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Dhinakaran used ‘hawala formula’ to win RK Nagar bypoll, says CM Palaniswami

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami today hit out at sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran for calling him a “betrayer” and alleged that the latter had used the “hawala formula” to win the RK Nagar bypoll recently.”He (Dhinakaran) had adopted the hawala formula to win the election, which was more effective than the Thirumangalam formula,” he said at the MGR centenary celebrations here.The chief minister was referring to the DMK’s victory in the Thirumangalam bypoll a few years ago, where it was alleged that the opposition party had won by distributing money.Also readPost oath, TTV Dhinakaran rails against AIADMK”You can imagine what type of a criminal person adopts the hawala formula,” he said.Lashing out at Dhinakaran for calling those in power in the state betrayers, Palaniswami said the people would decide who the betrayers were and teach them an appropriate lesson at an opportune time.Also read10 TTV Dhinakaran loyalists sacked after RK Nagar resultsReferring to Dhinakaran’s bypoll victory, he said the sidelined AIADMK leader was aiming to capture power in the party through the backdoor, without doing anything for it.He also alleged that the RK Nagar victory was the result of a conspiracy hatched by Dhinakaran and DMK working president M K Stalin.Also readRK Nagar bypoll: Dhinakaran rises against all odds to stump rivals Countering Dhinakaran’s remarks on the longevity of the government, Palaniswami said, “He will not remain in his present position for long and nobody knows where Dhinakaran, who is saying the government will not last till March, will be at that time.”Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam also hit out at Dhinakaran for criticising the AIADMK leadership.

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Won’t align with ‘communal’ BJP, says Tamil Nadu minister

Days after losing late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar Assembly seat to their arch-rival TTV Dhinakaran, a senior AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu minister, Sellur K Raju, on Thursday asserted that his party would never align with the “communal” BJP.Raju’s comments come in the wake of political observers crediting Dhinakaran’s victory to the AIADMK’s increasing proximity to the BJP since after Jayalalithaa’s death last year.”After Amma’s death, we continued our amicable relationship with the BJP government at the Centre. But the Centre’s policies like GST earned the wrath of the people. During the by-election campaign, Dhinakaran criticised the BJP government and it helped him get votes of minority Muslims who constitute 30 percent of the voters in RK Nagar. Hence, he won the bypoll,” Raju said while addressing a meeting of his party’s office bearers in Madurai.Raju, considered to be a close Dhinakaran aide, claimed that Jayalalithaa had told party leaders that she had made the mistake of joining an alliance with the BJP once, and that she would never want to repeat it. “Amma was very clear on not joining an alliance with communal forces. We will not deviate from her path. We will not align with communal forces again,” he said.Political observers felt that Dhinakaran, the nephew of jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala, was targeted by the Centre after his fallout with the ruling AIADMK. “He was arrested and imprisoned in Tihar for allegedly attempting to bride an unnamed Election Commission official. It was followed by IT raids. All these got him the sympathy of the party cadres, even as the AIADMK was getting closer with the BJP,” said Prof Ramu Manivannan, HoD, Political Science at University of MadrasMeanwhile, Tamil Nadu Assembly session will begin on January 8; the first time the Assembly meets after the disqualification of the 18 MLAs owing allegiance to Dhinakaran who will be sworn in by Speaker P Dhanapal on Friday.

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Gynaecologist found dead in her Andheri house

“She used to stay with her husband but he was in Chennai for the past few days,” said Paramjit Singh Dahiya, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IX).”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 28 December 2017 1:46 ISTMust readOn Day 2, Mumbai commuters warm up to AC localMumbai Metro authorities don’t see the need to increase coaches despite commuter rise<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>A city-based gynaecologist’s decomposing body was found in her Andheri West apartment on Tuesday night. The police said Dr Poonam Satpute was suffering from diabetes and have registered an accidental death report since they do not suspect any foul play. They reached her house after being alerted by her neighbours about a foul smell coming from her flat.The body was sent for postmortem to Dr RN Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle, which has reserved the autopsy report. “There were no injury marks on her body. Since the cause of death is not yet confirmed, we have reserved the final report. Samples have been sent for chemical analysis,” a doctor from the postmortem team said. “She used to stay with her husband but he was in Chennai for the past few days,” said Paramjit Singh Dahiya, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IX).

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House uproar ends as govt, Congress truce up

“We disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity, also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said. ”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written ByManan Kumar <!–end of artlbotbor–>Thursday 28 December 2017 1:40 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Jaish-e-Mohammad’s ‘commander’ Noor Tantray killed in Pulwama wanted to join BJP in 2003 to eliminate top brass<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Parliament’s weeklong impasse over PM Narendra Modi’s remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh finally ended on Wednesday with Union Minister Arun Jaitley clarifying that the PM neither questioned nor meant to question Singh’s commitment to the nation.The Congress also softened its stand. It said the party has dissociated itself from Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech” remark against PM Modi.“We disassociate from any comments made by any member during elections that may have hurt PM’s dignity, also we don’t want any such thing to be said in future,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

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Dhinakaran sent notice over information related to Jayalalithaa’s death

A one-man inquiry commission on the death of J Jayalalithaa has issued notice to rival AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran seeking information known to him on her hospitalisation and treatment.Jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala’s niece Krishnapriya, two government doctors and S Poongundran, who had served as an aide to the late chief minister, have been issued summons, commission sources said today.The panel headed by retired high court judge A Arumughaswamy had last week issued summons to Sasikala, close confidant of, and Apollo Hospitals Chairman Prathap C Reddy seeking information about the hospitalisation and treatment provided to her.Several people, including Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa, have already deposed before the commission.Jayalalithaa died on December 5 last year at the Apollo Hospitals here after being treated for 75 days for infection and other problems.The state government on September 25 set up the commission in the backdrop of suspicions raised by several persons, including former rebel AIADMK leader and now deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and his followers, regarding the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death.The term of the commission which ended on December 24 has been extended by six months, the sources said, adding that the latest summons were issued yesterday.They said Dhinakaran, nephew of Sasikala, was directed to submit within a week documents and evidence in his possession in respect of Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and medical treatment till her demise.He, however, need not personally appear before the commission and if needed will be asked to do so subsequently, the sources told PTI.Poongundran has been asked to immediately furnish information related to the employees of the late leader’s Poes Garden household and their contact details.Krishnapriya, daughter of Sasikala’s brother, has been directed to appear before the commission on January 2.She had recently said a video purportedly showing Jayalalithaa in a hospital and released by Dhinakaran’s loyalist P Vetrivel, was shot by Sasikala at the request of the late leader.Krishnapriya has condemned the release of the video clip by Vetrivel on December 20.Sudha Seshayyan and Sathyabama, both doctors, reportedly privy to some information in respect of Jayalalithaa’s treatment and subsequent death, were also asked to appear during the first week of January next.The purported video of Jayalalithaa was made available to the commission by Vetrivel yesterday following summons to him, the sources added.Vetrivel has said he released the video on his own in view of suspicions being raised against Sasikala over the circumstances leading to the hospitalisation of Jayalalithaa on September 22 last year.

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Kerala: Six children die in backwaters

Two others in the craft have been rescued and admitted to the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital, Ponnani Circle Inspector, Sunny Chacko told PTI, quoting initial information. As per the information, there were eight persons in the country craft when it capsized, police said.”
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Tuesday 26 December 2017 19:36 ISTMust readSurgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers <!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Six children drowned when a small country craft carrying them capsized in Kadukuzhi backwaters near here in Malappuram district today, police said.<!– /11440465/DNA_Mobile_Article_300x250_BTF_1 –>The deceased were four girls and two boys and their bodies have been recovered. Two others in the craft have been rescued and admitted to the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital, Ponnani Circle Inspector, Sunny Chacko told PTI, quoting initial information. As per the information, there were eight persons in the country craft when it capsized, police said.

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10 TTV Dhinakaran loyalists sacked after RK Nagar results

AIADMK expelled five senior functionaries and relieved five district secretaries from their posts, calling them “betrayers” for supporting sidelined leader TTV Dhinakaran.The action came a day after he dealt a major setback to Tamil Nadu’s ruling party and also Opposition DMK by winning the crucial bypoll to late CM J Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar Assembly constituency.The action was decided at a meeting of top leaders led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam.The independent candidate and rebel leader has staked claim to Jayalalithaa’s legacy and AIADMK’s leadership because of the mandate and his jailed aunt VK Sasikala’s proximity with her.The constituency has a huge symbolic value because of its association with Jayalalithaa.”Action will be taken against all those from the party cadres to headquarters office bearers who betrayed the party,” said Palanisami after the meeting.This is the first instance of a ruling party losing a bypoll in Tamil Nadu since 2004. TVT is the first independent to have emerged victorious since 2006.He played down the action and said that true party cadres were with him. “More people would come to me as the people of RK Nagar endorsed my camp,” he said, noting that EPS and OPS convened an urgent meeting as they fear desertion from their camp.The bypoll was necessitated following Jayalalithaa’s death on December 5 last year.In August, AIADMK’s two rival factions finally came together, overcoming a series of false starts, six months after Jayalalithaa’s death caused a fracture in Tamil Nadu’s ruling party. Palanisami and his predecessor O Panneerselvam then announced a merger deal. They later expelled Dhinakaran and Sasikala from the party.After Jayalalithaa’s death, Panneerselvam was locked in a succession battle with Sasikala before she was convicted of corruption and sent to jail in February this year. Panneerselvam is Jayalalithaa’s staunch loyalist and was a preferred stand-in during her lifetime. Sasikala was a long-time associate of Jayalalithaa.As per the deal, Panneerselvam is leading the AIADMK as its coordinator, while Palanisami is its co-coordinator. Panneerselvam and his supporter Mafoi K Pandiarajan had been later sworn in as Deputy CM and a minister, respectively.

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After RK Nagar debacle, AIADMK sacks Dhinakaran loyalists

The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu on Monday sacked six office-bearers supporting sidelined party leader TTV Dhinakaran, a day after he won the RK Nagar bypoll here with a thumping margin of 40,000 votes. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by top party office-bearers O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami, AIADMK sources said. Along with that, it decided to remove four Dhinakaran aides as party’s districtsecretaries.Five senior functionaries have also been removed from AIADMK. The party decided to remove, among others, key Dhinakaran aides P Vetrivel and Thangatamilselvan, AIADMK district secretary in Chennai and Theni respectively, the sources said. Though AIADMK supporters are divided between Dhinakaran and the Palaniswami-led camps, many office-bearers from the rival group hold party posts.Also readRK Nagar bypoll: 4 big takeaways from TTV Dhinakaran’s stunning win In a jolt to the ruling dispensation, Dhinakaran defeated its candidate E Madhusudhanan by 40,707 votes in the December 21 RK Nagar bypoll. The votes were counted yesterday. The party alleged that TTV Dhinakaran won owing to tacit understanding with DMK. The main opposition party in the state, DMK finished third in the RK Nagar bypoll.

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Panel probing Jayalalithaa’s death seeks info from Sasikala, Apollo Hospital

An inquiry commission probing J Jayalalithaa’s death today issued summons to her confidant V K Sasikala and top Apollo Hospital executives seeking information about the hospitalisation and treatment given to the late chief minister till her demise.Justice A Arumughaswamy, who heads the one-man commission, directed Sasikala, presently serving a four-year jail term in a Bengaluru prison in a corruption case, to submit her response within 15 days.He also issued summons to the Apollo Hospital Chairman Dr Prathap Reddy and his daughter and hospital Executive Vice Chairperson Preetha Reddy to respond within 10 days.Also readDay before RK Nagar bypoll, TTV Dhinakaran faction releases J Jayalalithaa’s hospital videoJayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22 last year and passed away on December 5, 2016.The Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry, constituted by the Tamil Nadu government, commenced it’s hearing on November 22 last.Also readJayalalithaa was brought to Apollo Hospital in breathless state, says top officialSeveral persons, including IAS officials, doctors, Jayalalithaa’s niece J Deepa and nephew J Deepak and Madurai- based DMK functionary P Saravanan have deposed before it so far.The state government set up the probe panel in the backdrop of various views expressed by several persons regarding Jayalalithaa’s death.

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RK Nagar by-poll: Voting in late Jayalalithaa’s constituency ends peacefully with 77% turnout

The R K Nagar bypoll today witnessed a record 77.68 per cent voter turnout with polling to the constituency, which was represented by the late J. Jayalalithaa, passing off peacfully amid tight security.Election officials here said there may be some variation in the figure after taking into consideration the polling percentage at some booths where voting went on beyond 5 pm.The voter turnout is higher than the 68 per cent recorded in the 2016 assembly election,according to officials.The bypoll is being seen as an acid test for the chief minister K Palaniswami and deputy O Panneeerselvam-led ruling AIADMK which is facing a strong challenge from sidelined leader T T V Dhinakaran and an aggressive DMK.The DMK is putting up a tough fight to wrest the seat after a hiatus of over two decades.Of the 59 candidates in the fray, the fight is essentially triangular with the key contenders being ruling AIADMK’s E Madhusudhanan, main opposition DMK candidate N Maruthu Ganesh and Dhinakaran, contesting as an independent.The ruling AIADMK got back its Two Leaves election symbol back following merger of factions led by Palaniswami and former rebel O Panneerselvam.The run up to the bypoll saw political parties and candidates holding as many as 152 public meetings and taking out 605 processions with the campaigning ending on December 19.The 2015 R K Nagar bypoll in which Jayalalithaa was elected by a huge margin of 1.5 lakh votes for the first time in this segment had witnessed a record 75 per cent turnout.Voting at 258 polling stations passed off peacefully with 2500 state police personnel, 15 companies of Central Armed Police Forces and 1638 election officers manning the poll process.Serpentine queues were witnessed in booth after booth, right from 8 am when voting began with women outnumbering men in several of them.A large number of people were awaiting their turn to vote even at the scheduled close of voting at 5 pm.All those who were present inside the polling stations ahead of the 5 pm deadline were given tokens by officials to ensure that they exercised their franchise.There were, however, sporadic complaints of snag in EVMs, and consequential delay.Some voters complained that their names were deleted, othes claimed their names were struck off the rolls wrongly categorising them as “dead.”Gun-toting Central Armed Police Force personnel in their trademark green uniforms were stationed at all the polling stations and across the 45 checkposts in and around the Dr Radhakrishnan (RK) Nagar constituency.Senior poll officials including the district election Officer D Karthikeyan inspected the polling stations.Several dozens of flying squad teams, static surveillance teams and video surveillance teams were deployed in the constituency.Election authorities made elaborate arrangements to ensure both hassle free environs for voters and measures for free and fair polling with nine observers, 307 micro-observers and 258 web cameras to monitor the poll process.Chennai Corporation personnel drafted for poll duty took differently abled persons inside the polling stations using wheel-chairs.In booths that had a significantly high number of voters, a medical team comprising doctors, and paramedics were stationed.’Pandals’ were put up, and help desks helped people find the right booth to vote. Amenities like drinking water, and toilets were also in place.R K Nagar, represented twice by Jayalalithaa, has an electorate of 2,28,234, comprising 1,10,903 men, 1,17,232 women and 99 transgenders.Election officials said 79.21 per cent of women voters exercised their franchise while 75.92 per cent of men cast their votes.Counting of votes will be taken up on December 24 and the results are expected to be out by afternoon that day.

