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‘Chinnamma’ Sasikala to formally take over as AIADMK chief on Saturday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>VK Sasikala, who was appointed to the top post in the AIADMK on Thursday, will formally take charge as its general secretary here on Saturday, the party has said.The AIADMK headquarters at Royapettah here is being spruced up for the occasion with a dais being set up near the MGR statue to facilitate Sasikala to pay tributes to the party founder before taking charge.In keeping with the Dravidian political ethos of paying tributes at memorials of leaders before key events, Sasikala placed a wreath and paid floral tributes to Jayalalithaa at her burial site in the MGR Memorial at Marina beach this evening.She also laid wreaths and paid floral tributes at the memorials of MG Ramachandran and Dravidian ideologue and former Tamil Nadu chief minister CN Annadurai.Amid chants of “compassionate mother Chinnamma” by her partymen, Sasikala showered flower petals on Jayalalithaa’s burial site.With moist eyes, she placed a copy of the party resolution appointing her as the AIADMK general secretary at the burial site.After silently praying for a while, she went around the site during which she paused and touched it twice as a mark of respect.On her arrival at the MGR Memorial, Sasikala was received by AIADMK presidium chairman E Madusudanan, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and senior party leader M Thambidurai and state ministers, including Dindigul C Srinivasan and Edappadi K Palanisami.They accompanied her as she paid her respects to the late leaders.Party MPs, MLAs former ministers and legislators were also present on the occasion even as a large number of AIADMK cadre thronged the place.Earlier, former Puducherry chief minister and chief of the All India NR Congress (AINRC) N Rangaswamy met Sasikala at her Poes Garden residence and congratulated her on being appointed as the AIADMK chief.

Cyclone Vardah as it happened: Four killed in Tamil Nadu, two fishermen go missing off Kakinada coast

Cyclone Vardah as it happened: Four killed in Tamil Nadu, two fishermen go missing off Kakinada coast

By Updated: Dec 12, 2016 21:36 IST

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New Delhi: Cyclonic storm Vardah, which was earlier expected to weaken considerably, may not see its intensity going down when it makes landfall near Chennai on Monday. According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, (IMD), Vardah, which is currently, a very severe cyclonic storm, will weaken, but only to a severe cyclonic storm.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Cyclone Vardah over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The earlier forecast made by the IMD was that it would weaken into a cyclonic storm, thereby reducing its intensity considerably. At 9.30 am, the cyclone was lay centered around 105 kms east-northeast of Chennai.

By the time it makes a landfall, its wind speed is expected to be 100-110 kilometres per hours with winds gusting up to 120 kmph. The wind speed during a very severe cyclonic storm is 120 to 130 kmph. In a severe cyclonic storm the wind speed is somewhere between 110 to 80 kilometres per hour. One of the major reasons for destruction in any cyclone is the wind velocity, apart from heavy to heavy rains and flooding.

Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is very likely during 36 hrs. The rainfall intensity will increase gradually becoming heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-19 cm) at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (20 centimetres) over Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh on 12 December, the IMD said.

Tidal wave of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh during the time of landfall.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 21:35 IST

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Cyclone Vardah: Govt taking all precautions at Kalpakkam nuclear power plant in Kancheepuram

New Delhi: Government has taken all precautions for the safety of Kalpakkam nuclear power plant as Tamil Nadu faces a severe cyclonic storm Vardah on Monday.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“All precautions are taken at nuclear plant Kalpakkam to face Vardah. So far all is well and plant operation is normal. The plant is in touch with the India Meteorological Department,” the National Disaster Management Authority said in a statement.

Kalpakkam is in Kancheepuram, which along with Chennai, Tiruvallur and Villupuram in northern Tamil Nadu, has been pounded by heavy rainfall and high velocity winds.

The Nuclear power Corporation of India-run power plant has two operational units which produces 440 MW power while another plant of 500 MW is undergoing construction.

The wind speed of cyclone Vardah reached 110-120 kmph as the landfall process began.

People are advised to remain in safe places and cooperate with state government officials and disaster management agencies, the NDMA said.

As many as 19 team of National Disaster Response Force (one team comprises of 35 personnel) have been deployed in coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to deal with any situation arising out of the cyclone’s landfall.

Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next two days.

So far 7,354 people from Tamil Nadu living in areas of possible landfall have been shifted to safer places and kept in 54 relief centres.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 14:48 IST

Precautions taken for safety of Kalpakkam nuclear power plant: NDMA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government has taken all precautions for the safety of Kalpakkam nuclear power plant as Tamil Nadu faces a severe cyclonic storm Vardah on Monday.”All precautions are taken at nuclear plant Kalpakkam to face Vardah. So far all is well and plant operation is normal. The plant is in touch with the India Meteorological Department,” the National Disaster Management Authority said in a statement.Kalpakkam is in Kancheepuram, which along with Chennai, Tiruvallur and Villupuram in northern Tamil Nadu, has been pounded by heavy rainfall and high velocity winds.The Nuclear power Corporation of India-run power plant has two operational units which produces 440 MW power while another plant of 500 MW is undergoing construction.The wind speed of cyclone Vardah reached 110-120 kmph as the landfall process began.People are advised to remain in safe places and cooperate with state government officials and disaster management agencies, the NDMA said.As many as 19 team of National Disaster Response Force (one team comprises of 35 personnel) have been deployed in coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to deal with any situation arising out of the cyclone’s landfall.Fishermen are advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next two days.So far 7,354 people from Tamil Nadu living in areas of possible landfall have been shifted to safer places and kept in 54 relief centres.

Cyclone Vardah may not weaken much when it makes landfall in Chennai today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cyclonic storm Vardah, which was earlier expected to weaken considerably, may not see its intensity going down when it makes landfall near Chennai on Monday.According to the Cyclone Warning Division of the India Meteorological Department, (IMD), Vardah, which is currently, a very severe cyclonic storm, will weaken, but only to a severe cyclonic storm. The earlier forecast made by the IMD was that it would weaken into a cyclonic storm, thereby reducing its intensity considerably.At 9:30 AM, the cyclone was lay centered around 105 kms east-northeast of Chennai. By the time it makes a landfall, its wind speed is expected to be 100-110 kmph with winds gusting up to 120 kmph. The wind speed during a very severe cyclonic storm is 120 to 130 kmph. In a severe cyclonic storm the wind speed is somewhere between 110 to 80 kmph.
ALSO READ Cyclone Vardah: NDMA shares do’s and don’ts, safety tipsOne of the major reasons for destruction in any cyclone is the wind velocity, apart from heavy to heavy rains and flooding.Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is very likely during 36 hrs. The rainfall intensity will increase gradually becoming heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-19 cm) at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (20 cm) over Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh on December 12, the IMD said.
ALSO READ Cyclone Vardah: Tamil Nadu announces holiday for schools in 4 districts, Andhra Pradesh braces for impactTidal wave of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh during the time of landfall.

Puducherry govt announces 3-day state mourning for Jayalailithaa’s death

Tue, 6 Dec 2016-11:56am , Puducherry , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Puducherry government on Tuesday announced a three-day state mourning from today after the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.Announcing this, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy recalled the various measures Jayalalithaa had evolved and implemented in Tamil Nadu. Narayanasamy led the Union Territory in paying floral tributes at a portrait of the late leader on the premises of the Assembly here earlier. Ministers and legislators were among those who paid tributes.A condolence meeting was held on the premises of the Puducherry PCC office. PWD Minister and PCC leader A Namassivayam presided over the meeting. Chief Minister Narayanasamy, his cabinet colleagues and legislators paid homage to the departed leader.Speaker of Puducherry Assembly V Vaithilingam said Jayalalithaa was relentless in her mission and vision and earned encomiums from all sections of people. All schools and colleges and state government offices remained closed here today as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

Demonetization: Puducherry govt staff urged to use mobile banking for transactions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Puducherry government has urged the employees of all government departments and public sector undertakings in the Union territory to support the Centre’s demonetisation move to do away with black money, by using debit cards or mobile banking for all transactions till normalcy is restored.Secretary to the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms here, S Sundaravadivelou yesterday issued a circular to all government departments and public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies, instructing the employees and staff to support the cause of the Centre ‘in the hour of difficulty.’The circular stated that the salaries and allowances of the government staff here have been credited to their bank accounts as per the system introduced some years ago under ECS mode and all the employees have been provided with debit cards.’It is the paramount responsibility of the employees to support the cause of the government of India in this hour of difficulty,’ it said adding the staff ‘should use debit or credit cards for all transactions without rushing to the banks to withdraw the cash,’ it added.It also pointed out that mobile phones might also be used for payment to utilities and purchases. All Departments heads, officers, Chief Executive Officers of public sector undertakings, autonomous and statutory bodies have been asked to notify their respective staff about the circular.

Cyclone Nada makes landfall near Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cyclonic storm Nada has further weakened into a depression as predicted and is currently making landfall between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu ​at 50 km wind speed, the MeT Department said on Friday. “A large chunk of the depression has crossed coast early morning. However, over 25% of the system is yet to make the landfall which will happen soon,” a MeT official said. He said mild to moderate rain coupled with squally winds were being witnessed in parts of Tamil Nadu.ANI reports that upto four cm rain was received in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Puducherry. The MeT department says Chennai is to receive light showers. MeT forecasts moderate rainfall in North coastal Tamil NaduCyclone Nada which weakened into a deep depression on Thursday moved Westnorth-Westwards and became a depression about 40 km East south East of Karaikkal (Puducherry Union Territory), the official said. “The cyclone passed off peacefully. (Landfall) through Karaikal (Pondy region) coast at 5 am. Wind velocity down,” Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi said.ANI reported that the deep depression over southwest Bay of Bengal moved westwards with speed of about 10 kmph and crossed north Tamil Nadu coast near Nagapatti. Cuddalore Collector Rajesh Kumar said, “We have identified, strengthened 41 cyclone relief shelters. NDRF teams have already arrived.” Area Cyclone Warning Centre Director, S Balachandran, had told reporters in Chennai on Thursday, “From a cyclonic storm, it has weakened into deep depression and in the next 24 hours is likely to cross the coast.” The deep depression crossed the coast between Cuddalore and Vedaranyam early Saturday morning.The weakening of the cyclone brings partial relief to the authorities who have put the state machinery on high alert, deploying National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response teams, and taking elaborate precautionary measures to tackle any eventuality. Earlier, the MeT office had said the cyclone would cross the state coast near Cuddalore and under its impact, heavy rains could lash Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry. Some coastal areas are likely to receive heavy rains, the official said.During and before the land fall of the depression, winds gusting upto 55 kmph are likely in coastal regions, he said.Earlier on Thursday, Agricultural Production commissioner and Secretary, Gagandeep Singh Bedi, said in Cuddalore that all the 32 revenue districts, including 13 coastal districts were being monitored continuously. “The district administrations are fully prepared (to handle any eventuality),” he said.State Revenue Minister RB Udaya Kumar said, “Be it heavy rains (which is expected) and gusty winds, all preparations are on (to tackle the situation).” He said during heavy winds power lines will be needing more attention and the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation is fully prepared to tackle the situation.Holidays had been declared in schools in various coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for Thursday and Friday in view of the cyclone threat.The rains under influence of the depression have, however, brought cheers to the farmers hit by crop failure due to lack of water for irrigation. The current spell of rains marked revival of the north east monsoon which accounts for the major share of rains for the state, after it virtually remained inactive since its onset in October.

