Saturday, March 19, 2011

Karunanidhi to launch election campaign on March 23

DMK president M. Karunanidhi arrives at a party meet in Chennai on Friday. Photo: S.S. Kumar
DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi will kick-start his election campaign for the April 13 assembly polls on March 23 from his home turf Tiruvarur and file his nomination papers to contest from there the next day.
The 87 year-old leader will address three public meetings at Tiruvarur (March 23), Thanjavur (Mar24) and Tiruchirappalli (Mar25), a DMK release here said.
He will file his nomination on March 24 at 11 am at Tiruvarur, it said.
The DMK chief had moved out of his party’s traditional bastion of Chennai to contest from Tiruvarur, in perhaps what could be his last election considering his age.
He represents the Chepauk constituency in the current Assembly.
Of the total 234 seats, the DMK is contesting 119. It has allotted 63 seats to its key UPA ally Congress and the rest to other partners of the front led by the Dravidian party.

AIADMK seat-sharing committee meets Vaiko

MDMK General Secretary Vaiko offers a glass of juice to AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa at a public event. File photo
The AIADMK has begun efforts to retain the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) led by Vaiko in its alliance for the Assembly elections.
On Saturday morning, members of the AIADMK’s seat-sharing committee, O.S. Panneerselvam and K.A. Sengottaiyan, met Mr. Vaiko at Thayagam, the headquarters of the party and had a discussion for more than an hour.
Sources said the AIADMK has made an offer of 13 seats to the MDMK.
The offer has come on the day the MDMK has convened a high-level committee to discuss the question of seat-sharing. The high level committee meeting will be followed by a meeting of district secretaries and various other committees. The AIADMK’s offer is being discussed in the meetings.
Talks between the AIADMK and the MDMK broke down on March 16 since both sides refused to climb down from their positions. Ms. Jayalalithaa was not ready to part with more than nine seats, but Mr. Vaiko made it clear he would not settle for anything less than “21 seats of our choice”.

Free mixer-grinder, laptops, bus passes in DMK manifesto | DMK manifesto 2011 | Full details of DMK manifesto


Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi releasing the DMK party candidates' list on Thursday. The party released its manifesto on Saturday. Photo:R.RaguThe ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu on Saturday said it would distribute free mixies or grinders to women, free laptops to SC/ST students and free rice of 35 kg to BPL families if voted back to power.

In the election manifesto released by DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, the party also promised free bus travel to senior citizens besides free laptops to SC, ST and backward class students of government and government-aided colleges.

The manifesto also promised continuation of all welfare schemes implemented by the DMK government including free distribution of colour TVs and Re 1 per kg of rice.

In the 2006 assembly polls, DMK’s manifesto promising free colour TV, waiver of cooperative farm loans and one rupee rice scheme was instrumental in the party’s victory.

Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram had then described it as ‘hero’ of the polls.

In a bid to reach out to the fisherfolk, DMK promised to implement an insurance scheme in the event of their vocation being affected due to natural calamities.

This is in line with a similar existing crop insurance scheme.

The party further promised to increase to 2000 litres and 500 litres respectively the subsidised diesel and kerosene per month for mechanised and non-mechanised trawlers.

Efforts will be taken to promote sea farming, the manifesto said.

The party will also take up efforts to retrieve the contentious Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India by way of an accord in 1974.

On the Health and Family Welfare front, the party promised to implement a scheme wherein doctors would visit homes of senior citizens confined indoors and treat them.

Holding that nationalisation of rivers alone would end inter-state water disputes, the party will strive for this, Mr. Karunanidhi said adding DMK will stress on inter-linking of southern rivers as a first step.

While the party promised to strive for more foreign direct investments towards developing the less-industrialised southern districts, it however opposed FDI in retail business, saying it would affect “crores of small traders.” “We will press the Centre to ban future trading as it is responsible for food inflation and shortage,” the manifesto said.

