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India: Tamil Nadu farmers call off Delhi strike after 40 days on CM Palanisamy’s promise!

India: Tamil Nadu farmers call off Delhi strike after 40 days on CM Palanisamy’s promise!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Tamil Nadu farmers on April 23 Sunday called off their Delhi strike after chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami promised to meet their demands of drought relief and farm loan waivers. Palaniswami, who arrived in the national capital yesterday, attended the NITI Aayog meeting along with chief ministers of other states.

More than 100 farmers from southern Tamil Nadu state had mounted an eye-catching protest in the capital, Delhi, more than a month ago. They brandished human skulls, held live mice in their mouths, shaved their heads, and slashed their hands.

CM Palaniswami had met the farmers who have been protesting at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar for justice. The chief minister assured the farmers that their demands will be met and urged them to call off their protest. The move came after Palaniswami met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and highlighted the farmers’ issue. He had also discussed the issue with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The farmers’ union said if their demands are not met by May 25, they will resume their strike.

The Tamil Nadu farmers had been protesting at Jantar Mantar for the last 40 days. The farmers, who had staging a protest for more than a month demanding a Rs40,000 crore drought relief package, farm loan waiver and setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the Centre, had earlier refused to end their agitation despite requests by several Union and state ministers. “We will be leaving for home today or tomorrow and we will be taking part in a state-wide bandh on 25 April in Tamil Nadu,” said Ayyakannu.

 

With 60 per cent deficit in rainfall, Tamil Nadu witnessed its worst drought in 140 year. The protesting farmers have been demanding a Rs. 40,000-crore drought relief package, farm loan waiver and setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the centre. Over the last 39 days, they have shaved their heads, halved their moustaches, held mice and snakes in their mouths, conducted mock funerals, flogged themselves and even carried skulls of other farmers who had committed suicide due to debt pressure.

 

Calling the agitation a “success”, Ayyakkannu said the Centre had “undermined us and meted out step-motherly treatment”.  “However, the agitation has become a success and has caught the attention of people across the world. We received support from youths and farmers across the country,” he said.  “The chief minister and the union finance minister have the power to take a call on our demands. We have decided to call off the agitation for a period of one month based on the assurances given by our chief minister,” farmers’ leader P. Ayyakannu told reporters. “If the promises are not met, we would resume the protest in the national capital in a bigger way on 25 May.” Ayyakkannu said the decision was taken also based on the assurances given by Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly M.K. Stalin, MDMK’s Premalatha Vijayakanth, Tamil Manila Congress chief G.K. Vasan and the BJP’s Pon Radhakrishnan.

 

Palaniswami, who took part in a Niti Aayog meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, said he had submitted a memorandum containing demands of the farmers to the prime minister. “Among other issues, we also raised the farmers’ issue in the meeting with the PM,” Palaniswami told reporters.

Earlier this month, dozens of protesters blocked all six lanes of Chennai’s arterial Kathipaara flyover by tying an iron chain to the poles on either side to express solidarity with the farmers protesting in Delhi. They were demanding waivers on farm loan repayments and relief funds, among other things. The Madras High Court, too, had directed state government to expand its farm loan waiver scheme to include farmers who own land over five acres. However, there is no relief for those who have borrowed from nationalized banks. The state had sought Rs. 40,000 crore from the centre, which sanctioned only Rs. 4,000 crore.

During the course of the protest, the farmers have turned to increasingly desperate measures to direct attention to their issues. They have shaved their heads and half their moustaches and kept mice and snakes in their mouths, conducted mock funerals, flogged themselves and even carried skulls which they claimed were of farmers who had committed suicide due to debt pressure.

Tamil Nadu is facing its worst farming crisis in decades because of lack of water due to poor rainfall, low crop prices, and dwindling access to formal credit.More than 50 debt-stricken farmers have taken their lives in drought-affected districts since October, according to officials. A local farmers association insists the number of farm-related suicides and death of farmers is more than 250. The farmers are demanding ample drought relief funds, pensions for elderly farmers, a waiver on repayments of loans, better prices for their crops and the interlinking of rivers to irrigate their lands.

 

It appears to be a drought that India forgot, so Palanisamy and his spirited co-protesters mounted a unique, eye-catching protest to put pressure on the government to act.

They are demanding ample drought relief funds, pensions for elderly farmers, a waiver on the repayment of crop and farm loans, better prices for their crops and the interlinking of rivers to irrigate their lands. Wearing traditional sarong-like garments and turbans, these farmers have brandished human skulls that they claim belong to dead farmers.

They have held live mice in their mouths, shaved half their heads, worn women’s traditional saris, slashed their hands and oozed “protest blood”, rolled bare-bodied on boiling hot macadam, and conducted mock funerals.

Last week, a farmer Chinnagodangy Palanisamy, 65, held a live mouse between his teeth to draw the government’s attention to the plight of farmers in his native state of Tamil Nadu. “I and my fellow farmers were trying to convey the message that we will be forced to eat mice if things don’t improve,” he told me, sitting in a makeshift tent near Delhi’s Jantar Mantar observatory, one of the areas of the Indian capital where protests are permitted. The tatty tent and the street outside have been home to Palanisamy and his 100-odd fellow farmers for some 40 days now. They hail from drought-affected districts of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, one of India’s most developed states.

Fire-fighters rescued a protestor who tied a noose around his neck and tried to hang himself from a tree at the venue. Many of them have been taken to the hospital and treated for acute dehydration. The protesters have also eaten food off the road, and stripped near the prime minister’s office in the heart of the city after they were reportedly refused a meeting.

Some complain that the famously inward-looking Delhi media have painted their protest as an exotic freak show, often missing the pain and desperation driving it.

India is heavily dependent on monsoon rains, which have been poor for two years in a row. Draught is common issue for entire India. At least 330 million people are affected by drought in India, the government has told the Supreme Court. The government said that nearly 256 districts across India, home to nearly a quarter of the population were impacted by the drought. The drought is taking place as a heat wave extends across much of India with temperatures crossing 40C for days now. Authorities say this number is likely to rise further given that some states with water shortages have not yet submitted status reports.

 

Schools have been shut in the eastern state of Orissa and more than 100 deaths due to heatstroke have been reported from across the country, including from the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh which saw more than 2,000 deaths last summer. The western state of Maharashtra, one of the worst affected by the drought, shifted out 13 Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches due to be played in the state next month because of the amount of water needed to prepare pitches. IPL is the worst form of cricket – the false entertainment being pampered as a profitable business by ht parliament and state assemblies infested with cricket mafia members.  The government has asked local municipalities to stop supplying water to swimming pools and, in an unprecedented move, a train carrying half a million litres of drinking water was sent to the area of Latur..

There is growing public concern over the lack of water in many parts of the state following two successive years of drought and crop failures.

Drought-hit farmers in India have suspended a protest, after an assurance that their demands would be met. The farmers union said they would resume their protest if their demands were not met by 25 May.

Most villagers suffer from non-availability of drinking water.  Safe drinking water has been a very serious problem Indians face.

 

Tamil Nadu: Is AIADMK on its way out of power soon?

Tamil Nadu: Is AIADMK on its way out of power soon?

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Once, rather not very long ago, a powerful party AIADMK is now split and weakened because of one-person – Sasikala, Who sought to take over both the party and government, taking full advantage of unexpected death of CM Jayalalithaa.

Today, thanks ot shock  therapy treatment to  the party and government, factional feud in AIADMK  do not look like they trying to find a way out to work together to save the MGR-Jayalithaa rule and party, though both of them do talk about those lines merely as a formality to fool the  party workers.

From the views expressed on TV debates by prominent members of ruling Amma AIADMK, one basic opinion within the ruling dispensation under Sasikala/Dinakaran

is clear that they don’t want to get rid of Sasikala and her relatives in the government and party obstructionist  elements fear that once O.Panneerselvam becomes CM  and General Secretary, as most party people and general masses expect, these elements would lose their place in the party and government. Now apparently they are able to control the Palanisamy government.

These MLAs and ministers have not at all approved of Jayalalithaa appointing OPS as acting CM, ignoring or over looking many senior ministers in the cabinet. In fact, these elements are instrumental in installing Sasikala and Dinakaran as party bosses and approved every action she under took.

More than OPS faction,  EPS is worried about retaining power in the state but they do not want OPS to assume power and is ready to let DMK come power by replacing the IADMK  government. And if that happens, obviously the time of AIDMK should be over once for all. Sooner than later most members of Amma and OPS Puratchithalaivi Amma factions would switch to DMK while BJP, waiting in wings, would be readily wooing many of the disillusioned to serve the cause of Hindutva.

That would be like paling joint cricket exercises in IPL.

Sasikala faction is keen to deny any chance for OPS to become CM of the state or General Secretary of AIADMK because t Sasikala and Dinakaran continue to control the MLAs and government even by being outside the organizational and government apparatus. Sasikala and  coterie had worked secretly to sack OPS form the  CM post and Treasurer job.

In fact, Palanisamy is damn sure he is just a temporary CM and would have to vacate it when Dinakaran and Sasikala order him to do.  Many MLAs and ministers in the AAIDMK are in touch with Sasikala and Dinakaran.

Since Amma faction tires to play mischief with OPS faction by refusing to concede OPS demands to make the party free from Sasikala family in all sense, there is no likelihood that OPS would agree to be fooled once again now by those closed to the Mannargudi family.

Thus all efforts by the Sasikala faction to use OPS faction only to just get the two-leaf symbol to win polls, starting with RK Nagar constituency have come to nothing. In RK Nagar electioneering, OPS became a star and people seem to have begun taking him as their leader. That is the reason why the Sasikala and Dinakaran decided to stay low and let the government talk to OPS faction for unity mainly to get back the party symbol and then play reckless politics within to sideline OPS and his supporters.

Now that Sasikala faction has lost the battle to OPS, it must let OPS assume CM post and General Secretary  so that AIADMk is back  function as a cohesive party and government. They could review the situation after a year and take corrective measures.

Otherwise, AIADMK is fasting losing power in the state as its image is gravely shattered. .

Hard headed Sasikala supporters may not like OPS to rule the state as their chinnamma leader is in jail in disproportionate assets case, for looting the money of common people of the state.

Because of arrogance of a foolish Mannargudi clan, not only the ruling AIADMK but also the Tamil Nadu is suffering. Tamils may not excuse the party and government if they continue to play the drama.

 

 

 

Russian annexation of Crimea is final!

Russian annexation of Crimea is final!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Crimea was an integral part of Russia for centuries and is historically, culturally and linguistically Russian. Just like some European continue to see European Turkey as being a part of Asia because of its Islamic religion; they now view Crimea as being a part to Ukraine just because it became a part of the Soviet nation as a part of Ukrainian Republic but now it is a East European nation. Soviet President Khrushchev, who belonged to Ukraine, had gifted Crimea from Russian Republic to Ukrainian Republic as a part of territorial rearrangement.

Angry over Ukrainian support for USA and it move away from Moscow, Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and made it an integral part of Russia once again. Even if Ukraine changes its anti-Russia stand, Crimea would remains with Russia henceforth.

Clearly, if Purim’s statements are of any indication, Russia is not going to give Crimea to Ukraine any time in future. As such, all calls for Russia to leave Crimea are useless and as pointless. Continued occupation of many Arab nations as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan by the USA and anti-Islamic allies, does not offer any chance for forcing Russia as well.

Meanwhile, French Presidential candidate Francois Fillon warned that Russia was “unstable” and “should be handled with care.” “Can we lift sanctions against Russia without progress in Crimea?” he said. “We have to respect two important yet contradictory principles: respect for sovereign borders and the right to self-determination. No one doubts that Crimea has been historically, culturally and linguistically Russia, and pointless to keep demanding that Russia leaves Crimea: it’s never going to happen.” Fillion had been seen as a forerunner in the French elections until February this year, when French police began to investigate claims that he had deliberately squandered public money by hiring his wife in a nonexistent role as a “parliamentary assistant.” He’s recently made a comeback in the polls, reaching third place. The first round of the French presidential elections takes place this Sunday.

Russia remains strong notwithstanding all economic sanctions by USA and EU, and its other allies. Putin said he would stress Superpower status in Presidential Campaign next year.  Restoring Moscow’s global influence will be a dominant theme of the 2018 election.  There are obviously no signs of Putin asking the military to leave Crimea for Ukraine and EU to take it away.

 

2018 Presidency poll

 

In 2016, Donald Trump rode a wave of popular discontent to the White House on the promise that he would “make America great again.” As Russia’s presidential election, scheduled for March 2018 draws nearer, President Vladimir Putin may try a similar tactic — by contending that he has already restored Russia’s greatness.  Since annexing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, Russia has increasingly asserted its role on the global stage.

