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BJP gleeful over articles in Congress mouthpiece slamming Nehru, Sonia; says truth hidden has come out

“Congress should give clarification and Gandhi too should offer some,” he said. As Congress sacked the content editor, BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma mocked it, saying it showed the party’s “intolerance against truth” as most of what had appeared was a “matter of fact”.

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With TN temple ruling, SC strikes fine balance between right to religion and social reform

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MK Stalin threatens stir if Centre, Tamil Nadu govt do not lift ban on Jallikattu

The DMK government had enacted a legislation in 2009 to ensure the continuance of the bull-taming sport after introducing due regulations.

MK Stalin

DMK Treasurer MK Stalin today urged the Centre and state government to remove the ban on ‘Jallikattu’ and warned that he would lead a protest unless they took steps to enable the bull-taming sport to be held during the Pongal festive season in January.”If the Centre and state don’t take steps for removing theban and hold jallikattu during the coming Pongal festival, I myself will lead a struggle against this after seeking approval from (DMK President) Kalaignar (Karunanidhi),” he said in a Facebook post.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The DMK government had enacted a legislation in 2009 to ensure the continuance of the bull-taming sport after introducing due regulations.Supreme Court had last year banned jallikattu, bull races,bull-fights and other uses of bulls in performances, but therehave been widespread demands in the state, especially in thesouthern districts, that Centre make adequate amendments to ensure that the sport is introduced again in 2016.Supporters of ‘jallikattu,’ organised to coincide with the Tamil harvest festival of Pongal, have been defending it on the grounds that it is a sport of bravery and is reflective of the local tradition. Recently, scores of celebrities, including actress Vidya Balan and India Test captain Virat Kohli, had signed a petition by an animal rights advocacy group seeking upholding of the ban on ‘jallikattu’.

Follow texts, temple rituals for appointing priests don’t violate equality: Supreme Court

In 1971, the DMK govt led by CM Karunanidhi amended the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Endowments Act to abolish the concept of hereditary appointments which was challenged in the Supreme Court.

File Photo

Supreme Court on Wednesday said that restriction in ‘Agama Sastras’ didn’t violate the right to equality as defined by Article 14 of the Indian constitution. According to a report in The Hindu, a bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the appointment of archakas in temples following ‘Agama Sastra’ – rituals of individual temples concerned – will continue. In 1971, the DMK govt led by CM Karunanidhi amended the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious Endowments Act to abolish the concept of hereditary appointments which was challenged in the Supreme Court. In its judgement, the Constitution bench of the apex court held that the appointments of Archakas was a ‘secular function’ and abolished ‘next-in-line succession’ appointments, but allowed appointments from a given ‘denomination, sect or group’, that had to be followed. This move was criticised because it led to priest appointments being restricted to the community of Brahmins for several decades. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>What’s Article 14 of the Indian Constitution? Equality before law The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth​

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

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DMK slams Jayalalithaa for Tamil Nadu floods; Centre terms it ‘calamity of severe nature’

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Rains in Tamil Nadu abate; death toll touches 79

Chennai: The toll in rain-related incidents across Tamil Nadu on Tuesday touched 79 with eight more deaths reported from three districts, even as the MeT department said the low pressure area is likely to dissipate in a day or two, with likelihood of only scattered rains.

The state has been largely free of rains since last evening.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The eight deaths in Villupuram, Vellore and Kanchipuram districts were due to electrocution, wall collapse and drowning.

“There is no depression as of now. The probabilty of the present system (low pressure area) turning into a depression is low. The low presure area is likely to dissipate in a day or two,” Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, Regional Meteorological Centre, S R Ramanan told PTI.

The well marked low pressure area now lies over West Central and adjoining south west bay off South Coastal Andhra Pradesh and North Tamil Nadu coast, he said.

As a result, scattered, mild showers may be expected in Tamil Nadu, including Chennai and south Coastal Andhra Pradesh regions like Nellore would get more rains, he said.

In Kancheepuram district, the Army and Air Force were deployed to rescue stranded citizens as torrential rains left residents marooned, as rain water inundated a large part of suburban Tambaram locality in Chennai.

The Navy and Coast Guard have also joined rescue operations.

Coast Guard choppers airdropped 500 kg of bread, biscuits and drinking water in Tambaram in two sorties, a CG release said and added their helicopters have been kept on standby to augment state government’s relief efforts.

The Navy said it had already sent in a well equipped team, comprising of divers, swimmers, inflatable crafts on Monday which had been positioned at Tambaram and that more boats and personnel have been sent to Tambaram, Kotturpuram and Manali.

A naval helicopter from INS Rajali at neighbouring Arakkonam was also on standby, the navy said, adding it was also ready with its ‘assets’ in Chennai and at Vishakapatnam to assist the state government as and when required.

Meanwhile, Southern Railway on Tuesday announced cancellation of 15 trains bound for various destinations due to the water logging on tracks.

Fifteen trains, scheduled to leave from Chennai and Puducherry and passing through Chennai Central on Tuesday and Wednesday have been cancelled, SR said in release.

In Chennai, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced Rs four lakh relief to the next of kin of the eight killed while opposition DMK pledged Rs one crore for relief and demanded all-party panels to monitor it.

On Monday Jayalalithaa had announced allocation of Rs 500 crore towards relief and rehabilitation.

Jayalalithaa also announced setting up of 50 more farm fresh outlets on a temporary basis in Chennai to tackle rising prices of vegetables due to reduced arrivals of fresh stocks as a result of rains. Already, 42 state-run farm fresh outlets are selling veggies in Chennai.

The new outlets would sell veggies like onions, potato and tomato, which are largely used by the people, an official release said.

Meanwhile, the DMK, which had expressed solidarity with the state government’s relief and rehabilitation efforts, announced that Rs one crore would be given for disaster relief.

DMK chief Karunanidhi in a release said the amount was being given to the government towards disaster relief on behalf of his party.

