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Tamil Nadu

Death toll in Tamil Nadu due to cyclone Gaja rises to 33

The death toll due to cyclone Gaja, which hit Tamil Nadu's coastal districts on Friday, has increased to 33, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Saturday.
 
Coast Guard conducts aerial survey of Cyclone Gaja affected areas
The death toll due to cyclone Gaja, which hit Tamil Nadu's coastal districts on Friday, has increased to 33, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Saturday.
 
Speaking to reporters at Salem, about 350 kilometres from here, Palaniswami said that 20 men, 11 women, and 2 children died due to the cyclone that crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam districts between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. on Friday.
 
The cyclone left a trail of destruction in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Cuddalore, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts, damaging houses, huts and crops.
 
Palaniswami said about 70 livestock and several goats, poultry and deer have also died due to the cyclone.
 
Some 127,000 trees were uprooted by the strong cyclonic winds that touched a maximum speed of about 120 kmph, the Chief Minister added.
 
He said supplies of water, milk and food were being distributed to the people affected by the calamity.
 
About 177,500 people are staying in 351 relief camps in the cyclone-affected areas.
 
The Chief Minister said about 30,000 electricity poles were broken, and 105 power sub-stations affected. About 10,000 personnel have been sent to the cyclone-affected coastal districts to repair the installations.
 
Meanwhile, actor Rajinikanth appreciated the members of his Rajini Makkal Mandram for their work in providing relief to the cyclone-affected people.
 
IANS
 

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

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Cyclone Gaja claims 13 lives, leaves trail of destruction in TN

Severe cyclonic storm Gaja battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 13 people and several livestock dead and a trail of destruction in several districts.
 
Cyclone Gaja wreaks havoc in TN’s Nagapattinam
Severe cyclonic storm Gaja battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 13 people and several livestock dead and a trail of destruction in several districts.
 
Authorities said the cyclone crossed the coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam districts between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. with wind speeds of about 110-120 kmph.
 
So powerful were the gales that the roof-sheets of the Nagapattinam railway station were damaged. Thatched and tiled roofs of several houses were also damaged in the strong cyclonic winds.
 
A ship was grounded in Karaikal Port in Puducherry.
 
Traffic on the highways was affected owing to fallen trees while communication links in Vedaranyam were also affected.
 
Traffic out of hill station Kodaikanal was affected due to fallen trees.
 
In some places like Pudukottai walls of houses collapsed due to rains.
 
Apart from fallen 12,000 electricity poles in seven districts, 102 power sub-stations in districts like Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur were affected.
 
According to the state power utility, about 500 km of power supply lines were affected by Gaja. Officials said it would take at least two days to restore power supply in full in districts like Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur.
 
Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said in Salem, some 350 km from the state capital, that 13 persons had lost their lives in the cyclone.
 
He said a sum of Rs 10 lakh would be paid to each family of the dead. For those severely injured, a sum of Rs 100,000 would be paid and those who suffered minor injuries would get Rs 25,000.
 
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About 82,000 people living in low-lying areas have been sent to 471 relief centres, the Chief Minister said, adding the preventive measures helped keep the death toll low.
 
Relief centres were set up in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thiruvarur on Thursday itself.
 
According to officials, 28 livestocks were killed in cyclone.
 
Owing to strong winds, an Indigo Airlines Chennai-Trichy flight was not able to land in Trichy and was sent back.
 
R. B. Udhyakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said all the trees felled by the cyclone were being removed.
 
Piles of felled trees blocked traffic in parts of Nagapattinam and Vedaranyum.
 
Several universities in Tamil Nadu have postponed their examinations slated for Friday. Schools remained closed on Friday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry, including Karaikal.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast scattered heavy to very heavy rain over Tiruchirapalli, Namakkal, Dindigul, Madurai, Theni, Karur, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Nilgiris and Virudhunagar districts of Tamil Nadu.
 
According to Chief Minister Palaniswami, the Fisheries Department will estimate the damage to the fishing boats before paying compensation to the fishermen.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Minister Palaniswami and enquired about the cyclone damage.
 
IANS
 

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

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10 dead in Kerala, TN, several fishermen missing as cyclone Ockhi heads for Lakshadweep

Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands on Friday.
 
Cyclone Ockhi: 8 killed, several fishermen missing
Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands today.
 
Four people were killed in south Kerala and five in south Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents yesterday even as the authorities mounted a massive search and rescue operation for scores of fishermen reported missing at sea.
 
One fisherman, who was among those rescued today, died in hospital here today, taking the toll in Kerala to five, official sources said.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a warning of a very severe cyclone for Lakshadweep Islands this evening and said the system was likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.
 
In a Red message issued at 1730 hours today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the system, now over the Lakshadweep  area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea, continued to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph during the past six hours and intensified further into a "Very Severe Cyclonic Storm".
 
It lay centred at 1430 hours IST today near latitude 9.1º N and longitude 73.0º E, about 90 km north of Minicoy and 220 km south-southeast of Amini Divi. 
 
"The system is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours. It is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards across Lakshadweep Islands during next 24 hours and then move north/ northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours," the bulletin said.
 
The IMD warned that, under the influence of the system, heavy to very heavy rainfall was very likely at most places over Lakshadweep area during the next 24 hours, with isolated extremely heavy falls. There could be isolated heavy to very heavy falls during the subsequent 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin also said that rainfall was very likely at many places over Kerala during the next 24 hours, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.
 
According to it, gale winds, with speed reaching 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, were very likely over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and gradual decrease thereafter.
 
Squally winds, with speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, were very likely along and off Kerala during the next 24 hours and along and off Karnataka coast during the next 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin said sea conditions would be phenomenal over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and very high during the subsequent 24 hours.
 
Sea conditions would be high to very high along and off the Kerala coast during the next 24 hours and along and off the Karnataka coast during subsequent 24 hours.
 
The cyclone could cause damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of tree branches and uprooting of large avenue trees; major damage to thatched houses, huts and kutcha houses; some damage to pucca roads; flooding of escape routes; and damage to banana and papaya trees and standing crops.
 
Storm surge of about one metre above astronomical tides was very likely to inundate low lying areas of Lakshadweep Islands, the bulletin said.
 
Fishermen along and off Lakshadweep Islands were advised not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. Similarly, fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Kerala and Karnataka coasts during the next 48 hours.
 
Ships and aircraft of the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were involved in the rescue efforts at sea while teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in the affected areas in the two states and units of the Indian Army were on standby to come to the aid of the civil adminstration, if necessary.
 
Official sources here said more than 220 people had been rescued from the sea by the Navy, ICG and IAF. Many of them were admitted to hospitals here for treatment, they said. 
 
Some of the fishermen were rescued by a Japanese cargo ship in the area. As many as 37 people were rescued by Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) of the Indian Navy which flew between Thiruvananthapuram and the sea.
 