Following annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin has also ignited a separatist movement in eastern Ukraine and supported the unrecognized “people’s republics” that emerged there. In 2015, Russia entered the longstanding Syrian civil war in support of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad. Trump’s electoral victory and the demise of the Western consensus against Russia’s violation of international law has also been a major coup for the Kremlin.

These events have all catapulted Putin to the position of a powerful broker in the international arena and fulfilled the country’s longstanding desire for international influence. They signify that, Russia is once again a global player on par with the USA—much like the USSR was thirty years ago.

 

Russia’s military prowess

 

Earlier this month, it emerged that Russia had deployed a 22-member special forces unit to a base in western Egypt, near the Libyan border. Russia’s goal is likely to support Khalifa Haftar, a renegade Libyan National Army general who currently controls most of the country’s east and poses a serious challenge to the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

The general made two high-profile visits to Moscow in 2016, and signed a series of undisclosed agreements with the Russian military in January. But it is significant because it undermines UN efforts to stabilize the north African country.  The deployment shows that Russia is thinking “not just about its continued presence in Syria, but in the Greater Middle East,” says Alexei Malashenko, a regional analyst at the Dialogue of Civilizations foundation.

Recently, Russia has also increased its role in Afghanistan. In February, the Kremlin organized an Afghanistan peace conference in Moscow that brought together representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, and Iran. Notably absent were the United States and other NATO coalition members.  Russia has also advocated for including the Taliban in any solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, presenting the Islamist militants as a bulwark against the Islamic State (IS). In February, Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. military operations in the country, alleged that Russia had increased covert and overt support for the Taliban to undermine the USA and NATO in Afghanistan.

 

Russia has sincere concerns about conflict spillover from Afghanistan into Central Asia, says Malashenko. But it is also using the IS and Taliban presence in Afghanistan to assert the role of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led military alliance of post-Soviet states in the region.

On March 20, David McAllister, chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, accused Russia of deliberately destabilizing Serbia in order to prevent the Balkan country from joining the EU. He has also alleged that Russia supports nationalist leaders throughout the Balkans.  In Montenegro, two Russian intelligence officers stand accused of masterminding a failed coup on election day in October 2016 to prevent the Balkan nation from joining NATO. Last month, a Montenegrin special prosecutor stated that “Russian state bodies were involved on a certain level.”

Any move that destabilizes the Balkans would send a strong message to the West: Russia is a critical regional powerbroker.

Europe could serve as another staging ground for restored Russian influence. As political uncertainty grows in the EU, Russia is reasserting its influence in the Balkans.  Earlier this month, when EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini spoke in the Serbian parliament, a group of pro-Russia parliamentarians met her with chants of “Serbia! Russia! We don’t need the EU!”

 

 

Observation

 

The sanctions, imposed by USA and EU on Russia against the annexation Crimea, have not yielded any fruits.  It is mainly because of economic position of Moscow.  The major sources of economy include arms and oil. Unless weak countries like Pakistan or Afghanistan, Russia cannot be bullied by sanctions or threat of terror attacks the powerful Kremlin.

Threats of USA are not going to weaken Russia in any manner. And there is no reason for the Kremlin to leave Crimea.

So far, there is no consensus in the Kremlin on whether to boost tension in Serbia. Cooler heads understand it may be riskier than involvement in Syria.

Meanwhile, decision makers must take into account the public mood. Last year, polls repeatedly showed that Russians are tired of war. Armed conflicts are increasingly seen as an irrational waste of resources, and human losses—first in Ukraine, then in Syria—as something Russia doesn’t need.

The Russian public sees the country’s newly achieved superpower status as a source of international respect, but Russians are more eager for this status to be used for dialogue, than for confrontation.

The challenge for the Russian leadership will be to avoid backsliding into real conflicts that might undermine stability, something Russians hold dear.  Putin seems to understand this. He is too cautious to attempt a full-scale restoration of Soviet grandeur. Besides Syria and Ukraine, it’s either isolated local episodes, or just talk

So far, there is no clear indication that the Kremlin has decided on a central idea for Putin’s electoral platform. One of the challenges for the Kremlin will be addressing economic stagnation and declining living standards that will likely persist in Russia for a few more years. The other will be getting voters to the polls. But nostalgia for Soviet greatness could still drive electoral mobilization. Recent debates over holding the election on the fourth anniversary of the Crimean annexation reflect an appeal to that nostalgia.

Restoring Russia’s superpower status was the purpose of Putin’s third term. Russia’s global influence will be a key part of the campaign, but the nostalgia card has already been played. EU cannot expect Putin to explain why Russians need global influence and what they get from it.

Russia’s quest for global influence won’t end in the near future.  The upcoming presidential election will be utterly predictable, lacking real competition. As a result, Putin will likely spend 2017 demonstrating Russia’s global greatness to spur enthusiasm and drive Russians to the polls.

This does not mean that Russia will rush to war, however. . But it does mean the Kremlin must project an image of strength abroad. The idea is to show influence. Putin will need to make headlines, assert Russia’s global presence and demonstrate that it is returning its spheres of influence.

 

India: AIADMK crisis: Fragile unity move!

India: AIADMK crisis: Fragile unity move!

(Panneerselvam toughens stance on merger as noose around Dinakaran tightens)

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

 

Even as the AIADMK merger efforts are in full swing some Sasikala-Dinakaran backers oppose the merger move and as before find faults with former CM O. Panneerselvam not supporting their jailed small-amma (Chinnamma) to assume power as Tamil Nadu CM and control Jayalithaa’s assets. .

 

Dinakaran, the nephew of jailed AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, is facing a revolt by an influential section of the party led by Palaniswamy and a host of ministers, who declared the ouster of the once powerful aunt-nephew duo, and extended a hand of friendship to the Panneerselvam camp.

 

The influential section of Ministers revolted against Dinakaran and decided to keep AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala and him out of the party. According to ‘Jaya Plus‘ Tamil TV channel, Dinakaran said a “good decision” will be taken in the interest of the party. Party sources indicated that he was expected to appear at the Economic Offences court in Chennai on a case against him for alleged violation of FERA regulations. However, he skipped the court hearing citing the death of a relative. The court accepted his plea and scheduled the next hearing on 24th April.

 

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and AIADMK leader M Thambidurai also called on Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, in an apparent effort to merge the two factions of AIADMK. Tamil Nadu Finance and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar also met Rao. While the efforts for the merger are in full-swing, O Panneerselvam camp toughened their stand demanding Sasikala’s resignation and calling for a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa’s death.

On Wednesday, isolated in his party, AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran threw in the towel and “stepped aside” to pave the way for a merger of rival factions led by Tamil Nadu chief minister EK Palaniswamy and his predecessor O Panneerselvam.

Dinakaran, who had on Wednesday convened a meeting of the MLAs backing him, called it off at the last moment, apparently because his supporters were outnumbered by those arrayed against him.

Senior ministers including D Jayakumar and KA Sengottaiyan, who chairs the AIADMK presidium and had hitherto sided with Dinakaran, had questioned the beleaguered leader’s locus standi to convene a meeting of legislators and the party’s district secretaries.

Seeking to avoid any confrontation, Dinakaran said he had “stepped aside” last night itself “in the interest of the party”. “I myself would have announced it (of keeping away from the party) if they had told me about their decision,” he said, referring to last night’s revolt.

Though the Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam camps have shown inclination for the merger of the two factions, there have not been any direct talks between them so far.

Although the ministers under the CM Palanisamy took a bold decision to oust Sasikala and Dinakaran from the AIADMK, they have not made any further move to let these shrewd Mannargudi elements claim any association with the ruling party.

Apparently, the move to oust Sasikala was essentially to get the party symbol Two-leaves back from the election commission and as such the OPS faction does not think  the ruling MLAs are really sincere about unity of the party people to secure the  government. Hence they demand the ruling faction to secure resignation letters from the Sasikala, Dinakaran and entire family now controlling the party and government. In other words, the party should be freed from the Sasikala control mechanisms now or in future. Otherwise unity move would be farce and won’t work. .

Meanwhile, a Delhi police team came to Chennai to conduct enquiries about Dinakaran’s involvement in bribing someone in Delhi to get back the party symbol. He has also been asked to appear before the Crime Branch of Delhi Police on Saturday in a case of alleged bribery to EC officials for retrieving the party’s ‘two leaves’ symbol. On Wednesday night, the Delhi Police had served summons to him in the case. He has been directed to report to the Delhi police for investigation immediately but he has asked for 3 days. As a beleaguered AIADMK leader and Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dinakaran, asserting that all party MLAs stood behind him, said none in the party were against him.

 

Dinakaran, who is facing trouble on multiple fronts, including from the Delhi police which has booked him for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official to clinch the ‘two-leaves’ symbol of the party, frozen by the poll panel, for his faction, also said he had no issues with the rival camps merging together. He, however, claimed the rebellion against him was out of “fear”. “They (ministers) might have done this (revolt) due to some fear. Maybe there was some dissatisfaction against me.
But I don’t know,” he told reporters.

He was apparently referring to the possible angst in the party following income tax raids at Health Minister C Vijayabaskar’s premises ahead of the assembly bypoll to the RK Nagar seat which was countermanded following allegations of bribing and inducement of voters. Dinakaran was the party’s nominee for the election. ” When they make such sudden announcement there must be some fear,” he said, adding, the revolt was a decision made in a “hurry”.

Dinakaran, however, made it clear that since it was Sasikala who had appointed him to the post, he would decide on the next course of action only after meeting her. He wondered why there was the question of his resignation when he had already “stepped aside”.

Meanwhile, Panneerselvam, a staunch loyalist of the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, described the revolt against the Sasikala family as the “first success” of his “dharma yuddh” (holy war). Panneerselvam said he had launched the “dharma yuddh” with the help of his supporters, including MPs and MLAs, in an effort to ensure that the AIADMK did not go into hands of Sasikala’s family.

Panneerselvam had filled-in for Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister thrice in the past, twice when she had to go to jail in corruption cases and once when she was on her death bed. He had claimed he was coerced to step down by Sasikala after Jayalalithaa’s death.

Dinakaran, against whom the Delhi police has issued a lookout notice for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official, said he had no intention to fight with people who are like his “brothers.” “I will never go against the AIADMK,” he said.

He, however, insisted the appointment of Sasikala and himself to the top party posts was made with the “consent” of others and that none was “bypassed”.

He indicated Sasikala has not yet been apprised of the developments. “How can someone inside the jail be informed,” he asked.

When asked if he was being “targeted” by way of Income Tax raids on Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and countermanding of the 12 April RK Nagar bypoll, he responded with a terse “maybe.”

Putting up a brave face, he said he will tackle the situation. “They can maximum put me behind bars. If that is my destiny, I will face it and come out,” he added.

A powerful section of the ruling AIADMK (Amma) had last night risen in revolt against Sasikala-Dinakaran leadership, and said they had resolved to “delink” the party and the government from them.

The surprise development had come on a day when Panneerselvam made the merger talks between the two camps contingent upon the ruling AIADMK faction ejecting Sasikala and Dinakaran, who is standing-in for his jailed aunt.

AIADMK leader and state Finance Minister D Jayakumar on announced that Sasikala and Dinakaran would be ‘delinked’ from the party.

A day after the ouster of VK Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran from the AIADMK, O Panneerselvam said that it was a first victory of their faction. Addressing the media, Panneerselvam said, “This is our faction’s first victory that Sasikala and her family have been ousted from the party. Both factions will talk to fulfill the aspirations of lakhs of party workers.”

Meanwhile, Dinakaran has said that he has no problem with the possible merger of AIADMK factions if it benefits the party. He also added that the revolt against him could have been due to some fears. “I have stepped aside in the interest of the party, so the question of resigning doesn’t arise.” However, he added that he would have to consult with Sasikala on resigning as she had appointed him as the Deputy General Secretary of the party. Dinakaran has called for a meeting of MLAs and District Secretaries at the party’s headquarter in Royapettah in Chennai.

However, AIADMK leader M. Thambidurai has called for unity in the party, saying that if all leaders would come together, then it would strengthen the party. “It’s not a sudden development, it’s going on for a long time. We have to come together and have to be united. We need to unite this party so that Amma’s ideology may move forward,” he said.

Pannerselvam is the only leader the AIADMK leader Jayalithaa trusted and that explains why the party people and Tamils in general approve of candidature of Pannerselvam to be the CM and party supremo to lead the party, government and state to success. People view Palanisamy as the proxy of Sasikala and her chief agent in the government, although he is a changing man today to throw Sasikala and her nephew out of AIADMK.

Divisions in the AIADMK are real. Both factions must stop criticizing one another and try to be members of one party. Sasikala has done the harm to the party and government of Jayalithaa by her political mischief and now the factions must take steps to mend ways so that party is not gone sooner than later.

