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Tamil Nadu

Senior AIADMK leader E. Madhusudanan backs OPS in war against Sasikala

Senior AIADMK leader E. Madhusudanan on Thursday backed caretaker Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam as the open power struggle between him and party General Secretary V. K. Sasikala continued to escalate, with both sides trading allegations and taking steps against each other.

O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
Senior AIADMK leader E. Madhusudanan today backed caretaker Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam as the open power struggle between him and party General Secretary V. K. Sasikala continued to escalate, with both sides trading allegations and taking steps against each other.
 
The arrival of Mr. Madhusudanan, chairman of the AIADMK Presidium and the number two in the party, at Mr. Panneerselvam's residence this afternoon gave a big boost to his camp even as all eyes are now trained on Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, who flew into the city from Mumbai today and is slated to meet delegations from the two sides.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, said 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, 60, a long-time aide of Ms. Jayalalithaa, is functioning from that house.
 
Ms. Sasikala was appointed as General Secretary of the party after the death of Ms. Jayalalithaa on December 5 and was last Sunday chosen by AIADMK MLAs as the new leader of the legislative party and, therefore, the successor to Mr. Panneerselvam.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had submitted his resignation on Sunday and the Governor had accepted it on Monday and asked him to continue in office till alternate arrangements were made.
 
"Madhusudanan has helped the party grow. He supported MGR throughout," Mr. Panneerselvam told the cheering crowds at his residence after the former announced his support for the Chief Minister. "He has come to us as first soldier," he said.
 
He said that he had agreed to become the Chief Minister after Ms. Jayalalithaa's death on the understanding that Mr. Madhusudhanan would be the party General Secretary, adding that the post should now be given to him.
 
"Madhusudanan will be the permanent general secretary of this party," he said. He also said that  said. He claimed that Mr.Madhusudanan had decided to be at his side even though he had been receiving threats against doing so.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam said Ms. Sasikala was lying when she said she had never betrayed "Amma" (mother), as Ms. Jayalalithaa was called by her supporters and admirers. He went on to read out from a letter of apology given by Ms. Sasikala to Ms. Jayalalithaa after the then Chief Minister had asked her to leave her Poes Garden residence in 2012. He said she had said in that letter that she had no desire to be in politics and had promised to break all contact with members of her family.
 
Both Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Sasikala are expected to meet the Governor, who arrived here from Mumbai this afternoon. Mr. Rao is the Governor of Maharashtra and is holding additional charge as the Governor of Tamil Nadu.
 
There has been no word from Raj Bhavan on when Ms. Sasikala, a long-time aide of Ms. Jayalalithaa, would be sworn in as the new Chief Minister, an issue on which some uncertainty has crept in.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, in rather uncharacteristic fashion, came out openly against Ms. Sasikala on Tuesday night, saying that he was forced to submit his resignation and that he was prepared to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people do desired.
 
Ms. Sasikala had convened a meeting of AIADMK legislators here yesterday and party sources said 130 of the 134 MLAs were present. Mr. Panneerselvam also claims the support of several of the MLAs, though very few have publicly backed him so far. He has sought an opportunity to demonstrate his majority on the floor of the Assembly.
 
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The Sasikala camp has taken its MLAs to undisclosed locations in a bid to prevent poaching by the rival camp.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, meanwhile, held meetings with Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and Director General of Police T. K. Rajendra today.
 
Two days after Ms. Sasikala removed him from the post of AIADMK treasurer, Mr. Panneerselvam has also written 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.
 
Meanwhile, AIADMK MPs in Delhi are expected to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and express their concern about the alleged delay by the Governor in returning to Chennai and swearing in Ms. Sasikala as the new Chief Minister, saying it was meant to benefit her rivals.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had visited the memorial to Ms. Jayalalithaa at Marina Beach here late on Tuesday night to offer his tributes to her and later told waiting newspersons that her spirit had asked him to reveal certain truths to the people of Tamil Nadu.
 
Among other things, he said that he had been humiliated and insulted by several of his colleagues ever since he took over as Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6 after Ms. Jayalalithaa's death the previous night.
 
He said he had been forced into resigning and supporting Ms. Sasikala as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party. He claimed that Ms. Jayalalithaa had always looked upon him as her successor. He said he had the support of the party's cadre as well as of the people of the state.
 
The decision to remove Mr. Panneerselvam from the post of treasurer, which he had been holding for the past 10 years as a trusted loyalist of Ms. Jayalalithaa, was taken at a meeting of AIADMK leaders called by Ms. Sasikala, 60, at the Poes Garden residence of Ms. Jayalalithaa shortly after his outburst.
 
Ms. Sasikala, on her part, denied there had been any pressure on Mr. Panneerselvam to quit and insisted that the party remained united under her leadership. She said Mr. Panneerselvam appeared to have been instigated by some people to revolt against the AIADMK leadership. She hinted at the possibility of removing Mr. Panneerselvam from the primary membership of the party in view of his act of rebellion.
 
She accused the Opposition DMK of being behind his outburst and referred to the "friendly" manner in which he was seen speaking with DMK leader M. K. Stalin during the recent session of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
 
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 elevant 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.
 
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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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As AIADMK war continues, OPS chokes its funds, moves to convert Jaya home into memorial

As the open war in the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu continued unabated, caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, heading one of the camps, said on Thursday that he would issue orders to convert the Poes Garden residence of late Ms. J. Jayalalithaa, his predecessor, into a memorial for her.

O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
As the open war in the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu continued unabated, caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, heading one of the camps, said today that he would issue orders to convert the Poes Garden residence of late Ms. J. Jayalalithaa, his predecessor, into a memorial for her.
 
The residence is from where Ms. V. K. Sasikala, 60, who was chosen last Sunday by AIADMK MLAs as their new leader and, therefore, his successor, is currently functioning.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, had submitted his resignation on Sunday and State Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao accepted it on Monday and asked him to continue in office till alternate arrangements were made.
 
Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra and is holding additional charge as Governor of Tamil Nadu, is expected to reach here this afternoon.
 
There has been no word from Raj Bhavan on when Ms. Sasikala, a long-time aide of Ms. Jayalalithaa, would be sworn in as the new Chief Minister, an issue on which some uncertainty has crept in.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, in rather uncharacteristic fashion, came out openly against Ms. Sasikala on Tuesday night, saying that he was forced to submit his resignation and that he was prepared to continue as Chief Minister if the party and the people do desired.
 
Ms. Sasikala had convened a meeting of AIADMK legislators here yesterday and party sources said 130 of the 134 MLAs were present. Mr. Panneerselvam also claims the support of several of the MLAs, though very few have publicly backed him so far. He has sought an opportunity to demonstrate his majority on the floor of the Assembly.
 
The Sasikala camp has taken its MLAs to undisclosed locations in a bid to prevent poaching by the rival camp.
 
Ms. Sasikala, who was chosen as the party's new General Secretary after Ms. Jayalalithaa's death on December 5, is expected to meet the Governor along with her party's legislators later today.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, meanwhile, held meetings with Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and Director General of Police T. K. Rajendra today.
 
Two days after Ms. Sasikala removed him from the post of AIADMK treasurer, Mr. Panneerselvam has also written 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.
 
Meanwhile, AIADMK MPs in Delhi are expected to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and express their concern about the alleged delay by the Governor in returning to Chennai and swearing in Ms. Sasikala as the new Chief Minister, saying it was meant to benefit her rivals.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had visited the memorial to Ms. Jayalalithaa at Marina Beach here late on Tuesday night to offer his tributes to her and later told waiting newspersons that her spirit had asked him to reveal certain truths to the people of Tamil Nadu.
 
