Monday, March 28, 2011

Jaya lacks a credible past, says Ramadoss

He may have lost his post at the all powerful union health ministry but Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, who continues his crusade against the tobacco and liquor lobby, is still a show 
Donning the roles of PMK youth wing secretary and chief poll strategist of the party, Dr Ramadosss has been very active these days. He has spent the last year in reviving the party base and to bring back the Vanniyar youth into party fold. He spoke to DC:
Q The ruling DMK and rival AIADMK have unleashed a war of freebies…
It’s wrong to equate both the manifestos. The AIADMK wants to make shepherds and cowherds of our young children by offering them free goats and cows whereas the DMK gives priority to educating our youngsters. The DMK provides free education to pursue professional courses and has promised to waive educational loans.
As a social movement we are asking our people to give quality education to their kids. But if they were given goats and cows by the government, as promised by Ms Jayalalithaa, will they send their wards to schools?
Q You had strained relations with the DMK and VCK, a dalit party, in the past. How will the alliance with them work in the field?
It is essentially an alliance of social justice. We have a common goal and largely share identical ideology. On the contrary, the rival AIADMK alliance is of actors. The company of Kollywood stars would not work. There is a better understanding between cadres of our party and the DMK and VCK. We will sweep the polls.
Q How are your prospects…
People know Ms Jayalalithaa’s past. They also know chief minister M. Karunanidhi. DMK government’s welfare schemes have reached the common man. People are acknowledging the good work, be it housing scheme or free ambulance service, done by the DMK regime.
I can see a wave in favour of DMK. People have not forgoten the recruitment ban, anti-conversion law and withdrawal of free power supply by Ms Jayalalithaa’s regime. She does not have a credible past. Even two months ago she criticised distribution of freebies. People will not believe her.

Case against comedian Vadivelu

The town police in Tiruvarur registered a case against popular comedian Vadivelu for having spoken in a public meeting in Tiruvarur denigrating the actor-turned-politician and DMDK leader Vijayakanth thus promoting enmity, hatred and ill will between the cadres of two different parties in breach of the model code of conduct.
Mr Vadivelu addressed a public meeting organized by DMK in Tiruvarur on March 23 in connection with the election campaign in which DMK president M. Karunanidhi and the leaders of allied parties, including Dr Ramadoss, K. Thangabalu and Thol Thirumavalavan, spoke.
In his maiden campaign speech, Vadivelu strongly criticized Mr Vijayakanth for being addressed as ‘Captain.’ “One who steers a ship in water should be called captain and not the one who always lies in water (liquor),” Vadivelu said.
DMDK high level committee member Mr Dilip Kumar who felt hurt by the alleged remarks against his party leader Mr Vijayakanth complained about it to the election commission, Chennai.
Based on his complaint, the election commission ordered the Tiruvarur town police to register a case against Mr Vadivelu, which registered a case under sections 153A, 171 and 505 (ii) of IPC on Saturday night.

140 TIPC members to withdraw nominations in Tiruppur North

Tiruppur, Mar 27: All the 140 members of the Tiruppur Industrial Protection Committee (TIPC), who have filed their nominations for the Tiruppur North Assembly seat, to express their anger over loss of jobs due to closure of dyeing units, decided to withdraw their papers following assurance from various political parties, giving a huge relief for the Election Commission (EC).

After representatives of various political parties held prolonged talks and agreed to consider their demand, the TIPC today decided to withdraw all the 140 nomination papers filed for the April 13 polls.

TIPC President R Annadhurai told UNI that representatives from the ruling DMK, AIADMK, left parties and BJP approached them and requested the Committee to withdraw all the 140 nominations and promised to consider their demands.

In deference to the wishes expressed by them, the TIPC members would withdraw their papers on March 30, the last date for withdrawal.

A total of 152 people, including 140 TIPC members, have filed their nominations, putting the EC officials in a fix on the mode of polling as the EVMs could not accommodate the names of more than 64 candidates.

Considering the large number of candidates, the EC was considering reverting back to ballot paper system for polling.

As the printing of ballot papers might take time, there were reports of postponing the elections to this constituency.

