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Wayanad

Modi regime didn't keep promises, says Priyanka in Wayanad

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (FIle photo: IANS)
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (FIle photo: IANS)
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday hit out at the Narendra Modi government for making false promises to people and ignoring the country's farmers.
 
Campaigning in Wayanad for her brother, Congress President Rahul Gandhi who is also contesting the Kerala seat in addition to his traditional Amethi constituency, she told a gathering that the Modi government has ditched the farmers but the Congress-led UPA government, if it comes to power, will take care of all their needs.
 
"In the five years, Modi has divided the country. He takes care of the rich and the mighty but ignores the needs of the huge farmer community in the country. 
 
"The BJP said they will double the income of the farmers and would deposit Rs 15 lakh into the bank account of every person, but for Rahul Gandhi, justice and truth matters," she said in Mananthavady, where she arrived in a helicopter after landing at Kannur airport.
 
She later met the family members of CRPF trooper Vasanth Kumar who was killed in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
 
From there, Vadra went to Pulpally where a mammoth gathering was waiting for hours to see her.
 
"The Modi government has dashed the hopes of the farmers and has taken on the people who fought for their rights. The Congress will empower all of you and will never create any difficulty for you all," she said at her public meet there.
 
After winding up her day, she will rest at a resort at Vythiri near here, and will leave Kerala on Sunday.
 
This is Vadra's second visit to Wayanad. On April 4, she accompanied Rahul Gandhi when he filed his nomination papers.
 
Union Minister Smriti Irani, who is contesting against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, was also supposed to reach Wayanad on Saturday to campaign for NDA constituent Bharat Dharma Jana Sena Chairman and Wayanad candidate Tushar Vellapally but her trip was postponed for Sunday.
 
Apart from Vellapally, Rahul Gandhi is also facing P. P. Suneer of the Communist Party of India, who is the candidate of the ruling Left Democratic Front. State CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, also campaigned here on Saturday.
 
The state will vote on April 23 to elect its 20 Lok Sabha members.
 
IANS
 

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Congress' Wayanad message is appeasement: Modi

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Slamming Congress President Rahul Gandhi for contesting from Wayanad in Kerala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out that the only message that's being sent out is appeasement politics.
 
Modi arrived in the state capital on Thursday night to campaign for the NDA candidates contesting in Kerala.
 
Taking on Gandhi, Modi said what's happening now is not politics, it's only self-interest and opportunistic politics.
 
"The Congress says there is a message behind his (Rahul Gandhi) choosing to contest from Wayanad. But the message could have been sent if the contest was from Thiruvanathapuram. If not, the contest could have taken place in Pathanamthitta (where Sabarimala temple is located). Had it happened, an even bigger message could have been sent out," said Modi.
 
Modi assured the gathering that when votes are counted on May 23 and the new government assumes office, the faith, culture and traditions will be protected through democratic means.
 
"The BJP stand is very clear while the Congress is playing a double game. They say one thing in Delhi and another in Kerala. The CPI-M has no belief in faith, culture or tradition. What they have done here is to register false cases against those who protested to protect the culture and tradition. As long as I am the 'chowkidar', I will not allow these to be destroyed ," said Modi.
 
He also took on the Pinarayi Vijayan government and pointed out that it's a corrupt one.
 
"Even the Chief Minister is caught in the midst of the Lavalin case and so are other ministers. It has now come out that the floods that hit the state were manmade. Even the compensation for those affected has been diverted. Such a government cannot remain in office any more," said Modi.
 
He also reminded the people that his government in the past five years has put country on the fast track of development, be it in land, sea, air or space.
 
"The 'chowkidar' of the country has empowered the scientists of the country who have come out with technology which will ensure the country's protection. The Congress never had the courage to take such decisions and when it came to hounding scientists, they did that. Your own scientist Nambi Narayanan was a victim of the Congress party," said Modi.
 
He pointed out that the elections are not meant for just putting up a new government.
 
"This election will determine the aspiration of building a new India. It's whether India should pave the way forward or it should follow others," said Modi.
 
Modi said for a strong government which will protect the country, a 'chowkidar' is needed and for that, all should vote for the NDA.
 
Modi arrived almost two hours late and left after his speech.
 
The BJP does not have a single Lok Sabha member from Kerala. It is expecting to open its account this time: It has high hopes from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, where the party has fielded former Mizoram governor Kummanem Rajasekheran.
 
He is pitted against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor who is aiming for a hat-trick of wins. Also in the fray is senior CPI legislator C. Divakaran.
 
In 2014, BJP candidate O. Rajagopal finished a close second, while in all the remaining 19 constituencies , the NDA candidates finished a distant third.
 
IANS

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Seeking a 'forever' relation with Wayanad, says Rahul

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Reaching out to the people in Kerala's Wayanad, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday assured that them he will be with them forever.
 
In his first visit to the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency after April 4, when he came along with his sister Priyanka Gandhi to file his nomination, he earlier made a quick visit to the famed temple of Lord Vishnu at Thiruneli where he performed "beli tharpanam" in memory of his father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
 
Gandhi had on his previous visit to Kerala expressed his wish to visit the temple and perform the puja, but the Special Protection Group (SPG) did not allow it due to security reasons, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.
 
Dressed in white dhoti and wearing an angavastra, Gandhi walked to the temple from the Devasom Guest House in Thiruneli.
 
He took note of every detail told to him by the temple priests and then prayed to the deity. He, along with the priests, later walked some 700 metres to the spot where his father's ashes were immersed on May 30, 1991.
 
The Congress President then addressed three political rallies soliciting votes for himself and for United Democratic Front candidates.
 
"I stand here not as a politician, but as a son, brother and a friend. I decided to contest from here so as to project that south India is as important as other places. I seek a relationship with Wayanad that will be there forever," said Gandhi to a huge round of applause at Sultan Battery.
 
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"I have come to know all the problems that you are facing here and I am not like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will never give you a false promise. I wish to thank everyone here who gave me a chance to contest from here," he added.
 
In between, he met the 25-year-old Sreedhanya Suresh, who earlier this month, became the first person from the Scheduled Tribe community in the state to have cleared the Civil Services examination and secured 410th rank.
 
At Wandoor, despite heavy rains, a huge crowd had gathered to hear him.
 
Some people had a heated argument with the security officials, but the moment Gandhi arrived and started to speak, all became calm.
 
After his rally, Gandhi left from the Kozhikode airport and it would now be the turn of Priyanka Gandhi to arrive for a brief visit to round off the campaign.
 
In Wayanad, from where he is contesting along with his traditional seat, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress chief faces the Communist Party of India's P. P. Suneer, who is the candidate of the ruling Left Democratic Front and Bharath Dharma Jana Sena Chairperson Tushar Vellapally, who is the National Democratic Alliance candidate.
 
Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency came into being in 2009 and it was won by senior Congress leader M. I. Shanawaz in the elections since then, but he passed away last year.
 
While he won his first election by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes - the state's highest margin of victory in 2009, in 2014, his majority fell to around 20,000 votes.
 
The top brass of the state Congress is leaving nothing to chance and is determined to give their President a record margin of victory.
 
Elections to Wayanad will be held along with the state's other 19 seats in the third phase of the Lok Sabha polls on April 23.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul performs 'beli tharpanam' for father in Kerala

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday performed "beli tharpanam" in memory of his father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, at a Thiruneli temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
 
Gandhi had on his previous visit to Kerala expressed a wish to perform the "puja" and visit the temple, but the Special Protection Group (SPG) did not allow it due to security reasons, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.
 
