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ECI freezes "Two Leaves" symbol of AIADMK

In a major setback to the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, the Election Commission of India (ECI), in an interim order late Wednesday night, froze its "Two Leaves" election symbol after hearing claims to it from the two rival factions within the party.

V. K. Sasikala
V. K. Sasikala
O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
In a major setback to the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu, the Election Commission of India (ECI), in an interim order late last night, froze its "Two Leaves" election symbol after hearing claims to it from the two rival factions within the party.
 
The factions, one led by Ms. V. K. Sasikala, the general secretary of the party who is currently undergoing a jail term in a corruption case, and the other by former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, had laid claim to the popular symbol.
 
The interim order came at the end of more than six hours of hearing on the issue by the Commission here yesterday.
 
The Commission made it clear that the interim order was being issued purely for the purposes of the bye-election from the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly constituency in the state, pending the final determination of the dispute raised by the petitions in their petition dated March 16, 2017. Nominations for the bye-election are due to close at 3 pm today.
 
The Commission felt that this was not a matter on which a hasty decision could be taken, pointing out that it would have been impossible for it to study all the records, running into more than 20,000 pages, and to analyze the oral submissions made by counsels for more than six hours yesterday. It said any hasty decision may lead to an erroneous conclusion or finding, prejudicially affecting the rights and interests of either or both the groups.
 
The order said that neither of the two groups led by the petitioners (Mr. E. Madhusudhanan, Mr. Panneerselvam and Mr. S. Semmalai) and the respondents (Ms. Sasikala and party deputy general secretary T T V Dinakaran) shall be permitted to use the name of the party "All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam" simplicitor.
 
Neither of the two groups shall also be permitted to use the symbol "Two leaves" reserved for the AIADMK, it said.
 
"Both the groups shall be known such names as they may choose for their respective groups, showing, if they so desire, linkage with their parent party 'All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam'," the order said.
 
"Both the groups shall also be allotted such different symbols as they may choose from the list of free symbols notified by the Election Commission for the purposes of the current bye-election from 11-Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu," it said.
 
Accordingly, both the groups were directed to furnish by 10 am this morning the names of their groups by which they may be recognized by the Commission and the symbols which may be alloted to the candidates set up, if any, by the respective groups.
 
"They may indicate the names of three free symbols, in the order of their preference, any one of which may be allotted to their candidates by the Commission," the order said.
 
The Commission also allowed both the groups a further and the final opportunity of adducing all such documents and affidavits on which they propose to rely on their respective claims, latest by April 17.
 
The dispute between the two factions arose after the death of AIADMK supremo and then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016 after 75 days of hospitalisation. 
 
She was succeeded by Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, who was sworn in as the Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6. He resigned from the position on February 5 after Ms. Sasikala was elected as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party. 
 
On February 7, Mr. Panneerselvam raised the banner of revolt by saying that he was forced to resign and support Ms. Sasikala and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people so desired.
 
Ms. Sasikala, meanwhile, staked claim to form the new government, but Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao did not respond immediately to it. The pending judgement of the Supreme Court in the corruption case was seen as one of the factors he took into account while deciding to wait.
 
As the two factions jostled for power, Ms. Sasikala expelled Mr. Panneerselvam, known popularly as OPS, and his supporters from the primary membership of the party for alleged anti-party activities. The OPS camp said she had no right to expel anybody, especially because her own election was "interim" general secretary was not valid.
 
In the days that followed, Tamil Nadu witnessed a political crisis as both factions kept urging the Governor for a chance to prove their majority in the Legislative Assembly and making allegations against each other.
 
In its verdict on February 14, the Supreme Court upheld the appeal by the Karnataka government against the May 11, 2015 acquittal of Ms. Jayalalithaa, Ms. Sasikala and the two others and restored the September 2014 verdict of a trial court in Bengaluru convicting the four accused in the case. The special leave petition against Ms. Jayalalithaa's acquittal, however, abated because of her death.
 
The court ordered Ms. Sasikala, 60, and the other two accused to surrender forthwith before the trial court in Bangalore, which she did the next day to serve out the remainder of her four-year sentence.
 
The Sasikala faction elected Mr. Edappadi Palaniswamy as the leader of the legislature party and he was sworn in as the new Chief Minister on February 16.
 
Before setting out for Bangalore on February 15, Ms. Sasikala appointed her nephew and former Member of Parliament T T V Dhinakaran as the deputy general secretary of the AIADMK -- a newly created post -- shortly after readmitting him and another nephew to the party, six years after they were expelled by Ms. Jayalalithaa.
 
In their petition to the Election Commission, the petitioners had, apart from staking claim to the party's election symbol, also argued that Ms. Sasikala's election as the general secretary of the AIADMK was invalid.
 
The Sasikala faction contended that there was no split in the party and that it was only a matter of internal dissent. However, the Commission said it was satisfiedm based on the documents filed and the oral submissions made by the counsels, that there are two rival groups in the party led by Mr. Madhusudhanan and Ms. Sasikala and that each group claims to be the party. "Therefore, the matter needs deterimination in terms of para 15 of the Symbols Order," it said.
 
The Commission, however, made it clear at the outset of the hearing itself that it would go into the question of the appointment of Ms. Sasikala as the general secretary of the party and that the hearing would be confined only to the question of allotment of the reserved symbol of the party to its candidate in the bye-election from Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency.
 
Mr. Dinakaran is the Sasikala faction's candidate for the bye-election, which will fill the vacancy caused by Ms. Jayalalithaa's death. The OPS faction has nominated Mr. Madhusudhanan for the seat, while Ms. Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa Jayakumar is also in the fray.
 
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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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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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LIBA, TCS launch PGDM programme on business analytics

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Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai, and IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) yesterday announced a partnership to design a first-of-its-kind management programme with a specialisation focused on business analytics. 
 
LIBA will offer this course from the next academic year (2017-18), a press release from TCS said.
 
"The partnership will mark yet another milestone in the industry-academia collaboration to fulfil the growing demand for business analytics in India," it said.
 
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Fr Christie SJ, director, LIBA, and Ranjan Bandyopadhyay, vice president, HR, TCS, along with and other senior management representatives and academicians from TCS and LIBA.
 
Considering the increasing demand for business analytics, TCS and LIBA have collaborated to design a management course that specialises in this segment to bridge the existing skill gap in the industry. This will be offered under full-time and part-time MBA (PGDM) in business administration.
 
Fr Christie said, “It is a momentous event for LIBA to sign an MoU with TCS, the largest IT company in India, as an industry partner to offer programmes in the area of business analytics. With its expertise, TCS will be able to add value to the students of LIBA. LIBA is the first B-school in India which is forging ahead in signing an agreement with TCS to offer business analytics as a specialisation for the full-time PGDM students”.
 
“We are extremely happy to note that LIBA with its focus on excellence and ethics has found a renowned industry partner, which espouses the same values," he said.
 
Mr Bandyopadhyay said, “Analytics is emerging as a key growth area spanning industries. The need of the hour is talent that can work on delivering carefully crafted analytics solutions insights and recommendations to businesses. TCS designed courses bring in contemporary application oriented inputs to the class room thorough its academic collaboration. We are delighted to partner with LIBA in the field of analytics.
 
One of the key highlights of the course is the ‘Train the Trainer (TTT) Programme’, in which TCS specialists will train the faculty with industry knowledge.
 
TCS-designed courses will also comprise one-year executive diploma in business analytics, to train experienced professionals through part time / weekend programmes offered at the institute, the release added.
 
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Car racer Ashwin Sundar, wife die as their BMW hits tree in Chennai, goes up in flames

Well-known professional car racer Ashwin Sundar and his wife Nivedhita, a doctor working for a local hospital, were charred to death when their BMW car rammed into a tree on the roadside and went up in flames on the San Thome High Road in Chennai late on Friday night.

Ashwin Sundar
Ashwin Sundar
Well-known professional car racer Ashwin Sundar and his wife Nivedhita, a doctor working for a local hospital, were charred to death when their BMW car rammed into a tree on the roadside and went up in flames on the San Thome High Road here late last night.
 
According to police and other sources, Sundar, 31, who was driving, and his wife were trapped in the car, which had got stuck between the tree and a wall, and they could not open the doors. 
 
Both of them died before firefighters or other help could reach the spot, the sources said.
 
The tragedy was caught on mobile phone cameras by some passers-by, but they could not approach the car, which was in flames. They alerted the police, and a team soon rushed to the spot. Fire brigade personnel from Mylapore also reached the scene in a while and put the fire out.
 
The police broke open the door of the car and extricated the bodies, which were sent to the Government Royapettah Hospital for post-mortem examination.
 
Later, the couple was identified with the help of the car's registration number and other details. They had reportedly visited a friend in Raja Annamalaipuram and were returning home to their residence in Aolappakkam, near Porur, when the mishap occurred. 
 
 
Racer Ashwin Sundar, wife charred to death after BMW catches fire
The racing world mourned the death of the young driver.
 
"#FMSCI deeply regrets death of national racing champ #AshwinSundar and wife Nivedhita in car crash last night. Our condolences to the family," the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) said on Twitter.
 
"Motor sports has lost a truly fine driver and an amazing person in #AshwinSundar. May his soul rest in peace. #RIPAshwin," FMSCI added.
 
