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DMK seeks probe by sitting HC judge over Jayalalithaa’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a Madras High Court judge expressed doubts over the circumstances leading to the demise of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, DMK on Friday sought a comprehensive probe by a sitting HC judge into the death.”A comprehensive probe must be done by a sitting judge of the High Court and people should be told the truth,” DMK Treasurer M K Stalin said.Against the backdrop of the court raising questions, he said it was imperative for the government to come out comprehensively on the medical treatment provided to the former AIADMK chief.In a statement here, he said complete medical bulletins, video footage and photos of her getting treatment at the hospital should be released.Citing Justice Vaidyanathan’s observation yesterday that he may consider ordering exhumation of the body of the departed leader, he said “it is imperative for the government to release comprehensive information”.Stalin, who had earlier sought a white paper on the treatment given to Jayalalithaa, said there was no statement from the government ever since she was admitted to the hospital on September 22.He said the Centre and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had a duty to answer questions related to the treatment provided for the late leader. Doctors from Delhi’s AIIMS too had treated her, he said.If the ruling regime had explained the “true (health) status” of Jayalalithaa and released pictures of her getting treatment, the issue could not have reached the doorsteps of court, he said.He recalled a statement of his party chief Karunanidhi seeking release of pictures of Jayalalithaa being treated and said, “had the ruling side not viewed it from the prism of politics, the issue would not have come to such a pass”.Only such activities has cast a “cloud, giving room for suspicion,” among the people, he said, adding it was the right of the people to know about the treatment given to her and the circumstances leading to her death.

Mamata arrives in capital to attend joint Oppn meeting, Left to stay away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Raising the stakes in her fight against Modi government on demonetization, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrived in New Delhi to attend a meeting of opposition parties and a joint press conference tomorrow along with Congress, DMK, RJD and other parties.Mamata, who is spearheading the fight against demonetization, will be part of the joint opposition meeting, TMC sources said. Banerjee told reporters at the Kolkata airport, “The Congress has called me for the meeting. Let’s see what happens!” She will attend the media briefing at Constitution Club along with other Opposition leaders including representatives from DMK and RJD among others, sources added. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi are expected to attend the meeting.While the Left parties announced they are staying away, the JD(U) also gave hints that it may follow suit. A top TMC leader told PTI while reacting to CPI-M’s pull-out, said, “It is the CPI-M’s internal matter. But we feel that it is for them to decide on which side they are.” TMC chief will be in the capital for three days and expected to meet several leaders from different political hues during her stay.We want to highlight the hardships caused due to demonetization across the country, a senior TMC leader claimed. CPI(M) not to attendCracks appeared in the Opposition’s unity as the CPI(M) today decided to stay away from a press conference by the opposition parties convened by the Congress, citing “lack of coordination and consultation” among the participants. “We have decided to stay away from the press conference of opposition parties convened by the Congress because there has been no proper consultation and coordination among the parties,” CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury told a press conference here.”Most of the parties were neither consulted nor informed about what will be the agenda of the meeting. Several opposition parties have reservation about the way the meeting has been convened,” Yechury said.The Congress is striving for uniting the Opposition on the issue of Rahul Gandhi’s charges of “personal corruption” against the Prime Minister and plans are afoot for a joint press conference by its president Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders on December 27.Yechury said that a few days back he had received a call from the Congress leadership inviting him to the press conference on December 27. “But when I wanted to know what will be the agenda of the meeting, plan of action and whether all opposition parties have been called, I didn’t receive any answer,” Yechury said. On being asked if the decision to stay away would not provide ammunition to the BJP camp, Yechury said,” When you want to take the opposition unity of 16 parties from a Parliament level to a political level then you need to hold consultation and discussion with the political leadership. A decision should be taken on the basis of proper consultation.That was not done, which is unfortunate,” the veteran leader said.He noted that in order to take forward the unity of opposition parties, references should be taken from the efforts that the CPI(M) has taken during the 1996 United Front government and UPA-I government. Yechury wondered why only the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee was invited to the press conference and Chief Ministers of Tripura, Bihar, and the NCP leadership were not properly consulted. “Why are you only inviting Chief Minister of West Bengal and not calling CMs of Bihar, Tripura and other states which have non-BJP governments?” he questioned.

DMK supremo Karunanidhi discharged after undergoing tracheostomy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was discharged from a private hospital here after a week-long treatment for breathing difficulty caused by throat and lung infections, with doctors advising him complete rest.The course of antibiotics for the 93-year-old DMK chief has been completed and he has “recovered well” from breathing difficulty due to throat and lung infections, Executive Director of Kauvery Hospital Dr S Aravindan said.Karunanidhi was hospitalised on the night of December 15. The next day, he underwent tracheostomy to optimise breathing and the hospital had declared him as being stable.Dr Aravindan, in a statement today, said, “Doctors have advised him complete rest and restriction of visitors.” He said Karunanidhi needs tracheostomy tube for a few more weeks and added that medical and nursing care would continue to be provided at his home by the hospital.The DMK patriarch was given a warm welcome by senior party leaders and cadres when he arrived at his Gopalapuram residence. Earlier soon after his hospitalisation, there was a marked improvement in his condition and he even watched Rajinikanth blockbuster “Batcha” on his laptop.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, former Union Minister P Chidambaram, AIADMK leaders M Thambidurai and D Jayakumar, among several other leaders, had visited him during his hospitalisation.Karunanidhi was in the same hospital between December 1 and 7 for drug allergy treatment.On October 25, DMK had announced that Karunanidhi was suffering from allergy “caused by a medicine he has been using” and advised rest by doctors. Though active for his age, the veteran DMK leader is not seen regularly in public and has been reacting to key issues and developments through his statements.The DMK general council meet scheduled for December 20, where party treasurer M K Stalin was expected to be declared working president, had to be cancelled in view of Karunanidhi’s hospitalisation.The DMK chief also had to skip campaigning for the November 19 polls to three constituencies in Tamil Nadu and instead appealed to voters through a statement to vote for his party.

TN: DMK chief Karunanidhi’s health is improving, says Stalin

Mon, 19 Dec 2016-03:09pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ailing DMK leader M Karunanidhi is “improving” and his discharge from a private hospital will be decided in a day or two, his son and party treasurer MK Stalin said on Monday. Karunanidhi’s “health is improving well. A decision on his returning home will be taken in a day or two,” Stalin said in response to reporters’ queries. Karunanidhi was admitted to Kauvery Hospital here on the night of December 15 due to breathing difficulty caused by lung and throat infection. He later underwent a tracheostomy.Stalin earlier greeted party General Secretary and the No 2 in the ranks, K Anbazhagan, on turning 95, and heaped encomiums on him.

Karunanidhi is doing well, assures Stalin

Sun, 18 Dec 2016-11:00pm , Namakkal/Chennai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK chief Karunanidhi, who is undergoing treatment in Chennai for breathing difficulty caused by throat and lung infection, is doing well, party treasurer and the nonagenarian leader’s son M K Stalin said on Sunday. “Doctors treating Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) told me that the party chief is all right and asked me not to worry,” he said while addressing a function organised by the party at Namakkal for students. Stalin said doctors told him he could leave for Namakkal to attend the function as the “DMK chief is all right and doing well.”Karunanidhi was admitted to Kauvery Hospital here on the night of December 15 due to breathing difficulty caused by lung and throat infection. He later underwent a tracheotomy which helped him breathe freely. Meanwhile, a host of leaders including Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and Tamil Maanila Congress chief GK Vasan visited the hospital and enquired about the 92-year-old leader’s health. Actors Naser and Vishal and A M Vikramaraja of the traders federation were among others who visited the hospital.

Chennai: Rahul Gandhi to meet ailing Karunanidhi today

Sat, 17 Dec 2016-09:45am , Chennai , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will meet the ailing DMK president M Karunanidhi on Saturday, who underwent tracheostomy at the Kauvery Hospital here to optimise his breathing.On Thursday night, the former chief minister was admitted to the hospital for the second time in the last three weeks. He was first admitted to the same hospital on December 1 for optimisation of nutrition and hydration and was discharged after he improved substantially The hospital issued a statement saying Karunanidhi was readmitted with breathing difficulty due to throat and lung infection, adding that he was stable and being treated. Karunanidhi’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu Kanimozhi said that he had some lung infection and breathing difficulty, adding that he was much better now.

Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa: Power remains firmly in Poes Garden, for now

Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa: Power remains firmly in Poes Garden, for now

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J Jayalalithaa is dead and her party cadre is jostling to dive before Jaya’s aide V K Sasikala and touch her feet. What does this mean for party politics and does it matter all that much when the real test looms – elections? As political parties circle overhead, Sasikala rules from Poes Garden and O Panneerselvam does what he does best – keeping the peace and turning down the volume. The circumstances surrounding Jaya’s death remain shrouded in mystery, her super-fans are livid and the final word on the

Sasikala Natarajan rules from Poes Garden / PTISasikala Natarajan rules from Poes Garden / PTI

Sasikala Natarajan rules from Poes Garden / PTI

disproportionate assets case – the one in which Jaya and Sasikala were jailed – is still to come. Narayan Lakshman of The Hindu and Nikhila Natarajan catch up for a chat barely 500 mts from where Jayalalithaa lies buried, in a casket that’s been locked many times over with gold plated keys.

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 17:00 IST

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Karunanidhi hospitalised again with lung infection, breathing difficulty

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK President M Karunanidhi was admitted to a private hospital in Chennai late Thursday night for treatment of cold and indigestion, party sources said. The 93-year-old former Chief Minister was admitted to Kauveri hospital late tonight, they said. Karunanidhi’s admission in the same hospital comes about a week after he was discharged from there after undergoing treatment for drug-induced allergy. The DMK supremo’s daughter Kanimozhi told media persons outside the hospital, “He had some lung infection and breathing difficulty, he is much better.’Meanwhile, the hospital said Karunanidhi was readmitted with breathing difficulty due to throat and lung infection. “Treatment has been initiated to clear his infection. He is stable and is being treated by a team of doctors”, said Dr S Aravindan, Executive Director, Kauveri Hospital, in a statement.

DMK, AIADMK in catch 22 over leadership issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both the AIADMK and the DMK are in a piquant situation — have to amend the party constitution to elevate Sasikala and Karunanidhi’s son Stalin respectively for them to play a larger and key role. Senior AIADMK leaders including Chief Minister o Panneerselvam and his cabinet colleagues (most of whom double up as secretaries of the party’s district units) have urged Jayalalithaa’s aide V K Sasikala to take over the post of general secretary hitherto held by Jayalalithaa.In the last three days, they have met Sasikala often to press their demand so as to keep the party together. Panneerselvam has even given a statement asking her to lead the party as it required ‘military Discipline” and she knew the nuances of political moves to counter the opposition.A problem which the party has to surmount is the Constitution — Section 30 (5) of the AIADMK Rules and Regulations stipulates : Those who want to contest for the post of office beaers of the organisation should have been member of the party for five years without any break’. In December 2011, Sasikala and her close relatives as also her husband M Natarajan, were expelled from the AIADMK by Jayalalithaa. Sasikala was also asked to leave the Poe’s Garden residence of Jayalalithaa. It was only in April 2012 that Jayalalithaa took Sasikala back into the Garden.Though the date of her re-admission into the party is not known, it is possible that this too must have been in April 2012. Since it is only a little over four years since the re-entry of Sasikala, technically she cannot be considered for any post. Therefore, when the party general Council meets in April as is likely, it would have to amend the Constitution to reduce this period from five to four years or the Executive Committee can pass a resolution, making out a special case for Sasikala and get it ratified by the General Council later. Similarly, an amendment would be required to create a new post for Sasikala in case she opts for a post like Joint General Secretary or Additional General Secretary.Sasikala has so far not given any indication to the party leaders about her response to their request. Perhaps, all the district units and general Council members may be asked to sign a memorandum containing their request to Sasikala — for her to be sure of near–unanimous support, and to ensure it is a smooth affair. Meanwhile, the main opposition DMK is also grappling with legal and technical issues to elevate Stalin. While Stalin’s supporters have been urging his father to make him party President so as to inject some energy into the party, Karunanidhi seems to be reluctant to part with his own post . Karunanidhi realises that the moment he gives up the post of president, he would get sidelined. At the same time, he needs to give more importance to Stalin in order to get work done and to build the party.Those close to Karunanidhi have suggested that the post of a Working President be created for Stalin, which would ensure that Karunanidhi remains the President, even while meeting Stalin supporters half-way.The DMK has convened a meeting of its General Council on December 20. Although the agenda is not known, the elevation of Stalin is on the cards. The party needs the General Council to adopt a resolution and amend the Constitution to pave the way for Stalin. The AIADMK and the DMK are running on a parallel track these last few months. The leaders of both parties were hospitalized one after the other. Both parties are also facing the need to find new leadership. While AIADMK lost its leader, Karunanidhi needs rest.

Does Jayalalithaa’s death signal the fall of federalism in Indian democracy?

The death of J Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and supremo of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), calls for an assessment of her and the party’s political role in her times. AIADMK has always been considered to be “softer” on federalism, compared to its parent party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). For starters, the words ‘All India’ as part of the party name marks it out to be a party that while claiming the legacy of DK and DMK situates itself somewhat apart from that strain of Tamil politics that till the early 1960s had an independent Tamil Nadu (Dravida Nadu in its maximalist form) as part of its political programme. CN Annadurai and his DMK gave up this demand on Nehru’s request as well as the rising Indian nationalist jingoism in the wake of the Sino-Indian war.

J Jayalalithaa led the AIADMK for a period longer than the party founder M.G.Ramachandran did. Thus, the political programme of the AIADMK has a huge imprint of J Jayalalithaa herself. AIADMK has always been considered the party that grew out of Dravidian politics but went on to become a party of technocratic and welfarist governance where the Tamil nationalism plank was much subdued in iconography and rhetoric, compared to the DMK. However, such is the hold of Tamil nationalism, for which Indian analysts use the sanitized term “Dravidian politics”. On deciding the relationship of Tamil Nadu with the Indian Union, J Jayalalithaa’s political life and times bear a testimony to a commitment to federalism that may fall short in certain Tamil standards but more than surpasses much of what goes under the name of federalism in the rest of the Indian Union, in its conviction, consistency and steadfastness. An assessment of the role of J Jayalalithaa in Indian Union’s political space has to have federalism as the central axis in the light of which we will realize how important AIADMK has been to the rest of us — non-Tamils in non-Tamil lands. Very often, in the face of Union government’s steamrolling of state rights and grave assaults of the federal structure from New Delhi, the DMK or AIADMK government of Tamil Nadu has protested and stopped New Delhi’s anti-federal designs in its tracks when our own state governments have been muted at best and in a mode of groveling surrender at worst. For any non-Hindi state in the Indian Union, the stance on the question federalism is an important proxy about how much the politics and resource of a state are safeguarding the interest of the constituent ethno-linguistic nationalities of the Indian Union, and how much they are simply in on offer on plate in the service of the New Delhi establishment. Were they a voice of Delhi in their state or were they the voice of the state when speaking to New Delhi? As stated in the basic structure of the Indian Union, just like democracy and secularism, federalism is fundamental.