Demonetization: Fishermen in Tamil Nadu lament lack of cash to buy diesel for boats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demonetization has rendered thousands of fishermen across Tamil Nadu jobless for the past several days as there was no money to buy diesel for boats, fishermen representatives said on Thursday, seeking measures to help them overcome the problem.Fishermen of Thoothukudi, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Tiruvarur and Ramanathapuram held a meeting here and discussed the impact of demonetization and other problems plaguing them.Fishermen of these districts, including around 25,000 here, were unable to take up fishing in the past several days as they did not have adequate money to buy diesel in view of the restrictions on withdrawals, they said.A minimum of Rs 20,000 was required for buying diesel for small boats, Confederation of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Fishermen associations General Secretary N J Bose said.He wanted extension of mobile ATM facilities as had been made available to the farmers after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on November 8 that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes ceased to be legal tenders.The meeting was attended by around 200 representatives of the fishermen associations, including TN Coastal Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association President P Sesuraj.Among others, the fishermen also said that 20 of their colleagues and 115 boats were still under Sri Lankan custody and sought their release.The fishermen leaders said they planned to meet Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar and state BJP President Tamilisai Sounderrajan next week to highlight their problems.They also demanded formation of an exclusive Fisheries ministry at the Centre.The fishermen will proceed to attend the inauguration of a new church built in Katchatheevu islet, under Sri Lankan control, even if no permission was granted, they said.

Anna University exams cancelled due to Nada

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Area Cyclone Warning Centre Director, S Balachandran, made an announcement on Wednesday wherein he declared that a depression over Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and cross the north Tamil Nadu coast early on December 2, bringing heavy rainfall in its wake.As a result of which, Anna University engineering college examinations which were to be held on December 1 (Thursday) have been cancelled. The schools in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Thiruvallur, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam have also declared a two-day holiday in the wake of cyclonic storm ‘Nada’.
ALSO READ Heavy rains in TN and Puducherry for 2 days, Nada to cross on Dec 2The weather office said the depression over southeast Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards and intensified into a deep depression and lay centred about 830 km of southeast Chennai, 780 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 490 km east-southeast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka. “The system is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm (Nada) during next 12 hours. It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranyam and Chennai close to Cuddalore by early hours of December 2,” it said.In its warning, the weather office forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on December 1 and 2. The fishermen were also asked to return immediately. In Chennai, rains are expected to start early Thursday morning and intensify gradually, adding to spells of heavy to very heavy rain are likely in the city, Balachandran added.”With PTI inputs

Heavy rains in TN and Puducherry for 2 days, Nada to cross on Dec 2

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A depression over Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and cross the north Tamil Nadu coast early on December 2, bringing heavy rainfall in its wake, the weather office said on Wednesday. The cyclonic storm has been named ‘Nada’, S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, told reporters in Chennai.The weather office said the depression over southeast Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards and intensified into a deep depression and lay centred about 830 km of southeast Chennai, 780 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 490 km east-southeast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka.”The system is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm (Nada) during next 12 hours. It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranyam and Chennai close to Cuddalore by early hours of December 2,” it said.In its warning, the weather office forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on December 1 and 2. “Squally winds would commence to prevail along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from December 1 morning,” it said and asked fishermen not to venture into the sea.Those out in the sea were advised to return immediately. In the next 24 hours in Tamil Nadu beginning 0830 hrs on Wednesday, rains will commence along coastal parts and gradually move to inner districts, Balachandran said. In Chennai, rains are expected to start early Thursday morning and intensify gradually, he said, adding, spells of heavy to very heavy rain are likely in the city.

Cyclone Nada to cross Tamil Nadu coast on 2 December, ‘very heavy’ rainfall predicted

Chennai: A depression over the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and cross the north Tamil Nadu coast early on 2 December, bringing heavy rainfall in its wake, the weather office said on Wednesday.

The cyclonic storm has been named Nada, S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, told reporters.

The weather office said the depression over southeast Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards and intensified into a deep depression and lay centred about 830 km of southeast Chennai, 780 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 490 km east-southeast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka.

“The system is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm [Nada] during next 12 hours. It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranyam and Chennai close to Cuddalore by early hours of 2 December,” it said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

In its warning, the weather office forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on 1 and 2 December.

“Squally winds would commence to prevail along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from 1 December morning,” it said and asked fishermen not to venture into the sea.

Those out in the sea were advised to return immediately.

In the next 24 hours in Tamil Nadu beginning 0830 hrs on Wednesday, rains will commence along coastal parts and gradually move to inner districts, Balachandran said.

In Chennai, rains are expected to start early Thursday morning and intensify gradually, he said, adding, spells of heavy to very heavy rain are likely in the city.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) held a review meeting with Tamil Nadu government officials, including Chief Secretary P Ramamohana Rao on the preparedness to face the impact of the north east monsoon.

NDMA member Lt.Gen. N C Marwah, visited Chennai on 29 and 30 November to “review the preparedness measures undertaken by Government of Tamil Nadu to meet the impact of North East Monsoon,” a state government release said.

Commissioner of Revenue Administration K Satyagopal made a detailed presentation on various preventive and mitigation measures undertaken and preparedness measures carried out by the state government, it said.

He also explained new initiatives taken by the state government such as vulnerability mapping and analysis, formation of Inter Departmental Zonal Teams in vulnerable areas, Institutional arrangements, restoration of water bodies and water courses and community participation, it added.

Marwah also held detailed discussions with Rao in a meeting attended by other senior officials including Revenue Secretary B Chandramohan.

He “conveyed his appreciation and satisfaction over the initiatives taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu based on the experience gained during flooding in the state during 2015,” the release added.

Chennai and its suburbs in neighbouring Kancheepuram and Tiruvallore districts witnessed record rainfalls in the first week of December last year, resulting in a deluge.

Cuddalore District administration said elaborate precautionary measures had been taken to meet any eventuality in view of the cyclone expected to cross the district coast.

Officials of all departments had been put on high alert, District Collector TP Rajesh told reporters in Cuddalore.

The district had been divided into 79 zones and each of it would be assigned to a 21-member team of officials who would oversee relief works.

VHF network based walkie-talkies had been given to 1,728 safety officials and cyclone shelters kept ready in 51 fishing villages to accommodate people, he said.

Protected drinking water mixed with chlorine had been filled in all overhead tanks across the district.

All rivers flowing through and tanks and ponds in the district had already been desilted utilising Rs 179 crore sanctioned by the state government and Rs 30.77 crore contributed by Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) to gear up for meeting this year’s monsoon, the Collector said.

Special canals had been dug in the NLC to protect the three lignite mines from possible flooding, he added.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 18:28 IST

Cyclonic storm likely to hit Tamil Nadu coast on December 2

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A cyclonic storm is likely to hit Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranniyam and Chennai by December 2, the India Meteorological Department on Wednesdya said.According to Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD, satellite imagery indicates a depression has formed over southeast Bay of Bengal.It currently lays centred about 1070 km east-southeast of Chennai, 1030 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 720 km east-southeast of Trincomalee (Srilanka).”The system is very likely to move west-northwestwards, intensify into a deep depression during next 24 hours and into a cyclonic storm in subsequent 24 hours. It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranniyam and Chennai by the morning of December 2,” the IMD said.The IMD has advised fishermen not to venture into sea along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from evening of November 30 onwards. Those at sea are advised to return to the coast.Light to moderate rainfall at many places is very likely to commence over coastal Tamil Nadu from the evening of November 30.The intensity would increase with rainfall at most places and “heavy to very heavy rainfall” at a few places over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and isolated “heavy to very heavy rainfall” over interior Tamil Nadu on December 1 and 2, the IMD said.Light to moderate rainfall would occur at many places with isolated heavy falls very likely over Kerala on December 2 and 3.”Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would commence to prevail along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from December 1. Sea condition would be rough to very rough along off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from December 1 onward,” the IMD added.

Tamil Nadu: Heavy rains forecast in coastal areas, Puducherry from 1 December

Chennai: A well-marked low pressure over Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean is likely to concentrate into a depression in the next 24 hours, and bring heavy rainfall to coastal Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry from 1 December, MeT office said on Tuesday.

The forecast indicates revival of the north east monsoon, which has been rather inactive, especially in northern parts of the state since its onset in October end.

Representational image. Getty imagesRepresentational image. Getty images

Representational image. Getty images

“Yesterday’s [Monday’s] well-marked low pressure area over Southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining equatorial Indian Ocean persists. It is very likely to concentrate into a depression during next 24 hours,” the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) here said.

Accordingly, strong winds and heavy to very heavy rainfall are likely over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on 1 and 2 December, it said, and advised fishermen against venturing into sea, starting Wednesday.

“Those who are already in the deep sea are advised to return to the coast immediately,” it added.

The northeast monsoon brings the bulk of Tamil Nadu’s annual rainfall (48 percent) and became active in October end.

However, several parts of the state, especially in the north, including the state capital are yet to receive significant spells of rain, causing concern.

This is in contrast to the situation last year during the monsoon, when four northern coastal districts — Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallore and Cuddalore — suffered a deluge following unprecedented downpour. Tuticorin in southern Tamil Nadu too had faced the monsoon fury.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 16:35 IST

Bypolls: V Narayanasamy bags Nellithoppe assembly seat in Puducherry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress contender and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy bagged the Nellithoppe assembly seat in Puducherry by-election defeating AIADMK’s Om Sakthi Segar. Narayanasamy, who is not a member of the territorial assembly, had emerged as compromise candidate for the Chief Minister’s post after May 16 assembly elections.This election was crucial for him as his continuance in the Chief Minister’s chair depended on the outcome of the bypoll.For Om Sakthi Sekar, the two-time MLA from this constituency, the electoral battle was an opportunity to prove his mettle after defeat in the last assembly elections.Counting of votes took place for four Lok Sabha and eight assembly constituencies, spread across six states and one Union Territory where by-elections were held on Saturday.In Tamil Nadu, bypolls were held for Thanjavur, Aravakurichi and Tiruparakundram assembly seats on November 19. The first round of counting for the Thanjavur assembly seat ended at around 9.30 am and AIADMK was leading with 5,993 votes, DMK at 3,974 votes.The Lok Sabha seats were bypolls where held are Lakhimpur in Assam, Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh and Coochbehar and Tamluk Parliamentary seats in West Bengal. The Assembly seats are in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and the Union Territory of Puducherry.In Tripura, the counting of votes for bypoll in Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies began at 8 am amidst tight security. The CPI (M) won both assembly seats in the state.In Assam, the counting of votes for Lakhimpur Lok Sabha and Baithalangso assembly by polls is being held amid tight security. Over 66% polling was reported at Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat while over 74% voters exercised their voting rights at Baithalangso assembly seat.Five candidates are in the fray for the Lakhimpur seat while political fate of three candidates will be decided at Baithalangso assembly seat. Both the seats are likely to witness straight contest between the NDA and the Congress. The outcome of the bypolls will be the first test for the Sarbanand Sonowal-led BJP government as well as newly appointed state Congress president Ripun Bora.

Puducherry by-poll: V Narayanasamy‬ wins ‪Nellithope‬ seat, will continue as CM

As counting of votes for three assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu and in Puduchery began at 8 am on Tuesday, Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy of the Congress defeated his AIADMK rival Om Sakthi Sekhar.

V NarayansamyV Narayansamy

A file photo of V Narayansamy. News18

Narayanasamy wins the Nellithope by a margin of 11,144 votes in the Puducherry by-election, reported The New Indian Express.

Narayanasamy, who did not contest in the 16 May elections, asked to be elected to the assembly within six months and took charge as the chief minister on 6 June, 2016. Lt Governor Kiran Bedi had administered the oath of office and secrecy to Narayanasamy and to five ministers: R Kamalakannan, M Kandasamy, Malladi Krishna Rao, A Namassivayam and MOHF Shahjahan.

The New Indian Express report also mentioned that the Puducherry incumbent CM secured 18,709 votes against Om Sakthi Sekhar’s 7,565 votes, out of a total of 26,564 votes polled.