Sundar had won the Formula 4 national title twice and the MRF Formula 1600 International Challenge competition two times.
 
Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok said on Twitter: "Very sad to hear this morning that the young Indian National racing champion Ashwin Sundar and his wife were killed in a road accident. #RIP."
 
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6th edition of Indian Engineering Sourcing Show opens in Chennai

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India is showcasing its technological and engineering prowess to top international firms at the 6th edition of the International Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS) that opened here today at a time of global headwinds and the rise of protectionism in some of the leading countries.
 
IESS VI was jointly inaugurated at a ceremony by Minister of Commerce & Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and Russian Minister of Trade & Industry Denis Manturov.
 
Mr. Girish Shankar, Secretary, Department of Heavy Industry, Government of India; Mr. Mangat Ram Sharma, Principal Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, Mr. T S Bhasin, Chairman, EEPC India and other senior officials from the Ministry of Commerce and Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
Prior to the inauguration, Ms. Sitharaman and Mr. Manturov held discussions on a host of bilateral issues.
 
An official press release said the two leaders agreed there was enormous potential to enhance bilateral trade, which is currently at $ 6.62 billion.
 
They discussed the early operationalization of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that would cut the time and cost for transportation of goods between the two countries. They also deliberated upon other measures to enhance trade ties, including the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The need to finalise a revised Bilateral Investment Treaty was also noted. 
 
Ms. Sitharaman also invited Russia to be the ‘Partner Country’ in India International Jewellery Show 2017 scheduled to be held in July 2017 in Mumbai and Advantage Healthcare India scheduled to be held in October 2017 in Delhi / Mumbai.
 
According to EEPC India, Russia coming forward as the Partner Country in the event is a testimony to the stature achieved by IESS. India has a long standing partnership with Russia in engineering sector. A large 120-member delegation from Russia is exhibiting their technology and products at the event.
 
As many as 400 top global exhibitors and over 500 foreign delegates are participating in this flagship engineering eventwhich is built around the theme – “Smart Tech for Smart Engineering”.
 
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Apart from the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the show is also supported by the Union Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, Department of Heavy Industry and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. The event has Flanders as the Focus Region and SIDBI as MSME Solutions Partner. This time, IESS is being held in Chennai, the nerve-centre of south India with Tamil Nadu as the host state of the event.
 
Besides Russia, delegates from USA, UK, Germany, UAE, Brazil, South Africa, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya,Namibia, Uganda, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Nepal are also visiting IESS.
 
This year's edition of IESS has exclusive Technology and Innovation Pavilions with representations from BARC, IIT Mumbai, IIT Madras, FCRI (Fluid Control Research Institute), ARCI (International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials), CMTI (Central Manufacturing Technology Institute) and MSME Tools Room.
 
India's engineering exports are likely to cross $ 60 billion in the fiscal 2016-17, on the back of revival of demand in the USA and for select products like iron. For the April-January period of ten months of the current fiscal, the engineering exports have touched a figure of $ 50.87 billion, exceeding the total shipments of $ 49 billion in 2015-16. For January, 2017, engineering exports aggregated $ 5.29 billion, showing an increase of over 12% over the same month last fiscal.
 
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India takes up killing of TN fisherman with Sri Lanka

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India today voiced deep concern at the killing of an Indian fisherman from Tamil Nadu, allegedly in unprovoked firing by Sri Lankan Navy personnel in the Palk Bay, and took up the matter with the Sri Lankan government.
 
"Our High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Navy has promised a full and thorough investigation," a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said here.
 
Meanwhile, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urging the Centre to summon forthwith the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India and convey to him in no uncertain terms the strong feelings of the Government of India and the State Government about the "unprovoked firing on fishermen and non-adherence to earlier agreements on this issue".
 
"I also urge the Government of India to ensure that the safety and security of its citizens from Tamil Nadu, who pursue their humble avocation of earning a livelihood by fishing in their traditional waters of the Palk Bay, is fully protected," he wrote, requesting the Prime Minister to take firm and decisive action in this regard without any delay.
 
Mr. Palaniswamy the fisherman Britjo, 21, had sustained a bullet injury on his neck and died while being brought to the shore after the incident late last night. Another fisherman, Saron, 31, also suffered injuries and is admitted in a Government Hospital in Ramanathapuram district for treatment.
 
The Chief Minister said five fishermen had set out for fishing in a mechanised fishing boat from Rameswaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram district yesterday.
 
He said that, around 9.30 pm, four Sri Lankan Navy vessels surrounded the boat and opened "unprovoked and indiscriminate fire" on the unarmed fishermen.
 
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Mr. Palaniswamy said the "horrendous incident" marked a new low in the "inhuman and cruel manner" in which the Sri Lankan Navy is dealing with a sensitive livelihood issue where history, tradition and customary law are all on the side of the poor fishermen from Tamil Nadu.
 
"The Sri Lankan Navy is resorting to tactics involving greater cruelty and unnecessary use of force in an attempt to scare away our fishermen from exercising their traditional rights," he said. He said such tactics completely belied all the diplomatic efforts that had been undertaken, including the understanding reached between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of India, including the recently concluded Joint Working Group meeting in New Delhi and Ministerial Level Meeting in Colombo in which it was clearly agreed not to use force against bona fide fishermen at sea.
 
"Even as action is taken on longer term issues like retrieval of Katchatheevu and on diversification to deep sea fishing, under no circumstances can the present escalation of actions by the Sri Lankan side be ignored or tolerated. I strongly urge the Prime Minister to intervene personally in this sensitive livelihood issue of our fishermen and use all means at the command of the Government of India to curb the unacceptable aggressive actions of the Sri Lankan Navy in the Palk Bay, and to protect the life, limb and liberty of our innocent fishermen," Mr. Palaniswamy added.
 
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MoS Finance promises to sort out problems in education loans by banks

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Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal assured students and banks dispensing education loans that the problems faced by both would be sorted out soonest by convening a meeting of officials of the Ministry of Finance, Education Departments and banks and NGOs concerned with the issue.
 
“I will convene a meeting of secretaries of finance and officials of the education ministry and also top bank officials and representatives of NGOs espousing the cause of students to hear and help resolve the problems faced," he said at a seminar organised by the ELTF, a wing of the PreSense portal, and part of the NGO Prime Point Foundation.
 
Mr. Meghwal said that, as a start, he would ask banks in urban areas to set up a grievances cell at their corporate office and a nodal officer in the regional centres of the banks in tier two and tier three cities to deal exclusively with the issue of education loans. 
 
The demand for the grievances cell was made by ELTF convener and PreSense Editor K Srinivasan, who claimed that the system of dispensing and recovery of education loans needed to be streamlined so that students did not face any problems in the repayment mode. He also demanded 100% reimbursement of interest subsidy.
 
Mr. Subramanya Kumar, Executive Director, of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), which has disbursed the highest amount of education loans at over Rs 3,600 crore, said there was no question of a loan waiver but the repayment system could be looked at again to make it easier for the students.
 
Some politicians promised students at the time of elections that education loans would be waived which was not possible in reality, he said.
 
While the rate of interest for education loans should be reduced, Mr. Srinivasan said, a new institution on the lines of NABARD or SIDBI should be set to provide refinance for all education loans. Also, a high level committee should be set up with all stake holders to examine the present education loan interest subsidy management.
 
A demand was also made to separate education loan from other loans and that the task of recovery should not be outsourced to collection agencies but done by bank officers themselves. It was pointed out that students were often threatened, muzzled and harassed by collection agencies to return the loans with unreasonable deadlines which generated tremendous pressure on the students .
 
Mr. Meghwal promised to look into this matter and discuss it with banks to separate education loans from the regular non-performing assets (NPA) category. Parents attending the meeting and some NGO representatives pointed out that students were future assets of the country and education loan was an investment made on them. As such, it was not right to treat their loans as an NPA.
 
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Most of the times, students, after they passed out, found it difficult to find jobs and hence there was a delay in repayment of loans which the banks needed to understand, it was pointed out.
 
As per information given in the Lok Sabha recently , public sector banks disbursed education loans to the tune of Rs. 9674 crore in 2015-16 against Rs. 8312 crore in 2014-15. Private sector banks disbursed Rs. 9049 crore in 2015-16 against Rs. 7619 crore in 2014-15.
 
In Tamil Nadu alone, education loans disbursed by all banks amounted to Rs. 1583 crore in 2015-16 against Rs. 1952 crore. The top four banks which sanctioned maximum education loans in Tamil Nadu are:
Indian Overseas bank – 2.07 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs 3679 crore.
Canara Bank – 1.51 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs 3017 crore
Indian bank – 1.44 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs 2906 crore
State Bank of India – 1.01 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs 2351 crore.
Total 6.03 lakh accounts – amount outstanding Rs. 11, 953 crore.
 
According to RBI statistics released in December last year, Gross Bank Credit until December 2016 was Rs. 66,458 billion , out of which education loan amounted to Rs 608 billion which was 0.91% of the whole. In the same period last year, gross bank credit was Rs 64,335 billion, out of which education amounted to Rs. 609 billion, which was 0.94 % of the total.
 
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DMK leader Stalin arrested while staging protest after EPS wins trust vote

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Opposition DMK Working President M. K. Stalin was arrested by the Chennai Police when he and leaders and workers of his party staged a protest at Marina Beach to condemn the alleged violence against them in the Legislative Assembly, where Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami won a vote of confidence amidst high drama and pandemonium.
 
