India: R.K. Nagar (Chennai) could be an eye opener for future Tamil Nadu politics!

India: R.K. Nagar (Chennai) could be an eye opener for future Tamil Nadu politics!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
____________

With just a week left for the crucial RK Nagar bypoll in Tamil Nadu, campaigns are gathering momentum in the constituency of former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa and stakes are running high especially for the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
A bypoll was necessitated following Jayalalithaa’s demise on 5 December. RK Nagar in Chennai will see 62 contestants—the highest since its inception in 1967— when the constituency goes to vote on 12 April.
The Election Commission (EC) is also closely monitoring the bypoll. Following a complaint by opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the EC ordered the transfer of Chennai police commissioner S. George. It has also transferred almost all the officials involved in the RK Nagar bypoll, appointed as many as five observers—the highest-ever for a constituency in the country—and deployed two IAS and two IPS officers on night patrol until the polling is over.
Now that the ruling AIADMK is formally split into AIADMK (Amma) and AIADMK (Puratchithalaivi Amma) and with the EC freezing the party’s two leaves symbol, the traditional AIADMK voters would be weighing between the new symbols—hat and lamp post.While former chief minister O. Panneerselvam camp—AIADMK (Puratchithalaivi Amma) which has been allotted the lamp post—is fielding veteran E. Madhusudhanan as its candidate, the V.K. Sasikala faction—AIADMK (Amma) with the hat symbol—has T.T.V. Dinakaran in fray. DMK has fielded N. Maruthu Ganesh—the party’s secretary for RK Nagar east division and a journalist with party mouthpiece Dinakaran—as its candidate.
Traditionally any bypoll is won by the ruling party, but given the political turmoil and chaos over the last three months within AIADMK, the opposition DMK would have an edge.

According to analysts, the opposition DMK is in a better position amid the confusion within the ruling party. Depending on which faction of AIADMK takes the second and third positions, the future course of the party will unveil. Analysts don’t rule out the possibility of a merger between the two groups. However, the faction that gains more votes will be in a commanding position to bring the party together. Depending on which camp (of the AIADMK) wins or who gains better share of votes, there could be a consolidation or realignment within the two factions of the party.

RK Nagar
Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar, the high-profile constituency in north Chennai that elected former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa twice, is all set to once again choose its legislative representative on April 12. A total of 62 candidates, including eight women, are in the fray in the by-election. The AIADMK has won seven out of 11 times in the constituency in the last 40 years. This time, three candidates are are claiming to be the ‘real face of the AIADMK.’

The late Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa contested from the RK Nagar (Chennai) constituency for the first time in the 2015 by-elections. She chose it again the following year to win the assembly elections. RK Nagar has become Jayalalithaa’s home turf in public perception, even though Srirangam was the Iyengar-Brahmin’ (which is what she was, by birth) constituency, from where she won to become the CM in 2011. Freshly acquitted, wrongly, of any wrongdoing in the disproportionate assets case, Jayalalithaa won by a margin of over 1,50,000 votes in the 2015 by-elections. This might seem like a bonafide celluloid miracle wrought by a party that was born and raised by filmdom, and run by ‘Amma’, who was once ‘Anni’
In 1989, after MGR’s death, the AIADMK split into the Janaki faction and the Jayalalithaa faction. In the ensuing elections, the DMK won hands down, since the votes were split between the two factions and their allies. Both AIADMK factions (Jayalalithaa Vs Janaki) in 1989 laid claim to the ‘two leaves’ symbol.

The AIADMK’s two leaves have – metaphorically speaking – split, into the Sasikala faction and the O Panneerselvam faction. There is the DMK, led by Stalin, and the MGR Amma Deepa Peravai, led by Deepa Jayakumar (Jayalalithaa’s estranged niece). All four parties now seek to fill the legendary and occasionally notorious shoe-rack of Jayalalithaa.
Sasikala’s ADMK, with Edappadi Palanisamy as the chief minister, is by far the most stable party. As the ruling party, they will have access to resources and the machinery to whip up a good campaign- and they are doing that even though public is not impressed. The lack of trust is all thanks to the public angst against Sasikala, who is still seen as a conspirator in Jayalalithaa’s demise.
Political analysts say a win for Dinakaran would assert his position in the party and he could even claim the chief minister’s post. But Mr. Dinakaran had said that Edappadi K. Palaniswami will continue to head the government.
The fate of both Sasikala and Dinakaran’s party posts will be decided by the Election Commission as the rival AIADMK camp has claimed that the appointments are not in line with the party’s constitution. The Enforcement Directorate has imposed a ₹28crore fine on Mr. Dinakaran for money laundering. He is also facing two 20-year-old FERA cases for acquiring foreign exchange from unauthorised dealers.

Votes for currency notes
Ahead of RK Nagar by-poll In Tamil Nadu, 15 Lakh seized and 28 men arrested. Public says money Rs500 and 200 are bribed for each vote and a lot of money is being distributed to voters even in public. Reports suggest around Rs. 15 lakh was seized and 28 persons were arrested on Wednesday for their alleged roles in various incidents of money distribution to voters and violence in the run up to the April 12 RK Nagar assembly bypoll. Authorities said seizure of Rs. 14.92 lakh was made by EC’s flying squads and static surveillance teams in RK Nagar where bypoll was necessitated due to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death.

The day also saw the Election Commission ordering transfer of 22 police officials, including two IPS officers, out of RK Nagar even as the opposition parties lodged complaints with Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni against the alleged distribution of money to voters by the AIADMK’s VK Sasikala faction. While three AIADMK activists (VK Sasikala’s Amma faction) were arrested for allegedly attacking DMK cadres over a row, 25 others were arrested on the basis of 15 cases registered for alleged distribution of money to voters, police said.

The attack on DMK men was over a row related to the alleged money distribution. Meanwhile, videos of alleged money distribution in RK Nagar and markings made in the area to facilitate it are doing the rounds in social media and messaging app Whatsapp.

Commenting on the alleged money distribution, PMK chief Ramadoss demanded countermanding of RK Nagar bypoll and said it should be held after the cash distribution’s impact faded. The bypoll should be held by drafting officers only from outside Tamil Nadu and by deploying Central police forces, he said. EC replaced Additional Police Commissioner (North) MC Sarangan with H M Jayaram (now IGP, Operations) besides 21 other police personnel.

Meanwhile DMK Rajya Sabha MP, RS Barathi in a petition to Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni said, “The ruling party (Dinakaran faction) is planning to continue the illegal distribution of money to voters. We, herewith, enclose proof of the illegal distribution of money.” He demanded steps to stop it. Former Minister KP Munusamy of O Panneerselvam-led faction too petitioned the CEO on the matter.