AIADMK to release fresh list of candidates on March 21


Chennai: In a climbdown to soothe ruffled feathers of its allies, AIADMK on Saturday said it would release a fresh list of candidates on March 21 for the April 13 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.

AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa directed party nominees to file nominations on March 24, considered an auspicious day, and asked the cadres to ignore the list already announced. 
Jayalalithaa had announced candidates for 160 seats on last Wednesday, triggering protests from allies, who were upset that it was done ignoring their wish list.

With the allies agitated over her "unilateral" announcement, she had to postpone her campaign plan, scheduled from Thursday, to pacify them.

The Left parties, actor-politician Vijayakant's DMDK and Vaiko-led MDMK, were all miffed with Jayalalithaa's action.

There were also protests from AIADMK party cadres in some constituencies over selection of nominees, suspecting that the list had been tampered without the knowledge of the leader. 

2G: TN police collecting Batcha's call records


Chennai: Police have collected call details of former Telecom Minister A Raja's key aide Sadiq Batcha, who allegedly committed suicide in mysterious circumstances, for analysis and were expecting the post-mortem report in a few days, a top police official said on Saturday.

City Police Commissioner T Rajendiran told reporters here that the viscera samples have been sent for examination. 
Details of the calls made over the deceased's mobile phone have been collected, he said.

Batcha, whose body was found hanging at his house on Wednesday, was supposed to have committed suicide, according to the complaint filed by his wife, he added.

38-year-old Batcha, who was the Managing Director of Greenhouse Promoters, was said to have been found hanging from the roof of the bedroom of his house in South Chennai by his wife Rekha Banu and his driver. His firm was under the scanner of CBI as well as the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the 2 G spectrum scam.

His wife claimed that he took this drastic step "unable to cope with the pressure" of the probe.

Batcha's official and residential premises were raided by CBI and he was questioned at least four times in the last two months. He had left a suicide note in which he had stated that he was "embarrassed" by the raids and the extensive media coverage of them. 

Karunanidhi to launch election campaign on March 23


Chennai: DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi will kickstart his election campaign for the April 13 Assembly polls on March 23 from his home turf Tiruvarur and filing his nomination papers from there the next day.

The 87 year-old leader will address three public meetings at Tiruvarur (March 23), Thanjavur (Mar24) and Tiruchirappalli (Mar25), a DMK release here said. 
He will file his nomination on March 24 at 11 am at Tiruvarur, it said.

The DMK chief had moved out of his party's traditional bastion of Chennai to contest from Tiruvarur, in perhaps what could be his last election considering his age.

He represents the Chepauk constituency in the current Assembly.

Of the total 234 seats, the DMK is contesting 119. It has allotted 63 seats to its key UPA ally Congress and the rest to other partners of the front led by the Dravidian party.

AIADMK extends olive branch to Vaiko, initiate talks


Chennai, Mar 19 : After identifying constituencies for its minor allies and the two Left parties, the Opposition AIADMK today initiated talks with its long time ally, the MDMK, which is expected to announce its electoral strategy later this evening.

The poll-panel team of the AIADMK, held discussions with MDMK General Secretary Vaiko in a bid to pacify him after the AIADMK virtually chucked it out of the front.

With the nominations opening today for the April 13 Assembly polls, the AIADMK was virtually racing against time to finalise the seat identification process with its key allies, the MDMK and the DMDK of actor-politician Vijayakanth.

During the meeting, AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and K A Sengottaiyan explained to Mr Vaiko the AIADMK's position and the number of seats they could offer to the MDMK.

If the reports were to be believed, the AIADMK has offered to allot around 15 seats to the MDMK.