A woman walks in front of a portrait of Jayalalithaa, a former film actress and now head of the state opposition party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 2, 2009. India will hold a general election between April 16 and May 13, election officials said on Monday, kicking off a mammoth process in which 714 million people will be able to cast their votes. ReutersA woman walks in front of a portrait of Jayalalithaa, a former film actress and now head of the state opposition party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 2, 2009. India will hold a general election between April 16 and May 13, election officials said on Monday, kicking off a mammoth process in which 714 million people will be able to cast their votes. Reuters

A woman walks in front of a portrait of Jayalalithaa, a former film actress and now head of the state opposition party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 2, 2009. India will hold a general election between April 16 and May 13, election officials said on Monday, kicking off a mammoth process in which 714 million people will be able to cast their votes. Reuters

Ever since the transfer of power on 15th August 1947, the rights of the states have been continuously eroded. This has been done by continuous encroachment of the Union in state affairs, through legal and illegal methods. The favourite legal method has included constitutional amendments that have converted state list subjects into concurrent list subjects (thus giving the Union an upper hand in conflict situations), most infamously during the Emergency, when things as vital and grassroots based like education were snatched away from the state list through governments pliant and subservient to Indira Gandhi. Those changes have not been reversed. On the other side, there is not a single instance where something has been moved from the Union or concurrent list to the state list. In the extremely adverse atmosphere for federalism, against a unitary New Delhi that wants to amass power and reduce state governments to local implementation agencies for Union government policies, federalist parties (disparagingly called “regional” parties in certain media parlance, never mind that most of these “regional” parties have bigger support bases than most ruling parties of most independent countries worldwide) have always faced an uphill task. The difficulty of this task has been compounded by the fact that many “national” parties have state branches that are run by diktats from New Delhi and not by the opinion of the people of the state. New Delhi also plays a divide and rule game by giving preferential economic treatment to some federalist forces, so that a united front for federalism never emerges. This also reduces the engagement with the federalist temperament and ideology in these parties – jockeying for closeness to a “national” party that can disburse goodies becomes the principal aim. The sad situation of the Akali Dal (now the Shiromani Akali Dal), one of the original torchbearers of federalism being reduced to a BJP appendage that rarely barks and never bites, is a case in point. It is in this context that J Jayalalithaa’s contributions to federalism, has to be evaluated because it is not easy to do federalist politics in the Indian Union. All undemocratic lobbies like big media and big corporate money is stacked against it.

When the UPA 2 tried to erode state rights of law and order maintenance by its infamous National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) plan, J Jayalalithaa, along with Mamata Banerjee was in the forefront in the defence of federalism, calling out the violation of state rights that NCTC entailed. She put it succinctly, “There can be no uniform pattern in policing in the country as each state has its own distinct cultural, communal, social and economic aspects. Trying to intimidate and browbeat the states through top down structures particularly when ‘Police’ is a state subject is not acceptable. In other words, there are continuous veiled attempts by the Centre to weaken the states with too much interference which is detrimental to the national interest. Endeavoring to encroach on state powers either by creating parallel authorities monitored from the Centre or vicarious operations of state police powers through creation of Centre monitored caucuses within the states, as was envisaged in the Railway Protection Force, National Counter Terrorism Centre etc., to say the least, are contraventions of the constitutional provisions which accord the ‘Police’ priority status in the state list. The way things are evolving with the creation of the NIA and NCTC and the proposed amendments to the RPF Act and the BSF Act, we seem to be headed towards an autocracy consisting of a government of the Centre, by the Centre, for the Centre”. Its an alarm that is still relevant and we can chose to ignore it at our own peril.

Tamil Nadu is probably the worst sufferer of centralized powers of the Union government when it comes to economic matters. This industrial powerhouse produces huge revenue, much of which is grabbed by New Delhi, which then uses it to subsidize Hindi states as well as Afspa states. Almost 3 decades ago, J Jayalalithaa pointed out this undue suffering of Tamil Nadu and other Dravidian states which all suffer similarly in the hands of New Delhi as a Rajya Sabha MP as thus, “Where the northern states of India are concerned, whichever political party has been the ruling party in power at the Centre has also been the ruling party in those states all along. If no industries have been started in those northern states all these years, certainly Tamil Nadu or any of the other southern states cannot be blamed for this deplorable state of affairs. If no industries have been developed in so many districts of the northern states, that is entirely due to the gross inefficiency and glaring acts of omission of the governments of those states. Why should Tamil Nadu have to pay the penalty for this gross negligence and maladministration on the part of those north Indian state governments? Indeed, why should all the four southern states be penalised for no fault of theirs?”

In 2014, just one day after taking power in New Delhi, BJP went overdrive with its ideological Hindi imposition game plan. The Union Home Ministry passed a directive that said that officials of all ministries, departments, corporations or banks “should use Hindi” in all social media platforms. The directive said that Hindi and English can both be used but Hindi has to be “written above or first.” This slyly makes Hindi compulsory and English optional and is a naked case of Hindi imposition on non Hindi people. J Jayalalithaa, as premier of Tamil Nadu, wrote to Narendra Modi, protesting this. M Karunanidhi also lodged a strong protest. Faced with leaders who would call a spade a spade on issues of Hindi imposition, Union Home Ministry hurriedly issued a clarification that the order only applied to Hindi states. Time and again, Union ministries, especially those associated with education like MHRD and their agencies like UGC pass directives that seek to impose Hindi on non-Hindi people. In these dark moments of assault on non-Hindi people’s culture, language and identity, J Jayalalithaa has stood as a watchdog, often lodging the first protest and making sure that these Hindi imposition schemes are thwarted in her own Tamil homeland. These powers of MHRD stem from the fact that education was moved to concurrent list from state list during Emergency. In the 2016 Inter State Council meeting, J Jayalalithaa sent a note that demanded the return of education into the state list. The dangers of ‘Hindi-isation’ and ‘CBSE-isation’ of education in the Indian Union is a danger that was brought forth by the recent debate around NEET where J Jayalalithaa batted for linguistic equality, Tamil rights and for state boards.

J Jayalalithaa has on and off voiced support for a sovereign Tamil Eelam, though there has been good amount of inconsistency on this issue. One must not forget that the draconian Article 356 was imposed on the DMK government of Tamil Nadu in the wake of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and the AIADMK did not really protest the imposition of Delhi rule on Tamil Nadu. If at all, it supported it. Nonetheless, J Jayalalithaa has made important signals for the greater Tamil nationalist cause – signifying that the Tamil national identity is something that is not limited by the confines of the Indian Union. For example, she famously declared that all seven convicts serving life sentences for their role in the conspiracy leading to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination would be eventually released. It is probably true that these stances came from the urge to cash in on the huge surge in anger against the DMK for their inaction during the Government of India assisted decimation of the Tamil national resistance in Sri Lanka by the Sinhalese Army. Still, these were important steps that make pan Tamil solidarity politics mainstream again. Till her death, she disallowed any sports event in Tamil Nadu that had the Sri Lankan team as participant. She showed time and again that in a multi-national federal union, specific state realities have to be taken account in terms of foreign policy. This is an important lesson for the future.

During the present regime at New Delhi, she opposed the coercive federalism being practiced by the Union government when it came to implementing the National Food Security Act (NFSA) or joining UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojna). During her long illness this year, with O.Panneerselvam and bureaucrats in charge, the Tamil Nadu government chose to bend on both NFSA and UDAY. These are ominous signs of days to come and might explain the chemistry that Jayalalithaa-less AIADMK leadership seems to be developing with the BJP.

As her final stamp on the question of federalism and state rights, she dictated Tamil Nadu’s position on GST. Tamil Nadu not only stood to lose revenue, it was also a matter of principle since after GST is implemented, a state cannot raise its own tax rates according to its own fiscal and economic realities. J Jayalalithaa rightly saw this right to change tax rates and hence change revenue generation as part of the basic structure of the constitution is so far as federal structure is a basic structure of the constitution, unchangeable by the Union parliament. Which is why, in the Rajya Sabha, the AIADMK did not vote for or against the GST bill. They walked out. Before they did, the AIADMK MP A Navaneethakrishnan said, “I would like to humbly submit that this Constitution (Amendment) Bill is not valid. It is not Constitutional because it violates the States’ fiscal autonomy….Sir, my humble submission is that democracy and federalism are the basic features of the Indian Constitution. Now, this Bill violates the basic structure of the Constitution; particularly, it encroaches upon the right of Tamil Nadu Assembly to pass laws with regard to levy of taxes. So, it is unconstitutional…My humble submission to this august House is that the Constitutional Bill is not a validly enacted law because I am of the view that this Parliament, this Council of States, has no jurisdiction or the legislative competence to enact this Constitutional Bill as it violates the federal structure of our Constitution…So, now, the proposal by the Central Government is unfair, arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal”. That was J Jayalalithaa’s will and opinion voiced through her party MP. With the demise of J Jayalalithaa, we have lost a voice that posed a fundamental critique of the state of affairs and the state of association called the Indian Union.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 17:34 IST

Karunanidhi discharged from hospital, but won’t meet people

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK Chief M Karunanidhi has been advised rest and will not meet people as he has been asked to remain cautious against contracting any infection following his discharge from a private hospital in Chennai, the party said on Thursday. “Although Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) has returned from Kauvery Hospital after receiving treatment for the past few days, doctors have advised he should take rest for a few more days and that he be careful and cautious against contracting any infection till then,” the party said in a statement.Therefore, DMK workers and Karunanidhi’s friends have been advised not to pay a visit to the the 93 year-old leader, it said and sought cooperation from them in this regard. Karunanidhi was discharged from Kauvery hospital in Chennai on Wednesday after a week-long treatment for nutritional and hydration support.The former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was admitted there on December 1 after being treated at home for a drug-induced allergy. “After medical treatment, he has improved substantially and was discharged from the hospital today,” Kauvery Hospital Executive Director Dr S Aravindan had said on Wednesday.
ALSO READ Karunanidhi discharged from hospital; advised restHe had said that the hospital will continue to assess and provide necessary medical and nursing care to facilitate the DMK chief’s recuperation at home. The drug-induced allergy has virtually kept Karunanidhi out of public activities for the past one month.

Who will head AIADMK after Jayalalithaa’s death?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the death of its most charismatic leader, the question that is engaging the AIADMK leaders, cadre and others is who will now head the party after Jayalalithaa and whether it could be her close aide Sasikala.Filling the void may not be quite easy given the absence of a second line of leadership and the absence of any “heir” identified by the late leader, who had the party under her total command.An indication of things to come may be had from the fact that Chief Minister O Panneerselvam held two-hour long discussions with Sasikala, who is widely perceived to be a power centre in the party, more so after Jayalalithaa’s death.Sasikala’s supporters in the party claim that she should be the “natural choice,” for the post of General Secretary held by Jayalalithaa, not all others are willing to concede it. Her mentor MGR had held the post from the party’s inception in 1971 till his death in 1987. Sasikala’s supporters say that she had been Amma’s “aide, sister, friend and confidante,” for 30 years through Jayalalithaa’s “ups and downs.” With O Panneerselvam taking over as Chief Minister, she should be the “ideal choice,” they say.A senior party functionary requesting anonymity said, “go back in history and make your own inference if Amma’s loyalists and people will accept her (Sasikala).” He recalled Jayalalithaa expelling Sasikala twice from the party, once in 1996 after the AIADMK’s electoral drubbing and in 2011 months after the party wrested power again from DMK. Such factors had cast a shadow on her as a potential choice to lead the party, he said.He said Amma herself had announced in 1996 that she was distancing herself from Sasikala and her family to respect the wishes of partymen. Sasikala’s expulsion came against the background of allegations of corruption during the 1991-96 AIADMK regime. The DMK government had arrested Jayalalitha and Sasikala and filed cases against them.It was also in deference to a public perception that AIADMK was routed in the 1996 Assembly polls only because of Jayalalithaa’s association with Sasikala and her kin.In particular, the extravagant wedding of Jayalalithaa’s foster son VN Sudhakaran, since disowned, in 1995 as among the reasons for her expulsion.On December 19, 2011, Sasikala, her husband M Natarajan, and 12 others who were their close relatives were expelled from the primary membership of the party. Sasikala, who was staying with Jayalalithaa in her Poes Garden residence was also made to move out. However, on both instances, the expulsion was revoked in a matter of months and Sasikala made a comeback winning back the trust of Amma. Called “Chinnamma,” (Younger Amma) by her supporters she undoubtedly wielded significant clout in the party and continues to do so. The question is whether her role will be formalised now.Political analyst Gnani Shankaran said people knew that Sasikala was a “power centre” in AIADMK even while Jayalalithaa was alive. Asked if people would accept her as AIADMK chief, in the role previously held by Jayalalithaa, he said,”it would be known only during elections.” An AIADMK former Minister said, “we are not thinking about it now…we are in mourning…where is the hurry about all that…it is not something that can be decided by holding discussions with journalists or the media.” Without going deep into the issue, he said there are several deserving contenders in any party for any position.The question of who should be elected as General Secretary had to go through several stages at multiple levels like a general council meeting, he added. Coimbatore party workers said the western belt of Tamil Nadu (called “Kongunadu” in Tamil), “actually propelled” the prospects of party in several elections and it has senior leaders like K A Sengottaiyan and M Thambidurai from the region.While Sengottaiyan was a staunch MGR and Jayalalithaa loyalist, he stood behind Amma when she began piecing together the party after AIADMK founder chief MGR’s death in 1987, they said.Mentioning the name of Thambidurai, they said he was similarly a long-time follower of Amma, who was chosen by her for the post of Deputy Lok Sabha speaker like MGR did in 1985.Party workers from Madurai region including Theni cited names of “grassroots leaders” including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s name. Like the Western belt, the AIADMK has an edge over DMK in Madurai and its neighbouring districts given its core support base among the dominant caste group of Mukkulathor. Though there are other names including those belonging to the “old school” of the party like Panruti S Ramachandran, it is unlikely that their names could gain traction given the present party dynamics, they said.

DMK chief Karunanidhi discharged from hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief Karunanidhi was on Wednesday discharged from the Kauvery hospital.He was admitted on December 1 for dehydration and allergy related issues.The hospital in a statement said that Karunanidhi has improved substantially after medical treatment.”All his vital signs and biochemical parameters have normalised now. He has been advised rest and Kauvery Hospital will continue to assess and provide the necessary medical and nursing care to facilitate his recuperation at home,” it added.The DMK chief was reportedly down with allergy-related ailment for over a month.

Soul searching

J Jayalalitha’s sudden death has left a political vacuum in Tamil Nadu’s politics.

Karunanidhi discharged from hospital; advised rest

Thu, 8 Dec 2016-12:16am , Chennai , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK chief M Karunanidhi was discharged on Wednesday from a private hospital in Chennai after a week-long treatment for nutritional and hydration support.The 93-year-old former Tamil Nadu chief minister was admitted to the Kauvery Hospital on December 1 after being treated at home for a drug-induced allergy. “After medical treatment, he has improved substantially and was discharged from the hospital today,” Kauvery Hospital Executive Director Dr S Aravindan said.In a statement, he said the DMK chief’s vital signs and bio-chemical parameters have normalised now. “He has been advised rest and Kauvery Hospital will continue to assess and provide necessary medical and nursing care to facilitate his recuperation at home,” he said. The drug-induced allergy has virtually kept Karunanidhi out of public activities for the past one month.

Jayalalithaa’s legacy could help Panneerselvam prevent an AIADMK meltdown

Do leaders matter in politics? This is a question that plagues the minds whenever a powerful leader, having his or her distinct personalised (autocratic) style of functioning, dies while in office. It is only natural then, that many are interested in knowing the fate of Tamil Nadu politics, economy and social equations in the wake of the demise of its celebrated chief minister Jayalalithaa.