Now that the TIPC members agreed to withdraw the 140 nominations, the polling was expected to be held as scheduled using the EVMs.

The anger among the lakhs of dyeing unit workers, who have lost their jobs due to closure of more than 100 dyeing units in the district, has led to the bulk filing of nominations to draw the attention of the Central and the State governments.

BJP releases manifesto; comes down on DMK, AIADMK freebies

Chennai: Coming down heavily against promise of freebies by DMK and AIADMK for the April 13 Tamil Nadu assembly polls, BJP today assured the people it would provide an "honest" and "transparent" government if voted to power.

Releasing BJP manifesto, former party national President Bangaru Laxman said the ruling Dravidian parties through the years had failed to address developmental issues and only focussed on garnering more votes by announcing "freebies".
Terming the freebies announced DMK and AIADMK as an "empty rhetoric", he criticised the Dravidian parties for having failed to address the basic issue of price rise. 

"If BJP comes into power, it will focus on the development of state", he told reporters here.

Referring to BJP manifesto, party Tamil Nadu unit President Pon Radhakrishnan said "BJP is contesting in 194 constituencies and we are not interested in providing freebies. But we assure you to provide a honest and transparent government (if BJP comes to power)". 

Detailing some of the highlights on the manifesto, he said on the Cauvery river water issue with Karnataka, the party would try to get 205 TMC water annually for Tamil Nadu to help the delta farmers. 

On the Mullaperiyar dam issue, he said action would be taken to retain the rights of Tamil Nadu and also raise the dam height to 142 feet as allowed by the Supreme Court. Action on interlinking of rivers would also be taken, he said. 

Radhakrishnan said a separate ministry would be formed to protect the lives of Tamils living around the world. 

For the welfare of Tamils in Sri Lanka, BJP would strive to give them equal rights and justice. 

He said a law banning slaughter of cows and transportation of animals to other states would be brought. 

On the Sethu Samudram issue, the manifesto said it would take steps to protect Ramar bridge besides ensuring to declare the bridge as a historical monument. 

He said BJP senior leader Sushma Swaraj would campaign in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. 

Nomination of Jayanthi Thangkabalu rejected

Jayanthi Thangkabalu, wife of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V.Thangkabalu, filing nomination papers for Mylapore Assembly constituency, in Chennai on Thursday. Photo : R. Ravindran.
Nomination of Jayanthi Thangkabalu, wife of TNCC President K V Thangkabalu and Congress candidate for Mylapore constituency here for the April 13 assembly polls, has been rejected as two important documents needed for acceptance of her papers were not filed, official sources said.
However, the nomination of Mr. Thangkabalu, who had filed his papers as a dummy for his wife, had been accepted, the sources said.
Independent candidate Sivakami, a Congress rebel, had proved during scrutiny that Ms. Jayanthi had suppressed the facts that she was the Managing Director of Mega TV, a Tamil sattelite channel, and a criminal case was pending against her, they said.
Mr. Thangkabalu later told reporters that Ms. Jayanthi would lodge a complaint with Election Commission against the rejection of her nomination.
‘As of now, I am the candidate. Ms. Jayanthi had attached all relevant documents, but two of them are missing. I do not know how’, he said.
Ms. Jayanthi’s nomination as Congress candidate had caused heartburn among a section of partymen with some of them even burning Mr. Thangakbalu’s effigy and staging a dharna in front of his house here.

We have ample powers to order search and seizure: EC

Election Commission officials examining the cash seized by the surveillance teams during a vehicle check in Thondamuthur Assembly Constituency recently. File photo: S. Siva SaravananThe Election Commission on Monday asserted in the Madras High Court that it has ample powers under the Constitution, CrPC and Income Tax Act to order search and seizure of vehicles and houses to prevent distribution of money in the run up to the April 13 assembly polls.
The EC stated its position in a counter affidavit to the court’s order last week, directing it not to conduct searches or seizures without the authority concerned arriving at the ’subjective satisfaction’ on the nature and source of information.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M. Venugopal had passed the interim order on a Public Interest Litigation by a retired school teacher, seeking a direction to restrain authorities from conducting “illegal” and “arbitrary searches” and seizing property from vehicles on important highways.