Among other things, he said that he had been humiliated and insulted by several of his colleagues ever since he took over as Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6 after Ms. Jayalalithaa's death the previous night.
 
He said he had been forced into resigning and supporting Ms. Sasikala as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party. He claimed that "Amma", as the late Ms. Jayalalithaa was called by her supporters, had always looked upon him as her successor. He said he had the support of the party's cadre as well as of the people of the state.
 
The decision to remove Mr. Panneerselvam from the post of treasurer, which he had been holding for the past 10 years as a trusted loyalist of Ms. Jayalalithaa, was taken at a meeting of AIADMK leaders called by Ms. Sasikala, 60, at the Poes Garden residence of Ms. Jayalalithaa shortly after his outburst.
 
Ms. Sasikala, on her part, denied there had been any pressure on Mr. Panneerselvam to quit and insisted that the party remained united under her leadership. She said Mr. Panneerselvam appeared to have been instigated by some people to revolt against the AIADMK leadership. She hinted at the possibility of removing Mr. Panneerselvam from the primary membership of the party in view of his act of rebellion.
 
She accused the Opposition DMK of being behind his outburst and referred to the "friendly" manner in which he was seen speaking with DMK leader M. K. Stalin during the recent session of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
 
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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 elevant 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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High drama in Chennai as Panneerselvam comes out against Sasikala

In a dramatic late-night development, caretaker Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Tuesday invoked the spirit of his predecessor, the late J. Jayalalithaa, and came out openly against AlADMK General Secretary V. K. Sasikala, who was chosen on Sunday as his successor, and said that he been forced into resigning and supporting her.

O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
In a dramatic late-night development, caretaker Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam today invoked the spirit of his predecessor, the late J. Jayalalithaa, and came out openly against AlADMK General Secretary V. K. Sasikala, who was chosen on Sunday as his successor, and said that he been forced into resigning and supporting her.
 
Speaking to mediapersons after turning up to offer tributes to late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa at her memorial on Marina Beach, Mr. Panneerselvam said that, as far as he was concerned, he was the only person in the party who had the support of the cadre and the people.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, 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. He resigned on Sunday, after ruling All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) MLAs met here and chose Ms. Sasikala, 60, a long-time aide of Ms. Jayalalithaa as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party.
 
Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao accepted his resignation  yesterday and asked him and his Council of Ministers to continue to function till alternative arrangements were made.
 
However, even as arrangements began for the swearing-in of Ms. Sasikala began at the Madras University Auditorium here, no date has been set as yet for the function by Raj Bhavan.
 
"I will be ready to fight even alone," Mr. Panneerselvam, a loyalist of Ms. Jayalalithaa said, after sitting in silent prayer at her memorial for nearly 45 minutes.  "I will take back my resignation if party workers and people ask me to," he said.
 
He said he was told by several party leaders, including his own Cabinet colleagues, that he should make way for Ms. Sasikala. "When I asked them what was the necessity, they told me that one person should hold both posts," he said.  "Amma's soul told me to inform this to the people of the state," he added.
 
He said he had come to know of the meeting of the legislature party from other persons and had not been informed of it.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam dwelt at length on how he had been humiliated and insulted by his colleagues, on the one hand, and also spoke about the efforts he had made to handle the various crises that had emerged in the state in the past few weeks, including the cyclone Vardah, the oil spill, the Jallikattu agitation and so on.
 
"I was given the Chief Minister's post but insulted continously," he said.  In particular, he mentioned his Cabinet colleagues R. B. Udaya Kumar, Seller Raju and Sengottaiyann. "My own Ministers were talking against me," he said.
 
He said he had taken up the matter with Ms. Sasikala, who had become party General Secretary by then, when Mr. Udayakumar had talked to him. "I was told that Udayakumar had been warned. They said no one will talk like this anymore," he said.
 
He also mentioned how, when he had gone to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi during the Jallikattu stir, AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambi Durai had also come to meet Mr. Modi with about 50 MPs.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam said he had worked with "utmost dedication" to fulfil "Amma's dreams". Ms. Jayalalithaa used to be called "Amma" by her supporters, while Ms. Sasikala is referred to as "Chinamma".
 
He said he had accepted the Chief Minister's position only after party leaders told him that it was essential for him to do so in the party's interest. "I told them I was happy to have stepped aside for Amma when she was alive. I told them they can appoint whoever they want," he said.
 
He said he had come to Ms. Jayalalithaa's memorial and then talked to the media because his conscience was pricking him. His revolt against Ms. Sasikala was quite uncharacteristic of Mr. Panneerselvam, who was always seen as a self-effacing person.
 
 
Was forced to resign, says Panneerselvam
There was expectation that Ms. Sasikala would be sworn in as the new Chief Minister this morning, but an element of uncertainty has crept in amidst growing opposition from a section of the public, in social media and even from within the party against her elevation to the top job in the state.
 
The uncertainty also stems from the fact that an appeal against the acquittal of Ms. Sasikala 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.
 
Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra and is holding additional charge of the post of Governor of Tamil Nadu, was in Delhi yesterday for consultations on the issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs and legal experts. He later flew to Mumbai.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam's statement today has the potential of dividing the AIADMK down the middle. Ms. Sasikala and her supporters held a late night meeting at Ms. Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence to take stock of the latest developments.
 
Meanwhile, Mr. P. H. Pandian, a party veteran, today claimed there had been a quarrel at Ms. Jayalalithaa's residence here, during which she had been "pushed down" and collapsed on September 22 last year, the day she was admitted to hospital, an allegation that will only add to the suggestions of intrigue surrounding her death. He demanded a probe into the circumstances in which she was hospitalised.
 
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 yesterday that the AIADMK leader had been treated for septicemia and a host of other medical problems.
 
Mr. Pandian, a former Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, also opposed the move to make Ms. Sasikala the new Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala had said on Sunday, after her election as the legislature party leader, that it was Mr. Panneerselvam who had proposed her name and who had suggested to her that she take over as Chief Minister.
 
She said that, similarly, it was he who had earlier suggested that she become the General Secretary of the party after Ms. Jayalalithaa's death.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Several supporters of Mr. Panneerselvam gathered at Marina Beach, even as he sat silently at Ms. Jayalalithaa's memorial and raised slogans. Later, a crowd also gathered outside his residence and were seen to be in a celebratory mood.
 
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Uncertainty over Sasikala's swearing-in as opposition to her elevation grows

An element of uncertainty has crept in about when the new All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) legislature party leader V. K. Sasikala, a long-time aide of late party supremo J. Jayalalithaa, will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

V. K. Sasikala
V. K. Sasikala
An element of uncertainty has crept in about when the new All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) legislature party leader V. K. Sasikala, a long-time aide of late party supremo J. Jayalalithaa, will be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
 
The uncertainty stems from the fact that an appeal against the acquittal of Ms. Sasikala, 60, 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. Sasikala was chosen by the AIADMK MLAs as their new leader at a meeting on Sunday after Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam stepped aside.
 
Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao accepted the resignation of Mr.  O. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers yesterday and asked them to continue to function till alternative arrangements were made.
 
However, even as arrangements began for the swearing-in of Ms. Sasikala began at the Madras University Auditorium here, no date has been set as yet for the function by Raj Bhavan.
 
Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra and is holding additional charge of the post of Governor of Tamil Nadu, was in Delhi yesterday for consultations on the issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs and legal experts. He later flew to Mumbai.
 
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AIADMK sources had indicated yesterday that the swearing-in ceremony could be held this morning, and are now saying that it could be held by Thursday.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, 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.
 
To add to the AIADMK's and Ms. Sasikala's woes, there is growing opposition from a section of the public, in social media and even from within the party against her elevation to the top job in the state.
 
Mr. P. H. Pandian, a party veteran, today claimed there had been a quarrel at Ms. Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence here, during which she had been "pushed down" and collapsed, an allegation that will only add to the suggestions of intrigue surrounding her death. He demanded a probe into the circumstances in which she was hospitalised.
 
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 yesterday that the AIADMK leader had been treated for septicemia and a host of other medical problems.
 
Mr. Pandian, a former Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, also opposed the move to make Ms. Sasikala the new Chief Minister.
 
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Massive round-the-clock efforts continue to tackle oil spill near Chennai coast

 
Over 1000 people join efforts to clean oil spill
Hundreds of volunteers, including students and local fishermen, joined state government officials, Indian Coast Guard and other agencies in a massive effort to clear an oil spill caused by a collision between two ships at Ennore near here last week.
 
Officials said about 20 tonnes of oil spill remained to be cleaned and the work was expected to take several more days.
 
Apart from various kinds of equipment, scores of volunteers were literally scooping the oil out of the water near the seashore with buckets.
 
The collision between the two cargo ships -- BW Maple, an LPG tanker, and Dawn Kanchipuram, a petroleum tanker, occurred near the Ennore port in the early hours of January 28, leading to the oil spill and giving rise to fears about environmental damage.
 
By next afternoon, large patches of oil slick were reported by fishermen in Ennore, Kasimedu and other fishing harbours. The Coast Guard carried out an aerial survey and began the clean-up operations at the Ramakrishna Nagar Kuppam Beach near Ennore and the Ennore seashore, among other places. Clean-up efforts were also made at Marina Beach in the city and nearby areas.
 
Among other things, the Coast Guard sprayed oil spill dispersant in the sea near Ennore to neutralise the oil slick. It has deployed its ships and aircraft and is coordinating with various agencies of the State and the Central Governments.
 
The stretch between Ennore Beach and Elliot Beach has been divided into four zones. Helicopters are carrying out regular sorties to monitor the drift pattern of the slick.
 
The oil spill appeared to be disintegrating gradually due to wave action and weathering, official sources said.
 
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TN Assembly unanimously passes Bill to replace Jallikattu ordinance

 
TN Assembly passes Bill to legalise Jallikattu
The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly today unanimously passed a Bill seeking to replace an ordinance promulgated by the Governor on Saturday, paving the way for lifting a Supreme Court ban and conducting the bull-taming sport in the state without any legal hurdles.
 
The Bill, introduced by Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam at a special sitting of the Assembly, making amendments to Sections 2, 3, 11, 22, 27 and 28 of  the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA)Act, 1960, was adopted unanimously with the full support of all sections of the House.
 
Moving the Bill, Mr. Panneerselvam there were no impediments to hold Jallkattu as the "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017,"  had the assent of the President and that no one could obtain a stay on it. 
 
Soon after the Bill was passed, the protesters in Chennai called off their week long agitation at Marina Beach, which had snowballed into a mass movement of sorts in the past few days.
 
The Ordinance on Jallikattu was issued on Saturday after getting the Presidential nod and with the support of the Centre, in the face of the mounting protests by tens of thousands of youth, women and children, who demanded lifting of the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu and a ban on People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), one of the organisations which had approached the apex court on the issue.
 
The Bill defines jallikattu as an event involving bulls conducted with a view to following tradition and culture from January to May and it includes similar events like 'manjuviratu', 'vadamadu' and 'erudhuvidum' festivals. It noted that the Supreme Court had held Jallikattu as violative of the PCA Act (sections 3, 11, and 22).
 
The Bill said, considering the vital role of jallikattu in preserving and promoting tradition and culture among people and also in view of ensuring the survival and continuance of native breeds of bulls, the state government had decided to exempt Jallikattu from the provisions of the PCA Act.
 
The Bill also said Jallikattu played a vital role in ensuring survival and continuance of native breeds of bulls.
 
Later, Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao forwarded the Bill to President Pranab Mukherjee for his consideration, a necessary step before the legislation can be given his assent.
 
A Raj Bhavan communique here said the Bill, after its passage in the Legislative Assembly had to be reserved by the Govenor for the consideration of the President under Article 254 (2) of the Constitution.
 
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Protesters head home after violence as TN Assembly passes Bill to allow Jallikattu

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in as police launched a crackdown on pro-Jalliakttu protesters across Tamil Nadu, including at Marina Beach in Chennai, even as the State Assembly passed a Bill to replace the Jallikattu ordinance. leading to withdrawal of the protests.

 
Violence in Chennai before pro-Jallikattu protests end
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in the city as police launched a crackdown on pro-Jalliakttu protesters across Tamil Nadu, including at Marina Beach here, even as the State Assembly passed a Bill to replace the Jallikattu ordinance. leading to withdrawal of the protests.
 
Protesters fought pitched battles with the police at several places in Chennai, especially around Marina Beach from where thousands of them were forcibly evicted, and blocked roads at various parts of the city.
 
The protestors in various parts of the State, including those in Marina, 'called off' their week-long agitation, but refused to leave the venue, leading to the police action to evict them.
 
At Alanganallur in Madurai, the nerve centre  of Jallikattu, the village committee decided to hold the bull-taming sport on February 1 with the support of district administration and called off their agitation against a Supreme Court ban which had meant that the event could not be held for three years.
 
In some places, the protesters ended the agitation on their own, while in others the police used force to disperse them.
 
Later in the day, a special sitting of the State Legislative Assembly unanimously adopted the Bill seeking to replace the 
ordinance, promulgated on Saturday, lifting the ban on Jallikattu.
 
The ordinance, which made state-specific amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Act, 1960, came amidst mounting protests in Chennai and other parts of the state against the ban.
 
The state government also filed a caveat in the Supreme 
Court urging that its views must be heard in case any individual or organisation challenged the legislation.
 
The Bill, introduced by Chief Minister O Panneerselvam 
was passed unanimously, with the support of all parties, 
including the Opposition DMK and its allies such as the Congress and others, lifted all the ban on holding the bull-taming sport.
 
Soon after the House adopted the Bill, film director Gowthaman,
and other Jallikattu supporters, said the Chennai protest
had been withdrawn and the agitators started dispersing from
Marina, where the Republic Day parade is due to be held on January 26.
 
More than 10,000 policemen began evicting the protesters at Marina early this morning after appealing to them to move out of the area peacefully in view of the fact the purpose of the protest had been "fully achieved".
 
The police sealed off all roads leading to Marina and later clashed with protesters who attempted to march to the beach front by breaking the police cordon.
 
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Nearly 100 people, including policemen and protesters, suffered injuries in stone throwing and arson. Police also resorted to a cane charge and used teargas to disperse the crowd. There were cases of arson and violence reported from other parts of the city, too.
 
Leaders of various political parties, including DMK Working President M K Stalin, VCK, Left parties and MDMK condemned the police action.
 
Film actors like Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth also took exception to the police action and appealed to the students to call off their agitation, saying that anti-social elements had tarnished the good image gained by the protesters during their peaceful agitation. 
 
