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Tamil Nadu

Cyclone Fani likely to cause heavy rains in Kerala, TN, AP over next two days

Cyclone Fani over southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood is expected to intensify into a "very severe cyclonic storm" in the next 36 hours and cause heavy rainfall over Kerala, north coastal Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh on April 29 and 30, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said.
 
A bulletin issued by IMD at 0830 hours today said Fani (pronounced as Foni) had moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 13 kmph in the previous six hours and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST of today near latitude 7.3°N and longitude 87.9°E over southeast Bay of Bengal & neighbourhood, about 745 km east-southeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), 1050 km southeast of Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and 1230 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh). 
 
"It is very likely to intensify into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 12 hours and into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm during subsequent 24 hours. It is very likely to move northwestwards till 01st May and thereafter recurve northeastwards gradually," the bulletin said.
 
The bulletin said that light to moderate rainfall was very likely over many places in Kerala on April 29 and 30, with heavy falls at isolated places.
 
It said there would be light to moderate rainfall at a few places over north coastal Tamil Nadu and coastal Andhra Pradesh on April 29 and 30.
 
According to the bulletin, gale winds, with speed reaching 80-90 kmph, gusting to 100 kmph, were prevailing over Southeast Bay of Bengal and  neighbourhood. 
 
"It is very likely to become 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph from 28th evening over the same area; 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph over Southwest Bay of Bengal from 30th morning and 155-165 kmph gusting to 175 kmph over southwest & adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh Coasts from 01st May evening. It is likely to decrease gradually thereafter with gale wind speed reaching 130-140 kmph gusting to 150 kmph over westcentral Bay of Bengal off Andhra Pradesh Coast on 3rd May 2019," the bulletin said.
 
"Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph likely to commence along & off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast, Comorin area and Gulf of Mannar from 28th morning, becoming squally wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph from 29th morning.
 
"It is very likely to become squally wind speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph from 30th morning along north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh Coasts.
 
"Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph likely to commence along & off Kerala coast from 28th evening and becoming squally wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph on 29th & 30th," it said.
 
The bulletin noted that the sea condition was very high over Southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood. It is very likely to become very high to phenomenal over Southwest Bay of Bengal from tomorrow morning and phenomenal over southwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal, off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts from the night of April 30.
 
Sea conditions were very likely to be rough to very rough along and off Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts from tomorrow to May 1 and westcentral Bay of Bengal off Andhra Pradesh Coast on May 2.
 
IMD advised fishermen not to venture into deep sea areas of Southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining Equatorial Indian Ocean, over Southwest Bay of Bengal and off Sri Lanka coast today; Southwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal, along and off Sri Lanka, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts from April 29 to May 1 and westcentral Bay of Bengal off Andhra Pradesh coast on May 2.
 
"Those, who are out in deep sea areas are advised to return to the coast by 28th April, 2019," the bulletin added.
 
NNN
 

SC stays judicial probe into Jayalalithaa's death

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The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the probe by the Judicial Commission constituted by Tamil Nadu government to inquire into the death of former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
 
The Apollo hospital had moved the top court seeking the stay on Arumughaswamy Commission.
 
It had sought the exemption of Apollo doctors appearing before the Commission, and order of the panel instead to constitute a group of 23 doctors to probe the death.
 
The hospital had claimed that the probe panel was prejudiced. 
 
As such the hospital could be subjected to grave hardship and irreparable harm. Therefore, it moved the court seeking the stay on the proceedings.
 
IANS
 

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Madras High Court lifts ban on TikTok app

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The Madras High Court's Madurai Bench on Wednesday lifted the ban on video mobile application TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, subject to certain conditions.
 
Deciding the case filed by advocate Muthukumar, the bench vacated its interim order banning the app, subject to conditions that pornographic videos will not be uploaded on it, failing which contempt of court proceedings would begin.
 
Early this month, the high court, on a petition filed by the advocate, issued an interim order to the Central government banning downloading of the app in India and restricted the media from telecasting videos taken using the app.
 
The high court had passed an interim order banning the app citing inappropriate and pornographic content.
 
Tamil Nadu's Information Technology Minister M. Manikandan had earlier said that the state would write to the Central government seeking a ban on the app in India.
 