Meanwhile, with the political fiasco in Tamil Nadu getting murkier by the day, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) hit out at the ruling AIADMK saying that its leaders are making a mockery of every authority that exists.

AIADMK should be united as quickly as possible to serve the people.

Even as AIADMK politics in Tamil Nadu making twists, the Supreme Court has pronounced its verdict and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is sitting pretty. But not many know that it was the country’s premiere agency itself which had dropped the criminal conspiracy charge under section 120-B of the IPC against Advani and others while submitting a supplementary charge sheet in May 2003 before Rae Bareli Special CBI Court.

Turkey’s Referendum: President Erdogan defeats global anti-Islamists!

Turkey’s Referendum: President Erdogan defeats global anti-Islamists!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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In a befitting replay to w global anti-Islamic propaganda machine against Islamic government in Turkey and seeking defeat the referendum to make the nation strong, President Erdogan has won the referendum and with a massive popular mandate
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed victory in the vote, which the opposition says looks set to grant him sweeping new powers but that is exactly necessary for the government to defend the nation from enemies within and outside.
This is the first time in Turkish history that the Turkish people have cast their votes on such an important constitutional change. Today, for the first time, the will of the people has shown through this referendum and this is the first time in our history and very important, Erdogan said voters abroad were a big part of the success.”We would like other countries and institutions to show respect to the decision of the nation.”
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who led the Yes campaign alongside Erdogan, said: “This referendum once again has proven the level of maturity and the improvement of Turkish democracy to the rest of the world. We are all first-class citizens of our country and we are all equal.” He addressed supporters from the balcony at the Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters in Ankara. “Our people made their decision and our people said yes to the presidential government system in this country and this nation will never face any guardianship, this nation will never face any external intervention and we will not give in to any threats. And we have shown this once again as a nation.”

Referendum

President Erdogan has argued that creating a presidential system would bring “stability and confidence” to Turkey, state-run media Anadolu reported. “Let’s make consolidation in this great historic reform and put in place the foundation stones of a strong, leading and prosperous Turkey with unity, solidarity and integrity,” he said. He and his senior ministers have argued that a stronger government is needed to deal with the spate of recent terror attacks.
Currently, the President’s role is supposed to be largely ceremonial, but Erdogan has already broken with tradition and kept himself as the face of Turkey’s leadership.
The 18-article constitutional reform package has been dubbed the “power bill,” and would effectively consolidate the authority of three legislative bodies into one executive branch, with the President as its head. The President would be given the authority to appoint ministers and judges without parliament’s approval, design a state budget and dissolve parliament.
With the Turkish people having voted yes, the country will get rid of all the checks and balances that keep the government in line. Under Presidential powers Parliament will become totally ineffective, just rubber stamping Erdogan’s policies. There will be no prime minister — all the power will be in Erdogan’s hands.”

Shifting Turkey away from a parliamentary republic to a strong, self defensive presidential one, is at the heart of the proposals, but the vote has also become a plebiscite on Erdogan and his footprint on the country.

Global anti-Islamism

Unfortunately, US led war on terror has become a terror war on Islam and Islamic world, targeting Islamist AKP government in Turkey as anti-Islamic tirade including in global media, led by USA and EU focused on Erdogan’s Islamist government.
Western world claims the whole sale custodians of democracy and rule of law and work against Islamic world always finding faults with Islamic nations as their joint policy and Sept-11 hoax them a handle to target Islam at will.
A strong Turkey under Islamic party AKP Is not what the anti-Islamic world, including Israel, wants and in fact it is eager to see entire Islamic world a continuation of Pakistani plight.
The cruel anti-Islamic world, ill focused on Islamist government in European Turkey, spread all sorts of filthy rumors against Islamist Turkey, thereby seeking to destabilize Turkey and fail the referendum the nation is undergoing.
Erdogan’s referendum won a historic victory against all anti-Islamic campaigns of global media.

 

After the failed coup

Extraordinary changes came to Turkey in July 2016, after a failed military coup prompted a purge that reached just about every institution in public life. According to Turkish state media, 249 people were killed in the coup attempt, and had it been successful, Turkey may have been plunged into civil war.
Although the coup aimed to kill or topple Erdogan and destabilize Turkey and eventually remove Islamist ideas, the President himself declared the attempt a “gift from god” to defend the country’s freedom. His government subsequently imposed a state of emergency giving him unprecedented powers; this has been extended several times. The government has detained tens of thousands of Erdogan’s political opponents, as well as journalists and civil society groups and removed more than 100,000 people from their jobs, including teachers and security officers who secretly work against the government.
Among those imprisoned were the leaders of the main pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, as the government continues to stamp out Kurdish opposition. The purge also targeted anyone with links to Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan’s friend-turned-rival, who lives in the United States in exile.
In fact, anti-government protests began a couple of years back. The Turkish people had already seen a strong response from the government, when a 2013 peaceful sit-in over plans to demolish the Gezi Park in central Istanbul turned into a nationwide protest movement against Erdogan, who was then prime minister. At least five protestors and a police officer were killed in clashes, and thousands were injured, according to Human Rights Watch. Erdogan eventually admitted police had used excessive force in the protests.
The opposition and outside powers used the protest to intensify their tirade against the government. Gulen became a safe tool in their hands to engineer coup and terror attacks.
Turkey has also been changed by a series of terror attacks, which some see as a failure by the government to manage long-standing tensions with Kurdish groups and to deal with the Syria conflict on its doorstep.
Almost all recent attacks in Turkey have been blamed on either ISIS or the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The USA and other countries have long called on Turkey to seal its border with Syria, as ISIS appears to have used Turkey as thoroughfare to smuggle people and resources in and out of Syria. Turkey has beefed up its security and launched an anti-ISIS military campaign in Syria, but the attacks have already taken a toll on the country.

Tourism in Turkey is in shambles as it is one of the biggest industries, but now all the hotels are empty. This change was felt profoundly in Istanbul, particularly since the New Year’s terror attack, in which dozens were killed. There used to be a thriving urban nightlife, but not now. It’s no longer the cheerful happy city it once was, a few Turks and many non-Muslims feel.

Germany got into a diplomatic spat with Turkey just before the referendum, when it refused to let President Erdogan lead political rallies on German soil. About 1.4m Turks living in Germany were eligible to vote. Just ahead of the final results, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: “We’d be well advised to keep calm and to proceed in a level-headed way.”
The Council of Europe, a pan-European human rights body of which Turkey is a member, said in a statement that officials should consider the next steps “carefully” given how close the result was. “It is of utmost importance to secure the independence of the judiciary in line with the principle of rule of law enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.” The council is a distinct entity and is not a branch of the European Union.
The EU Commission said: “In view of the close referendum result and the far-reaching implications of the constitutional amendments, we also call on the Turkish authorities to seek the broadest possible national consensus in their implementation.”
A divisive campaign ended in a contested result. President Erdogan declared victory by a narrow margin and called on every side to respect it. But the opposition has not conceded, claiming voting irregularities. It’s clouded the legitimacy of the mandate the president now feels he’s been given, to concentrate political power in his hands.

 

Erdogan the hero!
Turkey’s President Erdogan is today Turkish hero  who has steered his country through a period of extraordinary change. Erdogan has transformed Turkey’s democracy based on Islamic teachings. President Erdogan has proved that his party ideology remains supreme in the hearts of people.
Erdogan clearly has charismatic aspects — the people who love him love him so much, and those few who hate him, they hate him intensely. The country’s economic rise has been meteoric, lifting millions of people out of poverty, but it’s also suffered a stream of deadly terror attacks and a failed military coup last year, which prompted a clampdown on civil liberties.

Erdogan has essentially ruled Turkey for more than 13 years — he rose to power as prime minister in 2003 and stayed in that position until he was elected president in 2014.

Turkey today is seen pursuing pro-common people agenda. Many of Erdogan’s most loyal supporters come from Turkey’s rising middle class, whose lives have transformed in the country’s economic boom.
The ruling AKP led government increased earnings of common people of Turkey and for this President Erdogan should be given credit. The average person’s income has risen from $3,800 in 2003, when Erdogan became prime minister, to around $10,000 in 2017, according to data from the World Bank. This means the number of people living below the poverty line dropped from 23% of the population to less than 2% in that time. “Now the middle class has a different lifestyle. If you take today a couple in their 30s with two kids, and compare them with another couple 10 years ago, they live a different life,” said Marc Pierini, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, who served as EU ambassador to Turkey from 2006 to 2011.
When Erdogan became prime minister, his government had adopted the wave of reforms from its predecessors and “got their act together,” bringing infrastructure and services to the regions. The government also made credit more easily available to the middle class. Today’s couple has an apartment — of course with a mortgage. They have a car — of course with credit. They go to shopping centers and they travel. They can take a domestic airline that didn’t exist until 2008.

 
Until around 2012, Erdogan had been a champion of women’s rights—he rose to power in Turkey advancing women’s rights—and as prime minister he pushed through laws on child custody, divorce, and protections against violence that many women’s groups applauded.
Elimination of violence against women is apriority in Turkey. Erdogan pursued that policy vigorously, he even replaced ministry of women with the broad based ministry of family and social justice and declared that men and women weren’t equal. In 2016, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) amended the penal code to make it possible for men who rape girls under 18 to marry their victims, thereby making the sex offenders under check.

Some women activists want to ensure that women are seen not merely as in mere family settings, wives and mothers and within their traditional gender roles. They want to see the women as machines and fighters in streets and source of instability. The impact on women is extraordinary—something world has seen firsthand in NATO wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. Women and girls there often feared even walking on the streets. Foreign forces use the local women as relaxation stuff along with liquor and s cigars, during the terror wars in Islamic world.

Turkey in 2017 is a vastly different country to a decade ago and the Turkish people will vote in a referendum on a new constitution that could hand Erdogan unprecedented powers, cementing his position for years to come.

 

President Erdogan’s enhanced powers

Despite the negative European responses to the referendum and its popular vote, Turks have voted for the referendum and welcomed the victory as their own.
Erdogan’s supporters view the referendum as a necessary response to the chaos in Turkey. They say the proposed constitutional changes would give the President the tools needed to quell Turkey’s many crises. But. Erdogan’s critics insist that he is trying to take advantage of the turmoil to shroud a major power grab. They say that granting enormous new executive powers to the presidency, when the current office holder has already shown authoritarian tendencies, might sound the death knell for Turkish democracy.
No one questions that Turkey is grappling with a long string of troubles. To reassert control after the failed coup last year, Mr. Erdogan created an administrative vacuum. Many of the purged are accused of association with the movement led by Fethullah Gulen, a reclusive Muslim cleric in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, who Mr. Erdogan says orchestrated the July 15 uprising. But some are dissidents from secular, leftist or Kurdish backgrounds. More than 120 of them are journalists, according to Amnesty International.
The economy in post coup Turkey is now struggling. Many young Turks are out of work. And beyond Turkey’s southern border, Erdogan has dwindling influence on shaping the outcome of the Syrian civil war, should it finally be settled. Turkey has its own internal battles, too. The Islamic State and Kurdish nationalists are waging separate terrorist campaigns on Turkish soil. Adding to this mess, Erdogan has a toxic relationship with Europe.
President Erdogan hoped the win of the referendum would be the crowning moment of his career. But it’s left Turkey profoundly polarized, at risk of becoming another chronically unstable part of the Middle East.

Observation: Future of Turkey

For most of the last century, Turkey has been the go-to example of an Islamic country that doubles as a secular democracy, where women enjoy vast freedoms unlike in many Middle Eastern countries. Both Islam and democracy thrived in the country under the Islamist government.

The Erdogan government has raised the diplomatic and economic profile of Turkey and would like to see a much more prosperous nation in Europe. His domestic and foreign polices have moved the EU to hurry up for deal with Turkey over its membership, notwithstanding opposition by a few members like Germany. Turkey applied to become a member of the European Union in 1987. Negotiations only began in 2005 and talks have since hit a wall.

Turkish officials, fed up with fake negotiations by EU, have expressed their ire to the adamant EU over an array of issues — from refugees to migration rights. And Turkey is showing signs it no longer cares to join the EU union.
Turkey is strong source of support for Global Islam and Arab world and Iran. What’s clear is its role as a bridge between the West and the Islamic east is changing. Modern Turkey was built on a foundation of political secularism, but in the past decade, the influence of Islam has crept into Turkish political discourse and policy.

As a result, Turks now appear to be turning away from the essentially anti-Islamic West. People generally dislike the westerners and their hatred for Islam and Turkey.

Polls show the ‘Yes’ vote, which would grant Erdogan sweeping new powers, stands very high  despite  anti-Islamic and Anti-Erdogan media rhetoric.