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Chennai: A day before RK Nagar bypolls, video of Jayalalithaa in hospital triggers row

Setting off a political controversy a day ahead of RK Nagar bypoll, a video purportedly showing late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in a hospital was released by sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran’s loyalist today.Amid questions raised about timing of the about 20 second video, aired by TV channels and later went viral on the social media,election officials asked channels to stop it’s telecast, saying it was a violation of the model code of conduct.The footage, showing a frail looking AIADMK supremo in a nightdress and sipping what appeared to be a health drink with a straw, was released by Vetrivel, disqualified AIADMK MLA and election agent of Dhinakaran, contesting the bypoll as an independent.A police complaint was lodged by Returning Officer of RK Nagar assembly constituency against Vetrivel, who said he released it in view of doubts raised over the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation and death.AIADMK hit out at Sasikala’s family, saying the video release was a “conspiracy” and a “demeaning” act with an eye on tomorrow’s bypoll, considered an acid test for the ruling dispensation,being the first poll after Jayalalithaa’s demise.Suspicions have been raised over circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s demise by several persons, including now deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam and his followers.The state government has appointed a retired Madras High Court judge as the one-man commission of inquiry to look into the circumstances leading to her death.DMK, which raised the issue of doubts over Jayalalithaa’s death during the campaign, and several others alleged that the video had been released with an eye on the bypoll.Defending the release of the video, Vetrivel said he did it on his own “out of mental agony. Later Dhinakaran called me and asked me why I did so,” he told PTI.Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni told reporters that TV channels were asked to immediately stop airing the clip, which they duly complied with.He said telecast or display of any election-related material 48 hours before conclusion of the poll was barred under election laws.Returning Officer Praveen Nair, in his complaint said the video release violated the model code and the Representation of the People’s Act.”Neither the candidate nor his election agent obtained any permission from the Media Certification Monitoring Committee, which is also a violation of the Code,” he said.The high stakes bypoll is being held to fill the vacancy caused by the death of sitting MLA Jayalalithaa on December 5 last year.She was admitted to Apollo Hospital here on September 22 last year after she complained of fever and dehydration. She died of cardiac arrest after 75 days in the hospital.There was no response from Apollo Hospital to a query on the veracity of the video, which showed Jayalalithaa sipping the drink with a straw from a use-and-throw glass topped with a lid. On her bedside was the portrait of a deity.Ruling AIADMK, which has sidelined the Sasikala family, said the video release amounted to bringing “disrepute” to the late Chief Minister’s fame and image.”This demeaning (act) is a planned conspiracy by the Sasikala family to bring disrepute to Amma’s fame and image, done keeping in mind the (RK Nagar) bypoll,” said senior AIADMK leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar.AIADMK supporters and the people would not accept this, he told reporters here.He also asked why they did not approach the inquiry commission probing the death of the AIADMK supremo.DMK working president M K Stalin said the footage was released with an ‘ulterior motive.’In a Facebook post, he said the clip was released at a time when RK Nagar people were set to vote.”To tackle their party (AIADMK) problem and to divert people, the video has been released with an ulterior motive.. They have come forward to make Jayalalithaa a scapegoat even after her death…As usual,” he charged.Stating that the video would also raise doubts among the public as to how Jayalalithaa died after recuperating so well, he said Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Panneerselvam should answer such suspicions.Sasikala’s niece Krishnapriya claimed the video was taken by her aunt at the request of Jayalalithaa herself and it had been released without her (aunt’s) nod.Terming it as a “big mistake” and “betrayal of trust” on the part of Vetrivel, she said action should have been taken by now by Dhinakaran against him.Krishnapriya is the daughter of Ilavarasi, wife of the brother of Sasikala, who is also serving the prison term along with Sasikala in the disproportionates assets case.”Chinnamma did not release the video to defend her even when she faced many charges.We gave the video to Dhinakaran.It was Sasikala who asked us to give it to him for submission to the inquiry commission if needed and not for public display,” she said and wondered “why and how” it reached Vetrivel.On the date on which the video was shot, she said it was taken a “month or two” after Jayalalithaa was hospitalised.”First she was in ICU and later she was brought to a room and the video was shot at that time,” she claimed.

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RK Nagar bypoll: Campaigning ends today for Jayalalithaa’s vacant seat, polling on December 21

Campaigning for the high-stakes December 21 bypoll to RK Nagar constituency which fell vacant after the death of J Jayalalithaa, came to an end on Tuesday, with the election being seen as a litmus test for the AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government.AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam and co-coordinator K Palaniswami, DMK working president M K Stalin and sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran had hit a blazing campaign trail to ensure victory for their respective candidates.It is the first election to be held in the ‘post Jayalalithaa era’, and necessitated following her death last December.The bypolls will be seen as a report card of the 17-month-old AIADMK government, which itself underwent a tumultuous phase dominated by a rebellion and patch-up involving O Panneerselvam.Chief Minister K Palaniswami and deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam urged voters to elect Madhusudhnanan to take forward the work initiated by Jayalalithaa.In a joint statement, the leaders recalled that the late leader served people with a “motherly” attitude and that she had many plans for the constituency as its MLA.People of RK Nagar were aware of her developmental work for the constituency, which was being taken forward by the ruling AIADMK, they said, while pointing out that this was the first hustings faced by AIADMK in her absence.”Madhusudhanan will aid the government in implementing every other welfare measure with the blessings of Amma”, they added.Jayalalithaa is addressed as Amma, meaning mother in Tamil, by her supporters.Stalin, on his part, vowed to unravel the ‘mystery’ behind the late AIADMK supremo’s demise and assured to put behind bars those ‘found responsible’ for her death in the event of DMK coming to power.During one of his stopovers during the campaign on Tuesday, he said there was a “mystery on how Jayalalithaa passed away and what kind of (medical) treatment was provided” to her during her 75-day hospitalisation, as he dismissed as an ‘eyewash’ the inquiry ordered by the state government into her death.”The first job of the DMK rule will be to find out who is responsible for Jayalalithaa’s death and lock them up in prison,” Stalin, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, said.The campaign saw old rivals Stalin and MDMK founder Vaiko share the stage for the first time in many years. The opposition is putting up a united show in a bid to snatch victory in this city segment.There were also allegations of money distribution, with DMK levelling charges against the ruling AIADMK.Many opposition parties, including the Congress, the VCK and the Left have backed DMK candidate N Maruthu Ganesh.Dhinakaran, who fell out of favour with Palaniswami and also lost the battle for the party’s ‘Two Leaves’ symbol to the latter, is fighting as an independent and has expressed confidence that he can spring a surprise against the AIADMK’s E Madhusudhanan, as well as the DMK.With 59 candidates in the fray, the bypoll is virtually confined to old warhorse Madhusudhanan, DMK’s greenhorn Maruthu Ganesh and Dhinakaran.Polling will be held on December 21 while the votes will be taken up for counting on December 24.Meanwhile, with campaigning coming to an end, the Election Commission has now barred all other related activities as is the rule.Liquor shops in the constituency will remain closed from 5 pm today till 5 PM on the polling day, as well as on December 24.

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RK Nagar by-poll: Madras HC dismisses plea to disqualify AIADMK and DMK candidates

The Madras High Court today dismissed as not maintainable a plea for disqualifying candidates of AIADMK and DMK and Independent TTV Dhinakaran in the RK Nagar Assembly by-poll for their alleged electoral malpractices during the earlier cancelled by-election.A bench comprising justices TS Sivagnanam and K Ravichandrabaabu dismissed the plea by BSP candidate for the by-poll AC Sathyamurthy. He sought disqualification of the three candidates on the grounds of their alleged involvement in electoral malpractices during the April by-election, which was cancelled by the Election Commission. During the previous election, various articles, including sarees meant for distribution among voters, valued at over Rs 1.59 crore were seized by EC officials, he submitted.Over 40 cases were registered and 82 persons involved in such malpractices were arrested, the petitioner said. Besides this, various incriminating materials were seized in the raids conducted by the Income Tax department at the residence of health minister C Vijayabaskar and Samathuva Makkal Katchi founder R Sarathkumar, he claimed. Based on the complaint made by Income Tax department, the EC had on April 9 cancelled the by-election.The petitioner claimed that Madhusudhanan, Ganesh and Dhinakaran were also allegedly involved in such offences and wanted the EC to prohibit them from contesting the by-election scheduled on December 21. PTI CORR SSs

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RK Nagar bypoll: No interim relief from Madras HC to Dhinakaran faction for using ‘hat’ symbol

The Delhi High Court today declined to grant any interim relief to V K Sasikala-TTV Dhinakaran faction of the AIADMK by dismissing their plea to use the ‘hat’ symbol in the upcoming by-poll to the R K Nagar assembly constituency.While dismissing the interim application of Sasikala and Dhinakaran for allotment of the ‘hat’ symbol, Justice Indermeet Kaur directed the Returning Officer (RO) to give a finding on their plea, independent of the poll panel’s November 23 order. The Election Commission of India by its November 23 order had allotted the ‘two leaves’ symbol to the faction of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam and set aside its own interim order granting ‘hat’ symbol to the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group.During arguments, the court was of the view that the RO may not take a decision which went against the EC’s November 23 order. The court had reserved its order after hearing arguments on behalf of the EC and the two factions of the AIADMK. Towards the fag end of the arguments, the poll panel told the court that its RO can be directed to take a decision independent of the EC order.Subsequently, the court said in its order, “interim application dismissed. This court is not inclined to grant any interim relief.Also readWill win RK Nagar bypoll and take back ‘two leaves’ symbol: TTV Dhinakaran”The RO, however, is directed to return a finding on the petitioners’ application for nomination along with their application seeking grant of ‘hat’ independently, dehors any observations made by EC in terms of its order of November 23,” the court said in its interim order. The court also issued notice to the Election Commission of India, O Panneerselvam, Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami seeking their replies to Sasikala and Dhinakaran’s pleas challenging the poll panel’s November 23 order allotting the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to the Panneerselvam-Palaniswami faction.It sought the response of Madhusudhanan, AIADMK’s candidate for the December 21 by-poll and MLA Semmalai, who are also respondents in the pleas by Sasikala and Dhinakaran.The main petition will be heard on February 12, the court said. During arguments, the poll panel, Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and others opposed the grant of ‘hat’ symbol to Sasikala-Dhinakaran group by the court, saying the RO alone had the power to do so.Also readPoes Garden raids ‘betrayal to Amma’s soul,’ an attempt to destroy our family, alleges TTV Dhinakaran They said if the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group do not get the ‘hat’ symbol, then some other free symbol could be granted to them by the RO. The court did not appear to agree with the contentions, saying the RO being subordinate to the poll panel, will not go against the EC’s November 23 order by which the grant of ‘hat’ symbol to Sasikala-Dhinakaran group was set aside. It expressed the view that if the ‘hat’ symbol was not granted to the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group, then the other side may “win by default”.”Elections have to be free and fair. You (Panneerselvam- Palaniswami) should not get a vote by default,” it said. The hat symbol was given to the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group by the EC in March this year when it had frozen the use of the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to which the group led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam had also laid claim. The Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction had at the same time been granted the ‘electric pole’ symbol.However, on November 23, the poll panel had ruled in favour of Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction by allotting the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to them for the upcoming by-poll. The Palaniswami-Panneerselvam group and the poll panel argued that ‘hat’ was a free symbol and cannot be reserved for an individual or independent candidate.The EC told the court that after its November 23 order, Sasikala and Dhinakaran were not part of any group but were independent candidates. The Sasikala-Dhinakaran group, on the other hand, claimed that in March this year, they were allotted the ‘hat’ symbol by the EC and since then they have been campaigning under it. They said that not granting the ‘hat’ symbol would prejudice their chances in the by-poll as the people of R K Nagar constituency associate them with the ‘hat’.Sasikala and Dhinakaran have in their pleas sought the quashing of the EC’s November 23 order, alleging it was bad in law and needed to be set aside. The issue has been lingering since April in the aftermath of the announcement of by-poll to Radha Krishnan Nagar Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu following the death of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in December last year. Sasikala and Dhinakaran’s pleas have sought directions for initiating appropriate proceedings against Madhusudhanan, Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and Semmalai for their acts. They have also sought calling of records and files relating to the dispute over the symbol.”The decision-making process of the ECI is contrary to the settled legal principles. The EC has treated fabricated and untested material as genuine which has resulted in the hearing being unfair and consequently contrary to the principle of natural justice and therefore the proceedings and the order are void,” the pleas have alleged. The order of the Commission came as a setback to deposed party leader Sasikala, who is currently serving a four-year sentence in a Bengaluru jail in a disproportionate assets case, and her nephew Dhinakaran.Earlier, rival factions led by Sasikala and Panneerselvam had staked claim over the symbol. Palaniswami was then in the Sasikala camp. Later, a large number of legislators led by Palaniswami revolted against Sasikala and announced the merger of the two factions. The Palaniswami-Panneerselvam camp then submitted affidavits before the EC staking claim over the party name and symbol, which was contested by the Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction.
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RK Nagay By-poll: DMK likely to win by-elections says senior DMK leader Durai Murugan

Senior DMK leader Durai Murugan on Sunday said the chances of his party’s victory in the December 21 bypoll to the RK Nagar assembly segment, were bright.He was speaking to reporters at the airport in Coimbatore.On MDMK’s decision to extend support to DMK in the by-election, the Deputy Leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly said, the party will welcome anybody’s support.He wanted to know whether the state government was taking any steps to provide relief in the cyclone-hit Kanyakumari district.The DMK strong man alleged that the state government was busy erecting banners and cut outs and had no time to for relief measures.Also readAIADMK fields its presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan for RK Nagar bypollIn RK Nagar assembly constituency, DMK’s N Marudu Ganesh is pitted against E Madusudanan of the ruling mainstream AIADMK.Rival AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran is also in the fray.Also readRK Nagar Bypoll: AIADMK Parliamentary board to decide candidateDMK’s allies Congress and IUML have already extended their support to the main opposition party.Besides, parties including the CPI, CPI(M) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi have declared their support to DMK.
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AIADMK fields its presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan for RK Nagar bypoll