According to a report in The Times of India, Narayanasamy had kept a steady lead, polling 6,779 votes in the first round, 6,137 in the second and 5,791 in the third and final round. Sekhar, meanwhile, polled 2,819 in the first, 2,560 in the second and 2,185 in the third and final round.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 11:16 IST

Counting of votes begins for bypolls of 4 Lok Sabha and 8 Assembly seats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Counting of votes has begun for four Lok Sabha and eight Assembly Constituencies, spread across six States and one Union Territory where by-elections were held on Saturday.The Lok Sabha seats are Lakhimpur in Assam, Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh and Coochbehar and Tamluk Parliamentary seats in West Bengal.The Assembly seats are in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and the Union Territory of Puducherry.In Assam, the counting of votes for Lakhimpur Lok Sabha and Baithalangso assembly by polls is being held today amid tight security. Over 66 percent polling was reported at Lakhimpur Lok Sabha seat while over 74 percent voters exercised their voting rights at Baithalangso assembly seat.Five candidates are in the fray for the Lakhimpur seat while political fate of three candidates will be decided at Baithalangso assembly seat. Both the seats are likely to witness straight contest between the NDA and the Congress.The outcome of the bypoll will be the first test for the Sarbanand Sonowal led BJP government as well as newly appointed state Congress President Ripun Bora.In Tamil Nadu, the results will be announced today for Thanjavur, Aravakurichi and Tiruparakundram Assembly bye-elections held on 19th of this month. The results are expected to be known in the morning itself as voting was held through Electronic Voting Machines.In Puducherry, counting of votes of the Nellithoppe assembly by-election has begun. Election Department has made all arrangements for counting.Police has put in place a three-tier security for Bharathidasan Women’s College in the city where counting is underway. As by-poll was held in a single constituency the result is expected by 10 am.The by-election saw fierce electoral battle between congress candidate and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and AIADMK’s Om Sakthi Sekar.Narayanasamy who is not a member of the territorial assembly emerged as compromise candidate for Chief Minister’s post after May 16 assembly elections.This election is crucial for him as his continuance in the post depend on the outcome of the by-poll. For Om Sakthi Sekar, two time MLA from the constituency, the electoral battle was an opportunity to prove himself after the defeat in the last Assembly elections.In Tripura, the counting of votes for by-poll in Barjala and Khowai assembly constituencies began at 8 am today amidst tight security.In Barjala, the counting is being held at Umakant Academy complex whereas in Khowai the counting is being held at SDM Office campus hall. Counting will be done in 4 rounds.First postal ballots and then EVM votes will be counted under the supervision of central election observers. Both the centres will be having CCTV for surveillance during counting of votes.In these constituencies polling was held on 19 November. Mainly four parties i.e. CPI (M), TMC, Congress and BJP are in the fray. There are around 39,000 voters in each constituency.

AIADMK calls for formation of Cauvery Management Board

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) spokesperson CR Saraswathi on Friday called for the formation of Cauvery Management Board (CMB) at the earliest to resolve water sharing dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.”All our MPs want the Cauvery Management Board to be constituted immediately. Some people say that it is a disturbance, it is not a disturbance, it is our right,” said AIADMK leader CR Saraswathi.She further said that since the court has given the order to share the waters of the River Cauvery, the need for forming the CMB has become a priority.Expressing grief about fishermen being shot at by the Sri Lankan Navy Saraswathi said the matter will be looked into and action would be taken at the earliest.Earlier, the Supreme Court had reserved its order on maintainability on appeal of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against the Cauvery Tribunal’s order of 2007.The Cauvery dispute dates back to 1892 when an agreement was filed between Madras Presidency and Mysore for arbitration but led to a fresh set of disputes. Later, attempts were renewed to arbitrate between the two states under the supervision of Government of India and the second agreement was signed in 1924.With Kerala and Puducherry also staking claims to a share of Cauvery water after India attained independence, a fact finding committee was set-up in 1970 to figure out the situation on ground.The committee submitted its report in 1972 and further studies were done by an expert committee and the states reached an agreement in 1976. However, after a new government came to power in Tamil Nadu, it refused to give consent to terms of the agreement paving way for further dispute.

Demonetisation: Indelible ink to be applied on right hand to avoid confusion during by-polls

Puducherry: The district election authorities in Puducherry have asked the banks and post offices to ensure that they applied the indelible ink mark on the right hand index finger of those seeking to exchange the scrapped currency notes, to avoid any confusion during the by-poll to Nellithope assembly segment.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

District Election Officer, Satyendra Singh Dursawat in a release on Thursday said, the banks and post offices in Puducherry have been asked to apply the indelible ink mark on the right hand index finger of their customers.

If the ink is applied on the left hand index finger of the customers, and when they turn up at the polling booths to cast their vote, it might be mistaken for the one applied already at the booths.

As a result, genuine voters would be deprived of their right to vote, he said.

The Election Commission has mandated that the voters of Nellithope constituency should get their left hand index finger marked with indelible ink while exercising their franchise on 19 November.

Hence, the voters should also make it clear to the bank staff that the ink mark should be applied on their right hand index finger as they were to vote in the by-election, he added.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 10:45 IST

Demonetisation: Kudos to Modi but the clean-up drive, like charity, should start at home

A senior politician in Telangana was a relieved man on the evening of 8 November, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared 500 and 1000 rupee notes were no longer legal tender. He was to receive Rs 2 crore that morning in cash but the person had delivered only Rs 30 lakh. The neta ji immediately called up the person and asked him to give the rest in new currency notes only.

Another phone call and the process of converting Rs 30 lakh given in 1000 rupee notes into 100 rupee notes also was taken care of.
“It is only the common man who is troubled by having to spend hours just to withdraw Rs 4500 from a bank. Politicians know how to deal with big amounts,” said a politician. “Modi is wrong. The rich are sleeping peacefully while the poor are queuing up in front of ATMs from 5 am, with their quilts,” said another.

Another neta is mulling over whether to get his Rs 2 crore cash converted with a 30 percent commission or use the hawala route to send it out and get it back sometime next year.

These are voices from different ends of the political spectrum — BJP, Congress and regional parties. Some of them may take a minor hit, some of their money will come into the banking system. But anyone telling you that India will be ‘Swachh Bharat’ post 30 December, is only pulling wool over your eyes.

“Ba ba black sheep, have you any wool?

Yes sir, Yes sir, three bags full.”

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Frankly, anyone who understands how political parties operate in India knows that distributing money among say, 200 cadre is not a big deal for a politician. Political parties are most organised when it comes to distribution of money, with loyalty an obvious corollary of the caste factor, and greed because of personal gain.

A survey conducted by In Shorts among 2.69 lakh app users reveals that 82 percent of Indians support Modi’s demonetisation move. But Narendra Modi cannot become ‘Robinhood’ Modi unless he cleans up the political system. Because the black buck stops at the political party table.

Remember a comment made by former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, a month before the assembly elections this summer? He red-flagged a massive surge in cash circulation during the elections in Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. Rajan said money in people’s hands had gone up by over Rs 60000 crore. He noted that this is “not normal” and needs to be probed.

Let us not forget that in a dubious first for Indian elections, assembly elections to two constituencies in Tamil Nadu were cancelled by the Election Commission because of rampant use of money power to bribe votes.

Jayaprakash Narayan of the Loksatta Party who espouses clean politics says the election system is to blame for the black economy that thrives in India. “A Lok Sabha election costs close to Rs 20000 crore. An assembly election costs double the amount and the same goes for local bodies. And a bulk of that amount is towards buying of votes,” says Narayan.

So while Modi talks of serving a kadak (strong) chai, he should serve it to his brethren first. The political ecosystem of which he is a part, is no Surf Excel washed. Funding to political parties is most opaque. Every MP and MLA starts with a lie about the crores he or she has spent to win the election. And the Modi government, filed an affidavit in August 2015 in the Supreme court opposing bringing political parties under RTI.

But I am turned into a pauper of sorts, made to run from bank to ATM, for Rs 4500 producing my PAN and Aadhaar cards and told, “Bhai, tum line me khade hoge ya nahi?

In a couple of months from now, the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will be in full swing. Does the BJP want the people of India to believe that every penny spent on its choppers, advertisements, rallies, food is accounted for, given by cheque and not sourced with black money? If so, put it out in the public domain.

I am all for Modi ensuring a more clean India. But the clean-up drive, like charity, should start at home.

Today the small trader indulges in petty sales tax corruption because the system encourages him to do so. He has to ensure he has unaccounted for cash because when a candidate at the local ward level or an assembly election comes knocking at his door soliciting election funds, he has to shell out the moolah. It is this compromised system, blessed by the seedy political culture that encourages black money.

It would have been far more effective an assault on black money if the prime minister had started with going after the benami land deals. That is where most of Modi’s political brethren, cutting across party lines, have parked their ill-gotten wealth. The advance warning would only help them find a way out of the mess.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 14:25 IST

Have taken rebirth because of your prayers, says Jayalalithaa; urges people to vote for AIADMK in by-election

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In her first direct communication since being hospitalised in September, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday said she has taken rebirth because of people’s prayers and urged them to vote for the AIADMK in the November 19 polls.”I have taken rebirth because of your prayers and worship. I would like to share this happy news with you in the first place,” she said in a statement released by AIADMK here.Stating that she does not have any grievances in view of people’s “great love” for her, she said, “by God’s grace, very soon, by recovering fully, I am waiting to resume work.” Exhorting party workers, she asked them to work in full swing for the victory of AIADMK in the November 19 polls for Aravakkurichi, Thanjavur and Thirupparankundram constituencies in Tamil Nadu and Nellithope Assembly segment in Puducherry.Though she could not directly meet cadres and functionaries working in these constituencies and the general public, “my heart and thoughts are with you always,” she told them.Without elaborating much, she asked party workers to “understand the nature of this statement and work with a sense of duty for making MGR’s winning symbol two leaves bag a huge victory.”She said cadres should work for the victory of AIADMK nominees by a huge margin of votes. “Work with vigour and a passion for the goal, which is AIADMK’s victory.”Jayalalithaa said the cadres should consider the party’s victory as a victory for each one of them.Quoting a lyric from an MGR era song, she said “AIADMK’s victory should resound in all the directions. I am eagerly waiting for news of such victory.”To voters, she recalled the slew of welfare schemes being implemented by her regime and urged them 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.”The Chief Minister, who has been in hospital since September 22, said she has been slogging for the growth of the people of Tamil Nadu and her party from day one of her public life on the advice of her mentor and AIADMK founder chief M G Ramachandran.The 68-year-old AIADMK supremo was admitted to the hospital on September 22 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.

Time for Rahul to take over as Cong chief: V Narayanasamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has said Rahul Gandhi has worked hard to strengthen Congress at the state level and time has come for him to take over as the party chief. His comments come close on the heels of senior Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi joining BJP attacking Rahul over the way he was running the party. “If there will be any proposal to give the top post to Rahul, we will support it. He should take over as the party chief. Sonia ji has been our guardian and will always be,” Narayanasamy said when asked if the time was ripe to hand over the baton to Rahul. “Rahul has been working hard to strengthen the party at the central and state levels. Recently, he took out rallies in various parts of Uttar Pradesh. He has been meeting people across the country,” he said. The Puducherry Chief Minister also said there were no differences with Lt Governor Kiran Bedi. “There are no differences between me and the LG. The Constitution clearly spells out the rights of the LG and the Cabinet. We are working in accordance with the Constitution. There is no disagreement between us,” he said.Replying to a question regarding surgical strikes, he said, “It is not the first time the Army carried out such action. It has happened under the UPA government. There should be no politics over such issues.” He alleged that the Narendra Modi government was trying to take political mileage out of the military action.