Anger toward ruling AIADMK

As the fight over the seat started, AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi, who was campaigning at the 42nd ward in support of VK Sasikala’s nephew and party deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, had slippers and tomatoes thrown at her.
The whole of Tamil Nadu is concentrating on the upcoming RK Nagar by-election, which is now being considered as the zone that will decide the future course of politics in the state. As the fight over the seat started, AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi, who was campaigning at 42nd ward in support of VK Sasikala’s nephew and party deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, had slippers and tomatoes thrown at her. Saraswathi was heard screaming, “You are throwing stones and slippers at me. Is this right? We’ve come to ask for your votes but you’re throwing slippers at us!”
Team EPS and team OPS have been hurling allegations at one another, with Dinakaran accusing the rebel party faction led by O Panneerselvam of manipulating its poll symbol of electricity pole as ‘two leaves’. Not to be outdone, team OPS blamed team EPS of distributing money for votes.
And in support to the claim by team OPS, a man was yesterday arrested for distributing money for vote, and what apparently gave him away was his flashy ‘hat’ (symbol for team EPS) carrying the AIADMK flag’s color. Already many videos have gone viral on social media where people had altercation with such money distributors.

Candidates and promises

Every candidate has come out with certain promises but the ruling AIADMK and Panneerselvam faction have put forward interesting promises.

Dhinakaran, the candidate from team EPS for the by-elections, has promised people that should he win, 57,000 house would be constructed for RK Nagar residents. Team OPS, which is fielding Madhusudhanan as its candidate, has on the other hand promised a judicial inquiry into Jayalalitha’s death within a week of their victory, and to also turn the late TN Chief Minister’s house into a memorial. When asked how their promises are related to RK Nagar victory, they said that whoever wins the by-poll, will control the party and by the government.
An AIADMK veteran, E. Madhusudhanan was the party’s presidium chairman. He has contested in R.K. Nagar four times and represented the constituency in the Assembly during 1991-96, the first tenure of Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister. Madhusudhanan was convicted and later acquitted in a free dhoti-saree scam during his term as Handloom Minister. He has some 19 criminal cases pending against him, which he claims were politically motivated. When Madhusudhanan switched to former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s side, Sasikala dismissed him from the party. Maintaining that he is still the party’s presidium chairman, Madhusudhanan ‘expelled’ Sasikala. . Madhusudhanan is a strong Jayalalithaa loyalist and stayed with her when the AIADMK split into Jaya and Janaki factions in 1989. He has been associated with the AIADMK since the party was formed and is a North Chennai strongman. He is contesting using the ‘Electric Pole’ symbol under party name ‘AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’.
The DMK has fielded N. Marudhu Ganesh as its party’s candidate. A journalist-turned-politician, Mr. Ganesh is the party’s area secretary of R.K Nagar (East) unit and belongs to a family of DMK cardholders. Ganesh hopes that his introduction to the local people as a Dinakaran journalist will work in his favour. R. Loganathan is the CPI(M)’s candidate. But the CPI and the VCK, alliance partners of the People’s Welfare Front, have declined to support his candidature. Loganathan is a member of the party’s North Chennai district Executive Committee. The party is banking on the sizeable working class population in the constituency.

  1. Mathivanan is DMDK’s North Chennai District Secretary. He lost to Mr. M.K. Stalin in the 2016 Assembly elections. As a resident of Kodungaiyur,he is pinning hopes on voters to elect a ‘local person.’ Film director-turned-politician Seeman’s Naam Thamizhar Katchi has fielded Kalaikottudhayam as its candidate. Kalaikottudhayam runs a Tamil news channel called Tamizhan TV and has produced a few movies.

Tamil music director Gangai Amaran, younger brother of legendary music composer Ilayaraaja, is the BJP’s candidate for the bypoll. He joined the BJP in 2014 and is currently the president of the State unit’s cultural cell. Gangai Amaran had accused Sasikala of forcing him to sell his 22-acre farm at Payyanurin 1994. He was one of the prosecution witnesses in the disproportionate assets case. The BJP is betting on Amaran’s popularity and caste. The constituency has a significant number of Dalits, and the BJP hopes they would vote for him.

  1. Deepa

Jayalalithaa’s niece J. Deepa is also contesting the bypoll as an independent. She has been allotted the ”boat” symbol. Ms. Deepa rose to fame after the death of Jayalalithaa. She claims to be the “rightful successor of Jayalalithaa” and had managed to gain support from a section of AIADMK followers. A staunch opposer of Sasikala and her family, Ms. Deepa floated a political outfit called MGR Amma Deepa Peravai on Jayalalithaa’s birthday last month, putting an end to rumours that she will join hands with the Panneerselvam camp.

The Election Commission on Thursday tightened the screws on the by-election to the RK Nagar Assembly constituency, scheduled for April 12, by putting in place more measures to ensure free and fair polls.It appointed as many as five Observers, the highest ever in any constituency in the country and deployed two IAS and two IPS officers on night patrol until the polling is over. Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said, “The Commission will monitor the arrangements closely and will not leave any stone unturned to ensure free, fair, transparent and inducement-free election.” CCTVs would be deployed in major streets and junctions and checkpoints in the constituency to monitor movement of vehicles and persons.

Observation: End of AIADMK?

The flip-side is that, historically speaking, the incumbent ruling party has always had an advantage in by-elections in Tamil Nadu. But now the ruling AIADMK party does not look confident to retain the seat while Panneerselvam look forward to win it for Jayalalithaa- even public seems to have sympathy for his Puratchithalaivi faction but DMK is all out to outsmart him. Deepa may not have chance to win this time.

Now Tamil Nadu without the gigantic and gracious personality is facing an election. . DMK has got a solid vote bank unlike the AIADMK where there seems to be a three way split. Moreover Congress party is backing the DMK candidate. CM Palanisamy has not been able to make a decision to take step forward, without prisoner Sasikala’s nod, to merge with Panneer Selvam faction to let Jayalalithaa legacy live in the state without further major setbacks.  Sasikala seems to be toying with idea of ending the MGR rule in the state. She knows once down, AIADMK cannot revive its fortunes as there are no charismatic and loyal leaders in the party. .

Without the symbol of two leaves, the voters who want to vote for Jayalalithaa party could be confused. New symbols are bound to confuse the common or ‘aam voter’.