The ICG said it had deployed nine ships and two Dornier aircraft in the area and rescued as many as 52 fishermen so far.
 
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The International Safety Net (ISN) had been activated to advise Merchant Traffic to render assistance to stranded fishermen, it said.
 
Among others, Indian Naval Ships Sagardhwani, Jamuna and Nireekshak were in the affected areas in the Arabian Sea. INS Sharda and Shardul are also sailing out soon to augment the search effort. Both ships were in final stages of embarking HADR items for assistance at Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, Indian Navy sources said.
 
In Poonthura, a coastal village near here, angry groups of fishermen and their families staged protests, alleging that the government had not acted in time and not done enough as far as the rescue efforts were concerned. 
 
Former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, both senior leaders of the Congress, visited the area today to listen to the woes of the villagers.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told newspersons that the state government had received an alert about the cyclone only on Thursday afternoon. He said the rescue efforts were also hampered by the bad weather conditions.
 
Mr. Vijayan said all possible efforts were being made to locate and rescue the missing fishermen. He said the state government had urged the Ministry of Defence to deploy more aircraft for the search and rescue operations.
 
In Lakshadweep, the authorities had issued orders for the evacuation of people from low-lying areas in Kalpeni, Minicoy, Kavratti, Agatti, Androth, Kadamath and Amini islands.
 
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OPS gets boost as more AIADMK bigwigs back him in power tussle with Sasikala

Tamil Nadu caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam received a major boost in his open power tussle with ruling AIADMK General Secretary V. K. Sasikala when one of her key supporters and State Minister K. Pandiarajan and party spokesman and former Minister C. Ponnaiyan crossed over into his camp on Saturday.
 
TN Education Minister Pandiarajan backs OPS
Tamil Nadu caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam received a major boost in his open power tussle with ruling AIADMK General Secretary V. K. Sasikala when one of her key supporters and State Minister K. Pandiarajan and party spokesman and former Minister C. Ponnaiyan crossed over into his camp today.
 
As Ms. Sasikala moved quickly to keep her flock together amidst reports of growing desertions, three Lok Sabha members, V. Sathyabama of Tiruppur, Ashok Kumar of Krishnagiri and P R Sundaram of Namakkal also threw in their lot with Mr. Panneerselvam today.
 
Ms. Sasikala, on the other hand, voicing concern over the delay by Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao in responding to her claim to form the next Government in the state, wrote to him again today, seeking an opportunity to parade before him the MLAs supporting her.
 
Mr. Pandiarajan, the state Minister for School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare, arrived at Mr. Panneerselvam's residence, bringing cheer to the large crowd camping there and which has seen its support base growing slowly in the past few days.
 
The decision of Mr. Pandiarajan, one of the founders of well-known recruitment and consultancy firm Ma Foi, to switch loyalties is significant, given the fact that he was one of Ms. Sasikala's most ardent supporters during the past several days of political crisis in the state.
 
An indication of his impending shift was available from a "tweet" he posted on micro-blogging site Twitter this morning.
 
"Will surely listen to the collective voice of my voters & decide in a way to uphold the dignity of Amma's memory & unity of AIADMK!" he said.
 
Mr. Ponnaiyan said Mr. Panneerselvam was capable of leading the party with discipline and of running a corruption-free government.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam's Twitter handle said that state Rural Industries Minister P. Benjamin would shortly visit him to extend his support to him.
 
In her letter to the Governor, Ms. Sasikala noted that she had written to him on February 5 and February 7, seeking an appointment with him.
 
The Governor met her and nine Tamil Nadu Ministers in the evening of February 9 when she formally informed him of her election as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party last Sunday.
 
O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
"... I submitted my elaborate presentation to invite me to form the Government as I have absolute majority. Original letter and true copy of the resolution were also handed over to Your Excellency," she said.
 
"Thus, as it has been seven long days since the Chief Minister Thiru. O. P. Panneerselvam submitted and Your Excellency accepted his resignation, taking the urgency of the situation at hand, I would like to seek an appointment with Your Excellency by today along with all MLAs who extended their support to me regarding further course of action to form the Government," she said.
 
"I believe Your Excellency will act immediately to save the sovereignty of the Constitution, democracy and the interest of the state," she added.
 
Ms. Sasikala addressed her supporters outside Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence of the late Ms. Jayalalithaa, and said, "Amma has given me 1.5 crore party brothers and sisters.When they are with me,the sinister intentions of many will not  harm me."
 
"Amma is confident that I will look after AIADMK with all care," she said.
 
She said the relentless work done by Ms. Jayalalithaa had made AIADMK the third largest party. "Amma is with us now. Our Amma is now showing us the betrayers of our party," she said.
 
"People who think they can separate our party which has 1.5 crore people will only face defeat. Amma won over the hurdles, we are facing the same situation,we will also win over it. I believe in justice and democracy," she added.
Later, Ms. Sasikala drove in a motorcade to the resort where about 120 AIADMK MLAs have been staying for the past few days and met them for discussions on their future course of action.
 
"After meeting the party MLAs, I feel happy," she said. "All the party MLAs are fine and happy."
 
She said the "created time lag", in inviting her to form the government, appeared to be intended to create a split in the party.
 
Ms. Sasikala said she and her supporters were "waiting patiently" till now for a response to their claim, adding that "necessary measures will be taken".
 
Mr. K. A. Sengottayan, who has been appointed as the new chairman of the AIADMK Presidium, told journalists at the resort that all the MLAs there would remain with Ms. Sasikala till the end. "Our only aim is to make her the Chief Minister," he said.
 
However, there has been no indication whatsoever from Raj Bhavan in the past few days on when and how the political stalemate would be ended.
 
Even as the two rival groups continued to swipe and snipe at each other, Raj Bhavan clarified yesterday that the Governor had not sent any report to the President or the Ministry of Home Affairs on the political situation in the state.
 
The clarification came after media reports which said that Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra and is holding additional charge as the Governor of Tamil Nadu, had sent a report to the Centre after his meetings with Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Sasikala.
 
"Thiru Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Tamil Nadu has not sent any report either to the Ministry of Home Affairs or to the President of India, as reported in some of the media," a statement from Raj Bhavan said.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, had submitted his resignation last Sunday after Ms. Sasikala, 60, a long-time aide of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, was chosen by AIADMK MLAs as the new leader of their legislative party and, therefore, his successor. The Governor accepted his resignation on Monday and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangments were made. 
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as the Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6, 2016 shortly after the death of Ms. Jayalalithaa, who was both the head of the government and the party supremo.
 
The usually reticent and self-effacing Mr. Panneerselvam made a surprise visit to the memorial of Ms. Jayalalithaa late in the night last Tuesday and then told waiting newspersons that he had been forced to resign and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the people and the party so wished.
 