Mr. Stalin, who was evicted from the House along with other MLAs of his party on the orders of the Speaker, staged sit-ins near Raj Bhavan and later at Marina Beach.
 
He came out of the Assembly with his shirt open and headed towards Raj Bhavan to brief Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao about the incidents in the Assembly.
 
He said he was "manhandled" by the marshals in the Assembly and that several of his colleagues were assaulted.
 
First, he and his party's MLAs and MPs, including Rajya Sabha members K. Kanimozhi and T. K. S. Elangovan, and scores of party cadres staged a demonstration in front of Raj Bhavan.
 
As news of the demonstration spread, DMK cadres in some parts of the state staged protests and shopkeepers downed shutters in some areas.
 
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Later, the DMK leaders met Mr. Rao and complained to him about the incidents in the Assembly and the ill-treatment meted out to them. They urged him to order a fresh trust vote with secret ballot.
 
After that, Mr. Stalin drove to the Mahatma Gandhi statue on Marina Beach, where processions, meetings and demonstrations were banned in the wake of the recent pro-Jallikattu agitation. He and his supporters attempted to stage a hunger strike there and urged those who wanted to "remove" the "anti-democratic" government to gather there.
 
As the crowds began to swell, the police denied permission for the gathering, which included MLAs and MPs. There was tension for some time and traffic on the arterial road was affected.
 
After heated arguments, during which some DMK workers tried to erect a DMK flag mast, the police arrested Mr. Stalin and senior party leaders and took them to a community hall.
 
Talking to reporters, Mr. Stalin said that his party would spearhead an agitation to protest against the incidents that took place in the Assembly.
 
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Palaniswami wins trust vote in TN Assembly after unruly scenes, eviction of DMK MLAs

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami won a vote of confidence in the Assembly on Saturday 122-11 with none of the Opposition members present after the Speaker evicted 89 MLAs -- 88 of the DMK and one of the IUML -- following unprecedented unruly scenes and those of the Congress followed them out.

 
Uproar in TN Assembly during EPS trust vote
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami won a vote of confidence in the Legislative Assembly today by a margin of 122-11 with none of the Opposition members present after the Speaker evicted 89 MLAs -- 88 of the DMK and one of the IUML -- following unprecedented unruly scenes and those of the Congress followed them out.
 
On a day of high drama and pandemonium in the House, rebel AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam, who stepped as Chief Minister after the party MLAs chose its General Secretary V. K. Sasikala as their new leader and then turned against her, managed to muster only 11 votes against the motion of confidence from MLAs loyal to him.
 
Mr. Palaniswamy, who was Minister for Public Works in the Panneerselvam government, was elected as the new leader of the AIADMK government on February 14, hours after the Supreme Court convicted Ms. Sasikala, a close aide of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, in a corruption case basically involving her mentor, and asked her to report to the trial court in Bengaluru to resume her four-year jail term. Ms. Sasikala drove to Bengaluru the next day and and was sent back to jail.
 
Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, who had not responded to Ms. Sasikala's claim to forming the new government, appointed Mr. Palaniswamy as the new Chief Minister on February 16 and asked him to prove his majority in the House within two weeks. The new Chief Minister decided to seek a floor test today.
 
Soon after the special sitting of the Assembly commenced at 11 am today, Speaker P. Dhanapal called upon the Chief Minister to move the motion of confidence but former Minister S. Semmalai, the whip of the "rebel" AIADMK camp led by Mr. Panneerselvam, popularly called OPS, got up to speak, demanding a secret ballot so that members could vote freely according to their conscience and sought adequate security for the MLAs.
 
DMK Working President M. K. Stalin, the Leader of the Opposition, backed the OPS faction and urged the Speaker to allow Mr. Semmalai to speak.
 
DMK President M. Karunanidhi, who is ailing, could not attend the session, while an AIADMK MLA, said to be in the Sasikala camp, sneaked out of the Koovathur resort, where 120-odd MLAs had been staying for the past ten days, and went home to Coimbatore. He said he would not attend the session, alleging that the AIADMK government was being controlled by one family. 
 
With 231 members present in the House, Mr. Palaniswamy, referred to informally as EPS, needed the support of 116 MLAs to clear the floor test.
 
Mr. Stalin also objected to the manner in which the MLAs said to be supporting EPS had been kept at the resort all these days and were escorted from straight to the Assembly "like prisoners" without getting an opportunity to visit their constituencies or homes.
 
Mr. Semmalai's demand for secret ballot was supported by the entire Opposition, including the DMK and the IUML. 
 
Noisy scenes erupted soon, even as Mr. Dhanapal assured members of adequate protection and appealed to them to maintain decorum in the House. The treasury benches were against a secret ballot, fearing that it could lead to cross voting from their side.
 
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''Why is the floor test is being conducted in such a hurry when the Governor has given 15 days," Mr. Stalin asked. "Democratic principles will be fulfilled only if a secret ballot is conducted," he said.
 
He said the trust vote should be deferred to another day to enable the AIADMK MLAs to travel to their constituencies and gauge the public mood.
 
The Speaker turned down his plea, saying that it was his prerogative to decide how the voting should be conducted.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam said the AIADMK MLAs were held against their will at Kuvathoor and demanded secret ballot.
 
"The people's voice should be heard and only then should the floor test be conducted," he said. "It should be conducted only after registering the voice of the people inthe House."
 
Congress floor leader K. R. Ramasamy also backed the demand for secret ballot.
 
With the Speaker turning down the demand, the entire Opposition were on their feet and began shouting slogans. Members of the DMK created a ruckus.
 
The House was adjourned till 1300 hours after the Speaker was "gheraoed" by DMK members and his microphone and some furniture was damaged, papers were torn and strewn around and there was some pushing and jostling, even as EPS supporters sat and watched silently. In the commotion, marshals escorted the Speaker into his chamber.
 
Assembly Secretary AMP Jamaludeen's chair was also damaged in the melee, while one MLA was seen sitting in the Speaker's chair for some time.
 
Mr. Stalin met the Speaker in his chamber during the adjournment and expressed regret for the incidents.
 
When the House reassumbled at 1300 hours, Mr. Dhanapalan expressed his anguish and pain over the violence indulged in by the members. He said he had a responsibility to conduct the proceedings as per the rules.
 
When the Speaker said his shirt torn by DMK members, Mr. Stalin denied the allegation.
 
Mr Dhanapal made repeated pleas to DMK MLAs to resume their seats and finally ordered their eviction.
 
''Since the DMK members violated the Assembly traditions and continued to disrupt the proceedings, I ordered their eviction," he said, and asked the Chief Minister to move the motion of confidence.
 
DMK members remained in the well of the House and continued to shout slogans, resisting the marhals who tried to evict them. The Speaker adjourned the House to 1500 hours. But the DMK members remained in the House and heckled the marshals.
 
When the House reassembled at 1500 hours without the Opposition, the Speaker put the motion to vote, Mr. Palaniswami sailed through with 122 of his supporters voting for him and 11 belonging to the OPS camp voting against.
 
After the division, the Speaker announced that Mr. Palaniswami had won the trust vote 122-11. "The motion of confidence moved by Mr. Palaniswami is adopted," he said, and adjourned the House sine die.
 
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Palaniswami and his Cabinet colleagues visited the memorial of Ms. Jayalalithaa and offered their tributes.
 
This was the first time in nearly three decades that the Tamil Nadu Assembly had witnessed a vote of confidence.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, 2016 shortly after Ms. Jayalalithaa had passed away here late on the previous night.
 
The current crisis in the party began on February 5, when Ms. Sasikala was chosen by AIADMK MLAs as the new leader of its legislature party and, therefore, Mr. Panneerselvam's successor. OPS resigned the same day, and Governor Rao accepted his resignation on February 6, but asked him to continue in office until alternative arrangements were made.
 
Ms. Sasikala staked claim to forming the next government in the state, but Mr. Rao did not respond to it for various reasons, including the fact that the Supreme Court was due to deliver its verdict on the corruption case against her in a few days.
 
OPS raised the banner of revolt against Ms. Sasikala on February 7 and alleged that he was forced to resign and stated that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people so desired.
 
The next week saw both sides engaged in a bitter power tussle, trying to garner support from the party's MLAs. The OPS camp attracted the support of 11 MPs and several AIADMK veterans, including a State Minister, but could manage to get backing from only 10 MLAs till then. Ms. Sasikala said she enjoyed the support of more than 120 MLAs, all of whom stayed at a resort near the city for the next several days.
 
As it turned out, the apex court convicted Ms. Sasikala in the 20-year-old case, which basically involved Mr. Jayalalithaa, and restored the order of a trial court in Bengaluru sentencing her to four years in prison. That ended her Chief Ministerial ambitions and she had to travel to Bengaluru to surrender before the trial court there to serve out the remainder of her prison term.
 
Hours before leaving for Bengaluru, she inducted her nephews into the party and made Dinakaran her deputy, in a clear bid to ensure that her family retained control over the organisation.
 
She also expelled OPS and 19 others, including senior leaders like Mr. C. Ponnaian and K. Pandiarajan, a Minister in the Panneerselvam Cabinet and a sitting MLA, for supporting him.
 