Empowered Erdogan presidency is going to make Turkey as strong as former Ottoman Empire.

 

 

India: Sasikala and Dinakaran ousted from AIADMK!

India: Sasikala and Dinakaran ousted from AIADMK!

(Sasikala family should be out of AIADMK for party unity: Former CM O. Pannerselvam!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
__________

The ruling AIADMK faction “Amma”, now operating under jailed Sasikala’s guidance seems to be keen to regain the party symbol somehow by bringing back the O Panneerselvam faction without effecting any basic changes in the party or government. More importantly, the Amma AIADMK Party and government would still be under the grip of Sasikala family and refuse to shed the Mannargudi clan links.

Reports suggest that the AIADMK ministers met and decided to oust Sasikala and Dinakaran from AIADMK with a view to accepting a major condition of former CM O. Panneer Selvam for real unity of the party founded by MGR and developed very carefully by Jayalalithaa. However, OPS has also demanded a  judicial investigation into the death of Jayalalithaa.

and MLAs

Fragile merger move

There has been a move from both factions to reunite the party factions on a plan accordingly, O Panneerselvam to be the party’s general secretary and E Palanisamy to remain CM. Top Ministers of the AIADMK (Amma) government called a late night press conference in Chennai on April 17. The ministers, divided in two camps, held meetings at the residents of Thangamani and Udumalai Radhakrishna.

The OPS camp has agreed for patch-up, “if their conditions are accepted”.  According to NDTV, E Palanisamy could remain as the chief minister, whereas, Panneerselvam could be awarded the post of AIADMK general secretary. The report further claims that the sudden decision was taken by AIADMK top brass considering the threat of arrest looming over the party’s incumbent defacto leader TTV Dinakaran.
It was earlier reported in the media that former CM O. Pannerselvam had earlier expressed his desire to form a united AIADMK without conditions but today speaking to media at his home town Periakulam from where he has been elected to state assembly, that so long as Sasikala and family remain in the party there is no chance for genuine reunion of factions.
With ruthless action to remove O. Panneerselvam from the CM and treasurer posts, Sasikala is the root cause of all troubles the party is facing since the demise of Jayalalithaa.
On April 18, 2017, while addressing the media amid the rumours of a possible merger with the Sasikala faction, O Panneerselvam said that Jayalalithaa’s legacy is the foremost. While addressing the media amid the rumours of a possible merger with the Sasikala faction, O Panneerselvam said that Jayalalithaa’s legacy is the foremost for us and asked both the factions to unite. However, he mentioned that Sasikala’s elevation as General Secretary still invalid according to Times Now and added that both Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran are involved in corrupt practices. “Dinakaran was not even member of the party till Amma’s demise, elections for office-bearers of AIADMK was itself illegal,” he was quoted saying by the news agency ANI.

OPS made it clear that his faction will not go in any kind of merger if their demands including removal of Sasikala as party chief, are not accepted. The OPS factions have asked a probe in Jayalalithaa’s death and stand by it even as the talks of unification are going on between the two camps. OPS alleged that money was paid to the voters for the RK Nagar bypolls. “During the election campaigning in RK Nagar many malpractices were done, Rs. 4000 offered to voters. We have submitted all this to EC yesterday and asked to inquire into matter (election for AIADMK office-bearers after Jaya’s demise),” he said.

OPS said that Sasikala has betrayed Amma’s cause and was even sacked by Jayalalithaa along with Dinakaran and the party needs to be saved from dynastic politics. However, KA Sengottaiyan had said earlier that OPS faction didn’t raise any question on Dinakaran or Sasikala. “There are no talks on the issue of TTV Dinakaran and Sasikala, nor did OPS faction raise any question on the same,” Sengottaiyan said.

The AIADMK was split on February 7, 2016, when Panneerselvam lashed out against AIADMK supremo VK Sasikala, accusing her of usurping power against the will of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Subsequently, Panneerselvam was shown the door by party top brass.
The two warring camps of AIADMK recently fought over the the party symbol, which was eventually freezed by the Election Commission. Both the camps were compelled to use different symbols moving into the by-election for RK Nagar assembly segment, the seat which was represented by Jayalalithaa.

Earlier in the day, senior AIADMK leader M Thambidurai pitched for reconciliation between the two camps. “There was no split in AIADMK, but only dissidence. Things could be resolved if both the factions talk. We are ready for merger if OPS camp comes forward,” he said.

The ruling AIADMK (Amma) prepared the ground for a possible truce with the rival AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) with a consultative meeting of Ministers held at the house of Electricity Minister P. Thangamani here, “welcoming” former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s (OPS) statement he was prepared for a rapprochement “if approached”. Briefing journalists after over an hour-long meeting of Ministers, Finance Minister D. Jayakumar said, “We discussed only two things.  The party has to be united and an affidavit to be filed before the Election Commission to retrieve the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol.

 

It not yet clear if speculation that Sasikala had resigned as party general secretary is true.  Law Minister C.Ve. Shanmugam interjected and said, “it is a blatant lie”.   Jayakumar said he did not have any information about her resignation.

 

No blind merger
In a twist to the developments of the last 24 hours, the former Chief Minister, O. Panneerselvam, on April 18 Tuesday ruled out the merger of the two factions of the AIADMK if V.K. Sasikala remains in a united party. He demanded the ouster of her family, including T.T.V. Dhinakaran, from the AIADMK.
The AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) leader said, “MGR and Amma were always against family rule. So, we will not rest until the Sasikala family is thrown out of the AIADMK. Party should not be in the hands of a family.” Earlier, sources in his camp said talks with the other camp would be only with conditions. “This talk of ‘no conditions’ is all bunkum,” they added.  Panneerselvam made it clear that he cannot go back on his core demand of a probe into the ‘mysterious’ death of the former Chief Minsiter, Jayalalithaa. “We will continue our demand for a CBI inquiry into the sudden demise of Jayalalithaa.”
Team formed for talks with OPS camp: Sengottaiyan. “A team has been formed for talks with the O. Pannerselvam camp for a possible merger”, says School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan. He held discussions with AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary Dhinakaran at the latter’s residence in Chennai.

Panneerselvam has expressed the confidence that the Sasikala faction leaders would approach him for merger talks. On speculations about the merger of the two AIADMK factions and that he was going to be made “general secretary,” he said no one has approached him for it so far.
“If approached, we are ready to sit and talk and I have confidence that they [leaders] will come [for talks],” he told reporters at the airport.
MLAs meet on board INS Chennai
On board ”INS Chennai”, Finance Minister Jayakumar refused to attach any significance to an MLAs meeting. Earlier in the morning, responding to Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami’s call, legislators of the AIADMK AMMA assembled on board ”INS Chennai” and ”INS Sumedha” for a ‘day at sea’ event.

Late on Monday evening, as many as 26 Ministers met at Electricity Minister Thangamani’s official residence on Greenways Road in Chennai.Another meeting was held at the bungalow of Housing Minister Udumalai Radhakrishnan, in which a few Ministers participated. Later, they joined the meeting at Mr. Thangamani’s residence.
Welcoming Panneerselvam’s ”call” for unity, Jayakumar said the AIADMK lawmakers discussed ways to unite the party and get back the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol frozen by the Election Commission.  Jayakumar denied rumours that Sasikala and Mr. Dhinakaran have resigned from the party. ”This is like a sibling fight. We’ll join hands soon”, he said. All 128 AIADMK MLAs are staying united and favour a merger.

Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha M. Thambidurai left for New Delhi on Monday evening.
Mr. Thambidurai may meet Election Commission officials regarding the tussle over the ”Two Leaves” symbol.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Thambidurai meet twice fuelling speculations.
When Thambidurai spoke to media at the Secretariat, he too welcomed  Panneerselvam’s remarks. Going by the footage shown on television channels, women Ministers appeared to have stayed away from both the meetings. But the prominent absentee was Mr. Palanisami. Mr. Jayakumar, S.P. Velumani and C. Ve Shanmugam answered queries from journalists.
The Ministers said they would discuss the possibility of merger with OPS camp after Mr. Dhinakaran comes back to Chennai.
The women ministers too joined the meeting at Mr. Thangamani’s residence and thus began the second round of discussion. Close to midnight, the Ministers were seen leaving Mr. Thangamani’s residence.

 

Sasikala family should be out of AIADMK for party unity: Former CM O. Pannerselvam!

Sasikala family should be out of AIADMK for party unity: Former CM O. Pannerselvam!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
__________

The ruling AIADMK faction “Amma”, now operating under jailed Sasikala’s guidance seems to be keen to regain the party symbol somehow by bringing back the O Panneerselvam faction without effecting any basic changes in the party or government. More importantly, the Amma AIADMK Party and government would still be under the grip of Sasikala family and refuse to shed the Mannargudi clan links.

Fragile merger move

There has been a move from both factions to reunite the party factions on a plan accordingly, O Panneerselvam to be the party’s general secretary and E Palanisamy to remain CM. Top Ministers of the AIADMK (Amma) government called a late night press conference in Chennai on April 17. The ministers, divided in two camps, held meetings at the residents of Thangamani and Udumalai Radhakrishna.

The OPS camp has agreed for patch-up, “if their conditions are accepted”.  According to NDTV, E Palanisamy could remain as the chief minister, whereas, Panneerselvam could be awarded the post of AIADMK general secretary. The report further claims that the sudden decision was taken by AIADMK top brass considering the threat of arrest looming over the party’s incumbent defacto leader TTV Dinakaran.
It was earlier reported in the media that former CM O. Pannerselvam had earlier expressed his desire to form a united AIADMK without conditions but today speaking to media at his home town Periakulam from where he has been elected to state assembly, that so long as Sasikala and family remain in the party there is no chance for genuine reunion of factions.
With ruthless action to remove O. Panneerselvam from the CM and treasurer posts, Sasikala is the root cause of all troubles the party is facing since the demise of Jayalalithaa.
On April 18, 2017, while addressing the media amid the rumours of a possible merger with the Sasikala faction, O Panneerselvam said that Jayalalithaa’s legacy is the foremost. While addressing the media amid the rumours of a possible merger with the Sasikala faction, O Panneerselvam said that Jayalalithaa’s legacy is the foremost for us and asked both the factions to unite. However, he mentioned that Sasikala’s elevation as General Secretary still invalid according to Times Now and added that both Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran are involved in corrupt practices. “Dinakaran was not even member of the party till Amma’s demise, elections for office-bearers of AIADMK was itself illegal,” he was quoted saying by the news agency ANI.

OPS made it clear that his faction will not go in any kind of merger if their demands including removal of Sasikala as party chief, are not accepted. The OPS factions have asked a probe in Jayalalithaa’s death and stand by it even as the talks of unification are going on between the two camps. OPS alleged that money was paid to the voters for the RK Nagar bypolls. “During the election campaigning in RK Nagar many malpractices were done, Rs. 4000 offered to voters. We have submitted all this to EC yesterday and asked to inquire into matter (election for AIADMK office-bearers after Jaya’s demise),” he said.

OPS said that Sasikala has betrayed Amma’s cause and was even sacked by Jayalalithaa along with Dinakaran and the party needs to be saved from dynastic politics. However, KA Sengottaiyan had said earlier that OPS faction didn’t raise any question on Dinakaran or Sasikala. “There are no talks on the issue of TTV Dinakaran and Sasikala, nor did OPS faction raise any question on the same,” Sengottaiyan said.

The AIADMK was split on February 7, 2016, when Panneerselvam lashed out against AIADMK supremo VK Sasikala, accusing her of usurping power against the will of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Subsequently, Panneerselvam was shown the door by party top brass.
The two warring camps of AIADMK recently fought over the the party symbol, which was eventually freezed by the Election Commission. Both the camps were compelled to use different symbols moving into the by-election for RK Nagar assembly segment, the seat which was represented by Jayalalithaa.

Earlier in the day, senior AIADMK leader M Thambidurai pitched for reconciliation between the two camps. “There was no split in AIADMK, but only dissidence. Things could be resolved if both the factions talk. We are ready for merger if OPS camp comes forward,” he said.

The ruling AIADMK (Amma) prepared the ground for a possible truce with the rival AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) with a consultative meeting of Ministers held at the house of Electricity Minister P. Thangamani here, “welcoming” former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s (OPS) statement he was prepared for a rapprochement “if approached”. Briefing journalists after over an hour-long meeting of Ministers, Finance Minister D. Jayakumar said, “We discussed only two things.  The party has to be united and an affidavit to be filed before the Election Commission to retrieve the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol.

 

It not yet clear if speculation that Sasikala had resigned as party general secretary is true.  Law Minister C.Ve. Shanmugam interjected and said, “it is a blatant lie”.   Jayakumar said he did not have any information about her resignation.