Local bus services were suspended after more than 50 buses were damaged in stone-throwing.
 
MRTS services on the Chennai Beach-Velacherry section were  suspended to prevent people from coming to the beach. Normal traffic was affected as all the arterial roads were clogged with vehicles.
 
Earlier, actors Raghava Lawrence and 'RJ' Balaji, the 
prominent faces of the protest, spoke to the protestors
at Marina, following which people decided to leave the beach front.
 
Pro-Jallikattu activists Rajasekaran, Rajesh and Hiphop 
Tamizha Aadhi also urged the protesters to call off the stir as the ordinance lifting the ban was issued on Saturday and Jallikattu was
conducted in several parts of the state yesterday. 
 
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Jallikattu stir: Police begin eviction at Marina, protestors move to sea shore

The police on Monday began the process of evicting pro-Jallikattu protesters from the Marina Beach in Chennai even as the state government prepared to move a Bill in the Assembly to replace an ordinance promulgated on Saturday to enable the holding of the bull-taming sport from Sunday after a three-year gap.

 
Police begin evicting protesters from Marina Beach in Chennai
The police today began the process of evicting pro-Jallikattu protesters from famed Marina Beach here as the agitation entered the seventh day even as the state government prepared to move a Bill in the Assembly to replace an ordinance promulgated on Saturday to enable the holding of the bull-taming sport from Sunday after a three-year gap.
 
While trying to disperse the demonstrators, the police appealed to them to leave the Marina beach front, citing the provisions of the Bill being introduced by the state government.
 
The protesters were, however, in no mood to relent, demanding a permanent solution to the Jallikattu issue, and moved to the sea shore to continue with their agitation.
 
Large numbers of policemen, who were posted near the beach, started removing the protesters since early this morning, especially women and children. Some people did move away, only to reassumble near the sea shore to continue their protest.
 
Policemen were seen escorting women and children to safety, even as ambulances were positioned in the area as a precautionary measure.
 
Copies of the Bill were distributed to people in the crowd, who were also informed of its salient features over the public address system.
 
The protests were held to protest against a Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu and the ordinance was promulgated to introduce state-level changes in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act as a way out.
 
Students and youth leading the protests heard out the announcements about the features of the Bill but continued to raise pro-Jallikattu slogans, demanding a permanent solution to the issue as well as a ban on People the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights organisation.
 
The police are anxious to clear the beach front of protesters, given that there are only three more days to go for the Republic Day  parade to be held there on January 26.
 
The protesters say that Jallikattu symbolises Tamil culture, heritage and traditions.
 
The sport could not be held for the third successive year during the Pongal festival earlier this month because of the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on pleas made by PETA and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), citing cruelty to bulls.
 
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The protests started in the traditional Jallkattu areas like Avuniapuram, Palamedu and Alanganallur, the nerve centre of the bull taming sport, which used to attract thousands of tourists, including many from abroad.
 
As those protests gained momentum, the police arrested some of the demonstrators and this led to some youths staging a demonstration at Marina Beach, seeking their release. They garnered support through social media websites and very soon the protests snowballed into a mass movement and the beach front turned into a sea of humanity. Hundreds of volunteers provided support for the demonstrators with a steady supply of food, drinking water and such necessities. 
 
Similar protests were held all over the state, other cities in India and even abroad. They received support from several organisations and groups, including IT professionals, lawyers and the film fraternity.
 
After the ordinance was signed by Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Saturday, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam told journalists that the ban on Jallikattu was lifted and that the sport would be held at different places in the state on Sunday. He had also announced that he would open the Vaadivasal -- the entry to the arena -- at Alanganallur.
 
But the protesters were not satisfied and demanded that bulls must be removed from the list of performing animals and a permanent solution must be found to the issues raised by them.
 
Yesterday, Mr Panneerselvam went to Madurai to inaugurate the Jallikattu event at Alanganallur, but demonstrators forced him to beat a retreat.
 
Meanwhile, the state government has filed a caveat in the 
Supreme Court stating that its views must be in the event of any plea challenging the ordinance.
 
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Protesters continue agitation against Jallikattu ban in TN, seek permanent solution

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Thousands of protesters at the famed Marina Beach here and at Alanganallur today continued their protests against the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu, a day after the Tamil Nadu government promulgated an ordinance for the conduct of the traditional bull-taming sport.
 
The demonstrators, whose protests entered the sixth day today, are demanding a permanent lifting of the ban as well as a  ban on PETA.
 
They did not accept Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam's assertion that the ban on the sport was lifted by the ordinance.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam said that the ordinance was the only solution to the impasse and appealed to the youth and students, who formed a  bulk of the protesters, to call of their agitation.
 
But the crowds, including women and children, were in no mood to relent and have declared that their protests would continue till a notification was issued removing bulls from the list of performing animals, which had led to the SC ban.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, who left for Madurai last night to inaugurate the Jalliakttu at Vaadivasal this morning, could not do so in the face of determined opposition by the villagers of Alanganallur who, braving rains and nippy weather, refused to release their bulls into the arena.
 
The Chief Minister later told reporters at Madurai that Jallikatta would be held whenever the people wanted it to be held.
 
He said no one could now stop Jallikattu from being conducted following the promulgation of the ordinance. He also recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, during their meeting in Delhi on Thursday, promised all support from the Centre for the legal steps taken by the state government in this regard.
 
He also said a Bill seeking to replace the Ordinance would be introduced in the Assembly session, beginning here tomorrow, and that it would be passed. 
 
Meanwhile, Jallikattu was held at some other places in the state today after a gap of three years amidst fanfare.
 
DMK Working President and Opposition leader M K Stalin aoppealed to the Chief Minister to hold talks with the protestors at Marina, allay their fears about the ordinance and convince them to withdraw their agitation.
 
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TN Governor signs ordinance, Jallikattu to be held on Sunday: CM

The Tamil Nadu Government on Saturday promulgated an ordinance introducing state-level changes in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, effectively lifting the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu, the bull-taming sport, which is all set to be held on Sunday after a gap of three years.

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The Tamil Nadu Government today promulgated an ordinance introducing state-level changes in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, effectively lifting the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu, the bull-taming sport, which is all set to be held on Sunday after a gap of three years.
 
Maharashtra Governor C.Vidyasagar Rao, who is holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu, signed the ordinance today, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam announced.
 
He said the Governor's assent was received today after the state government had received President Pranab Mukherjee's clearance to make the state-specific changes in the PCA Act.
 
''Hence, all the hurdles in the conduct of Jallikattu have been cleared and it will be held at Alanganallur and other places tomorrow," he said.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam himself will inaugurate the Jallikattu at Alanganallur, the nerve centre of the rural sport, at 1000 hours tomorrow. Other Ministers will inaugurate it at 1100 hours tomorrow in their respective districts.
 
The Chief Minister said a Bill seeking to replace the Ordinance would be introduced in the session of the State Legislative Assembly beginning on Monday.
 
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''The dream to hold the Jallikattu event compulsorily has come true," he said.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, who had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue on Thursday amidst mounting protests in Chennai and elsewhere in the state against the ban, thanked him for helping to get the clearances of various Ministries and from the President for the ordinance within a day.
 
He also thanked the thousands of youth who had staged protests against the ban peacefully at the famed Marina Beach here and in various other parts of the state to protect Tamil culture and traditions.
 
He pointed out that the sport was banned by the Supreme Court after a notification was issued  by the Centre in 2011 including bulls in the list of performing animals.
 
