITs, there were 717 dropouts in 2014-15, lower than 785 seen in the year-ago period. In 2012-13, the dropout numbers stood at 850.Irani said there is a mechanism for helping students who are under stress. The government is committed to address issues related to academic stress, she added. Listing out various initiatives that are in place to minimise dropouts at IITs, Irani said there is a guidance and counselling unit, headed by a faculty member. It works closely along with a number of faculty counsellors and advisors to “identify students facing emotional difficulties and guide them to professional counsellors for help”. Interestingly, while responding to a supplementary query on whether academic pressure is causing suicide by IIT students, Irani asserted this was “incorrect”. Referring to the member, the Minister said his indication that “children in the IIT ecosystem and IIT family are committing suicides because they are unable to keep up with the pressure that the academic environment in the IIT has, is incorrect”. Irani also assured that any challenge that IIT students present to the faculty within the IIT ecosystem would be met in a supportive fashion.To another query, she said, “I had said that I contest the fact that there is no mechanism available within the IITs to address issues with regard to either academic stress” or that more problems are faced by children from weaker segments of society. “I would like to firmly state here with all humility that to say that students do not take stress is not a statement that I made. I said that we have provided a mechanism that a student under stress within this eco system can approach and seek help and guidance from,” Irani noted.She was responding to AIADMK member M Thambidurai, also the Deputy Speaker, who asked the Minister about the anomaly in the written and oral responses. To a query about IIT Roorkee expelling 73 students last month for less academic scores, Irani said the IIT’s action was challenged in court. The court had upheld IITs’ right to ensure that academic performance, that the students themselves gave an undertaking to uphold, was met.”IIT, Roorkee undertook an initiative to take these students back only if they yet again fulfill those academic standards that they gave an undertaking when they entered into the system,” she noted.AIADMK member P Sundaram asked her about the issue at IIT, Chennai where students were apparently prevented from enriching their knowledge through forums like Periyar-Ambedkar Study Circle. In response, Irani said in the case of IIT Chennai, it is the institution, the Academic Executive Council and the Students Council which has elected representatives of student bodies within the institution, that set benchmarks for activities undertaken by any individual within that campus.

SC notice to Jayalalithaa on appeals challenging her acquittal

Karnataka government had, in an application, sought stay of the judgement but it did not press it when it came up for hearing on Monday.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Supreme Court sought a response from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and three others on Monday on appeals filed against the Karnataka High Court order acquitting them in a disproportionate assets case.A bench comprising justices P C Ghose and R K Agrawal, which did not go into the issue of staying the HC order, also issued notices to Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives, V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, and asked them to file their replies within eight weeks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka government had, in an application, sought stay of the judgement but it did not press it when it came up for hearing on Monday.The Karnataka HC order had on May 11 ruled that the AIADMK supremo’s conviction by the special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing the decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.Karnataka government had, in its appeal against the May 11 verdict, taken the ground that the state government’s prosecuting agency was not made a party before the High court.The petition, filed through advocate Joseph Aristotle, had also claimed that the High Court erred in computing the disproportionate assets of the AIADMK leader.The state government had in the petition asked whether the High Court had “erred in law” by according the benefit of doubt to Jayalalithaa in pursuance of a Supreme Court judgment holding that an accused can be acquitted if his or her disproportionate assets was to the extent of ten per cent.It also claimed that the High Court has erred in law in overruling the preliminary objections raised by the state government and added that the accused had filed their appeals against conviction without impleading Karnataka as a party.The special court had last year held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.

Jayalalithaa drops Transport Minister Senthil Balaji from her cabinet

No reasons were attributed for the action against Balaji, who represents Karur Assembly segment.

In the first such move after assuming charge in May post her acquittal in a wealth case, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today axed Transport Minister V Senthil Balaji from her cabinet, besides stripping him of a powerful party post.Governor K Rosaiah has accepted the recommendation of the Chief Minister to drop V Senthil Balaji, Minister for Transport, from the Council of Ministers, a Raj Bhavan release here said. He also “accepted” Jayalalithaa’s recommendation to allocate “Transport, Nationalised Transport and Motor Vehicles Act,” portfolios held by Balaji to Industries Minister P Thangamani “with immediate effect,” it said. Thangamani has now been designated as Minister for Industries and Transport, it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Jayalalithaa also removed Balaji as party’s District Secretary of Karur. “V Senthil Balaj is being relieved from the Karur District Secretary post,” she said in a party statement. She announced that Thangamani will handle the affairs of the party in Karur till someone else is appointed.No reasons were attributed for the action against Balaji, who represents Karur Assembly segment.Balaji had held Transport portfolio since the AIADMK government under Jayalalithaa took over in 2011. Interestingly, Balaji’s name, among some other senior leaders, had been doing the rounds as Jayalalithaa’s pick to replace her following her conviction in an assets case by a Bengaluru special court in September last.However, she had nominated party Treasurer and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam, often described as her ‘Man Friday,’ to be her replacement.The AIADMK supremo was later acquitted by Karnataka High Court, following which she returned as Chief Minister. Balaji was among those whom she had retained in her cabinet.Balaji was at the forefront of prayers held for the release of Jayalalithaa in the case, even carrying firepot and tonsuring his head after she was acquitted in an act of fulfilling his vow if she was acquitted.

SC issues notice to Jayalalithaa over acquittal in disproportionate assets case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought a response from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and three others in connection with the appeal filed against Karnataka High Court verdict acquitting them in a disproportionate assets case.

A bench comprising justices PC Ghose and RK Agrawal also issued notices to Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives, VN Sudhakaran and Elavarasi. The court has asked them to file their replies within eight weeks.

The notice has been issued against Sasikala and Jayalalithaa. PTI imageThe notice has been issued against Sasikala and Jayalalithaa. PTI image

Notices have been issued against Sasikala and Jayalalithaa. PTI image

The Karnataka HC order had on 11 May ruled that the AIADMK supremo’s conviction by the special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law. I had cleared the decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

The Karnataka government in its appeal against the high court verdict had argued that the state government’s prosecuting agency was not made a party before the High court.

The petition, filed through advocate Joseph Aristotle, had also claimed that the High Court erred in computing the disproportionate assets of the AIADMK leader.

The state government in the petition had asked whether the High Court had “erred in law” by according the benefit of doubt to Jayalalithaa. The high court had done so in pursuance of a Supreme Court judgement that said an accused can be acquitted if his or her disproportionate assets was upto ten per cent more than known known sources of income.

The government also claimed that the High Court has erred in law in over-ruling the preliminary objections raised by the state government and added that the accused had filed their appeals against conviction without impleading Karnataka as a party.

A special court had last year held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.

PTI

Trichy rally: Rahul Gandhi slams Tamil Nadu Govt as ‘liquor lobby loyalist’

In an interaction with the farmers here in Tamil Nadu, Rahul Gandhi discussed farmers’ issues including the Land Bill that has become a major matter of debate between the NDA and the opposition.

PTI photo
Launching an attack against AIADMK and DMK leaders for being a loyalist of the liquor lobbies, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday assured people that the Congress would always work in their interest, irrespective of their class, caste and gender. Addressing a rally in Tiruchirapally as part of the birth celebrations of former Tamil Nadu chief minister K. Kamaraj, the Gandhi scion said: ” It is a special honour for me to be here with all of you in Tamil Nadu today. We have gathered here to celebrate one of our great leaders, K. Kamaraj’s birth anniversary: Some people here might still remember the feeling of hope and excitement as they went to school for the first time. Other people might remember the relief they felt when they got jobs and were able to live a better life because of Kamraj ji.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “No matter who you are, a farmer, dalit, tribal, minority, woman, rich or poor, Congress will help you, will work in your interest. Today in Tamil Nadu, your leaders are not listening to you. I will tell you why they are not listening: They are not listening because they believe they have power, they believe that because they have power they don’t need to listen to you. I want to remind them that it is when they are in power that listening becomes most important. But there are some voices they listen to, the voice of the liquor lobby,” said Gandhi. “We will listen to the families torn apart by liquor, we will come up with a new liquor policy after listening to what you have to say. We will listen to the families torn apart by liquor,” he added. In an interaction with the farmers here in Tamil Nadu, Rahul Gandhi discussed farmers’ issues including the Land Bill that has become a major matter of debate between the NDA and the opposition. The Congress vice-president was on a one-day visit to the state.

Dissent notes queer pitch for GST

Notwithstanding, opposition, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the government will go ahead with the GST legislation in Parliament that seeks to create a simplified tax structure across the country. He called it “revolutionary”.