When the matter came up today before the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T. S. Sivagnanam, EC counsel G. Rajagopalan sought a stay on the order, which he said had resulted in EC being flooded with reports of money distribution, but not being able to take action.

The EC submitted various political parties in meetings with the Commission had complained of money distribution to voters.

“It is the Commission’s duty to ensure proper law and order is maintained for free and fair polls and that money power did not affect the operation of democracy.” EC’s instructions had resulted in seizure of cash and property running into crores of Rupees, the affidavit said.

During searches, about 9000 detonators were seized from vehicles proceeding from Salem without any documents. Also, in separate incidents, large quantities of sarees, dhotis and silver had been seized. Further over 3623 litres of liquor had been seized and 244 persons arrested, it said.

The bench posted further hearing for Tuesday.

The EC’s tough action had received flak from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi, who had questioned the rationale behind it, saying vehicle checks by flying squads had totally crippled trade as the cash was seized on the plea that no proper documents were produced.

Opposition parties however welcomed the EC’s action and accused Mr. Karunanidhi of trying to ‘intimidate’ the Commission.

Shifting of police officials

Election Commission today told Madras High Court there was no bias in its decision to shift state DGP and top officials and justified search and seizure of vehicles to curb use of money power in the April 13 Assembly polls.

EC had filed a counter affidavit, defending its order appointing Bhola Nath, Director, Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption as DGP, replacing Ms. Letika Saran, an action which had drawn the ire of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal had last week taken suo motu cognisance of a news report on Mr. Karunanidhi’s criticism of the EC’s action following which the commission filed a comprehensive affidavit today.

“It is open to the EC to nominate any officer as DGP for conducting elections for avoidance of any controversy.

This could never be treated as bias and any such interference is totally unwarranted”, the EC said.
The Court had said Mr. Karunanidhi’s statement raised questions whether EC could unilaterally announce and fix poll schedule with long gaps between voting and counting dates without following principles of deliberations and consultations.

It had also raised questions whether EC could unilaterally order transfer of officials in general and DGP in particular, without consulting the State government.

In reply, the EC said it is within its powers to nominate any DGP for conducting the polls, which cannot be questioned.

EC also noted Ms. Saran has not questioned its decision on the ground of bias and the court cannot take notice of the Chief Minister’s statement in an election meeting.

Maintaining it was open to the EC to nominate any officer as DGP to conduct the elections to avoid any controversy, it said “This could never be treated as bias and such interference is totally unwarranted.”

“It is within the powers of the EC to decide who shall be district Election Officer or who shall be the Superintendent of Police of a concerned district”, the counsel said.

Swamy urges EC to give police protection to party candidates

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy campaigning for his party's Madurai Central constituency candidate A.Sasikumar at Dindigul Main Road in Madurai on Saturday.Photo: G. Moorthy
Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy today urged the Election Commission to provide police protection to all 10 party candidates for the April 13 assembly polls after one of them complained of frequently receiving threat calls.
The Janata Party has fielded 10 candidates for the polls.
In a statement here, he said he would also file a petition in the Madras High Court, demanding posting of CRPF and BSF in Tamil Nadu under the Disturbed Areas Act if the Director General of Police does not act to curb this ‘anti-national activity’ of threatening his party candidates.
Dr. Swamy had stated yesterday at Madurai that Madurai South party candidate Shantaram had complained to him and State unit President V S Chandralekha about receiving the calls on his cellphone.
Dr. Swamy had also said that the Police should trace the calls received by his candidate.

Jaya's Message - DMK Freebies

ADMK: Reservation for Muslim

AIADMK campaign kick-starts from Trichy

CPI-M promises free rice, unemployment dole in Tamil Nadu

Chennai: Free rice, an unemployment dole, securing trade union rights for workers, housing plots for the poor and land reforms are among the promises the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has made in its manifesto for the April 13 Tamil Nadu assembly polls.

The CPI-M also criticised Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi of intimidating the Election Commission of India for its steps to conduct polls in a free and fair manner and curbing the play of money power.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday after releasing the manifesto, party state secretary G. Ramakrishnan said the repeated criticism of poll panel by Karunanidhi is nothing but intimidation.