Jayalalithaa ‘constantly monitored’; Kerala Governor, CM visit hospital; two arrested for spreading rumour

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa continuing to receive treatment, a stream of high-profile visitors, including Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday visited the Apollo Hospital and enquired about her health.The hospital, where the AIADMK general secretary was admitted on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration, said she was “constantly being monitored”.”Prof Dr G Khilnani, Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), visited Apollo Hospital again on October 9 and 10 and examined Honourable Chief Minister,” the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Subbiah Viswanathan, said in a release.Khilnani, part of a three-member AIIMS panel which had examined Jayalalithaa last week, had discussions with the hospital’s expert panel and “concurred with the present line of treatment” being given to the chief minister, the release said.Jayalalithaa continues to be under treatment and “is being constantly monitored by the intensivists and other consultants in the expert panel”, it added.Necessary respiratory support, antibiotics, nutrition, supportive therapy and passive physiotherapy were being given to her, the release said.Earlier, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who visited the hospital yesterday, described Jayalalithaa as a “fighter” and expressed confidence that she would continue to serve the people of Tamil Nadu.”I am confident that she has a strong willpower and she is always a fighter. I am confident that she will fight back, become normal and continue to serve the people of Tamil Nadu and that is my wish,” he told reporters after making a “courtesy call” on Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan.Kerala Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi also visited the hospital and quoted the doctors as saying that Jayalalithaa “was recovering”.Vijayan, accompanied by Sathasivam, visited the hospital and held discussions with hospital CMD Prathap Reddy.”We met Dr Prathap Reddy and the other doctors providing treatment to the chief minister. The specialists informed us that she was responding well to the treatment,” Sathasivam told reporters.”Within a short period, she is likely to be discharged and it is possible for her to take charge of the administration. We also pray for her speedy recovery,” he said.Vijayan said the two had come to “convey the collective good wishes of the people of Kerala”.Bedi said, she was informed by Reddy that Jayalalithaa was “progressing”.”He said, Amma (as Jayalalithaa is addressed) is under very good care and that she is progressing. I would like to pray for her to keep progressing. I have come here out of absolute respect as a neighbour as Puducherry is Tamil Nadu’s neighbour and it is my duty to be here,” she said.Meanwhile, the AIADMK said “all is well” with Jayalalithaa.”All is well with Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (revolutionary leader mother),” the official Twitter handle of the party, @AIADMKofficial, said.Party workers and supporters continued to hold prayers across the state at different places of worship for the chief minister’s speedy recovery.Meanwhile, the police today arrested two persons, including a software engineer, for allegedly spreading rumours regarding Jayalalithaa’s health.The Central Crime Branch arrested Sathish Kumar, a software engineer from Tiruchengode, for allegedly sharing such information on his Facebook page.He “confessed” to his crime, the police said, adding that the arrest was made on a complaint from AIADMK IT Wing secretary G Ramachandran.Another person, Madasamy, was arrested from Madurai on a complaint from a Chennai resident who alleged that an audio clip, purportedly featuring the voice of a hospital employee and referring to Jayalalithaa’s health, was being circulated on the internet.The two were booked under IPC sections dealing with “wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot” and “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes,” the police said, adding that they were remanded to judicial custody.Steps were on to nab those behind “spreading rumours” about the chief minister’s health, the police said.Efforts were on to remove such posts from social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp, the police said, adding that 43 cases have been filed so far in this regard.Such an offence, if proved, was punishable with seven years of imprisonment, the police said and warned the people against indulging in such activities.

Cauvery row: New SC bench formed, to hear matter on October 18

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court has constituted a fresh bench of three judges to hear an age-old dispute related to the sharing of Cauvery water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The new bench would comprise justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar and will take up all the issues arising out of the Cauvery water dispute on October 18.Earlier, on October 4, a bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit had agreed to the counsels representing both the sides that the matter had to be heard by a three-judge bench. The bench was told during the last hearing that when the appeals were filed against the order of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal, it was decided that the matter would be heard by a three-judge bench.In the meantime, the bench, in an interim order, had directed Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu from October 7 to 18, while deferring its order asking the Centre to set up the Cauvery Water Management Board till it finally decided on appeals relating to the dispute.Instead, the apex court had agreed to the suggestion that a Supervisory Committee, comprising officials and technical experts from the Centre, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry, be set up to inspect the Cauvery basin for assessing the ground realities. The committee was asked by the bench to file its report by October 17. The matter will be taken up a day after the court reopens after the Dussehra break.

Sri Lankan Navy attacks TN fishermen with stones, sinks boat and destroys nets

Rameswaram: Sri Lankan Naval personnel allegedly attacked Tamil Nadu fishermen with stones besides ramming and sinking a mechanised boat and destroying fishing nets of several other vessels off Dhanushkodi, a Fishermen Association functionary said on Thursday.

The Lankan naval personnel cut fishing nets of about 70 boats and pelted stones and bottles forcing more than 2,000 fishermen to flee and return to the shore here this morning, Tamil Nadu Mechanised Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja told reporters here.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Windscreens of some of the boats suffered damage, he said.

The fishermen from this region had put out to sea in 437 mechanised fishing boats last night and were fishing off Dhanushkodi sea when Lankan Naval personnel allegedly rammed their vessel against one of the boats, Sesuraja said.

Under the impact of the collision, the boat broke into two pieces and sank, he claimed, adding five fishermen on board were left to struggle in the sea till fellow fishermen rescued them.

The latest incident comes a day after five fishermen from Pudukottai district were detained by Sri Lankan Naval personnel along with their boat.

Condemning the incident, Sesuraja said such an attack taking place when Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was on a visit to India and holding talks with his counterpart Narendra Modi caused deep anguish.

“When the Prime Ministers of the two countries are holding talks, the attack on Indian fishermen has taken place. It causes deep anguish. The two leaders should find a permanent solution to the recurring problem,” he told PTI.

Stating that the livelihood of the state fishermen was at stake, he said the two countries should hold talks and find a permanent solution to the problem of fishing in the Palk Strait.

An early resolution of the issue was important as more than 100 seized boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen were anchored in Lankan waters and faced the danger of suffering damage in view of the coming North East monsoon, he added.

Meanwhile, several fishermen staged a protest in this town, condemning the attack, and resolved to go on an indefinite strike.

Fishermen here have decided to boycott fishing from today, said General Secretary of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Fishermen Association, MJ Bose.

Ex-PM Deve Gowda sits on indefinite hunger strike against SC’s Cauvery order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda began an indefinite hunger strike on Saturday here in protest against the latest order of the Supreme Court with regard to the sharing of Cauvery river waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.Gowda told ANI that Karnataka is not a habitual offender and its people have been suffering because of this impasse for the last 130 years.”The issue started in 1893. If there is no rain, how can we release water monthly, weekly? Let the people of this country judge whether we are habitual offenders, or whether Tamil Nadu is intimidating. We made a humble request to send the same monitoring committee to visit Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. These are all the issues which need debate in the Parliament,” he added.Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has convened an all-party meeting in Bengaluru today to discuss the future course of action.The Union Water Resources Ministry has asked the three Cauvery basin states – Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry to nominate their representatives to be appointed to the Cauvery Water Management Board as directed by the Supreme Court.The apex court has directed the Centre to set up the board by October 4.It ordered all the stakeholders Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry to give names by 4 pm today of the representatives to be on the Board which will be chaired by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti.Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar said that letters have been issued to the four states seeking their nominations.

Cauvery row: Karnataka dented majesty of law, says SC; directs state to release 6,000 cusecs of water for 6 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the meeting convened by the Centre to iron out differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on the impasse over Cauvery dispute failed to achieve any breakthrough, the Supreme court on Friday pulled Karnataka for its defiant stand and directed it to release water to Tamil Nadu.Coming down heavily on the state’s actions, the top court warned Karnataka that the wrath of law will fall upon them in case the Cauvery order was defied.”Karnataka is flouting order and creating a situation in which the majesty of law is dented,” the apex court said. The court also directed it to release 6000 cusecs of water between October 1 and 6.The apex court also asked the Centre to set up Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4 and directed Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry to give names of members for the Cauvery Water Management Board by Saturday.After meeting the government representatives from both the states, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti had on Thursday said that if the tension between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka prevailed, she would go on hunger strike at the border that separates the two states. Bharti also requested both states to sit down together and approach the court after finding some solution to their problems. Earlier, the apex court, had expressed its displeasure over Karnataka’s inaction, saying that it violated the spirit of federalism or cooperation between states.

Cauvery panel orders Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from 21 to 30 September

The Cauvery Supervisory Committee, headed by Ministry of Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar on Monday directed Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from 21 September to 30 September.

The supervisory committee, in its previous meeting on 12 September, had failed to arrive at any decision for want of adequate information which was to be made available by the river basin states.

Agitations in Karnataka over Cauvery dispute. PTI

Agitations in Karnataka over Cauvery dispute. PTI

It had asked them to provide the information by 15 September.

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had submitted to the committee data about withdrawal of water, its utilisation, variation in rainfall and its impact on the actual run-off over a period of 29 years in their respective Cauvery basin areas, according to a source.

Besides Shekhar, chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry and Central Water Commission chairman are members of the committee, formed to implement final award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

The Supreme Court had on 5 September asked Tamil Nadu to approach the committee over the issue.

On that day, the apex court had asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for a period of 10 days to Tamil Nadu to ameliorate plight of farmers there.

Karnataka will have to release 3,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu daily between September 21 and 30: Shashi Shekhar

Meanwhile, Karnataka, which is the upper riparian state, approached the Supreme Court on 11 September seeking modification of its order.

A day later, the court modified the order, reducing the quantum of water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states to 12,000 cusecs per day until 20 September, when the SC will hear the matter again. Last week, the SC order had led to large-scale protests in Bengaluru.

With inputs from PTI

Puducherry: Father of Acid attack victim wants to appeal in Supreme Court for death penalty to accused

The father of 23-year-old woman software engineer, who died after an acid attack in Karaikal in 2012, appealed to Puducherry government on Thursday to explore the possibility of filing an appeal in the Supreme Court seeking death penalty for the accused in the case.Jayapalan, father of Vinothini, was reacting to the June 28 Madras High Court order upholding the life sentence awarded by the trial court to the accused in 2013. The high court had pulled up the trial court for not considering death sentence and also said it was forced to confirm the life term in absence of an appeal by the Puducherry government seeking enhancement of the sentence.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jayapalan expressed satisfaction over the high court verdict confirming life sentence on Suresh Kumar, who carried out the brutal acid attack on Vinothini as she turned down his proposal. “It has observed that the accused should have been awarded death sentence by the lower court. We request the Puducherry government to analyse the possibilities of an appeal in the Supreme Court in this regard,” he said.After suffering serious injuries, including disfigurement of her face, in the November 12, 2012 attack at a bus stand here, Vinothini succumbed in a Chennai hospital 90 days later.On August 20, 2013, Karaikal Judicial Magistrate Vaidyanathan sentenced Suresh Kumar to life imprisonment. He had also slapped another four-and-half years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine on the accused for causing injuries to Vinothini’s father during the attack.However, the accused challenged the verdict in the high court, which upheld the lower court judgement. Vinothini’s mother committed suicide after the trial court verdict while Jayapalan, who was working as a security guard in a private school at Karaikal, has been suffering from depression and is under the care of his brother-in-law.

Income Tax department raids Chennai college, seizes Rs 80 crore

The Income Tax department on Friday made one of its biggest cash seizures, totaling Rs 80 crore, as it conducted searches on a prominent medical institution here in connection with an alleged tax evasion case.A senior official said 10 teams of 250 I-T sleuths swooped down on the official and residential premises of the group in Chennai and Puducherry early today.Apart from the cash seizure, voluminous documents regarding collection of students fee, capitation funds and others were also recovered, he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”About Rs 80 crore has been seized since the operation that began early morning today. Apart from documents, a number of computer hardware have also been seized. This is one of the largest cash seizures in one operation in the country,” the official said.The college imparts post graduate degrees in medical and engineering streams.He said the operation was carried out based on inputs that the institution was allegedly trying to charge more money than the stipulated amount under the capitation and donations front, despite enjoying IT exemptions for being an educational institution.Sources added that the department has also recorded the statements of various officials of the institution and the operation is expected to continue till tomorrow.

No action against advocates, Madras High Court CJ tells BCTP

The Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Wednesday said the Chief Justice of Madras High Court has assured it that no action would be taken against advocates following amendments to the Advocates Act, till a decision is taken on suggestions made by various bar associations. “The Chief Justice of Madras High Court has assured the office bearers of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry that no action will be taken against the advocates in pursuant to the amendments introduced by the High Court to Advocates Act, till a decision is taken on the suggestions from bar associations,” BCTP Chairman D Selvam told reporters. The officer bearers had met Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul yesterday and submitted a memorandum seeking reconsideration of the amendments to the Advocates Act. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to a release from BCTP, the High Court has invited suggestions from all the bar associations on the changes to be made to the Advocates Act. They may be submitted through BCTP which will be placed before the High Court rule Committee for its reconsideration, it said. The release said the Chairman of Bar Council of India has also requested the Chief Justice to reconsider the amendments made to the rules through discussions and also advised all the bar associations to resolve the issues by way of dialogue and not by resorting to rallies and boycott. The bar associations have been requested to furnish their suggestions to BCTP by June 17. The matter relates to recent amendments that were introduced by the High Court to Section 34(1)of Advocates Act against which various advocates associations took out a rally on June 6. In a notification, the high court had said that the court has power under 14-A of Advocates Act to debar advocates who indulge in activities such as trying to influence a judge or participates in a procession inside court campus or holds placards inside the court hall, among others. Such advocates shall be debarred from appearing before the high court or subordinate courts permanently or for such period as the court may think fit and the Registrar General shall thereupon report it to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu, it said.