Jayalalithaa was not an ordinary leader. She was governing a state where the cult of personality politics has been an accepted phenomenon. It may be a little harsh to describe her as autocratic, but not many will dispute the fact that her style of governance was a little imperious. In that regard, speculations on the future of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) regime in the aftermath of the death of its topmost leader is perfectly understandable.

Of course, there cannot be any satisfactory answer to a question on the degree of relevance of leaders in human history. In itself, this question has always been ‘unsettled’. On one hand, we have thinkers like Karl Marx, who argued that leaders can merely choose from options that are strictly limited by factors far beyond their control and philosophers like Tolstoy, for whom leaders are merely artefacts to “explain events completely beyond their influence.”

Thousands attended the funeral of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa's funeral on Tuesday. PTIThousands attended the funeral of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa's funeral on Tuesday. PTI

Thousands attended the funeral of former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa’s funeral on Tuesday. PTI

Whatever be the case, in genuine democracies, leadership transition is not a big issue as executive influence is typically moderated by independent legislative and judicial powers. On the other hand, however, there are stories of how leaders like Lenin, Roosevelt, Gandhi, Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Deng changed the history of mankind.

Be that as it may, there have been many scholarly works explaining what happens to a country when a strong leader dies. Of course, most of these studies deal with leaders who ruled a country; not a state or province as was the case with Jayalalithaa. However, lessons emerging from these studies are no less relevant in understanding the present scenario in Tamil Nadu in the aftermath of her death.

According to these studies, the consequences on the polity and economy depend on many related factors: The tenure of power of the departed leader and its stability (or lack of it); the manner of his or her coming to power (democratic elections, coup d’etat, or inherited position); the succession plan (or its absence); the resources (of the state or the country – rich or poor) and who controlled them (state-run interests, by oligarchs or by a small number of investors).

In their review of 79 authoritarian leaders (dictators) who have died in office from 1946 to 2014, Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Erica Frantiz found that a majority of the regimes persisted after the autocrats’ death. Research by Benjamin F Jones and Benjamin A Olken – spanning 1,108 different leaders from 130 countries, covering essentially every nation from 1945 to 2000 (Cancers, heart attacks, strokes, and deaths by other natural causes took sixty-five of those leaders while in office. Another twelve died in accidents fiery, watery, and even equestrian) – also led to the same conclusion. Some features of their findings are worth noting.

If an autocratic or strong leader had been in power for long, he or she leaves behind a group of trusted colleagues or inner circle elites who enjoyed power along with the leader. These old guards have vested interests, in the aftermath of the death of the leader, to coalesce around a new successor rather than engage in political bickering and infighting. Failure to do so endangers their privileged access to power. In fact, since they were long used to run the system during the rule of the departed leader, they know how to maintain the status quo and add to the resilience of the regime.

On the other hand, whoever emerges as the new leader would not like to provoke resistance from the “old guard”, because these elements know how to maintain control over the levers of power and carry on the status quo or the legacy of the departed leader by distributing benefits to citizens (populist subsidies) and promoting the party’s ideology. All told, many personalised regimes rule with the aid of a political party. The new leader, therefore, is invariably encouraged by the old guard to co-opt people from the rival parties or groups by incentivising them to participate in the system.

In more senses than one, these features are very much visible in Tamil Nadu today. Belying all sorts of apprehension, there has been a smooth succession of power. New Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was one of the prominent inner-circle elites of Jayalalithaa and he is unlikely to disturb the “old guard” or deprive them of sharing the power in a state which is quite unlike Bihar or Uttar Pradesh. Tamil Nadu’s reputation is that of a state where populism, autocratic administrations and widespread corruption (common to both the DMK and AIDMK governments) have coexisted with economic growth and human development.

All told, Tamil Nadu is one of India’s richer and better-governed states, along with Maharashtra and Gujarat. So sharing power and privilege (inequitably though) along with the leader has never been an issue. Ironically, Tamil Nadu’s economic growth and development has been greatly facilitated by its autocratic or imperious leadership (in this DMK supremo Karunanidhi is not far behind the late MG Ramachandranor or Jayalalithaa).

The ‘near-deity’ status of the leader in Tamil Nadu has resulted in a streamlined decision-making process, leading to political stability and economic progress. And as has been consistent with a body of research, a country or state with political stability and growing economy rarely finds any problem or discontent during a leadership transition. Besides, as a constituent of democratic India, Tamil Nadu’s executive head is also under some limitations imposed by an independent judiciary, let alone a vibrant media.

The moral of the story is thus clear. The risk posed by a sudden vacancy in the leadership in Tamil Nadu does not mean that it is guaranteed to see a period of instability or that it won’t improve under new leadership. Therefore, various speculations suggesting that the AIADMK will disintegrate; that the opposition DMK will form a new government with one of the breakaway factions of the ruling party; that Sasikala, the departed leader’s long-standing friend, will not allow Panneerselvam smooth functioning; and that Panneerselvam can only survive through the Central government’s support by becoming a ‘yes-man’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, may well prove to be premature.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 21:36 IST

Amma laid to rest: Post Jayalalithaa, where does Tamil Nadu’s political future lie?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jayalalithaa’s death has brought Tamil Nadu’s political arena to the crossroads. While the ruling AIADMK was generally at least five per cent ahead of its main rival DMK during MGR’s rule, and later during her reign as well, the death of the AIADMK supremo is now being seen as a great leveller. Analysts believe it could bring unexpected, windfall gains for the DMK, and bring it closer to the strength of the ruling party.The 2016 Assembly elections already saw a close fight between the AIADMK and the DMK, with the former polling just 1 per cent more votes than the DMK. The AIADMK scraped through with 137 seats in the 234-member House (including three by-elections won recently), with the DMK coming a close second with 89 seats.In the next elections, the AIADMK will be without its main vote-catcher, Jaya, and will also lack a charismatic leader. O Panneerselvam, elected chief minister in her place, can run the government with the help of officials, but can he deliver an electoral victory, is the big question.The AIADMK will have to hope that the MGR vote-bank will be supplemented by a Jayalithaa vote-bank. Any erosion in the Jaya vote-bank could rob the party of a decisive political edge.On the other hand, the DMK is also facing a crisis as its president M Karunanidhi too is unwell (he is undergoing treatment in another hospital) and he may not be around for the next Assembly elections which are due in 2021.Karunanidhi is reluctant to hand over the party reins to his son and Leader of the Opposition, MK Stalin and is trying to bring his other son, M K Alagiri, back into the party. However, he continues to face resistance from Stalin. The party chief also has to balance family equations in the party to placate his daughter and MP, Kanimozhi, as well. The party is gripped by internal strife and rumblings in the family continue. For the DMK to successfully overtake the AIADMK, it has to showcase unity in the party. But this is still a far cry.On the national front, the BJP and the Congress are both looking for some opportunity to renew an alliance with the AIADMK. Jayalalithaa’s bold and risky stand of going it alone in the 2014 LS polls and 2016 Assembly elections may not be followed by the new dispensation in the AIADMK. It may bank on the options exercised in the past of an alliance to ensure the defeat of the DMK.This is where PM Modi will sense a chance to drive a bargain with an AIADMK which he will perceive as having been weakened considerably by the absence of Jaya.The Congress too senses an opportunity here. The AICC had appointed former AIADMK minister S Thirunavukkarasar as its party chief in Tamil Nadu a few months ago with the main objective of building bridges with the AIADMK. Now that Jayalalithaa is no more, the Congress will try to use past links with Sasikala and her husband Natarajan to revive an alliance with the AIADMK for the 2019 LS polls.The party, which drew a blank in Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, could then hope to substantially improve its position in the next elections in 2019 and try to form the government. Tamil Nadu has always been a key state in government formation at the Centre. This is why both the principal national parties are bound to woo the AIADMK.The Left parties and the MDMK too hope that they could strike an alliance with the AIADMK for the next elections. Thus, all these parties have something to hope for with the recent turn of events in the party.All of these ifs and buts depend on Sasikala. Sasikala, who will call the shots in the government as a de facto chief minister, could also take up a key party post to enable direct intervention in party affairs and to have total command of the party. Party insiders say that Sasikala could be the next general secretary of the AIADMK. This post has now fallen vacant with the death of Jayalalithaa.Sasikala’s husband, Natarajan, could also be given a party post. This former government employee has a keen political insight, and said is to be the brain behind Sasikala. However, Jayalalithaa had kept him at a distance and would not allow him to enter her Poes Garden residence. Sasikala could now suggest that the party may make use of his services.In the past, both MGR and Jaya held both posts – that of CM and party general secretary. On Monday, the party merely elected O Panneerselvam as the Legislature Party leader for him to take over the chief ministership. The party is silent on the question of the general secretary’s post.In the past, the hand of Sasikala (who belongs to the Thevar community) was seen in some appointments (especially Thevars for important government posts or in selection of candidates for elections). This time round, she may want to play a more direct role.Analysts believe that Sasikala is likely to drive a hard bargain with both the BJP and Congress. For instance, the Disproportionate Assets case is still pending in the Supreme Court against Jayalalithaa. Sasikala, and two of her relatives, are also accused in this case.Although the case was originally filed by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption during the DMK’s rule, it was then shifted to Karnataka on a petition filed by the DMK. Thus, the appeal against the Karnataka HC judgment, setting aside the conviction of Jaya, Sasikala and others, was filed by the Karnataka government. Will the Congress chief minister in Karnataka help Sasikala in getting a clean chit from the Supreme Court? Will the BJP government at the Centre help Sasikala with regard to this case? The answers to these questions may indicate the path that the AIADMK is likely to take in the near future.The AIADMK is likely to take a stand on ties with other parties only after the SC verdict in the DA case, especially with relation to Sasikala and members of her family. Till then, the party most probably will pursue a policy of equidistance from other parties.The prospect of alliances with other minor parties in the State may also get a fresh impetus as the AIADMK may bank on a safety-first policy rather than try to take on all parties as in 2014 and 2016. In the ruling AIADMK, a sense of pragmatism and realism may determine its future policies.

Jayalalithaa-Karunanidhi rivalry: How a poet and an actress ruled the state

Best remembered as her political rival, DMK leader M Karunanidhi — himself hospitalised — condoled the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who passed away at Chennai’s Apollo Hospitals on Monday night.

“I offer deep condolences on the passing away of Jayalalithaa. Wishes of lakhs of her followers will make her immortal,” Karunanidhi said.

The DMK patriarch’s tribute sounds gregarious, but for those in the know when it comes to Tamil Nadu politics, the two were fierce adversaries; opposing titans in Dravidian politics, post the MGR era. To revisit their rivalry, one would first have to visit their entry into politics, which takes root in the Dravidian movement, something that still holds good with any political party in Tamil Nadu. (Case in point, the DMK, AIADMK, MDMK, DMDK)

File image of Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. ReutersFile image of Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. Reuters

File image of Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi. Reuters

It all started with the emergence of a series of non-Brahmin conferences in the then Madras Presidency in the 1900s, which gave rise to the Justice Party, established in 1916 by Dr TM Nair, P Theagaraya Chettiar and Dr C Natesa Mudaliar — who also to their credit have roads named after them in Chennai. The seeds sown by the Justice Party along with the Self Respect Movement started by EV Periyar took formidable shape in the late 19th century — in 1938, The Indian Express reports, the Justice Party and the Self Respect Movement came together to form the Dravida Kazhagam, which aimed to serve as an anti-Brahmin, anti-Congress and an anti-North Indian outfit. This was mainly to counter the Rajagopalachari-led Congress’ move to impose Hindi in the state; DK then launched the anti-Hindi agitations of 1937-40. (Hindi is still a thorn in Tamil Nadu’s flesh)

Annadurai, who became the party’s first general secretary, left the DK after he differed with Periyar on India’s independence and formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1949. The DMK further split in 1972 when actor-turned-politician MG Ramachandran (MGR) was expelled from the party, writes Frontline, following differences between him and M Karunanidhi, primarily a screenwriter and an orator, who served as party president. MGR went on to launch the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK), which later took on the prefix of ‘All India’ during the Emergency. The AIADMK did split into two factions following MGR’s death, one led by the wife Janaki Ramachandran and the other by Jayalalithaa and in 1989 the two factions merged.

History aside, Karunanidhi is known to have built his political career on his oratorical flourishes — his fiery speeches sometimes leave nothing to the imagination or a whole lot, they provoke with the pulse of a fiery rhetoric. This piece in Fountain Ink describes the public craze surrounding Karunanidhi’s poetry.

“There were times when scores of people would pour out of their homes to hear Karunanidhi’s poetry, see MGR and Jayalalithaa.”

In fact, he earned his sobriquet Kalaignar because he spoke “Tamil with a poetic fervour and his skills in oratory and writing  were widely appreciated”, writes Vaasanthi in Cut-outs, Caste and Cines Stars. It is also known that Karunanidhi, born into a poor Isai Vellalar family (members who nurtured arts and music), took pride in being called Kalaignar. The Caravan, in a splendid profile of him and his family, writes that his father “introduced him to the epics, oral stories and music”. But it was really his work for the Sivaji Ganesan-starrer Parasakthi that catapulted him into fame. Adapted from the eponymous play, Karunanidhi was signed to write the script.

Randor Guy writes for The Hindu that, “the powerful writing of Karunanidhi, the atheistic stance, the performance of the unknown newcomer all this and more took the world by storm”. Parasakthi not only made Sivaji famous but also Karunanidhi; the latter used films as a medium to spread the party’s ideology, which still pays the dividends for DMK. His speeches drew crowds and how!

Sample this poem by Karunanidhi where he describes his body as a sacrifice to Tamil people, “if you dash me against the rocks, I will break into the flakes of a coconut; you can pick these up and eat them, and rejoice”. Further, out of his great devotion to Tirukkural, Karunanidhi even built a monument for Tiruvalluvar, Valluvar Kottom, in Chennai.

Contrast this with the late Jayalalithaa, who started out as an actress — a glamorous entry that shot her to fame — only to make herself less attractive and grow into a matriarchal role, of that as ‘Amma’. Vaasanthi reinforces this view in her biography of Jayalalithaa, writing that the latter consciously set out to “de-glamourise her appearance, perhaps in an attempt to wipe out the stigma attached to her as an actress”. It was exactly this “stigma” that drew in crowds for the AIADMK: A party conference at Cuddalore was organised, and it was no surprise that the whole town gathered to hear the star speaker deliver her maiden political speech. “They mainly came to see a pretty face, and were instead treated to an impressive, fiery oration,” Vaasanthi writes.

Perhaps enjoying the rush, Jayalalithaa joined the AIADMK in June 1982; the DMK described the event as “Cuddalore cabaret” in its mouthpiece.

However, after she became AIADMK’s party secretary she stuck to a simple white sari sans jewellery, and instead stepping up her oratorical game. Her emotionally-charged speeches always contained the trademark questions — “neengal seiveerhala (Will you fulfill it)?” asking the crowd whether they would vote for AIADMK and defeat the opposition. The other thing that usually worked in favour of Jayalalithaa is the elevation to a near-goddess status and her projection of an emotional attachment to the late MGR — as someone who carried forward his legacy.

Jayalalitha’s photograph has also frequently been superimposed onto various images of the goddess in AIADMK propaganda material, especially that of her being depicted as the Virgin Mary in posters commissioned for her 47th birthday.