“The announcement of Rs 500 crore towards relief and rehabilitation is very less considering the scale of damages,” he said, referring to Jayalalithaa’s announcement.

He said efforts should be made to get Central government’s disaster relief fund on a large scale and wanted the government to try “to solicit funds from the rich in Tamil Nadu for disaster relief”.

The DMK chief also urged setting up of “all-party committees in all the districts to extend adequate relief to the general public.” Relief distribution should be made in the presence of such committees, he said.

Echoing the DMK demand, CPI State Secretary R Mutharasan suggested setting up up all-party monitoring committees to ensure speedy disbursal of relief to those affected “without any discrimination.” He also urged the state to make efforts to get Central funds towards relief measures.

PMK chief Ramadoss demanded “Rs 5,000 as financial aid to each of the families that had lost job opportunities and livelihood resources due to the rains and flood.

PTI

Tamil Nadu: Former Rajya Sabha member N Rajendran allegedly shoots himself to death

A native of Kovilpatti, Rajendran had joined the DMK later and was the Treasurer of the district unit of the party for a few years.

Representational image

Getty Images
DMK leader and former Rajya Sabha member N Rajendran was found dead in his car in Kovilpatti on Wednesday. 62-year old Rajendran parked his car near the new bus stand and shot himself around 6 pm, the police said.Rajendran was a Rajya Sabha member as an AIADMK representative from 1995-2001. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.The police have ruled out foul play and suspect he committed suicide, but the reason behind it is not known yet. An investigation by the police is on.A native of Kovilpatti, Rajendran had joined the DMK later and was the Treasurer of the district unit of the party for a few years. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In recent years, Rajendran had withdrawn from political life and ran a marriage hall and a bus service.The Hindustan Times reports that the Rajendran may have been under pressure due to losses faced in his business ventures and troubles in his daughter-in-law’s home.With inputs from PTI.

Bihar impact in TN, Kerala: Setback for Modi in states where BJP has little presence, but big ambitions

The sweet taste of setting a new record in the Kerala local body polls would have likely turned bitter in the mouths of BJP leaders in the southern state on Sunday as Bihar gave a thumbs down to the ruling party at the Centre in a decisive verdict. Patna might well be 2,800 kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram, but the trouncing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) up north has soured the mood in God’s own country, a state in which BJP president Amit Shah has taken a keen interest.

Oommen Chandy in a file photo. PIB

Oommen Chandy in a file photo. PIB

In a stunner of sorts, the BJP pulled off a coup in the state capital taking 34 of the 100 divisions of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, although it could not outdo the Marxist Communist-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) which won 42 seats out of 100. The BJP also managed to push the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) to third place in six constituencies in the state. In what has been touted as a “semi-finals” to the Assembly polls in 2016, the BJP has done quite well for itself — a four-fold jump over its performance in the 2010 local body polls. But that was pre-Bihar. Analysts feel the mood is likely to change now that the Bihar verdict is out.

“The gung-ho mood about the BJP and Modi has vanished,” said MG Radhakrishnan, political analyst and senior journalist in Thiruvananthapuram. “The mood that these are the forces of tomorrow — that mood is gone. The best time for the BJP was pre-Bihar. If that can create only this much interest for the BJP in Kerala, how do you expect them to do any better now in the post-Bihar scenario? They were expected to do two or three percent better, but not much more than that. After Bihar it will only become worse,” he said.

The ruling Congress party is all smiles. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told Firstpost that the people of Kerala will never accept the BJP. “This is a correct answer to the intolerance of the BJP leadership,” said Chandy. “We are now not following the tradition of our great country. Our country’s main tradition is tolerance towards everybody and every belief. But the BJP is very arrogant towards those who are against their views. This is a setback for the BJP no doubt, and I believe that this is the beginning of the end of BJP rule,” he said.

Chandy scoffs at the idea of any impact by the BJP in the state elections in 2016. “There is no impact at all,” he said. “BJP has contested more seats this time (in the local body elections) and to say they have made an improvement is not completely correct. Their best performance in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation was to win 34 seats. In the 2014 Parliamentary elections, the BJP got a lead in 52 divisions, but this election (local body polls) they won only 34 divisions. They have succeeded in showing their presence a little more this time. Only a very slight improvement is seen,” he said.

Radhakrishnan feels the interpretation of the BJP’s performance in the local body polls cannot be done simply by looking at the numbers. He says the BJP’s alliance with the SNDP (Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, an influential Ezhava caste affiliated organisation) has not made much of a dent in places like Aleppey and Kollam, both of which are Ezhava dominated constituencies. “The BJP’s strategy is to target Ezhavas and Dalits,” said Radhakrishnan. “Ezhavas  are the backbone of the Left party. People expected BJP and SNDP to destroy the Communists. But this did not work with the rank and file of the people. BJP did gain, but not very much,” he said.

Tamil Nadu is also an uphill task

In neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the BJP’s task is even tougher. Taking on the two Dravidian behemoths was a mammoth task to begin with. After its best showing in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, with the motley alliance managing to win two seats in Kanyakumari and Dharmapuri, the BJP has lost its allies as well as its cohesion. The BJP’s highest ever voteshare in 2014 of five percent had given the party the confidence to take on the Dravidian forces of the ruling All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). The loss of Bihar though is likely to put a dent in that confidence and in the party’s bargaining power in forming alliances ahead of 2016, say analysts.

“Now the BJP will literally have to go down on its knees in Tamil Nadu,” said C Lakshmanan, associate professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies in Chennai. “Until Sunday, they have had a larger-than-life image. But the Bihar election will have a very serious impact on the Tamil Nadu election and on alliance formation — who will ally with whom and on what terms. This will have a very significant impact,” he said.

The BJP too agrees that the Bihar verdict will hurt it, but the party is putting on a brave face so far. “It would have been a morale boost if there had been a victory, definitely,” said Tamilisai Soundararajan, state president of the Tamil Nadu BJP. “The cadre might be a little demoralised now, but the field is totally different in Tamil Nadu. Our cadre knows that these setbacks are only temporary. We have done well in the Bengaluru mayoral polls and also done quite well in the local body elections in Kerala. We are the only alternative to the two Dravidian parties in the state,” she added.