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Palaniswamy faces floor test in Assembly on Saturday, DMK to vote against him

Tamil Nadu's new Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswamy will take a floor test in the Legislative Assembly here on Saturday even as the in-fighting in the ruling AIADMK continued and the Opposition DMK decided to vote against him on Friday.

 
Palaniswami sworn in as new CM of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu's new Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswamy will take a floor test in the Legislative Assembly here tomorrow even as the in-fighting in the ruling AIADMK continued and the Opposition DMK decided to vote against him today.
 
When Mr. Palaniswami, who was sworn in yesterday bringing the curtains down on ten days of high political drama, moves a motion of confidence in his government tomorrow, it will be the first time in nearly three decades that the Tamil Nadu Assembly will witness such an exercise.
 
Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao had, while appointing him, given him two weeks to prove his majority but the Chief Minister has decided to do it at the first opportunity.
 
Speaker P. Dhanapal has convened a special sitting of the Assembly at 1100 hours tomorrow for the purpose.
 
The ruling AIADMK has a strength of 135 MLAs in the 236-member Assembly. One seat is vacant following the death of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016.
 
The DMK has 89 members while its allies, the Congress and the IUML have eight and one seat, respectively. Mr. Palaniswami needs the support of 117 MLAs to win the trust vote and continue as Chief Minister.
 
The AIADMK faction led by its general secretary V. K. Sasikala -- who ended up in a Bangalore jail on Wednesday after being convicted in a 20-year-old corruption case -- to which Mr. Palaniswami belongs, claims the support of 123 MLAs, while the rival camp headed by his predecessor O. Panneerselvam has so far got open backing from only 11 party legislators. The Speaker's vote will come into the picture only if there is a tie.
 
Ahead of the vote, a delegation from the Panneerselvam camp met Speaker Dhanapal at the State Secretariat today. They are believed to have urged him to call for secret ballot during the floor test.
 
The AIADMK's MLA from Mylapore and retired police officer R. Nataraj, meanwhile, announced his support for Mr. Panneerselvam, popularly called OPS, today. The camp is hoping that some more MLAs from the rival faction will switch their allegiance to it before the vote.
 
Meanwhile, the DMK MLAs held a meeting chaired by its working president M. K. Stalin, the leader of the Opposition, and decided to vote against Mr. Palaniswami, while the Congress said it would announce its strategy tomorrow.
 
All the 89 MLAs of the DMK were present at the meeting, at which they were directed to be present in the House tomorrow and vote against the motion of confidence. The IUML also said it would vote against Mr. Palaniswami.
 
All the three opposition parties have a combined strength of 98 MLAs in the Assembly.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, 2016 shortly after Ms. Jayalalithaa had passed away here late on the previous night.
 
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The current crisis in the party began on February 5, when Ms. Sasikala was chosen by AIADMK MLAs as the new leader of its legislature party and, therefore, Mr. Panneerselvam's successor. OPS resigned the same day, and Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao accepted his resignation on February 6, but asked him to continue in office until alternative arrangements were made.
 
Ms. Sasikala staked claim to forming the next government in the state, but Mr. Rao did not respond to it for various reasons, including the fact that the Supreme Court was due to deliver its verdict on a corruption case against her in a few days.
 
OPS raised the banner of revolt against Ms. Sasikala on February 7 and alleged that he was forced to resign and stated that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people so desired.
 
The next week saw both sides engaged in a bitter power tussle, trying to garner support from the party's MLAs. The OPS camp attracted the support of 11 MPs and several AIADMK veterans, including a State Minister, but could manage to get backing from only 10 MLAs. Ms. Sasikala said she enjoyed the support of more than 120 MLAs, all of whom stayed at a resort near the city for the next several days.
 
As it turned out, the apex court convicted Ms. Sasikala in the 20-year-old case, which basically involved Mr. Jayalalithaa, and restored the order of a trial court in Bengaluru sentencing her to four years in prison. That ended her Chief Ministerial ambitions and she had to travel to Bengaluru to surrender before the trial court there to serve out the remainder of her prison term.
 
Hours before leaving for Bengaluru, she inducted her nephews into the party and made Dinakaran her deputy, in a clear bid to ensure that her family retained control over the organisation.
 
She also expelled OPS and 19 others, including senior leaders like Mr. C. Ponnaian and K. Pandiarajan, a Minister in the Panneerselvam Cabinet and a sitting MLA, for supporting him.
 
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OPS camp 'sacks' Sasikala, her two nephews from AIADMK

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A day after senior AIADMK leader Edappadi K. Palaniswamy was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the in-fighting within the ruling party continued with the "rebel" camp led by his predecessor O. Panneerselvam expelling party General Secretary V. K. Sasikala and her two nephews from the primary membership of the party.
 
Mr. Palaniswami is due to seek a vote of confidence in the legislative assembly tomorrow, though Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao had, while appointing him, given him two weeks to prove his majority.
 
The Panneerselvam camp, which claims to be the "real" AIADMK, though it failed to get on to its side the required number of MLAs to enable the former Chief Minister to continue in office, said it was sacking the three, including Ms. Sasikala, the newly-appointed Deputy General Secretary T. T. V. Dinakaran and S. Venkatesh, for alleged violation of party principles and discipline.
 
Mr. E. Madhusudanan, who was removed last week from the post of chairman of the AIADMK Presidium by the Sasikala camp and expelled from the party for backing Mr. Panneerselvam, said Ms. Sasikala had gone back on her promise to late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa that she would not aspire for any post in the party or government.
 
Ms. Sasikala, a long-time aide of Ms. Jayalalithaa had been expelled from the AIADMK by the party supremo in December 2011 along with some others, including her husband Natarajan, Dinakaran and  Venkatesh. Ms. Sasikala had been readmitted to the party and to Ms. Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence after she tendered a letter of apology and promised to not seek any position in the party or in government.
 
''Since she had went back on her promise and following her involvement in several criminal cases, Sasikala was expelled from the primary membership of the AIADMK for acting in a manner that brought disrepute to the party," Ms. Madhusudanan said.
 
In a separate statement, he said the re-induction of Dinakaran and Ventatesh and the former's appointment to the newly-created post of Deputy General Secretary was also cancelled. He said the two had been expelled by the late Ms. Jayalalithaa for betraying her faith six years ago and their re-induction by Ms. Sasikala, without any authority, on the ground that they had apologised for their past actions, was not acceptable.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, known popularly as OPS, had been sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, shortly after Ms. Jayalalithaa had passed away here late on the previous night.
 
The crisis in the party began on February 5, when Ms. Sasikala was chosen by AIADMK MLAs as the new leader of its legislature party and, therefore, Mr. Panneerselvam's successor. OPS resigned the same day, and Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao accepted his resignation on February 6, but asked him to continue in office until alternative arrangements were made.
 
Ms. Sasikala staked claim to forming the next government in the state, but Mr. Rao did not respond to it for various reasons, including the fact that the Supreme Court was due to deliver its verdict on a corruption case against her in a few days.
 
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OPS raised the banner of revolt against Ms. Sasikala on February 7 and alleged that he was forced to resign and stated that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people so desired.
 
The next week saw both sides engaged in a bitter power tussle, trying to garner support from the party's MLAs. The OPS camp attracted the support of 11 MPs and several AIADMK veterans, including a State Minister, but could manage to get backing from only 10 MLAs. Ms. Sasikala said she enjoyed the support of more than 120 MLAs, all of whom stayed at a resort near the city for the next several days.
 
As it turned out, the apex court convicted Ms. Sasikala in the 20-year-old case, which basically involved Mr. Jayalalithaa, and restored the order of a trial court in Bengaluru sentencing her to four years in prison. That ended her Chief Ministerial ambitions and she had to travel to Bengaluru to surrender before the trial court there to serve out the remainder of her prison term.
 
Hours before leaving for Bengaluru, she inducted her nephews into the party and made Dinakaran her deputy, in a clear bid to ensure that her family retained control over the organisation.
 
She also expelled OPS and 19 others, including senior leaders like Mr. C. Ponnaian, for supporting him. Mr. Madhusudanan had also been expelled a few days earlier, but he insisted she had no right to sack anyone as her own election as General Secretary was done in an illegal manner.
 
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OPS says struggle against "takeover of AIADMK by one family" would continue

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After ending up on the losing side in his bid to retain the Chief Minister's chair, rebel AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam today said that his peaceful struggle against the efforts of one family to wrest control of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu would continue and that he would emerge victorious.
 
Addressing his supporters outside his residence, shortly after Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao appointed Mr. Edappadi K. Palaniswami as the new Chief Minister, he said struggle would continue and he would prevent the AIADMK from being converted into the property of one family.
 
Mr.  Panneerselvam had maintained throughout the past one week that he would garner the required support from amongst the 135 AIADMK MLAs but did not quite manage to do so.
 
His camp got a boost when as many as 11 members of Parliament, nine members of the Lok Sabha and two of the Rajya Sabha, a senior State Minister and some MLAs and party veterans and bigwigs threw their weight behind him.
 
But the all-important support from  a sufficient number of MLAs eluded him, and, in fact, it never crossed into double figures. MLAs in the rival camp led by AIADMK general secretary V. K. Sasikala stayed at a resort near Mahabalipuram for all of the last week, and, while Mr. Panneerselvam maintained that they were kept there against their will, he was not able to win them over, either.
 