Dressed in white dhoti and wearing an angavastra, Gandhi earlier in the day walked to the temple from the Devasom Guest house.
 
He took note of every detail told to him by the temple priests and then prayed to the deity. He along with the priests later walked some 700 metres to the spot where his father's ashes were immersed on May 30, 1991.
 
The former Prime Minister was killed in a bomb blast by the LTTE in Sriperumbudur during a late evening election rally on May 21, 1991, in the Tamil Nadu town near Chennai.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul to be on two-day whirlwind campaign in Kerala

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who arrives here on Monday night, will campaign across the state for two days, where he will also cover his constituency -- Wayanad -- on Wednesday.
 
Kerala goes to the polls on April 23 to elect 20 Lok Sabha members.
 
Releasing details of Gandhi's tour programme, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday said he will arrive here on the night of April 15.
 
The following morning, he travels to Pathanapuram in Kollam district to address a party rally in the constituency where Kodikunnil Suresh, a former Union Minister and the sitting member from the Mavelikera Lok Sabha constituency, is seeking re-election.
 
At 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday, Gandhi is scheduled to reach Pathanamthitta district -- where the famed Sabarimala temple is located -- to campaign for Anto Antony, who is seeking a hat-trick of victories from the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency.
 
At 4 p.m., he will arrive in Alappuzha to campaign for Shanimol Usman, a former Mahila Congress Chairperson, from where he returns to the state capital to solicit votes for party candidate Shashi Tharoor.
 
Gandhi travels thereafter to Kannur in north Kerala, and the following day he will reach his constituency Wayanad.
 
His election campaign programme in Kerala concludes with a road show on Wednesday.
 
Of the total representation from Kerala in the outgoing Lok Sabha, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) has 12 seats, while the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has eight. 
 
IANS
 

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Rahul Gandhi files nomination from Wayanad, thousands cheer him

Thousands of people gave a rousing welcome to Congress President Rahul Gandhi who filed his Lok Sabha nomination from Wayanad in Kerala on Thursday morning.

Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi
Thousands of people gave a rousing welcome to Congress President Rahul Gandhi who filed his Lok Sabha nomination from Wayanad in Kerala on Thursday morning.
 
Arriving in a helicopter from Kozhikode, Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra drove to the Wayanad Collector's office some 500 meters away, all the time cheered by people packing both sides of the road.
 
Amid tight security, only a few persons were allowed to go in with them.
 
The Gandhis later boarded an open jeep for a road show in Wayanad, one of the economically backward regions of Kerala, accompanied by Congress General Secretary Oommen Chandy.
 
Police personnel found it tough to handle the surging crowds. The situation became more difficult whenever Rahul Gandhi shook hands with supporters.
 
Rahul Gandhi will be contesting from both Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, his traditional Lok Sabha constituency, as well as Wayanad.
 
Kerala goes to the polls on April 23 to elect 20 MPs.
 
At one time, there were heated exchanges between Congress leaders and Special Protection Group (SPG) officials after the latter insisted that the proposed road show might not happen due to security concerns.
 
But in the end the Congress leadership won the tussle.
 
The crowds were delirious. 
 
"I have seen Indira Gandhi when she came to Kozhikode many years back. Now I am excited that I have seen her grandchildren. I am very happy," beamed a 78-year-old Muslim woman.
 
Another group of Congress activists shouted: "Rahul will win with a massive margin never seen in Kerala."
 
IANS
 

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Rahul Gandhi files nomination from Wayanad

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday filed nominations for his second seat of Wayanad in Kerala.

Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday filed nominations for his second seat of Wayanad in Kerala.
 
Gandhi was accompanied by his sister and party in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
 
He is contesting from Wayanad in addition to his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. 
 
 
 
 

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Huge crowd greets Rahul, Priyanka at Kozhikode airport

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who arrived here on Wednesday, were greeted by hundreds of UDF supporters, who had been waiting three hours to see them.
 
Gandhi had sprung a surprise when the Congress announced that he will also contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, apart from the traditional seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh that has been home to Gandhi family for long, in these elections.
 
Thursday is the last date for filing of nominations from Wayanad, with polling for all of Kerala's 20 Lok Sabha constituencies to be held on April 23.
 
Senior Congress leaders including Mukul Wasnik, K. C. Venugopal, Oommen Chandy, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and several others turned up at the airport, which was taken over by the police but found it tough to keep the crowd under check.
 
Rahul Gandhi spent some time at the VIP lounge with the leaders and he came out of the lounge and waved at the supporters before leaving through the VIP gate.
 
Reacting to the tumultuous response of the workers, Congress veteran Aryadan Mohammed told the media that in his long political career, he has contested 12 times but never seen such a response as what was witnessed at the Congress President's visit.
 
"He is going to win with a record margin, you just wait and see," said Mohammed.
 
"The UDF workers are on a high and it's going to be Gandhi wave, not just in Kerala, but in South India," said Chennithala.
 
From the airport, the Gandhis drove to Kozhikode to spend the night.
 
Around 9 a.m. on Thursday, both of them are expected to take a helicopter to Wayanad, even as Gandhi has expressed his desire to take the road route, but this was opposed by the SPG.
 
A final decision would be taken on Thursday morning, as according to present plans, he is expected to file the nomination papers before 12 noon.
 
IANS
 
 

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Congress seeks Modi's apology for remarks on Rahul

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The Congress party on Monday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's apology for his remarks over party chief Rahul Gandhi choosing to contest also from Wayanad in Kerala apparently because the Congress is "scared" that Hindus will punish them for "Hindu terror" remarks and therefore running away to minority-dominated seat.
 
Talking to reporters here, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also sought action against him by the Election Commission (EC). 
 
Surjewala said Modi has committed a "corrupt practice" under Section 123 of the Representation of People's Act besides violating the dignity of the office he holds and every other yardstick that is necessary and impeccable in public life. 
 
"He must apologise to the nation. He has insulted the freedom movement, he has insulted entire southern India, he has insulted the composite culture of India, he has insulted the India that is unified by its multiple cultures as also languages, religions, castes and creeds. The Election Commission must take note of this and take action against Narendra Modi," Surjewala said. 
 
He said Modi is frustrated at his imminent defeat in the elections. 
 
"Looking at the imminent defeat, a frustrated and flustered Prime Minister has shed all sense of responsibility of the high office he holds, and broken every constitutional norm and every norm of the public life that a person holding such a high office should uphold by alleging that Rahul Gandhi is contesting Wayanad seat as people of a particular religion live there," Surjewala said.
 
He said Modi must understand that this country thrives on its all encompassing behavior.
 
"Prime Minister must understand that caste, creed, religion, way of life, culture, language, looks and colour of skin are not considerations in our society to differentiate between men and men or women and women. Prime Minister has no sense of history, he has no sense of geography, he also has no knowledge of the struggle of Independence and he does not understand the composite culture of India," he said. 
 
Surjewala said Modi does not know that Wayanad is famous for struggle for freedom against the British by the ruler of Kottayam Royal Dynasty, who not only fought the Britishers but also waged a guerrilla war defeating the British on multiple occasions till he sacrificed himself for India. 
 
"Does he even know that Wayanad is also known for the temple of 'Love-Kush' - the sons of Lord Ram and Sita? Does the Prime Minister even know that in Wayanad, particularly in Vythiri, the glass temple of the Jains is famous? Does the Prime Minister know that Wayanad has a large tribal population of eight different Scheduled Tribes? 
 