Apart from disruptions, the dissent notes submitted by the Congress, the AIADMK and the Left parties to the Rajya Sabha select committee, have queered the pitch for the passage of the constitution amendment bill for rolling out a major economic reform programme related to Goods and Services Tax (GST). The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on May 6, 2015, but the opposition in Rajya Sabha forced it to be referred to a 21-member select committee headed by Bhupender Yadav. The aim of the legislation is to amend the Constititution to provide a common national market and subsume a number of indirect taxes being levied by the Centre and state governments.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Notwithstanding, opposition, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the government will go ahead with the GST legislation in Parliament that seeks to create a simplified tax structure across the country. He called it “revolutionary”.He said the government will try and build a consensus. The eight-point note of dissent given by Congress members in the panel — Madhusudan Mistry, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Bhalchandra Mungekar — says the party will not support the bill unless it incorporates the amendments the party proposes. “We are in favour of a Goods and Services Tax that is simple and comprehensive. The Constitution (122nd) Amendment Bill 2015 is neither. It is pitted with compromises, exclusions and exceptions that make it impossible for us to extend our support to the Bill in the absence of the amendments we have proposed being incorporated in the Bill,” the note said. The AIADMK has raised objections on the formation of the GST Council to look into disputes. It also wants cast iron guarantee that petroleum products will be kept totally outside the GST. “We strongly object to the provision for the GST Council. Ideally, it should not exist. The existing mechanism of empowered committee of state ministers which deals with VAT issue is adequate. No statutory GST Council is required,” said the dissent note moved by the AIADMK representative A. Navaneethakrishnan. He further said the proposed legislation has given an effective veto to the Central government in the GST Council, which impinges upon the fiscal autonomy of states. He wanted weightage of the vote of the Central government be reduced to one-fourth of the total votes cast and that of states increased to three-fourths. The AIADMK dissent note also wants states be empowered to levy higher taxes on tobacco and tobacco products. The CPI (M) MP K N Balagopal also submitted similar dissent note. He also alleged that GST will favour big corporate houses, who want a free flow of goods and services with the technology promoted and owned by them.The Congress representatives in a joint dissent note wanted an 18 per cent ceiling specified so that “in the pursuit of higher revenues the GST Council desists from crossing the ceiling”. It said 18 per cent was a “reasonable, moderate and adequately revenue-generating GST rate”. Secondly, the party wants scrapping of the proposal to levy an additional one per cent tax. The note says the proposal was “market distorting”, especially in view of the fact that “we have proposed 100 per cent compensation for a minimum of five years to states that might lose revenues. The party wants the compensation to be deposited in a fund under the administrative control of the GST Council.The Congress also wants inclusion of “tobacco and tobacco products, alcohol for human consumption and electricity supply and consumption”. “We propose that all three be included in Clause 12 of the Constitution Amendment Bill with the condition that the GST Council take a decision for their inclusion in GST within a period of five years,” the note said. The party also raised questions on the absence of a GST disputes settlement authority. It also sought that sources of revenue of the panchayats and municipalities be safeguarded.Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday criticised Congress for giving a dissent note in the Select Committee. “It is hardly a dissent note on the bill, it is a dissent against the Congress party’s own proposals which were originally given. Congress MPs are giving a dissent against the suggestions made by their own chief ministers,” he said, adding that “Congress is against the country’s progress…This it has established by giving this dissent note.”

Will cut-off tongue of anyone raising Jayalalithaa’s health issue, threatens AIADMK MP

PR Sundaram, Lok Sabha MP representing this Namakkal constituency, made the remarks while addressing a public meeting in Raspuram on Sunday night.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
A ruling AIADMK MP has stoked a controversy by threatening to “cut-off” the tongue of anyone who raises questions about the health of party supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.PR Sundaram, Lok Sabha MP representing this Namakkal constituency, made the remarks while addressing a public meeting in Raspuram on Sunday night. Sundaram, a former two-time MLA, also took a swipe at Jayalalithaa’s arch rival and DMK President M Karunanidhi, who had originally raised the issue of the Chief Minister”s health and asked her to take rest.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The tongue of anyone who talks about Amma”s health will be cut off,” Sundaram threatened amidst loud cheers from the crowd. He also took a dig at Karunanidhi, saying he was already 93 and that the DMK President had a ‘desire’ to live till 100 years.The DMK chief had at a public meeting earlier this month said, “Tamil Nadu is a state without a Chief Minister, she is not doing her job since she is not well and that is why she should take rest.”The reference was to the AIADMK supremo skipping the Iftar event hosted by the party here on July 1 in which several prominent Muslims participated.”I am unable to come to the Iftar party due to a sudden illness though it is my wish to participate in it (organised by AIADMK) as usual,” Jayalalithaa had said in her address at the Iftar party which was read out by Finance Minister and party treasurer O Panneerselvam.TNCC President EVKS Elangovan had also raised the issue, saying he was ”worried” about Jayalalithaa’s health. However, the Chief Minister had turned up at the Secretariat on July 16 to attend a series of official events.Earlier today, Jayalalithaa chaired a meeting of her cabinet while also addressing her party’s MPs ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament starting Tuesday.

Tamil Nadu: Crucial bypoll begins in RK Nagar; main contenders are CM Jayalalithaa and CPI nominee Mahendran

One of the smallest constituencies in Tamil Nadu, R K Nagar has 1,20,210 men voters and 1,23,014 women voters and 77 voters of the other category, the third gender, according to the Election Commission.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Polling for the crucial bypoll to Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency, from where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa is seeking re-election, began on Saturday at 8 AM amid tight security.Twenty eight candidates, including social activist “Traffic” Ramaswamy are in the fray. However, the main contest is between Jayalalithaa and CPI nominee C Mahendran.One of the smallest constituencies in Tamil Nadu, R K Nagar has 1,20,210 men voters and 1,23,014 women voters and 77 voters of the other category, the third gender, according to the Election Commission.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security personnel, including from the Central police forces, have been deployed to ensure peaceful polling across the 230 polling stations.Six static surveillance teams, 28 flying squads and 15 pickets for area domination purposes have been set up.The flying squads has Central Armed Police Forces to ensure peaceful polling process. Adequate CAPFs have been posted at each polling station in addition to the State Police forces.All the polling stations are also covered by micro observers and the entire poll proceedings is being recorded using laptops with camera and internet connectivity.A special control room has been set up in the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer to closely monitor the polling process in the polling stations.Opinion polls have been prohibited for 48 hours, commencing from 5 PM on June 25. Exit polls have also been banned between 7 am and 5.30 pm today.The byelection was necessitated after AIADMK’s P Vetrivel had vacated it in May, apparently to enable Jayalalithaa seek re-election.Jayalalithaa has to fulfil a constitutional requirement of getting elected as MLA within six months of becoming CM.She returned to the top post on May 23 after being acquitted in a wealth case. She had been convicted in the case in September last by a trial court in Bangalore.

Headache for Amma: As DA case starts moving again, Jaya’s political future grows uncertain

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Jayalalithaa to contest from RK Nagar constituency; DMK and PMK boycott bypoll

DMK, PMK, Tamil Maanila Congress and Viduthalai Chiruthaaigal Katchi had already announced that they will not contest.
File Photo
PTI
AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has been announced as party candidate for the June 27 by-election to Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly Constituency, a seat vacated by her party MLA P Vetrivel.A decision to this effect was taken at the AIADMK Parliamentary Board meeting here, Jayalalithaa said in a party statement. She had been tipped to contest from the constituency following Vetrivel’s resignation.Jayalalithaa had earlier represented her native Srirangam constituency prior to her conviction in the disproportionate assets case by a Bengaluru special court on September 27 last.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a result, she had to resign her assembly membership.She was subsequently acquitted by the Karnataka High Court on May 11, allowing her to return as Chief Minister of the state for the fifth time.Jayalalithaa assumed the office of chief minister again on May 23 and would have to be elected as MLA within six months.In the present Assembly, AIADMK enjoys a strong majority of 150 members in the 234-member house. PMK on Friday alleged that money power plays a ‘larger role’ in bypolls and decided not to contest the byelection to the RK Nagar Assembly constituency in Chennai, becoming the fourth party in the state to do so.DMK, Tamil Maanila Congress and Viduthalai Chiruthaaigal Katchi had already announced that they will not contest.”Money power plays a larger role in byelections…. if the ruling party assures that it will not distribute money and buy votes, PMK will consider to contest. However, there is no such chance of it happening. Hence the party has decided to not to contest the June 27 bypoll…” PMK founder S Ramadoss told a press conference.PMK will lead a front in Tamil Nadu in the 2016 assembly elections, he said.On allegations that his party MP and former union minister Anbumani Ramadoss had underutilised the MPLAD fund, he claimed that Anbumani has provided funds to 299 works in the respective area.

Jayalalithaa launches 201 Amma canteens, clears schemes worth Rs 1800 cr after returning as CM

Chennai: Attending office for the first time in her 5th stint as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa on Sunday cleared a string of welfare proposals worth Rs 1800 crore and declared open 201 more eateries under the populist ‘Amma Canteen’ scheme.

Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. PTI

Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. PTI

Getting down to the business of governance in the state where elections are due next year after being sworn-in on Saturday, Jayalalithaa cleared a slew of welfare schemes worth over Rs 1800 crore, including those for improving road and drinking water facilities and extending assistance to indigent families headed by women.

Jayalalithaa, who arrived at the state secretariat at Fort St George for the first time after being out of power for eight months, signed five files approving the schemes.

“Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has ordered improvement of roads in urban local bodies at a cost of Rs 1000 crore,” a state government release said.

The AIADMK Chief also opened 201 more ‘AMMA’ canteens, providing food at subsidised rates, across the state through video-conferencing.

Under a Rs 800-crore ‘Tamil Nadu Rural Roads Development Scheme’, 3,500 km road stretch will be taken up for development this fiscal.

“The chief minister has given consent for a special housing scheme for the poor in town panchayat areas,” it said.

An assistance of Rs 2.10 lakh will be given in staggered manner to the poor to convert their thatched houses into concrete roofed structures with solar power.

In the first phase, 20,000 families will be given assistance in town panchayat areas.

Giving a big push for drinking water facility, 1,274 Reverse Osmosis plants will be set in residential neighbourhoods, Amma Canteens, hospitals and public places at Rs 77.13 crore.

This includes providing drinking water facility in 69 neighbourhoods in arid areas of Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts.

Under the scheme for indigent families headed by women, loans with a grant component on interest will be provided to eligible beneficiaries alongside skill development training with employment opportunities.

Government would spend between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 for development of each beneficiary and the scheme is intended to cover all women-run indigent families in five years.

“While the total outlay for the scheme is Rs 750 crore, the Chief Minister has ordered allocation of Rs 100 crore in the current fiscal for the scheme,” the release said.

With just a year to go for Assembly polls, the schemes assume significance. Parties like PMK have been targeting AIADMK for its ‘freebie’ schemes like free mixies and grinders accusing it of not focusing on generating employment, developing infrastructure and providing basic amenities.

PTI

Jayalalithaa to take charge as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister today; may start ‘Amma Canteen’ chain

She is expected to launch a chain of low-cost eateries called Amma Canteens.