Amid the talks of differences, the ruling AIADMK named its presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan as its candidate for the December 21 bye-election to the crucial RK Nagar Assembly constituency which was held by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.Madhusudhanan was the candidate of the O Panneerselvam faction in RK Nagar bypoll in April which was later cancelled by the Election Commission following allegations of malpractices.Madhusudhanan would take on resurgent DMK’s candidate Maruthu Ganesh, sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, a nephew of jailed VK Sasikala, Jayalalithaa’s niece J Deepa. All the four were in the fray for the previously cancelled bypoll to the seat on April 12.Madhusudhanan’s candidature was announced on Thursday by the party’s Governing Council amid talks of differences in the ruling AIADMK between Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy CM Panneerselvam.Madhusudhanan, a veteran AIADMK leader, was a well-known leader in the RK Nagar constituency which he represented in 1991-96, the first tenure of Jayalalithaa as CM. He was also a member of her cabinet then. The December 21 bye-election to the RK Nagar was necessitated following the sudden demise of Jayalalithaa on December 5 last year.Dhinakaran who had lost the claim for the AIADMK and its election symbol two leaves after the Election Commission ruled in the favour of the EPS-OPS led faction last week. Deepa who is claiming to be the political heir of late AIADMK supremo also announced that she would contest the by-poll. Though the RK Nagar constituency is a traditional stronghold of the AIADMK, it would be an interesting contest with the three groups claiming the legacy of the Jayalalithaa fighting against each other.DMK seems to be confident of emerging victorious in the by-poll as it has got the support of opposition parties CPI (M), CPI and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, a Dalit party besides its allies Congress and IUML.
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RK Nagar bypoll: AIADMK Parliamentary board to decide candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling AIADMK on Monday discussed a range of issues, including the December 21 bypoll to RK Nagar Assembly constituency here, with senior functionaries authorising the party’s parliamentary board to decide the bypoll candidate.The meeting, the first after the Election Commission awarded the party’s ‘two leaves’ symbol to this camp, was held at the party headquarters under its presidium chairman E Madhusudanan.AIADMK coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O Panneerselvam, and co-coordinator and Chief Minister K Palaniswami, besides other senior functionaries attended the meeting.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu: Panneerselvam stressed on unity in AIADMK, praises CM PalaniswamiA release from the party said it was “unanimously” resolved in Monday’s meeting to authorise the AIADMK parliamentary board to select the candidate for the RK Nagar by-poll.The release was issued with the “approval” of both Pannnerselvam and Palaniswami.
ALSO READ Assembly Polls: AIADMK high command to decide candidate for RK NagarMeanwhile, the AIADMK announced it was “restructuring” the parliamentary board, which now includes Panneerselvam and Palaniswami.Former ministers K P Munusamy and R Vaithilingam, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, Madhusudhanan, Tamil Magan Hussein, P Valarmathi, A Justin Selvaraj and P Venugopal are the other members of the board.Earlier, deposed and jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala who was the head of the board. She had selected her nephew and then AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran for the April 12 bypoll.Later, Dhinakaran was sidelined from the party.The RK Nagar seat fell vacant following the death of local MLA and then chief minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016.Though the bypoll was originally scheduled in April this year, it was rescinded following complaints of money distribution.The DMK has nominated R Maruthu Ganesh to take on the ruling party. He was also the party nominee for the April 12 bypoll.Sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran has also thrown his hat into the ring.The ruling party also discussed the first death anniversary of Jayalalithaa and the various events associated with it, the release said.The AIADMK has already announced taking out a procession from the arterial Anna Salai to Jayalalithaa’s mausoleum in Marina Beach, which was reiterated in today’s meeting.The party workers will also take a pledge on that day.The meeting also discussed the valedictory of the birth centenary of party founder, late M G Ramachandran, and decided to hold grand celebrations.

Will win RK Nagar bypoll and take back ‘two leaves’ symbol: TTV Dhinakaran

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran on Friday expressed confidence that he will win the RK Nagar seat, and will also get back party’s ‘Two Leaves’ symbol.Dhinakaran’s reaction came after the Election Commission (EC) announced by-poll to Dr Radha Krishnan Nagar Assembly constituency which fell vacant following the demise of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last year will be held on December 21.Dhinakaran made the comment while addressing party workers in Tiruppur.The counting of votes will be held on December 24 and the election process will be completed before 26th of next month, an EC press release which was made available by Tamil Nadu’s Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni here said.Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court in connection with the ‘two leaves’ symbol case.In the petition filed by Panneerselvam, he has appealed to the apex court to not pass any order if the Dinakaran camp moves the court challenging the Election Commission’s (EC) order in ‘two leaves’ symbol case.Earlier on Thursday, the poll panel allotted the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) ‘two leaves’ symbol to the party’s faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy and his deputy, O Panneerselvam.AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran then objected to the decision of the Election Commission, accusing it of conducting the inquiry in an unfair manner.Dinakaran also alleged that the Centre influenced the poll watchdog’s decision in the case.

‘Two leaves’ symbol case: O Panneerselvam files caveat in Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Friday filed a caveat in the Supreme Court in connection with the ‘two leaves’ symbol case.In the petition filed by Panneerselvam, he has appealed to the apex court to not pass any order if the Dhinakaran camp moves the court challenging the Election Commission’s (EC) order in ‘two leaves’ symbol case.Earlier on Thursday, the Election Commission on Thursday allotted the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) ‘two leaves’ symbol to the party’s faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy and his deputy, O Panneerselvam.In an 83-page order, the poll body ruled that the EPS-OPS faction would be entitled to use the name of the party and its reserved symbol, holding that it enjoyed majority in the party’s legislative and organisational wings.AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran then objected to the decision of the Election Commission, accusing it of conducting the inquiry in an unfair manner.Dinakaran also alleged that the Centre influenced the poll watchdog’s decision in the case.

Poes Garden raids ‘betrayal to Amma’s soul,’ an attempt to destroy our family, alleges TTV Dhinakaran

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>TTV Dhinakaran, the rebel AIADMK leader, has slammed the lat night Income Tax raids at the Poes Garden in Chennai on Friday.The official residence of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister and AIADMK matriarch J Jayalalithaa, the Poes Garden has been the centre of Tamil politics.Calling the I-T raids an attempt to destroy his family, Dhinakaran also termed the late night operations as ‘betrayal to Amma’s soul’.Though reports now confirm that the ‘search and recovery’ operation was confined to only two rooms in Poes Garden, the protests are inevitable.Dhinkaran, nephew of Jayalalithaa’s once closest aide VK Sasikala, said that he and his family is ‘not scared’ by the raids and that ‘we won’t run away’.The jailed confidant and her family is under radar for unaccounted income. Sidelined and under tax department’s lens, the Sasikala clan is trying hard.In a no-holds barred approach, Dhianakaran not only attacked the state government of Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam but also dragged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley into the raids issue.He said that the Centre is using the I-T department to destroy his family. The raids are a follow-up of the mega search operations carried out earlier this month.There are reports that the I-T officials seized a laptop and few pen drives as what is believed a crucial evidence in the unaccounted income case.

Election Commission concludes hearing AIADMK symbol case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Election Commission on Wednesday concluded hearing the AIADMK symbol case and reserved the order which is likely to be delivered in the next few days.At the seventh hearing today, the rival E K Palaniswami-O Panneerselvam and the Sasikala Natarajan factions concluded their arguments. The Sasikala faction wanted to counter certain points raised by the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction, but was asked by EC to give it in writing by early next week. Counsel for the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction and former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said the hearings were concluded today and the order will be delivered soon.A senior functionary said the order has been reserved and would be made public in the next few days. Sasikala faction counsel Raja Senthoor Pandian claimed that the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam side took up most of the time today, leaving little time for them to respond. “But we will place our arguments in writing and say on record that we were denied an opportunity to verbally place our stand,” Pandian told reporters. Initially two factions led by Panneerselvam and Sasikala had staked claim to the ‘two leaves’ symbol. The poll panel had frozen it, pending decision on their pleas.Later, a large group of legislators led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami revolted against Sasikala, who is in jail in a graft case, and announced merger with Panneerselvam faction. Resolutions ousting Sasikala as interim general secretary and her nephew Dhinakaran as her deputy were also adopted at the party’s general council meeting held on September 12. On September 14, representatives of Dhinakaran had approached the EC urging it to declare as invalid the general council meeting, citing a high court order that said any decision taken at the impugned meeting will be subject to the final outcome in the appeal.

Tamil Nadu: I will contest in RK Nagar bypoll, says TTV Dhinakaran in Chennai

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran on Monday said that he will contest in the RK Nagar bypoll which are to be held before December 31.Last month, the Madras High Court had directed the election commission to conduct the by-election to RK Nagar assembly constituency, lying vacant following the demise of J Jayalalithaa, ‘preferably’ by December 31.The bypoll slated for April 12 was cancelled subsequently following allegations of large-scale distribution of money to voters, entailing raids by the tax authorities. The ECI had said it directed the CEO, Tamil Nadu on April 18 to ask the RK Nagar returning officer to file a complaint with police for bribing the voters.The by-election to RK Nagar constituency was necessitated following the death of Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016.Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has said that the AIADMK high command would decide about the candidate for the RK Nagar assembly bypoll.

EC bribery case: Will take 4-6 weeks to complete probe, says Delhi police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court was today informed by the Delhi Police it would take 4-6 weeks to complete its probe in the Election Commission bribery case allegedly involving AIADMK (leader) T T V Dhinakaran and others.The court directed the Delhi Police Crime Branch to file by December 5, a status report on the current status of investigation.Justice Ashutosh Kumar was hearing a bail plea of co- accused and alleged middleman Sukesh Chandrashekar, who has sought the relief on the ground that he was in jail for six months and a charge sheet against him has been filed in the trial court.During the hearing, the court asked the police about the status of investigation against the other accused — Dhinakaran, his close aide Mallikarjuna, suspected hawala operators Nathu Singh and Lalit Kumar, who were earlier granted bail.To this, prosecutor Ashish Dutta and DCP (Crime) Rajesh Dev said the probe against the other accused was going on and it would be completed within four-six weeks.The court then adjourned the hearing on Chandrashekar’s bail plea and asked the police to file the status report.It also asked the police to inform it as to who was the person who had called the special judge asking her to grant bail to Chandrashekar.Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, who was appearing Chandrashekar, argued that till date the police has not identified a single person in the Election Commission whom the alleged middleman had met in pursuance to the purported conspiracy to get the AIADMK ‘two leaves’ symbol for the Sasikala faction.He further claimed that the charge sheet was hurridly filed to prevent him from getting bail and some stringent provisions were added in the case.Chandrashekar, arrested on April 16, has been denied bail once by the high court and thrice by the trial court.The high court had on June 15 rejected his bail plea on the ground that the police had seized a fake Rajya Sabha member ID card from his possession.A chargesheet was filed by the police before the trial court in the case on July 14 alleging that Dhinakaran and Chandrashekar had conspired to bribe Election Commission (EC) officials to get the ‘two leaves’ symbol for their party.The Delhi Police Crime Branch also included in the charge sheet allegations of forgery for purpose of cheating, using forged document as genuine, possessing a forged document, intending to use it as genuine and criminal conspiracy.Chandrashekar had moved the high court alleging that he was tortured despite an order not to subject him to violence inside the Tihar Jail where he is in custody.The claim was denied by the jail authorities, who said it was an “afterthought of the shrewd mind of the accused”.The high court on July 24 had warned of “serious action” over the allegations of torture and said any such incident would not be tolerated.Chandrashekar was arrested for allegedly taking money from Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials to get the AIADMK ‘two leaves’ symbol for the Sasikala faction in a by-election to the R K Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu.Dhinakaran was arrested here on April 25 after four days of questioning for allegedly attempting to bribe EC officials for the symbol.The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, who represented the constituency.The EC had frozen the AIADMK’s symbol after the two factions — one led by Dhinakaran’s aunt Sasikala and the other by former chief minister O Panneerselvam — staked a claim to it.Mallikarjuna was arrested for allegedly facilitating a Rs 50 crore deal between Dhinakaran and Chandrashekar.