AIADMK finalises agreement with CPI (M)


While talks are still on with the VIjayakant-led DMDK, sources said the AIADMK was able to reach an agreement with the party over 29 seats
The AIADMK finalised the process of identification constituencies for the CPI (M) in the wee hours of Saturday for the Assembly elections, but talks on the issue are still on with the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) led by actor Vijayakant.
It was past 5 am when the agreement between the AIADMK and the CPI (M) was signed. The party has been allotted Vilavancode, Dindigul, Peramubur, Madurai South, Periyakulam (Reserved), Maduravoyil, Harur (Reserved) , Chidambaram, Tirupur (South), Kilvelur (Reserved), Palayamkottai and Vikkiravandi.
Sources said the AIADMK was able to reach an agreement with the DMDK over 29 seats.
“Discussions are going on and other constituencies will be also identified on Saturday,” the leaders involved in the talks said.
Expressing satisfaction over allocation of seats, CPI(M) leaders said many of the sitting constituencies, including Vilavancode, Dindigul, Perambur, now a general constituency, Harur, and Tirupur, sought by them had been ceded.
“It was a marathon discussion began on Friday evening and went on till Saturday morning. We held talks with the AIADMK leaders who kept informed their general secretary Jayalalithaa at every stage. She ironed out the differences emerged during the discussion and we were able to reach an agreement,” one CPI (M) leader said.
In the 2006 Assembly elections CPI (M) contested in Chidambaram constituency but could not win. Though the party wanted constituencies such as Ambasamudram and Kovilpatti in the Southern Districts, they could get only Palayamkottai.

Jayalalithaa holds talks with leaders of allies


CPI leaders C. Mahendran (left) and G. Palanisamy, having talks with AIADMK leaders Pollachi Jayaraman, former Chief Minister O. Pannnerselvam and Senkottaiyan (right) at the party head quarters in Chennai on Friday. Photo: V. Ganesan.
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary Jayalalithaa on Friday sought to mollify her unhappy allies by establishing direct contact with leaders of alliance parties and held discussions with the Left parties 
and the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK).
A day after the allies expressed unhappiness over the AIADMK announcing candidates for 160 constituencies, including many they were aspiring for, there was a flurry of activity in the party office and later at Ms. Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence.
In the course of the day, the AIADMK allocated constituencies to smaller parties – the All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK), led by actor R Sarathkumar, the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), the Republican Party of India (Tamilarasan), the All India Moovendar Munnani Kazhagam (AIMMK) and the Tamil Nadu Kongu Ilaignar Peravai.
The AISMK was allotted Nanguneri and Tenkasi, the MMK will field its three candidates from Chepauk-Tiruvallikeni, Ambur and Ramanathapuram, while the RPI (Tamilarasan) group will contest from the KV Kuppam (Reserved) constituency. The AIMMK was allotted Tiruchuzhi and the Kongu Ilaingnar Peravai will field its candidate in Paramathivelur.
The day began with separate meetings between AIADMK and leaders of other parties at an undisclosed location. Later, Communist Party of India (CPI) State deputy secretaries C Mahendran and G Palanichamy visited the AIADMK party office and held discussions with the latter's election panel comprising O Panneerselvam, K A. Sengottaiyan and Pollachi V Jayaraman.
“Talks cordial”
Emerging from the talks, Mr. Mahendran said, “The talks were extremely cordial. We are in a position to reach an agreement soon.” He blamed the media for floating the talk of a third front and said, “There is no scope for a third front.”
In the second phase of the day's developments, Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary G Ramakrishnan and other leaders, T K Rengarajan and K Balakrishnan, reached Ms. Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence in the evening. After that, other alliance leaders came there one after another, including CPI State secretary D Pandian.
DMDK presidium chairman Panruti S Ramachandran and youth wing secretary L K Sudheesh also called on Ms. Jayalalithaa at her residence.
AIADMK sources said Puthiya Tamizhagam president K Krishnasamy was also likely to come to an understanding soon.
Only Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), led by Vaiko, has so far not been part of the rapprochement moves. The MDMK has called for a high-level committee meeting on Saturday morning and a district secretaries' meeting in the evening.