Jayalalithaa

File Photo
AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa who took oath as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for the fifth time on Saturday will take charge of the state. She will be at the Secretariat at around 3 pm. She is expected to launch a chain of low-cost eateries called Amma Canteens.Opposition has alleged that O Panneerselvam who took over as the Tamil Nadu state Chief Minister after the court verdict did not run the government well, says NDTV report. They accused the AIADMK government under him suffering from policy paralysis and said that governance had became a casualty.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Panneerselvam had delayed the much awaited glbal investors meet, apparently waiting for Ms Jayalalithaa. The Chennai Metro project cleared during DMK rule is yet to start its operations, the report adds.Jayalalithaa on Saturday sworn in for the fifth time as Tamil Nadu chief minister, nearly eight months after she was forced to quit over corruption charges.Governor K Rosaiah gave oath to Jayalalitha at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium. Actor Rajinikanth, ICC Chairman N. Srinivasan and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan attended the ceremony. Along with Jaya, 28 others were sworn in as Ministers. Jayalalithaa will hold the portfolios of home, police, public, all India services, general administration and district revenue officers​.A day ago, 67-year-old Jayalalithaa was re-elected as legislature party leader at a meeting of party MLAs at its headquarter, 11 days after she was acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in a disproportionate assets case.As for portfolio allocations, Jayalalithaa’s trusted lieutenant O Panneerselvam has been given Finance and Public works, which he held previously too. Natham R Viswanathan will continue to hold electricity, prohibition and excise portfolio.R Vaithilingam will be the Housing and Urban Development Minister while S Gokula Indira will head Handlooms and Textiles ministry. B Valarmathi will be the Social Welfare Minister and Edappadi K Palaniswami the Minister for Highways and Minor Ports and Forests. The portfolio of forests was held by MSM Anandan previously in Panneerselvam Cabinet.

Karnataka law department examining HC judgement on Jayalalithaa: Siddaramaiah

Jayalalithaa was disqualified following her conviction in the Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets case by a trial court in Bengaluru on September 27.

Siddaramaiah

dna Research & Archives
Even as AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa returned to power today, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the state law department is examining the judgement of the High Court which acquitted her of all charges and the government would take a decision on filing an appeal in the case after receiving the report. “Our law department is examining the judgement of Karnataka High Court. After getting the report from law department, we will decide,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here.Asked whether he has spoken to AICC in this regard, the chief minister said, “No, the High command is not at all interfering in the state matters”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jayalalithaa was disqualified following her conviction in the Rs 66.66 crore disproportionate assets case by a trial court in Bengaluru on September 27. The Karnataka High Court had subsequently acquitted her of the charges on May 11 this year. She was today sworn in for the fifth time as chief minister, nearly eight months after she was forced to quit over corruption charges.

Stalin’s marriage-diplomacy galvanises post HC verdict opposition to Jayalalithaa

Land bill referred to Joint Parliamentary Committee after Opposition attack on Modi govt

New Delhi: Faced with stiff resistance from opposition and allies, the government was on Tuesday forced to refer the controversial Land Acquisition Bill to a Joint Committee of Parliament after Rahul Gandhi led the attack on it.

The government, which had promulgated ordinance twice on the bill since December last year after it faced similar resistance earlier, agreed to refer it to a 30-member committee after allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal joined the opposition in Lok Sabha in opposing it.

Congress MPs storm the Well of the House. PTICongress MPs storm the Well of the House. PTI

Congress MPs storm the Well of the House. PTI

The Joint Committee of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will have to submit its report on the first day of Monsoon session on the bill which has already been passed by the Lower House.

The House saw acrimonious scenes and clashes during a short debate on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (second) Amendment Bill, which is aimed at altering the Act brought by UPA in 2013.

Replying to the debate, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh rejected the opposition charge that the bill is against the interests of farmers but maintained that development has to be undertaken as well.

“The bill is in favour of farmers… We have to strengthen both the wheels — farmers and industry — to develop the country,” he said.

Earlier, a combative Rahul Gandhi led the opposition attack on the government and vowed to oppose it inside and outside Parliament. Shiv Sena and Akali Dal demanded that the bill be sent to a joint parliamentary committee.

Asserting that Congress will fiercely resist within and outside Parliament the attempt of “suit-boot ki sarkar” to “grab” farmers’ land, Rahul accused the government of being “in a hurry to pass this bill” as it wanted to acquire land for industrialist “friends” and crony capitalists.

The debate saw opposition parties like the Congress, AIADMK, TMC, BJD and the Left oppose the measure. They were joined by ruling NDA partner Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant and SAD’s RS Brahmpura who asked the government to send it to a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) for detailed deliberations on its provisions.

The debate on the measure came only after acrimonious exchanges over procedures for the consideration and passage of the bill as it has already been passed by the House before it got stuck in Rajya Sabha during the first part of Budget session.

Strongly opposing the bill, Rahul said its passage “will not happen so easily. If we are not able to stop it here (in Parliament), we will hit the streets against it outside.”

He drew a parallel between a daylight robbery and the proposed law, saying an economist had told him that thieves wearing suits now strike during daylight.

Hitting out at the bill, he termed it as an attempt by the government to acquire land, whose price has been rising, for industrialist “friends” and crony capitalists. “This government wants to give land to crony capitalists and its industrialist friends because it’s a ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’.”

Rahul’s repeated jibes at the Modi government invited running protests from the treasury benches.

The House also witnessed commotion when the Minister inadvertently mentioned the name of late Madhav Rao Scindia while hitting back at opposition for taking jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for wearing expensive suits.

Replying to remarks by Congress leaders that Modi wore suit worth Rs 10 lakh, Birender Singh said, “what was wrong in wearing an expensive suit by the son of a farmer or a poor person?… You can ask Madhav Rao Scindia.”

Although he apologised repeatedly for inadvertently mentioning the name of Madhav Rao, Jyotiraditya Scindia, son of the late Congress leader, and other party members trooped into the Well of the House, leading to adjournment of Lok Sabha for a short while.

Senior BJP leaders including Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and S S Ahluwalia were seen pacifying the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

The members of the Lok Sabha who will be on the Joint Committee include KV Thomas, Rajiv Satav (both Congress), Anand Rao Adsul (Shiv Sena), Kaltan Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), B Mahtab (BJD), Mohammad Salim (CPI-M), Chirag Paswan (LJP) and SS Ahluwalia, Udit Raj, Anurag Thakur, Ganesh Singh (all BJP). The names of the 10 Rajya Sabha members will be announced later.

Justifying the need for amending the Act of 2013, the Rural Development Minister claimed that hardly any land was acquired by any state government under that law. “It is not possible that states do not need land,” he said.

SP’s Dharmendra Yadav objected to the remarks of Singh shouting that in Uttar Pradesh large amount of land was acquired under the 2013 law.

Birender Singh claimed that the previous Congress-ruled Haryana government had acquired 20,000 acres of land at a time when party chief Sonia Gandhi had opposed the idea of acquiring multi-crop land at party conclave at Nanital.

His remarks that the land was purchased from farmers by builders under threat that it was going to be acquired by the state government, created commotion with members from Congress and BJP trading barbs.

Replying to the contention of Rahul Gandhi that 40 percent of the land acquired for SEZs was lying unused, Singh said the Congress vice president was correct because many business houses had acquired land around Delhi in the hope that they would use it for commercial and residential purposes some day.

The minister also questioned Rahul’s knowledge on the use of axe. He said axe is used to hit at head while sickle (gandasa) is used to chop off throat.

Referring to the 2013 Act, he said the provision of returning the land after five years for non-completion of project was not practical as it takes 8 to 12 years to complete large projects.

The Congress members, however, protested saying that the deadline of 5 years was for starting the project and not for completing it.

The government had in December last brought an ordinance to amend the 2013 land law. It brought a bill in Parliament to replace the ordinance but it could not be passed by Rajya Sabha in the first part of the Budget session.

To facilitate re-promulgation of the ordinance, the government had prorogued Rajya Sabha, curtailing its Budget session after the first part ended on April 20.

PTI

Judgement error? Jayalalithaa’s disproportionate assets may be 76% and not 8.12%

AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa’s cup of woes is just brimming over.

Even as her supporters are still celebrating her acquittal, her political opponents and critics have raised doubts that Justice CR Kumaraswamy might have made huge errors in calculations while delivering his judgement on Monday. The errors render the whole basis of the judgement meaningless.

AFP imageAFP image

AFP image

Here’s an explanation of the mistake.

As per the table on Page 852 of the judgement, Jayalalithaa and her associates have taken loans worth Rs Rs 24.2 crore, which has been considered by the judge as lawful income. However, a simple addition of all the 10 heads in the table shows that the actual aggregate loan amount was only Rs 10.67 crore. This means there has been an error of about Rs 13.5 crore.

The correct calculation shows that the lawful income of Jayalalithaa would reduce by Rs 13.5 crore to just Rs 10.67 crore. The mistake has been pointed out by the DMK in a statement, according to media reports.

852Page852Page

The table on page 852 of the judgement

Further, as per the judgement, about Rs 6 crore has been deducted from the loan amount as the income assessed by director of vigilance and anti-corruption, which reduces the loan amount to Rs 18.2 crore. According to a report in The News Minute, citing the DMK statement, the loan amount has to be Rs 4.67 crore. Here too the error is Rs 13.5 crore, the report says.

The error in the loan amount has a cascading impact as the figure had been used in many other calculations by the judge. On Page 913, in the statement of the income of the accused, the first head, loan as income, has been put at the said Rs 18.2 crore. Once this is replaced with Rs 4.67 crore, it again results in a mismatch of Rs 13.5 crore.

913Page913Page

The table on page 913 of the judgement

In other words, with a loan amount of just Rs 4.67 crore, the total income drops to Rs 21.2 crore from the judge’s figure of Rs 34.77 crore.