Noting the Election Commission is vested with powers to transfer officials to ensure a free and fair poll, he welcomed the decision to conduct vehicle checks and seize unaccounted money but said such actions should not put common man into problems.

Dodging questions about the freebies announced by the party's ally AIADMK in its manifesto, Ramakrishnan said CPI-M's manifesto is focussed on solving common man's problems. 
Stressing that an election provides an opportunity for the people to decide on the state's future, the CPI-M's manifesto said it is not a festival that comes every fifth year.

Attacking the ruling DMK for implementing anti-people policies in the state which have resulted in drastic increase in the prices of essential items, unemployment levels and fall in agriculture production, the CPI-M promised to provide a people-friendly economic policy.

It said the party would strive to protect the small, micro and medium enterprises in the state with tax concessions and building better infrastructure.

Promising that it would strive to bring right to food as a fundamental right, the CPI-M has said that it would fight for banning online forward trading in agricultural products.

Referring to the continuous power outages in the state, it promised that it would work hard to bring in more power projects.

The communist party has also promised to get the poor 35 kg free rice to the poor in Tamil Nadu and also an unemployment dole of Rs 1,000 per month.

Promising that CPI-M would put a stop to criminalization of politics, the party has promised to put an end to kangaroo courts, illegal sand quarrying and land frauds in the state. The party also promised to strive for land reform laws and distribution of lands to Dalits, poor farmers and the poor.

The party said it will support providing housing plots to the poor and also providing concrete houses throughout the state for the poor through the housing board. It also assured that it would protect those living in temple properties.

Expressing its opposition to the acquisition of farm lands for industrial purposes without farmers' consent, the CPI-M also said it would work to get them paddy procurement price of Rs.1,500 per quintal and Rs 3,000 per tonne of sugarcane.

Expressing its support for the Sethusamudram canal project, the CPI-M also said that it would fight for the increase in the height of Mullaperiyar Dam to 142 feet.

For the working class, the party promised it would work to get the trade union formation rights in all industrial units through a secret ballot.

Ramakrishnan also announced that that senior party leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat would campaign in Tamil Nadu between April 1 and April 7. 

Actor Vijay's 'People Movement' to support AIADMK in polls

Chennai, Mar 27 : The main Opposition AIADMK received a shot in the arm when popular Tamil actor Vijay pledged his movement's support to the party in the April 13 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.

The Actor's father and noted Director S A Chandrasekhar met AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in Tiruchirapalli and said the 'People's Movement', floated by his actor-son Vijay, would fully support the AIADMK-led Front in the polls.

This was announced here in a statement released by the AIADMK headquarters.

Rumours were rife for quite some time that Mr Vijay would extend his support to the AIADMK after Mr Chandrasekhar called on Ms Jayalalithaa at her residence here recently.

There were also reports that Vijay, whose last few films had flopped at the box office and faced some problems in the release of his latest film "Kavalan", might take the political plunge by joining the AIADMK ahead of the polls and campaign for the party.

Though he had not taken the proverbial plunge, sources close to him said the actor's support to the AIADMK might be a prelude to his entry into politics.

Go by conscience: Jayalalithaa

AIADMK general secretary and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday exhorted the people to heed their conscience while voting in the coming Assembly elections.
In supporting the AIADMK-led alliance the people will render yeoman's service to the State, she said.
Addressing an election rally at the Municipal Thiruvalluvar Playgrounds here on Sunday, Ms Jayalalithaa reminded the voters of the several “acts of omission and commission'' by the DMK during the past five years and said the people should take the prevailing situation into consideration while voting.
Terming the coming elections as “a chance for deliverance from the misrule of the past five years'', Ms. Jayalalithaa claimed that instead of containing prices, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi aided their escalation.
AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa addressing an election meeting near Tiruchi on Sunday.From essential commodities to petroleum products and edible items, all suffered exorbitant rise in prices rise to the detriment of the people's interest, she said.
The AIADMK leader contended that the DMK rule had plunged the State into a power crisis, a far cry from the days when it was power-surplus.
The precarious power situation had cost lakhs of people their jobs and livelihood, Ms. Jayalalithaa claimed, adding that there would be a turnaround if the AIADMK was voted back to power. Criticising the “dominant role” played by the family members of the Chief Minister in State administration, Ms. Jayalalithaa alleged that they controlled practically every sphere of activity.
The coming election was a watershed in that the suffering masses now had a chance to put an end to their misery “by heeding their conscience in exercising their franchise''.
Alleging that a sand mafia was looting natural resources, the former Chief Minister said she would put an end to illegal sand mining activities if voted back to power. The looters would be brought to book, she said.
Ms. Jayalalithaa also promised to fulfil the long-pending demands of the populace in Karur district.
The needs of the textile industry, in particular, would be addressed expeditiously, she said.