The high court had appointed leading lawyer Arvind Datar as an independent counsel to the court.
 
On an appeal filed by the Chinese company, the Supreme Court, on April 22, asked the Madras High Court to decide on TikTok's plea for an interim relief by April 24, failing which the ban imposed on the mobile app will stand lifted.
 
The apex court had refused to pass any order in the matter.
 
IANS
 

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EC seeks report on actor Srikanth voting

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The Election Commission has sought a report from the Chennai District Electoral Officer on how actor Srikanth was allowed to vote in the April 18 Lok Sabha polls when his name was not in the voter's list, said a senior official on Wednesday.
 
Speaking to reporters here, Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said a report had been sought.
 
Similarly, the poll panel has found itself in a fix with another actor Sivakarthikeyan casting his vote in the Lok Sabha polls in a polling booth here when his name was not in the voter's list.
 
Sahoo said a report had been sought as to how the actors' names got deleted from the voter's list and also how they were allowed to vote.
 
He said action will be taken against the erring officials.
 
IANS
 

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7 dead in temple stampede at TN's Tiruchirappali

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At least seven persons, including four women, died and 12 others were injured in a stampede in a private temple in Tiruchirappali district in Tamil Nadu on Sunday, an official statement said.
 
According to the statement, the stampede happened when the devotees tried to receive the rupee coins known as 'Padi Kasu' from the priest.
 
The injured have been admitted to the hospital.
 
Condoling the deaths, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs 100,000 to their family members and Rs.50,000 to those who were injured.
 
DMK President M.K. Stalin, in a tweet, said he was shocked to hear about the death of seven persons.
 
He said the police has to beef up its security in such temple festivals.
 
IANS

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Chennai historian Muthiah dies at 89

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The chronicler of Chennai history, cartographer and journalist S. Muthiah, 89, died here on Saturday owing to age-related ailments.
 
The founder of Madras Musings, the free fortnightly that helped many a journalist learn the basics of journalism here, Muthiah also authored and co-authored histories of well-known corporate houses.
 
He also taught journalism at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here.
 
Muthiah was also known as "Mr. Madras" for his love for Chennai that was earlier known as Madras and for his books on the city's history.
 
He is survived by two daughters Ranjani and Parvathi. Muthiah's wife Valliammai, a practising company secretary, died some years back.
 
Born in Ramanathapuram district in the Madras Presidency during the British rule, Muthiah had moved to Sri Lanka early in his life and had his initial schooling there.
 
Completing his matriculation in India, he went to the USA for higher education and came back to Colombo to start his career as a journalist with the Times of Ceylon.
 
When the Sri Lankan government turned down his application for citizenship, Muthiah came to Chennai and joined TTK Maps -- a leading publisher of maps -- that was part of the TTK group.
 
On his retirement, he decided to take up writing and also founded Madras Musings, the pioneer of free tabloid focusing on the preservation of the city's heritage buildings.
 
When the fortnightly started facing financial crunch, several well-known corporates decided to lend financial support as it was apolitical and the city's heritage was its focus.
 
Muthiah's sustained campaign through Madras Musings and otherwise to preserve the Director General of Police (DGP) building on the Marina was instrumental in its preservation instead of razing it down to raise a new building.
 
In 1999, he co-founded Chennai Heritage and was one of the key persons behind the annual Madras Day celebrations.
 
IANS
 

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Five workers die while digging well in TN

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In a tragic accident, five workers engaged in digging a new well in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvannamalai district were killed on Friday when a rope they had tied to their bodies for safety snapped, police said.
 
A police officer said that the rope snapped and the five fell down to a considerable depth and died.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Rs 1.48 crore cash seized from AMMK premises in Theni: IT officials

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The Income Tax (I-T) Department early on Wednesday claimed to have seized cash amounting to Rs 1.48 crore from the premises of an AMMK functionary in Andipatti in Theni district.
 
The IT officials began their search late on Tuesday and it ended at 5.30 a.m. on Wednesday, an official said.
 
He claimed that the unaccounted cash amounted to Rs 1.48 crore. "This cash was neatly packed in 94 packets/envelops on which the ward number, number of voters and the amount of Rs 300 per voter was written. All these wards are within the Andipatti Assembly segment which is going to bypoll tomorrow (Thursday)," the IT official said.
 
