Monday, April 18, 2011

Election Commission acting against DMK, alleges Alagiri

Chennai, Apr 18 : Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M. K. Alagiri on Monday alleged that the Election Commission is acting against the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, with the aim of causing its defeat in the Assembly elections.

Talking to reporters at Chennai Airport, Alagiri said: "The Election Commission is trying to defeat the DMK and is working against the party.

"As I said earlier, the Election Commission had worked in such a manner to ensure that we are not back in power," he added.

He further said the DMK would definitely come to power, this time as well.

Currently, the DMK and its alliance partner Congress party are ruling the state while the main opposition is All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

The Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu concluded on Wednesday along with the Kerala and Puducherry.

Tamil Nadu registered over 70 percent of turnout in the polls.

DMK-led alliance prepared to face repoll in Madurai West: Azhagiri

Chennai, Apr 18 : DMK South zone organising secretary and Union Minister M K Azhagiri today said the DMK-led alliance was prepared to face a repoll in Madurai West Assembly constituency if the Election Commission orders it.

Asked about reports that the Election Commission (EC) might order repoll in Madurai West, Mr Azhagiri said the EC was a very powerful organisation and ''we have to abide.'' Mr Azhagiri, who was talking to newspersons at the Airport here on his arrival from Madurai, said the DMK-led alliance would face the repoll if need be and emerge victorious.

Reports suggested that the EC was mulling over ordering repoll in Madurai West, following reports of large scale distribution of money to the voters. The DMK has fielded K Thalapathi in this constituency.

Claiming that the victory prospects of the DMK in the just concluded Assembly elections were bright, Mr Azhagiri said the DMK-led alliance would win more than 200 seats and form the government under the leadership of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

He dismissed as baseless, AIADMK Generel Secretary J Jayalalithaa's charge that her partymen were being attacked by DMK men in Madurai and other southern districts.

A visit to Government hospitals in Madurai and southern districts would show that only DMK men were admitted to hospital after being injured in violent attacks by the AIADMK workers.

Asked about the functioning of the Election Commission, Mr Azhaigiri said he had nothing new to say. Throughout the elections, the Commission had functioned in a biased and partisan manner, he said.

Attacks on AIADMK men continuing: Jayalalithaa

Alleging that attacks on All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) cadre by the ruling party men in different parts of the State in the aftermath of the polls were continuing, the party on Sunday urged the Election Commission of India to immediately step in to prevent such incidents. 

Condemning such incidents, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa said in a statement here that violence was being unleashed on AIADMK and the alliance party members by the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) members who “feared defeat in the elections.” 

On Saturday, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the DMK was targeting her cadre for bringing out the malpractices and irregularities on polling day. 

The attacks took place in Melur, Tiruporur, Tiruparankundram, Cuddalore and other places. The injured AIADMK cadres were admitted to hospitals. 

“My statement has been substantiated with the further attacks on AIADMK workers at Tiruneermalai, Royapuram and R.K. Nagar in Chennai. They are seriously injured and have been admitted to hospitals,” she said and condemned such violent attacks taking place in various parts of the State. 

Deteriorating situation
 
The situation had deteriorated to such an extent that people have started to wonder whether the one-month gap between polling and counting was meant to be utilised for seeking vengeance against those who had voted against the ruling party and those who had worked hard for the AIADMK's victory. 

There was no point in expecting that the present regime would take action against the perpetrators in an unbiased manner, she said. 

Ms. Jayalalithaa urged EC to step in and put an end to such violence. Moreover, strict vigil should be in place to prevent such occurrences in future.

Internecine squabbles in Congress assuming feverish pitch

Hardly has the din in the election fray subsided, and the internecine squabbles in the Congress are assuming feverish pitch once again. Dissident activity against Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) president K.V. Thangkabalu is on the rise, with partymen burning effigies of the State unit leader or holding other sorts of protest almost every day.

Two such incidents took place in Chennai itself on Saturday and Sunday. However, party sources, who request anonymity, say the clamour for the replacement of Mr. Thangkabalu is “nothing unusual”; nor is groupism in the party a new phenomenon.

The shrill voices first heard in the political horizon just ahead of the elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly held on April 13, especially with regard to selection of candidates, have started becoming louder. Sathyamurthy Bhavan, the party headquarters, now reverberates with a variety of epithets, for and against Mr. Thangkabalu.

The sources said dissidence against the State unit chief was a customary feature over the past three decades.
For instance, even stalwarts like G.K. Moopanar, M.P. Subramaniam, Vazhappadi K. Ramamurthi and Kumari Ananthan faced a similar situation once they were elected/ nominated president of the State unit. The plight of later TNCC presidents like E.V.K.S. Elangovan, Tindivanam K. Ramamurthi and also G.K. Vasan was no better.

An interesting aspect is that all the groups would bury the hatchet and join hands to topple the new man who assumes charge as the State unit chief. “The honeymoon period is rarely beyond a few days,” the sources added.

Though the current clamour for replacing Mr. Thangkabalu has not openly come from the leaders of the “groups,” Mr. Elangovan, who has no love lost for the former and who has been advocating an anti-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) stance for long (except during the election campaign), has already directed his broadside towards him. Karti Chidambaram, All India Congress Committee member and son of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, has found fault with Mr. Thangkabalu for expelling some party workers for so-called “anti-party activities.”