The same is the case with calculation of disproportionate assets, where total income is subtracted from the total assets.

As per the judgement, Jayalalitha’s total assets stand at Rs 37 crore. Deducting the total income (Rs 34.77 crore) from this, the judge has arrived at a figure of Rs 2.82 crore. This figure shoots up to Rs 16 crore, once we replace the total income with the correct number of Rs 21.2 crore.

As per this calculation, the percentage of disproportionate assets is a whopping 76.5 percent of Jayalalithaa’s income and not 8.12 percent as the judge has said in the judgement, The News Minute report said.

The calculation of disproportionate assets as per the HCThe calculation of disproportionate assets as per the HC

The calculation of disproportionate assets as per the HC

It may also explains why BJP leader Subramanian Swamy termed the judgement a “tragedy of arithmetic errors”.

Jaya acquitted in DA case: Amma’s comeback rings death-knell for DMK

Besides being a stupendous victory for herself and her party, the acquittal of former Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa will be a death knell for the DMK. If she calls for early elections, as widely expected, the DMK might find it extremely difficult to stand up to the tide of support that she would amass with her legal victory.

Jaya will return to the chief minister’s office in a few days, but she will also have to get re-elected to the assembly within the next six months, which may prompt her to call for early elections. The term of the present assembly ends only in 2016.

It’s advantage Jaya all the way. Almost all the media reports from the state, some of which relied on expert legal opinion, had speculated an unfavourable verdict from the Karnataka High Court, particularly in view of the Supreme Court setting aside the appointment of the public prosecutor Bhawani Singh recently. What appeared to have made her chances weak was the directive by the apex court which had asked the Karnataka High Court (HC) to ignore Singh’s arguments and consider only the written submissions by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had moved the petition against her, and the Karnataka government. It had asked the HC to ”dispassionately render a judgement which is objectively and resolutely expressed.”

The general interpretation of this SC verdict was that it was disadvantage Jaya because it gave credence to the arguments of the DMK. The DMK was obviously happy because the party had always held that Bhawani Singh had weakened the case without offering strong counters to Jaya’s arguments that the value of her assets had been exaggerated.

Tamil Nadu's former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. ReutersTamil Nadu's former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Reuters

Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Reuters

Even the AIADMK quarters were not too optimistic. Media reports quoted party sources appearing downcast and doubtful although none of its leaders said anything in public. They all waited with bated breath and a wide variety of prayers.

With the decks cleared now, Jaya will come back with enormous force. During her absence from Fort St George, the state administration was on veritable freeze with the stand-in chief minister O Panneerselvam delivering his duties with minimal display of authority and visibility. There were no major announcements of development projects, press conferences, or inaugurations during the interregnum. Everybody was waiting.

Two major initiatives, the inauguration of Chennai Metro and a Global Investors Meet, have been delayed because of Jaya’s absence from the office. Reportedly, the first phase of the Chennai Metro has been ready for some time, but hasn’t yet been inaugurated because of Jaya’s absence. Similarly, the Investors Meet, which was originally scheduled to be held in 2014, has been postponed thrice. With her back in office, the Chennai Metro will be flagged off soon and the Investors Meet is likely to be advanced. Both of them will be major publicity vehicles for her return. There may be a slew of other activities as well.

For the DMK, this is only the beginning of possible setbacks. As it begins to lick its wounds in this case, major mega-buck corruption cases are staring it in its face. The 2G case, in which former telecom minister A Raja and party MP Kanimozhi are prime accused, is an alabatross around its neck, while the Aircel-Maxis deal and the alleged misuse of BSNL lines by the Maran brothers has brought the stain of corruption to Karunanidhi’s door steps. A verdict in the 2G is expected before the end of the year. A negative verdict on 2G will have disastrous consequences for the DMK.

Although last year’s trial court conviction in the disproportionate assets has been the worst setback she has ever faced, Jaya had weathered many storms in the past. Her rise to the helm of AIADMK against all odds, after her mentor and former chief minister MG Ramachandran died in 1987, itself was a legendary tale of her resilience. She had seen landslide election victories and abysmal failures. Whenever her chips had been down, she bounced back with more vigour. In 2001, her appointment as the chief minister was struck down by the SC in a case involving government land although she had led her party to a massive victory. She returned to the office pretty soon.

With today’s verdict, Jaya can righteously claim that she was not corrupt and that the charges against her were trumped up by the DMK whose leaders are mired in big-ticket corruption. Meanwhile, all the eyes are on 17 or 19 May, when she will take oath yet again as the chief minister of the state. That will be one hell of a day of excitement.

Amma acquitted in DA case: Jayalalithaa’s comeback rings death-knell for DMK

Besides being a stupendous victory for herself and her party, the acquittal of former Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa will be a death knell for the DMK. If she calls for early elections, as widely expected, the DMK might find it extremely difficult to stand up to the tide of support that she would amass with her legal victory.

Jaya will return to the chief minister’s office in a few days, but she will also have to get re-elected to the assembly within the next six months, which may prompt her to call for early elections. The term of the present assembly ends only in 2016.

It’s advantage Jaya all the way. Almost all the media reports from the state, some of which relied on expert legal opinion, had speculated an unfavourable verdict from the Karnataka High Court, particularly in view of the Supreme Court setting aside the appointment of the public prosecutor Bhawani Singh recently. What appeared to have made her chances weak was the directive by the apex court which had asked the Karnataka High Court (HC) to ignore Singh’s arguments and consider only the written submissions by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had moved the petition against her, and the Karnataka government. It had asked the HC to ”dispassionately render a judgement which is objectively and resolutely expressed.”

The general interpretation of this SC verdict was that it was disadvantage Jaya because it gave credence to the arguments of the DMK. The DMK was obviously happy because the party had always held that Bhawani Singh had weakened the case without offering strong counters to Jaya’s arguments that the value of her assets had been exaggerated.

Tamil Nadu's former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. ReutersTamil Nadu's former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Reuters

Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Reuters

Even the AIADMK quarters were not too optimistic. Media reports quoted party sources appearing downcast and doubtful although none of its leaders said anything in public. They all waited with bated breath and a wide variety of prayers.

With the decks cleared now, Jaya will come back with enormous force. During her absence from Fort St George, the state administration was on veritable freeze with the stand-in chief minister O Panneerselvam delivering his duties with minimal display of authority and visibility. There were no major announcements of development projects, press conferences, or inaugurations during the interregnum. Everybody was waiting.

Two major initiatives, the inauguration of Chennai Metro and a Global Investors Meet, have been delayed because of Jaya’s absence from the office. Reportedly, the first phase of the Chennai Metro has been ready for some time, but hasn’t yet been inaugurated because of Jaya’s absence. Similarly, the Investors Meet, which was originally scheduled to be held in 2014, has been postponed thrice. With her back in office, the Chennai Metro will be flagged off soon and the Investors Meet is likely to be advanced. Both of them will be major publicity vehicles for her return. There may be a slew of other activities as well.

For the DMK, this is only the beginning of possible setbacks. As it begins to lick its wounds in this case, major mega-buck corruption cases are staring it in its face. The 2G case, in which former telecom minister A Raja and party MP Kanimozhi are prime accused, is an alabatross around its neck, while the Aircel-Maxis deal and the alleged misuse of BSNL lines by the Maran brothers has brought the stain of corruption to Karunanidhi’s door steps. A verdict in the 2G is expected before the end of the year. A negative verdict on 2G will have disastrous consequences for the DMK.

Although last year’s trial court conviction in the disproportionate assets has been the worst setback she has ever faced, Jaya had weathered many storms in the past. Her rise to the helm of AIADMK against all odds, after her mentor and former chief minister MG Ramachandran died in 1987, itself was a legendary tale of her resilience. She had seen landslide election victories and abysmal failures. Whenever her chips had been down, she bounced back with more vigour. In 2001, her appointment as the chief minister was struck down by the SC in a case involving government land although she had led her party to a massive victory. She returned to the office pretty soon.

With today’s verdict, Jaya can righteously claim that she was not corrupt and that the charges against her were trumped up by the DMK whose leaders are mired in big-ticket corruption. Meanwhile, all the eyes are on 17 or 19 May, when she will take oath yet again as the chief minister of the state. That will be one hell of a day of excitement.

After acquittal by HC, stage is set for Jayalalithaa’r return as Tamil Nadu CM

Bengaluru/Chennai: Decks were cleared for the return of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister after she was acquitted on Monday in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case against her by the Karnataka High Court which said her conviction suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law.

“…the accused are entitled to acquittal. When the principal accused (Jayalalithaa) has been acquitted, the other accused, who played a lesser role, are entitled to acquittal,” Justice C R Kumaraswamy said in his 919-page judgement that set aside trial court judge Michael D’cunha’s order last year holding her guilty of corruption and sentencing her to four years imprisonment.

J Jayalalithaa. AFPJ Jayalalithaa. AFP

J Jayalalithaa. AFP

The High Court verdict, that also acquitted Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala and two others, triggered immediate jubilation among the AIADMK ranks who celebrated the event with bursting of crackers, distribution of sweets and dancing outside her residence in Chennai and across Tamil Nadu.

After she secured the clean chit, stop-gap Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and a host of party leaders trooped to her Poes Garden residence and held consultations apparently on her assuming reins of office once again.

Jayalalithaa was unseated from the Chief Minister’s post on August 27, last year when the trial court convicted her and she was automatically disqualified from being a member of the Assembly and contesting elections for 10 years from then.

But, today’s verdict cleared the way for her to return to power and to contest elections. There is widespread speculation that Jayalalithaa, a strong believer, is looking at an auspicious day to take the oath again, almost a year ahead of the Assembly elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted Jayalalithaa on her acquittal which she said has proved that she did no wrong.

“Today’s verdict gives me immense satisfaction, this has removed the slander imposed on me, this has erased the blame put on me by political enemies,” she said in her first reaction hours after her acquittal.