Trouble looms ahead for the party though. In a recent interview to The Hindu, an NDA ally in 2014, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) chief Vijaykanth said that he was not part of the BJP-led alliance in Tamil Nadu any longer. Other allies like Vaiko’s MDMK (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and Ramadoss’ PMK (Pattali Makkal Katchi) had already fallen away shortly after the BJP came to power in the Centre. The BJP is now trying to woo a number of small caste-affiliated organisations across the state in an effort to stitch up a winning formula.

The DMK is exulting at the Bihar verdict. “In Bihar, the BJP did a big boost for Modi,” said KS Radhakrishnan, DMK spokesperson. “It has failed. The BJP is unable to maintain the image on which they came to power in 2014. Tamil Nadu is a land of social justice. Bihar elections will not affect us much since anyway BJP does not have much of a presence here. It is only due to the BJP at the Centre that people here even know about the BJP,” he said.

Critics of the BJP feel that the going will be tough for the party here on across all states. “All I can say is it bodes very well for Indian democracy,” said former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. “What bodes well for India bodes well for all parts of the country,” he concluded.

The author tweets @sandhyaravishan

Tamil Nadu: 96-year-old film lyricist accuses DMK leader M Karunanidhi of stealing his film script

This was then made into a film without his knowledge.

DMK President M Karunanidhi

This is apparently a story that happened 65 years which the 96-year-old has not forgotten. Tamil lyricist PK Muthusamy, 96, from Namakkal, has now accused DMK leader M Karunanidhi, of allegedly stealing his film script and storyline. A report in Deccan Chronicle states that the Muthusamy who is in penury had given the storyline of the movie Marudhanaattu Illavarasi to Karunanidhi in 1949. This was then made into a film without his knowledge.Muthusamy has penned over 60 songs for Tamil films in his career. The report adds that he lost his money when he produced a film Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum. He has written many odes praising chief minister Jayalalithaa and the former Chief Ministers CN Annadurai and MG Ramachandran adds the report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He is said to be living on Rs 1500 a month now which he receives from Tamil Nadu government as a pension. He also apparently receives some money from publishing rights.

The story behind MK Stalin’s image reboot before the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls

(Editor’s note: This story was originally published on 22 September) 

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.

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.

Supreme Court extends stay on Dayanidhi Maran’s arrest in telephone exchange case

The Supreme Court on Monday extended the stay on a Madras High Court order cancelling the bail of former Telecom Minister and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran in the alleged telephone exchange case.

Dayanidhi Maran

The Supreme Court on Monday extended the stay on a Madras High Court order cancelling the bail of former Telecom Minister and DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran in the alleged telephone exchange case.A bench of justices TS Thakur and C Nagappan also granted two weeks to Maran to file a rejoinder to CBI’s reply.The apex court on August 12 had sought CBI’s response on Maran’s plea challenging the High Court order and questioned its decision to arrest him in a case registered in 2013.Maran had moved the apex court challenging the Madras High Court’s decision to cancel his bail and asking him to surrender in a case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The High Court had on August 10 cancelled Maran’s interim anticipatory bail and directed him to surrender before CBI in three days, holding that “prima facie” Maran had “misused” his office by obtaining phone connections illegally and the charges against him were backed by material.It had also rejected Maran’s contention that CBI was seeking cancellation of his interim bail only to humiliate him.CBI has registered an FIR against Maran and others alleging that over 300 high-speed telephone lines were provided at his residence here and extended to his brother Kalanithi Maran’s SUN TV channel to enable its uplinking when Dayanidhi Maran was Telecom Minister from 2004-07.

DMK leader Karunanidhi wants state government to fund Harvard Tamil chair

Karunandhi has stated that Tamil is a language spoken by over 80 million people and thus imperative to have a chair at Harvard states the report.

M Karunanidhi

Harvard University has approved the request of two NRI Tamil doctors, Janakiraman and Thirugnanasambandam, to set up a Tamil chair. According to a report in The Hindu, DMK leader M Karunanidhi now wants the state government to help them set it up.Apparently, the cost of setting up the Tamil chair at Harvard is US$ 6 million. Janakiraman and Thirugnanasambandam will be contributing US$ 1 million but the remaining US$5 million needs to be raised. They have reached out to the Tamil community in the United States to raise the funds.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karunandhi has stated that Tamil is a language spoken by over 80 million people and thus imperative to have a chair at Harvard states the report.

2G PMLA case: Court to hear ongoing final arguments on October 8

A special court on Thursday fixed October 8 for hearing remaining final arguments in a 2G scam-related money laundering case in which former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 17 others are facing trial.

A special court on Thursday fixed October 8 for hearing remaining final arguments in a 2G scam-related money laundering case in which former Telecom Minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and 17 others are facing trial.Special CBI Judge OP Saini, who was scheduled to hear the final arguments today, deferred it for the next date as the court was busy hearing arguments in the additional spectrum case.Enforcement Directorate (ED) had earlier told the court that Rs 200 crore as “illegal gratification” was transferred to DMK-run Kalaignar TV by DB group firm through a “circuitous route” in return for grant of 2G spectrum to Swan Telecom by Raja.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The prosecutor had claimed that the money was transferred back to DB group firm by Kalaignar TV once Raja was about to be called for questioning by CBI in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation case.ED had alleged that Raja had “illegally” granted 2G spectrum licences to ineligible firms for which Rs 200 crore was transferred to Kalaignar TV.It had alleged that a conspiracy was hatched by Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and other accused and Rs 200 crore was the “proceed of crime”. Raja, Kanimozhi, Dayalu Ammal and 16 others, including nine firms, are facing trial in the case.ED had on April 25 last year filed a charge sheet against the accused under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The court had on October 31 last year framed charges against the accused saying Raja, allegedly in connivance with Kanimozhi, Dayalu Ammal and other co-accused, was involved in “parking” of illegal gratification of Rs 200 crore in Kalaignar TV.The other accused are Swan Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL) promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Kalaignar TV MD Sharad Kumar, Directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and P Amirtham. All of them are out on bail.The court had also framed charges against accused firms STPL, Kalaignar TV, Kusegaon Realty Pvt Ltd (formerly Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd),Cineyug Media and Entertainment Pvt Ltd (formerly called Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd), Dynamix Realty, DB Realty Ltd, Eversmile Construction Company Pvt Ltd, Conwood Constructions and Developers(P) Ltd and Mystical Construction(P) Ltd (earlier M/s Nihar Constructions(P) Ltd).This is the second case in the 2G spectrum allocation scam in which Raja, Kanimozhi and others are facing trial for their alleged involvement.