The premises belong to a functionary of AMMK party. In fact, the AMMK party office is functioning on the ground floor, he added.
 
According to the IT official, a person present at the premises in a sworn statement said Rs 2 crore in cash was brought in there for distribution to voters in Andipatti panchayat union area on April 16.
 
Initially, a group of party workers overpowered the flying squad persons standing guard outside the premises, broke open the door and snatched some cash packets.
 
Police had to fire warning shots that prompted the miscreants to flee with a few cash packets, but they also dropped some of them. 
 
All the remaining cash in 94 bundles (Rs 1.48 crore) was seized along with the envelopes, the IT official added.
 
A postal ballot paper for Andipatti Assembly bye-election which was already marked for AMMK candidate was also found in the premises and was seized, the officer claimed.
 
The District Collector and Superintendent of Police reached the spot and supervised the security. The police have filed an FIR against a number of persons.
 
Meanwhile, IT officials and Election Commission's static surveillance team on Tuesday night also searched the residence of Rajya Sabha member and DMK leader Kanimozhi in Thoothukudi on receipt of a tip-off.
 
The search team left empty-handed apologizing to Kanimozhi as the information turned out to be wrong.
 
IANS
 

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Police fire in air to disperse crowd in TN district

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Police on Tuesday night fired in the air in self-defence to disperse members of AMMK party who tried to prevent the officials from searching the party office in Andipatti in the district.
 
The AMMK is floated by expelled AIADMK leader T. T. V. Dhinakaran.
 
A police officer said four rounds were fired in the air as a warning as the AMMK members turned violent and tried to attack the police.
 
He said no one was injured in the incident.
 
The police had gone to the AMMK office on receipt of information about distribution of money to voters.
 
In Theni, AIADMK's P. Raveendranath Kumar, son of Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, is locked in an electoral battle against Congress leader E. V. K. S. Elangovan and Thanga Tamil Selvan of the AMMK.
 
IANS
 

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Two days before poll, IT searches Kanimozhi's house

File photo of K. Kanimozhi
File photo of K. Kanimozhi
Income Tax officials and the Election Commission's static surveillance team on Tuesday carried out a joint search at the house of DMK Lok Sabha candidate K. Kanimozhi in Tamil Nadu's Thoothukodi on Tuesday, an official said.
 
Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha member, is contesting against the BJP's state unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan in the Thootukodi Lok Sabha constituency.
 
Polling to all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu is slated for April 18 in the second stage of the Lok Sabha polls. However, on Tuesday, the President rescinded the election in Vellore parliamentary constituency on the recommendation of the Election Commission after a huge haul of cash was found there. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Election to Tamil Nadu's Vellore LS seat rescinded

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President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday rescinded the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu's Vellore parliamentary constituency.
 
"Accepting the recommendation of Election Commission dated April 14, 2019, the President is pleased to rescind election to Vellore Parliamentary Constituency, Tamil Nadu to elect a member to Lok Sabha," an official statement said.
 
The decision comes two days after the Election Commission wrote to the President apprising him about the seizure of Rs 11.5 crore cash from a warehouse in Vellore district.
 
The seizures were made by the Income Tax Department in a search operation at a cement warehouse belonging to a DMK official.
 
IANS
 

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SC stays execution of youth in Suruli rape, murders

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the execution of a man, ordered to be hanged on April 22 after being given death sentence for raping a woman and for murdering her and her lover.
 
The couple was on an outing in the Suruli waterfalls in Theni District of Tamil Nadu, when they were brutally murdered.
 
A man along with his girlfriend had gone to the Suruli waterfalls on May 14, 2011. One Diwakar, now 30-year-old, brutally attacked and killed the boy and raped the girl. She was also murdered later. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Tamil actor-politician Ritheesh dead

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Actor-cum-AIADMK leader J. K. Ritheesh died of cardiac arrest on Saturday.
 
Ritheesh, 46, is survived by his wife Jotheeswari and a son.
 
Returning to his home in Ramanathapuram district for lunch after campaigning for BJP's Ramanathapuram Lok Sabha candidate Nainar Nagendran, he had complained of uneasiness and was rushed to the hospital where doctors declared him dead.
 