“It has confirmed that I have done no wrong, this verdict is a boon granted by God for the prayers of Tamil Nadu people after the verdict of the lower court,” Jayalalithaa said.

Interestingly, the Special Public Prosecutor B V Acharya, who was brought in by the Supreme Court at the eleventh hour, said the prosecution case was seriously prejudiced as Karnataka and the SPP appointed by it were denied an opportunity to convince the High Court through oral arguments.

PTI

PM Narendra Modi calls Jayalalithaa, congratulates her on acquittal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today greeted AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa, who was acquitted in a disproportionate assets case by the Karnataka High Court.”Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (Revolutionary Leader-Amma) and extended his greetings,” an AIADMK release said.Modi and Jayalalithaa are said to enjoy cordial relations with the former attending her swearing-in ceremony as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister in 2011. The AIADMK supremo returned the favour by attending his swearing-in ceremony as Gujarat Chief Minister the next year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jayalalithaa was acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case, quashing a special court order convicting her to four years in prison and imposing a fine of Rs 100 crore on her in the case.

Shaved moustaches, 300 pujas, and a festive party website: How Jaya supporters celebrated her acquittal

Fans of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa are known across the country for their unwavering loyalty towards their ‘Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’ and as the Karnataka High Court acquitted the former Tamil Nadu chief minister of all charges of corruption, they made little effort to hide their joy.

Be it outside the Karnataka HC, Jayalalithaa’s residence in Chennai’s Poes Gardens or in her constituency Srirangam, her supporters came out on the streets to show how happy they were.

AIADMK workers celebrate Jayalalithaa's acquittal in Chennai. PTIAIADMK workers celebrate Jayalalithaa's acquittal in Chennai. PTI

AIADMK workers celebrate Jayalalithaa’s acquittal in Chennai. PTI

From offering prayers at temples, to pouring milk on her poster, they did everything to show their allegiance to Amma.

Party cadres jumped in joy, burst crackers and danced to the drum beats. They chanted “Long Live Amma” and distributed sweets. Some also smashed coconuts on the ground, as an auspicious sign.

Karate master Shihan Hussaini  is even thinking of getting crucified again in thanks-giving to God for former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s acquittal in the disproportionate assets case. In February this year, the 46-year-old Hussaini got himself crucified for the return of Jayalalithaa as the Tamil Nadu chief minister after she was convicted by a trial court in Bangalore in the disproportionate assets case.

A PTI report said that according to Sri Meenakshi Amman temple officials, at least 300 special poojas were performed in a week in the name of the AIADMK chief.

“Fishermen also joined the celebrations, hoping Jayalalithaa’s return to the CM post will improve their condition,” reported The Times of India.

An NDTV report says, “Women party workers in several parts of the state organised traditional processions with milk pots, lamps were lit and many coconuts offered in temples to pray for “the return of Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister”.”

And it was not just party workers and supporters, AIADMK MPs too were jubilant over Jaya’s acquittal and some of them were seen breaking down after hearing the news.

The AIADMK official website also went through a see change to mark Amma’s acquittal. There were firwork GIFs in a green background (the AIADMK colour), with the cutout of a smiling and waving Jayalalithaa right in the middle.

This is also accompanied by a song

Amma-websiteAmma-website.

NDTV reported that a man even shaved of his moustache for the leader.

“AIADMK MLAs, party workers and leaders of the party’s different wings in the Pondicherry distributed sweets and burst crackers soon after the verdict of Karnataka High Court acquitting Ms Jayalalithaa came out,” reported The Hindu.

Here are some tweets that depict just how massive the celebrations are:

Jayalalithaa has ‘earned’ right to be elected as chief minister again: Subramanian Swamy

Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the disproportionate assets case against her.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa has ‘earned’ the right to be elected as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister again after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the disproportionate assets (DA) case. “It’s not an unusual thing. When you are in a democratic system, then such twists and turns are expected. We can’t do much about it because delays are done by the accused. She (Jayalalithaa) has now earned the right to be sworn as the chief minister again,” said Swamy, the original complainant in the case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>
Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the disproportionate assets case against her. The verdict came on the appeal filed by Jayalalithaa and three others, including her aide Sasikala in the case. Monday’s judicial outcome is a major setback to the opposition DMK and is expected to swing political fortunes in favour of the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, which goes to assembly polls in about a year. A trial court had on September 27 last year verdict sentenced Jayalalithaa and three others to four years in jail and imposed a hefty fine of Rs. 100 crore on her and Rs. 10 crore each on three others. Meanwhile, massive celebrations have broken out across Tamil Nadu following the verdict. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam along with his Cabinet colleagues and senior AIADMK leaders joined the celebrations outside Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence in Chennai. The AIADMK cadres raised slogans in support of ‘Amma’, distributed sweets and burst crackers.

Verdict in her favour, Jayalalithaa set to return as Tamil Nadu chief minister

With the High Court’s clean chit, Amma is expected to assume reins of office at Fort St George, with the judgement coming as a significant political turnaround just one year ahead of Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the 19-year-old disproportionate assets case, a verdict that is sure to put her back in the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s seat.”All the appeals have been upheld and the convicts have been acquitted,” Justice CR Kumaraswamy said as he read out the operative part of the judgement at 11 AM sharp, a minute after entering the jam-packed court and the whole proceedings wrapped up in about four minutes.Setting aside the trial court verdict, the single bench judge also exonerated AIADMK chief’s close aide Sasikala Natarajan and the latter’s relatives J Elavarasi and V N Sudhakaran, disowned foster son of Jayalalithaa, giving relief from the conviction of four years for all.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the judge was still in his seat completing formalities after reading out the operative portions, AIADMK supporting advocates present in large numbers in the court hall congratulated each other and also gestured to the judge raising their hands in gratitude. As the judge left the court room, the advocates lifted one of their senior colleagues on their shoulders raising slogans praising Jayalalithaa, to which few senior lawyers and police officials objected asking them to respect the decorum of the court.Welcoming the verdict, Jayalalithaa said, “It has confirmed that I have done no wrong. The case was foisted by political enemies.The judgement came on appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others against the verdict of Special Court Judge John Michael D’Cunha who had on September 27 last held her and three others guilty of corruption. He had awarded four years jail term, due to which the AIADMK supremo attracted disqualification as an MLA.The lower court judgement automatically disqualified Jayalalithaa as an MLA and unseated her from the chief minister’s post. Now with the High Court’s clean chit, she is expected to assume reins of office at Fort St George, with the judgement coming as a significant political turnaround just one year ahead of Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. EC sources said Jayalalithaa will have to contest the election again to become a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.Speaking to reporters outside the court, B Kumar, senior counsel for Jayalalithaa said the prosecution case made by the “then DMK government now stands dismissed” “The consequence of this pronouncement is that she is entitled to resume the office of Chief Minister,” a beaming Kumar said. Kumar said the High Court had set aside conclusions by the lower court and the prosecution had failed to establish and prove the value of civil constructions valued at Rs 28 crore, as part of the case, and upheld Jayalalithaa’s version that the construction cost is reasonable and acceptable.The court had also held the defendants’ contention that among several judgements the trial court had overlooked and not considered the binding nature of various Income Tax orders and decisions of the appellate tribunal of the Income Tax which had accepted the income and level of expenditure of Jayalalithaa, he said.As soon as the news of her acquittal spread, AIADMK workers broke into celebrations, bursting crackers and distributing sweets in many parts of Tamil Nadu.Justice Kumaraswamy gave the verdict just a day ahead of the three-month deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete the hearing on appeals by her and three others.The 67-year old Jayalalithaa was not present in the court, as, according to the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused are required to be present only in the trial court.Special Public Prosecutor B V Acharya said the state of Karnataka was the sole prosecuting agency in this case, as the Supreme Court had stated, but it had been “denied adequate opportunity before the High Court.” Acharya said the “total effect” was that the state of Karnataka and the Public Prosecutor appointed by it was denied an opportunity to convince High Court judge through oral arguments, which had “seriously prejudiced” the case of the prosecution.He said on behalf of the accused, the appellant lawyers made their arguments for about two months during which time there was no Public Prosecutor in place appointed by Karnataka government. “So the entire proceedings have gone on without a validly appointed Public Prosecutor.” Acharya noted he was appointed as SPP on April 22 after the Supreme Court order which had said SPP can file written submission within one day and there was no chance for oral arguments.”So the High Court judge could not give me an opportunity. So the total effect is that the state of Karnataka and the Public Prosecutor appointed by it was denied an opportunity to convince High Court judge through oral arguments. This has seriously prejudiced the case of the prosecution.” The Supreme Court had quashed the appointment of Bhawani Singh as the SPP holding it was “bad in law”, following which Acharya, who had earlier resigned as SPP, returned. In his written submission in the High Court, Acharya had prayed for dismissal of appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and others.With the trial verdict failing to pass the higher court’s scrutiny, it is a political bonanza for Jayalalithaa who had to step down as Chief Minister after her disqualification following the conviction. The Special Court verdict had rendered her disqualified under the Representation of the People Act from contesting elections for a period of 10 years- four years from the date of conviction and six years thereafter.After the Special Court had convicted her, Jayalalithaa had moved the Karnataka High Court challenging her conviction and sought bail, which was rejected, leading her to knock at the doors of the Supreme Court. On October 17, 2014, the Supreme Court had granted her bail and she was released from jail the next day after spending 21 days in prison. The Supreme Court had on December 18 last extended Jayalalithaa’s bail by four months. A bench headed by CJI HL Dattu had ordered that her appeal challenging conviction in Karnataka High Court be conducted on day-to-day basis by a Special Bench.Justice Kumaraswamy, who heard the appeals, had reserved the order on March 11 after defence counsel filed their replies challenging written submissions made by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, the original complainant in the case.During the hearing of the appeal, Jayalalithaa had contended that the then DMK government-led investigation had deliberately over-valued her assets and that she had acquired the property, including jewellery, through legal means. Jayalalithaa had lost the Chief Minister’s post twice following conviction in graft cases — in 2001 and 2014. She had been charged with accumulating Rs 66.65 crore wealth disproportionate to known sources of her income from 1991-96 in her first term as Chief Minister in the case that has seen many political and legal twists and turns.The case was transferred to the Bangalore Special Court by the Supreme Court in 2003 on a plea by DMK, which claimed a fair trial cannot be held in Chennai as the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK government was in power.