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.

Gandhian activist Sasi Perumal death: DMK seeks immediate ban on liquor in Tamil Nadu

“Though I had said (recently) that steps will be taken to bring prohibition (if DMK was voted to power), the present situation is hugely supportive of imposing dry law (sic) immediately without giving room to any other alternative idea,” DMK chief added.

Karunanidhi

File Photo
Taking a strong stand after the death of Gandhian activist Sasi Perumal during a stir demanding the closure of a liquor outlet, DMK chief Karunanidhi on Sunday urged the ruling AIADMK to immediately announce prohibition in Tamil Nadu to avoid similar occurrences in the future. “So as to save several other lives and avoid deaths like that of Perumal, the AIADMK regime must declare prohibition in Tamil Nadu without further delay,” he said in a statement here. “Though I had said (recently) that steps will be taken to bring prohibition (if DMK was voted to power), the present situation is hugely supportive of imposing dry law (sic) immediately without giving room to any other alternative idea,” the DMK chief added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He claimed that support among the people for the banning of liquor was on an upswing. He referred to protests in Tamil Nadu seeking closure of all liquor outlets run by the state government through the TN State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC), including the ones led by MDMK chief Vaiko’s 99-year-old mother Mariammal and the members of Perumal’s family. “Eminent Gandhian Sasi Perumal gave his life as the price for supporting the demand for prohibition and his family, too, has begun a protest,” he said.Citing the dawn-to-dusk bandh call by opposition parties on August 4, and crimes allegedly linked to alcohol consumption, Karunanidhi said that “in such a situation, the need to take steps to impose prohibition is urgent and essential”. Meanwhile, in a joint statement, MDMK, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi appealed to traders and shopkeepers to keep their outlets closed in support of the bandh call on August 4 seeking prohibition in the state. They said that transportation will not be affected by the bandh and sought the support of the people as they urged them to consider the future of their children.Demanding the closure of a liquor outlet near an educational institute, Perumal had climbed a 120-ft mobile phone tower in Kanyakumari district on July 31.However, he suddenly collapsed during the stir, which had continued for more than five hours, and was declared brought dead at hospital.

Modi government sets up expert group to collate caste census data under Arvind Panagariya

Amid a controversy over not releasing of caste census data, the government on Wednesday set up an expert group headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to collate caste count even as it blamed the states for not being able to complete the consolidation of different categories.

PTI photo
Amid a controversy over not releasing of caste census data, the government on Wednesday set up an expert group headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya to collate caste count even as it blamed the states for not being able to complete the consolidation of different categories.The decision was taken in a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Announcing it, Finance Minster Arun Jaitley said, “A decision was taken today to set up a committee chaired by Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, which will classify this caste data. When the task is completed, it will be made public at an appropriate time.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that the decision was in line with the one taken during the UPA government in May 2011.The government has been criticised by parties, including Samajwadi Party, JD(U), RJD and DMK for refraining from releasing the caste-based data in its first Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC). The SECC data released on July 3 is first in eight decades after 1912.Brushing aside suggestions that the government avoided giving the caste count in the survey report due to political reasons ahead of Bihar polls, Jaitley said that it will be good if the states, who are “politicising” it, send their recommendations of caste consolidation at the earliest.He said that the caste census conducted by the Registrar General of India has come out with 46 lakh categories of caste, subcaste, different surnames in the caste and clan names, which have been sent to the states eight-nine months back for clubbing them to consoldiate the caste count.He said that the government is keen to release the caste data at the earliest as soon as the states send the details because the committee headed by Panagariya will only then be able to classify it. “It will be good that states, which are politicising it, send their caste consolidation recommendation at the earliest.They cannot hold back the recommendation and then say you please release it,” he said, adding so far most of the states have not been able to send the caste consolidation details.The government could face a united opposition attack in the Monsoon Session of Parliament on the issue with parties like Congress, CPI(M), DMK, SP, RJD and JD(U) closing ranks.While the government has rejected the charge that not releasing the caste count has anything to do with Bihar polls, Lalu Prasad’s RJD and Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), which have come together to fight the state’s Assembly election, have made a strong pitch to make it public in an apparent attempt to consolidate OBC votes.

As rumours of Jayalalithaa’s ill-health swell, it’s deja vu for Karunanidhi

At a time when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa looked absolutely unassailable, the rumours over her allegedly failing health is a gift that the splintered opposition has been waiting for. The single most important point of discussion currently in Tamil Nadu is if Jaya is ill or not.

Seizing the opportunity, the man who fired the first salvo was DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi. A week ago, the 92 year old former chief minister said that “the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has no work because she is not in good health. That is why the state is being run like one without a CM.” His statement came when Jaya had to cancel at the last minute an Iftar party that she had arranged, saying that she was unwell. Karuna was acerbic when he added, “you please take rest and take care of your health. A chief minister of state should be transparent.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. AFP

Other leaders, however, refrained from making direct statements on Jaya’s health, even as they continued to be critical of the AIADMK government. Without alluding to her rumoured ill-health, the BJP state president Taimilisai Soundarajan reportedly said that “it is painful to note that even after Chief Minister (Jayalalithaa) took over after a gap of one year there has not been any progressive development in the State”.