Ritheesh, who had acted in Tamil movies like "Kaanal Neer", "Nayagan", "Guru", "Pen Singam" and "LKG", was elected from the Ramanathapuram parliamentary constituency on a DMK ticket in 2009. However, he later quit the DMK and joined the AIADMK.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam have condoled Ritheesh's death.
 
IANS
 

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Congress accepts they did injustice: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday mocked the Congress's proposed NYAY scheme which translates to "justice" in Hindi literally and claimed that the grand old party has finally agreed that injustice was done by them over the past 60 years.
 
He also said a vote for Congress, DMK and IUML combine is a vote for higher taxes and lower growth rate, and a free hand to terrorists and criminals.
 
"Congress and dishonesty are best friends. But sometimes, by mistake, they end up speaking the truth. Now they are saying Nyay will happen. Even if they did not intend to, they have admitted that they had done injustice for 60 years," Modi said addressing massive rallies held in Theni and Ramanathapuram district.
 
NYAY is the Congress' minimum income guarantee scheme that the party says will lift millions out of poverty.
 
Modi also asked who will render Nyay/justice to the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots; to all the victims of anti-Dalit riots; to the government of AIADMK Founder M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) dismissed by Congress because one family didn't like him; to the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy -- one of worst environment tragedy in modern India -- all of which happened under the Congress rule.
 
Stating that the Congress, DMK and their other corrupt friends can never work for India's development, Modi asked the people present at the rallies to decide the fate of those who questioned the surgical strike by the Indian Army.
 
"How do you deal with those who wish to weaken armed forces and how to deal with those who talk with the sponsors of terrorists," Modi asked.
 
"When it comes to national security, there can be no compromise. We leave no stone unturned in protecting India and destroying forces of terror. When a brave Indian pilot was captured, he was back in record time. The Congress party politicised the issue," Modi said pointing fingers at the opposition.
 
Modi said that, for the state of Tamil Nadu to become prosperous, the game of DMK and Congress must end and the rule of dynasty must stop.
 
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"As a chowkidar for the nation, I work for the benefit of the people. Your struggle for railway connectivity is known and our government has begun the gauge conversion between Madurai and Bodi."
 
The Prime Minister assured that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Integrated Textile Park set up in Madurai will benefit the people of Theni district.
 
He said the opposition has been unable to accept the fact that "India has been rapidly making a mark in the world under the BJP-led NDA's regime and they are unhappy with Modi".
 
"Those who were sworn enemies have come together to harm people of Tamil Nadu. Recall 1979, how the Congress humiliated DMK. Recently DMK leaders were in jail for the 2G scam," Modi said.
 
"Despite such bitterness in the past, today Congress and DMK are together to mislead the people. All the corrupt have joined hands to defeat Modi," he added.
 
Citing the projection of Congress President Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate by the DMK, Modi said none of the other opposition parties have agreed on it as each party wants its leaders in line for the Prime Minister post.
 
Taking a dig at a "Congress bigwig" in Tamil Nadu, Modi said while the father (former Union Minister P. Chidambaram) was India's Finance Minister, his son (Karti Chidambaram) looted the country.
 
According to Modi, the Madhya Pradesh government has become the ATM (automatic teller machine) of the Congress party and people were talking about it as the Tughlaq Road scam (where the Congress chief's residence is).
 
"You all know which big Congress leader stays on Tughlaq Road," Modi said.
 
Modi said former President late A. P. J. Abdul Kalam would have been happy at the DRDO's success at A-SAT missile launch destroying low earth orbiting satellite that was called Mission Shakti that proved India's capability to destroy a live satellite with a missile.
 
"We are creating the India that Kalam imagined," Modi said.
 
"The India of 2019 is different from the India of 2014. Today India is eliminating poverty faster than before. We opened bank accounts for poor, gave gas connections to poor women," Modi said.
 
"Sanitation cover was at a dismal 38 percent then and now it is 98 percent. Five years ago, many didn't have health coverage, but now several crores of people have insurance coverage," he added.
 
According to Modi, work is fast progressing on laying of the railway tracks between Rameswaran and Dhanuskodi. The 100-year-old Pamban bridge is transformed into a state-of-the-art bridge.
 
On water resources, Modi said once the new government under him assumes office on May 23, there will be a separate Ministry for Jal Shakti with a focus on providing clean water for drinking, water for irrigation.
 