 

No blind merger
In a twist to the developments of the last 24 hours, the former Chief Minister, O. Panneerselvam, on April 18 Tuesday ruled out the merger of the two factions of the AIADMK if V.K. Sasikala remains in a united party. He demanded the ouster of her family, including T.T.V. Dhinakaran, from the AIADMK.
The AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) leader said, “MGR and Amma were always against family rule. So, we will not rest until the Sasikala family is thrown out of the AIADMK. Party should not be in the hands of a family.” Earlier, sources in his camp said talks with the other camp would be only with conditions. “This talk of ‘no conditions’ is all bunkum,” they added.  Panneerselvam made it clear that he cannot go back on his core demand of a probe into the ‘mysterious’ death of the former Chief Minsiter, Jayalalithaa. “We will continue our demand for a CBI inquiry into the sudden demise of Jayalalithaa.”
Team formed for talks with OPS camp: Sengottaiyan. “A team has been formed for talks with the O. Pannerselvam camp for a possible merger”, says School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan. He held discussions with AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary Dhinakaran at the latter’s residence in Chennai.

Panneerselvam has expressed the confidence that the Sasikala faction leaders would approach him for merger talks. On speculations about the merger of the two AIADMK factions and that he was going to be made “general secretary,” he said no one has approached him for it so far.
“If approached, we are ready to sit and talk and I have confidence that they [leaders] will come [for talks],” he told reporters at the airport.
MLAs meet on board INS Chennai
On board ”INS Chennai”, Finance Minister Jayakumar refused to attach any significance to an MLAs meeting. Earlier in the morning, responding to Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami’s call, legislators of the AIADMK AMMA assembled on board ”INS Chennai” and ”INS Sumedha” for a ‘day at sea’ event.

Late on Monday evening, as many as 26 Ministers met at Electricity Minister Thangamani’s official residence on Greenways Road in Chennai.Another meeting was held at the bungalow of Housing Minister Udumalai Radhakrishnan, in which a few Ministers participated. Later, they joined the meeting at Mr. Thangamani’s residence.
Welcoming Panneerselvam’s ”call” for unity, Jayakumar said the AIADMK lawmakers discussed ways to unite the party and get back the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol frozen by the Election Commission.  Jayakumar denied rumours that Sasikala and Mr. Dhinakaran have resigned from the party. ”This is like a sibling fight. We’ll join hands soon”, he said. All 128 AIADMK MLAs are staying united and favour a merger.

Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha M. Thambidurai left for New Delhi on Monday evening.
Mr. Thambidurai may meet Election Commission officials regarding the tussle over the ”Two Leaves” symbol.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Thambidurai meet twice fuelling speculations.
When Thambidurai spoke to media at the Secretariat, he too welcomed  Panneerselvam’s remarks. Going by the footage shown on television channels, women Ministers appeared to have stayed away from both the meetings. But the prominent absentee was Mr. Palanisami. Mr. Jayakumar, S.P. Velumani and C. Ve Shanmugam answered queries from journalists.
The Ministers said they would discuss the possibility of merger with OPS camp after Mr. Dhinakaran comes back to Chennai.
The women ministers too joined the meeting at Mr. Thangamani’s residence and thus began the second round of discussion. Close to midnight, the Ministers were seen leaving Mr. Thangamani’s residence.

 

India: Political compulsions in Tamil Nadu

 

India: Political compulsions in Tamil Nadu

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

____

 

 

 

 

Sudden death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa – a strong factor of stable politics in the state- resulted in the unexpected instability of the government and confusion among the people as the ruling AIADMK was split into factions.

 

In fact, death of AIADMK supermo Jayalalithaa would have created any political crisis even though a political vacuum of serious was felt.  The Party would have used the sympathy factor to stay with the people. And the Panneerselvam government would have continued its rule as before but a greedy Sasikala’s sudden axe to remove those who were close to Jayalalalithaa led to a serious crisis with the ruling party being split into factions.

 

However, Sasikala played her card well and had already manipulated several things in her favor before axing Panneerselvam. The major victory is that she could manipulate the General Secretary post which Jayalithaa held tell death by using Panneer Selvam who was lost in grief at the death of Jayalithaa, who was his mentor. He was keen to see the AIADMK remains in power and supported Sasikala to be GS of the party but when he was removed from power she protested.

 

 

Sudden rise of Sasikala

Sudden death of J. Jayalithaa led to the sudden rise of VK Sasikala and her coterie.

VK Sasikala‘s politicking to the top began well before the state Assembly elections of May 2016. Whichever way the current crisis unfolds, she seems to have plotted her way to the top post quite meticulously.

Vivekanandan Krishnaveni (VK) Sasikala may have played a masterstroke, getting her nominee in the chief minister’s chair through the backdoor before stepping into prison in Karnataka, yet in the hearts of many a Tamil populace she’s left a bruise that could have a bearing on the future of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

On the streets of Tamil Nadu, the very mention of Sasikala often draws ire these days.

Sasikala Mannargudi

With the demise of Jayalalithaa, now the Mannargudi clan has returned. Sasikala was born in 1957 in Mannargudi, a small temple town in Tiruvarur district in the Cauvery delta. She had four brothers — Sundaravadanam, Jayaraman, Vinodhagan and Dhivaharan — and a sister Vanithamani. Though belonging to the influential Kallar (Thevar) community, her family was not wealthy.

It was not until her husband, Natarajan — a public relations officer in the state government in the 1970s and later owned Video company — introduced her to Jayalalithaa through IAS officer V S Chandralekha that her fortunes changed.

As Jayalalithaa evolved in stature both within the party and the state, Sasikala too had prospered as the AIADMK supremo’s closest aide.  And so did her family members from Mannargudi who assumed enormous power in the state.

Over the years, taking advantage of Sasikala’s proximity with Jayalalithaa, the close-knit group of relatives and associates — numbering around 20-25 — reportedly formed roots in the government machinery and took up important postings. The ‘Mannargudi Mafia’, as they soon came to be called, was soon calling the shots. At some point, Jayalalithaa realized the danger that this group posed for her administration. She banished Sasikala and her relatives from her Poes Garden residence and cracked down on the associates. Though eventually Sasikala returned to Poes Garden after apologising to Jayalalithaa, her family was kept out.

Now, with Jayalalithaa’s passing away, the Mannargudi clan is once again making a comeback. From ensuring that they were the only ones surrounding Jayalalithaa’s mortal remains to Sasikala’s move to revoke the expulsion (by Jayalalithaa) of TTV Dhinakaran and Venkatesh, these acts are being seen as signs of their return.

2016 assembly poll

Apparently, just before the elections (May 2016), Jaya was not in a position to concentrate fully on party or government. At that time it was Sasikala who was in charge. When All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J Jayalalithaa released the list of candidates for the state Assembly elections on 4th April, 2016, there were a number of surprises in store. The AIADMK supermo sought to show that she is the party and she is the final.

 

For one, strongmen such as Natham Viswanathan and Senthil Balaji — both former ministers and candidates expected to win their respective seats of Natham and Karur — were shifted to other seats. Viswanathan would go up against the formidable I Periyasamy of the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in his Dindigul stronghold. Balaji would contest from Aravakurichi, another DMK stronghold, against KC Palanisamy. Predictably Natham lost. Aravakurichi would have been lost too except for Election Commission’s suspension of polling due to cash seizures worth Rs 6.75 crores in Karur, with documents pointing to cash distribution by both candidates. When the election to the seat was finally held in November 2016, the AIADMK, which had already come to power in the state, won easily on her image. .

Old timers such as C Ponnaiyan and Panruti Ramachandran, both loyalists of the late leader MG Ramachandran (MGR), were given tickets in Saidapet and Alandur respectively. Jayalalithaa had sidelined Ponnaiyan for many years in the party. As for Ramachandran, he had only recently rejoined the AIADMK after a stint with Vijaykanth’s DMDK (Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam).

Jayalalithaa’s falling health

 

Jayalalithaa had been unwell since June 2015. Since her acquittal in the Disproportionate Assets case in the Bangalore high court in May 2015, her public appearances were few and she spent progressively less time at the Secretariat, after being reinstated as chief minister. When the media wrote of her absences, speculating as to the nature of her illness, defamation suits were filed by her for alleging organ transplants.

On 22nd September, 2016, Jayalalithaa was rushed to Apollo Hospitals at 10.30 pm in an ambulance to be admitted. While a medical bulletin issued by the hospital the next day said that the chief minister was admitted with fever and dehydration, Jayalalithaa continued to deteriorate and breathed her last at 11.30 pm on 5th December, 2016.  By all accounts, no one was allowed to see the CM during the 75 days of her hospitalization, except for those treating her. Only Sasikala remained by her friend’s side. The then Advisor to the Tamil Nadu government Sheela Balakrishnan, then chief secretary Rama Mohana Rao, and other senior bureaucrats set up office inside the hospital.

The chief minister was unconscious or sedated for most of her stay as admitted by Dr Babu Abraham, Senior Consultant, Intensive Care Unit and Critical Care at Apollo Hospitals at a press conference on 6th February in Chennai. “As soon as we stabilized her, we intubated and put her on non-invasive ventilation, which means a face mask through which she would get oxygen,” said Abraham. “Afterwards she deteriorated and we put her on full ventilator along with sleeping medicines, which is the usual procedure. This went on for about 10 days. Following this, we did a tracheostomy for about 10-12 days. For about 40-50 out of 75 days, she was in sedation,” he added.

Meanwhile, many files and order have been supposedly signed by her.

How?

When Jaya was sleeping, Sasikala was wide awake, calling the shots in government and party every evening, through senior bureaucrats in the floor below the chief minister and passing instructions to ministers and MLAs on what needed to be done. After 2016 Assembly elections, most ministers and MLAs were getting an audience only with Sasikala. So virtually, the entire government machinery was reporting to her.

On 5th December, 2016, at 12.30 am, Apollo Hospitals issued a press release stating that Jayalalithaa had passed away. Before the announcement, ministers were summoned by Sasikala to the hospital and a well-organised transition plan was chalked out. MLAs were then informed of the process. By 1.30 am, a rapid swearing-in ceremony was conducted, with then finance minister O Panneerselvam taking charge as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He had earlier stood in as chief minister for Jayalalithaa when the courts unseated her in 2001, 2014, and in 2016 (interim CM before being sworn in after her death).

 

Replacement in midnight

 

On 5th December, 2016, at 12.30 am, Apollo Hospitals issued a press release stating that Jayalalithaa had passed away. Before the announcement, ministers were summoned by Sasikala to the hospital and a well-organised transition plan was chalked out. MLAs were then informed of the process. By 1.30 am, a rapid swearing-in ceremony was conducted, with then finance minister O Panneerselvam taking charge as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He had earlier stood in as chief minister for Jayalalithaa when the courts unseated her in 2001, 2014, and in 2016 (interim CM before being sworn in after her death).

On 6th December, 2016, Jaya’s body lay in state at the Rajaji Hall in Chennai for public to pay homage. Sasikala was prominent in her place next to Jaya’s head. Surrounding the body of the late chief minister was Sasikala’s family and her estranged husband Natarajan. Political analysts at the time remarked as to how the script ran familiar — Jayalalithaa too had stood by the head of her political mentor MGR’s body in 1987 for 13 hours in the face of stiff opposition from within the party, thereby establishing that she was his political heir.

On the evening of 6th December, Sasikala, along with Jayalalithaa’s nephew Deepak Jayakumar, performed the last rites at Marina Beach. This too was a deviation from tradition, especially where it concerned Jayalalithaa, a Brahmin and known to be religious and superstitious. “As per Brahmin tradition, only the male members of the family perform the last rites,” said one senior AIADMK leader, on condition of anonymity. “We were all surprised that Chinnamma (Sasikala’s moniker meaning ‘mother’s younger sister’) performed it. There was a clear message being sent out about who is in control.”

Barely a week later, had posters begun springing up across the state, put up by Sasikala supporters and party workers, exhorting the new “Chinnamma” to lead. Party workers, newspaper and media editors, industrialists and other political leaders streamed into Poes Garden to condole Sasikala. A team of vice-chancellors of various universities in Tamil Nadu too arrived to condole Sasikala, drawing flak from academics.

By 31st December, 2016, a ready Sasikala hurriedly took charge as General Secretary of AIADMK — the third largest party in Parliament without endorsement from the party bodies. He was on her way to become the CM. District secretaries of the party, already her appointees, met with her and pledged allegiance in January. As leaders lined up, cadre caved in.

 

Opposition to Sasikala as future CM

Secrecy surrounding the death of Jayalithaa at Apollo hospital gives rise to serious suspicions about the Sasikala’s dubious role in early and twisted scenes of death. Even before the death of Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and allies seemed to have had a clear cut plan to capture power.