The incident that stemmed their enmity finds its base in the shameful attempt to disrobe Jayalalithaa in 1989 in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly where Jayalalithaa accused the DMK of harassing her and tapping her phones. Karunanidhi retorted with a reportedly unfavourable remark that made Jayalalithaa furious and caused a ruckus in the Assembly. As the speaker adjourned the House and Jayalalithaa was making her exit, Duraimurugan clutched her sari and tried to pull it. She then vowed to never step foot inside the Assembly until she won the next election and until conditions were made favourable for women. In 1991, AIADMK triumphed DMK and took 224 seats, while the latter was reduced to a single digit, seven.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 14:13 IST

Jayalalithaa and the ‘Amma’ brand of schemes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Freebies galore and populist schemes under the popular ‘Amma’ brand became the hallmark of late Jayalalithaa’s tenure as Chief Minister, helping her steamroll arch-rival M Karunanidhi’s DMK in this year’s Assembly polls.From the Amma canteens to Amma gymnasiums and parks, the brand became synonymous with her name. Karunanidhi may have revolutionised the freebies culture in Tamil Nadu but Jayalalithaa mastered the art right under his nose, showering a slew of freebies in 2011 and 2016 on voters.However, Jayalalithaa always took exception to the term ‘freebies’ and chose to call them free of cost, insisting that the populist schemes were aimed only at helping the lower rung masses. In the battle of freebies that intensified in 2006, Karunanidhi’s masterstroke of free colour TV scheme among others launched DMK into the ruling saddle but in 2011 and 2016, Jayalalithaa emerged triumphant wooing voters with her own brand of welfare schemes.Combined with anti-incumbency, Jayalalithaa checkmated Karunanidhi in the 2011 elections with a slew of announcements including providing free rice, laptops to students, milch cows and goats, mixer-grinder, and gold for ‘thali’ (mangal sutra) and pushed DMK into the third place in the Assembly, making then ally DMDK main opposition. Jayalalithaa further consolidated her welfare icon image with her Amma brand subsidy-oriented schemes like Amma Canteen, Amma Mineral Water, Amma cement and Amma salt.During the 2016 elections, Jayalalithaa expanded her populist portfolio, including free 100 units of power for domestic users, free mobile phones and 50% subsidy for women to buy two-wheelers.She subsequently led her party to a historic successive term in May 2016 Assembly polls, breaking a 32-year-old jinx where a ruling party could seldom retain power.

Jayalalithaa no more: Tracing the dramatic rise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

Emotions are running high in Tamil Nadu, as Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, battles grave illness in Chennai’s Apollo Hospital. Being a state that is known for cult-politics and demigod like adoration of its political leaders, the fervour around Jayalalithaa’s health only underlines the popularity and affection the actor-turned politician enjoys amid her people. It was her charisma as an actor, and later as a politician that enabled her to step into the shoes of her political mentor MG Ramachandran, and command single-handed control of one of Tamil Nadu’s main political parties — the AIADMK.

Here is a brief timeline of the important events that shaped the political career of a leader, who went on to become the most powerful woman in the state politics.

A woman walks in front of a portrait of Jayalalithaa, a former film actress and now head of the state opposition party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 2, 2009. India will hold a general election between April 16 and May 13, election officials said on Monday, kicking off a mammoth process in which 714 million people will be able to cast their votes. REUTERS/Babu (INDIA)A woman walks in front of a portrait of Jayalalithaa, a former film actress and now head of the state opposition party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 2, 2009. India will hold a general election between April 16 and May 13, election officials said on Monday, kicking off a mammoth process in which 714 million people will be able to cast their votes. REUTERS/Babu (INDIA)

Tamil Nadu remains on edge as people pray for speedy recovery of Jayalalithaa. The doctors have said that her situation remains grave, and the next 90 hours are critical. Reuters

1948: Born on 24 February in Melukote town in Mysuru district, Karnataka.

1961: Starts film career as child actress. Her only English movie, Epistle, was the first she started shooting for.

1965: Debuts as lead actress in Tamil with Vennira Aadai. In the same year, acts opposite future political mentor MG Ramachandran.

1980: Acts in her last Tamil movie, Nadhiyai Thedi Vandha Kadal, as female lead.

1982: Becomes member of MGR’s AIADMK party. Addresses first public gathering in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.

1983: Appointed AIADMK’s propoganda secretary and campaigns in Thiruchendur by-election.

1984: Rift with MGR widens; stripped from several party posts.

1987: MGR death divides AIADMK — one faction supports MGR’s wife Janaki Ramachandran and the other Jayalalithaa.

1988: Janaki becomes Tamil Nadu chief minister, but rule ends in 21 days; the state comes under President’s Rule.

1989: The DMK sweeps state polls; Janaki offers to quit AIADMK, clearing path for Jaya’s accession.

In the same year, DMK and AIADMK clash in Tamil Nadu Assembly hall; Jayalalithaa swears to step inside Assembly again only as chief minister.

1991: AIADMK-Congress thrashes DMK in polls; Jayalalithaa becomes chief minister for the first time.

1996: AIADMK routed in elections; Jayalalithaa gets arrested in a corruption case; 48 cases slapped on her and aide Sasikala.

2001: Makes second return as chief minister; party appoints her as chief minister but SC unseats her; O Paneerselvam named chief minister.

2003: Allowed to contest elections; wins from Andipatti, becomes chief minister again.

2006 Defeated by DMK alliance in polls; serves as Leader of Opposition till 2011.

2011 Returns as chief minister for the third time; rift with Sasikala widens.

2014 Convicted by court in disproportionate assets case; sentenced to four years in prison with Rs 100 crore fine.

2016 Jayalalithaa elected for a consecutive second term.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 02:11 IST

J Jayalalithaa: Tracing the dramatic rise of the Tamil Nadu chief minister

Emotions are running high in Tamil Nadu, as Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, battles grave illness in Chennai’s Apollo Hospital. Being a state that is known for cult-politics and demigod like adoration of its political leaders, the fervour around Jayalalithaa’s health only underlines the popularity and affection the actor-turned politician enjoys amid her people. It was her charisma as an actor, and later as a politician that enabled her to step into the shoes of her political mentor MG Ramachandran, and command single-handed control of one of Tamil Nadu’s main political parties — the AIADMK.

Here is a brief timeline of the important events that shaped the political career of a leader, who went on to become the most powerful woman in the state politics.

A woman walks in front of a portrait of Jayalalithaa, a former film actress and now head of the state opposition party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 2, 2009. India will hold a general election between April 16 and May 13, election officials said on Monday, kicking off a mammoth process in which 714 million people will be able to cast their votes. REUTERS/Babu (INDIA)A woman walks in front of a portrait of Jayalalithaa, a former film actress and now head of the state opposition party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 2, 2009. India will hold a general election between April 16 and May 13, election officials said on Monday, kicking off a mammoth process in which 714 million people will be able to cast their votes. REUTERS/Babu (INDIA)

Tamil Nadu remains on edge as people pray for speedy recovery of Jayalalithaa. The doctors have said that her situation remains grave, and the next 90 hours are critical. Reuters

1948: Born on 24 February in Melukote town in Mysuru district, Karnataka.

1961: Starts film career as child actress. Her only English movie, Epistle, was the first she started shooting for.

1965: Debuts as lead actress in Tamil with Vennira Aadai. In the same year, acts opposite future political mentor MG Ramachandran.

1980: Acts in her last Tamil movie, Nadhiyai Thedi Vandha Kadal, as female lead.

1982: Becomes member of MGR’s AIADMK party. Addresses first public gathering in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu.

1983: Appointed AIADMK’s propoganda secretary and campaigns in Thiruchendur by-election.

1984: Rift with MGR widens; stripped from several party posts.

1987: MGR death divides AIADMK — one faction supports MGR’s wife Janaki Ramachandran and the other Jayalalithaa.

1988: Janaki becomes Tamil Nadu chief minister, but rule ends in 21 days; the state comes under President’s Rule.

1989: The DMK sweeps state polls; Janaki offers to quit AIADMK, clearing path for Jaya’s accession.

In the same year, DMK and AIADMK clash in Tamil Nadu Assembly hall; Jayalalithaa swears to step inside Assembly again only as chief minister.

1991: AIADMK-Congress thrashes DMK in polls; Jayalalithaa becomes chief minister for the first time.

1996: AIADMK routed in elections; Jayalalithaa gets arrested in a corruption case; 48 cases slapped on her and aide Sasikala.

2001: Makes second return as chief minister; party appoints her as chief minister but SC unseats her; O Paneerselvam named chief minister.

2003: Allowed to contest elections; wins from Andipatti, becomes chief minister again.

2006 Defeated by DMK alliance in polls; serves as Leader of Opposition till 2011.

2011 Returns as chief minister for the third time; rift with Sasikala widens.

2014 Convicted by court in disproportionate assets case; sentenced to four years in prison with Rs 100 crore fine.

2016 Jayalalithaa elected for a consecutive second term.

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 16:40 IST

Jayalalithaa’s illness brings forth issue of rudderless govts, order of succession

Editor’s note: The following article was originally published on 10 October, a few days after Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was first hospitalised. It is being updated in light of the news that she suffered a cardiac attack on Sunday and at the time of writing, is said to be ‘very critical’.

The prolonged hospitalisation of the Tamil Nadu chief minster Jayalalithaa has brought to fore once again the question of rudderless states, the question that has neither been addressed by the Indian constitution nor by the Supreme Court even though the answer has never brooked any delay. She is reportedly under life support system in Chennai’s Apollo hospital which routinely gives a laconic bulletin about her fast recovery. And to make matters worse, there are credible reports of extra constitution persons like ex chief secretary issuing orders from the chief minister’s bedside. One wonders how the one under life support system can be consulted. Naturally, someone had to file public interest litigation (PIL) before the Madras High Court. File he did but the Court threw it out contemptuously whereas it deserved to be heard in all earnestness if only to bring the issue centrestage. In fact the Madras High Court ought to have commended the matter to the Supreme Court with a prayer that it be considered by a constitution bench.

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFPTamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFP

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFP

It is amazing that our constitution makers who took elaborate pains in framing it thought nothing of this seminal issue though in all fairness they cannot be accused of sweeping it under the carpet when the founding fathers of the US constitution squarely addressed the issue. Under the US Presidential Succession Act, 1947, Jayalalithaa-like situation has been envisaged and answers. Should the US President die in harness or take ill or is otherwise unfit to carry out the humungous responsibilities of his office, the Vice President takes over and in his absence, speaker of the House of Representative and so on. To be sure, the US has adopted a presidential form of democracy unlike India’s Parliamentary but that hardly is a handicap for us in not addressing the issue of temporary vacuum in the office of chief minister or prime minister.

The Indian company law is only a shade better than the Indian Constitution in this regard. It says the Board of Directors of a company can appoint an alternate director when a director of a company is absent from India for a period of 3 months or more. In other words it too fails miserably in addressing the issue of line of succession. To be sure, it contains provisions for disqualification and removal of directors. For example a person of unsound mind cannot be appointed a director and should he subsequent to his appointment become imbecile, he must vacate the office forthwith. But this is neither here nor there. Imbecility is not an issue as much as dereliction of duty willy-nilly on health and other grounds is. But then listed companies are constantly under the watch of vigilant shareholders and in any case Boardrooms abhor vacuum so much so that vacancies are bound to be filled up sooner than later.
Politics however is less tolerant and indulgent of those in power, with opposition relishing the prospect of sniping at the alleged delinquent as is happening in Tamil Nadu where the opposition DMK is darkly hinting at the CM already being brain dead.

The issue has graver ramifications for the central government. The former prime minister Deve Gowda acquired the reputation of sleeping prime minister with the appellation going beyond mere figurative speech. He actually used to doze off. In the US, judges do not retire but can go on. However they are removed at the first hint of senility. Levity apart, we do not have any concrete guidelines on the issue of who steps into the shoes of the prime minister though the incumbent prime ministers take care to make their own arrangements like the former prime minister handing over the reins to the senior most minister Pranab Mukherjee whenever he was admitted into hospital for treatment. But then this is not one is asking for. When the prime minister Shastri died in Tashkent, the void was temporarily filled in by the supposedly docile Guzarilal Nanda and when prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated, her son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the prime minister, unmindful of the raised eyebrows and hackles.

The political parties got together to pass the GST bill, a seminal piece of enabling constitution amendment. They must similarly get together to provide for a structured regime of succession and not leave it to chances and whims of politicians.

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 15:15 IST

Crowds throng Apollo hospital; prayers, speedy recovery messages pour in for Jayalalithaa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A large crowd, along with AIADMK cadres, thronged Apollo hospital praying for the speedy recovery of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, fondly called ‘Amma’ (mother) by her supporters, after she suffering a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening.Anxious AIADMK cadres stayed put outside the hospital, which has been covered in a thick blanket of security. Worried party supporters continued to pray for her recovery.Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, who is also the Governor of Maharashtra, airdashed to the city from Mumbai and visited Apollo Hospital.President Pranab Mukherjee, DMK leader M Karunanidhi, his son and opposition leader K Stalin, Union Ministers, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Chief Ministers and a host of leaders have expressed concern over Jayalalithaa’s health condition and wished her speedy recovery.”I wish Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa completely recovers soon,” M Karunanidhi said in a tweet.DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Opposition Leader M K Stalin said, “I desire that the intensive treatment being given to the Chief Minister yields fruit and that she recovers soon.”

PM Modi accusing nation of holding black money: DMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Monday said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is accusing the entire nation of holding on to black.”The Prime Minister is accusing over 120 crore people of India for holding black money. Is he clean then? Only he and his supporters are clean, rest of the people are supporters of black money. This is like abusing the common people. He is accusing every Indian of being a supporter of black money. Whoever is going to exchange the money in bank has black money,” DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan said.Elangovan further said that the prime minister is speaking outside Parliament as he knows that nobody is going to question him for his remarks, and added, that the Center has failed to perform his duty to bring black money from outside, and hence unleashed pressure of demonetization on the common people. “Whatever promises he made so far he has not fulfilled it as yet. He neither cares about Parliament nor about the Parliamentary system because, whatever he speaks outside, cannot be questioned. No Prime Minister in the past sixty years of India’s independence has spoken outside parliament, and when Parliament is in session,” he said.The opposition parties have called for a countrywide protest today against what they call the government’s “mishandling” of the currency ban. Only the Left Front, which has a presence in Kerala, Bengal and Tripura, has called for a strike or ‘Bharat Bandh’ in the three states.Prime Minister Modi yesterday slammed the opposition for its all-India shutdown call over demonetization, saying the country instead needed an end to evils like corruption and black money.Addressing the BJP’s Parivartan Rally in Kasya assembly segment of Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, the Prime Minister said, “On the one hand we are initiating steps to curb corruption, but on the other hand a few people are talking about ‘Bharat Bandh’.”He described demonetization as a cure to the 70-year-old disease of corruption.

DMK backs Manmohan Singh’s criticism on demonetization issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress ally DMK backed former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his criticism on the way the BJP government has implemented demonetization and charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with ignoring the people by not responding to Singh’s queries on the matter. DMK Treasurer and Tamil Nadu Opposition Leader MK Stalin said the Centre was coming up with all kinds of announcements “as if they are giving sops” to people ever since the Rs 1,000 and old Rs 500 currency ceased to be legal tenders. “Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh put it beautifully when he called it (the way demonetization was being implemented) a monumental management failure,” he said, referring to the former’s criticism of the government in the Rajya Sabha yesterday.By making such a statement, Singh had expressed his ‘anguish,’ on the matter, Stalin told reporters here. “Modi ignoring Manmohan Singh shows the extent to which the Prime Minister ignores people,” he said when asked for his views on the matter.To a question on the bull taming sport of jallikattu, Stalin said DMK would hold a massive protest demanding it be allowed next year, if the Central and state governments did not pursue the matter. The Supreme Court had recently upheld its ban against holding Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, coinciding with the harvest festival of Pongal in January.