Money and other resources play very important role in polls. Sasikala’s faction and the DMK have the money-power to repeat this tradition. The OPS and Deepa camps lose this round.
The by poll results in RK Nagar constituency in Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai would give an idea of the changing course or otherwise of politics in Tamil Nadu in the post-Jayalalithaa era, particularly an assessment of popularity of the ruling AIADMK (Amma). The results would also show the benefits of DMK would gain from the death and division of AIADMK in the state and, if BJP could make any profits from the fluid situation obtaining from the untimely demise of Jayalalithaa.
The current situation indicates that DMK could sail through albeit with a small majority and that would be big success for the opposition party which is eagerly awaiting a government change in Madras Fort for quite some time and so long as Jayalalithaa was in control, it could not make any head way in achieving its goal.

When Jayalalithaa won the general poll with a resounding victory for the AIADMK for the second consecutive term without any truck with any of the parties, notwithstanding the BJP’s attempts to be a partner of the ruling AIADMK to win a few seats in this southern state, she indeed made a history in Tamil Nadu politics and took all politicians by shock.

Now the situation is back to square one! Speculation is indeed thrilling!

 

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India: R.K. Nagar (Chennai) could be an eye opener for future Tamil Nadu politics!

India: R.K. Nagar (Chennai) could be an eye opener for future Tamil Nadu politics!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
____________

With just a week left for the crucial RK Nagar bypoll in Tamil Nadu, campaigns are gathering momentum in the constituency of former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa and stakes are running high especially for the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
A bypoll was necessitated following Jayalalithaa’s demise on 5 December. RK Nagar in Chennai will see 62 contestants—the highest since its inception in 1967— when the constituency goes to vote on 12 April.
The Election Commission (EC) is also closely monitoring the bypoll. Following a complaint by opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the EC ordered the transfer of Chennai police commissioner S. George. It has also transferred almost all the officials involved in the RK Nagar bypoll, appointed as many as five observers—the highest-ever for a constituency in the country—and deployed two IAS and two IPS officers on night patrol until the polling is over.
Now that the ruling AIADMK is formally split into AIADMK (Amma) and AIADMK (Puratchithalaivi Amma) and with the EC freezing the party’s two leaves symbol, the traditional AIADMK voters would be weighing between the new symbols—hat and lamp post.While former chief minister O. Panneerselvam camp—AIADMK (Puratchithalaivi Amma) which has been allotted the lamp post—is fielding veteran E. Madhusudhanan as its candidate, the V.K. Sasikala faction—AIADMK (Amma) with the hat symbol—has T.T.V. Dinakaran in fray. DMK has fielded N. Maruthu Ganesh—the party’s secretary for RK Nagar east division and a journalist with party mouthpiece Dinakaran—as its candidate.
Traditionally any bypoll is won by the ruling party, but given the political turmoil and chaos over the last three months within AIADMK, the opposition DMK would have an edge.

According to analysts, the opposition DMK is in a better position amid the confusion within the ruling party. Depending on which faction of AIADMK takes the second and third positions, the future course of the party will unveil. Analysts don’t rule out the possibility of a merger between the two groups. However, the faction that gains more votes will be in a commanding position to bring the party together. Depending on which camp (of the AIADMK) wins or who gains better share of votes, there could be a consolidation or realignment within the two factions of the party.

RK Nagar
Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar, the high-profile constituency in north Chennai that elected former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa twice, is all set to once again choose its legislative representative on April 12. A total of 62 candidates, including eight women, are in the fray in the by-election. The AIADMK has won seven out of 11 times in the constituency in the last 40 years. This time, three candidates are are claiming to be the ‘real face of the AIADMK.’

The late Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa contested from the RK Nagar (Chennai) constituency for the first time in the 2015 by-elections. She chose it again the following year to win the assembly elections. RK Nagar has become Jayalalithaa’s home turf in public perception, even though Srirangam was the Iyengar-Brahmin’ (which is what she was, by birth) constituency, from where she won to become the CM in 2011. Freshly acquitted, wrongly, of any wrongdoing in the disproportionate assets case, Jayalalithaa won by a margin of over 1,50,000 votes in the 2015 by-elections. This might seem like a bonafide celluloid miracle wrought by a party that was born and raised by filmdom, and run by ‘Amma’, who was once ‘Anni’
In 1989, after MGR’s death, the AIADMK split into the Janaki faction and the Jayalalithaa faction. In the ensuing elections, the DMK won hands down, since the votes were split between the two factions and their allies. Both AIADMK factions (Jayalalithaa Vs Janaki) in 1989 laid claim to the ‘two leaves’ symbol.

The AIADMK’s two leaves have – metaphorically speaking – split, into the Sasikala faction and the O Panneerselvam faction. There is the DMK, led by Stalin, and the MGR Amma Deepa Peravai, led by Deepa Jayakumar (Jayalalithaa’s estranged niece). All four parties now seek to fill the legendary and occasionally notorious shoe-rack of Jayalalithaa.
Sasikala’s ADMK, with Edappadi Palanisamy as the chief minister, is by far the most stable party. As the ruling party, they will have access to resources and the machinery to whip up a good campaign- and they are doing that even though public is not impressed. The lack of trust is all thanks to the public angst against Sasikala, who is still seen as a conspirator in Jayalalithaa’s demise.
Political analysts say a win for Dinakaran would assert his position in the party and he could even claim the chief minister’s post. But Mr. Dinakaran had said that Edappadi K. Palaniswami will continue to head the government.
The fate of both Sasikala and Dinakaran’s party posts will be decided by the Election Commission as the rival AIADMK camp has claimed that the appointments are not in line with the party’s constitution. The Enforcement Directorate has imposed a ₹28crore fine on Mr. Dinakaran for money laundering. He is also facing two 20-year-old FERA cases for acquiring foreign exchange from unauthorised dealers.

Votes for currency notes
Ahead of RK Nagar by-poll In Tamil Nadu, 15 Lakh seized and 28 men arrested. Public says money Rs500 and 200 are bribed for each vote and a lot of money is being distributed to voters even in public. Reports suggest around Rs. 15 lakh was seized and 28 persons were arrested on Wednesday for their alleged roles in various incidents of money distribution to voters and violence in the run up to the April 12 RK Nagar assembly bypoll. Authorities said seizure of Rs. 14.92 lakh was made by EC’s flying squads and static surveillance teams in RK Nagar where bypoll was necessitated due to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death.

The day also saw the Election Commission ordering transfer of 22 police officials, including two IPS officers, out of RK Nagar even as the opposition parties lodged complaints with Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni against the alleged distribution of money to voters by the AIADMK’s VK Sasikala faction. While three AIADMK activists (VK Sasikala’s Amma faction) were arrested for allegedly attacking DMK cadres over a row, 25 others were arrested on the basis of 15 cases registered for alleged distribution of money to voters, police said.