The first call for Sasikala to become the chief minister was given by Lok Sabha deputy speaker N Thambidurai. Already the madras was getting ready to replace Jaya appointees and replace them with new ones. The writing was finally on the wall for all to see on 5th February, when Jayalalithaa’s handpicked bureaucrat Sheela Balakrishnan resigned. She was reportedly asked to leave before her extended term ended on 31st March. Key officers of Jaya’s office, Venkataramanan and Ramalingam, too were shunted out of their posts.

This was Sasikala signaling the beginning of her era.

VK Sasikala, Tamil Nadu’s chief minister-in-waiting, is in a bind. Outgoing chief minister O Panneerselvam, who she claimed was “the first person to ask her to take charge as chief minister” on 5th February, has now blown the bugle of mutiny. “I was forced to tender my resignation,” said Panneerselvam at a dramatic press meet at the Marina Beach near late Jayalalithaa’s memorial around 9.30 pm on Tuesday. “I will withdraw my resignation if the people want.” Before the press meet, Panneerselvam had meditated for 40 minutes in front of Jaya’s memorial.

The rebels came out into the open. PH Pandian, former Speaker of the state Assembly and his son Manoj Pandian, once within the inner ring of Jayalalithaa’s key men, held a press conference stating that the election of Sasikala to the post of temporary general secretary itself was invalid, according to the party bylaws. Sasikala’s loyalists launched a counter attack that afternoon. “Nothing can stop Chinnamma from becoming the chief minister,” said MLA KA Sengottaiyan.

The swearing-in ceremony of Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala as Tamil Nadu’s next chief minister, initially scheduled to take place on 7th February, hangs in the air. Governor-in-charge C Vidyasagar Rao left for Mumbai from Delhi and cancelled his scheduled programmes in Chennai for Tuesday. Rao has reportedly taken legal advice on whether he should wait for the verdict of the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case expected next week before the swearing-in.

But Sasikala seems confident. Around midnight Tuesday, she met the press outside Poes Garden, home of the late Jayalalithaa which she and allies occupy as their own property, smiled and showed a thumbs-up sign. “The AIADMK is united,” she said with confidence. By then she had already stripped Panneerselvam of the post of party treasurer and replaced him with state forest minister Dindigul Srinivasan.

 

Dissenters too sprang up, along with posters. Nanjil Sampath, a former propaganda secretary of AIADMK decided to quit but just days after announcing his resignation, Sampath who was on talks wither,  met Sasikala and rejoined the party. Another leader form Pondicherry Sekar that the post of general secretary itself must be abolished henceforth and that Amma should be named the permanent general secretary of the party. Rajya Sabha MP and expelled AIADMK member Sasikala Pushpa too is a thorn in VK Sasikala’s flesh. On 5th February, Pushpa wrote to the Prime Minister, in the latest series of attacks on her namesake, asking Modi not to invite Sasikala to form government. The letter details how VK Sasikala’s ascent would lead to “law and order problems” and “criminalization of politics.” With the quelling of such dissent, any semblance of mutiny was crushed. Sasikala’s next step to the chief minister’s seat was imminent, if not widely endorsed by party and the electorate.

In private off-the-record conversations, AIADMK leaders expressed misgivings about the ascent of Sasikala, but they also agreed that there was no leader to rally them together. A loud voice of dissent, has been from former minister KP Munusamy, who exhorted Sasikala to ensure that her family does not gain power and indulge in corrupt activities.

CM Pannerselvam handled the crises in the state after Jayalithaa death. An orchestrated chorus from MLAs, asking Sasikala to become chief minister, peaked after the jallikattu protests in January. Even as Sasikala missed on taking undue credit for the relief efforts by the state government post Cyclone Vardah, she claimed credit for the promulgation of the jallikattu ordinance.

On 5th February, at a meeting of all MLAs of the AIADMK, Sasikala was unanimously elected as the chief ministerial candidate of the party as well as its Legislature Party head.

It was clear that Amma (Jaya’s moniker) was ill. Files went from the Secretariat to her Poes Garden residence for clearance. Ministers, senior bureaucrats and senior police officers were summoned there for instructions, which were relayed by VK Sasikala and sometimes by Jaya through the intercom. No one saw her during this period of mysterious illness. Her confidant was calling the shots, both in the government and party.

It was in the 1980s that Sasikala Natarajan, as she was then known, was introduced to Jayalalithaa, the rising star of the AIADMK led by actor and former chief minister MGR. Sasikala ran a small video (VHS) rental shop and was asked by Jayalalithaa to provide video coverage of her rallies and speeches. Sasikala’s work impressed the latter and the two became thick friends, with both Sasikala and her husband M Natarajan moving in to live with and care for Jayalalithaa’s household in the 1980s.

 

Mannargudi clan @ Bribe for poll symbol two-leaves

 

 

Indian politics and polls dominated by bribery. Tamil Nadu, where corruption is too rampant at all levels, is no exception to the general India rule.

 

Mannargudi clan led by Sasikala now controls the government and party.  Corruption could go unbridled

Many, in fact, believe that the extended family may have a free run in the government’s functioning, especially with four more years to go before the next assembly elections. But the extended family may run out of gas considering the widespread public resentment against them.

 

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police booked All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran on Monday for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official to get the ‘two leaves’ poll symbol in the by-election to R K Nagar assembly seat. Dinakaran, a leader of the AIADMK faction led by his jailed aunt V K Sasikala, was booked following the arrest of Sukesh Chandrasekhar, a middleman, from a five-star hotel last week.

 

It has been learnt that Sukesh had struck a deal for Rs 50 crore for helping the AIADMK faction keep the ‘two leaves’ symbol. Police have recovered Rs 1.30 crore from Sukesh and two cars — a BMW and a Mercedes — have also been seized, said a senior police officer. Sukesh is being interrogated to know about his profile and his connection with any EC official.

Dinakaran, however, denied having spoken or given money to any one on the party symbol issue.

During her lifetime, Jayalithaa struck a fine balance and kept the dominant castes — Thevars, Nadars, Vanniyars and Gounders — under check. Sasikala though is widely seen as favoring the Thevars. Even though she has tried to shed this image by anointing a Gounder (Edappadi Palaniswami) as chief minister, it will be difficult for her to carry along the other castes without them trying to challenge her authority.

 

Revolt and Split

 

The manner in which Jayalalithaa’s appointee as chief minister twice in the past, O Panneerselvam, was pulled down from power by the departed Amma’s aide and the way she pushed the AIADMK into turmoil has done her reputation no good.

The sympathy wave that came her way in the aftermath of Jayalithaa’s demise withered away thanks to the behind-the-scenes politics she indulged in thereafter.

 

After splitting the ruling AIADMK party, now the Sasikala faction blames other parties in trying to split and remove the party from power. Sasikala nephew Dinakaran says there is conspiracy against AIADMK so that Jayalalithaa’s legacy stay strong in the state but has never made any effort to remerge the factions or try to have talks with Panneerselvam faction for a future government and party organization.

 

In fact, the postponement of RK Nagar by poll came a big news for the ruling AIADMK and its candidate Dinakaran as he was facing defeat in the constituency and now he looks much relaxed.

 

The Election Commission had frozen AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol after the two factions led by Sasikala and former chief minister O Panneerselvam staked claim to it. The faction led by its general secretary Sasikala, jailed in a disproportionate assets case, later opted for the ‘hat’ symbol.

 

Dinakaran was the candidate of the Sasikala faction.

OPS predicament

The bypoll to the R K Nagar assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu was scheduled for April 12, but the Election Commission cancelled it, saying the electoral process had been “seriously vitiated” by parties through use of money power. The seat fell vacant after the death of the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5 and the bypoll is being viewed as a battle of prestige for the two factions of the AIADMK.

 

Former Chief Minister OPS has ensured that the spotlight was on her and her relatives. Add to that the manner in which OPS performed during his short stint as chief minister. Be it the round-the-clock handling of the cyclone Vardhan aftermath or the ordinance allowing Jallikattu in the state, the tide of popular sentiment was flowing in favour of the former stand-in chief minister.

From creating a doubt in the people’s minds about the circumstances surrounding Jayalalithaa’s death, the way Sasikala ensured that nobody was allowed to meet the AIADMK supremo, to proposing to turn Amma’s Poes Garden bungalow into a memorial, OPS has played his cards well.

There are many in Tamil Nadu who believe that Jayalalithaa could have been kept alive for a longer duration had proper medical treatment been extended to her. And OPS gave the people’s doubts legitimacy by calling for a judicial probe into the circumstances around her death.

People have also been questioning the manner in which Sasikala has taken over Poes Garden and the rest of Jayalalithaa’s assets. Another factor that could ensure that the family doesn’t really have a long run in Tamil Nadu politics is that it doesn’t find favour with the dominant castes in the state.

The Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar by-election was a life-and-death situation for both the AIADMK factions. The countermanding of the by-election to the R.K. Nagar Assembly constituency has made former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s fight for his mentor Jayalalithaa’s political legacy longer. Had the by-election been held as scheduled, a win or even a second position edging out the Sasikala camp to the third place would have helped him in his battle, the experts say.

While his supporters are hopeful of immediate gains based on the premise that the Sasikala camp might crack up soon due to the recent I-T searches, observers feel otherwise. But OPS’ future will depend on the local body polls whenever it is held. It could prove to be the decisive moment for him.“Even assuming that the DMK wins in the local body polls, who finishes second (OPS or Sasikala faction) could determine his future.

 

Not yet too late for unity

 

One thing is clear. CM Jayalalithaa was not in a position to announce her deputy in the party though by the appointment of OPS as acting CM during her jail life terms she has let the people know about her option.

Clearly, Sasikala is unhappy that Jayalithaa had not entrusted any party post or government position to her but she should be satisfied that she directly controls the TN government as well as ruling AIADMK through a proxy government under CM Palanisamy. All her strenuous efforts to get out of jail have failed and she is finally destined to stay in jail and cannot contest polls for many years .

 

Incapacitated, Jayalalithaa lost power to control the government for too long and Sasikala and others took charge and planned meticulously for their rise to power.

CM Palanisamy knows too well that he only a make shift CM since Sasikala could not assume power at Madras Fort  as  Governor Rao refused to swear her at Madras University for which all arrangements were made but they stood cancelled  as Governor Rao, waiting for Supreme Court judgment on  disproportionate assets case and left Chennai.  He also knows he would be replaced by Sasikala’s own kith and kin, Dinakaran who was hurriedly made Deputy General Secretary of AIADMK – post which never existed in the party- by the jailed Sasikala.  

CM Palanisamy and team, others in the government should know only united AIADMK can salvage the crisis once for all and blaming “others” for the crisis is not tenable.

Era is Sasikala, whom Jayalalithaa never showed to the people as her possible successor either in the party or government   is fast coming to end.

Panneerselvam enjoys sympathy feeling of the people for being the victim of Sasikala game plan, but his relevance exists only because he challenged the jailed AIADMK leader Sasikala and her family. Critics say Panneer was a sycophant who turned a rebel because he was asked to step down as CM. But a former minister Ma. Foi Pandiarajan and staunch supporter of OPS, denies that Panneerselvam would not succeed in his battle for Jayalalithaa’s legacy. He said OPS has a credible image and people see him as a very eligible successor to Amma.

Hopefully, the Palanisamy and friend would not lose more time in making efforts sincerely to patch up with the OPS factions to provide stability of the government of MGR-Jaya and regain the symbol legally. It is quite likely, otherwise, the party might lose the symbol forever. That may not benefit the ruling party or government. Already Sasikala and Co have given political advantage to DMK and if people don’t see a united AIADMK emerging they would not hesitate to replace the incumbent government with the waiting DMK.

After all, people voted for Jayalalithaa and not Sasikala who can make corruption an industry in the state.

Some ruling party leaders shamelessly say that there is not split in the party and there is only a disagreement. There three AIADMK parties now the election commission has recognized them as separate parties and that means there is a grave split. They also say let the OPS come to us and we could forgive them. That means no reconciliation but only a conflict deliberately created by Sasikala. This shows the Sasikala faction is willing to let the government fall and the party further disintegrate.

Unfortunately not only Jayalalithaa but her ministers and party leaders also made huge money illegally.  Even when Jayalalithaa stopped taking bribes for her personal use, ministers and others continue to loot the resources. Since India does not have any clear cut policies to contain corruption or punish the corrupt elements, culprits without mercy, politicians and officals continue to  demand and accept bribes and make crores of assets, both immovable and movable.

How much money incumbent ministers in TN are making should be made explicitly clear to public. That the ADMK ruling party is involved in bribing the “concerned” to get the two leaves symbol show how far corruption in India has reached.

End of Sasikala rule in Tamil Nadu politics?