More or less ending his week-long struggle, OPS put up a brave face today and said that with the support of the people and the party cadres, he would continue the fight against "one family controlling the AIADMK.
 
Claiming that he had the overwhelming support of the people of the state and AIADMK cadres, he said a government had been formed in the state today without heeding the sentiments of the people and the party's workers, based on "numbers" after "forcibly confining the MLAs in one place".
 
''To reflect these sentiments, we started a Dharma Yudham to protect the legacy of MGR and Amma. It will continue and we will emerge victorious," he added.
 
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List of new Cabinet Ministers in Tamil Nadu

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Following is the list of the new Council of Ministers who were sworn in along with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami by Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao at Raj Bhavan here today:
 
CABINET MINISTERS
 
Mr Edappadi K Palaniswami -- Chief Minister 
Mr C Sreenivasan -- Minister for Forests
Mr K A Sengottaiyan -- Minister for School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare
Mr K Raju -- Minister for Co-operation
Mr P Thangamani -- Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise
Mr S P Velumnai -- Minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development, and implementation of Special Programme
Mr D Jayakumar -- Minister for Fisheries
Mr C.Ve. Shanmugam -- Minister for Law, Courts and Prisons
Mr K P Anbalagan -- Minister for Higher Education
Dr V Saoroja -- Minister for Social Welfare and Nutritious Noon Meal Programme
Mr  M C Sampath -- Minister for Industries
Mr K C Karuppanan -- Minister for Environment
Mr R Kamaraj -- Minister for Food and Civil Supplies
Mr O S Manian -- Minister for Handlooms and Textiles
Mr K Radhakrishnan -- Minister for Housing and Urban Development
Dr C Vijaya Baskar -- Minister for Health and Family Welfare
Mr R Doraikkannu -- Minister for Agriculture
Mr Kadambur Raju -- Minister for Information and Publicity
Mr R B Udayakumar -- Minister for Revenue
Mr N Natarajan -- Minister for Tourism
Mr K C Veeramani -- Minister for Commercial Taxes
Mr K  T Rajenthra Bhalaji -- Minister for Milk and Dairy Development
Mr P Benjamin -- Minister for Rural Industries
Dr Nilofer Kafeel -- Minister for Labour
Mr M R Vijayabaskar -- Minister for Transport
Dr M Manikandan -- Minister for Information Technology
Ms V M Rajalakshmi -- Minister for Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare
Mr G Baskaran -- Minister for Khadi and Village Industries Board
Mr S Ramachandran -- Minister for Hindu Religious and Chritable Endowments
Ms S Valarmathi -- Minister for Backward Classes and Minorities Welfares
Mr P Balakrishna Reddy -- Minister for Animal Husbandry. 
 
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Edappadi K. Palaniswami sworn in as 13th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

Senior AIADMK leader Edappadi Palaniswami was on Friday sworn in as the 13th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at the head of 31-member Cabinet, bringing the curtains down on 11 days of political drama that began on February 5 with the election of the party's general secretary as the leader of its legislature wing.

 
Palaniswami sworn in as new CM of Tamil Nadu
Senior AIADMK leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami was today sworn in as the 13th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at the head of 31-member Cabinet, bringing the curtains down on 11 days of political drama and uncertainty that began on February 5 with the election of the party's general secretary as the leader of its legislature wing.
 
During these 11 days, the state witnessed political turmoil, which included efforts by two factions of the ruling party, led by Ms. Sasikala and caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam to win over a majority of the 135 AIADMK MLAs.
 
The crisis culminated with the conviction of Ms. Sasikala in a 20-year-old corruption case, that basically involved the late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, and her surrender before a trial court in Bengaluru yesterday to resume her four-year jail sentence. 
 
Before leaving for Bengaluru, Ms. Sasikala oversaw the election of Mr. Palaniswami as the new leader of the legislature party and then placed her nephew, T. T. K. Dinakaran, in the newly-created position of deputy secretary general of the AIADMK, ensuring that she would retain some control over its affairs from inside prison.
 
State Governor C. Vidyasagar adminstered the oaths of office and secrecy to Mr. Palaniswami and the other Ministers at a simple and brief ceremony held this afternoon in the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan.
 
The new Chief Minister has been given two weeks to prove his majority in the State Legislative Assembly. AIADMK sources indicated that this would be done on February 18 at a special session of the assembly.
 
Mr. Palaniswami retained most members of the outgoing Cabinet with the same portfolios that was headed by Mr. O. Panneerselvam, who had raised the banner of revolt against Ms. Sasikala on February 7, precipitating the crisis, and, thus, as was to be expected, did not figure on the list.
 
Mr. Palaniswami, who was Minister for Public Works, Irrigation, Highways and Minor Ports in the Panneerselvam Cabinet and a staunch Jayalalithaa loyalist, was the first to take oath in the name of God. He was followed by the other Ministers, who also took oath in the name of God.
 
The only new face in the Cabinet was former Minister and party stalwart K. A. Sengottaiyan, who made a return to the Government and is now number three with the portfolios of School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare. He has replaced Mr. K. Pandiarajan, who had also turned rebel last week and joined the camp headed by Mr. Panneerselvam, known popularly as OPS.
 
Mr. Palaniswamy will look after all the portfolios held by Mr. Panneerselvam in the outgoing Cabinet, including the key portfolio of Finance.
 
Shortly after becoming the Chief Minister, Mr. Palaniswami offered floral tributes at the memorials of late AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa, late party founder M. G. Ramachandran and late Chief Minister C. N. Annadurai at Marina Beach.
 
He asserted that he would prove his majority in the House, as advised by the Governor, and that the "golden rule" of Amma, as Ms. Jayalalithaa is called, would continue.
 
Mr. Palaniswami has become the third Chief Minister of the state in the short span of ten months since the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) retained power for a second consecutive term in the May 2016 elections to the Assembly.
 
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Ms. Jayalalithaa took over as the Chief Minister but, following her death on December 5, 2016 after 75 days of hospitalisation, Mr. Panneerselvam succeeded her and assumed office on December 6.
 
Those present at the swearing-in ceremony included Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal, senior AIADMK leaders such as Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai, newly-appointed AIADMK Deputy General Secretary T. T. V. Dinakaran, a nephew of Ms. Sasikala, and several MPs and MLAs and leaders of political parties.
 
Earlier, Mr. Palaniswamy had met Governor Rao at Raj Bhavan at 1130 hours today when he was invited to form the new government.
 
"Thiru Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu has today (16.2.2017) appointed Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Party Headquarters Secretary of the AIADMK, as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and invited him to form the Ministry at the earliest," a press release from Raj Bhavan said.
 
"This is in acceptance of the letter submitted by Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami on 14.02.2017 that he was elected as the Leader of the AIADMK Legislature party in ameeitng of the Party MLAs held on that day.
 
"Hon'ble Governor has also requested the Chief Minister-Designate, Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami to seek the vote of the confidence of the Assembly within fifteen days," the release added.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had resigned as Chief Minister on February 5, shortly after Ms. Sasikala's election as the new legislature party leader. The Governor accepted his resignation the following day and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
With the Supreme Court verdict the corruption case against Ms. Jayalalithaa, Ms. Sasikala nd two others, expected within a few days, Mr. Rao did not respond immediately to Ms. Sasikala's claim to forming the new government.
 
On February 7 night, OPS, in rather uncharacteristic fashion, came out openly against Ms. Sasikala, claiming that he had been forced to resign and support her and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people wanted him to.
 
In the days that followed, both the Sasikala and OPS camps tried to woo the AIADMK's 135 MLAs. While Ms. Sasikala said she had the support of more than 120 of them, Mr. Panneerselvam could not get more than ten on his side, even as 11 AIADMK Members of Parliament threw their lot in with him.
 
On February 14, the Supreme Court convicted Ms. Sasikala and directed her to surrender forthwith before the trial court in Bengaluru to resume the four-year prison term she had been awarded by it in September 2014 before the Karnataka High Court overturned that verdict in May 2015. The case against Ms. Jayalalithaa had abated because of her death.
 
The Supreme Court's order, overturning the Karnataka High Court judgement and restoring the verdict of the trial court, meant that Ms. Sasikala would have to spend time in prison and be barred from contesting elections for six years after that, bringing her political career to an abrupt halt and putting paid to her chief ministerial aspirations.
 
Her faction of the AIADMK elected Mr. Palaniswami as the new leader of its legislature party within a few hours of the verdict on Tuesday.
 
Ms. Sasikala drove to Bengaluru yesterday and surrendered to the trial court and was sent to jail shortly thereafter once the legal formalities were completed.
 
Mr. Palaniswami met Governor Rao twice in the past two days to press his claim to form the new government before being called to Raj Bhavan this morning.
 
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Since yesterday, Mr. Panneerselvam and his supporters appeared resigned to the fact that they simply did not have the numbers as far as MLAs were concerned, even though they had managed to draw a few bigwigs, including School Education Minister K. Pandiarajan, AIADMK Presidium chairman E. Madhusudanan and former Minister C. Ponnaiyan onto their side.
 