Puducherry: Assembly to commence tomorrow, swearing-in of new members to be held

The fourteenth Assembly of Puducherry has been convened to meet on June 9, when the newly elected members will be administered the oath of office.V P Sivakolundhu, a first time member of ruling Congress who would be inducted as protem Speaker on Thursday by Lt Governor Kiran Bedi, who would administer the oath of office to the members at 9.30 AM on June 9, Secretary to the Assembly S Mohandas said. The assembly polls in Puducherry was held on May 16.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Congress government, headed by senior party leader and former union Minister V Narayanasamy was installed in office on June 6. Congress has a strength of 15 members and its ally DMK has two members in the 30-member Assembly. On the Opposition side, AINRC has eight members, followed by AIADMK (four) and Independent (one).
ALSO READ V Narayanasamy sworn in as Puducherry Chief MinisterMeanwhile Chief Minister Narayanasamy chaired a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to review the government’s fiscal position. He later said that a detailed review on the financial position of various public sector undertakings was also done.Narayanasamy said he would soon meet the Union Finance Minister and Home Minister to seek clearance of funds due from the Centre for various schemes.

Previous govt failed to take Puducherry on growth path: Narayanasamy

Puducherry Chief Minister designate V Narayanasamy on Saturday charged the previous government in the Union Territory with not doing anything for its progress and said his government would make all efforts for the welfare of the people.Speaking to reporters at Chennai after calling on DMK leader M K Stalin, he said when he was Minister of State, he had brought various developmental activities to the UT like good educational institutes, built 17 bridges, got funds (from the Centre) for implementing various schemes, including drinking water projects.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But for the last two years after BJP came to power at the Centre, the Union territory had not received any funds, he said.Narayanasamy alleged that the previous government had not made any effort for the growth of Puducherry. The people were looking for growth, particularly in sectors like construction and industry. “The Congress-DMK alliance will work for all-round growth of Puducherry,” he said.The Congress leader said he has invited Stalin, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and DMK Leader Ponmudi for the swearing-in ceremony of the new government on June 6.”Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mukul Wasnik will also be there in the function,” he said.Asked if his cabinet would have members from DMK, the alliance partner in the Union territory for the May 16 assembly polls, he said it would be decided by Congress leadership and DMK Chief M Karunanidhi.

Puducherry: Congress to hold meeting today to discuss CM candidate

After a week of indecision, the Congress Party is finally holding its legislature party meeting in Puducherry on Saturday. The party is yet to announce its Chief Ministerial candidate for the Union Territory.The state party leaders had been to Delhi to consult party high command on the choice of Chief Minister. Senior Congress leader and former Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit and Party General Secretary Mukul Wasnik are attending the meeting as AICC observers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, opposition parties allege that infighting in the Congress Party is delaying formation of government. Former chief minister V Vaithialingam denied any rift in the party on the issue of Chief Minister. He justified the delay saying that Congress being a national party, it has to consult central leadership before reaching at a decision.

Two years of Modi govt: PM did an excellent job sloganeering but nothing on ground, says Congress leader

Attacking the Modi government as it completed two years in office on Thursday, Congress leader Girija Vyas questioned the GDP figures for the last two financial years and claimed the official numbers given by the ruling dispensation raised “broad skepticism”.Referring to the country’s growth figure, the Congress leader said, “Officially it grew at 7.3% in 2014-15 and 7.5% in 2015-16. But, there is broad skepticism about this data. Many experts believe the actual rate is around 5.5%.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She told reporters here that the Modi government at the Centre has done an “excellent job on the sloganeering and shouting front” but “nothing” on the ground.”This government has done an excellent job in sloganeering and shouting from rooftops about renaming schemes, rechristening Congress-UPA’s success stories, such as Aadhar and DBT (direct benefit transfer) for LPG consumers among others, and making hollow claims,” she said.Referring to the BJP’s promise of bringing back black money from abroad within 100 days of coming to power, she asked, “Have you received Rs 15 lakh in your bank account yet?” “The pre-poll promise of Modi to bring back the black money from foreign soil was perhaps one of his biggest ‘jumlas’,” Vyas said.”Estimated by the BJP at approximately Rs 80 lakh crore, Modi promised the electorate to recover this money while Rajnath Singh promised to do this within 100 days of assuming power. But the ground reality speaks a different story,” she said.Asked about demand of some Congress leaders for carrying out “surgery” after party’s poor show in elections in four states and Union Territory of Puducherry, Vyas said she is “not aware” of any such demand.”I have not heard so,” she said.The former Union minister said BJP in its 2014 General elections manifesto had promised two crore jobs every year.”By simple calculation, it would have provided four crore jobs by May 2016. However, out of those four crore new jobs, the Modi government has managed to add only 1.55 lakh in 2015,” she claimed. On Modi’s statements of “Na Khaaunga na khaane dunga (neither I will take bribe, nor will I allow anyone)”, Vyas said the Prime Minister has kept a “maun” (silent) on this critical issue now, citing examples of “Vyapam scam, Rs 20,000 crore GSPC KG Basin scam, Lalitgate, DDCA”.”The government has failed to ensure deportation of Vijay Mallya who owes the country Rs 9,000 crore and is deliberately going slow on it,” she alleged.Targeting Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani over her educational degrees, she said it’s “unfortunate that such a person is heading a crucial ministry like HRD”.She criticised the government for its handling of JNU protests and Hyderabad Central University’s Rohith Vemula suicide case.”The only thing this strategy seems to have achieved is to turn college campuses from Hyderabad to Pune to Aligarh to Jadavpur into war zones,” she alleged.

Kiran Bedi to be sworn in as Lt Governor of Puducherry on May 29

BJP leader and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi, who has been appointed as the Lt Governor of Puducherry, will be sworn in at a function in New Delhi on May 29.Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Island, Lt Gen Ajay Singh was on additional charge of Puducherry since July 2014, an official release said.Bedi will be fourth woman Lt Governor of Puducherry.

Puducherry: Congress yet to take a call on CM candidate

Five days after it swept to power in alliance with DMK, the Congress is yet to elect its Legislature party leader in Puducherry and there is a virtual delay in formation of the new ministry here.AICC General Secretary V Narayanasamy is now in Delhi holding parleys with the party high command, PCC Vice-President A Gandhiraj said. He also said senior Congress leaders, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mukul Wasnik, will arrive in Delhi on Tuesday to hold parleys with the elected legislators of Congress to reach a consensus on the CLP leader.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the May 16 Assembly polls, Congress won 15 seats, while DMK won two and the combine unseated the ruling AINRC which ended with eight seats in the 30-member Assembly. Congress thus avenged its defeat in the 2011 elections at the hands of AINRC founder N Rangasamy who broke away from the national party to form his outfit.
ALSO READ Puducherry: Sonia Gandhi to take a call on Chief Ministerial candidate

Arvind Kejriwal wishes Kiran Bedi on being appointed LG of Puducherry

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday gave his best wishes to Kiran Bedi for her new assignment as the Lt Governor of Puducherry.Bedi was appointed as Lt Governor of Puducherry on Sunday. “I am extremely grateful to the government for giving me such a wonderful opportunity,” said Bedi, under whose leadership the BJP faced a humiliating defeat in the assembly polls by her one-time colleague Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My priority will be bottom-up approach. I would like to make a constable and a school teacher feel that he or she is the most important….We are here to carry forward the current momentum of development in all areas with integrity, fairness and no assurances in false,” she said. “I don’t consider it as power; to me it’s a resource to deliver,” said Bedi. Kejriwal and Bedi, both former civil servants and one-time friends, were part of social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement.While Kejriwal went to form the Aam Aadmi Party, Bedi later joined the BJP. She was declared the chief ministerial candidate of the party to take on Kejriwal. The former IPS officer was, however, defeated in Delhi Assembly polls 2015 while the AAP chief secured a stupendous victory in the national capital.

Send 15-20 party leaders on forced holiday, says former Congress Minister

Amid unease in the Congress and demand for a “major surgery” in the wake of assembly poll debacle, a former Union Minister has pitched for sending over a dozen senior leaders, who he accused of “misleading” party chief Sonia Gandhi, on a compulsory holiday.V Kishore Chandra Deo has warned that if Congress failed to pull up its socks urgently, it would lead to mushrooming of regional parties in several states as “Modi government is out in 2019, if not earlier”. Citing the example of Delhi where AAP suddenly sprang up and captured power, he expressed apprehension of the phenomena repeating itself in 15-20 states where there are “no established regional parties at present”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an interview to PTI, Deo’s refrain was that there was a need for action as the party has already done “too much introspection”. He was apparently hinting at no changes in the organization for the past two years despite the Congress suffering its worst defeat in the last Lok Sabha polls. He made a strong pitch for sending “15-20 leaders” on a compulsory holiday for a few years. This was necessary as they “play the musical chair” in the organization, either in the AICC or as PCC chiefs, or become Union Ministers if the party is in power, he said.Deo did not take any names but his obvious target were most of those occupying positions in the AICC Secretariat or those around the party chief and vice president Rahul Gandhi, advising them on various issues. “They are misleading the leadership, even Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. If the leadership gets wrong information, what results you can expect?” he said, adding compulsory holiday should extend to “a few years”.Lamenting the way the organization runs, he said there are norms and guidelines on several things, which are there “only to be violated”.The five-time Lok Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh and Tribal Affairs Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, said what Congress needed was credible faces and a mix of youth and experience. Noting that there was a lot of talent within the party, he said it needs to be tapped by the leadership. Deo said Devraj Urs and J Vengal Rao were “not known leaders”, but Indira Gandhi gave them the opportunity to become Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh respectively. “Till today, they are remembered in their states”. On Congress’ defeat in Assam, he said age caught up with the outgoing Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi who “faltered during the last term”.Soon after the Lok Sabha poll rout, Deo had lashed out at “rootless wonders and spineless creepers” for the Congress’ plight, and insisted the party would not have met such a fate if Rahul Gandhi had ensured implementation of half the promises made after he became party’s vice president.He had also suggested that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul should introspect and devise means to “emancipate the Grand Old Party from the clutches of rootless wonders and spineless creepers, who have held sway for more than two decades and have brought the party to such a pass”.Deo recalled Rahul had spoken much about transformation of the organisation at the Jaipur brainstorming session after becoming party vice president in Janruary 2013. After Congress’ dismal performance in assembly elections in four states and Union Territory of Puducherry, senior party leader Digvijay Singh had suggested a “major surgery” in the organisation.”Today’s results disappointing but not unexpected. We have done enough Introspection shouldn’t we go for a Major Surgery?” Singh, an AICC General Secretary, had said in a tweet.