We don't meet people only during the elections, says Stalin

HOME TURF: Deputy Chief Minister and Kolathur constituency candidate M.K. Stalin campaigning at G.K.M. Colony, Kolathur in Chennai on Sunday. Photo: M. Vedhan
The erstwhile All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) regime failed to attract any fresh investments, new industries or create jobs for youngsters, Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said on Sunday.
Continuing his campaign as DMK candidate in Kolathur Assembly constituency for the second consecutive day, he said the State attracted investments worth thousands of crores of rupees because of the policies of the DMK government and, as a result, jobs were created for several educated youth.
“During AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa's regime, not even one flyover was constructed in the Chennai city nor did her government come out with a single scheme for meeting the mobility needs of the people. However, several flyovers, railway bridges and subways were built in the last five years under DMK rule. Keeping the future transportation needs of the public in mind, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has brought the Metro Rail project to the City,” he said.
Contending that DMK Ministers were in touch with the people on a regular basis, he said Ms. Jayalalithaa, on the other hand, spent several months a year at the Kodanad Estate in the Nilgiris. “We don't meet the people only during elections. We have always felt the pulse of the people and implemented several schemes accordingly,” he said.

Karunanidhi rejects Jayalalithaa's charge

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Sunday rejected the charge by AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa that the people of Tamil Nadu faced innumerable problems during DMK rule and that the DMK government failed to take any steps to address their concerns.
In a statement here, Mr. Karunanidhi listed the many schemes announced by the DMK government, saying that the list was so long that it would not be possible for him to write about all of them. “I have explained the achievements of the government and expect a gesture of gratitude from the people who are enjoying the benefits,” he said.
As regards Ms. Jayalalithaa's allegation that the State government had failed to control the rise in the price of essential commodities, he said Re.1-a-kg rice scheme had benefited 1.85 crore families, while distribution of palmolein, toor dhal, black gram, fortified wheat flour, atta and other items had kept the price rise under the control. The DMK government, he said, had waived agriculture loans to the tune of Rs.7,000 crore and provided relief to over 22 lakh families.
“The government also constituted welfare boards for 34 types of unorganised workers and distributed over two lakh acres of land to 1.79 lakh families, besides giving land pattas to over 8.29 lakh families,” he said.
Mr. Karunanidhi said the government had made enormous contribution towards providing education and ensured that girl students from poor families were given free education up to postgraduate courses.
“We have cancelled the entrance examination for professional courses, opened six new medical colleges, 15 engineering colleges and 14 arts and science colleges,” he said, adding that separate reservation for Muslims and Arundathiyars had benefited the communities.

TIPC to withdraw all its 140 candidates

In a sudden U-turn, the Tirupur Industrial Protection Committee (TIPC) has decided to withdraw the nominations of all the 140 candidates it fielded as Independents in Tirupur North constituency.
“We have taken this decision following assurances from both the DMK and the AIADMK that the Committee's demand for a direct takeover of the effluent treatment and its discharge in the dyeing process of apparel production by the State itself would be considered favourably soon after the elections,” TIPC president R. Annadurai said.
The decision to field a large number of candidates was taken by the TIPC only to draw attention to the crisis in Tirupur owing to the closure of the dyeing units by a Madras High Court order.
The TIPC was viewed with scepticism as the Committee was an unregistered outfit (even till now) and emerged only after the election dates were announced. The Dyers Association of Tirupur (DAT) had already distanced itself from the TIPC.