Ms. Sasikala was widely expected to be sworn in on Tuesday, but the Governor has not yet taken a final view on the situation confronting the state. Mr. Rao, who reached here from Mumbai on Thursday afternoon, met ten-member delegations led by the rivals, Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Sasikala, later that day.
 
While Mr. Panneerselvam told the Governor that he was forced to quit as Chief Minister and that he should be allowed to continue and take a floor test in the Assembly, Ms. Sasikala submitted to Mr. Rao a list of about 130 of the AIADMK's 135 MLAs and staked claim to forming the next Government.
 
The Governor is understood to be consulting legal and Constitutional experts and weighing his options.
 
Yesterday, Mr. Rao met State Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and Director General of Police T. K. Rajendran as well as Chennai Police Commissioner S. George amidst complaints by the Panneerselvam camp that the Sasikala group was holding about 120 MLAs at a nearby resort, many of them against their will.
 
V. K. Sasikala
V. K. Sasikala
DMK working president and leader of the Opposition M. K. Stalin met Mr Rao yesterday and submitted a representation in which he said the state administration could not be allowed to drift any further. He urged the Governor to take steps to ensure that a democratically and Constitutionally valid government was in place at the earliest through a free and fair floor test.
 
Meanwhile, Ms. Sasikala yesterday expelled AIADMK presidium chairman E. Madhusudanan from the primary membership of the party, a day after he threw in his lot with Mr. Panneerselvam. Mr. K. A. Sengottayan has been appointed as the new chairman of the presidium.
 
Mr. Madhusudanan, on his part, wrote to the Election Commission stating that Ms. Sasikala's election as General Secretary of the party was in violation of its rules and urging it to reject her claims in this regard.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had said on Thursday that he would issue orders to convert Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, into a memorial for her. The announcement assumes significance in view of the fact that Ms. Sasikala is functioning from that house.
 
To take this a step further, his camp has launched a signature campaign outside his residence on the proposal.
 
Two days after Ms. Sasikala removed him from the post of AIADMK treasurer, Mr. Panneerselvam on Thursday also wrote to banks asking them to not allow any one to access the party funds without his written permission. He said his removal from the post of treasurer was illegal.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam has been always regarded as a trusted lieutenant of Ms. Jayalalithaa and had stood in for her as Chief Minister twice when she faced crises.
 
Among those who have openly come out to support Mr. Panneerselvam is AIADMK Rajya Sabha member V. Maitreyan and former Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker P. H. Pandian.
 
There has been opposition to Ms. Sasikala's elevation from a section of the public, in social media and from the Opposition in the state. They point to the fact that she has never contested any election and has no administrative experience. They also point to the fact that an appeal against her acquittal in a two-decade-old corruption case is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict could be delivered as early as next week.
 
Ms. Sasikala and two others were co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in the case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. The two others are her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22 and died on December 5 after a sudden cardiac arrest. Doctors who treated her had told a press conference here on Monday that the AIADMK leader had been treated for septicemia and a host of other medical problems.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was hospitalised on September 22.
 
He had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
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Panneerselvam's resignation accepted, Sasikala likely to be sworn in on Tuesday

Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Monday accepted the resignation of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers and his successor, Ms. V. K. Sasikala, a long-time aide of late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday.
V. K. Sasikala
V. K. Sasikala
Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao today accepted the resignation of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers and his successor, Ms. V. K. Sasikala, a long-time aide of late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, is expected to be sworn in tomorrow.
 
The Governor requested Mr. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers to continue to function until alternate arrangements are made, a press release from the Raj Bhavan said.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, had resigned from office yesterday after the ruling All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) legislature party met here and chose Ms. Sasikala as its new leader.
 
Ms. Sasikala, 60, is expected to be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the State tomorrow morning at a function at the Madras University auditorium. 
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, succeeding Ms. Jayalalithaa who passed away at a private hospital here late night on December 5.
 
"Chinnamma elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader," the AIADMK had said on micro-blogging site Twitter yesterday. Ms. Sasikala is referred to as "Chinamma" by party workers, just as Ms. Jayalalithaa was called "Amma".
 
It said Mr. Panneerselvam himself, known to be a long-time Jayalalithaa loyalist, had proposed Ms. Sasikala's name as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party leader.
 
"Chinnamma all set to become the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," the party said.
 
Ms. Sasikala had then made a brief appearance in the balcony of Ms. Jalayalalithaa's residence in Poes Garden here, dressed in a green saree and blouse, the AIADMK's colour, and greeted the crowds gathered outside with a "namaste" and then the "V" sign.
 
She later drove to the AIADMK headquarters where she said that it was Mr. Panneerselvam who had urged her first to take charge as General Secretary of the party and it was he who insisted, first, that she become the Chief Minister of the state. Ms. Sasikala has never held any position in Government before nor has she ever contested any elections.
 
She assured the people that her government would always work for the welfare of the people. "Tamil Nadu Government will follow the principles of Amma," she said.
  
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
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He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
Ms. Sasikala, along with her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi , were  co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in an 18-year-old corruption case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. An appeal against the acquittal is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict in the matter is awaited.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
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Sasikala Natarajan set to be new CM of Tamil Nadu

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, a long-time friend and companion of late party supremo J. Jayalithaa, is all set to become the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after the party's MLAs met in Chennai and chose her as the leader of its legislature party.
 
Sasikala Natarajan appointed legislative party leader of AIADMK
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, a long-time friend and companion of late party supremo J. Jayalithaa, is all set to become the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after the party's MLAs met here today and chose her as the leader of its legislative party.
 
She will succeed Mr. O. Panneerselvam, senior leader of the ruling AIADMK, who was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, succeeding Ms. Jayalalithaa who passed away at a private hospital here late night on December 5.
 
"Chinnamma elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader," the AIADMK said on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
 
Ms. Sasikala, 60, is referred to as "Chinamma" by party workers, just as Ms. Jayalalithaa was called as "Amma". It said Mr. Panneerselvam had proposed Ms. Sasikala's name as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party leader.
 
"Chinnamma all set to become the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," the party said.
 
Ms. Sasikala made a brief appearance in the balcony of Ms. Jalayalalithaa's residence in Poes Garden here, dressed in a green saree and blouse, the AIADMK's colour, and greeted the crowds gathered outside with a "namaste" and then the "V" sign.
 
Ms. Sasikala later drove to the AIADMK headquarters where she said that it was Mr. Panneerselvam who had urged her first to take charge as General Secretary of the party and it was he who insisted, first, that she become the Chief Minister of the state. Ms. Sasikala has never held any position in Government before nor has ever contested any elections.
 
She assured the people that her government would always work for the welfare of the people. "Tamil Nadu Government will follow the principles of Amma," she said.
 
She is expected to meet Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao in the next day or two and stake claim to form the next government in the state.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
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He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
Ms. Sasikala, along with her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi , were  co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in an 18-year-old corruption case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. An appeal against the acquittal is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict in the matter is awaited.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
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Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest in hospital

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai for the last three months for a lung infection, suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, the hospital said.
 
Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital here for the last three months for a lung infection, suffered a cardiac arrest this evening, the hospital said.
 
"The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nau who is undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals, Greams Road, Chennai, suffered a cardiac arrest this evening," the hospital said in a statement late tonight.
 
"She is being treated and monitored by a team of experts, including Cardiologists, Pulmonologists and the Critical Care Specialists," the statement added.
 
The hospital said Ms. Jayalalithaa was on extracorporeal membrane heart assist device and was being treated by a team of expert doctors and critical care specialists.
 
The hospital said Dr Richard Beale from London had also been consulted and he had concurred with the line of treatment by its cardiologists and pulmonologists.
 
"Our prayers are with her and we hope she will recover soon. We request all of you to pray for her good health and well being. The Hon'ble CM is the beloved leader of the masses. Please join us in praying for her speedy recovery," the hospital said in a series of posts on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tamil Nadu Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao, to inquire about Ms. Jayalalithaa's heath.
 
Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra, is holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu, since August 31 following the end of the tenure of Mr. K. Rosaiah. He told Mr. Rajnath Singh that he would leave for Chennai tonight.
 
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Hundreds of workers of Ms. Jayalalithaa's party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), her supporters and leaders of the party began converging outside the hospital after hearing of the news of her cardiac arrest. Police stepped up security arrangements outside the hospital as a precautionary measure.
 
Earlier in the day, the AIADMK had said that Ms. Jayalalithaa would soon decide when she would leave hospital and return home after doctors had declared that she had fully recovered.
 
The hospital has said several times in the past few weeks that the Chief Minister, called "Amma" by her supporters, was well enough to return home whenever she wanted. Her party said she was involved in taking government decisions and also speaking on occasion to those who were allowed to meet her.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital on September 27 for treatment of dehydration and fever. Later, there were reports that she was also being treated for a chronic lung infection and that he had been put on respiratory support. Specialist doctors from London and Delhi had been flown in to monitor her condition.
 
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Jayalalithaa returns as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in Chennai on Saturday, 12 days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in an 19-year-old corruption case and paved the way for her return to the top job in the state for the fifth time after a gap of eight months.
 
Jayalalithaa sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM
 
 
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu here today, 12 days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in an 19-year-old corruption case and paved the way for her return to the top job in the state for the fifth time after a gap of eight months.
 
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah administered the oaths of offie and secrecy to Ms Jayalalithaa at a ceremony at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, as many as 28 other Ministers were also sworn in, including Mr O. Panneerselvam, who had functioned as Chief Minister since September 29 after she had been forced to resign following her conviction by a special court in Bangalore in the case.
 
Mr Panneerselvam will be Finance Minister, a portfolio he had held in her previous Cabinet.
 
The Governor had accepted the resignation of Mr. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers with effect from the forenoon of yesterday and requested him and his Council of Ministers to function until alternative arrangements were made.
 
Later yesterday, Ms Jayalalithaa, who was elected as the leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party, had called on Mr Rosaiah and staked her claim to form the new government.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa will have to get elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly within six months in keeping with Constitutional requirements.
 
Mr Panneerselvam had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Like this tim, she was then, too, cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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On May 11, the Karnataka High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of the special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state. The acquittal by the High Court meant that Ms Jayalalithaa could return as Chief Minister.
 
The three co-accused who were acquitted along with her are her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each by the special court.
 
Sasikala was among the more than 3000 people present at the ceremony. Others present included film stars Rajnikanth, Sarath Kumar and Prabhu and industrialists N Srinivasan and A C Muthaiah.
 
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Jayalalithaa acquitted in corruption case, paving way for her return as TN CM

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today acquitted by the Karnataka High Court here in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.
 
The High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Reading out the operative part of the judgement at 11 am in the court, Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state.
 
Today's acquittal means that Ms Jayalithaa, supremo of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), can return as Chief Minister.
 
After she had stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29 last year.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. She was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, a film star-turned-politician, and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The special court had sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
 
Jayalalithaa acquitted by Karnataka HC in corruption case
Celebrations broke out among Ms Jayalalithaa's supporters all across Tamil Nadu as well as outside the high court here, where they had gathered in large numbers.
 
Hundreds of people who had congregated outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai since early morning burst firecrackers, danced and distributed sweets as soon as news of the verdict by Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy ame in.
 
Mr Panneerselvam and many of his Cabinet colleagues also turned up to congratulate her.
 
On October 17 last year, Ms Jayalalithaa had been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the case after the Karnataka High Court had turned down her application.
 
Along with her, the apex court also granted bail to Ms Natarajan, Mr Sudhakaran and Mr Ilavarasi.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Ms Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
 
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
 
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
 
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He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
  
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
 
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
 
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
 
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143
 
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SC grants bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
The Supreme Court today granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who were convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 66, the apex court also granted bail to her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each.
 
The Karnataka High Court had, on October 7, rejected Ms Jayalalithaa's bail application. While doing so, Judge A V Chandrashekhara recalled that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the past that corruption cases should be put on the fast track. He pointed out that the apex court had taken a tough stand in such cases and had described corruption as a "violation of human rights".
 
Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9.
 

 
Jayalalithaa granted interim bail by SC in DA case
The apex court today suspended her sentence and granted her bail after imposing some conditions, including that she would have to submit her paprs for the appeal against her conviction within two months, that is by December 18, and that she would not seek any adjournment of the hearings. 
 
As soon as news of the court's decision to grant her bail came, hundreds of supporters of Ms Jayalalithaa in Chennai and elsewhere broke out into rapturous celebrations.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, who has been held in prison in Bangalore since September 27, is expected to be released on bail later today or tomorrow. She will remain confined to home in Chennai while she is on bail.
 
The court fixed December 18 as the date to satisfy itself if she had complied with its order.
 
Her counsel Fali Nariman assured the court on her behalf that there would be no act of lawlessness by her party's workers in Tamil Nadu. She had sought bail on the grounds that she was suffering from various ailments and that she was a senior citizen and a woman.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly after her conviction and sentence and had to resign as Chief Minister. She is also barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
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The court held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state and emerging as the third largest party in the House.
 
Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are due in 2016 and unless her conviction is overturned by a higher court, Ms Jayalalithaa cannot contest them.
 
After Ms Jayalalithaa stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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59 entrants in fray in National Car Racing Championship

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The much-awaited MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Car Racing Championship resumes at the Kari Motor Speedway here on Friday,  in a new avatar following a rejig of regulations designed to make racing even more competitive and exciting than ever before. 
 
The weekend card will see 59 entrants, from across India, competing in 11 races.
 
In a significant development, the Volkswagen Ameo Cup has received the status of National Championship and rechristened as the Ameo Class. 
 
The eventual winners (Pro and Rookie categories), after four rounds and 10 races spread across four race weekends, will be declared national champions. 
 