Demonetisation: Opposition to organise all-India protest on 28 November

The opposition parties have joined hands to organise a nation-wide protest on 28 November against Narendra Modi government’s move that demonetised old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

The opposition parties including Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Samajwadi Party (SP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) announced the decision to hold the ‘All India Protest’, called Aakrosh Diwas, on Wednesday, after more than 200 MPs joined together to form a human chain in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue outside the Rajya Sabha to protest demonetisation.

Opposition members form a human chain during a protest against the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes at Parliament house in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

Opposition members form a human chain during a protest against the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes at Parliament house in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI

Where will the protests take place

Based on the comments of the various parties who form the Opposition, the protests are likely to take place in all central government offices in districts and state capitals as well as outside banks.

United in stand, divided in methods

Though the Opposition remains united in its stand to protest against demonetisation, the parties have decided to adopt their own methods. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) released a statement on Wednesday stating that it would take part in “mass demonstrations, dharnas, picketing of RBI and Central government offices, rasta rokos, rail rokos, commercial and general hartal etc”.

DMK party chief, M Karunanidhi told PTI that the party will organise “massive protest demonstrations outside central government offices in all the districts” of Tamil Nadu. Congress, on the other hand, plans to organise protests in not only districts and state capitals but also in front of banks, NDTV reported.

Similar methods are expected to be used by other parties as well.

Why not protest as a united group?

During the meeting on Wednesday when the nationwide protest was announced, differences emerged on whether and when to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, The Indian Express reported. Incidentally, the Left is not very keen on meeting the President.

As a result of which the Opposition parties have decided to organise the nationwide protest in their own way, but on the same day. They would be “marching separately and striking together”, said CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury quoting Mao, the report said.

What’s the goal? 

So, far different opposition parties have given different statements on their principal demands, but what is clear so far is none are happy with PM’s demonetisation move. Here’s what some of the main demands are:

— Allow old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 for all white transactions: In a statement released on Wednesday, the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that the principal demand for the party is that “the Rs 1000 and Rs 500 rupee notes should be allowed for all legal transactions, payments and settlements …. till alternative arrangements of making  new currency notes available is put in place or till 30 December”. Yechury on Thursday also said that in three sectors associated with exports, around 4 lakh people have lost their jobs since the move was announced.

— Joint Parliamentary committee investigation on alleged leaks on the move: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said that the Oppostion wants a joint parliamentary committee investigation on alleged selective leak about the demonetisation announcement. “Ahead of this decision, bank deposits surged drastically. BJP’s organisation in Bengal and other states knew of it. FM did not know but the BJP organisation knew. BJP’s industrialist friends knew,” the Congress leader said on Wendesday, as reported by News18.

— PM should address the Parliament, and name those who died due to demonetisation: Another major demand of the opposition was that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should address the parliament in both houses on the issue of demonetisation and  offer a condolence of those who died. According to News18, a condolence was offered on first day of the Parliament but since the names were not mentioned, the Opposition has refused to accept it.

— A debate on demonetisation: The Opposition on Wednesday said that it want a debate on both houses of the Parliament, and that Prime Miniser Narendra Modi should be present during it. While BJP has agreed for a debate, Congress has alleged that the opposition leaders are not allowed to speak.

However, on Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that that the government is ready for any debate in both houses, and alleged that it’s the opposition that is running away from it by adding new conditions to the debate. “We are ready for any debate on both the houses. The steps which we have taken are the right steps, and they were taken in the right manner,” he said, adding that the opposition just want to disrupt and not debate.

— TMC leader Mamata Banerjee wants a total rollback of the demonetisation move, which the BJP government has denied. Speaking at the Jantar-Mantar on Wednesday, she said, “Power me rehne se aankhen or kaan bandh hojate hain. Itni badi akad hai inme. (The government has closed its eyes and ears since gaining power. They have a lot of attitude),” International Business Times reported.

Should you be concerned?

Yes, very much. As if the problems due to demonetisation weren’t enough, a nationwide protest which also includes (rasta rokos and rail rokos) would mean more public inconvenience.

The queues outside banks and ATMs have not shortened, if protesters join in, the problem may only increased further. India has very poor track record of peaceful protests. The anger and frustration in the public could be further fuelled by protesters with mostly political voertones. And the fact that Road and rail blockades are also part of the CPI(M) agenda, it may affect transportation.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 15:34 IST

Demonetisation: DMK to hold state-wide protests on 28 November

Chennai: With CPM deciding to observe 28 November as ‘All-India Protest Day’, on the Centre’s demonetisation issue, DMK on Thursday said it would stage protests outside central government offices in the state on that day.

Karunanidhi. PTIKarunanidhi. PTI

Karunanidhi. PTI

Party chief M Karunanidhi said ‘opposition leaders’ — the Left parties — had decided to hold countrywide protests against the ruling BJP on the issue and that DMK will protest outside central government offices in Tamil Nadu.

“As far as DMK is concerned, massive protest demonstrations will be held outside central government offices in all the districts with the cooperation of the people,” he said in a statement.

He urged good participation by party workers and asked them to voice support against this “anti-people” move of the Centre.

Karunanidhi also lashed out at the Centre, saying the common man was severely suffering.

He criticised Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu for saying that demonetisation will not be rolled back, claiming it had further “complicated” the situation.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 13:08 IST

Tamil Nadu, Puducherry by-polls: Counting begins in assemby constituencies

Chennai: Amid tight security, counting of votes for three assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu and a lone seat in neighbouring Puduchery that went to polls on 19 November began on Tuesday at designated counting centres.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Postal votes are being taken up first for counting wherever available and it will be soon be followed by counting of EVM votes. While trends are expected to be in place in about an hour, the results will be out later in the day.

In Aravakurichi, the counting of votes is being held at M Kumarasamy College of Engineering, Karur.

In Thanjavur, the counting is on at Kundavai Nachiaar Government Arts College for Women.

For Thirupparankundram Assembly segment, the counting of votes is on at Madurai Medical College premises.

Rangasamy (AIADMK) and DMK’s Anjugam Bhoopathy are the main contenders in Thanjavur. AIADMK’s AK Bose is pitted against DMK’s Saravanan in Thirupparankundram while in Aravakkurichi, Senthil Balaji (AIADMK) and KC Palanisamy (DMK) are the main candidates.

Polls have been held to the three constituencies at a time when AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is recuperating in a hospital in Chennai, and her trusted lieutenant and Finance Minister O Panneerselvam led the campaign for the ruling party.

While Aravakkurichi Assembly segment will have 18 rounds of counting, Thanjavur and Thirupparankundram are set to witness 20 and 21 rounds of counting respectively.

In the Union Territory of Puducherry, votes are being counted at Bharatidasan Government College for Women where Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, a non-member of the House, is taking on AIADMK candidate Om Sakthi Segar in Nellithope constituency.

In Puducherry, the counting is set to be over in three rounds.

Each counting table has one Micro Observer, usually a Central government official apart from other staffers involved in counting.

EC had said that to ensure transparency in the counting process, copy of result of each table would be given to every counting agent by the Counting Supervisor.

In Tamil Nadu, votes are being counted across 14 tables for a given constituency spread in one hall and the entire counting process is being videographed.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 10:03 IST

Bypoll in Tamil Nadu: Voting commences in Thanjavur, Aravakkurichi, Puducherry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid tight security, voting began on Saturday for polls in Thanjavur, Aravakkurichi and for bypolls in Thirupparankundram in Tamil Nadu and the lone Nellithope seat in neighbouring Puducherry. Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, a non-member of the House, is taking on AIADMK candidate Om Sakthi Segar, at Nellithope.In Tamil Nadu, people began queuing up in polling stations enthusiastically in all the constituencies and local poll officials said the voting percentage was between eight and ten approximately in the first hour. Polling began at 7 AM. Rangasamy (AIADMK) and DMK’s Anjugam Bhoopathy are main contenders in Thanjavur. In Aravakkurichi, Senthil Balaji (AIADMK) and KC Palanisamy (DMK) are in the fray while AIADMK’s AK Bose is pitted against DMK’s Saravanan in Thirupparankundram.Chief Minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals, has urged people to vote for her party in the three constituencies and lone seat in Puducherry. Jayalalithaa, for the first time since she was admitted to hospital on September 22, had appealed to people to “give your love and support to AIADMK in the present polls as well, remembering such innumerable schemes to enhance the people’s standard of living.”While in Aravakkurichi total electorate is 2,00,347, in Thanjavur it is 2,68,516 and in Thiruparankundram 2,85,980. Aravakkurichi has 245 polling stations, while Thanjavur 276 and Thiruparankundram 291. In the three constituencies, over 5,000 personnel are deployed for poll related duties and there are nearly 1,000 micro observers.All arrangements have been made for web-casting and videography and adequate number of EVMs are available. Officials said voters turned up at the booths some twenty minutes before 7 AM at Nellithope.The constituency has 31,366 voters and all the 26 booths were declared sensitive. In some booths, men voters turned up in larger number than women much ahead of commencement of the polling. There are nine contestants in the constituency. The bypoll was necessary to fill vacancy caused by the vacation of the Nellithope seat by Congress legislator A John Kumar who quit his post as MLA on September 15 to enable Narayanasamy, a non-member of the House, to contest.Amid the demonetization drive, Election Commission had advised voters to ensure that indelible ink was marked only on the right hand index figure and not on the left while exchanging scrapped denomination of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes.

Demonetisation: Opposition set to pin down government in Parliament’s Winter Session

New Delhi: A Congress-led opposition came together seeking to pin down the government on the demonetisation issue in the Winter Session of Parliament beginning on 12 November, but a consenses eluded on TMC’s proposed march to Rashtrapati Bhawan for meeting the President.

People queued outside an ATM. PTIPeople queued outside an ATM. PTI

People queued outside an ATM. PTI

The leaders will meet again tomorrow to finalize the strategy on the issue agreeing at the meeting to use “all parliamentary tools including a demand for constituting a joint parliamentary committee to go into the issue and hold the government to account.

On its part, TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her party will go ahead with its plans to meet the President tomorrow. Representatives of the National Conference and AAP are likely to accompany the TMC delegation.

At a meeting of 13 opposition parties including arch rivals TMC and CPM, besides BSP, SP, JD-U and DMK, opposition leaders unanimously concluded that it was too early to visit the President on the issue which must first be raised adequately in parliamentary forums.

Various parties have separately given adjournment notices in Lok Sabha and for suspension of proceedings in Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue and highlight the plight of the common man.

“So far as the march is concerned, there was unanimous decision by everybody that the march tomorrow is too early. As an opposition party, we must have a march in due course of time, but not on the very first day. On first day of Parliament, we must hold a discussion inside the House.

“There was an overwhelming consensus that there is no need to rush to Rashtrapati Bhawan on the very first day before bringing this issue before Parliament,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the meeting.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 18:20 IST

Jayalalithaa has completely recovered, says Apollo Hospitals chairman Prathap Reddy

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has “completely recovered” and it is up to her to decide when to go home, Apollo Hospitals Chairman Pratap C Reddy said in Chennai on Friday.

File photo of J Jayalalithaa. Reuters

File photo of J Jayalalithaa. Reuters

“All I can say is, very clearly, she is very satisfied… What I mean by very satisfied, that means she has completely recovered. She is aware of what is going on around her,” he told reporters.

“She is completely aware of what is happening, asks and demands what she wants and I believe that everybody, even she, is looking forward to when she will go home and take back the reigns,” he said.

Jayalalithaa was admitted to the corporate hospital on 22 September after she complained of fever and dehydration.

Later, the hospital had said she was being treated for infection with respiratory support, among others.

Specialists from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and from London, among others, have treated her during the period.

Apollo Hospitals, in its last medical bulletin on 21 October, had said Jayalalithaa was “interacting and progressing gradually”.

Ever since her hospitalisation, state ministers and AIADMK cadres have been organising special pujas at various temples across the state, praying for her speedy recovery.

Prayers had also been held in places of religious worship in Erode and Karur, among others.

“The divine blessings were on Jayalalithaa as scores of party workers had held prayers for her speedy recovery,” AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathy had said.

Late last week, an official document had stated that Jayalalithaa used her left thumb impression in the election document of her party nominee for 19 November bypoll to Thirupparankundram as she had an “inflamed right hand”.

The document was attested by Dr P Balaji, Prof of Minimal Access Surgery, Madras Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital and signed by Dr Babu K Abraham of Apollo Hospitals as witness.

A galaxy of political leaders, including BJP chief Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, DMK treasurer MK Stalin, besides film personalities like Rajinikanth and Kushboo, who is also the Congress spokesperson, had visited the CM.

DMK’s all party Cauvery meet will pressure Centre, Karnataka: Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister V Narayanasamy welcomed the recent ‘all party’ meeting convened by DMK on the Cauvery issue on Wednesday and said its outcome would bring pressure on the Centre and Karnataka government to ensure availability of water to Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.”I welcome the DMK initiative… the outcome of the meeting will bring pressure on the Centre and Karnataka governments to ensure availability of water for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry,” he said. The DMK convened it as the Tamil Nadu government had not convene a joint meeting of leaders of all political parties on the issue, he said.Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of his campaign in Nellithope for the November 19 bypoll, he said the rights of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the Cauvery water issue could not be ignored. The DMK-convened ‘all-party meeting’ earlier today at Chennai and attended largely by its allies, had urged the Tamil Nadu government to immediately convene the Assembly to discuss the matter.The meeting, chaired by MK Stalin, DMK Treasurer and Opposition Leader in the Assembly, was boycotted by AIADMK, BJP and all constituents of the four party People’s Welfare Front, comprising MDMK, CPI(M), CPI and VCK.On September 15, Congress MLA A John Kumar had quit his post to pave the way for Narayanasamy to seek election from Nellithope assembly constituency and become an elected member.

Cauvery all-party meet called by DMK’s MK Stalin ignored by AIADMK, other Opposition parties

Chennai: DMK leader MK Stalin on Tuesday presided over an “all-party meeting” to discuss the Cauvery issue, but most major parties in the state gave it a miss.

The ruling AIADMK, the BJP, the Left parties as well as the DMDK of Vijayakanth and the MDMK led by Vaiko kept away from the meeting held at the DMK headquarters.

Asked why so many parties failed to attend, Stalin told the media: “I had invited all parties, including the AIADMK. You ask them as to why they did not attend.”

MK Stalin. File photo. PTIMK Stalin. File photo. PTI

MK Stalin. File photo. PTI

He said he convened an “all-party meeting” as the government was not calling one even after the Karnataka government took a tough stand on the Cauvery issue.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who is now ailing, had ignored all demands for an all-party meeting.

Stalin said it was vital to present a united face of Tamil Nadu to the central government.

Leaders of farmers’ associations attended the meeting. The only political parties which responded to Stalin’s invitation were the Congress and the IUML, the DMK’s traditional allies.

The breakaway Tamil Maanila Congress also attended the meeting.

The meeting passed a resolution calling for an immediate session of the Tamil Nadu assembly to pressurise the central government.

It also urged the Tamil Nadu government to compensate the farmers for the losses they have suffered on account of insufficient Cauvery water.