‘Comeback Queen’: How Jayalalithaa scripted her political return

The ‘Comeback Queen’, known for her resilience and determination to fight adverse situations, might have been on tenterhooks over the future of her political career, but has managed to stage a comeback.
File Photo
PTI
In a dramatic turn of events, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa on Monday wriggled herself out of the legal vortex she was caught in and has got the decks cleared for her return to the chief minister’s post she had lost eight months ago.The ‘Comeback Queen’, known for her resilience and determination to fight adverse situations, might have been on tenterhooks over the future of her political career, but has managed to stage a comeback.Party supporters including AIADMK Ministers had been hopping from temples to churches to mosques praying for the release of their 67-year-old ‘Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’ (Revolutionary Leader-Mother). They have been conducting a slew of prayers for the last few months, including carrying milk pots and performing ‘homams’ (havans).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The acquittal comes as a shot in the arm for Jayalalithaa, who in the face of her conviction in September last, had vowed to fight the situation legally and come out clean in what threatened to be a sudden dead-end of an otherwise successful political career.Earlier, the TANSI case in 2001 had derailed her for a brief period after the Supreme Court struck down her appointment before she won her case legally and also was successful in a by-poll to lead the state. However, this time it would not have been easy for the charismatic yesteryear actress, with a new Central legislation in place to disqualify elected representatives from contesting in elections.But Monday’s verdict literally allows the ‘politician by accident’ to plan not only a new course of political path but also prepare herself and her party for the assembly elections scheduled next year. From a ‘hesitant’ teen starlet who made her cinema debut in CV Sridhar-directed ‘Vennira Aadai,’ in 1956, Jayalalithaa rose in ranks as a popular heroine, pairing opposite among others, then matinee idol MG Ramachandran (MGR).Having done nearly 30 films together, their on screen bonding stretched to politics also, with Jayalalithaa becoming the former Chief Minister’s protege after he founded AIADMK.Having started off as the party’s Propaganda Secretary, she impressed Ramachandran, especially with her English language skills, and soon earned a ticket to Rajya Sabha, and with that, a stronger foothold in politics.Jayalalithaa had split the party after being humiliated during Ramachandran’s funeral procession. But she later united the different factions following an ugly incident involving her party’s arch rival DMK in the state Assembly, when she was allegedly insulted on the floor of the House. She was Opposition Leader then.In 1991, she stitched up an alliance with Congress and a sympathy wave spurred by the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi landed her party a landslide victory, with Jayalalithaa making her debut as Chief Minister.However, the same period turned out to be her undoing with her aide Sasikala’s family allegedly calling the shots in all aspects of government. The extravaganza publicly displayed during the marriage of her foster son V N Sudhakaran (now disowned) attracted strong criticism.AIADMK lost power in 1996 when the then DMK-TMC combine, backed by the support of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, in the face of corruption charges against the Jayalalithaa-led party, swept the elections. She was subsequently arrested and a number of cases including the disproportionate assets case were registered against her.Unperturbed by the electoral loss, she later allied with AB Vajpayee but later brought down his party-led government in 1999, taking her political profile to the national spectrum.Jayalalithaa steered her party to power once again in 2001, and did not allow the brief derailment due to conviction in TANSI case affect the party’s fortunes, as she installed O Panneerselvam in her place. After securing an acquittal later, she took over the reins from him.Once again in 2011, defying all speculation of a DMK win, Jayalalithaa trounced her arch rival, as the former could not even become the main opposition party in the Assembly.

Live: Jayalalithaa acquitted in DA case, set to return as Tamil Nadu CM

May 11, 2015

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Former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa will face a critical judicial test on Monday with the high court set to pronounce its verdict on her appeal against her conviction in the disproportionate assets case.

As Tamil Nadu remains on edge, it will be a high-stake test as the judicial outcome could swing the political fortunes either way for the ruling AIADMK supremo and alter the political course in the neighbouring state, which will go to Assembly polls in about a year.

According to legal circles, the 67-year old Jayalalithaa need not be present in the court when the single judge bench of Justice CR Kumaraswamy delivers the judgement, just a day ahead of the three-month deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete the hearing on appeals by her and three others.

The court will decide on the appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others against the Special Court Judge Michael D’Cunha’s 27 September last verdict sentencing them to four years in jail and imposing a hefty fine of Rs 100 crore on her and Rs 10 crore each on three others.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

An acquittal would enable a big political comeback for Jayalalithaa, who has waged many legal battles and seen several ups and downs in her political career.

An adverse outcome, on the other hand, would accentuate uncertainty and cause more worries about the future of the AIADMK leader and her personality-based monolithic party.

She will remain disqualified under the Representation of the People Act from contesting elections for a period of 10 years – four years from the date of conviction and six years thereafter, unless a superior court sets aside the conviction.

During the hearing of the appeal, Jayalalithaa has contended that the then DMK government-led investigation had deliberately over-valued her assets and she had acquired the property, including jewellery, through legal means.

Anticipating arrival of thousands of AIADMK supporters from Tamil Nadu on the verdict day, city police have clamped prohibitory orders in one km radius of the high court from 6 am to 6 pm tomorrow, apart from beefing up security.

After meandering for 18 years, the case had reached the climax with the conviction in September last year that brought her down from the pedestal of chief ministership and unseated her from the Assembly.

She has earned the dubious distinction of losing the chief minister’s post twice following conviction in graft cases – in 2001 and 2014.

Jayalalithaa had been charged with accumulating Rs 66.65 crore wealth disproportionate to known sources of her income from 1991-96 in her first term as Chief Minister in the case that has seen many political and legal twists and turns.

Her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, her niece Ilavarasi and her nephew and Jayalalithaa’s disowned foster son Sudhakaran were held guilty by the trial court.

In perhaps one of the longest legal battles involving a political leader ever since the case was filed, the country has witnessed five Lok Sabha elections and Tamil Nadu three Assembly polls.

Controversy also swirled around the case after Karnataka Advocate General BV Acharya quit as Special Public Prosecutor and Bhavani Singh came in his place in the trial court.

Singh continued as SPP in the High Court but the Supreme Court recently annulled his appointment as “bad in law”, a verdict that brought back Acharya, who immediately filed a written submission seeking dismissal of the appeals by the AIADMK chief and three others.

The case was transferred to the Bangalore Special Court by the Supreme Court in 2003 on a plea by DMK, which claimed a fair trial cannot be held in Chennai as the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK government was in power. – PTI

Karnataka HC acquits Jayalalithaa, three associates in disproportionate assets case

Bengaluru: Former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the disproportionate assets case that came as a huge relief to the AIADMK chief that will enable her stage a political comeback and return to the Chief Minister’s post.

Pronouncing the verdict in a jam-packed court, Justice C R Kumaraswamy also acquitted AIADMK’s chief close aide Sasikala Natarajan and her relatives J Elavarasi and V N Sudhakaran, disowned foster son of Jayalalithaa.

Reuters imageReuters image

Reuters image

As the court proceedings got underway sharp at 11 AM, the judge straightway read out the operative part of the verdict on the appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others challenging their conviction by the trial court.

Victory celebrations broke out immediately outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai where party workers celebrated with bursting of crackers and dancing while flashing victory sign.

Celebrations also broke out across Tamil Nadu with bursting of crackers and breaking of coconuts on Jayalalithaa’s acquittal.

The Karnataka High Court judgement came on an appeal against the judgement of the Special Court Judge John Michael D’Cunha who had on September 27 last year held the AIADMK supremo and three others guilty of corruption and awarded four years jail term, due to which she was disqualified as an MLA.

The judge had also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on her and Rs 10 crore each on three other convicts.

The lower court judgement automatically disqualified Jayalalithaa as an MLA and unseated her from the chief minister’s post. Now with the High Court’s clean chit, she is expected to assume reins of office in Fort St George.

The judgement comes as a major boost to Jayalalithaa and the AIADMK exactly one year ahead of Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

The delivery of judgement was brief as a battery of lawyers of Jayalalithaa and small group of AIADMK supporters erupted in joy after the verdict came out in the 19-year old case.

Tight security was in place in the court and outside with prohibitory orders clamped from 6 AM to 6 PM in the one km radius.

“The prosecution case made by the then DMK government now stands dismissed,” a beaming B Kumar, senior counsel for Jayalalithaa told reporters outside the court hall. The verdict came just a day ahead of the three-month deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete the hearing on appeals by her and three others.

The 67-year old Jayalalithaa was not present in the court when the single judge bench of Justice Kumaraswamy delivered the judgement. According to the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused are required to be present only in the trial court.

PTI

Live: HC to decide on Jayalalithaa’s plea against conviction in disproportionate assets case

May 11, 2015

Highlights

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Former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa will face a critical judicial test on Monday with the high court set to pronounce its verdict on her appeal against her conviction in the disproportionate assets case.

As Tamil Nadu remains on edge, it will be a high-stake test as the judicial outcome could swing the political fortunes either way for the ruling AIADMK supremo and alter the political course in the neighbouring state, which will go to Assembly polls in about a year.

According to legal circles, the 67-year old Jayalalithaa need not be present in the court when the single judge bench of Justice CR Kumaraswamy delivers the judgement, just a day ahead of the three-month deadline set by the Supreme Court to complete the hearing on appeals by her and three others.