He also said a new Fisheries Ministry will be formed on May 23 like the farmer's credit card, the fishermen will also be given credit cards.
 
He also said that about 1,900 Indian fishermen were released from Sri Lankan jails due to the government's diplomatic efforts, some of them were facing death sentences.
 
Criticising Congress-DMK for "lacking vision and mission for India", Modi said: "Their only mission is to remove Modi. In the process of hating Modi, the opposition has begun to hate India."
 
"When Congress was in power, terrorists had the upper hand. City after city experienced bomb blasts. The Congress government was hapless," Modi said.
 
Coming down on the Congress' first family, Modi said: "In Delhi, prime real estate is used for memorials for the members of one family as if no other family has contributed to the nation."
 
Citing the memorial built for Kalam at Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram district, Modi asked: "Did Congress make a memorial at this scale for any previous Presidents of India? So many Presidents were from the Congress. They did not make memorials for K. R. Narayanan, R. Venkataraman or Dr S. Radhakrishnan."
 
IANS
 

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Chennai ask KKR to bat first after winning toss

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Chennai Super Kings skipper M  S Dhoni asked Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to bat first after winning the toss in their Indian Premier League (IPL) clash here on Tuesday.
 
Both Chennai and KKR named unchanged teams from their last game. While KKR beat Rajasthan Royals by eight wickets in their last outing, CSK won against Kings XI Punjab by 22 runs.
 
Teams:
 
Kolkata Knight Riders (Playing XI): Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (w/k), Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Harry Gurney, Prasidh Krishna
 
Chennai Super Kings (Playing XI): Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni(w/k), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Scott Kuggeleijn, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir
 
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Rahul Gandhi to contest LS elections from Wayanad in Kerala, too

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

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An explosion in a firecrackers unit in Tiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu killed six workers on Wednesday.
 
The unit was involved in manufacturing fancy fireworks for temple festivals and other functions.
 
On receiving the information about the explosion, fire tenders rushed to the spot to douse the fire and carry out rescue operations.
 
Chief Minister K. Palaniswami has condoled the death of the six persons.
 
IANS
 

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Try for common symbol to AMMK candidates: SC to EC

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Election Commission to make "all endeavour to ensure" allotment of a common symbol, from among 198 free symbols, to the 59 candidates of the T. T. V. Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) party.
 
The 59 candidates in question are contesting 40 seats for the Lok Sabha in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, and 19 for the bye-elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
 
Directing a common symbol be ensured for AMMK candidates whose list was given to the apex court, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said it was necessary to "ensure a level playing field" in the Lok Sabha elections and Assembly by-elections.
 
"The Election Commission of India on due and proper satisfaction that the candidates named in the document ... want to contest the election under any one common symbol, will make all endeavour to ensure that in the forthcoming elections ... the aforesaid candidates be allotted any one particular free symbol," the court said in its order.
 
The allotment of the common symbol to Dhinakaran's AMMK would be on the due satisfaction of the Election Commission, it said, but made it clear that the candidates fielded by the AMMK would be treated, for all purposes, as independent candidates.
 
"We also make it clear that in the event any of the candidates ... to be elected, such candidate will be counted as an independent candidate and not belonging to any political party for all purposes including for the purposes of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law)."
 
The court also clarified that the order could not be read to mean, in any way, recognition of the "group, or any part thereof, as a political party registered or unregistered, which decision the Election Commission of India alone would take as and when required".
 
The court order came as senior counsel Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued that the AMMK be allotted "pressure cooker" as a common symbol, citing the Constitution's Article 324 (requirement of free and fair elections).
 
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During more than an hour long hearing, the court repeatedly told Sibal and Singhvi how could the court pass an order contrary to the the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the guidelines issued by the Election Commission requiring the registration of a party with it for allocation of common symbol.
 
"You knew your status. You knew Section 29A. You could have approached the Election Commission for registration. You could have done in last one day. You missed the chance. Why do you think we adjourned the case yesterday? You did not understand," CJI Gogoi said, telling Dhinakaran that "this anarchy you have brought upon yourself.."
 
The allotment of common symbol was opposed by the Election Commission, which cited the satisfaction of procedural requirements before a group or political party is granted registration and allotted a common symbol.
 