Recalling the steps taken by the government since the Supreme Court ban in 2014, Mr Panneerselvam said the steps taken by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to protect the state's rights and traditions were instrumental in promulgating this Ordinance, that has paved way for holding Jallikattu.
 
Meanwhile, the protesters insisted that they would end their agitation only when the bulls enter the ring tomorrow and a permanent solution is found to the problem by denotifying bulls from the list of performing animals.
 
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Mass protests against Jallikattu ban in Tamil Nadu enter fifth day

The mass protests in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu against the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu, the popular bull-tamingsport, continued for fifth day on Saturday.

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The mass protests in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu against the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu, the popular bull-tamingsport, continued for fifth day today.
 
Protests have been held in several other parts of India and even abroad, too, in support of the demand for the lifting of the ban.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday had announced yesterday that the state government would promulgate an ordinance to allow the conduct of the sport.
 
But the protesters said they not end their protest unless the ordinance was actually issued. Governor C. Vidyasagar issue was expected to sign the ordinance later today.
 
''Only on seeing the first bull jumping out of Vaadivasal--the entry point to the sporting arena--and a tamer trying to catch its large hump, we will move out of Marina Beach," one of the protesters told journalists.
 
''We are very proud of the rich culture of Tamil Nadu. All efforts are being made to fulfil the cultural aspirations of Tamil people'', Mr Modi said. 
 
''Central Government is fully committed to the progress of Tamil Nadu & will always work to ensure the state scales new avenues of progress'', he added. 
 
Meanwhile, the opposition DMK led by its Working President M K Stalin observed a day-long fast demanding that the centre to denotify bulls from the list of performing animals and ensure that Jallikattu was held in future during Pongal festival without any hitch. 
 
DMK MPs, MLAs, senior party leaders and former Ministers participated in the fast held in front of Valluvar Kottam in the city. 
 
'Had the Centre or the State government promulgated the Ordinance in advance, Jallikattu could have been conducted during the traditional Pongal festival," Mr. Stalin said.
 
Backing the protesters, well-known actor Kamal Haasan said the world was watching Tamil Nadu and urged the protesters to keep the agitation non-violent.
 
"Tamils are making India proud. Keep your tenacity of purpose. We have become women and men of the moment," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"The manifesto for civil disobedience movement was drafted in Madras 1930... Again it is successfully enacted in Tamil Nadu 2017," he said.
 
''This movement is of the people. I still feel celebrities should only support and not steal the show," he said.
 
"I watch news just to watch my people gathered all around TN. Moved 2 tears. Thanks. Youre no more students you are now teachers. I am a fan," the actor added.
 
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TN CM says state govt. will promulgate ordinance to allow Jallikattu

As the protests against the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu continued in Chennai and other parts of the state for the fourth day on Friday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam said his government had decided to promulgate an ordinance to allow the conduct of the bull-taming spot in the next day or two.

 
Protests against Jallikattu ban continue Tamil Nadu
As the protests against the Supreme Court ban on Jallikattu continued in Chennai and other parts of the state for the fourth day today, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam said his government had decided to promulgate an ordinance to allow the conduct of the bull-taming spot in the next day or two.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, who had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the issue yesterday, told journalists in New Delhi this morning that the draft ordinance had been drawn up in consultaiton with legal experts andsent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
 
He said the ordinance would be forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee. After his approval, it would be sent to Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao for his assent, the Chief Minister said.
 
He said that, after the ordinance is promulgated with the assistance of the Centre, as assured by Mr. Modi, Jallikattu would be held in one or two days.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam urged students and youth, who have gathered at the Marina Beach here and in various locations across the state to call off their agitation in view of the state government's decision to promulgate an ordinance.
 
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He said senior Tamil Nadu government officials would stay back in New Delhi to expedite the process of promulgating the ordinance, which would introduce state-specific changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
 
The protesters welcomed the announcement made by the Chief Minister but made it clear that their protests would continue until the ban on Jallikattu was withdrawn once and for all.
 
Meanwhile, normal life in the state was partially affected as a one-day strike called by trade unions and various other organisations supporting Jallikattu, began this morning.
 
Shops and some business establishments in some parts of the city remained closed. Autorickshaws and trucks also stayed off the roads in some parts. With schools and colleges also closed in some districts, traffic was thin on the roads in many towns.
 
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the main opposition party in the state, launched a "rail roko" agitation in support of Jallikattu. As a result of the demonstrations, the Southern Railway cancelled or partially cancelled several trains today and diverted some others.
 
The film fraternity has also come out in support of the protesters and shooting and recording were cancelled and noon shows were cancelled in many theatres. Tamil actors took part in a day-long fast under the banner of Nadigar Sangam.
 
Lawyers also staged demonstrations at many places and stayed away from the courts today.
 
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Protests continue in TN against Jallikattu ban, CM meets Modi

Thousands of youth, many of them students, continued their protests in Chennai and other places across Tamil Nadu for the third today on Thursday, demanding the lifting of the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu, a popular bull-taming sport in the state.

 
Protests against Jallikattu ban continue in Tamil Nadu
Thousands of youth, many of them students, continued their protests in Chennai and other places across Tamil Nadu for the third today today, demanding the lifting of the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu, a popular bull-taming sport in the state.
 
Even as the protests appeared to be turning into a mass movement, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today and called for the immediate promulgation of an ordinance to lift the ban.
 
"The ban imposed on Jallikattu by the Supreme Court came up for discussion. While appreciating the cultural significance of Jallikattu, the Prime Minister observed that the matter is presently sub-judice," a press release from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.
 
It said the Centre would be supportive of steps taken by the State Government.
 
In Chennai, thousands of people -- including students, women,  children, IT professionals and lawyers, with a sprinkling of film personalities -- have gathered on the Marina beach to protest against the ban, which has meant that Jallikattu could not be held for the third successive day during the Pongal festival.
 
The protesters have said that they would continue their agitation till the ban is lifted. They argue that Jallikattu is part of the culture, heritage and traditions of Tamils.
 
Many colleges in the city declared a holiday for the day today and this is expected to increase the number of people protesting at Marina beach, which has turned into a sea of humanity. The protests have also drawn support from various organisations, including truckers and the film fraternity. Volunteers were supplying food and water to the protesters.
 
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After his meeting with Mr. Modi, Mr. Panneerselvam told reporters in New Delhi that the State Government, along with the Centre, would soon take some "good steps" to ensure the continuance of Jallikattu.
 
''You will soon see some steps. Wait, good will happen," he said.
 
He said he had presented a memorandum to Mr. Modi on the Jallikattu issue as well as on the need for urgent Central assistance to tackle the drought in the state following scanty rainfall.
 
Mr. Modi promised to send a team of Central officials to the state for an assessment of the drought situation and the acute drinking water scarcity being faced by Chennai because of the low storage levels in reservoirs.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam said Mr. Modi heard all the issues raised by him. He said the Prime Minister had high regard for the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu and had promised full support to the state.
 
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Cyclone Vardah likely to cross north TN, south AP coast by Monday afternoon

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Vardah, the very severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal, is likely to weaken gradually and is expected to cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast, close to Chennai, by tomorrow afternoon.
 
A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) at 0830 hours today said the cyclone had moved further westwards in the past six hours with a speed of 11 kmph and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 13.3ºN and longitude 84.7ºE, about 520 km east-southeast of Nellore, 490 km eastsoutheast of Machilipatnam and 480 km east-northeast of Chennai. 
 