Stalin has worked his way up in DMK: Karunanidhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK supremo M Karunanidhi has said his son Stalin has arduously worked his way up to be the second-in command in the party, virtually ruling out any possibility of his estranged Madurai-based son Alagiri becoming the Dravidian party’s head in the future. In an interview to a Tamil weekly, the 92 year-old patriach said Stalin has made sacrifices like going to jail during the Emergency. To a question seeking his response to the “widespread talk and expectations that Stalin is the next DMK President”, Karunanidhi recalled his son had started off at a young age by running the Gopalapuram Youth Club.Later, Stalin was even jailed under the stringent MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) during the Emergency, Karunanidhi pointed out. “From his prison days where he faced a lot of hardships, he has himself worked very hard and elevated himself systematically to the position of future president (of DMK). In that aspect, he remains my political heir apparent today,” Karunanidhi told the Ananda Vikatan magazine. Asked if he viewed the “absence” of Alagiri, dismissed from DMK, as a “loss”, Karunanidhi indicted there was no point talking about those who were not in the party. “One has to be happy with what is there and keep progressing, and feeling about those who are not in the party now will impede the journey,” he said.Succession issue had been a major bone of contention in the DMK’s first family, involving Chennai-based Stalin and his elder brother Alagiri. Alagiri, said to have fancied his chances of leading DMK, had once famously asked if the party was a “mutt” where the senior pontiff could anoint his successor. The firebrand leader, who once held the powerful post of Organisation Secretary (South) in DMK and was even a cabinet Minister in UPA II, however later fell out of favour with his father and was subsequently expelled from the party in March 2014 for alleged anti-party activities. Meanwhile, Stalin today refrained from making any comments on his father’s statement. “I have nothing to say,” he told reporters when asked for his reaction to the interview.

Jayalalithaa only CM who can bring Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu: AIADMK

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Thursday thanked the Supreme Court for giving “favourable” verdicts to Tamil Nadu and said party chief J Jayalalithaa is the only Chief Minister who can succeed in getting Cauvery to the state.Speaking to ANI, AIADMK leader CR Saraswathy accused its principal opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), who have been holding ‘Rail roko’ protest against the Cauvery verdict, of creating political drama over the issue.”I think I must thank the Supreme Court, they are giving some favourable answers to Tamil Nadu. Our Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will take step accordingly because she is keen on getting Cauvery regularly to Tamil Nadu. The only CM who can succeed in getting Cauvery is our CM,” she said.”DMK is just doing drama, that’s all. When they were in power they never did anything but now they want to show as if they are really bothered by it. They are just creating a political drama,” she added.DMK treasurer MK Stalin on Monday led his party’s ‘Rail Roko’ demonstration over the Cauvery issue in Chennai.Protests continue in Tamil Nadu demanding that the Union Government ought to set-up the Cauvery Management Board in order to resolve the deadlock between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.Keeping its pressure on the ruling AIADMK over the Cauvery conflict, a 48-hour ‘rail roko’ agitation was called by the farmers’ organisations.The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Karnataka to continue releasing 2000 cusecs per day to Tamil Nadu till further orders are given and also urged both states to ensure peace and harmony remains amidst the dispute.A newly appointed Supreme Court bench was set up to hear all issues arising from the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Centre must constitute Cauvery board for fair water distribution, says TKS Elangovan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Tuesday urged the Centre to constitute a Cauvery management board to ensure fair water distribution between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. DMK leader TKS Elangovan said, “It is the duty of the Government of India to form the Cauvery management board after not obeying the tribunal order, because the tribunal order is equivalent to the order of the Supreme Court. There should be a management board to decide how the distribution should be made with the available water. The agitation was a successful one which showed the Government of India that the people of Tamil Nadu are united,” he added.Various farmers’ organisations and opposition parties yesterday staged a protest in various parts of the Tamil Nadu, demanding the constitution of a Cauvery board. The protests were held against the stance of BJP-led NDA government in the Supreme Court which opposed the immediate setting up of the board. Thousands of protestors participated in rail roko demonstrations, courted arrest and were lodged in the community and marriage halls. Police said they were likely to be released later today.The protestors yesterday began a 48-hour rail blockade demanding the constitution of a Cauvery board.

Tamil Nadu: AIADMK, DMK come to blows over Jayalalithaa’s health

Coimbatore: An AIADMK councillor and DMK worker have been admitted to a hospital in Pollachi in the district after they came to blows following an altercation over the remarks on the health status of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, police said on Monday.

File photo of Jayalalithaa. AFP

File photo of Jayalalithaa. AFP

DMK local functionary Lingadurai reportedly made critical remarks about the health condition of Jayalalithaa in an inebriated condition last night. AIADMK Councillor James Raj, who was passing by, got angry over the remarks and entered into arguments leading to fisticuffs, police said.

Lingadurai got admitted to the Pollachi government hospital in the early hours of today, claiming assault by the councillor.

James also was admitted to the same hospital, complaining that Lingadurai had assaulted him, police said.

This comes after 20 cases have been registered against some people, including a DMK councillor in Pollachi, for allegedly spreading rumours on the health of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa who is undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, police said on Monday.

Pollachi Municipal Chairman and AIADMK town secretary, Krishnakumar lodged a complaint that DMK councillor Naaneethakrishnan had posted some verses on the social media, on the health condition of the Chief Minister, police said.

Some 20 people had shared these verses on Facebook, the complainant said, based on which police registered cases against them under IPC sections including 153 (A) (promoting enmity and disharmony), they said.

Yesterday, a 24-year-old man from Tuticorin district, was arrested for allegedly posting rumours on the social media on Jayalalithaa’s health. With his arrest, the number of persons taken into custody in the state in this regard has gone up to seven.

Cauvery: Opposition parties stage rail roko across Tamil Nadu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition parties including the DMK joined a state-wide rail blockade protest announced by a farmer’s federation over the Cauvery issue on Monday, urging the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board (CMB). DMK Treasurer and Opposition Leader in Tamil Nadu Assembly, MK Stalin was among those who participated in the protests held in different parts of the state including Chennai and the Cauvery delta districts. Stalin led a procession at Perambur here even as scores of political workers belonging to DMK, the Left parties and MDMK among others staged a rail roko at Thanjavur and Cuddalore, and were detained. A farmers’ federation had called for the two-day rail blockade starting today, urging the Centre to immediately constitute the CMB.The protests come days after a high-level technical team, set up by the Supreme Court, completed its inspection of Cauvery basin region in Tamil Nadu to assess the situation in the state. The team, which also inspected the Cauvery basin in Karnataka, is set to submit its report in the apex court today. The apex court had set up the team while hearing a petition by Tamil Nadu government seeking release of Cauvery water by Karnataka.

Tamil Nadu: Governor allocates portfolios held by Jayalalithaa to O Paneerselvam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Jayalalithaa continuing to remain in hospital since September 22, Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday allocated the portfolios held by her to Finance Minister O Paneerselvam but said the AIADMK supremo will continue to be the Chief Minister.”Under Clause (3) of Article 166 of the Constitution of India, the Governor of Tamil Nadu allocated the subjects hitherto dealt by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to O Paneerselvam,” a Raj Bhavan press release said.Paneerselvam, who holds the Administrative reforms portfolio, in addition to Finance, “will also preside over cabinet meetings”, it said.”This arrangement has been made as per the advice of the Chief Minister and will continue until the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa resumes her duties,” it said.”Jayalalithaa will continue to be the Chief Minister,” the release added.Jayalalithaa (68), was admitted to Apollo hospital on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration.on Tuesday, the hospital said she continued to be under treatment and was being constantly monitored by intensivists and other consultants in the expert panel, while respiratory support, antibiotics, nutrition, supportive therapy and passive physiotherapy were being given to her.Meanwhile, Opposition DMK welcomed Governor Rao allocating portfolios to Finance Minister O Panneerselvam, saying the move would augur well for the state’s administration.”As the Opposition Leader, I welcome this action taken by the Governor in the interest of the administrative welfare of the state,” DMK Treasurer M K Stalin said.He pointed out that the decision had been taken as per the advice of the Chief Minister herself and said Tamil Nadu was “surrounded’ by inter-state water rows like Cauvery and Mullaperiyar.While the Cauvery issue, involving Karnataka, was coming up before the Supreme Court on October 17, the North East Monsoon was due to set in soon and at such a time there has to be “a responsible cabinet to discuss such administrative issues”, he said in a statement.”Such a cabinet needs a head. Only then can decision on issues pertaining to the state’s welfare can be taken,” Stalin added.He recalled that DMK had earlier demanded that the government name an interim or Deputy Chief Minister to effectively handle issues like the Cauvery dispute, till the time Jayalalithaa returned and resumed work.

Jayalalithaa’s illness brings to fore the issue of rudderless governments, order of succession

The prolonged hospitalisation of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minster Jayalalithaa has brought to fore once again the question of rudderless states, the question that has neither been addressed by the Indian constitution nor by the Supreme Court even though the answer has never brooked any delay. She is reportedly under life support system in Chennai’s Apollo hospital which routinely gives a laconic bulletin about her fast recovery. And to make matters worse, there are credible reports of extra constitution persons like ex chief secretary issuing orders from the chief minister’s bedside. One wonders how the one under life support system can be consulted. Naturally, someone had to file public interest litigation (PIL) before the Madras High Court. File he did but the Court threw it out contemptuously whereas it deserved to be heard in all earnestness if only to bring the issue centrestage. In fact the Madras High Court ought to have commended the matter to the Supreme Court with a prayer that it be considered by a constitution bench.

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFPTamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFP

Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa. AFP

It is amazing that our constitution makers who took elaborate pains in framing it thought nothing of this seminal issue though in all fairness they cannot be accused of sweeping it under the carpet when the founding fathers of the US constitution squarely addressed the issue. Under the US Presidential Succession Act, 1947, Jayalalithaa-like situation has been envisaged and answers. Should the US President die in harness or take ill or is otherwise unfit to carry out the humungous responsibilities of his office, the Vice President takes over and in his absence, speaker of the House of Representative and so on. To be sure, the US has adopted a presidential form of democracy unlike India’s Parliamentary but that hardly is a handicap for us in not addressing the issue of temporary vacuum in the office of chief minister or prime minister.

The Indian company law is only a shade better than the Indian Constitution in this regard. It says the Board of Directors of a company can appoint an alternate director when a director of a company is absent from India for a period of 3 months or more. In other words it too fails miserably in addressing the issue of line of succession. To be sure, it contains provisions for disqualification and removal of directors. For example a person of unsound mind cannot be appointed a director and should he subsequent to his appointment become imbecile, he must vacate the office forthwith. But this is neither here nor there. Imbecility is not an issue as much as dereliction of duty willy-nilly on health and other grounds is. But then listed companies are constantly under the watch of vigilant shareholders and in any case Boardrooms abhor vacuum so much so that vacancies are bound to be filled up sooner than later.
Politics however is less tolerant and indulgent of those in power, with opposition relishing the prospect of sniping at the alleged delinquent as is happening in Tamil Nadu where the opposition DMK is darkly hinting at the CM already being brain dead.

The issue has graver ramifications for the central government. The former prime minister Deve Gowda acquired the reputation of sleeping prime minister with the appellation going beyond mere figurative speech. He actually used to doze off. In the US, judges do not retire but can go on. However they are removed at the first hint of senility. Levity apart, we do not have any concrete guidelines on the issue of who steps into the shoes of the prime minister though the incumbent prime ministers take care to make their own arrangements like the former prime minister handing over the reins to the senior most minister Pranab Mukherjee whenever he was admitted into hospital for treatment. But then this is not one is asking for. When the prime minister Shastri died in Tashkent, the void was temporarily filled in by the supposedly docile Guzarilal Nanda and when prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated, her son Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the prime minister, unmindful of the raised eyebrows and hackles.

The political parties got together to pass the GST bill, a seminal piece of enabling constitution amendment. They must similarly get together to provide for a structured regime of succession and not leave it to chances and whims of politicians.

Chennai: MK Stalin visits hospital, talks to doctors about Jaya’s health

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK treasurer and Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly MK Stalin on Saturday visited Apollo Hospital and talked to the doctors there regarding the health condition of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.”We have been told that her condition is improving. Our wishes on behalf of the DMK and our party chief Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi) for a speedy recovery and resumption of her work,” he told reporters after the visit to the hospital.Accompanied by party colleagues, including Deputy Leader of Opposition in Assembly Duraimurugan and former minister K Ponmudi, Stalin also called on Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, state Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and state Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar at the hospital and inquired about the health of the chief minister.Meanwhile, Jayalalithaa continued to be under constant monitoring, Apollo Health Management said. “The respiratory support is being closely watched and adjusted. Lungs decongestion treatment is being continued,” a statement from the hospital said.

Cauvery row: Stalin tries to mount pressue on AIADMK, says DMK will lead delegation to PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to mount pressure on the AIADMK government on the Cauvery issue, MK Stalin said on Friday DMK would convene an all party meeting on the matter if the ruling party failed to do so.The Leader of Opposition said DMK would lead the all party delegation, apparently barring the AIADMK, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and, if needed, also meet President Pranab Mukherjee on the Cauvery issue. DMK has been batting for an all party meeting and a “cohesive action” by political parties involving both ruling and Opposition whenever the Cauvery row cropped up. However, AIADMK government has not favoured such an idea and was perusing legal action.The DMK treasurer said a meeting of all political parties will only be appropriate if it was called by the ruling party. “We waited patiently for it. However, they (AIADMK) did not take such a step.”Addressing a hunger strike demonstration held by his party here against the Centre on Cauvery issue, Stalin said “after seeing today’s fast, if the government decides to call for an all party meeting, we will fully cooperate and there is no doubt.”However, he said if the government delayed in taking a decision, “I say it for sure, we will convene the meeting ourselves after getting the permission of our party chief (Karunandihi) and (then) lead a delegation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”The DMK leader said if needed, the delegation will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee on Cauvery issue, adding “we are prepared for it.”Referring to all party meetings and special session of State Assemblies of Karnataka and Kerala on river water disputes like Mullaperiyar and Cauvery, he asked if any such initiative had been taken by the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. He said during the DMK tenure all party meetings had been convened on such key issues.

Madras HC directs Tamil Nadu govt to provide details on Jayalalithaa’s health

Official release with regard to the health condition of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at a hospital since 22 September, will reduce the anxiety of the people, the Madras High Court observed on Tuesday while asking the government to get back on the issue by Wednesday.

The oral observation was made by a division bench while hearing a PIL by social activist ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy, who has sought a detailed report from the government on the health condition of Jayalalithaa.

Traffic Ramaswamy had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Madras High Court seeking the real status of Jayalalithaa’s health. Holding that Governor C Vidyasagar Rao and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan had reportedly visited the hospital, the petitioner said they have not given details about her health condition.

He also submitted that the police had blocked the roads leading to the corporate hospital where Jayalalithaa was undergoing treatment by erecting barricades preventing others to go to the hospital for treatment. He sought to know whether Jayalalithaa was in sound health to take important decisions and hold meetings of officials and ministers, stating that the people were eager to know.

File photo of CM J Jayalalithaa. AFP

File photo of CM J Jayalalithaa. AFP

The court also observed that people were anxious to know about the Chief Minister’s health.

It added that though the hospital was releasing bulletins, being the chief minister of the state, some official release with regard to her health condition will reduce the anxiety of the people.

The bench said that it is not passing any order on the PIL but directed the additional advocate general to consult the government on the matter.

The standard answer from party leaders about Jayalalithaa’s health condition is that “Amma is well and will be back soon.”