The attack on DMK men was over a row related to the alleged money distribution. Meanwhile, videos of alleged money distribution in RK Nagar and markings made in the area to facilitate it are doing the rounds in social media and messaging app Whatsapp.

Commenting on the alleged money distribution, PMK chief Ramadoss demanded countermanding of RK Nagar bypoll and said it should be held after the cash distribution’s impact faded. The bypoll should be held by drafting officers only from outside Tamil Nadu and by deploying Central police forces, he said. EC replaced Additional Police Commissioner (North) MC Sarangan with H M Jayaram (now IGP, Operations) besides 21 other police personnel.

Meanwhile DMK Rajya Sabha MP, RS Barathi in a petition to Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni said, “The ruling party (Dinakaran faction) is planning to continue the illegal distribution of money to voters. We, herewith, enclose proof of the illegal distribution of money.” He demanded steps to stop it. Former Minister KP Munusamy of O Panneerselvam-led faction too petitioned the CEO on the matter.

Anger toward ruling AIADMK

As the fight over the seat started, AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi, who was campaigning at the 42nd ward in support of VK Sasikala’s nephew and party deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, had slippers and tomatoes thrown at her.
The whole of Tamil Nadu is concentrating on the upcoming RK Nagar by-election, which is now being considered as the zone that will decide the future course of politics in the state. As the fight over the seat started, AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi, who was campaigning at 42nd ward in support of VK Sasikala’s nephew and party deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, had slippers and tomatoes thrown at her. Saraswathi was heard screaming, “You are throwing stones and slippers at me. Is this right? We’ve come to ask for your votes but you’re throwing slippers at us!”
Team EPS and team OPS have been hurling allegations at one another, with Dinakaran accusing the rebel party faction led by O Panneerselvam of manipulating its poll symbol of electricity pole as ‘two leaves’. Not to be outdone, team OPS blamed team EPS of distributing money for votes.
And in support to the claim by team OPS, a man was yesterday arrested for distributing money for vote, and what apparently gave him away was his flashy ‘hat’ (symbol for team EPS) carrying the AIADMK flag’s color. Already many videos have gone viral on social media where people had altercation with such money distributors.

Candidates and promises

Every candidate has come out with certain promises but the ruling AIADMK and Panneerselvam faction have put forward interesting promises.

Dhinakaran, the candidate from team EPS for the by-elections, has promised people that should he win, 57,000 house would be constructed for RK Nagar residents. Team OPS, which is fielding Madhusudhanan as its candidate, has on the other hand promised a judicial inquiry into Jayalalitha’s death within a week of their victory, and to also turn the late TN Chief Minister’s house into a memorial. When asked how their promises are related to RK Nagar victory, they said that whoever wins the by-poll, will control the party and by the government.
An AIADMK veteran, E. Madhusudhanan was the party’s presidium chairman. He has contested in R.K. Nagar four times and represented the constituency in the Assembly during 1991-96, the first tenure of Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister. Madhusudhanan was convicted and later acquitted in a free dhoti-saree scam during his term as Handloom Minister. He has some 19 criminal cases pending against him, which he claims were politically motivated. When Madhusudhanan switched to former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s side, Sasikala dismissed him from the party. Maintaining that he is still the party’s presidium chairman, Madhusudhanan ‘expelled’ Sasikala. . Madhusudhanan is a strong Jayalalithaa loyalist and stayed with her when the AIADMK split into Jaya and Janaki factions in 1989. He has been associated with the AIADMK since the party was formed and is a North Chennai strongman. He is contesting using the ‘Electric Pole’ symbol under party name ‘AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma’.
The DMK has fielded N. Marudhu Ganesh as its party’s candidate. A journalist-turned-politician, Mr. Ganesh is the party’s area secretary of R.K Nagar (East) unit and belongs to a family of DMK cardholders. Ganesh hopes that his introduction to the local people as a Dinakaran journalist will work in his favour. R. Loganathan is the CPI(M)’s candidate. But the CPI and the VCK, alliance partners of the People’s Welfare Front, have declined to support his candidature. Loganathan is a member of the party’s North Chennai district Executive Committee. The party is banking on the sizeable working class population in the constituency.

  1. Mathivanan is DMDK’s North Chennai District Secretary. He lost to Mr. M.K. Stalin in the 2016 Assembly elections. As a resident of Kodungaiyur,he is pinning hopes on voters to elect a ‘local person.’ Film director-turned-politician Seeman’s Naam Thamizhar Katchi has fielded Kalaikottudhayam as its candidate. Kalaikottudhayam runs a Tamil news channel called Tamizhan TV and has produced a few movies.

Tamil music director Gangai Amaran, younger brother of legendary music composer Ilayaraaja, is the BJP’s candidate for the bypoll. He joined the BJP in 2014 and is currently the president of the State unit’s cultural cell. Gangai Amaran had accused Sasikala of forcing him to sell his 22-acre farm at Payyanurin 1994. He was one of the prosecution witnesses in the disproportionate assets case. The BJP is betting on Amaran’s popularity and caste. The constituency has a significant number of Dalits, and the BJP hopes they would vote for him.

  1. Deepa

Jayalalithaa’s niece J. Deepa is also contesting the bypoll as an independent. She has been allotted the ”boat” symbol. Ms. Deepa rose to fame after the death of Jayalalithaa. She claims to be the “rightful successor of Jayalalithaa” and had managed to gain support from a section of AIADMK followers. A staunch opposer of Sasikala and her family, Ms. Deepa floated a political outfit called MGR Amma Deepa Peravai on Jayalalithaa’s birthday last month, putting an end to rumours that she will join hands with the Panneerselvam camp.

The Election Commission on Thursday tightened the screws on the by-election to the RK Nagar Assembly constituency, scheduled for April 12, by putting in place more measures to ensure free and fair polls.It appointed as many as five Observers, the highest ever in any constituency in the country and deployed two IAS and two IPS officers on night patrol until the polling is over. Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said, “The Commission will monitor the arrangements closely and will not leave any stone unturned to ensure free, fair, transparent and inducement-free election.” CCTVs would be deployed in major streets and junctions and checkpoints in the constituency to monitor movement of vehicles and persons.

Observation: End of AIADMK?

The flip-side is that, historically speaking, the incumbent ruling party has always had an advantage in by-elections in Tamil Nadu. But now the ruling AIADMK party does not look confident to retain the seat while Panneerselvam look forward to win it for Jayalalithaa- even public seems to have sympathy for his Puratchithalaivi faction but DMK is all out to outsmart him. Deepa may not have chance to win this time.