J Jayalalithaa’s constituency to go to polls again by Dec

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The eight-month-old Edappadi K Palaniswami government in Tamil Nadu will yet again face a litmus test of its popularity when the bypoll to the prestigious RK Nagar Assembly seat is held in two months.Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti announced that the by-election to the RK Nagar seat, which fell vacant following the demise of then chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa on December 5 last year would be held before December 31. The announcement has put the political parties in poll mode once again. Earlier, two days before polling on April 12, the commission has rescinded the bypoll citing distribution of money power and other allurements in the constituency.For the ruling unified AIADMK, winning the bypoll is an imperative. The by-election comes after the merger of the rebel faction led by O Panneerselvam with the ruling Palaniswami faction in August. To stake the claim to Jayalalithaa’s legacy, the unified AIADMK needs to re-emerge victorious in the seat held by her. Besides, it would be seen as a referendum on the popularity of the Palaniswami government by the opposition parties.The unified AIADMK is likely to field the party presidium chairman E Madhusudanan, who was also the candidate of the Panneerselvam camp in the April 12 cancelled bypoll. Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, who was the candidate for the ruling faction, is likely to contest again if one goes by the assertion of his supporter V Pugazhendi. The bypoll also comes at a time when the Election Commission is set to decide on the two leaves symbol dispute and Madras High Court hearing petition challenging disqualification of 18 MLAs owing allegiance to Dhinakaran.prestige pollsThe RK Nagar seat was last held by J JayalalithaaFirst poll the reunited factions reunited will

Sasikala’s parole ends, to return to Bengaluru jail on Thursday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Deposed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala’s five-day parole, for visiting her husband in a hospital here, ended on Wednesday and she will return to Parappana Agrahara central jail in Bengaluru on Thursday. She visited her husband M Natarajan, who underwent liver and kidney transplantation at a hospital here, on all five days of her parole period, including today. According to Gleneagles Global Health City, where Natarajan (74) underwent organ transplantations on October 4 and a tracheostomy two days later, is recovering well. Sasikala, who was removed from the party last month by Chief Minister K Palaniswami-led camp, had arrived here on the night of October 6 to a enthusiastic albeit subdued welcome.She has been lodged in the Parapana Agrahara central jail since February this year after the Supreme Court upheld her conviction by a special court in a disproportionate assets case. Her relatives Ilavarasi and V N Sudhakaran are also serving four-year jail terms in the case. Granted emergency parole from October 7 to 11, she was asked to adhere to several conditions, including a gag order on interacting with the media.Among other conditions were a bar on involving in any political, party, public activities and being restricted to visit only to the hospital where Natarajan was admitted.Sasikala was also asked to stay only at the residence mentioned in her parole plea and was directed not to entertain any visitors either at her residence or at the hospital. The 60-year-old leader had been directed by the authorities to report to the Bengaluru jail on October 12 by six pm. Though Sasikala avoided interacting with party leaders and functionaries in keeping with parole conditions, she was greeted on road by her supporters during all her visits to the hospital. She named newborns of party workers during her hospital visits by halting her vehicle.Also, her vehicle used to briefly halt at a Ganesha temple here and she would offer prayers from her vehicle as Jayalaithaa used to do. During her hospital visits, supporters hailed her as “Thiyaga Thalaivi Chinnamma,” (Younger Amma, a leader of sacrifices), showered flower petals on her car, and performed ‘aarthi’. During her five-day parole, she stayed at the residence of Krishna Priya, daughter of her sister-in-law Ilavarasi.Though Sasikala did not participate in any political activity, her visit to the city triggered reactions in political circles. On October 8, Tamil Nadu minister Sellur K Raju said Sasikala had played a key role in ensuring continuance of the present AIADMK government.”Chinamma (Sasikala) is responsible for AIADMK remaining in power… there is no second opinion about it,” he had said. While the ruling establishment did not react to his comments, the T T V Dhinakaran camp said “sleeper cells” have begun emerging and lauded him for acknowledging the role of ‘Chinnamma’. Raju later denied that he was part of sleeper cells. Sasikala’s visit came at a time when her nephew T T V Dhinakaran and the ruling camp led by Palaniswami and deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam are fighting it out to get the two leaves symbol, which was frozen by the Election Commission.

VK Sasikala walks out of jail on 5-day parole

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala on Friday stepped out of Bengaluru prison on a five-day emergency parole to visit her ailing husband M Natarajan, nearly eight months after she was imprisoned in corruption charges.Sasikala, 60, has been given parole from October 7 to 11 to visit the hospital where her husband is admitted. She has been directed to keep away from all political activity during the parole period. Her nephew TTV Dhinakaran received her at the Parappana Agrahara Prison and both of them proceeded to Chennai in a private car.Natarajan, 74, had undergone liver and kidney transplant at a private hospital in Chennai on Wednesday.Though Sasikala applied for 15 days’ parole on Wednesday, the prison authority permitted her to be out of jail for only five days with conditions. As per the conditions, she has been asked not to entertain any visitors either at the residence or at the hospital. She is also not supposed to involve in political activities and also can’t interact with media.Sasikala is serving a four-year imprisonment in the central prison on the city’s outskirts since February 15 after the Supreme Court on February 14 upheld her conviction in late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s disproportionate assets case by the lower court.Sasikala, a long time aide of Jayalalithaa, would be staying in the house of her sister-in-law Ilavarasi’s daughter Krishnapriya residence at T Nagar here, said party sources. With Palanisami government announcing that Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence would be converted into a memorial, Sasikala has no access to the residence of the late AIADMK supremo, where she stayed for over 30 years.Supporters of Sasikala have erected hoardings welcoming her at T Nagar. The parole comes at a time when she and her nephew Dhinakaran have been totally sidelined by the unified AIADMK led by CM Palanisami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam. As many as 18 MLAs loyal to her has been disqualified and have challenged the Speaker’s order in the Madras High Court.Sasikala loyalist and AIADMK’s Karnataka unit in-charge Va Pugazhendi said that party’s Rajya Sabha MP N Krishnan gave an undertaking on Sasikala’s behalf and deposited Rs 1,000 with the jail as a surety for her parole. Tamil Nadu Police, which has given no-objection certificate for Sasikala’s visit to Chennai, will look after her security during the parole.

VK Sasikala granted parole to meet her ailing husband M Natarajan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sidelined AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala, who is serving four-year sentence in Bengaluru jail, has been granted a five-day parole on Friday to visit her ailing husband M Nataranjan in Chennai.Earlier, the Karnataka Prisons authority on Tuesday had rejected the parole application filed by the AIADMK leader. Sasikala on October 1 had applied for a 15-day parole to meet her unwell husband, according to her nephew and ousted leader TTV Dhinakaran.Natarajan is currently undergoing treatment at a corporate hospital for liver problem and was awaiting for liver transplantation.Sasikala, who is serving in Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru, was convicted and sentenced to a four-year prison term in the Rs 66.6-crore disproportionate assets case. Along with Sasikala, her relatives Ilavarasi and V N Sudhakaran are also serving a four-year jail term.

Sasikala likely to get parole on October 5, prison official says her plea ‘under consideration’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The prison authorities in Karnataka are considering a plea by sidelined AIADMK leader V K Sasikala to release her on parole for 15 days to meet her ailing husband, who is awaiting a liver transplant at a Chennai hospital.”Yesterday, we received an application from Sasikala, urging us to release her on a 15-day parole. She has said that her husband is unwell and admitted in a hospital in Chennai.””Our legal cell is considering the plea,” Parappana Agrahara Prison Superintendent P S Ramesh said.Sasikala’s (60) husband M Natarajan (74) is admitted in the liver intensive care unit of a corporate hospital since last month following a kidney and liver failure.He is awaiting a deceased donor liver transplantation and a kidney transplantation, according to doctors.Sasikala is in jail here since February after the Supreme Court upheld her conviction by a special court in a disproportionate assets case.Along with Sasikala, her relatives Ilavarasi and V N Sudhakaran are also serving a four-year jail term.Sasikala’s nephew and sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran had also said in Chennai on Monday that she had applied for a 15-day parole to meet her ailing husband.

V K Sasikala applies for 15-day parole to visit her ailing husband M Natarajan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sidelined AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala, who is serving a four-year jail term in Bengaluru prison, has applied for a 15-day parole to meet her ailing husband M Natarajan.Sasikala’s nephew and deposed leader T T V Dhinakaran confirmed the news on Monday.Natarajan, undergoing treatment at a corporate hospital here for liver problem, was “stable” and was awaiting liver transplantation, Dhinakaran told reporters here.”We have applied for the parole of ‘General Secretary’ (Sasikala). She will get permission for sure. The (Karnataka) Prisons Department will decide on the number of days the parole will be given for,” he said.Asked how many days Sasikala had applied for, Dhinakaran said her “advocate has said she wanted 15 days”.Currently lodged at Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru, Sasikala was convicted and sentenced to a four-year prison term in the Rs 66.6-crore disproportionate assets case.Natarajan has been undergoing treatment at the corporate hospital for the past few days.

EC refuses to extend deadline

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Election Commission on Thursday rejected the TTV Dhinakaran faction’s request for more time to submit documents over the disputed “two-leaves” symbol and said that the final hearing will continue on October 6 as decided.The Commission had set September 29 as deadline for all factions of the party laying claim to the symbol to submit affidavits and prove their strength.In mid-September, ousted AIADMK leader Dinakaran had approached the poll watchdog and submitted a memorandum with proof to back their claim.However, it later approached the Commission again, this time seeking more time to submit the relevant documents.”For deciding the dispute, the Commission needs to look into the position as existing at the stage,” EC’s letter to Dhinakaran said.The Commission decided not to allot additional time noting the deadline set by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.

We all lied about Amma’s health, says TN Forest Min

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Forest Minister Dindigul C. Sreenivasan has apologised to people on behalf of all AIADMK leaders and ministers for lying about Jayalalithaa’s condition when she was admitted to Apollo Hospital for treatment.”I seek a huge pardon from you,” he said while addressing a public meeting in Madurai on Friday night. “Please forgive us. To make you believe that she is recovering, we had lied to you that she had idlis, chatni and people met her.The truth is that nobody saw her.”Jayalalithaa, who was admitted to the hospital on September 22 2016 in an unconscious state with respiratory distress, passed away on December 5. Ever since her death, there have been hints of foul play over her death, with former chief minister O Panneerselvam seeking a CBI probe into the circumstances leading to her death.The reasons for the lie, he said, were to keep her health condition secret.”In a family, it is very common that sisters who fight inside the house will appear to be friends outside. Like that, we all lied then so that the party’s secret does not get leaked,” he said. He said that he had been pushed to tell the truth because of the current situation.Sreenivasan said that governor, Union ministers, BJP President Amit Shah and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi were not allowed to see her. “All of them were taken to Apollo Hospital’s owner (Prathap Reddy) room and told she was improving. Only Sasikala (Jayalalithaa’s aide) and her family members met her. Nobody else met her,” he said.However, T T V Dhinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew, said that after October 1, 2016, even Sasikala was not allowed inside Jayalalithaa’s room. He said Sasikala would go inside Jayalalithaa’s room for two minutes as per the doctor’s instructions. He also said that he would hand over the CCTV footage of the treatment if a probe was conducted.Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had announced that an inquiry commission, headed by a retired judge of Madras high court, will be set up to probe into the circumstances leading up to Jayalalithaa’s death.The government is yet to appoint a retired judge, even a month after the announcement. Panneerselvam, whose rebel faction sought a CBI probe, has merged with Palanisami’s ruling faction.Last week, Sreenivasan alleged that Sasikala and her family was responsible for Jayalalithaa’s death.

Jayalalithaa’s death mystery deepens, AIADMK minister says ‘we all lied about Amma’s health’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The mystery surrounding the hospitalisation and death of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister and AIADMK ‘general secretary for life’ J Jayalalithaa has deepened with a sensational claim by party legislator Dindigul C Sreenivasan.C Sreenivasan, who is also Tamil Nadu’s Forest Minister, on Friday reportedly made statements regarding Amma’s stay at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital last year, an IANS report said.“We would have told lies that she (Jayalalithaa) had idlis and people met her. The truth is that nobody saw her,” Sreenivasan said at a meeting in Madurai on Friday.According to the minister, everyone was lying to protect ‘party’s secret’. He said he wanted to the people of Tamil Nadu to apologise him for all those lies.Last week, Sreenivasan had also said the VK Sasikala, once a closest confidant of Jayalalithaa, was responsible for Amma’s death.TTV Dhinakaran, however, defended his aunt and said nobody was allowed in Amma’s room due to fear of infection.Jayalalithaa, the matinee idol-turned-politican had a cult following and commanded loyalty and God-like devotion from her party members.Hospitalised on September 22, 2016, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu never came out of Apollo.The entire state was on edge with many rumours circulating at that time.While AIADMK maintained Amma was fine and signing documents, it was only in first week of October that the hospital administration said that AIADMK chief had erious lung infection.On December 5 at around 11:30 pm, Jayalalithaa breathed her last.

Madras HC grants pre-arrest bail to former Tamil Nadu Minister P Palaniappan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madras High Court on Tuesday granted anticipatory bail to former Tamil Nadu Minister P Palaniappan, who feared arrest in connection with the alleged suicide of a government contractor in Namakkal in May.Justice P N Prakash ordered Palaniappan, a loyalist of the sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, to appear before the CB-CID Inspector of Police in Namakkal for two weeks at 10.30 AM daily, and thereafter as and when required.Palaniappan is among the 18 MLAs disqualified by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal on Monday under the anti- defection law. They were staying at a resort in Karnataka.He moved the court seeking anticipatory bail stating that he feared the state government was putting pressure on the police to arrest him as he was not supporting it.Palaniappan submitted to the court he had been questioned by the police on July 22 and answered all the questions put to him in connection with the death of contractor K R Subramanian.The contractor allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide after his house was raided by Income Tax sleuths on April 7 as part of their investigation against state Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar.In his suicide note, Subramanian had allegedly said that Palaniappan was “instrumental” in getting government contracts to a rival contractor.Palaniappan also submitted that even the deceased’s close relatives such as his wife and son had not mentioned his name during the investigation.

Tamil Nadu: Madras HC’s Madurai bench restraints police from arresting TTV Dhinakaran

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madras High Court’s Madurai bench on Tuesday restraints Tamil Nadu police from arresting TTV Dhinakaran and actor Senthil till October 4 on AIADMK Tiruchy MP Kumar’s complaint about derogatory remarks.Kumar had lodged a complaint with Tiruchy city police alleging that Senthil made derogatory comments against him at the behest of Dinakaran at an interaction with media persons in Chennai.The police on September 1, registered a case against Dinakaran and actor Senthil.Senthil was named the main accused in the case while Dinakaran was included as accused number two.Kumar is a supporter of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami.