Volkswagen Motorsport India had launched their one-make series in 2010 through the Polo Cup before progressing to the Vento and now the Ameo.
 
Apart from the Ameo Class races, the weekend will witness competitions in the popular and premium Indian Touring Cars (ITC), the Super Stock and the entry-level Formula LGB 1300 which has attracted the most number of entries of 19 young aspirants.
 
MMSC Vice-President and Chairman of the Meet Vicky Chandhok said: “At the outset, MMSC would like to acknowledge and appreciate MRF’s unstinted commitment and active involvement in the National Championship, be it two-wheeler or four-wheeler races.
 
"In fact, MRF have been the backbone of motorsport in India due to the support they have extended and continue to do so, for all formats of the sport. With MRF’s support, MMSC has been able to take racing a notch higher with every season. 
 
"This year, we welcome Volkswagen Motorsport into our National Championship by way of the Ameo Class which we expect to be as competitive as before when it was called the Ameo Cup.”
 
For the Super Stock and the Formula LGB 1300 categories, this weekend’s outing will be Round 2 after the season-opener in February at the MMRT, Chennai, when they were run on the same card as the MRF Challenge international series, while the other classes join the National Championship.
 
There will be three races each for the ITC, Ameo Class and the Formula LGB categories, and two in the Super Stock class.
 
The weekend action commences on Friday which is entirely devoted to Free Practice sessions, while qualifying and five races are scheduled for Saturday, followed by six more races on Sunday
 
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Parched Chennai will get drinking water, assures CM

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With reservoirs supplying water to Chennai drying up and groundwater levels plummeting in the absence of rain, water has become scarce but the government is taking necessary steps to supply drinking water to people, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Tuesday.
 
Interacting with reporters here, Palaniswami said that owing to failure of rains, the ground water levels have gone down.
 
People are using the water supplied through tankers for drinking and washing as the ground water levels have gone down and hence the shortage, he said.
 
The resorvoirs -- Cholavaram (full capacity 1,081 mcft) and Redhills (3,300 mcft) -- which cater to the Chennai's water needs are dry while the storage at Poondi reservoir is 24 mcft as against full capacity of 3,231 mcft, according to Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Chennai Metro).
 
The Chembarambakkam lake (full capacity 3,645 mcft) has water level of a mere 1 mcft.
 
Palaniswami said water from desalination projects is also being distributed to people and urged people to cooperate with the government as ground water will be supplied for next four or five months till rains begin in October-November.
 
As regards water from the Telugu Ganga Scheme or Krishna Water, Palaniswami said water could only be released to Tamil Nadu if there is 8 tmc of water in Kadaleru dam in Andha Pradesh.
 
The water level at Kadaleru dam is presently about 4 tmc.
 
Palaniswami also said that water from the Mettur Dam is being released to fill up the Veeranam lake to supply drinking water to Chennai.
 
IANS
 

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College students fall from bus roof in Chennai

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A group of college students sitting on the roof of a city bus here in Tamil Nadu fell on to the road when the driver applied the brakes suddenly to avoid hitting a two-wheeler.
 
The video of the incident on Monday went viral on social media.
 
The students of Pachaiappa's College here climbed atop the bus plying on route number 47A to celebrate 'Bus Day'.
 
Police took some students into custody.
 
'Bus Day' is celebrated as a thanksgiving to the driver and the conductor who are regulars on a particular college route.
 
Over time, the celebrations have turned into a nuisance for the public with students forcing the driver to drive the vehicle very slowly, thereby blocking the traffic on busy roads.
 
The Madras High Court had come down heavily on the Bus Day celebrations several times. The police, too, had issued warnings against the celebrations. 
 
IANS
 

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BHEL bags NPCIL order for erection of Kudankulam Units 3 & 4

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had secured an order for the erection work of the upcoming 2x1000 MWe Turbine Generator (TG) island units 3 & 4 at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu, which is being set up with Russian cooperation.
 
A press release from the company said it had bagged the prestigious order against stiff competition.
 
Valued at over Rs. 440 crore, the order has been placed on BHEL by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). For the same project, BHEL has also emerged as the lowest bidder for erection of the Reactor side equipment, the release said.
 
Earlier, BHEL had successfully executed the erection work of TG island for Units 1&2 at Kudankulam, showcasing its capability in efficiently erecting equipment designed and manufactured by other suppliers.
 
BHEL is an established EPC leader for both thermal and nuclear power projects. As many as 12 out of 18 operating Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) in the country are equipped with BHEL-supplied steam turbine generator sets, accounting for 74% of the installed capacity. 
 
BHEL is also currently executing turbine generator packages for four units of 700 MWe, two units each at Kakrapara and Rawatbhata, the release added.
 
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Popular Tamil writer, actor Crazy Mohan passes away

Tamil actor Crazy Mohan (File photo: IANS)
Tamil actor Crazy Mohan (File photo: IANS)
Renowned Tamil writer, actor and comedy giant Crazy Mohan breathed his last here on Monday after he suffered a major heart attack. He was 67.
 
"After he complained of pain in his chest and suffered a heart attack, he was rushed to Kauvery hospital in the afternoon. Efforts were taken to revive him but unfortunately he passed away around 2 p.m.," a family source told IANS.
 
Born as Mohan Rangachari in 1952, Mohan's first stint with writing began in college, where he was studying Mechanical Engineering, when he wrote the script for "Great Bank Robbery" for an inter-collegiate contest.
 
He then started writing scripts for his brother Maadhu Balaji's drama troupe. In 1976, Mohan wrote his first full-length play called "Crazy Thieves in Paalavakkam", thereby, earning the moniker 'Crazy' to his name.
 
By 1979, Mohan started his own drama troupe Crazy Creations which went on to create over 30 plays that have been staged over 6,500 times till date. Some of their popular plays include "Chocolate Krishna", "Satellite Saamiyar", "Marriage Made in Saloon" and "Return of Crazy Thieves", among others.
 
In 1983, Mohan made his film debut as a writer for K. Balachander's "Poikkal Kuthirai", which was based on Mohan's own play "Marriage Made in Saloon". The film featured Kamal Haasan in a cameo.
 
As a writer, Mohan was widely popular for his association with Kamal Haasan in multiple Tamil comedies which include "Sathi Leelavathi", "Michael Madana Kama Rajan", "Apoorva Sagodharargal", "Avvai Shanmugi", "Panchatanthiram" and "Vasool Raja MBBS".
 
Mohan forayed into television in 1989 and produced popular comedy serials, which include "Crazy", "Kalyanathukku Kalyanama" and "Vidathu Sirippu".
 
Mohan was a recipient of the Kalaimamani award given by the Tamil Nadu government for excellence in the field of art and literature.
 