Now Tamil Nadu without the gigantic and gracious personality is facing an election. . DMK has got a solid vote bank unlike the AIADMK where there seems to be a three way split. Moreover Congress party is backing the DMK candidate. CM Palanisamy has not been able to make a decision to take step forward, without prisoner Sasikala’s nod, to merge with Panneer Selvam faction to let Jayalalithaa legacy live in the state without further major setbacks.  Sasikala seems to be toying with idea of ending the MGR rule in the state. She knows once down, AIADMK cannot revive its fortunes as there are no charismatic and loyal leaders in the party. .

Without the symbol of two leaves, the voters who want to vote for Jayalalithaa party could be confused. New symbols are bound to confuse the common or ‘aam voter’.

Money and other resources play very important role in polls. Sasikala’s faction and the DMK have the money-power to repeat this tradition. The OPS and Deepa camps lose this round.
The by poll results in RK Nagar constituency in Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai would give an idea of the changing course or otherwise of politics in Tamil Nadu in the post-Jayalalithaa era, particularly an assessment of popularity of the ruling AIADMK (Amma). The results would also show the benefits of DMK would gain from the death and division of AIADMK in the state and, if BJP could make any profits from the fluid situation obtaining from the untimely demise of Jayalalithaa.
The current situation indicates that DMK could sail through albeit with a small majority and that would be big success for the opposition party which is eagerly awaiting a government change in Madras Fort for quite some time and so long as Jayalalithaa was in control, it could not make any head way in achieving its goal.

When Jayalalithaa won the general poll with a resounding victory for the AIADMK for the second consecutive term without any truck with any of the parties, notwithstanding the BJP’s attempts to be a partner of the ruling AIADMK to win a few seats in this southern state, she indeed made a history in Tamil Nadu politics and took all politicians by shock.

Now the situation is back to square one! Speculation is indeed thrilling!

 

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New US policy for West Asia: Israel-Pentagon duo targets Iran!

New US policy for West Asia: Israel-Pentagon duo targets Iran!
Dr. Abdul Ruff
_______

World’s attention has been focused on US policy toward Palestine vs. Israel ever since Donald Trump assumed the White House and his Jewish son o in law offering him elaborate cancelling service, almost free of cost, obviously, history has shown us, in favor of fascism and racism in Israel and against the Palestinians besieged between terror blockades erected by mighty nuclearized Israel and Egypt which is now ruled by military regime.
Already Trump’s son in law had his sway as Israeli PM Netanyahu with palms stained by blood of Palestinians, including children, was given a patient hearing by Trump in Washington. Hawkish Netanyahu seems have impressed Trump with his usual arguments to beware of not only both Arab world and Iran but also Turkey as all are harmful to their respective religious interests. Whether or not new President also fell into the fascist Jewish trap is not yet clear.
Like Obama, Trump has also said he has no intention of war on Iran. But Israel and Pentagon are still hoping to woo and force Trump to declare war on Iran.

Evolving policy

True, America is infested by powerful Jewish lobbyists and terror merchants who try to control US policies. For years now, US president have behaved like paid Jewish lords, by playing the balls according to Israeli rules.
Every president of USA openly declared US shield for Israel and promoted strong Israel-US ties. US presidents, who promote capitalist imperialism globally by misusing WB and IMF, etc, are essentially colonists by nature, pro-Zionists and anti-Islamists, and they one after another also fought for decades after the imposition of Israel in Mideast on Palestinian lands just, for the so-called “promised lands” because they claim god had pledged the “ holy lands” to them. Thus, now bold Jews in Israel have made Israel a fascist and criminal state that has nothing to do with holiness.
On the strength of their veto status, American imperialists and British colonialists have forcefully stolen the Palestinian lands in 1948 and given them to Jews who were busy terrorizing the Europeans. USA and Europe did everything possible to establish Israel as a fascist Jewish state in West Asia to threaten Arabs and Iranians. Israel-US ties, pampered by US presidents one after another for decades after the imposition of Israel in Mideast on Palestinian lands just because they claim the “promised lands”, have come to a stage where Israel could bypass
USA and UK also helped Israel acquire nukes illegally against the will of UN and IAEA. None in fact questioned the illegality of USA and Europe in that respect. Both USA and Europe sued Israel as a depot for their terror goods for sale to third world. They have come to a stage where Israel could bypass White House and have military deals with Pentagon directly and get the required terror goods and technology almost free of cost on a regular basis. That is the blanket permission the Pentagon has secured b form the White House officals to control US policies. Today no president can ignore Israeli demands routed through the Pentagon and pampered by the strong Jewish economic community, secured by Washington.

White House and have military deals with Pentagon directly and get the required terror goods and technology almost free of cost on a regular basis. That is the blanket permission the Pentagon has secured b form the White House officals to control US policies. Today no president can ignore Israeli demands routed through the Pentagon and pampered by the strong Jewish economic community, secured by Washington.

US godfather for Zionist fascists
Globally, Israeli interests are promoted and secured in media not just by Jewish community columnists, but by others, especially in USA, UK, and all English speaking countries. Many Hindu readers who hate Islam and think ill of Muslim brethren, for instance, consider the fascist-racist Jewish views as god’s own words mainly because that takes care of their anti-Muslim premises. .
With the ascendance of hawkish President Trump through due democratic process, along with his Jewish son in law and with erratic rhetoric targeting Muslims, among others, the Israeli regime, essentially pursuing criminal goals in Palestine and West Asia, is upbeat about its strong position in undermining human rights particularly in Palestine.
When former President Obama declaimed the Israeli demand to attack Iran so that entire Muslims world in the region is wrecked and only Israel remained strong and the only super power of the region after the USA to attack the besieged Palestinians, Israel was looking for opportunities under the next president’s (Trump) era. .
Israel lectures Trump that Iran is 100% an imperialist power as “Khamenei and the Ayatollah’s he represents” is nothing but a reincarnation of a modern day Cyrus or Xerxes from the old imperial Persia and that the USA is dealing with a resurgent Persia- a new regional power and so he should not hesitate to attack Iran without further delay for the sake of US security. Israel has a plan to attack Iran’s vital systems in order to cripple that nation as well and complete the ruin of West Asia where Israel would be an unchallenged modern monarch to dictate terms to the rest of the world. .
Israel refuses to go demilitarized and denuclearized as it wants to be the only nuclear power in West Asia to bully Arabs, Iran and new powers that cold challenge Israeli supremacy. Therefore, Israel tells, rather terrorizes, Trump that Iran would destroy USA, Arab world, all Saudi/ Kuwaiti/ Qatari/ UAE oil installations with its 100’s of thousands of ballistic missiles. Oil prices would go to $500/ barrel overnight, destroying the global economy. Then Israel leads USA into a deadly trap with Europe to end civilizational war in its favor and occupy entire world as their “promised” lands. .
The main reason the Israelis have not attacked Iran before this is because they would be unable to tolerate Iran’s closure of the Gulf of Hormuz that would make division in Israel and West links.
Backed by USA and Europe, are Israelis and US Jews not very super cleaver people? But why do they think US presidents are fools?