No one can topple govt, says Palaniswami; Dhinakaran blames Guv’s ‘delay’ for disqualification of MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday asserted that his government could not be toppled, though some forces harboured such hopes.”Some think the government can be toppled. That is never possible as workers and supporters have put in their hard work for its formation,” he said in a veiled attack on sidelined party leader T T V Dhinkaran who is seeking his ouster. Those who believe AIADMK could be broken, such a thought will remain a ‘day dream’, the chief minister said at a function in his native district here. His comments came on a day when 18 AIADMK MLAs loyal to Dhinakaran were disqualified in the midst of the escalating tussle for supremacy in the party.”Not just the government or the party but not even a single AIADMK supporter could be bought,” Palaniswami, who has been targeting the opposition DMK in recent days, asserted. Referring to the merger of the two factions led by himself and his deputy O Panneerselvam on August 21, he said “those who parted ways united,” and assured “we will rerieve the lost (Two Leaves) symbol.” The party is being steered with the blessings of AIADMK stalwarts, its founder M G Ramachandran and late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, he said.
ALSO READ Tamil Nadu: 18 AIADMK MLAs backing Dhinakaran disqualified, to move courtThe chief minister also trained his guns against AIADMK’s archrival DMK, saying the main opposition party’s attempts to capture power had been “shattered” by the AIADMK supporters. Following the earlier split in the party, DMK had ambitions of capturing power, but that could not happen as supporter of “Amma” (late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa) had “shattered” them, he said. “Today many think this (AIADMK) party can be broken, that it can be finished. But that will never happen. As long as people’s support is there, this party cannot be shaken or even touched by anybody,” he said. Dhinkaran unhappy with GovernorSidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran today claimed that legislators supporting him would not have been disqualified had Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao acted on time on their plea against Chief Minister K Palaniswami. “Because the Governor made unnecessary delay despite knowing that Palaniswami did not have the 117 magic number, such a murder of democracy has happened,” he alleged.Since August 22, when 19 of the MLAs revolted against Palaniswami and sought his removal with Rao, the governor was aware that the chief minister lacked the “magic number of 117”, the simple majority in the 234-member House, he claimed.One MLA later switched over to the Palaniswami camp. The combative Dhinakaran, engaged in a tussle for power with Palaniswami, claimed initially MLAs of his camp had met the governor at his insistence and that later he himself had knocked on the doors of Rao. “Such mishaps (today’s disqualification of 18 MLAs) are happening due to the governor failing to maintain the dignity of his position,” he told reporters here.Dhinakaran described as “murder of democracy” Speaker P Dhanapal disqualifying the 18 legislators owing allegiance to him and said he did not expect such an action from the former. The Dhinakaran faction, besides Opposition including DMK, have been since urging Rao to direct a floor test of the Palaniswami government. People of all walks of life were opposing the disqualification of 18 MLAs, which amounted to “stifling democracy”, he said. He also said the BJP-led central government “should not close its eyes to this murder”.He claimed that some other AIADMK MLAs would also vote against the government during a possible floor test as they were against “betrayal”. “It is certain that Palaniswami is going home. It will be known soon when it will happen,” Dhinakaran added. He said Palaniswami had betrayed ‘removed’ party chief VK Sasikala, as it was she who had identified him as O Panneerselvam’s successor, following the now deputy chief minister’s rebellion in February.He said Sasikala accepted the post of party general secretary only after “much pleading” by AIADMK leaders who conveyed to her the decision taken at its General Council last December following the death of her predecessor and then chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Dhinakaran said a situation to that of 1987 had come up, referring to the rebellion in the AIADMK following the death of party founder MG Ramachandran. The party had split into two factions, each headed by Jayalalithaa and Ramachandran’s widow Janaki.Jayalalithaa, however, later managed to unify the different factions. Dhinakaran also exuded confidence of “attaining success” in “sending Palaniswami home”.Opposition says ‘murder of democracy’:Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu today slammed the disqualification of 18 MLAs belonging to sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran’s camp by Speaker P Dhanapal, calling it “a murder of democracy.” DMK working president M K Stalin demanded resignation of Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Speaker Dhanapal.Stalin, who is Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, described the disqualification as “a brutal murder of democracy.” He said “Speaker P Dhanapal has lost the moral right to continue in his office,” and demanded his “immediate resignation.” Also, he wanted Palaniswami to voluntarily quit office for allegedly trying to hold a floor test through “horse-trading,” and “illegal disqualification.” In a statement, the DMK leader said the disqualification showed the “cowardice,” of the Palaniswami regime in facing the House and winning (floor test) and said the government will be defeated in the people’s court.He said the government is in a situation to prove its majority and the present action was a “short-cut” towards achieving it. According to the Constitution, Stalin said, only if an MLA leaves the party or if he voted in House violating the party whip, could a member be disqualified. Disqualifying the 18 MLAs for petitioning Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao showed the “unabashed enactment of the murder of Parliamentary democracy,” he said.The action against the 18 MLAs, who had revolted against Palaniswami last month, was taken under anti-defection and disqualification rules of 1986, said a statement from Assembly Secretary K Bhoopathy. Stalin claimed that the disqualification went against the anti-defection law and a verdict of the Supreme Court. He said the apex court had held in a case involving former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa that (MLAs) telling the governor that they do not have faith in chief minister does not become “defection.”He said “the Speaker was not worried,” about a petition given by ruling party (Dhinakaran loyalists) MLAs seeking disqualification of O Panneerselvam and his supporters who had voted against the Palaniswami regime in March. Tracing the month-long political turbulence in Tamil Nadu which began with 19 ruling party MLAs submitting a plea to the governor seeking the ouster of Palaniswami, he said the Centre and Rao should own “full responsibility” for the “extraordinary political situation,” in Tamil Nadu.Later, speaking to reporters, he said a meeting of DMK legislators will be held tomorrow to discuss the development. To a question on convening an all party meeting and going to the people’s court on the issue, he said “expect it…we will invite you.” Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President Su Thirunavukkarasar said the government cannot continue without proving majority. Stating that the disqualification may not stand legal scrutiny, he said his party will deliberate with allies including DMK on the matter.PMK chief S Ramadoss described the disqualification as “murder of democracy”. The action against the 18 MLAs will not “match” with any provisions of the anti-defection law, he said. The action taken by the speaker on a plea of government chief whip S Rajendran was “flawed,” he said adding MLAs can be disqualfied only if they act against the whip in the House. He said the “people desired” that the government should immediately quit. “This is not shocking. This is being done to retain power,” said VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan.CPI (M) State Secretary G Ramakrishnan said the disqualification has “ulterior political motives and against democracy.” MLA and ally of AIADMK and M Thamimun Ansari (Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi) said “the 18 MLAs did not join any other political party.”

Tamil Nadu: 18 AIADMK MLAs backing Dhinakaran disqualified, had demanded CM Palaniswami’s removal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal on Monday disqualified 18 MLAs backing sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran.The MLAs have been disqualified with effect from Monday, under 1986 Tamil Nadu Assembly Members party defection law.The MLAs who have been disqualified are Thangatamilselvan, R Murugan, Mariappan Kennedy, K Kathirkamu, C Jayanthi Padmanabhan, P Palaniappan, V Senthil Balaji, S Muthiah, P Vetrivel, NG Parthiban, M Kothandapani, TA Elumalai, M Rengasamy, R Thangadurai, R Balasubramani, SG Subramanian, R Sundarraj and K Uma Maheswari.MLAs owing allegiance to Dhinakaran had met Governor and submitted a letter saying that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) has lost their confidence by inducting OPS as deputy CM without consulting them.Dhinakaran had escalated his attack against Chief Minister K Palaniswami since the August 21 merger of the OPS and EPS camps. “If the Chief Minister is not changed, we are prepared to bring this government down,” Dhinakaran had said.He had also vowed to ‘end this rule of betrayal’ within a week.In the 234-member state Assembly, AIADMK has 134 MLAs including the Speaker. The RK Nagar seat is vacant following the death of the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last year.The merger of AIADMK factions facilitated the return of Panneerselvam to the government as Finance minister, isolating Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran, Sasikala’s nephew, and his camp.Following the revolt of Dhinakaran camp MLAs against Palaniswami, they were all initially put up at a resort in Puducherry.They later shifted to a resort in Coorg in Karnataka and are since staying there.Last week, the party’s merged factions under Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam on Tuesday declared late chief minister J Jayalalithaa as AIADMK’s “permanent” general secretary and annulled the appointment of V K Sasikala as interim general secretary.Meanwhile, the Madras High Court had directed that no floor test be held in the state Assembly till September 20.

Dhinkaran colluding with DMK to topple state government: Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami accused AIADMK deputy general secretary and his rival in the party T T V Dhinakaran of “colluding with the opposition DMK” to topple his government.Without naming Dhinakaran, who has been demanding his ouster as chief minister, Palaniswami said, “Some are believing the DMK and making a miscalculation that they can bring down this regime and break the party (AIADMK).”The chief minister was addressing the gathering at the centenary celebrations of late chief minister and AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR, here in western Tamil Nadu.Palaniswami hit out at Dhinakaran, who claims the support of 21 of the 134 MLAs of the ruling AIADMK, alleging that he had “joined hands with a party that was considered as an evil force” by MGR.”They (the Dhinakaran camp) are not bothered about this party (AIADMK) and the government,” he said and added that it was not even appropriate to expect that from the rival faction as Dhinakaran was expelled from the AIADMK by “Amma” (late chief minister J Jayalalithaa).”The almighty, which is Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, will punish them,” he said.Stating that “doubts” about his government’s stability were raised from “day one” by political rivals, Palaniswami said they “confused” the people by raking up such suspicions.On the contrary, the government was going ahead smoothly and all the schemes for the people were being implemented, he added.”What are the deficiencies that you have found in this government?” Palaniswami asked the gathering and listed out the welfare measures initiated by his regime, including the Kudimaramathu initiative (an ancient practice of desilting waterbodies with participation from the common people and farmers) and distribution of laptops among students for free.Attacking the DMK, without naming it, for its refrain that his regime had become a “slave” of the BJP-led central government, he said his government enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Centre as only then the state could get the much-needed development schemes, new plans and fundings for the same.The chief minister referred to the Japanese industrial township in the state, announced two days ago by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to drive home his point.In a series of questions pointed at the DMK, he wanted to know what did it achieve on the “lifeline issues” of Tamil Nadu such as the Cauvery and Mullaperiyar during its over-a- decade-long stint at the Centre as part of various regimes.He accused the main opposition party in the state of “only taking care of its family interests”.Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, in his address, likened the AIADMK faction, led by Palaniswami and him, to a “mountain”.”The AIADMK is a mountain. If anyone bangs against it, his head will be shattered to pieces…this is a warning to the conspirators who are trying to topple this government,” the former chief minister said.Earlier in the day, Palaniswami flagged off vehicles, marking the launch of “Swachhta hi Sewa” (Thooimaye Sevai Iyakkam), a cleanliness drive of the Centre, in seven districts of the state at a function in Salem, his native district.He also inaugurated a Rotavirus vaccination scheme for infants.Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, speaking at the centenary fete, said the “Navodaya” schools were about the “three-language formula”, and asserted that the AIADMK would not waver from the two-language formula.These comments of his came against the backdrop of opposition from various political parties to the opening of Navodaya schools in the state.The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had recently directed the Tamil Nadu government to take a decision on issuing a no-objection certificate for opening the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas in the state within eight weeks.Following this, there was opposition to it from various political parties in the state, including the DMK, which claimed that it would lead to an “imposition” of the Hindi language.

AIADMK symbol row: Madras HC directs EC to make a final decision before October 31

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Election Commission to decide before October 31 the matter related to the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol, frozen by the poll body in March after two factions of the party staked claim to it.A bench comprising justices K K Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan directed the EC to decide which faction enjoyed majority in the ruling party in Tamil Nadu and allot the ‘two leaves’ symbol to it before October 31.It said there was an urgency to decide the matter in view of local body elections in the state to be completed before November 17, as directed by a court.The court was passing orders on a petition by B Ramkumar Adityan, an AIADMK member and advocate, who had sought a direction to conduct an election among the party’s General Council and Executive Committee and MLAs and MPs, totalling 3,100 to decide who enjoyed majority.The petition was filed on August 22, a day after the two factions led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his predecessor O Panneerselvam merged, sidelining jailed party chief V K Sasikala and her deputy T T V Dhinakaran.The EC had on March 22 issued an interim order freezing the ‘two leaves’ election symbol of AIADMK, saying both the factions (then headed by V K Sasikala and Panneerselvam) cannot use the party symbol as well as its name for the April 12 RK Nagar Assembly bypoll, which was later rescinded over alleged use of money power to lure voters.The judges directed the EC to fix a deadline and direct the rival factions to submit their documents and affidavits within the period so that the issue could be decided before October 31.”Before the local bodies elections are held, the issue should be decided by the EC,” they said in their order.They also observed that the EC could not indefinitely postpone the issue as it would affect the political parties and their activities.They noted that the proceedings had commenced on March 16 last and it was true that the rival groups were responsible for the delay in submitting documents in support of their claims.The judges also directed the rival factions to extend their cooperation to the EC.The commission had passed the interim order freezing the symbol saying there was little time available with it to issue a final order before the last date for filing of nominations for the bypoll (which was March 23).

AIADMK power struggle: Dhinakaran faction moves Madras HC seeking floor test

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The cracks in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) seem to be ever-widening as now the T.T.V. Dhinakaran faction has met the officials from the Elections Commission and has requested them to declare the recently-conducted general council meeting of the party null and void. Vijila Sathyananth, of the Dhinakaran faction, told the media here that the faction would soon hold a general council meet of the party after the consent of their general secretary – V.K. Sasikala.The TTV Dhinakaran faction of the party on Thursday moved a plea in the Madras High Court seeking a floor test in the state assembly. They have urged the court to give directions to Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) to prove majority in the Assembly. The High Court has directed Advocate General to clarify by today whether the action will be taken against MLAs backing TTV Dhinakaran. Today is the last day for the 19 dissidents MLAs to appear in person before Speaker P Dhanapal to give an explanation for the notice asking why they should not be disqualified for giving letters to Governor withdrawing support to CM Edappadi K Palanisami. Meanwhile, Thanga Thamizhselvan MLA in Karnataka resort says they have sought 5 days time to appear before Speaker.Yesterday, Dhinakaran said that he would never go with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), amid speculations that his faction would part ways from the merged factions of chief minister E. Palanisamy and his predecessor O. Panneerselvam. “I have told the governor to ask Palanisamy to prove their majority. To protect our party, I will go to any extent,” he said, adding that his faction has 21 MLAs on its side.Earlier on Tuesday, Dhinakaran invited the EPS-OPS faction of the AIADMK for a face fresh election, if they believe they have the majority in support.Dhinakaran even swore to throw the ruling Tamil Nadu Government out of power. The AIADMK, in its general council meeting, passed a resolution, according to which jailed party general secretary V.K. Sasikala stands expelled from the party and the post of the temporary general secretary forfeited.The resolution further said that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, E. Palanisamy and his deputy, O. Panneerselvam, shall retrieve the party and its symbol.Other terms of the resolution state that all announcements by T.T.V. Dhinakaran stand cancelled.Tamil Nadu’s leader of opposition M.K. Stalin also said that he had moved the Madras High Court because Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao did not take due cognizance of his request of conducting a floor test in the state assembly. Stalin said he had asserted earlier that he will approach the court if Rao fails to address his concerns. The DMK leader demanded an immediate floor test from the Governor. (With ANI inputs)

Amma lives on: Jayalalithaa made AIADMK ‘eternal general secretary’; Sasikala sacked