After Digivijay Singh calls for ‘major surgery’, Congress calls CWC meeting to plug dissent

With senior leaders such as general secretary Digvijay Singh calling for a “major surgery” to overhaul Congress structure, the party on Friday said its highest decision making body the Congress Working Committee (CWC) will meet soon, possibly next week to take stock of suggestions by party leaders in the wake of defeat in the recently concluded five state assembly elections.Senior party spokesperson P C Chakoo also warned leaders going public, saying there are enough forums within the party to discuss all suggestions related to improvement of party functioning.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Digvijay Singhji and all of us will have the opportunity to attend the highest forum of the party, and there everybody is free to express their opinion,” he said. In his tweet, Singh had asked for “major surgery” and a “major overhaul” in campaign strategy and social media, and also “fresh faces and fresh ideas”.Chakoo said the CWC may also decide about the next AICC session, which is overdue for two years now. Last AICC session was held in January 2014.While announcing a detailed discussion on the reasons for electoral defeat at the CWC, the party leaders, shielding top leadership – Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son vice-president Rahul Gandhi — say the overall performance of Congress was much better than the BJP in terms of the outcome of the two pan-India parties.While the BJP could win a total of 64 seats (60 in Assam, 3 in West Bengal and 1 in Kerala), the Congress fared much better with a total tally of 115 seats (26 in Assam, 44 in West Bengal,, 22 in Kerala, 8 in Tamil Nadu and 15 in Puducherry), they said. Armed with statistics, they also said Congress had polled 31% votes in Assam despite losing the election whereas the BJP which will be forming the government in its place won with lesser percentage of votes — 29.5%.The Congress polled 23.7% in Kerala as against the BJP’s 10.5%, 12.3% in West Bengal against BJP’s 10.2%, 6.4% in Tamil Nadu as against BJP’s 2.81%, and 30.6% in Puducherry as against BJP’s 2.4%.Sources in Congress admit that the party is now reduced to be in power in just seven states, six of them small ones, but it still has an overall larger footprint across the country that will come into play next year when the elections are held for the post of the President of India. Karnataka is the only big state under its rule that will go to polls in 2018. Other tiny states/Union territories to have the Congress chief ministers are Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram and now Puducherry.Uttarakhand and Manipur will be going to polls early next year with Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, while Himachal Pradesh is due for polls in November 2017. Mizoram and Meghalaya have polls in 2018. Since last Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the Congress has lost 10 states, including Delhi. The BJP and its allies were able to form the governments in six states while the Congress did not get to win even one. All bigger states, barring Karnataka, are today ruled either by the BJP or the regional parties. One of the biggest losses for the Congress after the 2014 elections was Maharashtra where it had ruled for 15 years, losing almost half the seats it had won in 2009.

After embarrasing Assam and Kerala losses, will Congress finally wake from its stupor?

After the election results, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said: “We accept the verdict of people with humility. My best wishes to the parties that have won the elections”. Meanwhile, his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi said: “We will introspect into the reasons for our loss and will rededicate ourselves to the service of the people with greater vigour”. Both statements were bland homilies, served up after Congress crashed in another round of embarrassing defeats in the state elections. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After hitting a historic low of 44 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Congress has shown no signs of revival, losing Maharashtra, Haryana, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and now adds Kerala and Assam to the list. Congress has only been on the right side of the mandate in Bihar where it piggy-backed on Nitish Kumar’s fame. So overall Congress’ strategy isn’t really working as of now. Even in Tamil Nadu, the grand old party failed to create any momentum for DMK and Jaya came back to power despite fighting anti-incumbency. It showed ideological inflexibility in Assam by not aligning with AIUDUF. In Kerala, it didn’t take any action despite massive allegations of corruption. So it was a case of tactical blunder that proved to be costly. Now, any other party with a proper functional democracy and maybe an iota of self-respect, some heads would have rolled. A proper review would have been done and efforts would have been made to engineer the party to a new direction. But a party that’s 130-years-old can brazenly move past this with a fig leaf of introspection and perfunctory tweets for course correction. After today, Congress is currently just governing 6% of the Indian population through various states. It is out of power in all the big states except Karnataka, where it is mired in controversy. Since 2014, its only modus-operandi has been to attack Modi ad-hominem and block all legislation in Rajya Sabha including the all important GST. The plan is to bide time till 2019 when Modi government is again up for re-election. But as the election results suggest, people of India are not exactly fine with this strategy. In state after state, the party has been rejected with a decisive mandate. Many will try to spin today’s results as anti-incumbency in Assam and a normal course of change in Kerala. But the extent of defeat is what should keep Congress worried. In Bengal, it managed to increase its seat marginally thanks to the support from Left. Fighting separately, its organisation would have been thoroughly exposed. The only silver lining in the dark cloud was in the union territory of Puducherry. Already all steps have been taken to hedge Rahul Gandhi from all embarrassment. While on Tuesday, Ajay Maken credited a minor surge of seats in MCD to Rahul Gandhi but hell hath no fury had the Yuvaraj been blamed for today’s loss. Can Congress come out of this stupor? There has been a murmur of generational change, of Rahul Gandhi taking over. But so far nothing has materialised. The older generation, including the likes of Amarinder Singh, is still in favour of status quo fearing that will be sidelined in the new regime. But it is time for Congress to take a hard call. Either Rahul needs to take charge of the party or the leadership should look beyond the dynasty to find a credible face. Merely waiting for Modi to fall and stutter is unlikely to change Congress’ fortunes. The party must act fast. Else, the list of ‘introspection tweets’ will only increase in the future. Who knows, Modi’s rhetorical ‘Congress Mukt’ Bharat could become a reality very soon.

Congress is at its ‘historic low’, lesser than regional party: BJP

Riding high on its impressive show in the Assembly polls and poor performance by Congress, BJP on Thursday attacked the opposition party claiming that today’s results have brought Congress to an “all-time low and its standing has become less than that of a regional party”.The BJP Parliamentary party, in a resolution, also asserted that its political graph is at an “all-time high” as it cited its maiden victory in Assam and double-digit vote percentage in Kerala and West Bengal. It said that Congress’ strategy to pursue “fringe and disruptive politics” in Parliament was only for political reasons and opposition to the development agenda of the BJP government, which has been rejected by the people in the four large states of Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”During the last 60 years, Congress has only promoted the political culture of misgovernance and corruption and the people of India are thoroughly disillusioned. In the last Lok Sabha elections, the people defeated Congress and in the assembly elections also they have rejected their policies. This has brought Congress down electorally to a historic all time low while the position of BJP is at an all time high. The electoral standing of Congress has been reduced to less than regional parties whilst BJP has successfully emerged as a national party with ever growing presence in all parts of the country,” the resolution adopted by the party at a meeting of the Parliamentary Board said.The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and other members.The statement added that the latest election results are an “endorsement by the people of the development and welfare programmes of the central government led by Modi, which are focused on inclusive growth of all sections of society.”It said the “absolute majority” of BJP in Assam symbolises the growing strength of the party in the North East and recognises its pan India presence.Calling the results declared today a “historic achievement” and acceptance of the party’s ideology and policies of good governance, it said that in Assam, the party and its allies garnered 43 per cent vote share and 90 seats in the current elections as against a 10.7 per cent vote share and 5 seats won by BJP in the last elections.”BJP is not only the central pivot of the nation’s politics but its base has expanded to every nook and corner of the country,” it said.”Even in West Bengal, BJP along with its allies has won 6 seats and increased its vote share to 11 per cent from 4 per cent. The BJP has expanded its base in Kerala by increasing vote share from 6 per cent to 15 per cent in these elections and has entered the assembly. There has been an increase in vote share in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry also,” it said.The resolution further said it was a matter of “great satisfaction” that the results of these elections demonstrate that BJP has been able to convert the growing organisational strength into electoral support of the people.While it pledged to provide good governance and development oriented administration in Assam, the resolution added the party will play the role of a constructive opposition in Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Nitish Kumar asks BJP not to go overboard celebrating Assam victory

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has cautioned BJP against going overboard with celebrations of its victory in Assam, as he congratulated all political parties and alliances which emerged victorious in assembly polls in the five states whose results were declared on Thursday.”The BJP need not rejoice beyond a point over its victory in Assam which has come due to stitching up alliance which the Congress has failed to do in the belief that it was capable to win the polls on its own,” Kumar told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said had there been an experiment (stitching up alliance) like the one in Bihar, the outcome of Assam assembly polls would have been entirely different.Taking a subtle dig at the Congress for its strategy to go alone in Assam, the Bihar Chief Minister noted that the outcome of the polls in the largest north-eastern state swung in favour of the BJP as it had formed a pre-poll alliance with some regional parties. In Kerala, the the CPI(M)-led LDF won a massive mandate despite best efforts of the BJP to make its presence felt, the Janata Dal (United) national president said, adding, he had visited the state during electioneering and observed that the LDF was in the lead. He said the results in other states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry came on expected lines without throwing any surprises or whatsoever. He congratulated West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu counterpart J Jayalalitha for winning mandate for successive terms.On the BJP reviving its pet slogan of ‘Congress-Mukt Bharat’, Kumar said the slogan had no meaning as the Congress won the assembly polls in Puducherry.”A party (BJP) which is ruling the country is deliberately not seeing results of four states going against it and continues to think that it rules in all states,” he said and had a dig at the saffron party for nursing such a domineering mindset.He reminded the JD(U) ally-turned political foe that its Assam victory has been helped by the allies more than any other factor.”If the allies would not have been there, the BJP’s gameplan in Assam could have gone awry,” he said.The Bihar Chief Minister reiterated his stand that there should be maximum effort to bring all those parties opposed to the BJP and the Sangh Parivar on one platform and said Banerjee is in the frame for unity of anti-BJP parties as she has got a massive mandate from the electorate.

Deep depression moves towards Andhra Pradesh

Sparing Tamil Nadu, the deep depression over Bay of Bengal has moved to Andhra Pradesh coast and is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm by tomorrow, Met office said on Wednesday.The danger of heavy rainfall in excess of 25 CM in Chennai and neighbourhood, forecast last night, has abated with the weather system moving away but coastal areas of the state would continue to experience heavy rains for another 24 hours. The meteorological department said the rainfall would gradually decrease in the state as the deep depression over the Bay of Bengal has moved toward Andhra Pradesh and lay centred about 170 km southeast of Nellore.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, several parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry continued to receive rains for the third day today. Regional Meteorological Centre, Director, K Balachandran told reporters “due to the system moving away from Tamil Nadu, rainfall would decrease in a phased manner”. “We are expecting the deep depression to become a cyclone in the next 24-48 hours.”, he said adding heavy rainfall may occur over North Tamil Nadu in one or two places during the period. A met office bulletin said, “The system is likely to move north-northeastwards off Andhra Pradesh Coast and intensify into a cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours.” In the last 24 hours that ended at 8.30 am today, Kelambakkam on the outskirts of Chennai received the highest rainfall of 23 cm, Chennai 11 cm, Nungambakkam 8 cm and Anna Universiy 7.5 cm.Acting on the Met office forecast last night, the Tamil Nadu government has ordered precautionery measures, including directing District Collectors to take all precautionary measures and advised senior civil servants to visit districts which are expected to receive heavy rainfall. The government, which had received flak from opposition parties for its handling of the deluge here in December last, also has set up a call centre with the telephone number 1070 to receive rainfall related grievances.National Disaster Response Force Teams from neighbouring Vellore, Arakkonam, were also put on standby in low lying areas as part of the precautionery measures. Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner B Chandra Mohan said officials have been deputed in all the Corporation zones specifically to monitor rain related relief measures.

Heavy rains lash Kerala, Tamil Nadu; water logging in few areas of Thiruvananthapuram

Heavy rains lashed various parts of central and southern districts of Kerala on Tuesday, causing water logging in few areas of Thiruvananthapuram.Rains and rough seas caused damage to hundreds of houses in coastal areas in the state capital, Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts.Directions were given to evacuate the people in low lying areas, where reports of houses being damaged have come in.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Relief camps have also been opened to shift the affected people in these areas.The meteorological centre here said heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely to occur at one or two places in Kerala till May 19.The state disaster management authority said that heavy rain was due to the low pressure formed in the Bay of Bengal.Widespread rain was also witnessed across Tamil Nadu since early morning as the mercury took a dip of 26 degree Celsius.The Meteorological Department officials in Chennai said moderate to rather heavy rain was expected to occur at most places in all districts for the next 48 hours.Well-marked low pressure area over Sri Lanka and adjoining Gulf of Mannar in the South-West Bay of Bengal moved North Westwards and was concentrated into a depression about 240 kilometer South East of Chennai.The city weather officials said the system is likely to intensify further into a deep depression in the next two days and move in North West direction.In the last 24 hours, Nannilam in Tiruvarur district recorded the highest rainfall of 14 centimetres.Chembarampakkam near Chennai in Tiruvallur district registered 12 cm, Sirkali 11 cm and Cuddalore, Mayiladuthurai and Kodavasal 10 cm each in the last 24 hours.Earlier predictions by the weather officials said that the depression would have a landfall this morning.However, the phenomenon has slowed down in its speed and is sea-bound now, bringing hopes for a bit longer period of rain in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Rahul Gandhi down with fever, PM Modi wishes speedy recovery

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has wished a speedy recovery to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who is down with high fever, Health Minister J P Nadda said on Monday.”Got to know that Sh Rahul Gandhi is not well from Hon’ble PM who was quite concerned about his health. In view of the concerns of Hon ble PM, I enquired about his health and wished a speedy recovery for him,” Nadda tweeted.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rahul Gandhi had last week cancelled his two-day election visit to Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, saying he was down with high fever.Congress sources said Gandhi is still suffering from high viral fever and the doctors have advised him to take rest.

Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan govt made new corruption records: Amit Shah

Launching a fresh attack on Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday said the erstwhile “Sonia-Manmohan Singh” government made new records in corruption with scams like AgustaWestland taking place under its guard even as he asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will play a “long inning” at Centre.Shah, known as the BJP’s master strategist, said the saffron party was set for a “new start” in the five states going to polls.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In their 10 years of power at the Centre, the Sonia-Manmohan government made new records in corruption. In space, we had ISRO scam (and) 2G scam, in sky the Agusta Westland scam (and) Air India plane purchase scam, on land the Adarsh Society scam (and) Commonwealth games scam, in ocean a submarine scam, and in underground the coal mine scam,” Shah quipped.He said the common people offered the saffron party the mandate to rule as they were “fed up” with the widespread corruption.”In two years of our government, opposition cannot question us in terms of corruption,” the BJP chief said on the eve of the Modi government completing two years in power on May 26. He said, “the Sonia-Manmohan government of 10 years had put a big question mark on the country’s future in front of the world.”When Atalji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) was prime minister in 2002, he had said that the 21st century will be India’s century. But the Sonia-Manmohan government that followed for 10 years put a big question mark on the country’s future. In two years, Narendra Bhai has again taken a big stride in making India the world’s leading country,” he said.He said Modi will play a long inning at the Centre like he did in Gujarat as Chief Minister.”The way Modi government has started working at the Centre, I have full faith that like Gujarat, Narendra Modi will play a long innings at Centre as well. This is a record in the history of BJP that wherever public offered it mandate to form government, it has given political stability, and wherever there is a BJP government, party workers ensure that the party forms the government again and again,” he said.Shah said the BJP dispensation under Modi gave a “public-oriented, corruption free, pro-poor and strong government”.The BJP chief, who campaigned extensively in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, said, “the elections in five states have finished. None of these are BJP states. I have been back from election campaigns and I can say that in all five states BJP is set for a new start”. He was in the city to attend an event related to a cricket tournament being organised by the BJP’s city wing.Called ‘Karnavati Premier League’, the cricket matches will be played among teams formed at ward-level for two weeks beginning today.

It’s our money, says SBI on Rs 570 crore seized from three containers in poll-bound Tamil Nadu

After election officers seized Rs 570 crore in cash from three containers in poll-bound Tamil Nadu in the wee hours today, State Bank of India said this evening that it was the bank’s legitimate cash.In a statement, SBI said its officials were ferrying Rs 570 crore after the RBI asked them to, to address a temporary cash shortage in Andhra Pradesh.”To address a temporary cash shortage in Andhra Pradesh, the RBI has authorised transfer of Rs 570 crore from our currency chest in Coimbatore main branch to our special currency administration branch in Visakhapatnam.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As per RBI instructions, our Coimbatore main branch released the treasure to the authorised SBI personnel, duly escorted by a team of Andhra police. But the convoy carrying the cash was stopped by the EC officials enroute and brought to Tiruppur collectorate for further scrutiny,” the SBI statement said and termed the EC action as “erroneous.”The bank said its officials in Chennai, Coimbatore and Tirupur are providing all support and clarifications to the EC authorities and are hopeful of quick resolution and release of cash.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Rs 100 crore unaccounted cash seized so far”We reiterate once again this movement of currency is duly authorised by the Reserve Bank and has all necessary approvals. The movement is in line with the RBI currency management policy of moving cash from one currency chest to other where cash is needed,” SBI said.In the wee hours today the EC officials took into its custody three trucks carrying Rs 570 crore during a routine check at the Perumanallur-Kunnathur Bypass in Tirupur district in the run-up to the polls.Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring Kerala and Puducherry are going to polls on Monday and through the campaign period, the EC has confiscated more than hundred crore in cash at various places in Tamil Nadu. EC officials said they took the vehicles into custody as the personnel accompanying the containers/trucks did not show all the necessary documents and those in the escorting cars refused to stop.”Containers escorted by three cars did not halt, but officials chased them and stopped them near Chengapalli. A check revealed the amount, kept in many boxes, inside the containers,” the police said, adding the men in cars claimed that they were Andhra policemen but were not in uniform.When the police and the EC officials asked as to why they had sped away without stopping, they told the police they feared it was a robbery attempt and that they were unaware that the officials were from the election department.In Delhi, the Election Commission also said earlier in the day that it was “prima facie suspect cash” as no agency or organisation had come forward to claim it.”Prima facie it is suspect cash as no agency or organisation has come forward to claim it,” an EC officer said.

Puducherry elections 2016: More than Rs 1 crore unaccounted cash seized

Ahead of the Assembly polls, unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 1.10 crore, including Rs 65 lakh suspected to be used for distribution to voters, was on Thursday seized in two different places in the Union Territory, officials said.A team of Income Tax officials seized Rs 65 lakhs from the premises of a private firm in Puducherry following a raid conducted on a tip-off. The cash was suspected to be used for inducing voters, Deputy District Election Officer M Thillaivel said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a release, Thillaivel said the election authorities and IT department have intensified steps to prevent hoarding of cash in houses or business firms in and around Puducherry without documents as part of efforts to prevent malpractices.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu Elections 2016: Rs 100 crore unaccounted cash seized so farIn another seizure, members of the Static Surveillance team of the election department recovered Rs 45 lakhs from a car coming from neighbouring Tamil Nadu. The occupants of the car did not have any document for carrying the cash and an investigation had been launched by the police, District Election officer P Jawahar said in a release.Assembly elections in Puducherry are slated for May 16, while the results will be out on May 19.

‘Unwell’ Rahul Gandhi cancels Puducherry trip after receiving death threat

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi has cancelled his two-day visit to Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which was to commence on Tuesday, as he is suffering from high fever.

Gandhi tweeted:

On Monday, top Congress leaders had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking adequate security to the party Vice President following an anonymous letter threatening to attack Gandhi and former union minister V Narayanasamy at an election meeting in Puducherry.

AICC General Secretary Narayanasamy had said in Puducherry that he had received an “unsigned letter” threatening to attack him and Gandhi.

The Special Protection Group and the Intelligence Bureau were on Monday ordered by the Government to take maximum precautions for Rahul Gandhi‘s security in the wake of the threat letter.

Rahul was scheduled to address a rally of the Congress-DMK alliance on Tuesday at Karaikal in Puducherry.

Acting swiftly, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi directed the SPG, responsible for the protection of the Congress Vice President, and the IB to take all necessary precautionary measures in this regard.

Mehrishi’s missive to the two agencies came soon after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh asked him to take up the issue seriously and ensure protection to Rahul, official sources said.

Assembly Elections 2016: Rahul Gandhi cancels visit to Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & Kerala citing health reasons

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday cancelled his visits to Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, citing health reasons.Gandhi apologised for cancelling the visits, saying that he had been running high fever since Sunday and has been advised rest by doctors for the next two days.He was scheduled to tour Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where elections will be held on May 16.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Unfortunately I have been down with high fever since Sunday and the Doctor has advised rest for the next two days,” he tweeted.”Shall keep everyone updated about the rescheduled visits,” he added.The campaigning ends in these states on May 14.The government yesterday cleared additional security for Gandhi after his party met Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the assassination threats.Singh issued extra caution for both the Intelligence Bureau and the elite force that guards politicians considered to be at high risk.The Puducherry Police too had made special preparations for Gandhi’s speech.The Home Minister had decided that Gandhi would get more commandos from the Special Protection Group (SPG), which handles the security of top leaders including the Prime Minister.

Puducherry to work towards malaria eradication by 2022

On World Malaria Day, Kalimuthu, Mission Director, Puducherry State Health Mission, said that they were working towards making Puducherry a malaria-free state by 2022.The Hindu reports that around 40 cases of malaria were found in Puducherry last year and the plan is to bring it down to zero in six years. Kalimuthu was speaking at the World Malaria Day programme conducted as part of the National Vector Borne Control Programme (NVBCP) by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Service, in Puducherry on Tuesday. World Malaria Day has been marked since the last nine years in order to create awareness and educate people about the infectious disease. Numerous seminars, programmes and rallies have been undertaken by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services in this regard. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking at the event, J.Ramesh, HOD, Department of Medicine, IGGGH and PGI, said that malaria is considered more dangerous after Tuberculosis and Pneumococcal Respiratory Disease. He added that statistics show that at least one child affected by malaria dies every 12 seconds around the world. Pregnant women, babies and the elderly are more prone to malaria. V. Sundarraj, State Programme Officer (SPO), NVCP, told the daily that malaria cases have reduced drastically in India from 2 million cases in 2001 to 1.13 million in 2015. Deaths due to malaria in India have dropped from 1005 in 2001 to 562 in 2014 and 287 in 2015. Due to this success, National Malaria Control Programme was converted to National Malaria Eradication Programme.

Puducherry polls: 344 candidates to battle it out in the union territory assembly

Puducherry: A total of 344 candidates, including 97 independents, are in the fray for the 16 May elections to the 30-member Union Territory Assembly.

Twenty two candidates withdrew their nominations on Monday, the last day for doing so, leaving 344 contestants in the fray, Puducherry Chief Electoral officer V Candavelou told reporters in Puducherry.

Of them, 322 were men, 21 women and one coming under ‘other gender’ category, he said.

PuducherryPuducherry

Prominent among the candidates are Chief Minister N Rangasamy, Opposition leader V Vaithilingam and P Kannan, who recently quit Congress.

The CEO said Oulgaret segment has the maximum number of 17 candidates while the Karaikal (North) has the minimum of eight candidates.

Region wise break up of candidates is as follows: Puducherry having 23 constituencies has 272 nominees while Karaikal (5) has 51 contestants and Mahe and Yanam with one constituency each have 10 and 11 contestants respectively.

The total voters strength in the Union Territory is 9,41,935.

Once Puducherry’s ‘people’s CM’, N Rangasamy has earned a poor reputation for misgovernance

If anyone wants to meet N Rangasamy, one just needs to visit the tea stall owned by Bhaskar, in Thattanchavady. One can get a glimpse of the Chief Minister of Puducherry on the tennis ground, where he plays a game every morning and evening. You can also see the 65-year-old politician zipping around on his Yamaha around his locality. But what has been upsetting the people of the Union Territory of late is how unapproachable their leader is for official purposes.

The people from Puducherry are used to there being no restrictions on meeting NR, and he almost never says no to any request. He even takes time out from official duties to attend weddings and other private functions. “Whether it is an autorickshaw driver, or a fisherman, he will never say no to an invitation and he will make it a point to attend,” G Vinayagam, an autorickshaw driver, said.

Puducherry CM N Rangasamy (centre).

Puducherry CM N Rangasamy (centre).

His display of camaraderie though, does not extend beyond private functions and casual banter. From directors of various government departments to bureaucrats, getting an official appointment with Rangasamy has always been a challenge. Every day, they line up on the tennis ground, armed with papers that he needs to approve, only to be sent away. “Many schemes that have been introduced in the Union Territory have been delayed indefinitely because the CM is so unapproachable,” a secretary to government said.