"The system is very likely to move nearly west-southwestwards and maintain its intensity upto the evening of today, the 11th December, 2016. Thereafter, it is likely to weaken gradually while moving towards south Andhra Pradesh coast and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coast. It is very likely to cross north Tamilnadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast, close to Chennai by 12th December 2016 afternoon," the bulletin said.
 
Under the influence of the system, light to moderate rainfall would occur at many places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh and north coastal Tamil Nadu from today evening for the subsequent 36 hours, with isolated heavy to very heavy falls, it said.
 
Light to moderate rainfall was very likely over north coastal Andhra Pradesh during the same period, it said.
 
The IMD warned that squally winds with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, would prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coasts from tonight. They will gradually increase becoming 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph at the time of landfall, the bulletin said.
 
Sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu coasts commencing from tonight. Sea condition along and off these coasts will become high from tomorrow morning.
 
The cyclone is expected to cause damage to thatched huts, minor damage to power & communication lines due to breaking of branches, major damage to kutcha and minor damage to pucca roads and some damage to paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards.
 
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during the next 48 hrs.
 
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Mukherjee, Ansari, Modi condole passing away of Jayalalithaa

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President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Mohammed Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today condoled the passing away of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, who died in a Chennai hospital late on Monday night.
 
“I am extremely sad to learn about the sad demise of Ms. Jayaram Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," Mr. Mukherjee said in a message to Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao.
 
"Popularly known as ‘Amma’ and ‘Puratchi Thalaivi’, Ms. Jayalalithaa was a talented film star as well as a visionary leader and administrator who distinguished herself through her political acumen and people friendly programs. She was regarded one of India’s most charismatic and popular leaders.
 
"A prolific and versatile film actress, she appeared in films of different genres and performed a wide variety of roles. She served the country with distinction in different capacities, including as Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, first Woman Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and as five times Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. She was the youngest ever and the second woman to be elected Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
 
"I had opportunity to interact closely with her both when we were together in the Rajya Sabha and during her different tenures as Chief Minister. She was progressive in her thought and pro-active in pursuing the issues that were close to her heart, such as the empowerment of women and welfare of children.
 
"As Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms. Jayalalithaa introduced a number of pro-poor schemes in various fields, including education, food security, provision of safe drinking water, the girl child etc.  Her life was dedicated to the socio-economic transformation of Tamil Nadu and its people.
 
"In her passing away, the nation has lost an icon who was loved and admired by millions. Her contribution to the progress and development of Tamil Nadu will be long remembered," Mr. Mukherjee added.
 
Mr. Ansari said Ms. Jayalalithaa's death was an irreparable loss to the people of India.
 
"An eminent public figure, a charismatic personality, she had immense influence over the political developments in Tamil Nadu as well as the national level. As Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, her contributions towards the economic development of the state and social welfare of the poorer segments will be long remembered and cherished," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said he was deeply saddened at the passing away of Ms. Jayalalithaa and that her demise had left a huge void in Indian politics.
 
"Jayalalithaa ji’s connect with citizens, concern for welfare of the poor, the women & marginalized will always be a source of inspiration," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tamil Nadu in this hour of grief. May the Almighty grant them the strength to bear this irreparable loss with courage and fortitude.
 
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"I will always cherish the innumerable occasions when I had the opportunity to interact with Jayalalithaa ji. May her soul rest in peace," he added.
 
Congress Presdent Sonia Gandhi said Ms. Jayalalithaa lived her entire life with the same indomitabe courage with which she battled her last illness.
 
"As the leader of the AIADMK and as four-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, she had a unique and deep empathy with the needs and hopes of the people, and put in place policies that immeasurabl improved their lives. Whether it was her welfare schemes for the rural and urban poor, her swift relief measures in the aftermath of the tsunami, or her vision for Tamil Nadu's industrial development, her leadership qualities and administrative abilities were truly outstanding.
 
"She was a towering figure in our national and political life, who won admiration across the political spectrum for the intrepid spirit with which she faced the ups and downs of her life in politics, for her commitment to the people of her state, and her dedication to the honour of India," she added.
 
"We lost a great leader today.Women, farmers, fishermen & the marginalised dreamt through her eyes.We will miss Jayalalithaa ji, Amma to millions," Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi said.
 
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O. Panneerselvam sworn in as new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

 
Panneerselvam sworn in as new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Mr. O. Panneerselvam, senior leader of the ruling All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in the early hours of Tuesday, succeeding Ms. J.Jayalalithaa, who passed away at a private hospital here late on Monday night.
 
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 on September 22.
 
Earlier in the day on Monday, Mr. Panneerselvam, considered a close confidant of Ms. Jayalalithaa, was elected as the leader of the AIADMK Legislative Party by the MLAs of the party. He was sworn in as Chief Minister by Tamil Nadu Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao at a solemn ceremony at Raj Bhavan around 1.20 am today.
 
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. The AIADMK supremo 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.
 
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Mr. Panneerselva represents the Bodinayakanur constituency in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
 
A farmer from Periyakulam in Theni district of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Panneerselvam began life as a tea seller. He was always maintained a low profile as a politician and was known as a staunch Jayalalithaa loyalist.
 
Born on January 14, 1951, Mr Panneerslevam has a B.A. degree. He served as chairman of the Periyakulam Municipality from 1996-2001 and as State Revenue Minister from May 19 to September 1, 2001, before taking over briefly as Chief Minister later that month.
 
After Ms Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister in March 2002, Mr Panneerselvam served as Minister in her Cabinet, handling portfolios such as Public Works, Prohibition and Excise, Revenue, Irrigation and so on. He has also served as the leader of the AIADMK legislative party and the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly.
 
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Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa passes away, day after suffering cardiac arrest

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa passed away late on Monday night in Chennai, a day after she suffered a cardiac arrest on Saturday evening at the Apollo Hospital where she had been undergoing treatment for a chronic lung infection and other medical problems since late September.

 
Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa passes away
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa passed away here late tonight, a day after she suffered a cardiac arrest yesterday evening at the Apollo Hospital where she had been undergoing treatment for a chronic lung infection and other medical problems since late September.
 
She was 68.
 
"It is with indescribable grief we announce the sad demise of our esteemed Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Puratchi Thalaivi Amma at 11.30 pm today," a statement from the Apollo Hospital said late tonight.
 
The statement said Ms. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital on September 22 with complaints of fever and dehydration and underlying co-morbidities.
 
"The Honourable Chief Minister responded well to the multi-disciplinary care in the Critical Care Unit and subsequently recovered substantially to being able to take food orally. On this basis, Honourable Chief Minister was shifted from the advanced Critical Care Unit to the High Dependency Unit, where her health and vitals continued to improve under the close monitoring by our expert panel of specialists.
 
"Unfortunately, the Honourable Chief Minister suffered a massive cardiac arrest on the evening of the 4th December 2016, even while our intensivist was in her room. The Honourable Chief Minister was immediately administered resuscitation (CPR) and provided ECMO support within the hour.
 
"ECMO is the most advanced treatment currently available internationally Every possible clinical attempt was made to sustain her revival. However, despite our best efforts the Honourable Chief Minister's underlying conditions rendered her unable to recover and she passed away at 11.30 pm today," the statement said.
 
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"Every member of the Apollo Hospitals Family, the clinicians, the nursing and paramedical staff have strived hard to provide the highest standards of care to our beloved Chief Minister. We have worked tirelessly, combining the might of the clinical and technological resources at our command with the spirit of healing and compassion that inspires us. We join the nation and the people of the state of Tamil Nadu in deeply mourning her loss," it added.
 