The MLAs in the Sasikala camp were staying at a resort close to Mahabalipuram, near here, for the past ten days, and the OPS faction kept saying that they were kept there against their will and that many of them would cross over to his side if they were able to come out and act freely. But enquiries conducted by official agencies in response to these complaints did not yield any evidence in this regard and the Governor has gone by the numbers claimed by Mr. Palaniswami in his letter.
 
A farmer by occupation, Mr. Palaniswami, who belongs to the Kongu Vellala Gounder community, a dominant force in the western parts of the state, has clearly been rewarded for his consistent loyalty to the late Ms. Jayalalithaa.
 
He hails from Nedungulam village in Edappadi taluk in Salem district, and was elected to the State Assembly first in 1989 and re-elected in 1991, 2011 and 2016 from the Edappadi constituency which has earned him the sobriquet "Edappadi".
 
Mr. Palaniswami was the headquarters secretary of the AIADMK and was the first AIADMK functionary to publicly appeal to Ms. Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister when Mr. Panneerselvam was chosen to take up that position after the death of Ms. Jayalalithaa late in the night of December 5, 2016. Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6.
 
Mr. Palaniswami, who has a degree in science, had joined the AIADMK as a youth and has remained a staunch supporter of Ms. Jayalalithaa ever since. He was rewarded for this with a party ticket and he won his first election in 1989 and again in 1991.
 
He was sidelined for a long time but was brought back to the limelight in 2011, when he was elected to the Assembly again and retained his seat in 2016. He was made a Minister for the first time in 2011 and got the portfolios of Highways and Minor Ports. He remained in the Jayalalithaa cabinet through the five-year term that was otherwise marked by repeated reshuffles.
 
He was ranked fourth in the Jayalalithaa cabinet and was part of the "Naalvar Ani" (four-member group) that included her confidants OPS, Natham R. Viswanathan and R. Vaithilingam. In the OPS cabinet, he was the number three, handling, among other things, the powerful PWD portfolio.
 
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Edappadi Palaniswami appointed as new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday invited AIADMK Edappadi K. Palaniswami to form the new government in the state, bringing the curtains down on 11 days of political drama that began on February 5 with the election of the party's general secretary V. K. Sasikala as the leader of its legislature party.

Edapppadi K. Palaniswami
Edapppadi K. Palaniswami
Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao today invited AIADMK leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami to form the new government in the state, bringing the curtains down on 11 days of political drama that began on February 5 with the election of the ruling party's
general secretary V. K. Sasikala as the leader of its legislature party.
 
He is expected to be sworn in as the new Chief Minister at 1600 hours today and has been given two weeks to prove his majority in the legislative assembly, sources said.
 
"Thiru Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu has today (16.2.2017) appointed Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Party Headquarters Secretary of the AIADMK, as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and invited him to form the Ministry at the earliest," a press release from Raj Bhavan said.
 
"This is in acceptance of the letter submitted by Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami on 14.02.2017 that he was elected as the Leader of the AIADMK Legislature party in ameeitng of the Party MLAs held on that day.
 
"Hon'ble Governor has also requested the Chief Minister-Designate, Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami to seek the vote of the confidence of the Assembly within fifteen days," the release added.
 
Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam had resigned on February 5, shortly after Ms. Sasikala's election as the new legislature party leader. The Governor accepted his resignation the following day and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
With the Supreme Court verdict on a corruption case against Ms. Sasikala, which basically involved late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, pending, Mr. Rao did not respond immediately to Ms. Sasikala's claim to forming the new government.
 
On February 7 night, Mr. Panneerselvam, known popularly as OPS, in rather uncharacteristic fashion, came out openly against Ms. Sasikala, claiming that he had been forced to resign and support her and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people wanted to.
 
In the days that followed, both the Sasikala and OPS camps tried to woo the AIADMK's 135 MLAs. While Ms. Sasikala said she had the support of more than 120 of them, Mr. Panneerselvam could not get more than ten on his side, even as 11 AIADMK Members of Parliament threw their lot in with him.
 
On February 14, the Supreme Court convicted Ms. Sasikala and directed her to surrender forthwith before the trial court in Bengaluru to resume the four-year prison term she had been awarded by it in September 2014 before the Karnataka High Court overturned that verdict in May 2015.
 
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The Supreme Court's order meant that Ms. Sasikala would have to spend time in prison and be barred from contesting elections for six years after that, bringing her political career to an abrupt halt and putting paid to her chief ministerial aspirations.
 
Her faction of the AIADMK elected Mr. Palaniswami, the Minister for Public Works, Irrigation, Highways and Minor Ports in the Panneerselvam Cabinet and a staunch Jayalalithaa loyalist, as the new leader of its legislature party on Tuesday.
 
Ms. Sasikala drove to Bengaluru yesterday and surrendered to the trial court and was sent to jail shortly thereafter once the legal formalities were completed.
 
Mr. Palaniswami met Governor Rao twice in the past two days to press his claim to form the new government and the invitation was made to him finally during a meeting between the two at 11.30 am today.
 
Since yesterday, Mr. Panneerselvam and his supporters appeared resigned to the fact that they simply did not have the numbers as far as MLAs were concerned, even though they had managed to draw few bigwigs, including School Education Minister K. Pandiarajan, AIADMK Presidium chairman E. Madhusudanan and former Minister C. Ponnaiyan on to his side.
 
The MLAs in the Sasikala camp were staying at a resort close to Mahabalipuram, near here, for the past ten days, and the OPS faction kept saying that they were kept there against their will and that many of them would cross over to his side if they were able to come out and act freely.
 
But enquiries conducted by official agencies in response to these complaints did not provide any evidence in this regard and the Governor has gone by the numbers claimed by Mr. Palaniswami in his letter.
 
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A farmer by occupation, Mr. Palaniswami, who belongs to the Kongu Vellala Gounder community, a dominant force in the western parts of the state, has clearly been rewarded for his consistent loyalty to the late Ms. Jayalalithaa.
 
He hails from Nedungulam village in Edappadi taluk in Salem district, and was elected to the State Assembly first in 1989 and re-elected in 1991, 2011 and 2016 from the Edappadi constituency which has earned him the sobriquet "Edappadi".
 
Mr. Palaniswami was the headquarters secretary of the AIADMK and was the first AIADMK functionary to publicly appeal Ms. Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister when Mr. Panneerselvam was chosen to take up that position after the death of Ms. Jayalalithaa late in the night of December 5, 2016. Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6.
 
Mr. Palaniswami, who has a degree in science, had joined the AIADMK as a youth and has remained a staunch supporter of Ms. Jayalalithaa ever since. He was rewarded for this with a party ticket and he won his first election in 1989 and again in 1991.
 
He was sidelined for a long time but was brought back to the limelight in 2011, when he was elected to the Assembly again and retained his seat in 2016. He was made a Minister for the first time in 2011 and got the portfolios of Highways and Minor Ports. He remained in the Jayalalithaa cabinet through the five-year term that was otherwise marked by repeated reshuffles.
 
He was ranked fourth in the Jayalalithaa cabinet and was part of the "Naalvar Ani" (four-member group) that included her confidants OPS, Natham R. Viswanathan and R. Vaithilingam. In the OPS cabinet, he was the number three, handling, among other things, the powerful PWD portfolio.
 
Mr. Palaniswami would be the third Chief Minister to assume office after the AIADMK retained power for a second successive term in the Assembly elections held in May last year.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa took over as the Chief Minister but, following her death on December 5, 2016 after 75 days of hospitalisation, Mr. Panneerselvam succeeded her and assumed office on December 6.
 
He resigned on February 5 after Ms. Sasikala's election as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party. His resignation was accepted on the following day and he has since been functioning in a caretaker capacity pending the swearing-in of his successor.
 
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Sasikala heads to Bengaluru to surrender before court as TN power tussle continues

A day after the Supreme Court convicted her in corruption case, which also involved late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, AIADMK general secretary V. K. Sasikala headed for Bengaluru on Wednesday to surrender in a court there even as the power tussle between factions led by her and caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam continued.

 
SC convicts Sasikala in corruption case
A day after the Supreme Court convicted her in a 20-year-old corruption case, which also involved late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, ruling AIADMK general secretary V. K. Sasikala headed for Bengaluru by road today to surrender before the trial court there even as the power tussle between factions led by her and caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam continued unabated..
 
Before setting out from Ms. Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence here, Ms. Sasikala, in a bid to ensure that her family retained full control over the AIADMK, appointed her nephew and former Member of Parliament T T V Dinakaran as its deputy general secretary -- a newly created post.
 
Shortly before that, Dinakaran and another of her nephews, Dr. S. Venkatesh, tendered letters of apology for their acts and requested her to reinduct them into the party.
 
Referring to the letter of apology, nearly six years after their expulsion, from both Dinakaran and Venkatesh, Ms. Sasikala said, "'Accepting their request, both of them are admitted into the AIADMK as primary members of the party."
 
The appointment of Dinakaran as deputy general secretary means that, while she will continue to remain general secretary of the party and can  pull strings from behind bars, he would be the virtual number two in the AIADMK.
 
Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court rejected her request for some time on health grounds before she surrenders and directed her to present herself before the trial court forthwith.
 
"We do not intend to pass any order on this. We are not going to change anything in the judgement," the court said.
 