"Does the Prime Minister even know that Wayanad has nearly 50 per cent Hindu population besides the population of backwards, Scheduled Tribes, Dalits and of many-many other religions where Christians are about 20-21 per cent and Muslims are about 28 per cent? So, it is an ideal ground of combination of various communities and religions who thrive together and live together," he said. 
 
Modi had said at an election rally at Wardha in Maharashtra that the Congress is running scared that the Hindus will punish them now with the recent court verdict. 
 
He said the Congress lacks courage to stand in Hindu-dominated constituencies and is running around other minority-dominated seats for elections, in an obvious reference to Gandhi's plans to contest from Wayanad in Kerala apart from his traditional seat of Amethi.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala: BJP pits BJDS chief Vellappally against Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad

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The BJP on Monday announced that Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) President Thushar Vellappally would be the NDA candidate against Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Kerala's Wayanad constituency.
 
"I proudly announce Thushar Vellappally, President of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena as NDA candidate from Wayanad. A vibrant and dynamic youth leader, he represents our commitment towards development and social justice. With him, NDA will emerge as Kerala's political alternative," Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah tweeted.
 
The BDJS is a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance in Kerala and Vellappally is also the NDA's state convenor.
 
Thanking Shah for giving him the opportunity, Vellappally said in a tweet: "This behind the curtain drama of the left and congress we will expose to our country men. I am with you in this fight to eradicate foreign rule from our motherland."
 
The Congress had on Sunday announced that Gandhi would also contest from Wayanad, apart from his traditional constituency Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, acceding to the demands of party workers in south India.
 
IANS

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CPI-M slams Rahul's Wayanad foray, vows to defeat him

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The CPI-M, the main force in Kerala's ruling Left Democratic Alliance (LDF), on Sunday reacted sharply to the Congress's announcement that party President Rahul Gandhi would contest from the state's Wayanad parliamentary constituency and vowed to defeat him.
 
Communist Party of India-Marxist's (CPI-M) former chief Prakash Karat said the Congress's decision went against the party's "stated commitment" to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 
 
"In Kerala, it is the LDF, which is the main force that can fight the BJP. And Rahul Gandhi is going to Kerala to fight the LDF, which means we have to take on the United Democratic Front (UDF), of which he will be a candidate.
 
"The UDF consists of not only Congress but Muslim League and other parties which have a dubious reputation. And we shall work to defeat the UDF in all constituencies including Wayanad," he said in a video message.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also said that Gandhi's contesting from Wayanad was not "symbolic".
 
"In Kerala, as we all know, the fight is between the Left and the Congress, with the BJP not in the picture at all. He should have fought against the BJP. Now that he has decided to contest from Wayanad, we, the Left will see to defeat him," he told the media in Thiruvanthapuram.
 
State CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Gandhi's move to Wayanad will ensure a Left victory on all the 20 seats in the state. 
 
"He is coming here because he is not confident of his win in Amethi. And the Left will show Gandhi what our power here is," he said, adding that the Left was confident of repeating its 2004 performance when they won 18 out of the state's 20 seats.
 
The Wayanad seat has been allocated to the Communist Party of India (CPI) and its candidate P.P. Suneer said that he was not alarmed by the stature of his opposing candidate.
 
"The candidate does not matter, as elections are fought on issues. By now I have already completed three rounds of my campaign and I am on a strong footing as the backing that I have is of the Left forces, which has a good chemistry with the electorate in the Wayanad constituency," he said.
 
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Gandhi's contesting from Wayanad was greeted with excitement in Malappuram, the stronghold of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), UDF's second biggest constituent in Kerala - and where three of Wayanad's assembly segments fall in. 
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has given the Wayanad seat to ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), however, poked fun at the Congress President's shift to the southern state. 
 
"It's a shame for the Congress chief to run away from Amethi and seek solace in the arms of the IUML, which is strong in Wayanad," said state BJP President P. S. Sreedharan Pillai.
 
Senior Congress leader and former Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Sunday announced Gandhi's decision to contest from Wayanad.
 
Making the announcement in New Delhi, Antony said Gandhi was not keen to contest on a second seat. "But there was a tremendous pressure from the south Indian states, the Congress party as well as from the allies that he should contest."
 
Wayanad became a Lok Sabha constituency in 2009, and M. I. Shanawaz of the Congress won it that year by a margin of 1,53,439 votes. However, his margin dropped to 20,870 in 2014, and last year he passed away after a long illness. The seat has been lying vacant since then.
 
Considered a safe seat for the Congress, there was a scramble between the party's various factions for a ticket to Wayanad and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had even managed to swing it in favour of his close confidante T. Siddique.
 
However, Chandy was the first to speak of the possibility of Gandhi contesting from Wayanad last week. 
 
Wayanad will vote on April 23 and Amethi on May 6. The counting of votes for the country will be held on May 23.
 
IANS

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Rahul Gandhi to contest LS elections from Wayanad in Kerala, too

In a significant move, the Congress on Sunday announced that its president Rahul Gandhi, who has been elected to the Lok Sabha for three consecutive terms from the family bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, would contest the coming Parliamentary elections from Wayanad in Kerala, too.

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
In a significant move, the Congress today announced that its president Rahul Gandhi, who has been elected to the Lok Sabha for three consecutive terms from the family bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, would contest the coming Parliamentary elections from Wayanad in Kerala, too.
 
The decision was announced by senior Congress leader A. K. Antony, who hails from Kerala, and party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, who said it was taken in order to respect the several requests from Congress workers and allies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka that Gandhi contest from a seat in South India, apart from Amethi.
 
Antony said that the choice of Wayanad constituency, uniquely located at the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, would, in a way, honour the wishes of the party's supporters in all three states.
 
"All of us are together here today to inform you about one of the happiest news," the former Defence Minister said.
 
He said the requests received from the three states had been considered by senior leaders of the party who then advised Gandhi that it would not be correct on his party to ignore such sentiments and that he must accept the demands.
 
"Finally, he has given his consent. I am happy to inform you that Rahulji will contest from Wayanad in Kerala also," he said.
 
Surjewala said Gandhi had always stressed that Amethi is his "karmabhoomi". "He is not just an elected representative from Amethi, he is a part of the Amethi family," he said.
 
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Asked about the BJP's and its Amethi candidate Smriti Irani's remarks that Gandhi had opted to contest from a second constituency because he was scared of losing from Amethi, Surjewala said whether then Gujarat Chief Minister and now Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to contest from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh as well as Vadodara in Gujarat had been taken because of he was afraid of losing in his home state.
 
He said it would be better if the BJP, instead of indulging in such immature politics, concentrated on the real issues facing the people and the country. He also said Union Minister Irani, who had lost to Gandhi in 2014 and from Chandni Chowk in Delhi in 2009, would record a "hat-trick" of defeats this time.
 
Surjewala said Gandhi's decision to contest from South India also was a strong message to the people of the region that they and their way of life mattered to the Congress and the entire country. He said it was also a "befitting response" to those who sought to divide the nation on the basis of religion, caste, community, region, language, and so on.
 
Gandhi, who has been representing Amethi in the Lok Sabha since 2004, won the seat by a reduced margin in the last elections in 2014 against Irani.
 
Asked which seat Gandhi will retain if he wins both in Amethi and Wayanad, Surjewala said that when the Congress forms a government following the polls, the party president will represent the entire country. 
 
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Congress MP from Kerala M. I. Shanavas passes away

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M. I. Shanavas, Congress Lok Sabha member from Wayanad in Kerala and the Working President of the party's state unit, passed away at a private hospital in Chennai on Wednesday, a party leader said.
 
He was 67. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
 
"The party has lost a stalwart. I have lost a dear brother," Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala said.
 