The court will decide on the appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others against the Special Court Judge Michael D’Cunha’s 27 September last verdict sentencing them to four years in jail and imposing a hefty fine of Rs 100 crore on her and Rs 10 crore each on three others.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

An acquittal would enable a big political comeback for Jayalalithaa, who has waged many legal battles and seen several ups and downs in her political career.

An adverse outcome, on the other hand, would accentuate uncertainty and cause more worries about the future of the AIADMK leader and her personality-based monolithic party.

She will remain disqualified under the Representation of the People Act from contesting elections for a period of 10 years – four years from the date of conviction and six years thereafter, unless a superior court sets aside the conviction.

During the hearing of the appeal, Jayalalithaa has contended that the then DMK government-led investigation had deliberately over-valued her assets and she had acquired the property, including jewellery, through legal means.

Anticipating arrival of thousands of AIADMK supporters from Tamil Nadu on the verdict day, city police have clamped prohibitory orders in one km radius of the high court from 6 am to 6 pm tomorrow, apart from beefing up security.

After meandering for 18 years, the case had reached the climax with the conviction in September last year that brought her down from the pedestal of chief ministership and unseated her from the Assembly.

She has earned the dubious distinction of losing the chief minister’s post twice following conviction in graft cases – in 2001 and 2014.

Jayalalithaa had been charged with accumulating Rs 66.65 crore wealth disproportionate to known sources of her income from 1991-96 in her first term as Chief Minister in the case that has seen many political and legal twists and turns.

Her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, her niece Ilavarasi and her nephew and Jayalalithaa’s disowned foster son Sudhakaran were held guilty by the trial court.

In perhaps one of the longest legal battles involving a political leader ever since the case was filed, the country has witnessed five Lok Sabha elections and Tamil Nadu three Assembly polls.

Controversy also swirled around the case after Karnataka Advocate General BV Acharya quit as Special Public Prosecutor and Bhavani Singh came in his place in the trial court.

Singh continued as SPP in the High Court but the Supreme Court recently annulled his appointment as “bad in law”, a verdict that brought back Acharya, who immediately filed a written submission seeking dismissal of the appeals by the AIADMK chief and three others.

The case was transferred to the Bangalore Special Court by the Supreme Court in 2003 on a plea by DMK, which claimed a fair trial cannot be held in Chennai as the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK government was in power. – PTI

Live: Karnataka HC to deliver verdict in J Jayalalithaa wealth case appeal; AIADMK hopeful of relief

It will be a high-stake test as the judicial outcome could swing the political fortunes either way for the ruling AIADMK supremo and alter the political course in the neighbouring state, which will go to Assembly polls in about a year.

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa faces a crucial judicial test on Monday with the Karnataka high court set to pronounce its verdict on her appeal against her conviction in the DA case that will have a bearing on her political future.A day ago, AIADMK workers organised ‘poojas’ in temples and took out processions praying for a favourable judgement.It will be a high-stake test as the judicial outcome could swing the political fortunes either way for the ruling AIADMK supremo and alter the political course in the neighbouring state, which will go to Assembly polls in about a year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Latest updates8:40 IST Monday, 11 May 2015Supporters gather outside J Jayalalithaa’s residence8:20 IST Monday, 11 May 2015The 67-year old Jayalalithaa need not be present in the court when the single judge bench of Justice C R Kumaraswamy delivers the judgement.What the court will decide?The court will decide on the appeals filed by Jayalalithaa and three others against the Special Court Judge Michael D’Cunha’s September 27 last verdict sentencing them to four years in jail and imposing a hefty fine of Rs 100 crore on her and Rs 10 crore each on three others.What the verdict means for J JayalalithaaAn acquittal would enable a big political comeback for Jayalalithaa, who has waged many legal battles and seen several ups and downs in her political career.An adverse outcome, on the other hand, would accentuate uncertainty and cause more worries about the future of the AIADMK leader and her personality-based monolithic party.She will remain disqualified under the Representation of the People Act from contesting elections for a period of 10 years–four years from the date of conviction and six years thereafter, unless a superior court sets aside the conviction.(With agnecy inputs)

Congress attacks Modi govt of making ‘U-turn’ on GST Bill

New Delhi: Attacking Government over moving the long-pending Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in Lok Sabha, Congress on Friday accused BJP of making “U-turn” and demanded that the bill should be referred to a Standing Committee of Parliament.

Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi accused the ruling dispensation of practicing “subterfuge, deceit and a hidden agenda” but at the same time made it clear that Congress was opposing the more and manner of bringing the GST bill and “not the concept” of it as the move for GST was initiated by UPA.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“We are not opposing the bill. It is our bill. We are only opposing the more and manner in which they are pushing the bill. After delaying the bill for years, what was the hurry to bring the bill without a thorough discussion,” he said.

The Congress leader also repeatedly highlighted that parties like AIADMK and BJD, which are considered “supportive” of the government also opposed its consideration in the House.

“Not only Congress but parties like BJD and AIADMK also pointed towards the hidden agenda,” Singhvi claimed.

Questioning why BJP opposed the bill for three years since UPA brought it, Singhvi said, “yet another example of the BJP led NDA’s subterfuge, deceit, duplicity and attempt to put hidden agenda reflected in the manner of pushing the GST. Without any basis, they opposed the GST tooth and nail not only at the Centre but also in states.

“The maximum opposition came from Gujarat for three-four year. Now after altering the bill, making changes into it, they have made a U-turn and want to pass the GST bill without discussion. The hypocrisy of BJP stands exposed. They oppose it when in opposition and propose it when they are in government.”

The GST bill was today moved in the Lok Sabha for consideration amid stiff resistance by several Opposition parties, even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said it is a “win-win” measure and states have nothing to fear.

Members of Congress, led by Sonia Gandhi, along with those of TMC, Left and NCP staged a walk out after their plea for referring the Constitution Amendment Bill to the Standing Committee was not accepted. AIADMK and BJD also opposed its consideration but did not walk out.

After hour-long wrangling over the procedures between the ruling and the opposition sides, the Bill was taken up when Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled that it is an important legislation on which the Finance Minister can make introductory comments and a discussion can be taken up at a later date.

At the AICC briefing Singhvi said while Congress supports the concept, idea and principle, it is opposed to pushing the bill in this manner now without a discussion on it in Standing Committee after the old bill stands altered.

PTI

Jayalalitha’s DA case: SC verdict on appointment of SPP on Apr 27

Former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha’s who is involved in a disproportionate assets case, the SC will give its verdict regarding the appointment of SPP on Apr 27.

The Supreme Court will pronounce on Monday its decision on the issue of legality of appointment of advocate Bhawani Singh as special public prosecutor(SPP) to argue before Karnataka High Court against the appeal filed by AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa challenging her conviction and four-year sentence in the disproportionate assets case.The apex court which reserved its judgement noted that the appointment of the SPP prima facie appears to suffer from irregularities but it will not allow the de novo hearing before the high court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We do not want to delay this matter any further. The appointment of SPP prima facie appears to be irregular and bad in law. But this doesn’t warrant fresh hearing. We are not going to allow de novo hearing,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, R K Agrawal and Prafulla C Pant said.The bench also allowed DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had filed a petition seeking removal of Bhawani Singh as SPP in the case, to file his written submission before the high court which will be considered by it before passing its judgement on the appeal by Jayalalithaa and others.The fresh hearing by the larger bench was completed in a little less than two days.The matter was referred to the larger bench on April 15 when a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and R Banumathi had delivered a split verdict.Jayalalithaa, her close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives were sentenced to four years of jail term for accumulating wealth disproportionate to known sources of income in an 18-year-old corruption case.

Jayalalithaa DA case: In split verdict, SC refers DMK plea on prosecutor to larger bench

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Wednesday delivered a split verdict on a DMK leader’s plea seeking removal of a public prosecutor from representing state in the Karnataka High Court which recently reserved verdict on an appeal of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in a disproportionate assets case.

As a consequence of the split verdict, the matter was referred to Chief Justice HL Dattu to constitute a larger bench for an authoritative pronouncement.

J Jayalalithaa. AFPJ Jayalalithaa. AFP

J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Justice Madan B Lokur, heading the bench, allowed the plea of DMK leader K Anbazhagan seeking removal of Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Bhawani Singh and ordered a fresh hearing on the AIADMK chief’s plea against her conviction saying the proceedings have been “vitiated”.

However, Justice R Banumathi differed with Justice Lokur and held that the SPP was duly authorised to represent the state before the Karnataka High Court as well.

During the pronouncement, Justice Lokur said the delay in deciding the case was “extremely unfortunate” and the “criminal justice delivery system is a loser”. He also observed that “something drastic needs to done”.

The court on 7 April had reserved its verdict on the plea of Anbazhagan for Singh’s removal, raising questions about his impartiality as a prosecutor in the case.

The DMK leader had alleged that the SPP was “hand in glove with an accused (Jayalalithaa)”.

The apex court order had then made it clear that transferee state Karnataka, and not transferor state Tamil Nadu, will appoint the public prosecutor in the case, the plea had said.

However, Jayalalithaa had come out strongly in support of the SPP saying, “Bhawani Singh is not an intruder. He has a notification in his favour and in such matters, the de-facto doctrine also comes in his favour.”

On 17 October, the apex court had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa who was sent to jail by a trial court on 27 September.

Earlier, the court had issued notice to the AIADMK chief and other convicts — Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala, two of her relatives and the Karnataka government — on Anbazhagan’s plea.

The apex court had in last December extended by four months the bail of Jayalalithaa and asked the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court to constitute a special bench to decide on her plea expeditiously within three months.

The 66-year-old politician, who had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9 after being denied by the Karnataka High Court, had submitted that she had been sentenced to only four years jail and was suffering from various ailments, as grounds for immediate relief.

The Special Court had held Jayalalithaa and three others guilty of corruption. The court had also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on the AIADMK chief and Rs 10 crore fine on each of the three other convicts.