Pentagon-Israeli joint strategy

Even Palestinian child also knows that Israel, like USA is also is, eager to launch a bloody war to use its terror goods lying idle and countries like India does not buy all types of terror goods being manufactured in Israel, and to test the efficacy of the newly developed terror technologies.
Israel wants a US-Israeli joint war on Arab world and Iran in a sustained manner. Now Tel Aviv plays one against the others.
The top American commander in the Middle East, General Joseph Votel, branded Iran as the “greatest long-term threat to stability” in the region and called for steps, including military action, to disrupt and undermine Iranian influence and activities. Such use of military force would constitute an act of war, destroy the international nuclear deal struck with Iran in 2015 and set the Middle East on the path for another disastrous conflict. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Votel, head of the US Central Command, denounced Iran for its “destabilising role” in the region.
The hypocrisy involved here is staggering. US Central Command has been the military instrument for the illegal US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan that devastated all of them, led to millions of casualties and profoundly destabilized the entire Middle East. With or without permission of Trump, It is currently escalating a renewed war in Iraq and is enmeshed in the bloody US regime-change operation that has destroyed much of Syria, as well as military attacks inside Yemen.
Significantly, Votel challenged the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group—the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany—that eased sanctions on Iran in return for severe restrictions on its nuclear programs. The general declared that the US had “not seen any improvement in Iran’s behavior” and claimed it still posed “credible threats” through its “nuclear weapons potential” and “robust” ballistic missile program.
Votel’s provocative remarks and calls for military action feed into the growing clamor in Washington for tough measures against Iran. In the same vein last month, then National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn responded to an Iranian missile test by denouncing Iran’s “destabilising behavior across the Middle East” and warned, “As of today we are officially putting Iran on notice.”

US hegemony

The aim of the criminal activities of US imperialism in the Middle East over the past quarter century has been precisely to ensure its own hegemonic role and helps Israel to assume role of West Asian hegemon. USA cannot tolerate if any challenge is thrown to side step Israeli supremacy in the region.
Among the main charges against Iran is its collaboration with Russia in propping up Syrian President Assad and more broadly in the Middle East. General Votel specifically referred to Iran’s growing relationship with Russia as posing concern. Russia and Iran worked together closely and with the Syrian armed forces to inflict a humiliating defeat on US proxy forces in the city of Aleppo. In an unprecedented move last year, Tehran gave Russian war planes access to one of its air bases to carry out operations inside Syria. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Russia would be able to use the country’s military bases on a “case by case basis” in carrying out the air war inside Syria. Among the other deals concluded was an agreement for Russia to build two new nuclear power plants in the city of Bushehr, the site of its first power reactor.
The growing ties between Moscow and Tehran are undoubtedly provoking deep resentment and hostility in Washington where it will further fuel the bitter infighting in the American ruling elite over foreign policy. US claims that Iran is destabilising the Middle East are matched by the denunciations of Putin and Russia for destabilising Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the world.

Washington has long regarded Iran as the chief regional obstacle to its dominance in the Middle East and Israel keeps fueling that anti-Iran and anti-Islam hatred in Washington. The reckless and provocative call by General Votel et al or the USA to use “military means” to “disrupt” Iran threatens to provoke a conflict that would not be confined to the Middle East but would draw in other nuclear-armed powers like Russia and engulf the world.
The USA and its allies have provided billions of dollars in arms to its surrogates in Syria, and elsewhere, to foment a civil war to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Knowing fully well that Israel remains the boss of the region, Votel still accuses Iran of wanting to be “the hegemon” in the region and being involved in “lethal aid facilitation.”

Israel and Pentagon seek tougher sanctions n Iran, diplomatic provocations, covert operations and military strikes. In the US Congress, hawkish senator Bob Corker hailed the bipartisan support last week for tough new sanctions against Iran in introducing the Countering Iran’s Destabilising Activities Bill that would effectively sink the 2015 nuclear deal known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The subversive mind is vividly visible as the legislation would brand Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp as a terrorist organisation and allow the re-imposition of sanctions on Iranian entities lifted under the JCPOA—a move that Tehran would undoubtedly regard as an open breach.

There is madness among the imperialist leaders, including the military leaders, of the USA. When military generals whose forces have presided over the illegal invasion and destruction of whole middle eastern societies, and produced the deaths and refugee status of millions, talk about Iran ‘destabilizing’ the middle east, under the presumption that they represent a ‘stabilizing’ force, we are dealing with sociopaths or worse.. I don’t say any of this lightly. That such people control 20,000 nuclear weapons in the U.S. represents an existential threat to every worker, and every human being, on the planet. They, and their backers in the political establishment, the corporate media, and finance capital, have created too many flash points – the Middle East is just one, others include the Balkans and the placement of massed Nato troops at Russia borders, the coup-installed Ukrainian government with U.S. military backing, the South China sea with the ‘air-sea battle plan’ of the U.s. military preparing for war with China, et al.

Israel works on Trump’s earlier approach, hoping somehow to push him also into war. President Trump in the course of last year’s election campaign denounced the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran as “catastrophic for America, for Israel, and for the whole Middle East” and pledged to “dismantle the disastrous deal.” In a meeting last week with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Trump again openly questioned the deal and declared that “nobody has been able to figure out” why President Obama signed it.

With Putin and Xi’s firm backing Iran and its proxies have savaged US proxies in Syria and completely destabilized Yemen. Next on the Iranian menu may be Bahrain and Saudi Qatif province (both Shia Muslim majority) where almost all the ME oil lies. Added to this Rouhani and Putin recently discussed getting involved in the Afghan end game and throwing out the USA from the region for good.

Russia and China have been keenly observing Iran over the years and know they are betting on a winning horse.
Israel says Trump will also blink, just like Obama did, realizing the gravity of losing the Middle East to Iran and he would will make a futile sales pitch soon to the Iranians. All these pentagon back door, on again/ off again few hundred or thousand ‘advisors’ deployments are a desperate bid to stay the course in a strategic debacle which is a slow realization of the beginning of the end of the American empire. The Pentagon knows the fight is over and it has been defeated. $5 trillion spent on ME wars and counting hasn’t swayed a defiant Iran. Sounds like Trump (in keeping up with his campaign rhetoric) might be the one to finally announce the defeat, cut the losses and pull out for good.
For American imperialism today Iran represents a real menace to their regional geopolitical interests most notably in Syria and elsewhere. However, in more recent years Saudi Arabia and Israel have played far more pernicious role in the region, and yet the American policymakers have always given their tacit approval on all their violations.