Shanavas, a two-time Member of Parliament (MP) , was ailing for sometime and was admitted at a hospital in the Tamil Nadu capital. 
 
"His body will be brought to Kochi today. It will lie in state for the public to pay their last respects and the final rites will take place tomorrow," said Chennithala.
 
A long-time close aide of former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran, Shahnavas along with Chennithala and former Kerala Speaker late G. Karthikeyan in the 1980s parted ways with Karunakaran and formed their own faction, 'the reformist'.
 
Shanavas won the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Wayanad, which he retained in 2014.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet colleagues condoled the passing away of Shanavas.
 
IANS

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Two Kerala officials arrested for embezzlement of flood relief material

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Two Kerala government officials were arrested on Friday in Wayanad district for the alleged embezzlement of flood relief material, police said.
 
A senior police official told IANS that the arrests were made based on a complaint received from another senior government official.
 
According to the complaint, the two accused, S. Thomas and M.P. Dinesh, were stopped by residents at a relief camp Panamaram village while they were loading the relief material into a vehicle.
 
Thomas and Dinesh said that they were moving the material to another camp in the village. But the residents called the police and upon interrogation it was found that they had lied.
 
Meanwhile, a similar incident was also reported from Chengannur where the accused was a temporary government official.
 
Relief materials have been coming into Kerala from various places ever since the heavy monsoon rains hit the state on May 29 followed by subsequent floods leading to some 370 deaths and displacement of more than a million people from their homes.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala flood toll 368, over 58,000 rescued, red alert in 3 districts

The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 368, as 33 more deaths were reported on Saturday even as around 58,000 people were rescued in different parts of the state, and a red alert is now there in just three districts, down from 11.

 
More rain hits Kerala's flooding devastation
 
 
The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 368, as 33 more deaths were reported on Saturday even as around 58,000 people were rescued in different parts of the state, and a red alert is now there in just three districts, down from 11.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while giving the latest figures, told the media late on Saturday that the flood relief work is going on in full swing and things are slowly coming under control and more helicopters and personnel would be engaged in the rescue and relief operations on Sunday.
 
The 33 deaths reported during the day occurred in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts.
 
Rejecting a demand from the Congress-led opposition and Kerala BJP to hand over the rescue operations to the Army, he said: "In a rescue operation, the most important thing is that it should be done only by the local authorities who are well-versed with the locality, and the Army and other agencies' help is sought and a combined operation is done."
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday afternoon forecast that widespread rains, with heavy rains at isolated places, are likely to continue over Kerala following low pressure area very likely to develop over northwest Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood during the next 24 hours.
 
While more than 58,000 people were rescued in areas like Ernakulam, Chengannur, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur, there are still many more waiting to be rescued.
 
Vijayan said that the red alert has now been limited to Ernakulam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts only.
 
The worst affected places include Aluva, Chalakudy, Chengannur, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, where massive rescue operations were on as scores of persons were rescued.
 
Media houses continued to be flooded with requests from friends and relatives of those stranded in the affected areas.c
 
Earlier in the day, Vijayan told Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a review meeting in Kochi that the death toll since May 29 had climbed to 357 and over 3.53 lakh affected persons had been lodged in over 2,000 relief camps.
 
Modi sanctioned Rs 500 crore to the flood-battered state, apart from Rs 100 crore announced earlier by the Centre on August 12, before returning to Delhi after an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas.
 
Vijayan in the morning told the media that the situation is "very serious and grave".
 
Meanwhile, anger mounted across Kerala as coordination of rescue work went haywire due to the magnitude of the calamity.
 
"There are many people waiting to be rescued in areas like Pandanad (near Chengannur) and I saw two bodies floating in the water. If there is any more delay in, things will take a turn for the worse. We are drinking rain water to keep us going...," said a resident of Pandanad.
 
On Saturday night, a 150-member National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team started rescue operations in and around affected areas of Chengannur.
 
Congress legislator V.D. Sateeshan, who was spearheading the rescue operations in Paravur in Ernakulam district, said that he stood before a rescue boat team with folded hands and they obliged and rescued several people.
 
National award winning actor Salim Kumar, after remaining holed up in his house along with 45 others for three days, was finally rescued by a fishing boat on Saturday evening.
 
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Flaying the state for "failing in the endeavour", Leader of Opposition Chennithala said: "I have been flooded with calls from the affected persons. Even now, thousands of people are stranded. The Chief Minister dismissed with contempt when I said this week that rescue and relief should be handed over to the Army. I do not want to blame anyone but it has been proved beyond doubt that the state government has failed."
 
More fishing boats from various places reached the affected areas during the day.
 
Alappuzha District Collector S. Suhas said since morning 150 boats including house boats have been engaged in rescuing people and "today (Saturday) we evacuated about 75 per cent of people who were waiting to be rescued".
 
"Around two lakhs people are now in various camps. This could well be the biggest rescue operation," Suhas said.
 
Journalist-turned-CPI-M legislator Veena George on Saturday turned critical "due to the way the government machinery in Pathanamthitta has been working".
 
"None has a clue of how many people have been rescued and how many are left to be rescued. There seems to be a disconnect in coordination of the operations," said George.
 
The situation in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Wayanad inched towards comparative normalcy as rains slowed and water level receded, with many living in crowded relief camps awaiting to return home.
 
However, a landslide near Nelliyampathy in Palakkad district has left around 1,000 people cut off from the mainland and the Army is working to clear the debris.
 
At several places in waterlogged areas, banks could not function normally since staff failed to report for the duty due to flooding.
 
Railway services between Ernakulam and Thrissur remained suspended on Saturday with long-distance trains diverted via the Nagercoil route.
 
A special train will be back on the Kottayam sector on Sunday, after all services on this route were suspended for the past two days.
 
Certain blockades on the Thrissur-Palakkad-Aluva highway were cleared for traffic. Army personnel worked hard to clear the roads to Munnar.
 
Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent widespread floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of over Rs 19,500 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala flood death toll 357, 11 districts still on alert

The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 357 this monsoon season, as 22 more deaths were reported on Saturday and red alert continued in 11 districts following prediction of more rains.

 
More rain hits Kerala's flooding devastation
 
 
The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 357 this monsoon season, as 22 more deaths were reported on Saturday and red alert continued in 11 districts following prediction of more rains.
 
The death toll due to torrential rains since August 9 -- the third spell during this year's monsoon in the southern state -- reached 194 with the casualties reported on Saturday in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Chengannur districts.
 
The India Meteorological Department forecast on Saturday afternoon that widespread rains, with heavy rains at isolated places, is likely to continue over Kerala following low pressure area very likely to develop over northwest Bay of Bengal and the neighbourhood during the next 24 hours.
 
Barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasargode, the remaining 11 districts of Kerala continued to be on red alert following prediction of more rains.
 
The worst affected places include Aluva, Chalakudy, Chengannur, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, where massive rescue operations were on as scores of persons were rescued.
 
Media houses continued to be flooded with requests from friends and relatives of those stranded in affected areas.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kochi. In a memorandum submitted to the Centre, Vijayan said that the death toll in rain-related incidents since May 29 had climbed to 357. Over 3.53 lakh affected persons had been lodged in over 2,000 relief camps, he said.
 
Modi sanctioned Rs 500 crore to the flood-battered state, apart from Rs 100 crore announced earlier by the Centre on August 12, before returning to Delhi after an aerial survey of the affected areas.
 
Vijayan told the media here that the situation is "very serious and grave". 
 