BJP general secretary Muralidhar Rao said in Chennai that his party would campaign against the government’s “bad governance” in the state.”Governance is affected in all aspects. There is Corruption, mis governance, bad governance. They have not been able to deliver in any area. Employment is going down and industries are getting closed”, he said.

What the DMK and the BJP are alluding to is the absence of the Chief Minister.

The only response to the tide of rumours from the AIADMK had been a statement, that too directed at Karuna, from a party spokesperson who said that Jaya was unwell at the time of the Iftar party, but had gotten better and was now attending to her work. Hitting back at Karuna, she said his statement was unfortunate, while insinuating that Stalin too had a health problem, but her party never asked questions.

For an otherwise ill-armed Karuna, it must be classic deja vu. Thirty years ago, when Jaya’s mentor, AIADMK founder and former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran (MGR) had banished him from office continuously for three terms, a helpless Karuna had used the same weapon against him. Following a kidney failure and stroke, when MGR was taken to Downstate Medical Centre in Brooklyn, there was a similar air of speculative uncertainty over his health and political future. Without giving away much, the AIADMK kept pushing information that all was well with him while the fact was that his speech was impaired and the stroke had affected many of his faculties. The party had circulated pictures of him reading newspapers in Brooklyn to which Karuna responded with the same causticity. ”If the chief minister is reading the papers and is able to comprehend, how is it that he has not yet realised that Mrs Gandhi has disappeared from the scene?” he asked. Apparently, MGR was so unwell that he was not informed about Indira Gandhi’s assassination while he was in hospital.

Although MGR won the 1984 assembly election while he was unwell, he couldn’t take oath for more than a month because he was in Brooklyn hospital. When the process was delayed, reportedly the then governor SL Khurana had said that it was “an unprecedented and ticklish situation.” He had also made it clear to the party that the swearing-in would be only when “when he is in a position to do so”. Ultimately MGR took oath in February, but was never fully well and kept going back to the US for treatment. In two years, he died leaving the party to a factional war.

It was only after MGR’s death that Karuna got his career back. Since then, he and Jayalalithaa have been alternating in the Chief Minister’s office. Now, when Jaya looks set to break this alternating cycle, he is gifted with the same ill-fortune that affected MGR.

Although, officially it’s still not clear as to what afflicts Jaya, the rumours are not without any basis. After her return from the Karnataka jail, where she spent time following a local court’s indictment in the disproportionate assets case, she hadn’t come out of her residence for about eight months. Her campaign at Chennai’s RK Nagar, where she sought re-election after Karnataka High Court set aside her conviction, was perhaps the shortest by any politician in India. The same discomfiture in appearing in public for too long was also visible during her swearing in ceremony when everything was truncated. Then came the cancellation of the Iftar party, the postponement of a meeting with the Adani group for a power project and her flagging off the long-awaited Chennai metro through video conferencing. Journalists covering the AIADMK and the Secretariat reported that she had not been attending the office regularly and said whenever she went to office, she barely spent time there.

Although the nature of her reported ill health is tightly guarded, it’s only a matter of time before the opposition gets wind of it because she is the sole leader of her party and is the Chief Minister. Her continued reluctance to public appearance will only feed the rumour mills. It’s worthwhile to note that even with the best PR spin, that too when the media presence was so limited, the party had been unable to keep MGR’s indisposition a secret.

The most interesting aspect of this saga, meanwhile, is that protagonist Karuna, although wheelchair-bound and old, hasn’t yet given up and is keenly watching.

BJP President Amit Shah sets ambitious targets for expansion in South India

BJP has a big presence in Karnataka, which it has looked as the gateway to the south but the party is weak in Kerala, where it has failed to open an account. Tamil Nadu, a state dominated by Dravidian politics with DMK and AIADMK as the two main poles, has also kept BJP at a distance.

File picture

PTI
Eying expansion of the party in the south in a big way, BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday set a target of establishing party offices in all districts by December 2016 and training 15 lakh workers.Shah met the party core group leaders of southern states here with the spotlight of the meeting being expansion and strengthening the party in the south and capacity building of its leadership. Briefing reporters about the day-long ‘Maha Sampark Abhiyan’, which was also attended by legislators and MPs from southern states, BJP National General Secretary Muralidhar Rao said they also discussed the preparations for elections to the assemblies due next year in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The entire speech of the party president was on organisation expansion, strengthening and capacity building of party leadership. This has been the focus of today’s exercise,” he said. The meet was attended by district Presidents and state-level office-bearers of the party in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Puducherry.BJP has a big presence in Karnataka, which it has looked as the gateway to the south but the party is weak in Kerala, where it has failed to open an account. Tamil Nadu, a state dominated by Dravidian politics with DMK and AIADMK as the two main poles, has also kept BJP at a distance. In Karnataka, riding the Modi wave, BJP won 17 of the 28 Lok Sabha Lok Sabha seats in the last Parliamentary elections in a remarkable recovery after it lost power in the Assembly polls a year before.”Shah stated that for party expansion and its consolidation in the south it is very important to place before people the achievements of the Centre and take party’s ideology to them,” Rao said. To address the problem of absence of party offices in district levels in the southern states, Shah talked about the party’s plan to set up district offices by December 2016, he said.”The party will create infrastructure by December 2016 where each district will have party office. We want to set up this infrastructure because this is the weak area, particularly in the south,” he said. Shah said that after providing infrastructure, the party would conduct training programmes of its 15 lakh workers.”We are planning to impart training to 15 lakh party workers – without training the party will become an electioneering machinery, in which BJP is not interested,” Rao said quoting Shah. “Mere winning of elections and mere electioneering is not the focus of the party. The party should work towards political transformation and social empowerment,” he added quoting the party president.

Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case: AIADMK dubs Karnataka’s decision to appeal as ‘shameful’

After a Cabinet meeting, Karnataka government announced yesterday that it would appeal in the Supreme Court against the verdict exonerating Jayalalithaa.