IANS
 

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Deepak Ravikumar upstages strong field in Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship

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Deepak Ravikumar (TVS Racing) and Sankar Sarath Kumar (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) survived a day of drama and crashes to post deserved wins in the Pro-Stock 301-400cc and Pro-Stock 165cc categories, respectively, as the first round of the MRF MMSC fmsci Indian National Motorcycle Racing Championship  sparked to life at the Kari Motor Speedway here on Saturday.
 
Starting sixth, Ravikumar, nursing injuries he suffered during last week’s testing, overcame pain and discomfort to score a merited win in the premium Pro-Stock 301-400cc race after pole-sitter Prabhu Arunagiri (Team Alisha Abdullah) and Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) came together in the second of the 10-lap race. 
 
While Arunagiri retired, Jagan Kumar, who had started second on the grid, got up and continued to finish eighth.
 
In second place behind Ravikumar was TVS Racing’s KY Ahamed, followed by Gusto Racing’s Satyanarayana Raju who was nursing a collar-bone fracture.
 
Earlier, the two outstanding riders in the Pro-Stock 165cc race were the eventual winner Sarath Kumar and third-placed Jagan Kumar. Sarath, 26, overcame a poor start that pushed him to sixth before he climbed his way to the front for a comfortable win by over five seconds.
 
Behind him, seven-times Super Sport National champion Jagan, starting from the pit-lane after the chain snapped during the formation lap, requiring quick repairs, rode like the wind as he cut through the field to finish third behind team-mate KY Ahamed who also did extremely well after starting eighth on the grid following this morning’s qualifying session.
 
Reflecting on his first win in three years, Sarath said: “It feels great to win a race after I think three years. I did not have a good start and was running sixth going into Turn-1, but I was confident of making up and by the second lap, I was ahead. Thereafter, it was fairly comfortable.
 
“It has been a frustrating three years during which I was part of the development programme. I also put on weight during that time, going up to 76 Kgs which is far too heavy for a 165cc bike. So, I reduced my weight to 66 Kgs, but still concede about 12 Kgs to Jagan. I had a strategy today, but unfortunately, he had a technical issue, so, I didn’t need to employ that strategy. Tomorrow, I know, he will be with me, but I am confident.”
 
Jagan, who was chaired to the garage after the post-race weigh-in by his team members, said: “The chain snapped and so I had to start from the pitlane after repairs. Otherwise, it was a good race and am happy to finish third considering the circumstances. Hopefully, I will have a better race tomorrow.”
 
The day started with Sparks Racing’s Vijay S taking the honours in the Stock 165cc (Novice) race that was red-flagged after just two laps following crashes.
 
Varoon (Idemitsu Honda Talent Cup, CBR 150), Anish Samson (TVS 200 RR, Novice), Lani Zena Fernandez (TVS 200 RR Girls) and Anand R (TVS 310RR Open) were the other winners of the day.
 
The results (Provisional):
 
National Championship – Pro-Stock 301-400cc (Race 1, 10 laps): 1. Deepak Ravi Kumar (TVS Racing) (11 mins, 40.315 secs); 2. KY Ahemed (TVS Racing) (11:41.960); 3. Satyanarayana Raju (Gusto Racing) (11:58.709).
 
Pro-Stock 165cc (Race 1, 10 laps): 1. Sarath Kumar (Idemitsu Honda Ten10 Racing) (12:23.441); 2. Ahamed KY (TVS Racing) (12:26.672); 3. Jagan Kumar (TVS Racing) (12:27.061).
 
Stock 165cc (Race 1, 7 laps): 1. Vijay S (Sparks Racing) (09:29.877); 2. Manoj Y (Pvt) (09:31.371); 3. Abhimanyu Gautam (Sparks Racing) (09:36.358).
 
One-Make Championship – Idemitsu Honda Talent Cup (CBR 150) Race 1 (10 laps): 1. Varoon (13:31.952); 2. Lalrinuala Tlau (13:51.910); 3. Charan T (14:11.186).
 
TVS (Open, RR 310) Race 1 (10 laps): 1. Anand R (12:17.045); 2. Aravind Ganesh (12:18.822); 3. Soorya PM (12:18.865).
 
Novice (RR 200) Race 1 (4 laps): 1. Anish Samson (05:34.808); 2. Manoj Y (05:34.860); 3. Ullas Santruptnanda (05:36.011).
 
Girls (RR 200): 1. Lani Zena Fernandez (04:19.084); 2. Nivetha Jessica (04:19.766); 3. Shifa Shabir Ahmed (04:35.568).
 
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Gaurika stages rally to win 7th leg of Hero WPG Tour

Gaurika Bishnoi, starting the final round four shots behind the overnight leader Gursimar Badwal, staged a fine rally to register her second win of the season on the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour here on Friday.
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Gaurika Bishnoi, starting the final round four shots behind the overnight leader Gursimar Badwal, staged a fine rally to register her second win of the season on the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour here on Friday.
 
There were 29 starters, of which 28 finished. This was the largest field in a domestic WGAI event ever, which carried a record Rs. 10 lakh purse.
 
Gaurika also moved to the top of the Hero WPGT Order of Merit with two wins in six starts and total earnings of Rs. 6,12,800. She went past Neha Tripathi (Rs. 5,56,800) and Gursimar Badwal (Rs.5,20,133). The fourth player with over Rs 5 lakhs is Amandeep Drall (Rs.5,11,333).
 
Gaurika played very steady in the final round as she dropped just one bogey while picking up six birdies, three of which came in the last five holes to card  67  which  total eight-under 208, which was three clear of amateur Pranavi Urs, who registered the second 66 of the tournament. Pranavi, who began the week with a 76, recovered well over the final two days with 69-66 for a fine performance.
 
Gaurika and Amandeep, winner of the previous two events at Clover Greens, were the only players to play all three rounds under par. Astha Madan (72) was seventh at one-over 217, while amateur Asmitha Sathish (72) and Ananya Datar (72) were tied-eighth. Neha Tripathi (72) and Millie Saroha (75) were tied-10th.
 
Gursimar Badwal, who had played so well on the first two days, had a rough final day with just one birdie. She had two bogeys, but what put her out of contention was the triple bogey eight on the Par-5 14th. She finished in a tie for third alongside Amandeep Drall (70) and Tvesa Malik (68).
 
Ridhima Dilawari, who seemed out of sorts in the first two rounds when she shot 73-74, finally found her form, though a little late. However, the round of 68 will help her confidence for the upcoming events. She finished sixth at one-under 215, as six players finished the week with under par totals, indicating a growing depth in Indian women’s golf. There were two 66s and a 67 in the 15 under-par rounds in a week of impressive golf.
 
Gaurika birdied the second and dropped her only bogey of the day at fourth. Thereafter she was flawless, with birdies on sixth and eighth to turn in two-under 35. On the back nine, after four pars, she birdied 14th, 16th and 18th for a final card of 67.
 