"The death toll would have been higher, but for the work we did. Things are under control," said Vijayan, whose government was flayed by Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala for failing to take up rescue and relief work effectively.
 
Food Minister P. Thilothaman, camping at Chengannur, told the media: "The need of the hour is to provide food packets and drinking water to the people. About 15 small boats of the Navy are expected to join rescue and relief work. But, after dusk, no rescues are possible. Helicopters are also needed for faster evacuation."
 
Meanwhile, anger mounted across Kerala as coordination of rescue work went haywire due to the magnitude of calamity.
 
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Flaying the state for "failing in the endeavour", Leader of Opposition Chennithala said: "I have been flooded with calls from the affected persons. Even now, thousands of people are stranded. The Chief Minister dismissed with contempt when I said this week that rescue and relief should be handed over to the Army. I do not want to blame anyone but it has been proved beyond doubt that the state government has failed."
 
More fishing boats from various places reached the affected areas during the day.
 
Alappuzha Superintendent of Police A.P. Surendran said: "Things are moving fast on Saturday. Helicopters and more boats have been pressed into service. We are confident we will be able to rescue more stranded people."
 
The situation in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Wayanad inched towards comparative normalcy as rains slowed and water level receded, with many living in crowded relief camps awaiting return to their homes.
 
At several places in waterlogged areas, banks could not function normally since staff faied to report for duty due to the flooding.
 
Railway services between Ernakulam and Thrissur remained suspended on Saturday, with long-distance trains diverted via the Nagercoil route.
 
Certain blockades on the Thrissur-Palakkad highway though were cleared for traffic. Army personnel worked hard to clear the roads to Munnar.
 
Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent widespread floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of over Rs 19,500 crore.
 
IANS
 

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PM announces Rs 500 crore assistance to flood-hit Kerala

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced Rs 500 crore financial assistance for flood-ravaged Kerala where hundreds of people have died, lakhs have been rendered homeless and property worth millions of rupees has been destroyed in one of the worst floods and torrential rain in recent history.

 
Kerala reels under worst floods in a century
 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced Rs 500 crore financial assistance for flood-ravaged Kerala where hundreds of people have died, lakhs have been rendered homeless and property worth millions of rupees has been destroyed in one of the worst floods and torrential rain in recent history.
 
The Prime Minister, who flew from Delhi on Friday night, made an aerial assessment of the damage caused by the floods. However, the survey was done only in some of the affected areas due to bad weather.
 
Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have caused the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning, with over three lakh people forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps.
 
The aerial survey of the massive loss and destruction triggered by the torrential rains was initially called off due to bad weather. 
 
Following the cancellation, Modi chaired a meeting with Governor P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other officials and witnessed a video presentation of the widespread destruction across the state. 
 
"The Prime Minister announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the state. This is in addition to Rs 100 crore announced on August 12. He assured the state government that relief materials including foodgrains, medicines would be provided, as requested," an official statement said.
 
Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
 
Insurance companies were also directed to hold special camps for assessment and timely release of compensation to the affected families and beneficiaries under social security schemes. Directions have also been issued for early clearance of claims under the Fasal Bima Yojna for farmers. 
 
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The statement said villagers, whose houses have been destroyed in the floods, would be provided Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin houses on priority.
 
"The Prime Minister complimented the state government for the efforts made in meeting the challenges of the unprecedented situation. He observed that rescue of people who are still marooned remains the topmost priority," the statement said.
 
The disaster has triggered an unprecedented rescue and relief operation led by the Army, the Air Force and the Navy along with teams of National Disaster Response Force involving about 1,300 personnel and 435 boats. 
 
Thirty eight helicopters have been deployed, apart from 20 aircraft used for ferrying resources.
 
The Army has deployed 10 columns and 10 teams of Engineering Task Force (ETFs) involving around 790 personnel.
 
The Navy has provided 82 teams, the Coast Guard 42 along with two helicopters and two ships.
 
Five Companies of paramilitary troops have also been deployed for rescue and relief measures. 
 
Nearly, 7,000 persons have been rescued since August 9 and some 900 given medical assistance. 
 
IANS
 
 

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Kerala floods: Modi's aerial survey called off

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed aerial survey of the massive loss and destruction triggered by the torrential rains in Kerala was called off on Saturday due to bad weather, state government officials said.
 
Modi, who arrived in the state capital on Friday night, flew in to Kochi earlier in the morning.
 
The Prime Minister was to be accompanied in his survey by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran and other top state officials.
 
His visit comes at a time when the Congress-led opposition has been demanding immediate deployment of the Army since the state government has been unable to deal with the crisis.
 
Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have resulted in the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning, with over 3 lakh others forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps.
 
Before returning to Delhi from Kochi, the Prime Minister will chair a meeting to discuss the situation.
 
Rains subsided on Saturday morning resulting in the water level in Idukki and parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts coming down.
 
But on Friday night, air lifting could not take place in Chengannur as the incessant rains continued in the region.
 
IANS

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Kerala flood crisis: Death toll 174, red alert in 12 of 14 districts

 
Kerala reels under worst floods in a century
 
 
The death toll in rain-battered Kerala touched 174 on Friday as a red alert continued in 12 districts, with various agencies continuing the rescue operations after rains subsided to evacuate over 80,000 persons during the day.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media in the night that the situation arising out of unprecedented floods and subsequent havoc caused by turgid rivers and gushing waters in Kerala continues to be "grave".
 
He said that since August 8 -- when the rains began pounding the southern state -- as many as 3,14,391 persons have been lodged in 2,094 relief camps across Kerala.
 
"The worst affected districts include Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur," Vijayan said after a review meeting with state officials.
 
Hundreds of defence personnel, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, helped by more than 20 helicopters, mounted search and rescue operations. Fishermen along with their motorboats too joined the humanitarian efforts.
 
More helicopters were pressed into service on Friday to fly sorties for rescue and relief.
 
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sanctioned the extra choppers, as people marooned in Chengannur and Chalakudy could only be airlifted to safety.
 
Waters from the Periyar river and its tributaries kept many towns in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts submerged. The worst affected include Paravur, Kalady, Chalakudy, Perumbavoor and Muvatupuzha.
 
"We have no food. There are 150 persons waiting to be rescued," rued a group of people who sent a video clip to TV channels from Chalakudy.
 
Thousands of people are still perched on high-rise buildings waiting to be rescued and taken to relief camps. Over 50,000 people are lodged in the Ernakulam and Thrissur camps alone.
 
Intensity of rains, however, decreased in several districts since Friday morning, leading to decrease in water level in three big dams in Idukki district.
 
The red alert in Kasargode and Thiruvananthapuram districts was withdrawn on Friday though the warning continued in other 12 districts in Kerala.
 
"On Saturday, 25 big Army boats will be deployed for evacuation in Kalady, Chengannur and Thiruvalla. More helicopters will be used for rescue and relief. We are confident that by Saturday, we will be able to rescue all those awaiting help," the Chief Minister said.
 
In the morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the flood situation with Vijayan over phone. He was slated to arrive in the state in the evening and undertake an aerial survey of the affected areas on Saturday.
 
Vijayan pointed out that 40,000 policemen, 3,200 firefighters, 18 teams of the Army, 28 of Coast Guard, 39 of NDRF and 46 of Navy were engaged in rescue operations. As many as 82,442 persons were rescued on Friday, Vijayan said.
 
"The Centre has allowed the use of the Cochin naval airbase for commercial operations of small aircraft, as the Cochin International Airport has been closed due to flooding. Punjab, Maharashtra, and Telangana have said they will provide food packets while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has pledged Rs 10 crore and other help," Vijayan said.
 