"Our beloved leader, The Iron Lady of India Puratchi Thalaivi Amma is no more," Ms. Jayalalithaa's party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
It said Ms. Jayalalithaa's body would be kept at Rajaji Hall here for people to pay last respects before the last rites are held.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa's condition had remained grave throughout the 30-odd hours since she suffered the cardiac arrest.
 
Professor Richard Beale of London, one of the doctors being consulted, said earlier in the day that everything possible was being done to give her the best chance of surviving the "shocking event".
 
The Central Government was in continous touch with the Tamil Nadu Government during this period and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tamil Nadu Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao yesterday to inquire about Ms. Jayalalithaa's heath.
 
Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra and is holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu since August 31, flew in to Chennai late last night and drove straight to the hospital where he was briefed on Ms. Jayalalithaa's health situation by a team of doctors. He also held a meeting with senior Tamil Nadu officials.
 
Hundreds of workers of Ms. Jayalalithaa's party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) camped outside the hospital after hearing about the deterioration in her health.
 
Police stepped up security arrangements outside the hospital as well as elsewhere in the city and the state as a precautionary measure.
 
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Ms. Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for a record sixth time on May 23 this year.
 
Born on February 24, 1948, Ms. Jayalalithaa, a film actress-turned-politician, joined the AIADMK, founded by her mentor M G Ramachandran, also an actor-turned-politician, in 1981.
 
She emerged as the leader of the party after MGR's death in 1987, after some initial hiccups, including a split in the party, and became the first woman to be the Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
 
She served as Chief Minister from June 24, 1991 to May 12, 1996; from May 14, 2001 to September 21, 2001; from March 2, 2002 to May 2006; from May 16, 2011 to September 23, 2014; and from May 23, 2015 for a year.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa had resigned as Chief Minister on September 23, 2014 after a special court in Bangalore had sentenced her to four years in prison in a corruption case and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
She was acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the 19-year-old case on May 11, 2015 and she returned to the top job in the state on May 23 last year for the fifth time after a gap of eight months.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa was educated at the Bishop Cotton Girls' High School in Bangalore and later at the Presentation Convent Church Park in Madras. On completion of her matriculation in 1964, she won a scholarship from the Government of India for higher studies but did not accept it and decided to pursue a career in films.
 
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Depression over Bay of Bengal likely to intensify into cyclone, cross TN coast early Friday

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A deep depression over southeast Bay of Bengal is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranniyam and Chennai, close to Cuddalore, by early hours of December 2, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.
 
A bulletin issued by the IMD at 0820 hours today said the depression had moved west-northwesterwards for the past six hours, with a speed about 15 kmph, intensified into a deep depression and lay centred at 0530 hrs of today near latitude 7.8ºN and longitude 85.7ºE, about 830 km southeast of Chennai, 780 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 490 km east-southeast of Trincomalee (Srilanka). 
 
"The system is very likely to continue to move west-northwestward and intensify further into a cyclonic storm during next 12 hrs. It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranniyam and Chennai, close to Cuddalore by early hours of 2nd December," it said.
 
The IMD warned that, under the influence of the system, light to moderate rainfall was likely to commence at many places over coastal Tamil Nadu from today evening. The intensity of rainfall would increase and heavy to very heavy rainfall was likely at a few places over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over interior Tamil Nadu during the next two days.
 
The bulletin said light to moderate rainfall was very likely at many places in Kerala, with isolated heavy falls, on December 2 and 3.
 
Squally winds with speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, would commence to prevail along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from tomorrow morning, the bulletin said.
 
The sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from tomorrow onwards, it said.
 
The IMD advised fishermen not to venture into sea along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from this evening onwards. Those at sea have been advised to return to the coast.
 
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Cyclone Kyant over west-central Bay of Bengal to weaken into depresssion

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The cyclonic storm Kyant over west-central Bay of Bengal has weakened into a deep depression and is likely to weaken further into a depression during the next 12 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said this morning.
 
In a bulletin issued at 0630 hours today, the IMD said the system had moved further west-south-westwards in the past six hours with speed 12 kmph and lay centred at 0230 hrs IST today over west-central Bay of Bengal, near latitude 15.9º N and longitude 85.9º E, about 390 km south-southeast of Gopalpur, 340 km southeast of Vishakhapatnam and 500 km east of Machilipatnam. 
 
"It is most likely to move west-southwestwards during next 24 hours. It will weaken further into a depression during next 12 hours," it said.
 
The bulletin said squally winds, with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, is very likely to prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh coast from October 27-29.
 
It said sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off the Andhra Pradesh coast during this period. It advised fishermen not to venture into sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coasts from October 27-28.
 
The IMD said light to moderate rainfall was very likely to occur at many places over south Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh on October 27-28.
 
Light to moderate rainfall was very likely at many places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh on October 28-30 and over north coastal Tamil Nadu on October 29-31, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.
 
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Eight die of asphyxiation after fire crackers go up in flames in Sivakasi

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Eight persons died of asphyxiation and 13 others were hospitalised after they were trapped inside a diagnostic laboratory after fire crackers being unloaded from a truck suddenly exploded in flames in Sivakasi town of Tamil Nadu today.
 
The incident occurred around 1.30 pm when fire crackers were being unloaded by workers outside a shop ahead of the Diwali festival.
 
Virudhunagar District Collector A. Sivagnanam told NetIndian over the telephone that the thick fumes quickly engulfed the area, including  the laboratory, located right next to where the truck was parked on the Virudhunagar bye-pass road, where several people had come for various pathological tests.
 
Those killed included five women and three men, he said, adding that 13 others had been hospitalised for treatment of problems caused by suffocation and inhalation of the fumes.
 
"Those inside the laboratory had no chance to escape from inside as the entire area was engulfed by thick smoke," he said. He said none of the victims had suffered any physical injuries because of the explosion and fire.
 
Mr. Sivagnanam said the cause of the fire could be ascertained only after an investigation. 
 
Sources said the victims included some employees of the diagnostic laboratory.
 
Mr. Sivagnanam, Superintendent of Police M Rajarajan and other senior officials had rushed to the scene to oversee rescue and relief efforts. Three fire tenders brought the flames under control within an hour.
 
Sivakasi is the biggest manfacturing centre in the country for firecrackers and fire accidents are regularly reported from the many units that dot the town and surrounding areas.
 
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Bye-elections to be held on November 19 to fill four LS, eight Assembly seats

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The Election Commission (EC) today said it would hold bye-elections to fill casual vacancies in the Lok Sabha from three States and eight seats in the Legislative Assemblies in seven States.
 
The vacancies in the Lok Sabha are from Lakhimpur in Assam, Shahdol (ST) in Madhya Pradesh and Coochbehar (SC) and Tamluk in West Bengal, an official press release said.
 
The Assembly seats vacant are 20-Baithalangso (ST) in Assam, 45 – Hayuliang (ST) in Arunachal Pradesh, 179-Nepanagar (ST) in Madhya Pradesh, 263-Monteswar in West Bengal, 195-Thiruparankundram in Tamil Nadu, 4-Barjala and 25-Khowai in Tripura and 17-Nellithope in Puducherry.
 
The release said the notification for the bye-elections will be issued on October 26 and the last date for making nominations is November 2. Counting of votes will be taken up on November 22.
 