Besides, Karate Thiagarajan, former Deputy Mayor of Chennai Municipal Corporation, and S.Ve. Shekher, sitting MLA of Mylapore, who have been expelled by Mr. Thangkabalu recently, are said to belong to two different groups. 

All the protests against Mr. Thangkabalu for the past more than a fortnight are attributed to Mr. Thiagarajan, as he was a strong contender for the Mylapore seat with the backing of a Union Minister. The seat, however, initially went to Ms. Jayanthi Thangkabalu, and ultimately to Mr. Thangkabalu himself due to “certain technical glitches” in the nomination papers filed by his wife. 

Interestingly, K. Jayakumar, a national secretary and one of the members of the party's five-member election panel, termed the expulsion of the party workers “illegal.” 

Quoting sections of the party constitution, he contended that only a disciplinary committee, either at the State or national level, could initiate any disciplinary action.

However, now that the party media department chairman Janardhan Dwivedi has joined the fray saying the State unit presidents are empowered to initiate disciplinary action depending upon the exigencies, it is slowly becoming a “no-holds-barred” battle requiring the high command's immediate attention.

Gang arrested on charges of abduction; weapons recovered

The police on Saturday arrested a gang of 10 persons belonging to Mettur in Salem district for allegedly abducting a Coimbatore based businessman for ransom. 

A special team on Saturday stormed into a hideout in Usiparai mountain in Mettur and arrested P. Raja (25), A. Karthik (28), A. Raja (26), N. Thiagarajan (26), M. Mohan alias Chandramohan (34), G.K. Raja (37), T. Kayalan (36), M. Sekhar (35), D. Balaji (26) and R. Mahesh (44). Sickles, knife and weapons were recovered from them. 

City Police Commissioner C. Sylendra Babu told reporters that Subash (53), a real estate businessman at Race Course along with his friend Ravindaran (64) went to Salem for purchasing property on April 9 and never returned home. Following a complaint filed later, a case of man missing was registered at Race Course police station. 

A special team under Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) E.S. Uma was formed with members including, Inspector T.H. Ganesh, Sub Inspectors C. Rajkumar, Prabhudas, Sakthivel, Saminathan, Karuppusamy, Selvam along with a posse of commando trained police personnel arrested the accused.
Under the pretext of helping them to find land, Kumar, a local person there took them to a house in Mettur. 

They were beaten up by a gang of ten persons and allegedly demanded Rs.5 lakh for their release. Hence, a ransom of Rs.2 lakh was allegedly paid to them by Ravindran's friend and they were released on April 11. The gang also took away 18 sovereigns of jewels from Ravindran. One of the injured hostages got admitted to a hospital for treatment.

Investigations reveal that the gang was involved in murder, abduction, rice smuggling, illegal arbitration since 2001 and had served imprisonment. Police are on the look out for Balaji, Bharathi and other group members who were absconding. Special teams have fanned out in search of the remaining accused. Cases were registered against the accused under Indian Penal Code for unlawful assembly, abduction, wrongful confinement, attempts to murder, conspiracy and criminal intimidation. They were remanded to judicial custody.

Evolve job schemes for fishermen during ban: Vaiko

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko on Sunday urged the State government to formulate an assured job scheme for fishermen during the annual 45-day fishing ban period and pay them Rs.100 a day.

In a statement, he said that the relief assistance provided by the State government during the ban period of 45 days to the families of crew/labourers on fishing boats was not sufficient. Instead of providing relief based on family cards, the government should take into account their registration in fishermen's cooperative societies and fisherwomen who made a living by selling fish.

The government has imposed a ban on fishing from April 15 to May 29 off the east coast and from June 15 to July 29 off the west coast to conserve fishery resources during the fish breeding season.

During this period, strict vigil should be maintained to ensure that fishing trawlers run by transnational firms did not violate the ban and it was also essential for the State and Central governments to protect the lives of Tamil fishermen, he said.

2G: Court seeks CBI’s response on Swamy’s plea

A special court on Monday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) whether Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy’s private complaint in the 2G spectrum case could be tagged with the agency’s FIR in the case.

Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini sought response from the agency by May 4 after Dr. Swamy said that he does not have any problem if his complaint is clubbed with the agency’s FIR.

“The scope of my application (private complaint) overlaps with the CBI case, but in some cases its ambit is wider than that of the CBI’s FIR,” Dr. Swamy told the court.

The court asked Dr. Swamy whether he wants his complaint to be tagged with the CBI FIR.

Dr. Swamy said he does not have any problem with it but he should be made a public prosecutor in the 2G case.

On being asked by the court, CBI prosecutor A.K. Singh said that they need at least two weeks time to respond on this.

The Janata Party chief told the court that he is willing to assist the CBI and Special Public Prosecutor U.U. Lalit, who has been appointed by the Supreme Court as a prosecutor in this case.

Earlier on March 28, Dr. Swamy had told the court that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi should also be made an accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Dr. Swamy had told Special CBI Judge O.P. Saini that he had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking sanction for prosecution of Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the case.

He had also sought his appointment as a public prosecutor to assist the court in holding the trial of the case.