Ms. Sasikala bid goodbye to a small crowd of teary-eyed supporters who had gathered outside the Poes Garden residence and then drove to Ms. Jayalalithaa's memorial at Marina Beach as well as to the residence of late M. G. Ramachandran, the founder of the AIADMK, before setting out on the 346 km-long road journey to Bengaluru.
 
She was accompanied by two of her co-accused -- her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her sister-in-law Ilavarasi -- and escorted by personnel of the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Police. Some family members and AIADMK leaders also travelled with her to Bengaluru.
 
The Supreme Court's verdict more or less ended Ms. Sasikala's political career even before it started and put paid to her chief ministerial ambitions.
 
The court upheld the appeal by the Karnataka government against the May 11, 2015 acquittal of Ms. Jayalalithaa, Ms. Sasikala and the two others and restored the September 2014 verdict of a trial court in Bengaluru convicting the four accused in the case.
 
The special leave petition against Ms. Jayalalithaa's acquittal has, however, abated because of her death on December 5, 2016.
 
The all-important judgement, which will have a far-reaching effect on Tamil Nadu politics, was delivered by a two-judge bench comprising Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy. 
 
The court ordered Ms. Sasikala, 60, and the other two accused to surrender forthwith before the trial court in Bengaluru. 
 
The judgement, among other things, means that Ms. Sasikala will have to spend time in jail and will be barred from contesting elections for six years after that. This ruled out her claim to form the next Government in Tamil Nadu after the party's MLAs elected her as their new leader on February 5. 
 
Ms. Sasikala, who had spent Monday night at a resort close to Mahabalipuram, near here, where 120-odd MLAs said to be on her side have been staying for the past week, returned to the Poes Garden residence last night.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, who had been sworn in as the Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6, shortly after Ms. Jayalalithaa's death late on the previous night, had resigned from the postion on February 5 after Ms. Sasikala's election as the new legislature party leader. State Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao accepted his resignation the following day but asked him to continue in office until alternative arrangements were made.
 
On February 7, Mr. Panneerselvam raised the banner of revolt by saying that he was forced to resign and support Ms. Sasikala and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people so desired.
 
The Governor did not respond in any way to Ms. Sasikala's claim, and the pending judgement of the Supreme Court in the corruption case was seen as one of the factors he took into account while deciding to wait.
 
Soon after yesterday's judgement, Ms. Sasikala's faction chose Mr. Edappadi K. Palaniswami as the new leader of its legislature party. Mr. Palaniswami is currently the Minister for Public Works, Irrigation, Highways and Minor Ports in the O. Panneerselvam government.
 
Mr. Palaniswamy met the Governor at Raj Bhavan yesterday evening at the head of a 12-member delegation with a letter informing him of the legislature party's resolution and staking his claim to form the next government. 
 
A delegation from the Panneerselvam camp also met Mr. Rao and claimed that they had the support of the majority of the party's MLAS and urged him to give him an opportunity to prove their strength in a floor test in the legislative assembly.
 
O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
The Sasikala faction also expelled Mr. Panneerselvam, known popularly as OPS, and about 20 of his supporters from the primary membership of the party for alleged anti-party activities. The OPS camp said she had no right to expel anybody, especially because her own election was "interim" general secretary was not valid.
 
Those expelled by her include School Education Minister K. Pandiarajan, former Ministers C. Ponnaiyan, K. P. Munusamy and Natham R. Viswanathan, former Assembly Speaker P. H. Pandian and his son and former Rajya Sabha member Manoj Pandian. However, she did not act against the 11 Members of Parliament -- nine Lok Sabha members and two Rajya Sabha members -- or the sitting MLAs who have backed Mr. Panneerselvam.
 
Over the past few days, Tamil Nadu has witnessed a political crisis as both factions kept urging the Governor for a chance to prove their majority in the Legislative Assembly and making allegations against each other.
 
Ms. Sasikala's faction now has the challenge of keeping its flock intact at a time when about 10 MLAs had, in a trickle, switched their allegiance to the Panneerselvam camp in the past few days. Their fear is that there could be a mass exodus from amongst the 120-odd MLAs they claim are on their side. Mr. Panneerselvam has been saying that the MLAs are being held against their will at the resort.
 
The Governor will now have to decide on the claims by the two rival camps in the ruling party. 
 
In the wake of the trial court's judgement in September 2014, the late Ms. Jayalalithaa had had to step aside as Chief Minister and Mr. Panneerselvam had stood in for her till she was able to return after securing an acquittal in the High Court.
 
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.
 
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Trial court judge John Michael D'Cunha had pronounced his verdict in the special court in the Central Jail at Parapanna Agrahara in south Bangalore, where Ms. Sasikala is expected to surrender later today.
 
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 Ms. 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.
 
The trial court had held that the prosecution had been able to prove that Ms. Jayalalithaa possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. The fine imposed was as per provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in such matters. The fine will be realized from the assets that had been seized earlier by the DVAC.
 
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, Ms. Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
On October 17, 2014, after their conviction by the trial court, Ms. Jayalalithaa, Ms. Sasikala and the other two were granted bail in the case by the Supreme Court.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22, 2016 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.
 
In 2001, Ms. Jayalalithaa had to step down as Chief Minister soon after being sworn in after the Supreme Court declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing her to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Mr. Paneerselvan had taken her place then, too. She was cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa joins OPS at late CM's memorial, enters politics

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Caretaker Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, caught in a bitter power tussle with ruling AIADMK V. K. Sasikala, drove tonight to the memorial of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa where, in a surprise development, he was joined by her niece Deepa Jayakumar, who has signalled her formal entry into politics.
 
It was at the same spot on Marina Beach that Mr. Panneerselvam had raised the banner of revolt against Ms. Sasikala on February 7, two days after he resigned as Chief Minister after the party chose her as his successor.
 
Ms. Deepa joined Mr. Panneerselvam at the memorial shortly after Mr. Panneerselvam reached there and paid her respects to the late Ms. Jayalalithaa, whose legacy she is claiming and banking upon to propel her political career forward.
 
Talking to newspersons, she said, "Mr. Panneerselvam is asking for justice, and I am with him."
 
"OPS and I will act as AIADMK's two hands," she said, extending her full support to Mr. Panneerselvam. Asked if this marked her entry into politics, she said firmly, "Yes."
 
Meanwhile, Ms. Sasikala, whose political career came to an abrupt halt when the Supreme Court convicted her today in a 20-year-old corruption case, in which she was a co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa, reached the latter's Poes Garden residence here late tonight.
 
Ms. Sasikala, who had spent last night at a resort where MLAs loyal to her have been staying for the past six days, is expected to leave for Bengaluru tomorrow to surrender before the trial court which had initially convicted Ms. Jayalalithaa, her and two other accused in September 2014. They secured an acquittal from the Karnataka High Court in May 2015, but the Supreme Court today restored the trial court's verdict.
 
This means that Ms. Sasikala could spend time in prison and will be barred from contesting elections for six years after that.
 
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SC verdict knocks Sasikala out, but power tussle between her camp, OPS continues

The Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered its judgement in a 20-year-old corruption case against late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, effectively knocking long-time aide V. K. Sasikala out of the chief ministerial race in Tamil Nadu even as the unseemly power tussle between factions led by her faction and caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam continued unabated.

 
SC convicts Sasikala in corruption case
The Supreme Court today delivered its judgement in a 20-year-old corruption case against late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, effectively knocking her long-time aide V. K. Sasikala out of the chief ministerial race in Tamil Nadu even as the unseemly power tussle between factions led by her and caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam continued unabated.
 
The much-awaited judgement, which came some eight months after arguments ended, has more or less ended Ms. Sasikala's political career even before it started and put paid to her chief ministerial ambitions.
 
The court upheld the appeal by the Karnataka government against the May 11, 2015 acquittal of Ms. Jayalalithaa, Ms. Sasikala and two others and restored the September 2014 verdict of a trial court in Bengaluru convicting the four accused in the case.
 
The special leave petition against Ms. Jayalalithaa's acquittal has, however, abated because of her death on December 5, 2016.
 
The all-important judgement, which will have a far-reaching effect on Tamil Nadu politics, was delivered by a two-judge bench comprising Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitava Roy. 
 
The court ordered Ms. Sasikala, 60, and the other two accused to surrender forthwith before the trial court in Bengaluru. She is expected to comply with the orders in the coming days after completion of various legal formalities, including the receipt of the copy of the Supreme Court order.
 
Ms. Sasikala had spent the night at a resort close to Mahabalipuram, near Chennai, where the 129 MLAs, said to be on her side in the power struggle against caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, were staying for the past six days.
 
The judgement, among other things, means that Ms. Sasikala will have to spend time in jail and will be barred from contesting elections for six years after that. This ruled out her claim to form the next Government in Tamil Nadu after the party's MLAs elected her as their new leader on February 5. 
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, who had been sworn in as the Chief Minister hours after Ms. Jayalalithaa's death on the night of December 5, had resigned from the postion on February 5 after Ms. Sasikala's election as the new leader. State Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao accepted his resignation the following day but asked him to continue in office until alternative arrangements were made.
 
The Governor, however, did not respond in any way to Ms. Sasikala's claim, and the pending judgement of the Supreme Court in the corruption case was seen as one of the factors he took into account while deciding to wait.
 