 

India: Political compulsions in Tamil Nadu

 

India: Political compulsions in Tamil Nadu

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

____

 

 

 

 

Sudden death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa – a strong factor of stable politics in the state- resulted in the unexpected instability of the government and confusion among the people as the ruling AIADMK was split into factions.

 

In fact, death of AIADMK supermo Jayalalithaa would have created any political crisis even though a political vacuum of serious was felt.  The Party would have used the sympathy factor to stay with the people. And the Panneerselvam government would have continued its rule as before but a greedy Sasikala’s sudden axe to remove those who were close to Jayalalalithaa led to a serious crisis with the ruling party being split into factions.

 

However, Sasikala played her card well and had already manipulated several things in her favor before axing Panneerselvam. The major victory is that she could manipulate the General Secretary post which Jayalithaa held tell death by using Panneer Selvam who was lost in grief at the death of Jayalithaa, who was his mentor. He was keen to see the AIADMK remains in power and supported Sasikala to be GS of the party but when he was removed from power she protested.

 

 

Sudden rise of Sasikala

Sudden death of J. Jayalithaa led to the sudden rise of VK Sasikala and her coterie.

VK Sasikala‘s politicking to the top began well before the state Assembly elections of May 2016. Whichever way the current crisis unfolds, she seems to have plotted her way to the top post quite meticulously.

Vivekanandan Krishnaveni (VK) Sasikala may have played a masterstroke, getting her nominee in the chief minister’s chair through the backdoor before stepping into prison in Karnataka, yet in the hearts of many a Tamil populace she’s left a bruise that could have a bearing on the future of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

On the streets of Tamil Nadu, the very mention of Sasikala often draws ire these days.

Sasikala Mannargudi

With the demise of Jayalalithaa, now the Mannargudi clan has returned. Sasikala was born in 1957 in Mannargudi, a small temple town in Tiruvarur district in the Cauvery delta. She had four brothers — Sundaravadanam, Jayaraman, Vinodhagan and Dhivaharan — and a sister Vanithamani. Though belonging to the influential Kallar (Thevar) community, her family was not wealthy.

It was not until her husband, Natarajan — a public relations officer in the state government in the 1970s and later owned Video company — introduced her to Jayalalithaa through IAS officer V S Chandralekha that her fortunes changed.

As Jayalalithaa evolved in stature both within the party and the state, Sasikala too had prospered as the AIADMK supremo’s closest aide.  And so did her family members from Mannargudi who assumed enormous power in the state.

Over the years, taking advantage of Sasikala’s proximity with Jayalalithaa, the close-knit group of relatives and associates — numbering around 20-25 — reportedly formed roots in the government machinery and took up important postings. The ‘Mannargudi Mafia’, as they soon came to be called, was soon calling the shots. At some point, Jayalalithaa realized the danger that this group posed for her administration. She banished Sasikala and her relatives from her Poes Garden residence and cracked down on the associates. Though eventually Sasikala returned to Poes Garden after apologising to Jayalalithaa, her family was kept out.

Now, with Jayalalithaa’s passing away, the Mannargudi clan is once again making a comeback. From ensuring that they were the only ones surrounding Jayalalithaa’s mortal remains to Sasikala’s move to revoke the expulsion (by Jayalalithaa) of TTV Dhinakaran and Venkatesh, these acts are being seen as signs of their return.

2016 assembly poll

Apparently, just before the elections (May 2016), Jaya was not in a position to concentrate fully on party or government. At that time it was Sasikala who was in charge. When All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J Jayalalithaa released the list of candidates for the state Assembly elections on 4th April, 2016, there were a number of surprises in store. The AIADMK supermo sought to show that she is the party and she is the final.

 

For one, strongmen such as Natham Viswanathan and Senthil Balaji — both former ministers and candidates expected to win their respective seats of Natham and Karur — were shifted to other seats. Viswanathan would go up against the formidable I Periyasamy of the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in his Dindigul stronghold. Balaji would contest from Aravakurichi, another DMK stronghold, against KC Palanisamy. Predictably Natham lost. Aravakurichi would have been lost too except for Election Commission’s suspension of polling due to cash seizures worth Rs 6.75 crores in Karur, with documents pointing to cash distribution by both candidates. When the election to the seat was finally held in November 2016, the AIADMK, which had already come to power in the state, won easily on her image. .

Old timers such as C Ponnaiyan and Panruti Ramachandran, both loyalists of the late leader MG Ramachandran (MGR), were given tickets in Saidapet and Alandur respectively. Jayalalithaa had sidelined Ponnaiyan for many years in the party. As for Ramachandran, he had only recently rejoined the AIADMK after a stint with Vijaykanth’s DMDK (Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam).

Jayalalithaa’s falling health

 

Jayalalithaa had been unwell since June 2015. Since her acquittal in the Disproportionate Assets case in the Bangalore high court in May 2015, her public appearances were few and she spent progressively less time at the Secretariat, after being reinstated as chief minister. When the media wrote of her absences, speculating as to the nature of her illness, defamation suits were filed by her for alleging organ transplants.

On 22nd September, 2016, Jayalalithaa was rushed to Apollo Hospitals at 10.30 pm in an ambulance to be admitted. While a medical bulletin issued by the hospital the next day said that the chief minister was admitted with fever and dehydration, Jayalalithaa continued to deteriorate and breathed her last at 11.30 pm on 5th December, 2016.  By all accounts, no one was allowed to see the CM during the 75 days of her hospitalization, except for those treating her. Only Sasikala remained by her friend’s side. The then Advisor to the Tamil Nadu government Sheela Balakrishnan, then chief secretary Rama Mohana Rao, and other senior bureaucrats set up office inside the hospital.

The chief minister was unconscious or sedated for most of her stay as admitted by Dr Babu Abraham, Senior Consultant, Intensive Care Unit and Critical Care at Apollo Hospitals at a press conference on 6th February in Chennai. “As soon as we stabilized her, we intubated and put her on non-invasive ventilation, which means a face mask through which she would get oxygen,” said Abraham. “Afterwards she deteriorated and we put her on full ventilator along with sleeping medicines, which is the usual procedure. This went on for about 10 days. Following this, we did a tracheostomy for about 10-12 days. For about 40-50 out of 75 days, she was in sedation,” he added.

Meanwhile, many files and order have been supposedly signed by her.

How?

When Jaya was sleeping, Sasikala was wide awake, calling the shots in government and party every evening, through senior bureaucrats in the floor below the chief minister and passing instructions to ministers and MLAs on what needed to be done. After 2016 Assembly elections, most ministers and MLAs were getting an audience only with Sasikala. So virtually, the entire government machinery was reporting to her.

On 5th December, 2016, at 12.30 am, Apollo Hospitals issued a press release stating that Jayalalithaa had passed away. Before the announcement, ministers were summoned by Sasikala to the hospital and a well-organised transition plan was chalked out. MLAs were then informed of the process. By 1.30 am, a rapid swearing-in ceremony was conducted, with then finance minister O Panneerselvam taking charge as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He had earlier stood in as chief minister for Jayalalithaa when the courts unseated her in 2001, 2014, and in 2016 (interim CM before being sworn in after her death).

 

Replacement in midnight

 

On 5th December, 2016, at 12.30 am, Apollo Hospitals issued a press release stating that Jayalalithaa had passed away. Before the announcement, ministers were summoned by Sasikala to the hospital and a well-organised transition plan was chalked out. MLAs were then informed of the process. By 1.30 am, a rapid swearing-in ceremony was conducted, with then finance minister O Panneerselvam taking charge as chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He had earlier stood in as chief minister for Jayalalithaa when the courts unseated her in 2001, 2014, and in 2016 (interim CM before being sworn in after her death).

On 6th December, 2016, Jaya’s body lay in state at the Rajaji Hall in Chennai for public to pay homage. Sasikala was prominent in her place next to Jaya’s head. Surrounding the body of the late chief minister was Sasikala’s family and her estranged husband Natarajan. Political analysts at the time remarked as to how the script ran familiar — Jayalalithaa too had stood by the head of her political mentor MGR’s body in 1987 for 13 hours in the face of stiff opposition from within the party, thereby establishing that she was his political heir.

On the evening of 6th December, Sasikala, along with Jayalalithaa’s nephew Deepak Jayakumar, performed the last rites at Marina Beach. This too was a deviation from tradition, especially where it concerned Jayalalithaa, a Brahmin and known to be religious and superstitious. “As per Brahmin tradition, only the male members of the family perform the last rites,” said one senior AIADMK leader, on condition of anonymity. “We were all surprised that Chinnamma (Sasikala’s moniker meaning ‘mother’s younger sister’) performed it. There was a clear message being sent out about who is in control.”

Barely a week later, had posters begun springing up across the state, put up by Sasikala supporters and party workers, exhorting the new “Chinnamma” to lead. Party workers, newspaper and media editors, industrialists and other political leaders streamed into Poes Garden to condole Sasikala. A team of vice-chancellors of various universities in Tamil Nadu too arrived to condole Sasikala, drawing flak from academics.

By 31st December, 2016, a ready Sasikala hurriedly took charge as General Secretary of AIADMK — the third largest party in Parliament without endorsement from the party bodies. He was on her way to become the CM. District secretaries of the party, already her appointees, met with her and pledged allegiance in January. As leaders lined up, cadre caved in.

 

Opposition to Sasikala as future CM

Secrecy surrounding the death of Jayalithaa at Apollo hospital gives rise to serious suspicions about the Sasikala’s dubious role in early and twisted scenes of death. Even before the death of Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and allies seemed to have had a clear cut plan to capture power.

The first call for Sasikala to become the chief minister was given by Lok Sabha deputy speaker N Thambidurai. Already the madras was getting ready to replace Jaya appointees and replace them with new ones. The writing was finally on the wall for all to see on 5th February, when Jayalalithaa’s handpicked bureaucrat Sheela Balakrishnan resigned. She was reportedly asked to leave before her extended term ended on 31st March. Key officers of Jaya’s office, Venkataramanan and Ramalingam, too were shunted out of their posts.

This was Sasikala signaling the beginning of her era.

VK Sasikala, Tamil Nadu’s chief minister-in-waiting, is in a bind. Outgoing chief minister O Panneerselvam, who she claimed was “the first person to ask her to take charge as chief minister” on 5th February, has now blown the bugle of mutiny. “I was forced to tender my resignation,” said Panneerselvam at a dramatic press meet at the Marina Beach near late Jayalalithaa’s memorial around 9.30 pm on Tuesday. “I will withdraw my resignation if the people want.” Before the press meet, Panneerselvam had meditated for 40 minutes in front of Jaya’s memorial.

The rebels came out into the open. PH Pandian, former Speaker of the state Assembly and his son Manoj Pandian, once within the inner ring of Jayalalithaa’s key men, held a press conference stating that the election of Sasikala to the post of temporary general secretary itself was invalid, according to the party bylaws. Sasikala’s loyalists launched a counter attack that afternoon. “Nothing can stop Chinnamma from becoming the chief minister,” said MLA KA Sengottaiyan.

The swearing-in ceremony of Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala as Tamil Nadu’s next chief minister, initially scheduled to take place on 7th February, hangs in the air. Governor-in-charge C Vidyasagar Rao left for Mumbai from Delhi and cancelled his scheduled programmes in Chennai for Tuesday. Rao has reportedly taken legal advice on whether he should wait for the verdict of the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case expected next week before the swearing-in.

But Sasikala seems confident. Around midnight Tuesday, she met the press outside Poes Garden, home of the late Jayalalithaa which she and allies occupy as their own property, smiled and showed a thumbs-up sign. “The AIADMK is united,” she said with confidence. By then she had already stripped Panneerselvam of the post of party treasurer and replaced him with state forest minister Dindigul Srinivasan.

 

Dissenters too sprang up, along with posters. Nanjil Sampath, a former propaganda secretary of AIADMK decided to quit but just days after announcing his resignation, Sampath who was on talks wither,  met Sasikala and rejoined the party. Another leader form Pondicherry Sekar that the post of general secretary itself must be abolished henceforth and that Amma should be named the permanent general secretary of the party. Rajya Sabha MP and expelled AIADMK member Sasikala Pushpa too is a thorn in VK Sasikala’s flesh. On 5th February, Pushpa wrote to the Prime Minister, in the latest series of attacks on her namesake, asking Modi not to invite Sasikala to form government. The letter details how VK Sasikala’s ascent would lead to “law and order problems” and “criminalization of politics.” With the quelling of such dissent, any semblance of mutiny was crushed. Sasikala’s next step to the chief minister’s seat was imminent, if not widely endorsed by party and the electorate.