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Waters in Idukki and Wayanad areas and certain areas of Pathanathitta had receded, he said.
 
"One big problem that rescue teams are facing is that some people are unwilling to move to the relief camps. This is not good for their safety," the Chief Minister added.
 
Many people, especially in Kuttanadu area, refused to move to the camps, Finance Minister Thomas Issac said. Rising waters though forced them to change their plan.
 
Idukki's senior revenue official M.P. Vinod said that with lesser rains, water level in various dams in Idukki had come down.
 
"The biggest problem is disruption in telecommunication facilities... We are unable to communicate freely. All relief camps are functioning well and none has any complaint. In Munnar, I am given to understand that the Army is restoring damaged roads. Another huge problem is spread of fake news, which has to be tackled," Vinod said.
 
Helicopters loaded with food packets took off from the state capital and dropped these in central districts.
 
Authorities in worst-affected districts took help of big lorries to navigate flooded roads to reach those marooned in small pockets.
 
Amid the grim scenario in the state, there was good news: A pregnant woman Sajitha Jabeel airlifted on Friday morning by a Navy rescue team from a waterlogged place near Aluva delivered a baby boy at the Kochi Naval Base hospital soon after she was admitted.
 
Meanwhile, authorities in Ernakulam faced problems as a camp set up at U.C. College at Aluva was overcrowded with over 8,000 people.
 
Aluva legislator Anwar Sadat said shortage of fuel was hampering rescue as only boats were being pressed into service.
 
"Things are very bad. Aluva is completely marooned. People have no food or water. Our only solace is the numerous fishermen who are rescuing us.
 
"But now even their families are asking them to return. More defence personnel are required to speed up the rescue and relief," Sadat said while pleading for help.
 
The central district of Pathanamthitta is also facing destruction as overflowing Pamba river has inundated several towns. Ranni, Kozhenchery continue to be completely submerged.
 
Hundreds of fishermen from coastal villages of Thiruvananthapuram arrived at Pathanamthitta and began rescue even as helicopters too began to airlift affected persons to safer places.
 
On Friday, Achenkovil river overflowed into Pandalam town. A boat overturned while carrying out the rescue work, but luckily all on board were saved.
 
The Met office forecast lesser rains in Kerala till Saturday, which should bring some relief to the embattled authorities.
 
Rescue operations are progressing well in Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad. In the last two districts, over 20,000 camps have been set up.
 
Major national and state highways, as well as rail traffic, continued to be disrupted in various parts of the state though more government buses were operated from various depots on Friday.
 
Railway services between Ernakulam and Thrissur remained suspended even as long- distance trains were diverted via Nagercoil route.
 
Long queues were witnessed in front of petrol stations across the state following reports of shortage of automobile fuel due to floods.
 
Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala told the media that even though one should not be finding faults with the state government, a lot needs to be done as thousands of people are still at risk.
 
"We do not know who is providing all these figures to the Chief Minister... there seems to be a lack of coordination as people are suffering in relief camps," he claimed.
 
Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala flood crisis: Death toll touches 114; armed forces mount massive rescue efforts

 
Worst flood in a century kills over 100 people in Kerala
 
 
With the death toll in the devastating floods rising to 114 in Kerala, and more than one lakh people living in relief camps across the state, the Centre on Thursday deployed all three wings of the armed forces in a massive rescue operation.
 
Torrential rains, overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have cut off vast swathes of land in the state. The Kochi International Airport has been shut till August 26 and Southern Railway and Kochi Metro have suspended their operations in parts of the state.
 
On Thursday, reports of 47 deaths came in mostly from Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Thrissur and Pathanamthitta where rivers are in spate since August 8.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned of a grimmer situation as more rain has been forecast till Saturday. "The Centre has sanctioned more men and material," Vijayan said after a conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Central leaders.
 
Thursday saw 10 more helicopters joining the existing fleet in the massive rescue operation while 40 additional teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and a team of marine commandos also arrived.
 
Kerala University has postponed all examinations for graduate courses. The state government has also rescheduled Onam vacation for government schools from August 17 to August 29.
 
"Today there are 52 different teams of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF. With additional teams coming, we feel rescue operations would be speeded up," Vijayan said.
 
Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala continued to be the worst affected in the last 24 hours as thousands of people are trapped in their homes in the towns of Ranni, Aranmula and Kozhencherry.
 
Around 50 people from Pathanamthitta were airlifted on Thursday and brought to the state capital.
 
Meanwhile, fishing boats from Kollam reached the flooded areas as the rescue operation with the aid of defence personnel continued.
 
"We have requested more fishing boats and fishermen who have experience in operating the boats. They have all started arriving in the Pathanamthitta and Chengannur areas," the Chief Minister said.
 
Reports said hundreds of people are perched on the roofs of their houses in Pathanamthitta, where attempts to airlift some marooned families have failed.
 
Traffic on the national highway between Ernakulam and Thrissur is being regulated since last night.
 
Rahul R. Nair, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police, said hundreds of people need help. "Shortage of boats is the biggest problem," said Nair.
 
"We have been stuck on the road for hours now and we are going to Chennai for the marriage of our cousin sister. The prospective bride is in the vehicle. We do not know how we will reach there," said an anxious relative of the bride.
 
Train operations between Ernakulam and Angamaly have also been stopped, but operations resumed through the Alappuzha sector to the state capital, while the Kottayam sector remains closed. Likewise, the train services resumed operations through the Nagercoil sector.
 
The current crisis took a turn for the worse when, in a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala were opened on Tuesday following incessant rains in the higher reaches of the ghats.
 
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The famed tourist destination of Munnar continued to be in a bad shape, an official said. The Sabarimala temple also remained cut off by the river Pamba. 
 
The hilly district of Wayanad, connected to Kannur and Kozhikode through a hill highway, has also been badly hit with the overflowing Banasura Sagar dam waters creating havoc. Several landslides were reported in the area.
 
In Wayanad alone, more than 20,000 people have been put up in relief camps, authorities said.
 
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Miniter Pinarayi Vijayan and asked the defence forces to speed up rescue and relief operations.
 
"Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala," the Prime Minister said, according to a statement.
 
Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha chaired a meeting on the Prime Minister's instructions and asked the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF to mobilise additional manpower, boats and helicopters to scale up the relief measures in Kerala.
 
An official spokesperson said food packets and drinking water were rushed to the state.
 
A Navy spokesperson said the Southern Naval Command has suspended all routine training activities and shifted its focus to the highest state of readiness in the wake of the situation in Kerala.
 
The spokesperson said all available resources for rescue and relief efforts in Ernakulam and Trichur have been mobilised.
 
The heaviest rains and floods witnessed in the states since 1924 have caused massive destruction with damages to crops and properties that the state has estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 
 

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Thousands cry out for help in flood-hit Kerala

 
Kerala floods: Army builds 35-feet long bridge to rescue people
 
 
Thousands of flood-affected people in Kerala -- mostly in Pathanamthitta and parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur -- have been stranded as rescuers battle heavy rains to reach out to them even as the death toll in the unprecedented floods rose to 88 on Thursday.
 
Reports said hundreds of people are perched on the roofs of their houses in the worst-hit southern district of Pathanamthitta, where attempts to airlift the marooned families have failed.
 
"My 90-year-old mother-in-law, sister-in-law who is a cancer patient, and other relatives are living in a precarious condition as water is rising not just outside their home near Thiruvalla but inside, too," a relative told IANS. 
 
"When we spoke to the authorities there, they said they are helpless as boats are not available," he said. 
 