The AMMK's plea for common symbol was also opposed by the AIADMK which said that the rival faction had initially tried to usurp the party and its "two leaves" symbol, but after failing to do so, was trying to take the court route for getting recognition and a common symbol.
 
Appearing for the AIADMK, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi described the AMMK as an "amorphous group with amorphous name", contending that if the party had not been founded, "where is the question of allotting common symbol."
 
Expelled from the AIADMK in August 2017, Dhinakaran launched the AMMK in March last year.
 
IANS
 

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Toxic gas from septic tank kills 6 in Tamil Nadu

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Six persons died of asphyxiation near here on Tuesday within minutes after inhaling toxic gas that emanated from a septic tank, police said.
 
According to the police, Krishnamurthy in Sriperumbudur town engaged a truck to clear the septic tank.
 
But Krishnamurthy slipped into the tank. Hearing his shouts, one of his sons tried to help him but he too died.
 
Krishnamurthy's other son and then three others who tried to rescue the man died after inhaling the toxic gas.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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DMK temporarily suspends actor Radha Ravi

Actress Nayanthara (File photo: IANS)
Actress Nayanthara (File photo: IANS)
The DMK has temporarily suspended veteran actor Radha Ravi from the party for his derogatory remarks against actor Nayanthara.
 
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President M. K. Stalin on Sunday took to Twitter to upload the suspension notice of the actor.
 
The DMK said Ravi was acting in a manner that brought disrepute to the party, defying the party discipline and was temporarily suspended from the party.
 
Stalin said the party upholds the rights of women and Ravi's views about the female movie actors was unacceptable and strongly condemnable.
 
On Saturday, Ravi passed a comment on Nayanthara during the trailer launch of her upcoming Tamil film "Kolayuthir Kaalam".
 
"Nayanthara has acted as ghost as well as goddess Sita. Earlier, K.R. Vijaya was the most popular choice to play the role of goddess. Today, anyone can be cast to play a goddess. They can cast someone who you want to pray to when you look at them, they can also cast someone you want to call towards you when you see them," Ravi had said.
 
IANS
 

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IPL captains reach Chennai to sign 'fair play' pledge

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to start on Saturday and the captains of the eight teams reached Chennai on Thursday for the captains' meet and signing of the pledge to play the game in fair spirit.
 
The eight teams competing in the IPL are Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Mumbai Indians (MI), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Delhi Capitals (DC).
 
Speaking to IANS, a senior official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the pledge was being pre-recorded on the sidelines of the captains' meet so that all of them can go back to their respective franchises well in time for their opening games of the season.
 
"The captains are in Chennai today for the captains' meet as well as to sign the pledge so that all the leaders can go back to their respective teams before their opening games. They will head back to their respective franchises on Friday. 
 
"With the opening ceremony being cancelled this year and the funds budgeted for the same to be handed to the families of the Pulwama martyrs, there will be a small screening wherein the pre-recorded signing of the pledge by the captains will be shown," the official explained.
 
An official of one of the franchises applauded the move as it will give the teams playing on Sunday time to strategise with their captains.
 
"Had the signing of the pledge happened before the start of the IPL opener, all the captains would have flown back late on Saturday night or Sunday morning. This would have meant keeping the captains of KKR, SRH, MI and DC away from their teams on the eve of their opening match as all the four teams play on Sunday. Pre-recording the pledge on the sidelines of the captains' meet is a decision taken keeping everyone's interest in mind," the official told IANS.
 
The pledge taken by the captains of the eight teams will be shown in the Spirit of Cricket segment. It will be the only time when all the captains will share the stage in the tournament. 
 
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, captain of the defending champions CSK, is also expected to put the trophy back into play at that time.
 
IANS
 

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AIADMK MLA R Kanagaraj dies after suffering heart attack

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AIADMK legislator R. Kanagaraj, representing the Sulur constituency in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, died of heart attack on Thursday morning, said police.
 
Kanagaraj, 64, was at his residence when he passed away. He is survived by his wife, a son and daughter. Sulur is part of Coimbatore district.
 
With Kanagaraj's death, the number of vacant Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu goes up to 22 and the number of AIADMK legislators in the assembly comes down to 114,  including the Speaker.
 