A very significant oil discovery has been made in the Southern part of the Golan Heights – which by rights should have been returned to Syria quite some time ago — Israel, is desperately trying to get the US to recognize Israeli sovereignty.

Observation
Israel thinks as the Jewish state occupying the Palestine lands and killing the Palestinians, promoting capitalist imperialism of USA and its western allies, it is the cleverest nation on earth. Most Americans pretend to buy that Jewish argument without any counter argument. When Trump with his lovely son in law form Israel, would also fall into that trap of Zionists, remains to be seen.
US Mideast policy is also in the interests of the US oil corporations (well, if it succeeded it would), and Israel is a piece of that strategy, a very important one (at least in the past) and so it was given some free-reins but Israel is not the dominant partner in that alliance.
Why should the top American commander in the Middle East, General Joseph Votel, branded Iran as the “greatest long-term threat to stability” in the region and called for steps, including military action, to disrupt and undermine Iranian influence and activities.’
Strangely, Israel finds it amazing that Iran under the cunning Ayatollahs despite being under sanctions for the last 38 years has managed to totally defeat the Zionists at their own game. Iraq is now firmly in the Iranian grip. The same is with Lebanon as well

Israelis bent upon attacking Iran. In any case, if military action is carried out by either Israel or US warmongers under current conditions against Iran then this would not weaken but will strengthen Iran. Part of the reason is that Iranian people would view this as an outright assault against their country, and thus would provide further legitimacy to the existing regime.

War with Iran, like the War on Terror, primarily serves the interests of Israeli imperialism, not exactly American imperialism. Apartheid Israel wants to partition the Muslim states into fragmented statelets, preferably fighting each other, so Israel can divide and ruin. The Israel Lobby largely controls US Mideast policy, the Neocons being largely a Zionist pressure group.

Fighting wars for Israel is not in the interests of humanity or America, but a war on Israel is. Unless the American people understand how US foreign policy is allowed to be controlled form Israel that the capitalist plutocracy contains a fraction of Zionists who support Israeli imperialism, the US people and leaders cannot oppose it as they are not capable of that.
Any opposition Zionist criminal regime is attacked simply as anti-Semitic by the Israeli Lobby and their US supporters. This is madness and bullshit, and should be denounced as such.
Opposition to apartheid Israel is a class issue, and should be stated explicitly when relevant.
Genocides, racism, apartheid are serious crimes the Zionist regime perpetrates as its key policy.
How far would President Trump be able to reign in Israel and how much would he help Palestine get its full statehood o form UN and how far would he able to help build a strong nation would delineate the parameters of Trump policy for Wet Asia.

Chinese President meets Trump on April 6-7

Chinese President meets Trump on April 6-7
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
________

Ever since Trump assumed office at White House, rumors have been spinning about possible meeting between Presidents of America and China even before Trump would be able to meet his favourite leader Russian president Putin. But Trump gave preference to Israeli leaders ahead of both for a face to face meeting soon.

Letter writing
US President Donald Trump wrote recently to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping the first contact the two leaders have had since Xi sent a congratulatory note for the inauguration. According to the White House, Trump sent a letter to President Xi wishing him a prosperous Year of the Rooster and saying he looks forward to developing “a constructive relationship that benefits both the United States and China,” press secretary Sean Spicer said. The two leaders have yet to speak by phone.
Beijing had previously said that preparatory work for the meeting was underway. But it had not yet confirmed the trip, despite western media reports on a scheduled meeting and an announcement by the Finnish government that Xi would make a brief stop in Finland on April 5. There is a new twist in the program.
Confirming recurring rumors from the past month, overnight both China’s Foreign Ministry and the White House confirmed that China’s president Xi Jinping will meet with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on April 6-7. It will be Xi’s first meeting with Trump, a little over a month after Trump used the same venue to meet with Japan’s PM Abe, and comes at a time when the two sides face pressing issues, ranging from North Korea and the South China Sea to trade disputes.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who made the announcement at a daily news briefing, did not give any more details of the meeting agenda, but spoke of the need to see the big picture while fostering mutual interests in trade relations. “The market dictates that interests between our two countries are structured so that you will always have me and I will always have you,” Lu said. “Both sides should work together to make the cake of mutual interest bigger and not simply seek fairer distribution,” he said in response to a question about trade frictions.
The summit follows a series of other recent U.S.-China meetings and conversations aimed at mending ties after strong criticism of China by Trump during his election campaign. Rex Tillerson ended a trip to Asia this month in Beijing, agreeing to work together with China on North Korea and stressing Trump’s desire to enhance understanding.

Foreign trade criticism

In expanding trade across the globe, including in Africa, the Chinese government plays a heavy hand in structuring its economy, moves that Trump and others have argued put US companies and manufacturers at a disadvantage against their Chinese counterparts. Trump’s attempts to change that reality come on top of years of attempts by previous administrations.

President Trump and his years-long rhetorical crusade against Chinese foreign trade abuses is finally colliding with the reality of face-to-face negotiation. The real estate businessman is staring down his first major opportunity to make headway on his campaign pledge to level the terms of the US-China trade relationship as he meets for the first time with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.
While Trump’s longstanding rhetoric on the trading relationship will hang over the meeting, the encounter also comes as Trump nears three months in office having done little to make good on his bold promise to fundamentally alter the trading relationship.
While Trump has focused the brunt of his rhetoric on simply reversing the United States’ $347 billion trade deficit with China, experts say an improved trading relationship will rest not on China simply changing that top-line number, but fundamentally altering the role it plays in its economy.

Florida opportunity
The series of meetings at Trump’s opulent south Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, an opportunity to “set a framework for discussion” of the trading relationship and begin the process of urging China to change policies that have led to “an uneven playing field for US companies.” One official stressed that they did not view the meeting as an opportunity to “resolve any particular issue.”
Former US officials and experts on China and international trade said they were heartened to see that Trump had not made good on some of his boldest campaign pledges — like imposing double-digit tariffs on Chinese imports or labeling China a currency manipulator. experts also warned that Trump may be enticed by a Chinese public relations coup with little long-term value aimed at Trump’s eagerness for clear-cut “wins,” like a series of quick, pre-packaged Chinese announcements of investments in the US, or headline-worthy purchases of high-profile US products. Rather than a willingness to make fundamental changes to their economies, experts said the Chinese were more likely to come bearing political enticements, like promises of investments in manufacturing plants.
Trump and his advisers have thus far signaled they will aim for more than just window dressing changes with the Chinese trade. The USA would look to “reduce the systemic trade and investment barriers that they’ve created. Trump will now need to push Xi to reduce the Chinese government’s heavy-handed regulation of its economy to lower the barriers of access to its economy for US companies, said David Dollar, a China expert at the Brookings Institution.
Dollar and other experts said top targets for the US efforts to level the playing field will also include addressing China’s abuse of US intellectual property, high tariffs on certain goods and stricter labor standards that make Chinese manufacturer’s more competitive.