Jayalalithaa

Dubbing the Karnataka government’s decision to appeal in the Supreme Court against the verdict acquitting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in an assets case as “shameful,” the ruling AIADMK on Tuesday asserted that its supremo will again prove her innocence. “That a state government is going to appeal in an 18-year old case after the High Court had given its judgement following the completion of final arguments is a shameful act,” AIADMK Tamil daily “Dr Namadhu MGR,” said on Tuesday in an front paged article.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a Cabinet meeting, Karnataka government announced yesterday that it would appeal in the Supreme Court against the verdict exonerating Jayalalithaa. “People of Tamil Nadu have no doubt that our Puratchi Thalaivi Amma will shine like gold refined in fire again by proving that she is innocent (in court of law) after stamping out conspiracies,” it said. It termed the decision to appeal by Karnataka government as “a happening which has not occurred so far (in judicial history where cases were transferred to another State).” Karnataka’s move “smacked of political vendetta after listening to the voice of some (persons),” the daily said.The write up also took a swipe at the DMK and PMK for demanding appeal in the case that absolved Jayalalithaa. Stating that “evil forces,” had repeatedly been urging Karnataka to go in for appeal, the AIADMK said such “lowlifes'” wishful thought was to try making a comeback as they were unable to take on their chief in a straight political contest. AIADMK has often monikered DMK as “evil forces” during its criticism of that party.Apparently hitting out at PMK without naming it, AIADMK said,”those who did not seek out Karnataka on Cauvery, the lifeline issue of Tamil Nadu people, strolled the streets of Bengaluru seeking an appeal in the case.” A PMK delegation last month called on Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and gave a memorandum urging the state government to appeal in the case.

Chronology of events leading to J Jayalalithaa’s return as Tamil Nadu CM

In the DA case, three public prosecutors resign as also senior counsel. Several prosecution witnesses resile from their earlier depositions.

AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa who was sworn in Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on Saturday for the fifth time has traversed through several ups and downs in her political career spanning four decades. A chronology of main events are as follows:June 24, 1991: Jayalalithaa sworn in Chief Minister after she leads AIADMK to a huge win in assembly elections.May, 1996: Amidst charges of corruption during its rule, AIADMK loses in the assembly elections. DMK returns to power.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>July 11, 1996: Then Janata Party leader Dr Subramanian Swamy files private complaint in a court accusing Jayalalithaa of amassing wealth worth Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to her known sources of income during 1991 to 1996.Dec 7, 1996: Jayalalitha arrested. Charges of corruption, including accumulation of disproportionate assets, follows.April, 1997: DMK Government sets up three special courts to try 47 corruption cases against Jayalalithaa, her former cabinet colleagues and others.1997: Prosecution launched against Jayalalithaa, her close friend Saskala and two others in a Chennai Court in DA case.June 4, 1997: Charge-sheeted in DA case.1999: Discharged in Coal import deal case by special court; Upheld by Madras High Court.February 2, 2000: Special court convicts her in Pleasant Stay Hotel case related to permission granted for construction allegedly flouting rules. Trial progresses in DA case. By August 2000, as many as 250 out of 260 prosecution witnesses examined.October, 2000: A special court in Chennai convicts Jayalalithaa in TANSI land deal case.May 14, 2001: Jayalalithaa leads AIADMK to landslide win in assembly elections; sworn in Chief Minister though she was disqualified to contest elections.September 21, 2001: Jayalalithaa unseated as CM after Supreme Court quashes her appointment as she was disqualified to contest polls due to TANSI case conviction.December 4, 2001: Madras High Court acquits Jayalalithaa in the TANSI case and Pleasant Stay Hotel case.Feb 21, 2002: Jayalalithaa elected to Assembly in a bypoll from Andipatti constituency.March 2, 2002: Jayalalithaa sworn in as Chief Minister.In the DA case, three public prosecutors resign as also senior counsel. Several prosecution witnesses resile from their earlier depositions.November 18, 2003: On a petition by DMK, Supreme Court transfers the trial in DA case to Bengaluru.

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.

Amma acquitted in DA case: Jaya’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 Returns: What’s next for J Jayalalithaa?

As AIADMK cadres and followers celebrate their leader J Jayalalithaa’s acquittal on Monday in the disproportionate assets case, the big question that is on many people’s minds is what’s next for the AIADMK chief?

AIADMK workers break into celebrations at the Karnataka High Court

J Jayalalithaa was not present in Bangalore at the High Court as it pronounced her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case. She stayed back home in Poes Garden in Chennai, but has reportedly been receiving updates via her partymen and media reports.Her first step would be to meet her supporters, thank them and talk about her victory but no one is sure whether she will also give a speech at this point. However, the AIADMK chief issued a statement saying, it was a victory for justice and defeat for those who had conspired to defame and malign her legacy and the legacy of her mentor MGR.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I thank people of Tamil Nadu for reposing faith in me and I thank God for the gift of people’s love. I don’t take it as a victory for me but a victory for truth and victory for people of Tamil Nadu,” she said in her statement. While reports suggest that she would be visiting a temple to offer her prayers, in her statement, she also recalled with sorrow the demise of 233 party cadres who lost their lives after the special court delivered it’s verdict on 27 September last year. Here’s what we can expect next from the AIADMK chief: Taking over as Chief MinisterNow that she has been acquitted, her counsel B Kumar states that there is no impediment for her to become chief minister. Her party cadres and followers are keen that she does so at the earliest. The current Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is set to meet her on Monday and also submit his resignation. Sources say that she is likely to be sworn in once again as CM on May 17. She may have to contest a by-election within six months, but that may well be a cakewalk for her.Strengthening the AIADMKJayalalithaa will now work on rebuilding and strengthening her party in the state once again. After her self-imposed exile for seven months now, it’s likely that Jayalalithaa will now meet her party men and decide on her next steps. AIADMK suffered a serious setback when she was convicted and if the conviction had been upheld on Monday, it would have shattered the party and led to the likely resurgence and return of the DMK. However, DMK which is now fragmented due to internal politics, is likely to face a tough time now that she has been freed of all charges.Decision on early electionsThere is widespread speculation that Jaya will call for early elections, but her party men say that this is unlikely. They say that it is the DMK that wants early elections, but she is likely to wait till May 2016.Putting state schemes back on trackAll the welfare schemes that Amma had initiated had slowed down since she stepped down. For instance, there are 100 more Amma Unnavagams or canteens that are in the pipeline, waiting to be launched. All these welfare schemes are likely to be fast-tracked by her once she takes over as Chief Minister. Though O Pannerselvam was her chosen man to be CM, he didn’t make major decisions during his tenure. Initiatives like the Metro rail project and Global Investors Meet were held up as the government didn’t want to move them forward without her. So Jaya at the helm, hopefully governance will now improve and the state will start to focus on development once again. Disproportionate Assets case in Supreme CourtSubramanian Swamy who started the ball rolling, is likely to appeal her acquittal in the Supreme Court. Jayalalithaa and her counsel will fight these charges. But Amma will try to ensure that she does everything to come out a winner in the Supreme Court as well.