CPI-M legislator from Chengannur Saji Cherian said: "Hundreds of people are eagerly waiting to be evacuated and the only way out is airlifting. Unless things move fast, this could turn out to be very serious."
 
TV channels in the state are showing live pictures of people crying for help. 
 
"We are standing on the terrace of our two-storied building near Chengannur and we are being told since last evening that we will be rescued soon. If help does not reach us in an hour's time, we may not be alive, as water level is rising menacingly" is how a family reacted on a TV channel on Thursday.
 
Similar scenes are being shown from Aluva and Chalakudy in central Kerala, after the dam waters from the Idukki district reached the Periyar river and its tributaries.
 
Rahul R. Nair, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police, said hundreds of people need help. "Shortage of boats is the biggest problem," said Nair.
 
The National Highway from Ernakulam to Thrissur is also choked as water has now flooded the main roads in many areas.
 
"We have been stuck on the road for hours now and we are going to Chennai for the marriage of our cousin sister. The prospective bride is in the vehicle. We do not know how we will reach there," said an anxious relative of the bride.
 
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said with time running out, the need of the hour is larger deployment of Army rescuers.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala flood crisis: Death toll touches 79, rains continue

With rains still pouring down heavily leading to flooding across Kerala, 12 fresh deaths were reported on Thursday, taking the toll to 79, since August 8. More rains were forecast till Saturday.

 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
With rains still pouring down heavily leading to flooding across Kerala, 12 fresh deaths were reported on Thursday, taking the toll to 79, since August 8. More rains were forecast till Saturday.
 
The entire state has been on a red alert since Wednesday evening. A total of 28 deaths were reported on the day.
 
Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala has been the worst affected in the last 24 hours as thousands of people -- students among others -- were trapped in their homes in Ranni, Aranmula and Kozhencherry.
 
Various media WhatsApp groups, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's, have been flooded with SOS messages from Pathanamthitta crying for help.
 
Fishing boats from Kollam reached the flooded areas as the rescue operation with the aid of defence personnel continued.
 
Traffic on the national highway between Ernakulam and Thrissur has been regulated since yesterday.
 
Train operations between Ernakulam and Angamaly have also been stopped and at Thiruvananthapuram railway station tickets are not being issued.
 
All educational institutions were closed on Thursday. The situation in the capital district on Thursday improved as there were less rains. Water logging in low lying areas also receded.
 
The deaths on Thursday were reported from Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad and Thrissur. 
 
Parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur have been facing tough times with the dam waters from Idukki districts reaching Periyar, and its tributaries late on Wednesday.
 
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In a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala were opened on Tuesday, following incessant rains since late that day as the Met forecast more till Saturday.
 
The famed tourist destination in Munnar though continued to be in a bad shape, an official said.
 
The Sabarimala temple continued to be cut off by the river Pamba in spate.
 
The hilly district of Wayanad connected from Kannur and Kozhikode through a hill highway was badly hit with the overflowing Banasura Sagar dam waters creating havoc. Several landslides were reported in the area.
 
In Wayanad alone, more than 20,000 people have been put up in relief camps, authorities said.
 
The Cochin International airport was closed on Wednesday till Saturday as the Periyar river waters entered the operational area.
 
The airport authorities are worried about the flooding of the Rs 60-crore solar power plant -- one of the biggest in an airport spread over 45 acres. They fear about its working again.
 
The defence forces and disaster response teams have been putting up makeshift bridges and clearing roads in the affected areas in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Idukki and Kannur districts.
 
The heaviest rains and floods since 1924 have caused massive destruction, leaving more than 75,000 people in relief camps and damage to crops and properties that the state estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala faces unprecedented crisis as flood toll rises to 67, state-wide red alert issued

An incessant downpour battered Kerala again on Wednesday, resulting in 28 more deaths and more destruction and forcing authorities to issue a red alert across the entire southern state.

 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
An incessant downpour battered Kerala again on Wednesday, resulting in 28 more deaths and more destruction and forcing authorities to issue a red alert across the entire southern state.
 
With these deaths on Wednesday, including five of a family, the death toll since August 8 climbed to 67.
 
While a red alert was sounded in 11 of the 14 Kerala districts, including Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Ernakulam, by Wednesday afternoon, it was extended across the state by the evening hours.
 
The state government declared a holiday on Thursday in all educational institutions.
 
Cochin airport was shut till Saturday after water flooded the complex.
 
In a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala have been opened, following incessant rain since late Tuesday. More rain has been forecast till Saturday.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to the people for generous contributions to battle the worst floods faced by Kerala in nearly a century.
 
Vijayan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi late Wednesday evening and was assured of all necessary help. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh promised to send more forces to help the state.
 
The five family members died in Malappuram, crushed when their house collapsed. Three were reported missing, while one child was rescued.
 
A person died in a Munnar lodge collapse. A 70-year-old woman was electrocuted near Pathanamthitta as her house was submerged.
 
Landslides claimed lives in Malappuram too. In Thiruvananthapuram district, a 70-year-old man died after the wall of his house collapsed.
 
Two landslides occurred in Idukki in late evening, killing five people. Four persons were reported missing in the landslips.
 
The situation in Pathanamthitta district, especially Ranni and its surroundings areas, appeared to be bleak since late Wednesday evening as, local CPI-M legislator Raju Abraham, said things were turning from bad to worse and he was receiving frantic calls from his contituents in Ranni.
 
"Many of them are now perched on terraces as houses up to first storey are flooded and water level is still rising. The biggest problem is no power supply in many flooded areas, with mobile phones running low on batteries," said Abraham.
 
Media offices were also flooded with video messages from affected families for help.
 
Pathanamthitta District Collector P.B. Nooh said that a rescue operation involving 28 boats was going on and another 23 boats have reached the affected areas.
 
Indian Air Force personnel used helicopters to airlift people to safety from some areas of Pathanamthitta district in the evening to the state capital.
 
More and more people poured into relief camps, including those who had earlier returned to their homes in Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts.
 
The Navy said that it had rescued more than 80 persons in Kerala. As part of its 'Operation Madad', the Southern Naval Command deployed 21 rescue and diving teams with Gemini boats for the purpose.
 
The capital district on Wednesday witnessed heavy rain which submerged several low-lying areas. Officials hurriedly opened 14 relief camps.
 
Among those who had to be shifted from their homes were veteran Congress leader and former State party President V. M. Sudheeran and his wife. Actor turned BJP Rajya Sabha member Suresh Gopi's house in the city was also flooded.
 
The famed tourist destination in Munnar has been closed for traffic, following flooding of the Old Munnar town.
 
The Sabarimala temple has warned pilgrims not to reach the shrine in view of the surging river waters in the vicinity.
 
Although special prayers were listed for Wednesday, the temple was closed to devotees as the Pamba river was in spate.
 
On Wednesday, Vijayan took the Independence Day salute amid rain here and urged everyone to contribute generously.
 
The Idukki dam floodgates were reopened late on Tuesday as the water level in the Periyar river and its tributaries flowing through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts rose menacingly.
 
The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were opened at 2.35 a.m. after its level crossed 140 feet. People living in and around the dam were evacuated late on Tuesday.
 
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The Cochin International Airport was closed till Saturday afternoon as water released from the Idukki dam flooded the area. Airport Director A.C.K. Nair called the development "unprecedented".
 
"We decided to take this step because since last night dams like Idukki, Mullaperiyar, Idamalayar have opened their shutters. The water released reaches the Periyar river and one of its tributaries flows close to the airport and it is overflowing, sending the water to our operational area," said Nair.
 