Deliberate error?
Most economists and China experts have argued that Trump’s move to withdraw the USA from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement will only serve to embolden China.
The trade deal, spearheaded by the Obama government, would have represented a clear statement of US influence in a region China has sought to dominate and would have raised labor and environmental standards in the region — putting Chinese manufacturers on a more level playing field should China choose to join the agreement, as it was likely to do.
Amid Trump’s tough talk on curbing Chinese trade abuses and reversing the US’ trade deficit with China in favor of boosting US manufacturing, Trump has yet to telegraph what he is prepared to offer China in return.
Trump had previously been criticized by some Chinese commentators for not recording a Lunar New Year message, although his daughter and granddaughter did attend a celebration at the Chinese embassy in Washington.
Since his election, Trump has challenged Beijing over a range of issues — slamming its military build-up in the South China Sea, its currency and trade policies and, perhaps most controversially, upending decades of diplomatic protocol by questioning a longstanding US policy towards Taiwan. “We highly commend President Trump for expressing festival greetings to President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said.

Politics plus
America keeps pressuring Beijing on North Korean efforts for nukes that threaten neighboring South Korea, a loyal ally of NATO and USA, and Among the most pressing recent issues, China has been irritated at being repeatedly told by Washington to rein in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and by the US decision to base an advanced missile defense system in South Korea. Beijing also remains suspicious of US intentions towards self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
Ahead of the first meeting between US President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korea fired a ballistic missile off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. The missile — which fell into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, on Wednesday morning — is one of several the country has test-fired in recent months.
Even before the missile test, North Korea’s nuclear program was expected to be an important talking point between Xi and Trump. The USA has been pushing China to put pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear program and missile testing, but Trump said on Sunday the United States would be prepared to act alone to stop North Korea. The test elicited a terse response from the US State Department, unlike the standard diplomatic condemnations that usually follow Pyongyang’s missile tests.
The primary concern surrounding North Korea’s weapons program is that Pyongyang could eventually equip long-range missiles with a nuclear warhead. North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests — including two last year — but experts said the country still hasn’t developed nuclear warheads that can be mounted onto missiles. Both US and South Korean officials said the projectile was a KN-15 medium-range ballistic missile- from a site in the vicinity of Sinpo, South Hamgyong province, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said. It flew a distance of around 60 kilometers (37 miles) and flew as high as 189 kilometers (117 miles), South Korean officials said. The North Koreans use Sinpo shipyard for their submarine activity, and US satellites have observed increased activity there in recent days. Solid fuel is like an explosive jelly, less corrosive than liquid fuel, and it can be more easily stored in the rocket’s fuel tank than the liquid alternative, which requires specially lined tanks.
Of course, trade will be a dominant topic. Trump has repeatedly accused China of unfair trade policies, criticized its island-building in the strategic South China Sea, and accused it of doing too little to constrain North Korea, although with the “Goldman” block silencing Peter Navarro in recent months, Trump has significantly moderated his tone.
With an uptick in tests, North Korea may have significantly advanced its missile technology and increased the size of its arsenal. USA cannot do anything now, nor would it be able use China to end or threaten Chinese efforts.

Kremlin and Great Wall

Relations between Russia and China have improved considerably in the wake of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the international sanctions that followed. In 2014, the two countries signed a landmark $400 billion gas deal, as well as numerous other trade and energy agreements. In September last year, Chinese and Russian naval forces conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea, where China’s aggressive territorial claims have hurt relations with regional neighbors. Beijing, a major global investor, has invested $40 billion in a Silk Road Fund to back OBOR, and it was the primary reason for the establishment of the $50 billion China-backed AIIB development bank. Though some critics have suggested the plan could harm Sino-Russian ties, as it expands Beijing’s influence well into Moscow’s backyard, a 2015 report by 16 Russian academics said OBOR could complement Russia’s own Eurasian Economic Union, and improve ties between the two countries. “Driven by strengthening personal ties between Putin and Xi, the breadth and depth of China-Russia relations have spilled over into multiple spheres of governmental and institutional policymaking,” according to Bob Savic, a senior research fellow at London Metropolitan University’s Global Policy Institute.

Kremlin watch

Meanwhile, setting the stage for a just as critical summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that he was ready to meet US president Trump at an Arctic summit in Finland. The Russian president made this remark responding to his Finnish counterpart, who said he would be happy to receive Russian and US presidents in Finland. “I believe Finland suits this purpose well, and Helsinki is a very convenient platform to organize an event like this,” Putin said, when asked if he thought a meeting between him and Trump was possible in Finland. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said earlier that his country would “certainly be very happy to have the opportunity to hold such a summit.”

A meeting with Trump could any case take place in the framework of the G20 summit set to take place in July, according to Putin. The summit is set to take place at Finlandia Hall in Helsinki on September 18-20, 2017, according to the event’s official website.

As Trump reached out to Beijing, it was confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet with Xi in May on the sidelines of a major economic summit, according to Russian state media.

Preliminary observation

Global media are focused on the meeting between Trump and Xi as a major event of intentional importance.

Clearly, President Trump appears to favor Russia over China: he made a point of criticizing Chinese economic policy during the campaign and has also questioned US policy orthodoxy on the matter of Taiwan.
Conversely, Xi has emerged as an unlikely champion of globalization (though his rhetoric abroad often contradicts actions at home) and a potential new leader on tackling climate change.

So it is unclear whether Trump, who made criticism of expansive trade deals a key part of his platform and personally withdrew the US from President Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership, would choose to attend the OBOR conference even if he was invited. It is also unclear whether Trump will join the pair at the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) forum — Xi’s landmark scheme to pump billions of dollars into infrastructure and other projects across Asia, Africa and Europe. However, many in China wanted a meeting between Trump and Xi as soon as possible, with some suggestion that Trump could be invited to the May multilateral meeting.
Essentially USA and China are anti-Islamic nations with hidden agendas and the hatred for Islam as global phenomenon could be motivating factor in slashing hatred or fear between them.
Observers, especially in the West, watch keenly the meeting in Florida between two giant global leaders with veto back up and any positive outcome could help improve intentional relations.