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu today sacked jailed V K Sasikala as interim chief and made its late supremo Jayalalithaa the party’s “eternal general secretary”, sparking fresh confrontation with rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran who vowed to bring down the government.The decision to annul the appointment of Sasikala, who was a close aide of Jayalalithaa, was taken by the unified AIADMK’s General Council, the party’s top policy making body, in a unanimous resolution adopted at its meeting.The Council also asserted the supremacy of Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam. Panneerselvam and Palaniswami, who are Co-ordinator and Joint Coordinator respectively of AIADMK, were vested with full executive powers.Showing the door to Sasikala, the meeting unanimously declared that all appointments made by her, including that of naming her nephew Dhinakaran as Deputy General Secretary, was invalid.”Following an atmosphere of shock after Amma’s (Jayalalithaa) untimely death… V K Sasikala was appointed as interim general secretary to attend to routine party work,” a resolution said.”It is unanimously resolved to cancel her appointment made on December 29,2016…. And all appointments and removals made by her between December 30, 2016 and February 15, 2017 are not valid,” the resolution added.Sasikala, among others, named Dhinakaran as deputy general secretary and reinstated S Venkatesh, another relative in the party, before surrendering in a Bengaluru court on February 15 following her conviction in a graft case.In its first meet after the Palaniswami and Panneerselvam factions merged last month, AIADMK (formally AIADMK, Amma-Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) resolved to venerate the late Jayalalithaa as the “eternal party general secretary.”It said “hereafter, no one will be elected general secretary or appointed to that post.”Accordingly, bylaw no.43 is being amended. The General Council unanimously approves this,” another resolution said.A combative Dhinakaran sought to play down the decision to annul the appointment of his aunt, indicating that the court could have a final say on the matter.Dhinakaran also dubbed the general council meeting, where the decision was taken, as a ‘public meeting’ and said he had undertaken efforts to “send home this regime” (led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami). The Dhinakaran camp claims a support of 19 MLAs.The AIADMK has 134 MLAs in the 233-member House?a seat is lying vacant after the death of Jayalalithaa. The majority mark is 117.Dhinakaran told reporters in Madurai that Sasikala alone had the right to convene the general council meeting and dared the camp led by Palaniswami to dissolve the assembly and face elections if the party was with them as they claim.Referring to the Madras High Court’s order that decisions taken at today’s General Council will be subject to the final outcome of an appeal on the matter, he said only then will it be known if the ouster of Sasikala was ‘valid.’The much awaited meet of the AIADMK General Council saw amendments to party bylaws to ratify the party posts of ‘Coordinator’ (Panneerselvam) and ‘Joint Coordinator’ (Palaniswami) announced on August 21, the day the factions merged last month.As per the new amendments, the coordinator and joint coordinator will be the top two power poles with full powers and jointly administer all party executive functions.They alone have powers to appoint members to the party’s Parliamentary Board, announce rules for party polls and sign ‘Authorisation Form’ of candidates to poll authorities.The coordinator and joint coordinator will hold office for five years and will be elected by the general council members. Palaniswami and Panneerselvam will hold their positions till elections are held.The party said the decisions have the full backing of all (about 2,300) the general council members.In effect, the posts of coordinator and joint coordinator replaces the hitherto numero uno position of general secretary held by Jayalalithaa, which was abolished.The meet gave its approval to functionaries appointed by Jayalalithaa and who were elected in party polls and passed a separate resolution nullifying the recent spate of appointments by Dhinakaran.It formally put its seal of approval on the merger of the factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam and resolved to retrieve the two-leaves symbol of the party, which was frozen by the Election Commission.The top party meet comes after the green signal by the Madras High Court, which yesterday declined a plea to stay the event.

Madras HC upholds order dismissing plea against AIADMK meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madras High Court tonight upheld an order of a single judge dismissing a plea to stay tomorrow’s AIADMK general council and executive committee meeting convened by Chief Minister K Palaniswami-led faction.A Division Bench comprising Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Abdul Quddhose in its order said, “We agree with the conclusion reached by the learned single judge.” Justice C V Karthikeyan in his order earlier in the day had dismissed a plea by P Vetrivel, MLA, a loyalist of sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran, seeking a stay on the meeting, and imposed a cost of Rs one lakh on him for “wasting” the time of the court.The Bench said the meeting can “go on” and there is “no stay” while upholding the single judge’s order.The court made it clear that any decision taken at the impugned meeting will be subject to the final outcome in the appeal and posted the matter to October 23.Also, the bench said the observations made by it would in no manner impact the decision that the Election Commission of India will take in the dispute pending before it.”Consequently, the prayer made to injuct the impugned meet or to stay the order of the single judge is rejected,” the bench ruled.In his suit, the MLA had sought a permanent injunction restraining Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam from in any manner using the name AIADMK (Amma) and AIADMK (Puratchi Talaivi Amma), and calling the general council meeting.He also filed an application seeking an interim order staying the meeting.The judge said that being an MLA, the applicant should have taken note of a circular issued by the High Court earlier, which stated that MPs and MLAs should first get the nod of the Chief Justice for filing petitions.Without getting the nod, Vetrivel has filed the suit, the judge said.Referring to the contention of his counsel that the suit has been filed in Vetrivel’s individual capacity and also that the defendants had been sued in their individual names, Justice Karthikeyan said it had only helped the applicant to circumvent the court’s circular.Coming down heavily on the applicant, the judge in his order said he did not have any cause of action.He then said Vetrivel had three options — attend tomorrow’s meeting either in his individual capacity or as an MLA or choose to remain at his house with his family and friends and enjoy lunch and afternoon siesta or resign his post as a legislator and be rid of the irritants which upset his balance and peace of mind.Referring to the suit naming Dhinakaran as the fourth defendant, he said this was actually a very “condemnable” practice.Such practices were being sometimes followed in several litigations, “wherein a ‘should be plaintiff’ is shown as the defendant so that at an opportune time, he could effectively stab the contesting defendants in the back.”Probably it is in this background that the applicant impleaded Dhinakaran as fourth defendant. This in simple terms is collusion. Then the entire character of the suit becomes vexatious,” the judge added.When Vetrivel’s counsel made a request to grant liberty to the petitioner to approach the Election Commission against the general council meet, the judge observed that no one could prevent any person from approaching an appropriate forum to vent grievances.Later, senior counsel T V Ramanujam appeared before the first bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar and made a special mention stating that they would file an appeal against the single judge’s order.He sought an urgent hearing of the appeal since the meeting was to be held tomorrow.The chief justice told the counsel to file the appeal and approach the appropriate bench for taking up the issue.

Stalin meets TN Governor, demands EPS take floor test

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) working president MK Stalin met Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao on Sunday to stress the need for a strong front in the Assembly.Congress MLAs were also part of the delegation of opposition parties that met Rao in Chennai. The DMK leader demanded an immediate floor test from the Governor. He demanded an order for Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, seeking a vote of confidence and resolves the political crisis in the state. He apprised the Governor of the current tally of MLAs by his side. According to him, 119 MLAs are with him, as against the 114 with the Chief Minister, which is more than the majority which the assembly demands.He added that they have met the Governor a number of times and if he does not respond to the request within a week then he will ‘have to take legal resort and mobilise people’s mandate’. He also said that he will approach the people’s court as well.Earlier, Stalin warned of a “people’s struggle” to unseat the AIADMK government, if no action was taken. “This is not for grabbing power, but to safeguard the self-respect of the people of Tamil Nadu,” he said. The opposition leader’s comments have come at a time when Chief Minister Palaniswami is locked in a tussle for power with sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran, who is seeking his ouster.In the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, which has one seat vacant (R K Nagar, represented by late J Jayalalithaa), the AIADMK has 134 MLAs, excluding the speaker. The opposition DMK has 89 legislators, its allies Congress eight and IUML one. The Dhinakaran camp has been pressing for the ouster of Palaniswami as chief minister since the factions, led by the latter and his predecessor O Panneerselvam respectively, merged on August 21. A group of 19 MLAs, loyal to Dhinakaran, had met the governor on August 22 and expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister, prompting the opposition parties to demand a floor test in the Assembly.Stalin also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that despite claiming to be from the backward class, he was doing “injustice” to the BC community in the country. The DMK leader said several problems, including farmer suicides and fishermen’s issues, had remained unsolved under the Modi regime, adding that the National Eligibility-cum- Entrance Test (NEET) was the latest in the list.

Tamil Nadu: Dhinakaran meets Governor, seeks removal of CM Palaniswami, deputy OPS

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sidelined AIADMK (Amma) deputy chief TTV Dhinakaran on Thursday said he has sought the removal of Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam during his meeting with Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao even as he asserted that he didn’t want the state government to fall.At his first meeting with the governor after 19 MLAs loyal to him expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister last month, he accused the government of exerting pressure on his camp to woo the MLAs back to their fold.”It is evident he (Palaniswami) has no majority. Therefore, he should be asked (by the governor) to prove majority,” Dhinakaran told reporters outside his residence after the meeting at the Raj Bhavan.He said he had sought “action” on the August 22 demand of his camp MLAs, who had earlier told the governor that they had lost confidence in the chief minister and that he should be removed.”Our intention is to change the chief minister and (Deputy CM) O Panneerselvam,” he said.The governor told the delegation that “he is watching everything. He said he will soon take a good decision and do his duty”, Dhinakaran said.Asked about MLA SDK Jakkaiyan reportedly switching over to the Palaniswami camp, Dhinakaran merely said he had spoken to him this morning and that it was natural for people to get jittery when pressurised.On August 22, 19 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs had met Rao and told him they had lost confidence in Palaniswami and wanted him to be removed as chief minister.The number of dissident MLAs has since grown to 21.The Dhinakaran camp MLAs had met Rao a day after the formal merger of the two factions of ruling AIADMK led by Palaniswami and then rebel leader and present Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on August 21.The revolt in the ruling party had sparked demands for the governor to order the government to face a floor test in the assembly.The DMK, Congress and Left parties had even knocked the doors of President Ram Nath Kovind in this regard.The governor had earlier told a delegation of Left and VCK leaders that the issue was the AIADMK’s internal matter and that he cannot intervene.Earlier, during the hearing of a PIL seeking a floor test in the Madras High Court, the state Advocate General had also contended that the revolt by 19 MLAs was the AIADMK’s internal affair and that the Governor cannot interfere in it.Palaniswami and Dhinakaran have been at loggerheads ever since the merger, with the unified AIADMK declaring that the latter had been removed from the deputy general secretary post on August 10 itself and questioning his authority to make changes in the party set up.In the 234-member house, the AIADMK has a strength of 135, including the Speaker.The opposition has a total strength of 98, including 89 of the DMK, eight of the Congress and an IUML member.

NEET suicide: Tamil Nadu goes on state-wide protest demanding justice for girl

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demanding “justice” for the 17-year-old Dalit medical aspirant, political parties, students’ bodies and pro-Tamil outfits today hit the streets with many heavyweights like T T V Dhinakaran making a beeline for the girl’s native village to pay their tributes.Anitha, daughter of a daily wage earner, allegedly hanged herself at her house in Ariyalur district of the state yesterday. She was reportedly upset after it became known that Tamil Nadu will not be exempted from the ambit of National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET).She had moved the Supreme Court against NEET-based medical examinations in the southern state.Road and rail blockades and attempts to picket government offices were organised by protesters, even as the BJP and the ruling AIADMK came under severe criticism.Some students tried to stage a protest on Greenways Road near Chief Minister K Palaniswami’s house here but were detained by police.Some activists also raised slogans against lawyer Nalini, wife of senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, who had represented pro-NEET students in the court.The CPI(M) and its student and youth affiliates, SFI and DYFI, staged a road blockade here over the suicide of the girl. The party’s state unit secretary G Ramakrishnan and many others were detained, police said.Similarly, VCK party workers were held when they staged a road blockade at Kilpauk here.A students’ outfit tried to picket state-run Multi-Super Speciality Hospital at Omanthurar Estate on the main road and its members were detained. They raised slogans against the central and state governments on the issue of NEET.At Palayamkottai in Tirunelveli district, a “wailing protest” was held by women members of pro-Tamil ‘Naam Tamizhar Katchi’.Hundreds of students and workers of various political parties and organisations were arrested at Coimbatore when they attempted to stage agitation on the issue.A few students asked the Tamil Nadu government to take moral responsibility and step down from office and sought a judicial inquiry into the incident, police said.A group of workers belonging to Viduthalai Chiruthigal Katchi (VCK) assembled near Gandhipuram bus stand, blocked the road and raised slogans against the government and sought exemption for Tamil Nadu from NEET.Some workers also attempted to burn an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Coimbatore, but the police prevented them. Police arrested 11 persons in this connection.Protests were also held in Salem, Madurai and Rameswaram by students’ and youth outfits who demanded justice for the girl and sought immediate withdrawal of NEET.Meanwhile, Anitha’s mortal remains were kept at her native village in Ariyalur for public to pay tributes. Among others, Dhinakaran, VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan, DK leader K Veeramani and a host of social activists, cinema personalities and others paid tributes.Some locals also raised slogans against Dhinakaran when he arrived at the girl’s native village. Some of them claimed they opposed his visit as “he is part of the (ruling) AIADMK.” Dhinakaran later said that despite scoring “high marks” of 1176 out of 1200, Anitha could not get a medical seat.”In the interest of the people of Tamil Nadu, Central government should cancel NEET,” he said.Traders had also shut down shops in Ariyalur.At the receiving end for the teen’s suicide, the BJP said NEET was a “pan-India issue” and that its admissions were based on the merit lits following a Supreme Court verdict.NEET is being held in Tamil Nadu following the apex court order, BJP state President Tamilisai Sounderrajan said even as she regretted the death of Anitha.She claimed rural students have benefited more from NEET and that they have been highlighting the three attempts in the exam.”Let this not be highlighted as brutal politics. State BJP wants no more Anithas,” she said.Union Minister of State, Pon Radhkarishnan said Anitha’s death has caused “unbearable pain.”Condoling her death, he also expressed sympathies with her family.He further exhorted children to face their future with mental grit and urged politicians, activists and others to make encouraging remarks for children.Senior AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai said his party was not in favour of NEET and expressed regret over Anitha committing suicide.”She could have avoided taking the step,” he said.The apex court had last month asked the state government to start counselling for admissions to MBBS and BDS seats in the state based on NEET merit list.It had given the directive after Centre told the court that it was not in favour of a recent ordinance passed by the state to exempt it from NEET this year.Political leaders including DMK working president M K Stalin and Thol Thirumavalavan and actors Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, among others, had condoled Anitha’s death.Political parties and other outfits in Tamil Nadu are opposed to NEET, saying it will affect rural students.Early this year, the state assembly had unanimously adopted two resolutions to ensure for the continuation of medical admissions in the state based on Class XII marks and not through an entrance exam, as envisaged by NEET.