Soon after the judgement, Ms. Sasikala went into a huddle with senior leaders of her faction and later the 120-odd AIADMK legislators present at the resort met and chose Mr. Edappadi K. Palaniswami as the new leader of its legislature party. Mr. Palaniswami is currently the Minister for Public Works, Irrigation, Highways and Minor Ports in the O. Panneerselvam government.
 
Mr. Palaniswamy met the Governor at Raj Bhavan this evening at the head of a 12-member delegation with a letter informing him of the legislature party's resolution and staking his claim to form the next government. 
 
A delegation from the Panneerselvam camp also met Mr. Rao and claimed that they had the support of the majority of the party's MLAS and urged him to give him an opportunity to prove their strength in a floor test in the legislative assembly.
 
O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
The Sasikala faction also expelled Mr. Panneerselvam, known popularly as OPS, and about 20 of his supporters from the primary membership of the party for alleged anti-party activities. The OPS camp said she had no right to expel anybody, especially because her own election was "interim" general secretary was not valid.
 
Those expelled by her include School Education Minister K. Pandiarajan, former Ministers C. Ponnaiyan, K. P. Munusamy and Natham R. Viswanathan, former Assembly Speaker P. H. Pandian and his son and former Rajya Sabha member Manoj Pandian.
 
However, she did not act against the 11 Members of Parliament -- nine Lok Sabha members and two Rajya Sabha members -- or the sitting MLAs who have backed Mr. Panneerselvam.
 
Ms. Sasikala had been elected as the leader of the legislature party on February 5, following which Mr. Panneerselvam had submitted his resignation to the Governor. Mr. Rao accepted his resignation on Monday but asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Two days later, on February 7, Mr. Panneerselvam raised the banner of revolt by saying that he was forced to resign and support Ms. Sasikala and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people so desired.
 
Over the past few days, Tamil Nadu has witnessed a political crisis as both factions kept urging the Governor for a chance to prove their majority in the Legislative Assembly and making allegations against each other.
 
Ms. Sasikala's faction now has the challenge of keeping its flock intact at a time when about ten MLAs had, in a trickle, switched their allegiance to the Panneerselvam camp in the past few days. Their fear is that there could be a mass exodus from amongst the 120-odd MLAs they claim are on their side.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam has been saying that the MLAs are being held against their will at the resort near Mahabalipuram.
 
Police had stepped up security across Chennai and in many other parts of the state ahead of the Supreme Court decision.
 
The mood at the resoort, where Ms. Sasikala spent the night with her colleagues, was sombre as it was at the Poes Garden residence of Ms. Jayalalithaa, where she has been staying. On the other hand, there were scenes of celebration outside Mr. Panneerselvam's residence. Similarly, there were jubilant crowds outside the residence of Ms. Deepa, the niece of Ms. Jayalalithaa.
 
Ms. Sasikala is learnt to have broken down after hearing of the verdict before going in for discussions with senior party leaders on their next course of action.
 
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An open and bitter power tussle erupted after Mr. Panneerselvam, rather uncharacteristically, came out strongly against Ms. Sasikala late in the night on February 7. He alleged that he had been forced by the Sasikala camp to quit and that he would be willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people wanted him to do so.
 
In the week since then, the two sides have been attacking each other while trying to attract more support. Mr. Panneerselvam managed to garner the support of at least 10 MPs, but only a handful of MLAs came out to back him openly. He alleged that Ms. Sasikala was holding the other MLAs at the resort against their will.
 
The Governor will now have to decide on the claims by the two rival camps in the ruling party. Ms. Sasikala, who has the option of filing a review petition against today's judgement, can name one of her trusted MLAs as her faction's chief ministerial nominee, assuming, of course, that her flock stays together.
 
Political observers will also be watching to see if the MLAs in Ms. Sasikala's camp will cross over to Mr. Panneerselvam's side after today's adverse judgement against her.
 
In the wake of the trial court's judgement in September 2014, the late Ms. Jayalalithaa had had to step aside as Chief Minister and Mr. Panneerselvam had stood in for her till she was able to return after securing an acquittal in the High Court.
 
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.
 
Trial court judge John Michael D'Cunha had pronounced his verdict in the special court in the Central Jail at Parapanna Agrahara in south Bangalore. 
 
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 Ms. Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
In 2001, she had to step down as Chief Minister soon after being sworn in after the Supreme Court declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing her to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
Mr. Paneerselvan had taken her place then, too. She was cleared of all charges in 2002 and had 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.
 
The trial court had held that the prosecution had been able to prove that Ms. Jayalalithaa possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. The fine imposed was as per provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in such matters. The fine will be realized from the assets that had been seized earlier by the DVAC.
 
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, Ms. Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
On October 17, 2014, Ms. Jayalalithaa, Ms. Sasikala and the other two were granted bail in the case by the Supreme Court.
 
Meanwhile, as all eyes turned towards Raj Bhavan in Chennai to see what steps the Governor will take to resolve the political crisis in the state, media reports said Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had advised the Governor to have a composite floor test conducted within a week so that the claims of both camps could be tested in the Assembly.
 
Apart from the corruption case, there had been opposition to Ms. Sasikala's elevation from a section of the public, in social media and from the Opposition in the state. They pointed to the fact that she had never contested any election and had no administrative experience. 
 
Ms. Sasikala had repeatedly voiced concern in the past few days about the delay by the Governor in inviting her to form the government and said that this appeared to be part of efforts to split the AIADMK. Her colleagues have blamed the Opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu and the ruling BJP at the Centre for the delay.
 
Meanwhile, for the first time since the crisis began, Mr. Panneerselvam drove to the Secretariat yesterday and held discussions with senior officials on various issues concerning the state.
 
Ms. Sasikala told her supporters yesterday that she had decided to remove OPS from the Chief Minister's position because he was "conniving" with the DMK. She slammed him for being "ungrateful" and trying to divide the AIADMK and rule the state with the help of the DMK. She said she would ensure the continuance of the AIADMK government. She said it was she who had made him the Chief Minister after Ms. Jayalalithaa's death.
 
Ms. Sasikala said she decided to step in and become the Chief Minister because some of the Ministers had expressed their dissatisfaction with Mr. Panneerselvam's style of functioning and also because she wanted the government established by Ms. Jayalalithaa to continue.
 
She also spoke at length about how she had stood by Ms. Jayalalithaa in all her times of crises, right from the time of the late Chief Minister and AIADMK founder M. G. Ramachandran's death.
 
Stating that she had seen "thousands of Panneerselvams" over the years, she had said the "present revolt is like dust off my hands". 
 
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.
 
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Sasikala faction names Edappadi Palaniswami as new AIADMK legislature party leader

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Hours after the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of AIADMK general secretary V. K. Sasikala in a two-decade-old corruption case, her faction, which claims the support of the majority of the party's 135 MLAs, today named Mr. Edappadi K. Palaniswami as the new leader of its legislature party.
 
Mr. Palaniswami is currently the Minister for Public Works, Irrigation, Highways and Minor Ports in the O. Panneerselvam government.
 
Even as its bitter power tussle with the Panneerselvam camp continued, the Sasikala faction sent a letter to Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao informing him of the election of Mr. Palaniswami as its next legislature party leader and urging him to invite him to form the new Government in the state.
 
The Sasikala faction also expelled Mr. Panneerselvam from the primary membership of the party for alleged anti-party activities.
 
Ms. Sasikala had been elected as the leader of the legislature party on February 5, following which Mr. Panneerselvam had submitted his resignation to the Governor. Mr. Rao accepted his resignation on Monday but asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Two days later, on February 7, Mr. Panneerselvam raised the banner of revolt by saying that he was forced to resign and support Ms. Sasikala and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people so desired.
 
Over the past few days, Tamil Nadu has witnessed a political crisis as both factions kept urging the Governor for a chance to prove their majority in the Legislative Assembly and making allegations against each other.
 
However, today's judgement by the Supreme Court, upholding an appeal by the Karnataka Government against a verdict of the Karnataka High Court acquitting the late Ms. Jayalalithaa, Ms. Sasikala and two others in the 20-year-old case, means that Ms. Sasikala will spend time in jail and will not be able to contest elections for six years after that. 
 
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Her faction now has the challenge of keeping its flock intact at a time when about ten MLAs had, in a trickle, switched their allegiance to the Panneerselvam camp in the past few days. Their fear is that there could be a mass exodus from amongst the 120-odd MLAs they claim are on their side.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam has been saying that the MLAs are being held against their will at a resort near Mahabalipuram and, after the Supreme Court judgement, a group of leaders from his camp left for the resort to "free" them. One of the MLAs in the Panneerselvam camp said they had received calls for "help" from some of their colleagues at the resort.
 
Police had stepped up security across Chennai and in many other parts of the state ahead of the Supreme Court decision.
 
The mood at the resoort, where Ms. Sasikala spent the night with her colleagues, was sombre as it was at the Poes Garden residence of Ms. Jayalalithaa, where she has been staying. On the other hand, there were scenes of celebration outside Mr. Panneerselvam's residence. Similarly, there were jubilant crowds outside the residence of Ms. Deepa, the niece of Ms. Jayalalithaa.
 
Ms. Sasikala is learnt to have broken down after hearing of the verdict before going in for discussions with senior party leaders on their next course of action.
 
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