The Hindu reported that Sasikala Pushpa, expelled AIADMK Rajya Sabha member had said that the State government should provide details on Jayalalithaa’s health, stating that even the State Health Minister had no clue about her condition on Monday.

DMK Chief M Karunanidhi, wishing to put an end to all the rumors surrounding her health, demanded that the state government accordingly release her photograph from the hospital,on Monday. He also demanded that the state governor see to it that a transparent system be available to the people about the actual status of Jayalalithaa’s health, according to The Indian Express.

Party spokesperson CR Saraswathi urged the people and the party cadres not to believe the baseless rumours about Jayalalithaa’s health.”Our Amma (Jayalalithaa) is meeting Ministers and giving instructions on the local body polls. She is fine but needs some rest,” Saraswathi told IANS.

Though Jayalalithaa is in the hospital, according to the report, major government decisions are being taken by her. Even the party statements are issued in her name.

The court asked Tamil Nadu’s Additional Advocate General C Manishankar to get back to it after consulting the government on the health condition of the chief minister by Wednesday.

With inputs from agencies

Cauvery row: Political parties slam Modi govt for ‘betraying’ Tamil Nadu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Political parties in Tamil Nadu on Monday accused the Centre of “betraying” the state by seeking modification of a Supreme Court order asking it to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB).The ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK alleged that the BJP-led government at the Centre made the move with an eye on Karnataka Assembly polls scheduled in 2018. AIADMK spokesperson C R Saraswathi said it was not clear why the Centre, “which had earlier assured to constitute the CWMB”, made such a submission in the Supreme Court today. Usually Karnataka “betrayed” Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue, but “why is the Centre doing it now?” she asked.’What is the need for politics? ‘”This is the people’s issue. What is the need for politics? Congress and BJP are keen on capturing power in Karnataka and are not bothered about the farmers of Tamil Nadu,” she told reporters. She said the constitution of the CWMB alone would ensure a “good solution” to the issue. The demand for constituting the board was not new and the state government had been pressing for it ever since the BJP came to power in 2014, she said.DMK President M Karunanidhi said the Centre has “belittled” the Indian judicial system and “betrayed” Tamils by making the submission in the apex court.He urged the state government to convene an all-party meeting and hold a special sitting of the state Assembly to discuss the matter. “Those in power at the Centre (BJP) have taken a sudden, biased decision with an eye on the Karnataka polls. It (Centre) has completely echoed Karnataka’s voice. This is condemnable,” he said. Unable to find a foothold in Tamil Nadu, BJP has resorted to such a move with the hope of at least winning the Karnataka polls, he said.This amounted to “belittling Indian justice delivery system and betraying Tamil people”, he said, alleging that the Centre had only echoed the statements of Karnataka Ministers in the Union Cabinet on the Cauvery issue.”Under these circumstances, the decisions of the Centre (moving the Apex Court) and Karnataka (not to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu) should be unitedly opposed by all in Tamil Nadu,” he said. MDMK founder Vaiko also lashed out at the Centre for “betraying” Tamil Nadu.’Mockery of constitution done'”By not respecting the Supreme Court, the Narendra Modi government has made a mockery of the Constitution,” he said, adding it should withdraw its submission to the court and immediately constitute the CWMB. CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan said the issue of CWMB was not new as the Supreme Court had only asked the Centre to implement a ruling given by the Cauvery disputes Tribunal in this regard.VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan also denounced the Centre for its “betrayal” on the CWMB issue.TNCC President Su Thirunavukkarasar, CPI state secretary R Mutharasan, TMC Leader G K Vasan, PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss and a host of political leaders and farmers’ bodies urged the Centre to constitute the CWMB.The Centre moved the Apex Court today, seeking modification of its earlier order asking it to constitute the CWMB by Tuesday. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the Centre should not have been asked to constitute the CWMB as the main civil appeal on the issue was still pending and the task of setting up the board fell under the domain of the Executive.

Cauvery dispute: Political parties in Tamil Nadu accuse Centre of ‘betraying’ state

Chennai: Political parties in Tamil Nadu on Monday accused the Centre of “betraying” the state by seeking modification of a Supreme Court order asking it to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB). The ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK alleged that the BJP-led government at the Centre made the move with an eye on Karnataka Assembly polls scheduled in 2018.

Representational image. CNN-News18

Representational image. CNN-News18

AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi said it was not clear why the Centre, “which had earlier assured to constitute the CWMB”, made such a submission in the Supreme Court on Monday. Usually Karnataka “betrayed” Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue, but “why is the Centre doing it now?” she asked.

“This is the people’s issue. What is the need for politics? Congress and BJP are keen on capturing power in Karnataka and are not bothered about the farmers of Tamil Nadu,” she told reporters. She said the constitution of the CWMB alone would ensure a “good solution” to the issue.

The demand for constituting the board was not new and the state government had been pressing for it ever since the BJP came to power in 2014, she said. DMK President M Karunanidhi said the Centre has “belittled” the Indian judicial system and “betrayed” Tamils by making the submission in the apex court.

He urged the state government to convene an all-party meeting and hold a special sitting of the state Assembly to discuss the matter. “Those in power at the Centre (BJP) have taken a sudden, biased decision with an eye on the Karnataka polls. It (Centre) has completely echoed Karnataka’s voice. This is condemnable,” he said.

Unable to find a foothold in Tamil Nadu, BJP has resorted to such a move with the hope of at least winning the Karnataka polls, he said. This amounted to “belittling Indian justice delivery system and betraying Tamil people”, he said, alleging that the Centre had only echoed the statements of Karnataka Ministers in the Union Cabinet on the Cauvery issue.

“Under these circumstances, the decisions of the Centre (moving the Apex Court) and Karnataka (not to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu) should be unitedly opposed by all in Tamil Nadu,” he said.

MDMK founder Vaiko also lashed out at the Centre for “betraying” Tamil Nadu. “By not respecting the Supreme Court, the Narendra Modi government has made a mockery of the Constitution,” he said, adding it should withdraw its submission to the court and immediately constitute the CWMB.

CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan said the issue of CWMB was not new as the Supreme Court had only asked the Centre to implement a ruling given by the Cauvery disputes Tribunal in this regard. VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan also denounced the Centre for its “betrayal” on the CWMB issue.

TNCC President Su Thirunavukkarasar, CPI state secretary R Mutharasan, TMC Leader G K Vasan, PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss and a host of political leaders and farmers’ bodies urged the Centre to constitute the CWMB. The Centre moved the Apex Court on Monday, seeking modification of its earlier order asking it to constitute the CWMB by Tuesday.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the Centre should not have been asked to constitute the CWMB as the main civil appeal on the issue was still pending and the task of setting up the board fell under the domain of the Executive.

Put an end to rumours on Jayalalithaa’s health: Karunanidhi to TN govt

Chennai: On Friday DMK President M Karunanidhi urged the Tamil Nadu government to “put an end to rumours” regarding the health of AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa by providing proper information to the people, while wishing his arch rival a speedy recovery.

“As I had already mentioned, though I differ with her ideologically, it is my desire that she recovers soon and take up official duties as usual,” he said and wished her a speedy recovery.

A file photo of Karunanidhi. PTIA file photo of Karunanidhi. PTI

A file photo of Karunanidhi. PTI

Karunanidhi said although Apollo hospital, where the Chief Minister is recuperating from fever and dehydration, was issuing bulletins about her health, “some unwanted rumours” were deliberately being floated by “some persons.”

“Some persons are spreading unwanted rumours about her health on the social media and to put an end to these, proper information about the Chief Minister’s health must be made available to the people,” he said in a statement.

Karunanidhi suggested that photographs of the Chief Minister be released through the media to quell any kind of rumours being circulated about her health.

Jayalalithaa (68) was admitted to the hospital on 22 September after she complained of fever and dehydration.

She has been advised to stay for a few days at the hospital.

Meanwhile, AIADMK slammed the rumour mongers and said efforts were being made to confuse people and party workers.

“Some persons are trying to create confusion among people and party workers by spreading rumours,” party spokesperson C R Saraswathy said.

She pointed out that Jayalalithaa has been, among others, monitoring the Cauvery situation from the hospital while also announcing festive bonus for state government employees on Wednesday.

Expressing concern over rumours being spread through social media, the spokesperson said such platforms should be used in a constructive way.

Tamil Nadu: HC states notification for local body polls done ‘in a rush’

Chennai: Madras High Court on Tuesday observed that the notification for next month’s local body polls in Tamil Nadu was done ‘in a rush’ without giving breathing time to political parties to prepare themselves and directed the state government to give details of the date of notification and date of nominations in previous polls.

Representational image. News18Representational image. News18

Representational image. News18

The court, acting on a petition from DMK, seeking to quash the notification, asked the State Election Commission why the polls were announced on Sunday evening and the process of receiving nominations commenced the next day itself, without giving breathing time to political parties and orally observed that it was done ‘in a rush’.

DMK had also sought a direction to Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, Tamil Nadu State Election Commission, Director of Town Panchayats, Commissioner of Corporation of Chennai, to conduct the polls by strictly providing adequate reservation to Scheduled Tribes, followed by necessary rotation of seats in all the posts, as mandated in the Constitution.

The party said that under the Constitution, reservation for Scheduled Tribes, both in panchayats and municipalities throughout the state is mandatory, while no reservation was made for STs for the post of District Panchayat presidents and Panchayat Union Presidents.

It alleged that even in Chennai, reservation for STs was not made available.

DMK submitted that the notification was issued on Sunday evening and the process of receiving nominations started the next day. While no time was given to parties, the ruling party, which came to know of the reservations in advance, released the list of candidates on Sunday night itself.

DMK produced an earlier judgement of the Full Court and said the plea is maintainable.The court perused it and pointed out that the order was actually against the then DMK regime.

“You are actually using the bomb which was fired against you,” the court said.

The Advocate General submitted that the writ was not maintainable on two grounds.The first was that there is bar on hearing the election petition particularly after the issue of the election notification.

The other was that the term of local bodies cannot be extended after five years and it is mandatory to conduct the elections before the expiry of current term, he said.

The court however orally observed that there was a rush on the issue of notification and directed the Advocate General to furnish details of the date of notification and the date of nominations in the previous elections.

It then posted the matter for further hearing to 6 October.

On 25 September, the State Election Commission had said that elections to over 1.31 lakh local body posts in Tamil Nadu will be held in two phases on 17 and 19 October.

It had said the nominations would begin on 26 September.

AIADMK announces list of candidates for local body polls in Tamil Nadu

Just hours after the notice of election for the local body was released, AIADMK General Secretary released the list of candidates for the post of councillor in all the 12 municipalities in Tamil Nadu, The Hindu reported.

According to the notification issued by the Election Commission on Sunday, local body elections will be held in two phases on 17 and 19 October, as reported in The Times of India. The polls will fill up over 1.3 lakh posts in 12 rural and urban municipalities across Tamil Nadu. Chennai and Dindigul corporations will go to poll in the second phase on 19 October, while 10 other local bodies will elect their representatives in the first phase on 17 October. Counting of votes will be done on 21 October.

Representational Image. ReutersRepresentational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

“Indirect elections to the posts of mayors, municipality chairpersons and other local body chiefs and deputy chiefs will be held on 2 November,” reported The Times of India. 

Announcing the list of candidates, AIADMK General Secretary and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa retained some old names, while she chose field the party heavyweights from Chennai, to woo the voters. According to The New Indian Expressonly three of the incumbent mayors, out of 12, are given a second run at the election. Siting mayors from Salem (S Soundappan), Tiruchy (MSR Jaya) and Thanjavur ( Savithri Gopal) will run on party tickets again, while the deputy mayor of Salem, M Natesan also got a ticket this time again.

In Chennai, sitting Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy has been dropped of the list this time, however, leaders like N Balaganga (from ward No. 78) and JCD Prabhakar, (from ward No. 80) are given a chance and are being looked upon as the front-runners for mayorship of the capital of the state, as reported in The New Indian Express. Apart from this, around 25 sitting councillors have been re-nominated in the state capital, according to The Hindu.

AIADMK also rewarded former Mayor Charubala Thondaiman, who had recently switched alliance from Tamil Maanila Congress to AIADMK, with a party ticket from ward No. 44 in Thanjavur.

According to the report in The Times of India, submission of nominations will be open from 26 September while the last date of submission will be 3 October. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be 6 October.

The reservation for women in this year’s civic body poll, however, has been increased to 50 percent, after a Bill was passed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly amending municipal and panchayat laws to increase the percentage of reservation for women from 33 to 50, according to The Hindu.  In another first, the posts of mayors, deputy mayors and other local body chiefs will be filled by indirect elections after the Tamil Nadu Municipal Corporation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 was passed amid opposition from DMK and Congress. While the DMK questioned the government’s intention behind the amendment, Congress termed it as an attempt to “stifle the voice of democracy,” according to The Indian Express.

A PIL has been filed in the Madras High Court challenging the indirect election of mayors, while the court has sought a response from the state government and posted the PIL to 25 October next for further hearing, according to a report in The Indian Express.

Cauvery row: Opposition DMK urges Tamil Nadu Assembly to discuss the issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With a special session of the Karnataka legislature scheduled for Friday to discuss the Cauvery issue, Tamil Nadu Opposition DMK urged on Thursday to the state government to follow suit to discuss the next course of action over the water sharing. “In Karnataka, the Assembly session has been convened hurriedly on September 23. At the same time, should not the legislature in Tamil Nadu also be convened,” DMK President M Karunanidhi said in a statement.He said such a session could be useful to chalk out the next course of action and the strategy even as Karnataka has deferred water release. On September 20, the apex court had directed Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till September 27, besides asking Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board.On Wednesday, the Karnataka government decided to defer the release of the 6,000 cusecs of water till Friday, when the special session of the state legislature discusses the Supreme Court’s direction. Karunanidhi said that following the ruling, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramiah convened a cabinet meeting and an all-party meeting but no such meetings were being held in Tamil Nadu.
ALSO READ Cauvery water row: 6,000 cusecs of water will not be sufficient for Tamil Nadu, says DMK Farmers in the state were not satisfied with the 6000 cusecs share of water as directed by Supreme Court, he said and asked why Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has not spelled out the government’s stand on the quantum of water allowed by the apex court.

Madras HC declines to stay suspension of 79 DMK MLAs

Chennai: The Madras High Court today declined to grant an interim stay on suspension of 79 DMK MLAs from the state Assembly but issued notice to the state Chief Secretary on petitions filed by leader of the opposition MK Stalin and another DMK member.

The petitions challenged their en masse suspension from the Assembly and sought a direction to declare all proceedings and actions taken as illegal, ultra vires and unconstitutional.

DMK leader MK Stalin. AFPDMK leader MK Stalin. AFP

DMK leader MK Stalin. AFP

Declining to pass an interim order, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, said, “Since it is a matter of function of the House and the order has been passed by the Speaker, we are not inclined to pass interim orders.

“But there will be no question of making the prayer infructuous as ultimately the validity of the resolution would have to be decided as it may have other ramifications,” it said.

The bench directed the petitioners-Stalin and DMK MLA Thiagarajan — to serve private notices to the Speaker, P Dhanapal, and the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Secretary, and posted the matter for further hearing to 1 September.

When the matter came up, senior counsel for Stalin, Mohan Parasaran submitted that it was for the first time in the history of the Assembly that a resolution had been passed suspending en masse all opposition DMK MLAs.

In his plea, Stalin sought an interim direction to permit him and other suspended members to attend and participate in the present session.