Tamil Nadu: Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan grieve NEET crusader Anitha’s suicide

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Friday announced a compensation of Rs 7 lakh to the family of Anitha, who committed suicide by hanging herself at her house after failing to get admission in medical college due to National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) based on NEET marks.Meanwhile, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader TTV Dhinakaran condoled the death of Anitha. He took to Twitter saying that, “I was distressed and shocked to hear that the beloved daughter who struggled against NEET test committed suicide.” Later in the day, two Tamil actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan reacted to Anitha’s suicide.
ALSO READ Dalit fighter against NEET ends lifeRajinikanth posted on Facebook saying, “What has happened to Anitha is extremely unfortunate. My heart goes out to all the pain and agony she would have undergone before taking this drastic step. My condolences to her family.”While, Kamal Haasan said that he considers Anitha as his own daughter and will raise voice for her. He also blamed the State and Central Governments for Anitha’s suicide.A Dalit State Board student who moved the Supreme Court against the NEET for medical admission, Anitha committed suicide on Friday.
ALSO READ Girl who moved SC against NEET commits suicide, Tamil Nadu CM announces ex-gratia of Rs 7 lakhAnitha, hanged herself to death at her residence in Ariyalur’s Kuzhumur village.Anitha was depressed over not being able get admission in a medical college and ended her life when her family members were away.Anitha had scored 1,176 marks out of 1,200 in the plus two exams under the Tamil Nadu state board. However, she got only 86 marks in the NEET examination for medicine.On August 22, the Apex Court ruled that medical college admissions in Tamil Nadu will be based on the NEET merit list by September 4.Anitha’s family, relatives and villagers staged a road roko holding the State and centre responsible for her death.

After Palaniswami, AIADMK leader Dhinakaran removes another minister from party post

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In less than a week after removing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami from party post, sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran on Monday removed Electricity Minister P Thangamani from Namakkal District Secretary post.He replaced him with S Anbazhagan.The post of district secretary is an important one in the Dravidian parties’ hierarchy.Dhinakaran, engaged in a bitter tussle for power with Chief Minister K Palaniswami, on Sunday removed the latter from a party post.The combative Dhinakaran has already removed a number of ministers and other functionaries from various positions in the AIADMK and gave them to his supporters.He has effected a number of changes in the party structure since the merger of the factions led by Palaniswami and former chief minister O Panneerselvam on August 21.After the merger, it was announced that steps would be taken to expel jailed AIADMK general secretary and Dhinakaran’s aunt V K Sasikala from the party.Dhinakaran had on Saturday removed Government Chief Whip S Rajendran from the post of the party’s Ariyalur district secretary days after he wrote to Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal seeking action against 19 MLAs loyal to him.The MLAs had last week met Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and expressed their lack of confidence in Palaniswami, triggering demands by opposition parties, including the DMK, for a direction to the Chief Minister to prove his majority in the assembly.

AIADMK rebels join BJP, crisis deepens for Chief Minister Palaniswami ahead of trust vote

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu government’s fragile stability is on a shaky grounds again.In what could be termed as a setback for the Chief Minister E Palaniswami, the rebel faction loyal to Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran joined the BJP in presence of party chief Amit Shah in Delhi on Saturday.The latest development means that the Chief Minister now more to worry about the impending floor test.The reason of Chief Minister EPS’ worry is simple arithmetic of Tamil Nadu Assembly. The Palaniswami government would need 117 votes to win the trust vote. If the these 19 lawmakers were disqualified under the anti-defection law, that would have meant some respite for EPS.However, with the rebel faction joining the BJP, equations may change during the trust vote.The 19 leaders who have joined the BJP include former Industries Minister Nainar Nagendran, former MLA of Arcot and AIADMK cadre Srinivasan and ex-Vellore Mayor P Karthiyayini.The rebels had withdrawn their support from the EPS government after the warring factions of AIADMK announced the merger.

MLAs extending support to Dhinakaran increase to 21, DMK demands Palaniswami take floor test

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AIADMK MLA from Vriddhachalam, V T Kalaiselvan on Friday met the party’s Amma faction deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran and extended his support to the sidelined leader. The number of party MLAs backing Dhinakaran has now reached 21.Aranthangi MLA E Rathinasabapathy had also reportedly expressed his support for Dhinakaran. Earlier 19 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs had revolted against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and petitioned Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to remove him. Speaking to reporters after meeting Dhinakaran at his Adyar residence here, Kalaiselvan questioned Palaniswami’s decision to merge the Amma faction led by the latter with that of O Panneerslevam’s Puratchi Thalaivi Amma.The AIADMK MLA asked why Panneerselvam, who had earlier been critical of the government, was given the deputy chief minister’s post after the merger. The Panneerselvam faction had voted against the Palaniswami government in the February 18 trust vote, he said. Asked if Dhinakaran would attract more support, Kalaiselvan responded in the affirmative. “Some may not have a conscience but many others do as they remember the efforts taken by Chinnamma (jailed AIADMK chief V K Sasikala),” he said, apparently referring to Sasikala’s efforts to ensure continuance of the government following Panneerselvam’s revolt in February against her.Panneerselvam had then alleged he was forced to make way for Sasikala to become chief minister. Kalaiselvan said the approach of Palaniswami and some ministers was not “proper” vis-a-vis party affairs, adding AIADMK workers were not happy with it.Earlier, the DMK urged Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao to immediately direct Chief Minister K Palaniswami to prove his majority in the Assembly in the wake of revolt by 19 AIADMK MLAs, saying any delay could lead to “horse trading”. DMK working president and leader of the opposition in assembly M K Stalin, who had earlier this week written to the Governor seeking a floor test, dubbed the Palaniswami regime as a “minority government”.In a statement released here, he also questioned assembly Speaker P Dhanapal’s action in issuing notices to the 19 MLAs yesterday on a memorandum by the Government Chief Whip seeking their disqualification for alleged anti-party activities. Stalin said had earlier written to the Governor urging him to immediately ask Palaniswami to prove majority in the assembly. Rao should have immediately convened the assembly to ascertain the government’s present strength after the MLAs loyal to sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran met him and sought Palaniswami’s removal on Tuesday, he said.Stalin said the Governor should ensure that Palaniswami does not continue in power by “creating a constitutional crisis and misusing anti-defection law”. Referring to the Speaker’s action, Stalin said the notices had been issued in connection with an episode that did not happen in the assembly.

TN Speaker issues notices to 19 pro-Dinakaran MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Tamil Nadu Speaker P. Dhanapal on Thursday issued notices to 19 All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) MLAs supporting sidelined deputy chief T. T. V. Dhinakaran, seeking a clarification on a plea for their disqualification. The 19 MLAs, who are currently lodged at a resort at Puducherry, are part of the faction led by the now jailed AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala and her nephew Dhinakaran. The chief whip of the ruling AIADMK urged Speaker Dhanapal to disqualify the 19 MLAs, who have rebelled against Chief Minister K. Palaniswami. The 19 MLAs had submitted a memorandum to state Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao for withdrawing their support to the Chief Minister, as they were upset over the coming together of the two major factions of the AIADMK. Speaking to ANI, AIADMK leader, E Rathinasabapathy said, ?Dinakaran remains our leader, Sasikala is our general secretary. Soon all will be united.” Earlier in the day, Chief Whip S. Rajendran said that by withdrawing support to the Chief Minister, the dissenting MLAs had attracted the provision of the anti-defection law. The move comes as the opposition parties have been demanding the Chief Minister to prove his majority in the assembly.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Disproportionate assets case: Supreme Court dismisses Sasikala’s plea to review conviction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the plea filed by ousted AIADMK leader VK Sasikala, who sought the court to review of her conviction in the disproportionate assets case.The Supreme Court on February 14 had convicted Sasikala in the case and sentenced her to four years imprisonment. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was also an accused, but she died in November 2016.After SC’s verdict, Sasikala will be unable to stand for elections for six years and hold public office.The verdict comes in the backdrop of the ongoing power struggle within the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu between Sasikala and caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam.Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her relatives VN Sudhakaran and Elavarasi were accused of amassing disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs. 66.65 crore during the late chief minister’s first term from 1991 to 1996.They were also held guilty by the trial court and sentenced to four years with a fine of Rs. 10 crore each.
ALSO READ AIADMK merger: 19 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs withdraw support to Palaniswamy; DMK demands trust voteThe Karnataka High Court had on May 11, 2015, ruled that the AIADMK supremo’s conviction by a special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing decks for her return as chief minister.The Karnataka government, in its plea against the May 11 order, claimed that the HC had erred in computing the disproportionate assets of the AIADMK leader. The Karnataka government also asked whether the high court had “erred in law” by according benefit of doubt to Jayalalithaa in pursuance of a Supreme Court judgement holding that accused can be acquitted if his or her disproportionate assets were to the extent of 10%.A special court had in 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.

AIADMK merger: 19 pro-Dhinakaran MLAs withdraw support to Palaniswamy; DMK demands trust vote

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Unhappy over the merger with O Panneerselvam faction, MLAs loyal to sidelined AIADMK leaders Saikala and TTV Dhinakaran today told the Governor that they no longer had confidence in Chief Minister K Palaniswamy, prompting the opposition DMK to demand a trust vote.”We are going to initiate efforts to bring in a new CM with the help of our supporting MLAs,” Dhinakaran supporter and Andipatti MLA Thanga Tamil Selvan told reporters following a meeting with Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao a day after the patch-up between the camps led by Palaniswamy and rebel leader Panneerselvam.The Dhinakaran camp had yesterday claimed the support of 25 AIADMK MLAs. Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that the meeting took place this morning, but did not divulge details, including the number of members in the delegation and the nature of their interaction with Rao.”We have informed the Governor that we don’t have confidence in the Chief Minister,” Selvan said after the MLAs owing allegiance to Dhinakaran, nephew of jailed AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, met Rao.Of the 234-member Assembly, the AIADMK has 134 MLAs excluding the Speaker. Late chief minister Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar constituency is still vacant.The DMK has 89 seats followed by its allies Congress with eight and IUML one seat.Seeking to capitalise on the developments, principal opposition DMK shot off a letter to the Governor asking him to convene the assembly and direct Palaniswamy to prove his majority in the House.Asked about the possibility of the Palaniswamy government facing a trust vote, Selvan said that was “our intention.””Our intention is that there should be a trust vote. So after that a new Chief Minister will be in place,” he claimed.MLAs supporting Dhinakaran have been on a warpath against Palaniswamy, questioning the merger of the Amma faction-led by him and Panneerselvam’s Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction yesterday.Tamil Selvan criticised Palaniswamy for aligning with Panneerselvam, who had been critical of the government till very recently.”The 122 (AIADMK) MLAs had made Palaniswamy Chief Minister because Chinnamma (Sasikala) asked us to do so. Panneerselvam had voted against the government (in the February 18 trust vote).”He wanted to split the party and topple the government. Yet you give the Deputy Chief Minister’s post to him. What is the need for that now?” he asked.He also expressed anguish over efforts to remove Sasikala from the party, saying it was she who ensured the continuation of the AIADMK government following Panneerselvam’s revolt in February last.In a related development, Dhinakran announced removal of senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam from the primary membership of the party.The move came a day after Vaithilingam, a loyalist of Palaniswamy, said steps would be taken for the removal of Sasikala from the AIADMK.Earlier, in his reaction to the merger, Dhinakaran dubbed it as a “betrayal” of party general secretary Sasikala.In a series of tweets last night, he also questioned the durability of the arrangement.”It is not a merger. It is a commercial agreement reached for self-interest and hunger for positions and to protect posts,” Dhinakaran charged.He also claimed that not only the AIADMK cadres, but even the public would not forgive “those who betrayed the general secretary who made Pannerselvam and Palaniswamy the chief ministers after the death of Jayalalithaa”.His tweets came hours after the factions merged and Panneerselvam, who had challenged Sasikala’s leadership, was appointed the deputy chief minister and his close aide K Pandiarajan a minister.Responding to Dhinakaran’s loyalist MLAs meeting the Governor, opposition parties including DMK, said Palaniswamy should now prove his majority.DMK Working President and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly M K Stalin in a letter to Rao claimed that “consequent upon identical letters given by 22 MLAs to the Governor expressing lack of confidence on the Chief Minister, an unprecedented constitutional crisis has erupted.”The DMK leader said, as a result of the letters given by MLAs, the incumbent government led by Palanisamy has “lost” its majority.He said in a similar previous occasion in Karnataka, the Governor of that state had directed then Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove his majority in the House.Any inordinate delay in asking the Chief Minister to prove majority would pave the way for continuance of an ‘unconstitutional’ government, he said in the letter, a copy of which was circulated to the media here.”As the leader of Opposition, I therefore request the Governor to direct Palanisamy to prove his majority in the House immediately,” Stalin said.DMK will take a “good decision” on the trust vote at an appropriate time, he later told reporters.PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss also said that following the revolt of MLAs the Palaniswamy government should prove its majority.