He pointed out that with more rain predicted in the coming days, it was decided to close the airport operations.
 
"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up. Then only flights will resume. As of now, we have decided to close down till 2 p.m. on August 18," said Nair.
 
Cochin airport is one of the three international airports in the state, and the busiest.
 
Three new teams of Military Engineering Task Force arrived in the state capital in the night. A team of naval officials has already reached Alappuzha district for relief and rescue.
 
Other defence forces and disaster response teams already in the state for the past few days are busy in putting up makeshift bridges and clearing roads in the affected areas in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Idukki and Kannur districts.
 
The heaviest rains and floods since 1924 have caused massive destruction, leaving more than 75,000 people in relief camps and damage to crops and properties that the state estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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Kerala faces unprecedented crisis: Flood toll rises to 58; state-wide red alert issued

An incessant downpour battered Kerala again on Wednesday resulting in 19 more deaths and further destruction, forcing the authorities to issue a red alert across the entire southern state.

 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
An incessant downpour battered Kerala again on Wednesday resulting in 19 more deaths and further destruction, forcing the authorities to issue a red alert across the entire southern state.
 
With reports of the fresh deaths, the death toll since August 8 climbed to 58. 
 
While a red alert was sounded in 11 of the 14 Kerala districts, including Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Ernakulam by Wednesday afternoon, it was extended across the state by the evening hours. 
 
Cochin airport was shut till Saturday after water flooded the complex.
 
In a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala have been opened, following incessant rain since late Tuesday. More rain has been forecast till Saturday.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to the people for generous contributions to battle the worst floods faced by Kerala in nearly a century.
 
Vijayan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi late Wednesday evening and was assured of all necessary help. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh promised to send more forces to help the state.
 
The deaths reported on Wednesday included those of five of a family in Malappuram who were crushed when their house collapsed. Three were reported missing, while one child was rescued.
 
A person died in a Munnar lodge collapse. A 70-year-old woman was electrocuted near Pathanamthitta as her house was submerged. 
 
Landslides claimed lives in Malappuram too. In Thiruvananthapuram district, a 70-year-old man died after the wall of his house collapsed.
 
Two landslides occurred in Idukki in late evening, killing five people. Four persons were reported missing in the landslips.
 
More and more people are pouring into relief camps, including those who had earlier returned to their homes in Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts.
 
The capital district on Wednesday witnessed heavy rain which submerged several low-lying areas. Officials hurriedly opened 14 relief camps.
 
Among those who had to be shifted from their homes were veteran Congress leader and former State party President V.M. Sudheeran and his wife. Actor turned BJP Rajya Sabha member Suresh Gopi's house in the city was also flooded.
 
The famed tourist destination in Munnar has been closed for traffic, following flooding of the Old Munnar town.
 
The Sabarimala temple has warned pilgrims not to reach the shrine in view of the surging river waters in the vicinity.
 
Although special prayers were listed for Wednesday, the temple was closed to devotees as the Pamba river was in spate.
 
On Wednesday, Vijayan took the Independence Day salute amid rain here and urged everyone to contribute generously.
 
The Idukki dam floodgates were reopened late on Tuesday as the water level in the Periyar river and its tributaries flowing through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts rose menacingly.
 
The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were opened at 2.35 a.m. after its level crossed 140 feet. People living in and around the dam were evacuated late on Tuesday.
 
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The Cochin International Airport was closed till Saturday afternoon as water released from the Idukki dam flooded the area. Airport Director A.C.K. Nair called the development "unprecedented".
 
"We decided to take this step because since last night dams like Idukki, Mullaperiyar, Idamalayar have opened their shutters. The water released reaches the Periyar river and one of its tributaries flows close to the airport and it is overflowing, sending the water to our operational area," said Nair.
 
He pointed out that with more rain predicted in the coming days, it was decided to close the airport operations.
 
"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up. Then only flights will resume. As of now, we have decided to close down till 2 p.m. on August 18," said Nair.
 
Cochin airport is one of the three international airports in the state, and the busiest.
 
Three new teams of Military Engineering Task Force were scheduled to arrive in the state capital in the evening. A team of naval officials has already reached Alappuzha district for relief and rescue.
 
Other defence forces and disaster response teams already in the state for the past few days are busy in putting up makeshift bridges and clearing roads in the affected areas in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Idukki and Kannur districts.
 
Indian Air Force personnel used helicopters to airlift scores of people to safety in water-logged Pathanamthitta district on Wednesday evening.
 
The heaviest rains and floods since 1924 have caused massive destruction, leaving more than 50,000 people in relief camps and damage to crops and properties that the state estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

Kerala faces unprecedented crisis as flood toll rises to 47; Cochin airport shut

Unceasing heavy rains battered Kerala on Wednesday, killing eight more people and taking the death toll to 47 since August 8, forcing Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to seek generous public contributions to battle the worst floods in nearly a century.

 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
Unceasing heavy rains battered Kerala on Wednesday, killing eight more people and taking the death toll to 47 since August 8, forcing Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to seek generous public contributions to battle the worst floods in nearly a century.
 
Of the 14 districts, as many as 11 including Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Ernakulam are on red alert, an official euphemism to mean that huge devastation was expected. The Cochin airport was shut till Saturday after flood waters entered the complex. 
 
Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts are on orange alert, asking the authorities and people to be prepared as there was a higher likelihood of bad weather.
 
Those reported dead on Wednesday included a couple in Malappuram who were crushed after their house crumbled. Their six-year-old child is missing.
 
A person died in a Munnar lodge as it crashed. A 70-year-old woman near Pathanamthitta was electrocuted as her house was submerged. Landslides in Malappuram claimed lives too.
 
In a first, sluice gates of 33 dams across Kerala have been opened, following incessant rains since late Tuesday. More rains have been forecast till Saturday.
 
More and more people are pouring into relief camps, including those who had earlier returned to their homes in Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts. 
 
The capital district on Wednesday witnessed heavy rains, submerging several low lying areas. Officials hurriedly opened 14 relief camps.
 
The famed tourist destination in Munnar has been closed for traffic, following flooding in the Old Munnar town.
 
The Sabarimala temple has warned pilgrims not to reach the shrine in view of the surging river waters in the vicinity.
 
Although special prayers were listed for Wednesday, the temple was closed to devotees as the river Pamba was in spate.
 
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Vijayan took the Independence Day salute despite rains here and urged everyone to contribute generously to overcome the challenge of the floods and its destruction. 
 
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The Idukki dam floodgates were reopened late on Tuesday as the water level in the Periyar river and its tributaries flowing through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts rose menacingly.
 
The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were opened at 2.35 a.m. after its water level crossed 140 feet.
 
People living in and around the dam were evacuated late on Tuesday.
 
The Cochin International Airport was on Wednesday closed till Saturday afternoon after water released from the Idukki dam flooded the area.
 
Airport Director A.C.K. Nair called the development "unprecedented".
 
"Why we decided to take this step is because since last night dams like Idukki, Mullaperiyar, Idamalayar have opened their shutters. The water released reaches the Periyar river and one of its tributaries flows close to the airport and it is overflowing, sending the waters to our operational area," said Nair.
 
He pointed out that with more rains predicted in the coming days, it was decided to close down the airport operations.
 
"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up the area. Then only flights will resume. As of now we have decided to close down the airport till 2 p.m. of August 18," said Nair.
 
Cochin airport is one of the three international airports in the state, besides being the busiest. 
 
The heaviest rains and floods since 1924 have caused massive destruction. Over 50,000 people are in relief camps and the damage to crops and properties is estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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