He submitted that the blanket resolution to suspend all DMK members, who had signed the attendance register on the date was without any basis or material. He said the majority of DMK members, including he himself, were not in the House when the resolution was passed by voice vote.

He submitted that the resolution was later modified to include the DMK members who had been present and those who had not signed the attendance register and alleged that the Speaker’s action was “unprecedented, motivated and biased which completely undermines democracy”.

Madras HC declines to stay Tamil Nadu Speaker’s suspension of DMK MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a setback to the DMK, the Madras High Court on Monday declined to stay the suspension of 79 of its party MLAs from the state assembly.The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan, also did not give any interim direction to authorities to allow the suspended MLAs to attend the ongoing session. The bench, however, issued notice to Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal.When there was no one to take notice on his behalf, the bench allowed counsel for DMK treasurer and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly MK Stalin and MLA Thiagarajan to serve private notice on him. Notices were issued to the government and assembly secretary as well.The government pleader took the notices on their behalf.On August 17, uproarious scenes were witnessed in the state assembly when DMK MLAs were evicted and suspended en masse by Speaker P Dhanapal for a week for allegedly disrupting the proceedings of the House. Initially, 80 MLAs were suspended but later the suspension of one legislator was revoked as he was not present in the House during the ruckus, triggered by remarks of a ruling AIADMK MLA who allegedly ridiculed Stalin.The DMK moved the High Court seeking quashing of the suspension of their MLAs and contended that the en masse suspension was illegal.

FIR against MK Stalin, DMK MLAs for unlawful Assembly inside Tamil Nadu Secretariat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An FIR was filed on Sunday against Leader of Opposition MK Stalin and other DMK MLAs who had protested inside the Tamil Nadu Secretariat and outside the Assembly premise.A case had been filed in Fort Police station as DMK MLAs gathered inside the premises without permission.DMK MLAs had protested inside the secretariat on 18th and 19th of this month to allow them inside the assembly premise to go Stalin office.The case was filed against 40 MLAs on 18th and 60 MLAs on 19th.On 17th August, the Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker expelled DMK MLAs for a week from entering the assembly for continuous disruption of proceedings.Leader of the House and state’s Finance Minister O. Paneerselvam moved a resolution seeking suspension of all DMK MLAs present in the House for a week, which was adopted by the House.The disruption triggered after one of the AIADMK MLAs Gunasekaran passed a remark on Stalin’s Nammaku Naame (We, Ourselves) roadshow.Marshals physically carried Stalin out of the assembly building where an army of reporters surrounded the entrance to question the opposition leader.’Today’s action by the speaker and the ruling party members is yet another example of the attitude the AIADMK (towards opposition),” Stalin told the media.

Stalin denies claims of difference with father Karunanidhi, ‘snatching away’ opposition leader’s post

DMK treasurer and Opposition Leader in Tamil Nadu assembly MK Stalin rejected reports of differences with his father and party chief M Karunanidhi, as he charged arch rival AIADMK with trying to create confusion among DMK workers.Stalin also described as “indecent allegation”, Finance Minister O Panneerselvam’s claim that DMK’s demand for proper facilities for wheelchair-bound Karunanidhi to attend Assembly proceedings was due to problems between him and Karunandhi. “Panneerselvam has embarked on creating confusion in the party and the family by claiming that there are differences between the father and the son. This does not behold his Minister’s post,” Stalin said in a statement here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He, without elaborating, said Panneerselvam was not known to make such statements “but has been forced to do so”. “The contention by Panneerselvam and reports in some dailies supporting them (AIADMK) that there are differences between the father (Karunanidhi) and the son (Stalin) are completely false. The efforts by AIADMK to create confusion in DMK will not succeed,” he said.
ALSO READ DMK’s MK Stalin elected as opposition leader in Tamil Nadu state assemblyPanneerselvam should not resort to making such “baseless” allegations, he said. “There cannot be a worse allegation than that I snatched away the Opposition Leader’s post from Kalaignar (Karunanidhi). In fact, when DMK was in power, he allowed me to reply on the debate on Governor’s address,” Stalin said recalling his father’s Chief Ministerial tenure.On Panneerselvam’s claim that a letter from Stalin to Speaker P Dhanapal on the seating arrangement for DMK MLAs did not mention Karunanidhi’s name, the Opposition Leader said his party whip R Sakkarapani had seperately taken up the DMK chief’s case through a letter. Stalin said he himself had drawn Karunanidhi’s attention to that particular letter and that he had approved it.
ALSO READ No intent to show disrespect: Jaya clarifies to Stalin about seating gaffe He also chided Panneerselvam for Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa not taking him along during her Delhi visit earlier this week. She had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and presented a dossier of demands for funds for projects in various sectors.On Friday, Panneerselvam had alleged that DMK’s row over seating arrangement for Karunanidhi in the Assembly was a fallout of differences between him and Stalin. He had also alleged that Stalin had “snatched away” the Opposition Leader’s post from Karunanidhi, who was the top DMK leader.

No adequate facilities for Karunanidhi to attend Assembly: DMK

Opposition DMK today alleged that adequate facilities had not been made available for wheel-chair bound party President M Karunanidhi to attend the Assembly and took up the matter with the Speaker.Party Treasurer and Opposition Leader MK Stalin said that he had asked Speaker P Dhanapal to make adequate arrangements, including seating, for Karunanidhi to have access to the House and participate in its proceedings. “But the seating has been allotted in the second row where his wheelchair cannot go. Therefore, adequate arrangements have to be made for him,” Stalin said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was speaking to reporters after the House was adjourned for the day following obituary references, including to recently deceased Thirupparankundram AIADMK MLA M Seenivel. Karunanidhi represents his native Thiruvarur constituency in the 15th Tamil Nadu Assembly, elections for which were held on May 16. The DMK has 89 MLAs in the House.

AIADMK mocks Karunanidhi for ‘selectively’ using Hindi during elections

A day after BJP hit out at DMK chief M Karunanidhi for criticising the Central government’s “linguistic and cultural chauvinism” in promoting Sanksrit and Hindi, AIADMK on Sunday mocked at the nonagenarian leader-led party for using Hindi during elections.AIADMK mouthpiece “Dr Namadhu MGR” on Sunday caricatured Karunanidhi and reproduced his views asking how the Centre could go ahead in promoting Hindi and Sanskrit. Seeking to mock the party for using Hindi selectively, the caricature had in the backdrop a poster put up by DMK during an election in chaste Hindi.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A cartoon of a DMK worker was also depicted asking Karunanidhi how he “sang a Hindi song” during a previous Lok Sabha poll to seek support for party candidate Dayanidhi Maran, his grand nephew.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu polls: Vaiko apologises to Karunanidhi after casteist commentsKarunanidhi had said on June 10 that BJP regime was “obstinate in thrusting Sanskrit as it is a convenient route towards fundamentalist Hindutva.” He had cited media reports to say that the Centre may set up a board for Vedic education. He also referred to introduction of Sanskrit as a third language in CBSE schools and efforts to get Hindi empanelled as an official UN language to buttress his point that Sanskrit and Hindi were being promoted vigorously.BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan had on Saturday hit out at him for criticising the Centre for its move to set up a board of Vedic education and charged him with indulging in politics in the name of language. She had alleged that Karunanidhi had “ignored” divine Tamil and had demanded to know if it was not a “betrayal” of the Tamil people.
ALSO READ BJP lambasts Karunanidhi’s criticism of plan for Vedic educationShe also had asked, “Can you (Karunanidhi) deny that your party posters in Hindi were pasted in areas dominated by North Indians (during polls)? Can you deny this is brazen opportunism?”

V Narayanasamy sworn in as Puducherry Chief Minister

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister V Narayanasamy was on Monday sworn in as the tenth Chief Minister of Puducherry. Lt Governor Kiran Bedi administered the oath of office and secrecy to Narayanasamy and five other ministers – A Namassivayam, Malladi Krishna Rao, M O H F Shah Jahan, M Kandasamy and R Kamalakannan – at ‘Gandhi Thidal’ near the sea shore here. While Rao, hailing from Yanam, an enclave of Puducherry in Andhra Pradesh, took the oath in Telugu, others took it in Tamil. All of them are former ministers of the Union Territory. Earlier, Puducherry Chief Secretary Manoj Parida had read out the warrant of appointment of Narayanasamy as Chief Minister of Puducherry issued by President Pranab Mukherjee. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AICC General Secretary Mukul Wasnik, AICC Secretary Chinna Reddy, DMK leader K Stalin and TNCC president E V K S Ilangovan were among those present during the ceremony. Narayanasamy was elected leader of the 15-member Congress Legislature party on May 28. The party also has support of the two-member DMK in the 30-member Assembly. The Congress leader had called on Bedi at Raj Nivas on May 30 and staked claim to form the ministry. He had also presented to Bedi letters of the Congress legislators and those from DMK, expressing support for his leadership. Sixty-nine-year-old Narayanasamy, who had served as Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office in the second UPA government after serving as MoS Parliamentary Affairs in UPA-I, did not contest the May 16 assembly polls and will now have to seek election to the legislature in a bypoll. A law graduate, Narayanasamy practiced law for more than ten years since 1973 and jumped into active politics in 1985. He was elected for the first time to Rajya Sabha and retained the seat in 1991. However, he was defeated in the contest for the RS seat in 1997 by DMK and regained the seat in 2003. As the PCC president in 2007, he proved his organisational capability by constituting committees at the booth and block levels. There was stiff competition between Narayanasamy and PCC president A Namassivayam, who was elected for a second consecutive term, for the post of Chief Minister, but the former emerged the unanimous choice at the CLP meeting.Congress had secured 15 seats of the 21 seats it contested while its ally the DMK won two in the assembly polls, ending the five-year rule of the AINRC led by N Rangasamy.

BJP hits out at M Karunanidhi for rant against PM Modi

BJP state on Saturday hit out at DMK chief M Karunanidhi for questioning the timing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s congratulatory message to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on May 19, saying he had greeted her only after trends indicated AIADMK’s victory in the assembly polls. “Modi greeted Jayalalithaa on her party’s poll victory only at 11.15 AM on Twitter on May 19 and not at 10 AM as claimed by Karunanidhi. By this time trends had already indicated that AIADMK would win,” BJP Tamil Nadu unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan said in a statement here. She pointed out that even before greeting Jayalalithaa, Modi had congratulated Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) at 11.14 AM, Sonowal (Assam CM) at 11.23 AM and the Kerala winners at 11.26 AM. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Karunanidhi’s charge that the PM’s call had influenced the electoral outcome in Tamil Nadu, she said, “if election results can be influenced through greetings, why had Modi not done it in Delhi polls? How did Nitish win back power in Bihar?” Karunanidhi had at a public meeting yesterday got up to celebrate his 93rd birthday had asked Modi the ‘secret’ behind him greeting Jayalalithaa at 10.00 am on her victory and sought to know how he learnt by that time itself she was winning. “Did you complete counting of votes even before the process had started?,” he had asked sarcastically and alleged that Modi’s greetings influenced the electoral outcome in Tamil Nadu. The DMK patriarch had also termed the Election Commission a “dishonest” organisation and said a “fitting lesson” should be taught to the EC by “ensuring victory” for DMK candidates in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly constituencies.He had alleged that election was rescinded in these two constituencies to prevent DMK from winning the seats and added if Modi failed to give an explanation it would mean that he had accepted his charges. The BJP state president also hit out at Karunanidhi for saying there was no proper explanation for seizure of Rs 570 crore by the Election Commission, which SBI had claimed was its own. “He says Centre should respond to the seizure though authorities have clarified that it belongs to SBI … you have not given a true reply to the Rs 1.76 lakh Crore 2G scam,” she said. Soundararajan also hit out at Karunanidhi for his “sheep believes only the butcher” May 30 remark, a reference to people who voted AIADMK back to power. “If DMK wins, they are people and if they don’t, the people are sheep. If DMK wins the Election Commission officials are honest, if they lose, they are dishonest … you opened up a bundle of lies,” she said.

Include Dalit Christians, fishermen in SC/ST: Karunanidhi to Modi

DMK President M Karunanidhi on Sunday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include Dalit Christians and fishermen community in Scheduled Tribes list. Thanking Modi for the recent Cabinet’s decision to include Narikuravars in the list of Scheduled Tribes, he said it was a demand made by DMK for a very long time and expressed satisfaction that it had been fulfilled. On his demand for including Dalit Christians in the SC/ST category, Karunanidhi said, “when SC/STs convert themselves to Christianity, they are deprived of all the privileges and concessions hitherto enjoyed by them. “DMK has been demanding that the SC/STs after conversion to Christianity should be treated as SC/STs and allowed all concessions and privileges,” he said, adding there were precedents such as recognition of Sikh Christians and Buddhist Christians.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said the fishermen community should be included in the ST category as marine tribes. “The fishermen community, by their very geographical nature, is socially and educationally akin to the Scheduled Tribes.” Their inclusion in ST list, which they “deserve in all respects”, would enable them to climb up the ladder of life, Karunanidhi said. Karunanidhi requested Modi to “consider the two demands and sought an early action by the government.” Last week, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for inclusion of three communities, including Narikuravar, from the state under the Scheduled Tribes category.

DMDK leaders advise Vijaykanth to not take on any allies for civic polls

After drawing a blank in the recently concluded assembly elections, the DMDK senior functionaries have reportedly informed their senior leader Vijayakanth to go alone in the municipal polls in October.According to a report in the Hindu, in a recent meeting that was held by Vijayakanth for the district secretaries, it is reported that some of the senior functionaries urged their leader to cut off ties with People Welfare Front.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The functionaries believe that the party rout in the elections was due to the alliance. A complete lack of coordination with the party members of the alliance is alleged to have been the reason behind failure of DMDK’s poor performance in the elections.The report also said that some of the leaders have complained to Vijayakanth that the situation was bad during the elections as there were not enough members from other alliance parties to man the voting booths.The campaign style of MDMK leader Vaiko was also attributed for the failure in the elections. DMDK supporters are anti-AIADMK majority. Vaiko’s focus was more on DMK. Therefore according to the party members, it resulted in several DMDK supporters voting for the DMKA former MLA had also said that an alliance with DMK would have ensured a victory for the party in the elections. The assembly polls have hit each of the district functionaries financially and supporting the alliance in the municipal polls is difficult, he added.

Include Dalit Christians, fishermen in SC/ST: Karunanidhi to PM Modi

DMK President M Karunanidhi on Sunday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include Dalit Christians and fishermen community in Scheduled Tribes list.Thanking Modi for the recent Cabinet’s decision to include Narikuravars in the list of Scheduled Tribes, he said it was a demand made by DMK for a very long time and expressed satisfaction that it had been fulfilled.On his demand for including Dalit Christians in the SC/ST category, Karunanidhi said, “when SC/STs convert themselves to Christianity, they are deprived of all the privileges and concessions hitherto enjoyed by them.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”DMK has been demanding that the SC/STs after conversion to Christianity should be treated as SC/STs and allowed all concessions and privileges,” he said, adding there were precedents such as recognition of Sikh Christians and Buddhist Christians. He also said the fishermen community should be included in the ST category as marine tribes. “The fishermen community, by their very geographical nature, is socially and educationally akin to the Scheduled Tribes.”Their inclusion in ST list, which they “deserve in all respects”, would enable them to climb up the ladder of life, Karunanidhi said.Karunanidhi requested Modi to “consider the two demands and sought an early action by the government.” Last week, the Union Cabinet gave its approval for inclusion of three communities, including Narikuravar, from the state under the Scheduled Tribes category.

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