Dhinakaran removes senior functionary from party

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AIADMK (Amma) Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakran today announced that senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam has been removed from the party. The move came a day after Vaithilingam, a loyalist of Chief Minister K Palaniswami, said steps would be taken for the removal of jailed party chief V K Sasikala from the AIADMK. Vaithilingam, AIADMK’s Thanjavur (South) district secretary, was being removed from all posts, besides primary membership for “going against the party’s policies and bringing disrepute” to it, Dhinakaran said. “I request party workers to not to have any truck with him,” Dhinakaran said in a statement. He added that the announcement was being made with the “approval” of Sasikala who is serving her jail term in the disproportionate wealth case in a Bengaluru prison. During the merger of the two AIADMK factions yesterday, Vaithilingam had said measures would be initiated soon to expel Sasikala from the party, conceding to a key demand made by the faction led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam for the unification. Vaithilingam, a former minister, was named party deputy coordinator during the merger event at the AIADMK headquarters here.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Dhinakaran removes senior functionary from all party posts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AIADMK (Amma) Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakran today announced that senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam has been removed from all party posts. The move came a day after Vaithilingam, a loyalist of Chief Minister K Palaniswami, said steps would be taken for the removal of jailed party chief V K Sasikala from the AIADMK. Vaithilingam, AIADMK’s Thanjavur (South) district secretary, was being removed from all posts, besides primary membership for “going against the party’s policies and bringing disrepute” to it, Dhinakaran said. “I request party workers to not to have any truck with him,” Dhinakaran said in a statement. He added that the announcement was being made with the “approval” of Sasikala who is serving her jail term in the disproportionate wealth case in a Bengaluru prison. During the merger of the two AIADMK factions yesterday, Vaithilingam had said measures would be initiated soon to expel Sasikala from the party, conceding to a key demand made by the faction led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam for the unification. Vaithilingam, a former minister, was named party deputy coordinator during the merger event at the AIADMK headquarters here.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pro-Dhinkaran MLAs meet TN Guv; seek CM’s ouster

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined party leader TTV Dhinakaran today met Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao here and sought the removal of Chief Minister K Palaniswami, saying he has lost their confidence. The move came a day after rivals factions led by Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam merged, ending a nearly seven-month feud in a power sharing formula in the ruling party and the government with the rebel leader being made the deputy chief minister. “We don’t have confidence in the chief minister. What is the need to give the deputy chief minister’s post to Panneerselvam who had levelled charges of corruption against this government earlier,” an MLA, who was part of the team that met the governor, said requesting anonymity. He said 122 AIADMK MLAs had supported Palaniswami at the behest of jailed party chief VK Sasikala during the February 18 trust vote while Panneerselvam had voted against the government. He said the chief minister should have held consultations with all the party MLAs before the merger of the two factions. “So we have briefed the governor and said that the chief minister should be removed,” the MLA added. The MLA lashed out at Panneerselvam, alleging that he had accepted the merger “only for posts” and asked if this was the deputy chief minister’s “dharma yudh” as claimed by him earlier. Raj Bhavan sources confirmed that the meeting took place between the MLAs and the governor, but did not divulge details, including about the number of the delegation. Yesterday, around 18 MLAs were reported to have attended a meeting held by Dhinakaran, the party’s deputy general secretary and nephew of party chief V K Sasikala, at his residence. One of the MLAs P Vetrivel had last night claimed that Dhinakaran enjoyed the support of 25 MLAs. Of the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, the AIADMK has 134 MLAs excluding the Speaker. Late chief minister Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar constituency is still vacant. Opposition DMK has 89 seats followed by its allies Congress with eight and IUML one seat.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

MLAs supporting Dhinakaran to meet Guv tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after the two factions of the ruling AIADMK merged, MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined party Deputy General Secretary T T V Dhinakaran today said they would meet Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao tomorrow. “We have sought an appointment with the governor tomorrow and he has given time at 10 AM. We will be meeting him and hold consultations,” key Dhinakaran aide and legislator P Vetrivel said. A vocal voice of the Dhinakaran camp, Vetrivel was part of a group of MLAs who went to the burial site of former chief minister Jayalalithaa at the Marina beach and meditated for about 15 minutes before disclosing their plans. Asked what will be the agenda of the meeting with the governor, Vetrivel said it would not be proper to reveal it to the media before the meeting. Another MLA, Thanga Tamilselvan, questioned why Chief Minister K Palaniswami was giving importance to Panneerselvam, “who has just nine MLAs” with him, whereas it was the 122 MLAs of the AIADMK Amma faction who had voted for the government in the February 18 trust vote. “If we had sided with OPS (Panneerselvam), this government would not have survived. What is our situation now, who is responsible for our safety? We stayed together to ensure Amma (Jayalalithaa) government continued,” he said. He said Palaniswami should have “consulted us” before the merger, and claimed that the Dhinakaran faction enjoyed the support of 25 MLAs. Tamilselvan asserted that it was jailed party chief V K Sasikala who had made both Panneerselvam and Palaniswami chief ministers. “We have expressed our grievance with Amma by shedding tears (at the memorial). Very soon there will be good news,” he said. He said it was Panneerselvam, Palaniswami and others who had projected Sasikala both as party chief and later for the chief minister’s post. Vetrivel said none had the “authority or right” to remove Sasikala as general secretary and that only she had the right to convene the decision making body, the General Council, and decide on appointing and expelling persons. In her absence, it was her deputy Dhinakaran who could do that, he added. Earlier in the day, rival AIADMK factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam merged, ending a nearly seven- month feud.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Merger of AIADMK factions won’t benefit people: Kanimozhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The merger of two AIADMK factions would in no way be beneficial to the people of Tamil Nadu, DMK MP and the party’s women’s wing leader Kanimozhi said today. Replying to a specific question on the merger, she told reporters at the airport here that it would benefit only the leaders and not help in solving the problems of the people. Moreover, the people had not voted for these leaders and the continuation of the government itself was doubtful, she said. When it was pointed out that Tamil film star Rajinikanth was being projected as an alternative force to the AIADMK and DMK by Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam leader Tamilaruvi Maniyan, Kanimozhi said he had projected many persons in the past also. Meanwhile, Viduthalai Chiraithagal Katchi president Thol Thirumavalavan said the fate of the state government would depend on the decision taken by the group of MLAs owing allegiance to sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran. Though the two factions have officially merged, unity and discipline in the merged party would be a question mark, he told reporters at the airport. Besides, there was the possibility of a splinter group emerging from within, leading to another political confusion, he said, adding modalities and formalities might have been settled before the merger and formation of the new ministry.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AIADMK merger likely on Monday, Pannerselvam says ‘good’ decision shortly

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam on Sunday said the talks on merger of factions led by him and Chief Minister K Palaniswami have moved a step forward and a “good” decision would be reached shortly.Party sources indicated that there may be a meeting at the party headquarters on Monday where decisions could be made by the Palaniswami camp on the question of the “formal expulsion” of V K Sasikala. Also, tomorrow being considered auspicious in the wake of it being ‘Amavasya,’ there is a chance of the merger deal getting sealed, the sources said. “I had informed that the merger talks are already progressing smoothly. It has progressed one more step…A good decision will be attained shortly as desired by you,” he told reporters after a meeting with his party functionaries. Panneerselvam earlier participated in gatherings held by party functionaries in Tirunelveli and nearby regions.Speaking to reporters on his arrival at Chennai, he said, “Our lofty goal in effecting the merger will be to see that the party does not get entangled in the clutches of a family,” apparently targeting party chief V K Sasikala and her nephew T T V Dhinakaran. The rebel leader further said that “our goal will succeed” and that “this party will be of the cadres, and it will be safeguarded.” Meanwhile, party deputy general secretary Dhinakaran held discussions with his supporters in Chennai in the backdrop of expectations that the merger may fructify tomorrow.Emerging from the meeting, Dhinakaran’s confidant Nanjil Sampath hit out at Panneerselvam for enacting a “drama” of talks with the Palaniswami camp. “Whatever decision they (camps led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam) take, Dhinakaran has the ability to put a full stop to it and we will prove it in the coming days,” he said. Yesterday, Panneerselvam had said that talks on the merger were going on smoothly and a positive result was expected in a “day or two”.Palaniswami too had said he was confident that “both the factions would merge soon”. In Erode, AIADMK Amma faction veteran and Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan told reporters “It will be a good decision and will happen to the liking of cadres and people.” The merger talks gained momentum after Palaniswami on August 17 announced that a inquiry commission would be set up to probe the death of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her Poes Garden residence would be converted into a memorial, two of the key demands put forth by the Panneerselvam camp.Though the merger was expected to materialise on Friday night, it did not come through amid reported divergent views among members of the Panneerselvam faction. However, Panneerselvam cleared the air yesterday, saying a positive result was expected in a day or two. Panneerselvam, a former Chief Minister, had revolted against the leadership of jailed party chief V K Sasikala in February last, causing a split in the party.

CM, OPS express confidence on merger; Dhinakaran side warns CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As suspense mounted over merger of the two rival AIADMK factions, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and rebel leader O Panneerselvam today expressed confidence it will happen soon with the latter saying a positive result was expected in “a day or two.” Palaniswami, who is in Tiruvarur to take part in AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran’s centenary celebrations, said he was confident that “both the factions would merge soon”. Panneerselvam, a former chief minister and leader of AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction, earlier in the day said in Chennai that the merger talks were going on smoothly and a positive result was expected in “a day or two.” As the warring factions headed for a merger, the T T V Dhinakaran faction warned the chief minister that he would be replaced if his activities did not go down well with the party. The chief minister said difference of opinion between the two factions had emerged earlier and that they were now being addressed through discussions. “I am happy to inform that both the factions will merge soon,” he told reporters at Tiruvarur in Thanjavur district. Responding to a query on whether MLAs of Panneerselvam faction would get a berth in the cabinet, Palaniswami merely said, “discussions are going on.” “(AIADMK Supremo and former Chief Minister) Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (Jayalalithaa who is fondly called as Amma) has been guarding the party as her own eyelid. She has given various schemes and projects for the benefit of the people,” he said. Panneerselvam, who is scheduled to leave for Madurai tomorrow to attend a meeting, said a positive result was expected in “a day or two.” “Talks are going on smoothly. A positive result is expected in a day or two,” he told reporters in Chennai. The much expected merger between the two factions last night had failed to come off following reported divergent views among the members of the OPS faction. This included the demand of certain members for a CBI inquiry into former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s death as against the announcement of an inquiry commission to be headed by a retired High Court judge. Meanwhile, Dhinakaran, the sidelined AIADMK deputy general secretary, held deliberations with his supporters at his residencein Chennai. A Dhinakaran loyalist Palaniappan, a former minister and an MLA, warned Palaniswami that he would be replaced as chief minister if his activities did not go down well with the party. Talking to reporters after attending the meeting convened by Dhinakaran, Palaniappan said, “Our (AIADMK) rule is like a bus journey. We appointed the driver (O Panneerselvam) to take the bus (AIADMK rule) to the intended destination enabling the passengers to reach safe and secure.” “Since, his (Pannerselvam) activities did not go down well with the party, we replaced him with Palaniswami (as the chief minister). But, if his (Palaniswami) activities did not go well (while leading the party), we will definitely take action to replace him,” Palaniappan said. Yesterday, Dhinakaran who had travelled to Bengaluru to greet party general secretary V K Sasikala on the occasion of her birthday, downplayed the merger of the AIADMK factions, saying it would not have any longevity and that it was not a ‘setback’ to him. Following the speculation of an imminent merger of the two factions, several AIADMK MLAs and supporters of both the groups had congregated last night at the burial place of Jayalalithaa at the Marina beach here. However, merger talks remained inconclusive leading to a delay in the rival factions coming together. Police personnel were deployed in a large number at the memorial with members of the public who wanted to offer their respects to Jayalalithaa being prevented from entering the burial site. Two special wreaths were also kept ready apparently to enable Palaniswami and Panneerselvam to offer their respects at the burial site. After it became clear that the merger talks would be deferred, the wreaths were removed and the public was allowed to enter the burial site later.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘No difference of opinion, will announce good decision’: O Panneerselvam on AIADMK merger talks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports of hurdles between the AIADMK factions over merger talks, O Panneerselvam on Saturday officially acknowledged that talks are going on, and a good decision will be announced soon.”There is no difference of opinion. Merger talks are going on cordially. We will announce a good decision in a day or two,” said Panneerselvam speaking to media after consultations with the leaders of his faction.The talks are being held as per the wish of party cadres, he added.On Friday, Jayalalithaa’s memorial at Marina Beach in Chennai was all set to witness the merger announcement of the two warring factions of AIADMK, headed by E Palaniswamy and O Panneerselvam.However, after a while, the leaders started to leave the Amma memorial as the expectations for the much-awaited merger announcement faded.The merger talks had come days after sidelined AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dhinakaran held a well-attended rally at Madurai in which about 20 legislators and six MPs participated.

Ticklish issues prolong merger deliberations in EPS-OPS camps

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid talk of an imminent merger, marathon deliberations that began today in the two factions of the AIADMK seem to have made no headway with ticklish issues posing hurdles. While rebel leader O Panneerselvam held consultations with his loyalists, Chief Minister E Palaniswami held marathon talks with his cabinet colleagues. On expectation of a merger announcement at the Jayalalithaa mausoleum at Marina Beach late in the evening, security was beefed up there, with several MLAs converging. However, it soon became apparent that there were hurdles to the merger talks, with leaders of both factions starting to leave the venue. Party sources indicated that there were “some ticklish issues” that were to be addressed by both groups, but declined to elaborate further. While the Pannerselvam camp held over four hours of consultations, Palaniswami was closeted with top office- bearers, besides his ministerial colleagues for a long period of time. With the talks getting prolonged due to “issues”, the expectations for an announcement in this regard tonight faded. Jayalalithaa’s burial complex had been decked up and the party office was brightly lit in the wake of expectations of the unification of the AIADMK factions. Office bearers were seen holding garlands, apparently in anticipation of arrival of leaders of both camps. The expected late night press meet by Panneerselvam was later deferred. The merger talks came days after sidelined AIADMK (Amma) leader T T V Dhinakaran held a well-attended rally at Madurai in which about 20 legislators and six MPs participated. This was apparently aimed at charting his own journey and conversely seeking to run rough shod over the Palaniswami and Panneerselvam camps. Dhinakaran and his loyalists sought to showcase the meet as a show of strength and claimed that the party rank and file was largely with them. The rebellion in the ruling AIADMK and factional feud began with a sudden late night meditation by Panneerselvam in February at the burial site of Jayalalithaa at the Marina Beach where he revolted against Sasikala. The former chief minister had said that he was forced to resign from his post and asserted that only a person desired by people and cadres should succeed him in the government and party. Panneerselvam was immediately sacked from his top party post of treasurer, marking the birth of a new rebel faction. Subsequently, Sasikala named Palaniswami as Legislature Party Leader and she herself had to go to Bengaluru to serve a prison sentence following her conviction in the disproportionate assets case. Soon, Palaniswami took over as chief minister and his government was ridiculed as a proxy of Sasikala by rebel Panneerselvam, and Opposition parties led by the DMK. In April, in a political twist, Tamil Nadu Cabinet announced sidelining Sasikala and Dhinakaran and Palaniswami gradually emerged as leader of a faction of about 122 MLAs in the 234 member assembly. Palaniswami and his Cabinet colleagues took a stand against Dhinakaran in April for the first time after the RK Nagar bypoll was cancelled. They were also on the same page after Dhinarakan was named in a case of trying to bribe Election Commission officials. Further hardening the stand against Dhinakaran, an August 10 meeting chaired by Palaniswami said his appointment went against party bye-laws, setting the stage for a formal merger. Following it up, the government yesterday announced an inquiry into Jayalalithaa’s death and declared that Amma’s Poes Garden residence will be taken over and turned into a memorial. By conceding these key demands of the Panneerselvam camp, the process of unification got a fresh impetus and after several rounds of deliberations the merger came through.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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