Pranavi, a very good upcoming talent, was also two-under for the front nine and was two-under till the 12th with four birdies against two bogeys. On the last five holes, she had a hat-trick of birdies from 14th to 16th and another on 18th for four-under 31 and a total of 66, the second time this score was recorded this week. The earlier 66 came from Gursimar Badwal on the second day.
 
Amandeep had a rough front nine with bogeys on third and fourth, but four birdies on the back nine against no bogeys saw her card 70 and finish in a tie for third.
 
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Amandeep shares lead with Gursimar and Gaurika in 7th leg of Hero WPG Tour

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Amandeep Drall carded a hat-trick of birdies to take a share of the lead in the opening round of the Rs. 10 lakh seventh leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour here on Wednesday.
 
Drall shared the lead with Gaurika Bishnoi and Gursimar Badwal, who have both won once each this season. The trio shot one-under 71 each and led by one over Hero Order of Merit leader Neha Tripathi, and Ananya Datar who carded even par 72 each.
 
In a field of 26 pros and three amateurs, the largest ever assembled at a domestic event on the Hero WPG Tour, four players including Ridhima Dilawari, the only multiple winner this year, Khushi Khanijau, Millie Saroha and Astha Madan shot one-over 73 each to be tied sixth. Tvesa Malik was sole 10th with a round of 74.
 
This was Amandeep’s sixth successive sub-par round at the Clover Greens. The last time she shot worse than sub-par was an even par 72 in the first round of the eighth leg of the 2018 Tour, which too she won. She added the 10th leg with three straight sub-par rounds.
 
Gursimar birdied the second, but bogeyed the Par-5 third and then parred the remaining holes except for the Par-4 13th, which she birdied for a round of 71. Gursimar won the second leg this year.
 
Gaurika Bishnoi, who won the fifth leg this season, opened with a birdie but dropped back-to-back bogeys on seventh and eight to turn in one-over 38. On the back nine, she birdied 12th and 14th to get to under-par and finish at 71.
 
Neha Tripathi had just one birdie on seventh and she gave that back on 15th, while Ananya Datar had three birdies and three bogeys.
 
Astha Madan was two-under through 11 holes, before dropping thee shots in the last seven, while Ridhima birdied second and then dropped three bogeys in a span of four holes between eighth and 11th. She made up one with a birdie on Par-3 16th.
 
Tvesa Malik at sole 10th birdied twice, but she had a double on the 11th and two more bogeys on 5th and 12th in her 74.
 
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World Bank to provide $ 287 million loan for improving healthcare in Tamil Nadu

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The Government of India, the Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) and the World Bank on Monday signed a $ 287 million loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Programme, which aims to improve the quality of health care, reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and fill the equity gaps in reproductive and child health services in the state.
 
Tamil Nadu ranks third among Indian States in the NITI Aayog Health Index which is reflected in vastly improved health outcomes. 
 
The State’s maternal mortality rate has declined from 90 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 62 deaths in 2015-16 while the infant mortality has declined from 30 deaths per 1000 live births to 20 in the same period, an official press release said.
 
A key contribution to these achievements has been the establishment of Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care Centres and the 108 ambulance service with previous support from the World Bank.  These have ensured that no mother has to travel more than 30 minutes to access emergency obstetric and neonatal care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
 
Despite these impressive gains, certain challenges in health care remain, including quality of care and variations in reproductive and child health among districts. Tamil Nadu is also dealing with a growing burden of NCDs as they account for nearly 69% of deaths in the State, the release said. 
 
The Tamil Nadu Health System Reform Programme will support the State Government to develop clinical protocols and guidelines. It aims to achieve national accreditation for primary, secondary, and tertiary-level health facilities in the public sector.
 
It will strengthen physicians, nurses and paramedics through continuous medical education. It will strengthen the feedback loop between citizens and the state by making quality and other data accessible to the public.
 
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"Tamil Nadu can serve as a model for how to take health system performance to the next level by investing in the public sector and offer lessons to other states. We are happy that the World Bank is helping the state in this journey," Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, said.
 
The Agreement for the Project was signed by Khare on behalf of the Union Government, Beela Rajesh, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, on behalf of Tamil Nadu and Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
 
“The Programme supports interventions to strengthen institutional and state capacity to achieve results. Good practices and innovations from Tamil Nadu are being scaled-up while others from around the world are being introduced through the programme to improve management of the State's Public Health Sector, increase transparency and strengthen accountability,” Abdo said.
 
The programme will promote population-based screening, treatment and follow-up for NCDs, and improve monitoring and evaluation. Patients will be equipped with knowledge and skills to self-manage their conditions. Lab services and health provider capacity will also be strengthened to address mental health.
 
To tackle road injuries, the programme will improve in-hospital care, strengthen protocols, strengthen the 24x7 trauma care services and establish a trauma registry.
 
Another key aim is to reduce the equity gaps in reproductive and child health.  Special focus will be given to nine priority districts, which constitute the bottom quintile of the RCH indicators in the State and have a relatively large proportion of tribal populations. 
 
“This programme focuses on results instead of inputs through a Program-for-Results (PforR) lending instrument. This will provide a much greater focus on outputs and outcomes through better alignment of expenditures and incentives with results,” said Rifat Hasan, Senior Health  Specialist, World Bank India, the Task Team Leader for the programme said. The use of the PforR instrument is a first for the health sector and will offer lessons for other States.  
 
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Stalin urges Rahul not to quit as Congress President

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DMK President M. K. Stalin on Tuesday urged Congress President Rahul Gandhi not to resign from his party post.
 
In a statement issued here, the DMK said Stalin spoke to Gandhi on the phone and told him that he had won the people's hearts.
 
On his part, Gandhi greeted Stalin on the DMK-led alliance's sweeping electoral victory in Tamil Nadu.
 
Congress leader Sonia Gandhi too greeted Stalin.
 
Stalin will be attending the swearing in ceremony of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister designate Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday at Vijayawada.
 
IANS
 

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Top seed Gayatri crashes out in junior badminton semis

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Top seed P. Gayatri Gopichand of Telangana crashed out of the All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament, losing squarely to 16th seed Aashi Rawat of Delhi in a dramatic girl's semifinal upset on Saturday.
 
Tamil Nadu too suffered a big setback, with No. 4 seed Satish Kumar crumbling against No. 2 seed Maisnam Meiraba from Manipur in the boys' section.
 
The till now flawless Gayatri, the daughter of India coach Pullela Gopichand, turned error-prone in the semi-final as she found a worthy challenger in Aashi. She edged into the lead but saw Aashi recover ground at 6-6. The momentum shifted at that stage with Aashi jumping ahead at 10-9 before taking a 13-11 lead.
 
The mistakes, however, continued to flow which Aashi exploited to the hilt, taking a strong 18-14 lead that proved to be good enough for a 21-15 victory in the opener.
 
Aashi was on a roll in the second game, racing to a 15-7 lead. She didn't concede a single point after that for a well-deserved place in the final.
 