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

Sharad Yadav’s remark on women exposes MPs’ true colours

The remark on the colour of women exposed true colours of our politicians in Parliament. Three days days after the media reported the alleged sexist and racist comment of Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav, Rajya Sabha members attempted to distance themselves from what he said. On Friday men present in Rajya Sabha, including the Chair, had a hearty laugh when Yadav was regaling the House with his nonsensical speech completely out of context to the Insurance Law (amendment) Bill that he was to speak on.”The body of women from south is as good as beautiful they are. They (women) in our region are not that good as those (in south) know dancing,” Yadav had said in Rajya Sabha during a debate on Insurance Bill on Friday.Despite severe criticism, the adamant Yadav remained unapologetic. Instead on Monday, he quoted his socialist guru Ram Manohar Lohia and justified his comment. This time Union HRD minister Smriti Irani came on theline of fire.BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was seen laughing at Yadav’s remarks on Friday, woke up on Monday to realise his mistake and asked the JD(U) veteran to withdraw his statement. “I dissociate myself from those remarks. I completely disassociate and disapprove of the remarks… I appeal to Sharad Yadav to kindly withdraw his comments,” Prasad said.Yadav defended his remark and said, “What have I said … ‘saanvli’ (dark complexioned) women are more in number in India, they are more in number the world over. I am ready to debate with anyone on the struggle of (Ram Manohar) Lohia and others for them.”On Friday Yadav’s statement was splitting the House into laughter. While other members were apparently enjoying Yadav’s comments, DMK MP Kanimozhi was the sole voice protesting against Yadav’s remarks.On Monday, it was Smriti Irani who stood up and appealed to Yadav, not to comment on the complexion of women. With hands folded, Irani said, “I appeal to you to not pass any comment on anyone’s skin colour. You area senior member of the House and there is a very wrong message going outside.” Irani’s reaction drew another callous reaction from Yadav who opened a personal attack and taking a jibe on Irani’s acting career, he said, “I know what you are.”As other MPs joined in, deputy chairman P J Kurien said he would not allow a discussion on the issue. “I am not allowing any discussion … white or dark colour, it is all the same,” he said.This is not the first time that Yadav has made a poor remark on women. In 2013 during the debate in Parliament over Women’s Reservation Bill, Yadav had addressed women as ‘par kati mahilayein’ (short-haired women). Opposing the passage of the Bill, Yadav had then said, “I will consume poison and die here but not allow the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.””I don’t think I am the only one who has protested. In Parliament, of course, I raised an objection and so many others have raised their voice against this outside Parliament. Many MPs have also expressed their concern and they have questioned it,” said DMK MP Kanimozhi. Kanimozhi also disapproved of the practice of discussing women in a lighter way. CPM Politburo member and women’s rights activist Brinda Karat demanded a code of conduct against the MPs. “He is not the only male member having made such a comment. It is time to name and shame them. Parliament should adopt a code of conduct and ensure that such incidents do not happen again in future.” What they said”What have I said … ‘saanvli’ (dark complexioned) women are more in number in India, they are more in number the world over. I am ready to debate with anyone on the struggle of (Ram Manohar) Lohia and others for them,”Sharad Yadav, JD(U) leader

Attack on Indian fishermen will harm ties with Sri Lanka: Karunanidhi

Chennai: DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday asked the Centre to request Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to advise his Navy on the recent attacks on Indian fishermen and said such incidents may harm relations between the two countries.

Karunanidhi said the attack on fishermen will harm ties between India and Sri Lanka.

Karunanidhi said the attack on fishermen will harm ties between India and Sri Lanka.

The latest incident in which the Lankan Navy attacked some fishermen from Rameswaram fishing near Katchatheevu “has deeply saddened us”, Karunanidhi said in a statement.

Stating that the incident had occurred the same day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was meeting Tamils in the island nation, he said more than 30 Sri Lankan Navy personnel came in five boats, attacked the fishermen and damaged fishing equipment.

“Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President try to solve the issue through talks, such attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy will cause strains on the relations between the two countries,” he said.

“India should urge the Sri Lankan President to advice the Navy personnel in order to reach a solution in this issue,” he said.

PTI

Set up national commission for fishermen: DMK MP Kanimozhi tells govt in Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: A demand for setting up a national panel to champion the cause of country’s fishermen and provide them a platform to raise their concerns, was made in Rajya Sabha by a DMK member on Thursday.

Observing that almost 70 percent of fishermen were in the BPL category, Kanimozhi (DMK) demanded the setting up of a ‘National Commission of Fishermen Welfare’ to create a platform where 1.5 crore fishermen could voice their concerns.

Kanimozhi in a file photo. PTIKanimozhi in a file photo. PTI

Kanimozhi in a file photo. PTI

Highlighting the importance of the fishery sector which contributes over one percent to the country’s economy, she said the fortunes of the fishermen, both marine and inland, have been pityful.