What has gotten Rangasamy elected repeatedly, however, are his populist schemes and freebies, which are focussed on helping the weaker economic sections. He introduced the CENTAC (Centralised Admissions Committee) through which he reimbursed tuition fees for Puducherry students to study engineering and medicine. He also introduced the Rajiv Gandhi breakfast scheme, where government school students were given milk and biscuits for breakfast in addition to the mid-day meal. Rangasamy also increased the amount of old age pension. Freebies ranged from free LPG connections, free rice, laptops, cycles shoes, raincoats for students, mixies and wet grinders.

These schemes, and his simplicity have earned him several sobriquets, including ‘Makkal Mudhalvar’ (People’s Chief Minister) and ‘Puduvai Kamarajar’ (the Kamaraj of Puducherry – Kamaraj is a popular former Congress Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu).

Humble origins

Born in 1950, N Rangasamy was the tenth child of Nadesan Krishnasamy and Panchali, in Muthuraiyarpalayam in Puducherry. At a function after Rangasamy assumed office, his mother recalled how his father had wanted to get rid of baby NR, since a tenth child was considered inauspicious. “My husband asked me to drown the baby since a tenth born baby will bring ruin to the people, but I fought for my child’s right to live, and now he is the Chief Minister,” Panchali had proudly announced.

Rangasamy’s family owned a small patch of land in the area that was being cultivated by his parents. An average student, he studied at the Muthuraiyarpalayam Government School, as better education was not affordable for the family. “Even in school he was an enigma. He spoke very little, and none of us knew what he was thinking or what he was planning to do,” a childhood friend remembers.

Once he finished school, Rangasamy studied BCom at Tagore Arts College, and went on to study law at Pondicherry Law College. “Until he was approached by school mate VM Pethaperumal, Rangasamy had no plans to enter politics. He was an avid follower of Kamaraj, and believed in his healthcare and education plans, which was what drove him to enter the Congress,” the friend adds.

For his first election campaign, Rangasamy is believed to have sold his family’s agricultural land. “All the people knew him well. He was a common face in the Thattanchavady area, and had several friends, from tea stall owners to vegetable sellers. When he managed to win the seat in 1991, beating his former political mentor Pethaperumal, it was surprising, but not unexpected,” former Chief Minister and political analyst, D Ramachandran, says.

Since 1991, Rangasamy has been winning with huge margins. “There is a perception that he has given employment and other benefits to the people in his constituency, and he has helped improve the quality of life for the residents of the area.So a number of people have taken a decision to move to Kadirkamam and Thattanchavady over the past 20 years,” a member of the Congress, who wished to remain anonymous, remarks.

Political career

Rangasamy entered politics through the Janata Dal, which was led by Pethaperumal. Following a disagreement over allotment of seats, he quit the party and joined the Congress in 1991, where he defeated Pethaperumal and became the Minister for Agriculture and Cooperation. In 1996, he became the Minister for Education, and in 2001 the Chief Minister for the first time.

He continued as CM after the next elections in 2006, but a nine-month tussle with his cabinet ministers in the DMK-Congress alliance government led to him being replaced by V Vaithilingam, who was in charge for three years.

About four months ahead of the 2011 Assembly polls, Rangasamy started his own party, the All India NR Congress. The newly-formed party allied with Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). When NR Congress won 15 of the 17 seats, NR took a decision to form a government with independent candidate VMC Sivakumar, dissolving the alliance with AIADMK. Expectedly, his move earned him the disfavour of the AIADMK, then the ruling party in Tamil Nadu.

Waning popularity

Despite his schemes, the Pondicherry CM has managed to make quite a few enemies, with many of his friends and close allies deserting him. His current government has been blamed for the closing down of industries, a deteriorating law and order situation, tussles with several senior IAS officers and Lieutenant Governors, and mismanagement of funds leading to many government staff not receiving salaries for months together.

While people still continue to have a soft corner for NR, a growing discontent is evident. “He is a good man, and is always looking out for the people. Even if an auto driver calls him for a family function, he will attend. But he is surrounded by dishonest people, and as a result his schemes have not been implemented,” R Govindan, a resident of Bahour, said.

Over the years, none of these schemes have been properly implemented, and the UT’s funds have been mismanaged, he adds.

“This government has failed to deliver to the people,” V Narayanasamy, former Union Minister for State, and Congress party member said. The Congress and other parties have alleged that Rangasamy, along with other MLAs, have provided backdoor entry to government jobs, with several thousand such jobs being allocated in various government-run corporations and departments in the past couple of months. There has been no infrastructure development, with many projects remaining on paper for years. There has been an increase in law and order troubles for the seaside Union Territory as well.

The government also seems to be mired in debt, with the amount crossing Rs 6000 crore, with an annual interest of over Rs 500 crores. Since 2011, the borrowings have increased, but most freebies announced still remain on paper.

Through it all Rangasamy maintains his cool. While other politicians are busy this time brokering alliances, he has been visiting temples and performing poojas. And while the people express discontent with the current government, he is still confident of winning. “His aim is to remain Chief Minister for as long as he is alive, and is willing to sacrifice anything to ensure he remains in power,” an ally said. For now, any question to Rangasamy by the media is answered by an evasive “Paarpom” (We will see).

To quote one of the party’s MLAs – “It is tough to understand what Rangasamay is planning. Sometimes we wonder if he is able to understand himself”.

Tamil Nadu polls 2016: No alliance with AINRC, says AIADMK in Puducherry

Seeking to put a lid on speculations, the AIADMK unit here today said it would not have any truck with the ruling AINRC for the May 16 assembly elections in the union territory.Secretary of the Puducherry state committee of AIADMK – P Purushothaman – said it was only a “baseless rumour” spread by some sections that his party has firmed up an alliance with the AINRC.Addressing a meeting of party workers, he said there was no truth in the talk and there was no alliance with the AINRC. He said Chief Minister N Rangasamy had already shown his “ingratitude by ditching” the AIADMK while forming the government after the 2011 assembly polls which the parties contested in alliance.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AINRC appears to have been left alone and has not yet announced its poll strategy.BJP, which fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in tie-up with AINRC, has announced it would go it alone in the coming polls, saying it cannot wait indefinitely for AINRC’s decision. The union territory is poised for a multi-cornered contest with DMK-Congress combine, and PWA also in the fray.

After Twitter, EC now partners with Facebook for Tamil Nadu polls

After joining hands with Twitter, Election Commission on Monday announced its partnership with Facebook to reach out to 31 per cent of the electorate in Tamil Nadu and achieve 100 per cent turnout.Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni and Director of Public Policy (India, South and Central Asia), Facebook, Ankhi Das in a joint press conference announced the partnership. Lakhoni said this was part of the Commission’s ‘Tamil Nadu 100 per cent’ (100 per cent in registration, voting and honesty-ethical voting) initiative for the May 16 polls. The move comes after EC’s tie-up with Twitter last month to give a fillip to its #TN100percent campaign.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that her company was delighted to partner with EC, Das said from May 15 onwards Facebook users will see news feed reminders with informational links about their polling stations. Such messages will remind and ask them to vote, she added.She also said out of the 15 million electors added to rolls in Tamil Nadu during the last five years, 14 million of them were in the age group of 18 to 29. “Our joint awareness campaign will help achieve EC’s goal of 100 per cent voter turnout.” The social networking website said it was in talks with Kerala as well.Replying to a query, she said, “we are in talks with election authorities in other states. We have arrangement in Puducherry, we are in talks with Kerala, but we are yet to formalise the arrangement.””I think Tamil Nadu is the first state in terms of being so forward leaning (in partnering with Facebook).” CEO said, “Roughly there are 1.8 crore Facebook users in Tamil Nadu and approximately 5.79 crore voters, so it (Facebook users) accounts to about 31 per cent.” “So voters who are in Facebook will get reminders through one partnership and that is something really outstanding,” he said.To another question, he said,”my vote is not for sale (campaign) from April 14 will automatically get promoted on Facebook and celebrity videos, discussions and competitions will all be featured in our Facebook page.”

Security beefed up for first phase of polling for Assam, West Bengal elections

Tight security arrangements have been made for the first phase of Assam and West Bengal Assembly polls which will be held on April 4.In Assam, nearly 94 lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise in this phase. A total of 539 candidates, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal, are in the fray.All arrangements are being made to conduct polls in a free and fair manner. In West Bengal, 18 Assembly seats spread across districts of West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura will go to polls in this phase.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 5,000 polling stations have been set up for almost 38 lakh voters.Multiple layers of security, comprising both central and state police forces, are being made. Two-phased polling was announced for 126-member Assam Assembly, while for the West Bengal Assembly, which has 294 members, voting will be held in six phases.The election process for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Assembly elections will begin on April 22.

Assembly Elections 2016: Election Commission bans exit polls

The Election Commission on Thursday banned exit polls between April 4 and May 16 when Assembly elections are held in five states.LIVE INDIA vs WEST INDIES 2nd semi final T20, ICC World T20Citing provisions of electoral laws, EC said, “Exit polls cannot be conducted and publicised by means of print and electronic media or dissemination in any other manner starting from April 4 at 7 AM to May 16 at 6.30 PM.”The election timings for Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry are between 7 AM and 6 PM. The timings for West Bengal and Assam would be a little different depending on the topography of the constituency and the security situation.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Commission also said that display of “any election matter” including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey in “any electronic media” is “prohibited during the period 48 hours, including the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in each of the phases in connection with the elections.”Using powers under the Representation of People Act, 1951, EC bans exit polls from the time the poll begins till half-an-hour after the polling ends.The poll panel had proposed that there should be a prohibition on publication and broadcast of the results of opinion polls starting from the date of notification of elections till the completion of the last phase of polls to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.The proposal is pending with the government. Existing law allows EC to ban opinion polls 48 hours prior to voting.

Weekend BJP huddle to discuss ‘nationalism’, election strategy

New Delhi: The two-day BJP national executive beginning on Saturday will discuss the current political scenario, including the debate on “nationalism”, while special focus is expected for the party’s preparations in four major states going to the polls in April-May.

The meeting, the first since Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah assumed office for a full three-year term earlier this year, will begin with his speech and will culminate with an address by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

BJP president Amit Shah. ReutersBJP president Amit Shah. Reuters

BJP president Amit Shah. Reuters

Of the poll-bound states, BJP has high stakes in Assam where it is making a serious bid to come to power. It is also seeking to improve its performance in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The party is expected to comment in its political resolution on AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi’s refusal to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

“The political resolution will include the recent incidents of JNU and the issue of Owaisi’s refusal to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ among others,” a BJP leader told IANS.

BJP and some opposition parties including Congress have sparred over the central government’s actions concerning the Jawaharlal University and Hyderabad University.

BJP had attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi over his visit to JNU following arrest of its student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar on charges of sedition over alleged anti-India slogans raised at an event to mark the hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Gandhi had hit back, saying he does not need lessons in nationalism from BJP.

The national executive will have a special session to discuss party’s preparations in Uttar Pradesh, which will go to the polls in 2017.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is expected to speak on the budget and highlight its key features for dissemination among people. The party will also adopt an economic resolution.

“The budget presented is pro-poor and pro-village. So all the members would be asked to take this budget to common people,” a party leader said.

IANS

BJP to use Modi govt’s achievements as ‘weapon’ in 5 states’ polls

BJP on Friday said it would use the Modi government’s achievements in the economic sector and financial inclusion initiatives as an “additional weapon” to fight the coming assembly polls in five states.BJP National Secretary H Raja said during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls “the only weapon we had in our side to face the polls was the expectations from (Narendra) Modi by people.” “In the last 21 months, the benefits of Modi government’s achievements, especially in the area of financial inclusion (by way of) schemes like Jan Dhan, Atal Pension yojana and Mudra Bank, have reached every individual and every household.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is an additional weapon. We will use this as an election weapon,” Raja told reporters here while responding to queries about the party’s strategies to face the polls in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry.Raja slammed the CPI(M) for its alleged role in the recent attacks on workers of BJP, RSS and Youth Congress in Kerala and ruled out the possibility of joining any front that had the left party as a constituent since it was a “declared position” not to align with it.Virtually opposing another tie-up with former NDA constituent MDMK, Raja said its founder Vaiko had made very critical remarks about the Prime Minister, adding such a person “cannot be our friend.”

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