PTI

Andhra Pradesh encounter: Jayalalithaa expresses doubts; urges CM to undertake probe

The former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister also announced relief of Rs 2 lakhs to the families of those who got killed in the encounter.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Expressing grief over the gunning down of 20 alleged red sanders smugglers in Andhra Pradesh, AIADMK General Secretary Jayalalithaa on Thursday expressed doubts over the encounter and urged AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to initiate action based on a fact-finding probe.”After the points raised by media and social activists besides publishing of photographs, there are fears whether the action by the Andhra Pradesh police is correct,” she said.The former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said that it was ‘doubtful’ whether the authorities had used ‘require power’ against the alleged smugglers even if it was assumed that they were involved in illegal smuggling activity.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I request the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister (Chandrababu Naidu) to hold a probe to establish facts and initiate action based on that,” she said in a statement.Further, she announced a relief of Rs two lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in the encounter on behalf of her party, adding that state Ministers, MPs and MLAs of the respective districts will hand over the same to the families in person.

Engineer death: Former Tamil Nadu minister SS Krishnamoorthy arrested

Mr Krishnamoorthy was also dropped from the Cabinet and stripped of his post in AIADMK as Tiruvannamalai south district secretary, over allegations that he had put pressure on the engineer, Muthukumarasway.

Former Tamil Nadu Agriculture Minister SS Krishnamoorthy was arrested by the state Crime Branch-CID on Saturday night in connection with engineer S. Muthukumarasamy death case.Krishnamurty was summoned for questioning by CB-CID official and was arrested late last night, a Senior CB-CID official said.”As part of further investigation, he is being taken to Tirunelveli,” the official added.Also, another official of the department Senthil has been arrested along with the former minister, he said.Mr Krishnamoorthy was also dropped from the Cabinet and stripped of his post in AIADMK as Tiruvannamalai south district secretary, over allegations that he had put pressure on the engineer, Muthukumarasway.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Muthukumarasamy, an Executive Engineer in the agriculture department, killed himself by jumping in front of a train at Thatchanallur in the district on February 20.Before his death, Muthukumarasamy got several calls from some select numbers. Based on call records and statements by agriculture officials, the police team was probing the role of the former minister’s personal assistants.

PMK seeks ‘dismissal’ of Tamil Nadu government over CM Paneerselvam’s remark

The PMK on Wednesday sought dismissal of the state government days after Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said that the State budget was guided by AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa.

The PMK on Wednesday sought dismissal of the state government days after Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said that the State budget was guided by AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa.In a memorandum to Governor K Rosaiah, PMK President GK Mani said “by sharing secret State documents related to budget preparation with a person not linked to the government, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has violated the oath of secrecy and has also been responsible for the failure of the working of Constitution.”A copy of the memorandum was marked to President Pranab Mukherjee and it was also made available to the media. On March 25, on presenting the State Budget, Panneerselvam had said “every word of this budget and thought for it is founded on the guidance of Puratchi Thalaivi Amma who has dedicated her life for the people of Tamil Nadu.” DMK chief Karunanidhi had already slammed Chief Minister for the remark.”The budget is a confidential document which should be prepared by those in the government without the knowledge of outsiders. If Panneerselvam himself accepts it was prepared under Jayalalithaa’s directions, doesn’t it mean he had violated his oath of secrecy?” he had said.In the memorandum, Mani also pointed out that Jayalalithaa was convicted by a Bengaluru court in a disproportionate assets case. “By using Article 356 of the Constitution, the Tamil Nadu government should be dismissed for the breakdown of the Constitution and to uphold the rule of law,” he appealed.

AIADMK leaders seek divine intervention for Jayalalithaa’s return as CM

Seeking divine intervention for AIADMK supremo Jayalalaithaa’s return as Chief Minister, a two hour “Maha Gaja Pooja Yaga” was performed by party leaders and workers in Coimbatore.

File Photo
PTI
Seeking divine intervention for AIADMK supremo Jayalalaithaa’s return as Chief Minister, a two hour “Maha Gaja Pooja Yaga” was performed by party leaders and workers in Coimbatore.As part of the rituals, five elephants, brought from Palakkad in Kerala, were made to stand in front of the Yaga venue in Ganapathi area with priests chanting mantras. State Municipal administration minister S P Velumani was present as also city mayor P Rajkumar, some party MPs and MLAs and hundreds of party workers, party sources said.On March 4, the star birthday of Jayalalithaa, a variety of prayers and yagnas had been organised by party workers and ministers across the state seeking a long life and her “return” as Chief Minister.The Karnataka High Court has reserved its orders on the appeal of Jayalalithaa challenging the conviction and four year jail term awarded by a special court in September last year in the assets case.

DMK stages protest against land bill in Chennai

Chennai: Leading a protest in Chennai against the Land Acquisition Bill, DMK on Friday asked the BJP government at the Centre to ponder over whether it should go ahead ignoring “just arguments” against the legislation.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi. PTI

DMK chief M Karunanidhi. PTI

DMK President M Karunanidhi alleged that archrival AIADMK had supported the Bill in return for a “personal benefit” for its chief Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case.

Insisting that the Bill was “anti-farmer”, Karunanidhi said it has been opposed by various parties, including JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, besides social activist Anna Harare.

“Nitish Kumar has registered his opposition (by going on a fast) and has said he will not implement it in Bihar. BJP government should ponder over whether the Act should be implemented despite all these just arguments,” against it, he said.

Taking a dig at AIADMK and its supremo Jayalalithaa, he recalled that the party had opposed the UPA’s Land Act in 2013 but had supported the present one from the NDA government.

“Nobody with any common sense can deny that it (AIADMK’s support) was in return for (Jayalalithaa’s) personal favour,” he said, referring to the Rs 66.65 crore assets case.

Karnataka High Court has reserved orders on an appeal by Jayalalithaa against her conviction by a special court in September.

The DMK chief said if people’s aspirations were not respected by rulers, they could face downfall in the form of a revolution.

PTI

Modi’s first major reform win: Rajya Sabha approves long-pending insurance bill

New Delhi: Parliament on Thursday night approved the NDA government’s first major economic reform measure as the long-pending bill providing for raising foreign investment cap to 49 percent in insurance was passed by Rajya Sabha after main opposition Congress and some other parties came on board.

Rajya Sabha. PTIRajya Sabha. PTI

Rajya Sabha. PTI

The controversial Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which replaced an ordinance promulgated in December last, was passed by voice vote after walkout by Trinamool Congress and DMK.

The smooth sailing of the bill in the Upper House, where the ruling NDA is in a minority, was possible with the help of opposition parties like Congress, AIADMK, NCP and BJD besides allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal.

The bill was introduced on Wednesday evening after a heated debate and adjournments over technicalities as a similar legislation was pending in the House.

The original bill, which was brought by Congress in 2008, was withdrawn and the new bill was passed after a debate of about two-and-a-half hours.

Trinamool Congress and Left parties strongly opposed the measure. While Trinamool, DMK as also SP, BSP and JD(U) staged a walkout, Left members moved amendments which were negated.

The bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha on 4 March, provides for raising the foreign investment cap in insurance sector from 26 per cent 49 percent and is expected to bring in funds to the tune of thousands of crores.

The bill was introduced after Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien ruled that the new legislation, as passed by Lok Sabha, could be taken up as it was a “unique and unprecedented” situation.

Moving the bill for consideration and passage, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said the measure was necessary for expanding the penetration of insurance in the country which is very low at present.

He said the measure would help go beyond life insurance to cover other aspects of like health and crop besides providing more funds for development of infrastructure.

Seeking to allay apprehensions, Sinha said the premium will not flow out of the country but will remain within the country and the interests of policy holders will be protected by the IRDA.

The bill provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years for selling policies without registration with the regulator IRDA.

The legislation will also allow PSU general insurers to raise funds from the capital market and provides for increased penalty to deter multilevel marketing of insurance products.

He said more and more FDI is required in the sector to provide more coverage to people of India.

Sinha also sought to allay apprehensions that state-run LIC would be hurt if foreign companies come in, saying it was a very competitive body and match global players.

At the same time, he said the country needs not one, but five to 10 LICs.

The government agreed to incorporate suggestions made by Congress leader Anand Sharma for infusing capital in General Insurance Corporation (GIC) and strengthening it.

“You need capital to pay out claims. We do not have a developed insurance market… Capital is required for provisioning… (Insurance Companies should) have enough capital in hand… If we do not have capital we cannot grow the industry,” the MoS Finance said.

He said capital will flow after raising the cap as large insurance companies want legislation and clarity.

The recent Rs 1.5 lakh crore MoU between LIC and Railways shows that insurance sector could play an important role in the country’s infrastructure development, Sinha said.

The Minister said large insurance companies would benefit citizens “twice” as they will be protected and also avail of better infrastructure.

The law provides that 15 percent of the premium should be invested in building infrastructure.

Allaying concerns of members about investment by FIIs, he said investment will remain with the company irrespective of what happens in the secondary market.

He also said that the Insurance regulator IRDA is being equipped to deal with complaints and claims and will also have Ombudsman.

While supporting the bill, Shiv Sena member Anil Desai said LIC employees foresee “onslaught” on their hard earned business.

Akali Dal member Naresh Gujral also supported the measure but wanted the government to ensure that foreign investments should not go to select individuals.

Government got signals of relief yesterday when main opposition Congress indicated willingness to support the insurance bill.

The issue came up for discussion in a meeting held by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley with leaders of all parties in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday morning.

The meeting saw Congress indicating willingness to support insurance bill after government agreeed to opposition demand for referring the Coal and Mines bill and the Mines and Minerals bill to Select Committee.

“Insurance bill is different. It has gone through Select Committee. There could be a unanimity on insurance,” said a senior leader from the Opposition block on Wednesday.

The support of Congress and other opposition parties was critical for the NDA government in Rajya Sabha because of its less numbers there.

PTI

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