The Election Commission has announced bye-elections for 18 Assembly constituencies on April 18 along with the Lok Sabha polls.
 
IANS

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ECI appoints Special Expenditure Observers for Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu

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Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed former civil servants Shailendra Handa and Madhu Mahajan as Special Expenditure Observers for the coming Lok Sabha elections.
 
While Handa has been deployed in Maharashtra, Mahajan will be in Tamil Nadu.  Both these officers have rich experience of working in Investigation Wing of the Income Tax Department and have supervised many successful search and seizure actions unearthing tax evasion in complicated cases.
 
The Special Observers will supervise and monitor the work being done by the electoral machinery and ensure that stringent and effective enforcement action is undertaken based on intelligence inputs and complaints received through C-VIGIL and Voter Helpline 1950 against all persons/entities  trying to induce voters by distributing cash, liquor & freebies etc.  in order to vitiate the poll process, an official press release added.
 
NNN
 
 
 

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Tamil Nadu: Stalin son-in-law Sabareesan booked

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The city police on Thursday booked Sabareesan, son-in-law of DMK President M. K. Stalin, for allegedly spreading rumours about Deputy Speaker V. Jayaraman.
 
Jayaraman had lodged a complaint against Sabareesan for linking him and his family members to the Pollachi sexual absuse-cum-blackmail case.
 
Sabareesan has been charged for wantonly giving provocation for creation of riot, forgery for harming reputation, use of forged document as genuine one and for spreading rumours.
 
On his part, Stalin has sent a legal notice to Jayaraman demanding apology for making slanderous statement against him, the DMK said in a late night statement on Thursday.
 
Jayaraman has charged the DMK is defaming him and his family.
 
In the legal notice to Jayaraman, the DMK President said the former had made false allegations in the media that he, his family members and his party are behind the sexual abuse case and are attempting to protect some accused involved in the criminal act which are defamatory.
 
IANS
 

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Pollachi case goes to CBI, stir still spreads

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Although the Tamil Nadu government gave its nod for a CBI probe into the Pollachi sexual assault-cum-blackmail case, security was heightened and holidays declared in colleges here on Thursday with protests gaining momentum as more awful facts of the abuse come out.
 
All colleges were shut down in this town, 535 km from the state capital, by the authorities following student protest demanding action against the culprits -- Thirunavukkarasu, Sabarirajan, Vasanthakumar, Satish -- now in custody.
 
Stringent security has been put in place ever since details of how scores of women from college teachers to students and even working professionals and others were sexually assaulted, harassed and blackmailed by the gang came to light.
 
Videos have also emerged that apparently show that the victims were lured to secluded spots and molested, filmed in the process, and blackmailed for money. 
 
On Wednesday, the Madras High Court even rapped the media for poor coverage of the huge crime that was being committed over days. 
 
Cricketer Ashwin Ravichandran, who has been following the case closely has lamented on the social media.
 
"There are so many pressing issues that need to be addressed in my state and my country. Every morning, I open Twitter and tell myself [justice can be delayed and not denied', 'change is inevitable etc' ," he tweeted on Wednesday. 
 
"All the above quotes are just to cheat my emotions and not say something that will land me in trouble with the concerned people. 
 
"I would like to reiterate and say 'change is inevitable' but remember we need to be the change and initiate it rather than sit back and complain about authorities or lack of justice. Now don't ask me what I am talking about and start guessing what it could be. Just get on with changing what you feel needs a change," he added.
 
On Thursday, the cricketer openly came out with his angst and said: "Protests in Pollachi?? Can anyone tell me what's happening there right now?? "
 
He even retweeted a few posts by others on the case.
 
The AIADMK government decided to hand the investigation to the CBI, soon after the probe was transferred to the Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) from the Coimbatore police, said an official.
 
The government's move came as the probe involves analysis of mobile phones, social media posts of the four accused and the affected women.
 
It was not even 24 hours that the CBCID had started its probe into the crime taking over from from the Coimbatore police.
 
The CBCID even formed a special team to start the probe as "the number of people involved in the crime was yet to be known", one of the investigators said.
 
Tamil Nadu Director General of Police T.K. Rajendran had ordered the transfer to the CBCID only on Tuesday.
 
The case made national headlines after the high court rap and huge protests by students, and women groups on social media.
 
IANS
 

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