Aashi now awaits the winner of the second semi-final between Tamil Nadu's Akshaya Arumugam and Samiya Imad Farooqui of Telangana, both unseeded.
 
Local lad Satish Kumar too found himself out of depth against No. 2 seed Maisnam Meiraba, losing 13-21, 11-21 in 50 minutes. He fell behind early in both the games and failed to come up with any strategy to regain a toehold in the contest.
 
He yielded an early 2-6 lead in the first game which became 4-8 and 9-16 pretty quickly. The second game too followed the same pattern. He went down 2-5 and couldn't recover any ground to lose 11-21.
 
Sathish, however, gave a glimpse of his talent and temperament in the morning, getting the better of ninth seed Sarath D of Andhra Pradesh. He was trailing after the first game (10-21) but he recovered enough to make it look like an easy win, taking the next two games 21-16, 21-12.
 
IANS

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Gayatri, other top seeds reach junior badminton quarters

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Top seed P. Gayatri Gopichand of Telangana faced her first tough fight in the Microplex Global and Yonex Sunrise All-India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament before prevailing 2-0 and entering the quarter-finals here on Friday night.
 
The daughter of India coach Pullela Gopichand was stretched all the way by the unseeded Khushi Gupta of Delhi in the Under-19 Girls Singles clash for a place in the last 8. It took the 16-year-old's cool temperament and superior skills to eke out a 22-20 win in the first game. The second game was equally close with Khushi determined to battle for every point. But in the end Gayatri lived up to her ranking, closing it at 21-16.
 
No. 3 seed Malvika Bansod of the Airports Authority of India and Chennai's Akshaya Arumugam had comparatively easier rounds, getting the better of No. 12 seed Aditi Bhatt of Uttarakhand and Riya Kunjir of Maharashtra, respectively. Malvika won 21-19 21-11 while an impressive Akshaya romped home with a 21-12, 21-11 victory.
 
Earlier in the day, Gayatri barely stretched herself to beat Prerana Alvekar of Maharasthra, 21-11 21-13. Malvika, however, struggled against unseeded Tanya Hemanth (Karnataka), losing the second game 15-21. The final game too was tight but she survived the scare for a 21-10 15-21 21-18 win.
 
Unnati Bisht (No. 4, UTR) and Samiya Imad Farooqui (No. 5, TS) joined the duo by taming Likhita Srivastava of Delhi 21-16 21-8 and Treesa Jolly of Kerala 21-16 21-10.
 
Amolika Singh (No. 6, Uttar Pradesh) and Tasnim Mir (No. 13, Gujarat) were the only two seeds in girls' category to tumble out of the competition. They lost to Aadya Variyath of Kerala 22-20 16-21 21-16 and Himanshi Rawat of Uttarakhand 22-20 7-21 21-15, respectively.
 
No. 2 seed Maisnam Meiraba of Manipur drove the top seeds in the Under-19 Boys Singles, carrying as many as 11 more into the next round. He beat Bharat Raghav of Haryana (21-8 23-21) to set up a clash with Rohan Gurbani (Maharashtra) who took down Karan Negi (HP) 21-13 21-7.
 
Other seeds who progressed include Sai Charan Koya (No. 3, AP), Sathish Kumar K. (4, TN), Aakash Yadav (No. 5, Delhi), Tharun M. (6, Telangana), Siddhanth Gupta (No. 10, TN) and Pranav Rao Gandham (No. 16, Telangana).
 
IANS
 

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DMK alliance routs AIADMK alliance in TN

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Bucking the national trend that favoured the BJP, the DMK-led alliance on Thursday dealt a major blow to Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK-led alliance which comprised the BJP, as it seemed set to capture 36 of the state's 38 Lok Sabha seats that went for polls on April 18.
 
All the candidates put up by the ruling AIADMK's alliance partners bit the dust.
 
The DMK was, however, not able to replicate the sweep in the bye-elections for the 22 assembly seats as it led in 13 constituencies while AIADMK is in lead in nine seats at the time of writing this report.
 
While the DMK and the AIADMK contested the Lok Sabha polls in alliance with other parties, it was a head-on contest between the two in the assembly bye-elections.
 
In the Lok Sabha polls, prominent candidates of the DMK like A. Raja, Dayanidhi Maran, Kanimozhi, T. R. Baalu, S. S. Palanimanickam and of its allies like the Congress like Su. Thirunavukarasar, Karthi P Chidambaram, H. Vasanthakumar, S.Jothimani and others, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India (CPI) and others won their seats or were in the process of winning against their rivals belonging to the AIADMK-led alliance across the state, Election Commission officials said.
 
Amongst the prominent losers were PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss from Dharmapuri, BJP's H.Raja and Tamilisai Soundararajan from Sivaganga and Thoothukudi respectively.
 
In a statement issued here, AIADMK's Coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam and Joint Coordinator K. Palaniswami said the results of the bye-elections for the 22 assembly constituencies show that the AIADMK has the credentials to rule the state.
 
On his part, DMK President M. K. Stalin thanked the voters for electing the party's candidates.
 
The Lok Sabha polls saw a four-cornered contest. The two major fronts are: the AIADMK-led front comprising the PMK, BJP, DMDK, TMC, PT, PNK and others and the DMK-led front consisting of the Congress, MDMK, IUML, CPI, CPI-M, VCK, KMDK and IJK.
 
The AMMK floated by independent legislator T.T.V. Dhinakaran and the MNM floated by actor-politician Kamal Haasan made their electoral debut but put up a poor show.
 
BJP leaders blamed "negative propaganda" by its political foes for its poor showing.
 
IANS
 

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DMK leading in TN Assembly bye-elections

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The DMK on Thursday led in in 10 Assembly constituencies and the ruling AIADMK in 8 as per the initial trends available for the bye-elections held for 22 seats in Tamil Nadu, according to the Election Commission.
 
More than the Lok Sabha elections, the focus in the state was on the bye-elections as they would determine whether the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister K. Palaniswami would remain in power.
 
The fight here is between the AIADMK and DMK. Both the parties contested all the 22 seats while they shared the Lok Sabha seats with their allies.
 
In the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, the ruling AIADMK has 114 members (including the Speaker), the DMK 88 and the Congress 8 while the IUML and Independents have one member each.
 
To attain a simple majority, the AIADMK has to win just four seats in the bye-elections. In order to be safe against switching of camps by some of the lawmakers, the AIADMK has to win eight or nine seats.
 
The DMK (with 88 legislators), on the other hand, has to win all the 22 seats to take its tally along with its allies -- Congress (eight) and IUML (one) -- to 119, which is just one number over the simple majority.
 
Meanwhile, three AIADMK legislators were issued show cause notices by Speaker P. Dhanapal as the ruling party felt that they were moving towards the T.T.V. Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).
 
However, the Supreme Court has stayed the disqualification proceedings against these three lawmakers.
 
IANS
 

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