“Around 67 percent of the fishermen come under the BPL category. They belong to one of the most backward categories,” she said, claiming that Tamil Nadu has not received any fund from the Centre in 2013-14 for their welfare.

The setting up of the Commission would not only protect the interest of the fishermen but also give them a platform to voice their concerns, Kanimozhi said.

PTI

Sri Lankan PM’s remarks on Indian fishermen a slap on PM Modi’s face: Karunanidhi

Chennai: Slamming Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe for his remarks that Indian fishermen maybe shot if they intruded into Lankan waters, DMK on Monday said it “amounted to a slap” on Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s face ahead of his tour to the island nation.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi. PTI

DMK chief M Karunanidhi. PTI

“It is not proper for the Lankan Prime Minister to give an interview amounting to a slap on the Indian Prime Minister’s face ahead of his goodwill tour,” DMK President M Karunanidhi said.

He was responding to the Lankan Prime Minister’s interview to a Tamil TV channel about killing of Indian fishermen by Lankan navy where he had said “If someone tries to break into my house, I can shoot. If he gets killed…Law allows me to do that.”

Condemning the statement, Karunanidhi said such comments would not help address the issue but further complicate it.

However, it was ‘heartening’ to see External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj insist that the issue should be dealt in a humanitarian way and not legally, he said.

Karunanidhi said it was not possible for fishermen in mid-seas to identify the international boundary and took exception to Wickramasinghe’s remarks in which he compared them to thieves breaking into a house since fishing was their source of livelihood and wondered if law allowed gunning them down.

Holding that not much headway was achieved in solving the vexed Tamils issue in that country during President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent Indian visit, Karunanidhi urged Modi to take up the issue during his visit.

Modi’s agenda should not be confined to implementing the 13th Amendment to the Lankan Constitution, an Indian initiative aimed at giving more powers to provinces, but should also cover demilitarisation of north and east, retrieving Tamils owned land from Sinhalese and restoring it to them.

“During his discussions with the Sri Lankan President, (Modi) should also in detail take up the Tamils issue and the fishermen problem,” Karunanidhi said in a statement.

Since the Lankan President valued relations with India, Modi should use the opportunity to solve the Tamils’ issues, he said.

PTI

What has stopped Maran from filing defamation case against me, asks S Gurumurthy

Read this article: What has stopped Maran from filing defamation case against me, asks S Gurumurthy

DMK re-elects M Karunanidhi as party chief, MK Stalin as Treasurer

DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was today re-elected as party President for the 11th time in a row by the newly constituted general council. Karunanidhi had during the Lok Sabha poll campaign last year indicated that it could be his last electoral campaign and the election is significant for him as he is now tasked with the responsibility of steering the party for the next five years. Karunanidhi was first elected as president on July 27, 1969 after the demise of DMK founder C N Annadurai. The post was created for the first time since the party was founded in 1949.K Anbazhagan and Karunanidhi’s son M K Stalin were also re-elected as General Secretary and Treasurer respectively.Four audit committee members were constituted to oversee management of party funds.Days ahead of the elections, Stalin dismissed reports as malicious in some sections of media that he was not allowed to contest for the post of General Secretary and that he had offered to quit from his post of Treasurer. The elections to the top posts of President, General Secretary and Treasurer marks the culmination of the 14th organisational elections in the DMK.Despite witnessing a lean phase since the 2011 Assembly elections when it faced rout followed by another drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections last year, the party elections saw active participation of about 85 lakh party men. As part of measures to strengthen the party, the adminstrative structure of the party at the district level was revamped. District secretaries are powerful in the DMK and the structure was revamped to make it broad based and more accountable.The 35 party districts were reorganised as 65 districts and elections were completed in 60 such districts barring regions falling under Salem and Erode. Introduction of a new layer of party units at town panchayats, an intermediary level between branch and union was another important feature of the organisational polls.

Tamils protest against Salman Khan for supporting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Salman Khan
File Photo

The Tamil parties staged a protest outside Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s residence on Sunday and raised slogans against him for campaigning for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The angry supporters, who carried posters in their hands which read ‘Khan supporting a war criminal Srilankan president Rajapaksa’, demanded an apology from the actor for hurting the sentiments of Tamils. “We are doing this because he did not think about 20 crore Tamils. In the 2009 war around three lakh people died, he did not think about them. He went ahead to campaign for Rajapaksa along with his heroine Jacqueline Fernandez,” an angry protestor said. “We used to be a big fan of Salman Khan whenever any of his films used to come up in Mumbai. Now with his acts he has hurt us and we have removed him (Salman Khan) from our hearts. He shouldn’t go to Sri Lanka. We will protest until Salman Khan apologizes,” he added. According to reports, over ten people have been taken into preventive custody by the police following the incident. Salman has earned the ire of political parties in Tamil Nadu for agreeing to campaign for Rajapaksa in the upcoming elections to be held in Sri Lanka. The Bollywood actor accompanied his co-star Jacqueline Fernandez to Colombo to campaign for Rajapaksa. Also Read: DMK criticise Salman Khan for campaigning for Rajapaksa

MK Stalin offers to quit as his supporters want him to replace M Karunanidhi as party chief

MK. Stalin, the DMK treasurer and son of party president M. Karunanidhi, has offered to give up his post as his supporters want him to replace the former as the party president.According to reports, the decision comes in the backdrop of demands by his supporters for larger role for Stalin. Stalin, who is currently the treasurer, wanted the post of the DMK General Secretary, which is held by K Anbazhagan, but he was asked to continue as the treasurer.The filing of nominations for the post of DMK’s president, general secretary, treasurer and four audit committee members will take place on January 7. Earlier, in May 2014 Stalin had offered to give up his party post following the party’s rout in the Lok Sabha polls.The run-up to the Lok Sabha election saw a bitter fight in the party’s first family, leading to the dismissal of Stalin’s elder brother MK. Alagiri, the DMK south zone organising secretary.Founded in 1949, the DMK is one of India’s oldest parties.

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