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Uma Bharti holds meeting on Cauvery with Karnata CM, TN Minister

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Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti today held a four-hour long meeting with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu PWD Minister E. K. Palaniswamy on the Cauvery issue, which is at the centre of a major dispute between the two states.
 
“I have noted the views expressed by both the States, which will be conveyed to the Hon’ble Supreme Court through the Attorney General of India," she told newspersons after the meeting.
 
Ms. Bharti also appealed to the people of the two states to maintain peace and a cordial atmosphere.
 
“I am ready to sit on hunger strike, if required, to maintain peace in both the states," she said, and urged the media to play its part to ensure that passions did not run high.
 
The Minister said the meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere. She said there was a suggestion from Karnataka to send a team of experts from Centre to both the states to study rainfall and water availability in the Cauvery basin. As Tamil Nadu had some reservations on the suggestion, no compromise could be reached on the issue, she said.
 
Ms. Bharti told the meeting that the Attorney General of India had advised that it would be appropriate that the Union Minister for Water Resources call for a meeting of both the states. She said the Supreme Court has given all the three sides an opportunity to discuss, facilitate and resolve the current Cauvery water impasse in a cordial atmosphere. 
 
“On that premise, I hope that both the states will show empathy to each other’s need for arriving at a mutually acceptable solution," she said.
 
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President expresses concern over stressed assets in banks

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Expressing concern over the increase in stressed assets and lowered profitability of banks, President Pranab Mukherjee today underlined the need for credit expansion.
 
Stressed advances to gross advances of scheduled commercial banks have increased from 10.90% in March 2015 to 11.40% in March 2016, the President said at the centenary celebrations of Karur Vysya Bank here.
 
The aggregate provisions made by all scheduled commercial banks have consequently increased from Rs. 73,887 crore for the year ended March 2015 to Rs 1,70,630 crore for the year ended March 2016, he pointed out.
 
As a result, resources available for credit disbursement by commercial banks has been affected which was not a desirable situation.
 
Overall, the Indian banking sector has done well, especially during the financial crisis, Mr Mukherjee said. However, they must remain prudent about the situation of non-performing assets (NPAs), he said.
 
Bankers must always remember that they were trustees of the depositors’ money. It was their sacred responsibility to protect the money of those who have reposed their trust in them, he added.
 
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Maintain honour & integrity, President tells newly commissioned Army officers

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President Pranab Mukherjee today urged newly commissioned Army officers to maintain honour and integrity throughout their career.
 
Delivering his address after reviewing the passing out parade of the summer term at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) here, Mr Mukherjee said, “You have been through a gruelling one year of training to equip you with the requisite mental and physical skills required to lead troops in extremely challenging conditions."
 
“Above everything else that your alma mater has taught you, the first and foremost is the Honour Code. Your honour and integrity is not just yours. Always remember there are more than a billion Indian fellow citizens looking up to you every moment with admiration, awe and respect for what you are, the great Institution you serve in and what you are expected to do for this nation at the time of reckoning,” he added.
 
India is a unique country of 1.3 billion people, three major ethnic groups, 122 languages, 1600 dialects and disparate religions. “Our strength lies in the unique capacity to blend apparent contradictions into positive affirmations," Mr Mukherjee said.
 
He said he was glad to see Officer Cadets from “our friendly and valued countries” of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Lesotho.
 
“Our security challenges in fact go much beyond conventional borders and conventional threats in the international arena including; a sizeable diaspora to protect in unstable regions in the world, energy security issues and protection of maritime sea lanes.
 
“Time and again our country has fallen back on our Armed Forces in internal crisis situations, both man made and natural. All these challenges demand a capable and responsive Armed Forces to ensure stability and peace, so vital for our country on its path of peace and prosperity for all its citizens,” he added.
 
The President pointed out that the 21st century has ushered in its own set of challenges. Though turbulence and uncertainty have manifested all along in the history of mankind, this century is witnessing chaos and strife of a very virulent nature encompassing asymmetric warfare involving both state and non state actors.
 
“More than ever before India requires young men and women to take up the challenge of navigation through troubled waters and work tirelessly and selflessly even at the peril of their lives in the service of our Mother land,” the President said.
 
“The Indian Army represents the Instrument of Last Resort. Always remember that the acme of a great and powerful Army does not lie in the power it can unleash but the manner and dexterity with which it does so,” he added.
 
Later, during the Presidential Dinner at the academy, Mr. Mukherjee said, “the journey of OTA, Chennai which began more than five decades back in 1963 is embellished with the acts of great valour and heroism by the alumni of this academy, a bench mark that all of you from tomorrow onwards must strive to equal.
 
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“The courage and supreme sacrifices by many bravehearts like Major Ramaswamy Parmeswaran, Param Vir Chakra (Posthumous) and more recently Maj Mukund Varadharajan, Ashok Chakra (Posthumous), among many other heroes, should always be your guiding light in the years ahead that lie ahead,” he added.  
 
“On all fronts and by any parameter, the Indian Army is a thoroughly professional and formidable fighting machine, held in awe both by friends and adversaries. This achievement has been attained due to the blood, sweat and toil of your illustrious predecessors," the President said.       
 
He pointed out that the Officer-Men relationship is a crucial facet in the leadership matrix especially in today’s rapidly changing socio-economic environment. “Remember that the troops that you will command are the finest in the world. In addition to leading them well in operations, it is your duty to look after their welfare and ensure the best possible quality of life for them. The power of leading by example continues to be pre-eminent. You must always ‘Walk the Talk’,” he added.
 
“The Indian Army today is in the midst of a transformation and needs agile, adaptive leaders with a broad perspective and wide range of skills. In an era, where you will face the full spectrum of conflict, ranging from high intensity combat, peace time soldiering, peace keeping, humanitarian intervention, counter terrorism and insurgency, low intensity conflict, all in rapid succession or even simultaneously – we cannot succeed without military leaders, who are equal to the challenge! You will be expected to make sound and ethical decisions in operational and other difficult situations in a split second. You have to train hard to achieve this competence,” he said.
 
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Mukherjee presents Presidential Colours to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington

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President Pranab Mukherjee today presented the Presidential Colours to the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mukherjee said the award of Presidential Colours was a befitting tribute to the eternal spirit of the great institution. He said he was certain that the Staff College would continue to produce military leaders of great repute and resolve.
 
The President said it was a matter of honour that more than 1700 officers from 75 countries from all over the world had graduated from the portals of the institution and a large number of them had risen to the highest positions in their countries.
 
“I am delighted to learn that 40 officers from 31 friendly foreign countries are undergoing the present course. Each one of you is a befitting ambassador of your great nation and I am certain that you will cherish the strong bonds of friendship established by you with your peer group over a year of interactive learning,” he added.
 
The President also placed on record his appreciation for the Staff College having achieved the unique distinction of being accorded ISO 9001 & 14001 certification as a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in joint operations training.
 
The college has also received ‘Golden Peacock National Training Award’ for the year 2016 for excellence in training practices.
 
“The college provides a stimulating environment for analytical thinking towards creativity and intellectualism. It also encourages growth and development of an officer and his family; to include professionalism, social graces and value system, in accordance with the noble Indian culture and traditions,” he said.
 
He praised the college for spreading awareness on ‘Clean Ganga’, ‘Swachh Bharat’ and ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ campaigns. He also complimented the college for taking up promotion of ‘Green initiatives’ of rain water harvesting, solar power generation and recycling thereby contributing towards preservation of the rich eco-biosphere of the Nilgiris.
 
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