In private off-the-record conversations, AIADMK leaders expressed misgivings about the ascent of Sasikala, but they also agreed that there was no leader to rally them together. A loud voice of dissent, has been from former minister KP Munusamy, who exhorted Sasikala to ensure that her family does not gain power and indulge in corrupt activities.

CM Pannerselvam handled the crises in the state after Jayalithaa death. An orchestrated chorus from MLAs, asking Sasikala to become chief minister, peaked after the jallikattu protests in January. Even as Sasikala missed on taking undue credit for the relief efforts by the state government post Cyclone Vardah, she claimed credit for the promulgation of the jallikattu ordinance.

On 5th February, at a meeting of all MLAs of the AIADMK, Sasikala was unanimously elected as the chief ministerial candidate of the party as well as its Legislature Party head.

It was clear that Amma (Jaya’s moniker) was ill. Files went from the Secretariat to her Poes Garden residence for clearance. Ministers, senior bureaucrats and senior police officers were summoned there for instructions, which were relayed by VK Sasikala and sometimes by Jaya through the intercom. No one saw her during this period of mysterious illness. Her confidant was calling the shots, both in the government and party.

It was in the 1980s that Sasikala Natarajan, as she was then known, was introduced to Jayalalithaa, the rising star of the AIADMK led by actor and former chief minister MGR. Sasikala ran a small video (VHS) rental shop and was asked by Jayalalithaa to provide video coverage of her rallies and speeches. Sasikala’s work impressed the latter and the two became thick friends, with both Sasikala and her husband M Natarajan moving in to live with and care for Jayalalithaa’s household in the 1980s.

 

Mannargudi clan @ Bribe for poll symbol two-leaves

 

 

Indian politics and polls dominated by bribery. Tamil Nadu, where corruption is too rampant at all levels, is no exception to the general India rule.

 

Mannargudi clan led by Sasikala now controls the government and party.  Corruption could go unbridled

Many, in fact, believe that the extended family may have a free run in the government’s functioning, especially with four more years to go before the next assembly elections. But the extended family may run out of gas considering the widespread public resentment against them.

 

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police booked All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran on Monday for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official to get the ‘two leaves’ poll symbol in the by-election to R K Nagar assembly seat. Dinakaran, a leader of the AIADMK faction led by his jailed aunt V K Sasikala, was booked following the arrest of Sukesh Chandrasekhar, a middleman, from a five-star hotel last week.

 

It has been learnt that Sukesh had struck a deal for Rs 50 crore for helping the AIADMK faction keep the ‘two leaves’ symbol. Police have recovered Rs 1.30 crore from Sukesh and two cars — a BMW and a Mercedes — have also been seized, said a senior police officer. Sukesh is being interrogated to know about his profile and his connection with any EC official.

Dinakaran, however, denied having spoken or given money to any one on the party symbol issue.

During her lifetime, Jayalithaa struck a fine balance and kept the dominant castes — Thevars, Nadars, Vanniyars and Gounders — under check. Sasikala though is widely seen as favoring the Thevars. Even though she has tried to shed this image by anointing a Gounder (Edappadi Palaniswami) as chief minister, it will be difficult for her to carry along the other castes without them trying to challenge her authority.

 

Revolt and Split

 

The manner in which Jayalalithaa’s appointee as chief minister twice in the past, O Panneerselvam, was pulled down from power by the departed Amma’s aide and the way she pushed the AIADMK into turmoil has done her reputation no good.

The sympathy wave that came her way in the aftermath of Jayalithaa’s demise withered away thanks to the behind-the-scenes politics she indulged in thereafter.

 

After splitting the ruling AIADMK party, now the Sasikala faction blames other parties in trying to split and remove the party from power. Sasikala nephew Dinakaran says there is conspiracy against AIADMK so that Jayalalithaa’s legacy stay strong in the state but has never made any effort to remerge the factions or try to have talks with Panneerselvam faction for a future government and party organization.

 

In fact, the postponement of RK Nagar by poll came a big news for the ruling AIADMK and its candidate Dinakaran as he was facing defeat in the constituency and now he looks much relaxed.

 

The Election Commission had frozen AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol after the two factions led by Sasikala and former chief minister O Panneerselvam staked claim to it. The faction led by its general secretary Sasikala, jailed in a disproportionate assets case, later opted for the ‘hat’ symbol.

 

Dinakaran was the candidate of the Sasikala faction.

OPS predicament

The bypoll to the R K Nagar assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu was scheduled for April 12, but the Election Commission cancelled it, saying the electoral process had been “seriously vitiated” by parties through use of money power. The seat fell vacant after the death of the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5 and the bypoll is being viewed as a battle of prestige for the two factions of the AIADMK.

 

Former Chief Minister OPS has ensured that the spotlight was on her and her relatives. Add to that the manner in which OPS performed during his short stint as chief minister. Be it the round-the-clock handling of the cyclone Vardhan aftermath or the ordinance allowing Jallikattu in the state, the tide of popular sentiment was flowing in favour of the former stand-in chief minister.

From creating a doubt in the people’s minds about the circumstances surrounding Jayalalithaa’s death, the way Sasikala ensured that nobody was allowed to meet the AIADMK supremo, to proposing to turn Amma’s Poes Garden bungalow into a memorial, OPS has played his cards well.

There are many in Tamil Nadu who believe that Jayalalithaa could have been kept alive for a longer duration had proper medical treatment been extended to her. And OPS gave the people’s doubts legitimacy by calling for a judicial probe into the circumstances around her death.

People have also been questioning the manner in which Sasikala has taken over Poes Garden and the rest of Jayalalithaa’s assets. Another factor that could ensure that the family doesn’t really have a long run in Tamil Nadu politics is that it doesn’t find favour with the dominant castes in the state.

The Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar by-election was a life-and-death situation for both the AIADMK factions. The countermanding of the by-election to the R.K. Nagar Assembly constituency has made former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam’s fight for his mentor Jayalalithaa’s political legacy longer. Had the by-election been held as scheduled, a win or even a second position edging out the Sasikala camp to the third place would have helped him in his battle, the experts say.

While his supporters are hopeful of immediate gains based on the premise that the Sasikala camp might crack up soon due to the recent I-T searches, observers feel otherwise. But OPS’ future will depend on the local body polls whenever it is held. It could prove to be the decisive moment for him.“Even assuming that the DMK wins in the local body polls, who finishes second (OPS or Sasikala faction) could determine his future.

 

Not yet too late for unity

 

One thing is clear. CM Jayalalithaa was not in a position to announce her deputy in the party though by the appointment of OPS as acting CM during her jail life terms she has let the people know about her option.

Clearly, Sasikala is unhappy that Jayalithaa had not entrusted any party post or government position to her but she should be satisfied that she directly controls the TN government as well as ruling AIADMK through a proxy government under CM Palanisamy. All her strenuous efforts to get out of jail have failed and she is finally destined to stay in jail and cannot contest polls for many years .

 

Incapacitated, Jayalalithaa lost power to control the government for too long and Sasikala and others took charge and planned meticulously for their rise to power.

CM Palanisamy knows too well that he only a make shift CM since Sasikala could not assume power at Madras Fort  as  Governor Rao refused to swear her at Madras University for which all arrangements were made but they stood cancelled  as Governor Rao, waiting for Supreme Court judgment on  disproportionate assets case and left Chennai.  He also knows he would be replaced by Sasikala’s own kith and kin, Dinakaran who was hurriedly made Deputy General Secretary of AIADMK – post which never existed in the party- by the jailed Sasikala.  

CM Palanisamy and team, others in the government should know only united AIADMK can salvage the crisis once for all and blaming “others” for the crisis is not tenable.

Era is Sasikala, whom Jayalalithaa never showed to the people as her possible successor either in the party or government   is fast coming to end.

Panneerselvam enjoys sympathy feeling of the people for being the victim of Sasikala game plan, but his relevance exists only because he challenged the jailed AIADMK leader Sasikala and her family. Critics say Panneer was a sycophant who turned a rebel because he was asked to step down as CM. But a former minister Ma. Foi Pandiarajan and staunch supporter of OPS, denies that Panneerselvam would not succeed in his battle for Jayalalithaa’s legacy. He said OPS has a credible image and people see him as a very eligible successor to Amma.

Hopefully, the Palanisamy and friend would not lose more time in making efforts sincerely to patch up with the OPS factions to provide stability of the government of MGR-Jaya and regain the symbol legally. It is quite likely, otherwise, the party might lose the symbol forever. That may not benefit the ruling party or government. Already Sasikala and Co have given political advantage to DMK and if people don’t see a united AIADMK emerging they would not hesitate to replace the incumbent government with the waiting DMK.

After all, people voted for Jayalalithaa and not Sasikala who can make corruption an industry in the state.

Some ruling party leaders shamelessly say that there is not split in the party and there is only a disagreement. There three AIADMK parties now the election commission has recognized them as separate parties and that means there is a grave split. They also say let the OPS come to us and we could forgive them. That means no reconciliation but only a conflict deliberately created by Sasikala. This shows the Sasikala faction is willing to let the government fall and the party further disintegrate.

Unfortunately not only Jayalalithaa but her ministers and party leaders also made huge money illegally.  Even when Jayalalithaa stopped taking bribes for her personal use, ministers and others continue to loot the resources. Since India does not have any clear cut policies to contain corruption or punish the corrupt elements, culprits without mercy, politicians and officals continue to  demand and accept bribes and make crores of assets, both immovable and movable.

How much money incumbent ministers in TN are making should be made explicitly clear to public. That the ADMK ruling party is involved in bribing the “concerned” to get the two leaves symbol show how far corruption in India has reached.

End of Sasikala rule in Tamil Nadu politics?

 

NC leader Farooq Abdullah calls for Central rule in Jammu Kashmir!

NC leader Farooq Abdullah calls for Central rule in Jammu Kashmir!
-DR. ABDUL RUFF
______________

 

Srinagar went to poll to elect a parliamentarian and National Conference leader and former CM of JK was declared elected to parliament.

Eight people were shot dead by paramilitary troopers and police and over 150 were injured in clashes between people and forces on polling day (9 April), which saw a mere 7.14% voter turnout. A re-polling was held for 38 booths which recorded only 2.02% polling.

The winner Farooq said recent developments in JK had made it “amply clear” that the PDP-BJP government in the state had “failed in delivering on its promises and had created a very alarming political situation in the state”. “I would leave no stone unturned to strive for justice and peace and be the voice against injustice and oppression as an elected representative in the parliament,” he said. Asked about the lowest-ever poll percentage in Srinagar by polls, Abdullah said, “How does it matter? We have seen polls before also where hardly any percentage was there. And what do you say to people who have voted even if it may be 7 per cent with all the pressures on them.”
Crack in PDP-BJP idea in Kashmir

National Conference President Farooq Abdullah who won the by-poll to the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat on anti-incumbency campaign that was marred by large-scale violence and very poor turnout on balloting day, called for imposition of central rule in the state.

Abdullah defeated the ruling People’s Democratic Party’s Nazir Ahmad Khan by a margin of 10,776 votes. Of the 89,865 votes cast, Farooq polled 48,555 while Khan polled 37,779. A total of 963 people voted for NOTA (none of the above), election officials said. There were nine candidates in the fray, but the main battle was between PDP’s Khan and Abdullah. Abdullah, 79, a two-time Chief Minister, will be Lok Sabha member for the third time. He had lost the Srinagar constituency to PDP’s Tariq Hameed Karra in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Karra’s resignation from the party led to the seat getting vacant. Octogenarian Abdullah had lost 2014 parliament elections to the then PDP candidate Tariq Karra (now with Congress). He took plunge into the election to make a comeback and take “avenge” of the defeat.
Soon after defeating ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Nazir Khan, Abdullah appealed President Pranab Mukherjee to dismiss the state government as it has “failed to deliver and hold peaceful election.” “Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should step down immediately and the situation in the state merits the imposition of Governor’s rule. There is absolutely no doubt about this,” he added. “I appeal to the President of India to dismiss this government and impose Governor’s rule in the state. They have killed youth and put the lives of the people in danger,“ he told reporters at NC headquarters here after his poll victory.

Farooq said recent developments had made it “amply clear” that the PDP-BJP government in the state had “failed in delivering on its promises and had created a very alarming political situation in the state…I would leave no stone unturned to strive for justice and peace and be the voice against injustice and oppression as an elected representative in the parliament,” he said.

The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and a former key Federal minister urged the central government to impose Governor’s rule in the state, terming the election as the “bloodiest ever”. He also called for resumption of the dialogue for resolution of Kashmir at internal and external levels.

The NC supremo said it would not celebrate the victory because of the violence on polling day on April 9 in which eight civilians died in firing by security forces. Addressing reporters after his win, Abdullah urged the BJP-led central government to dismiss the ruling BJP-PDP alliance. “I request the Government of India and the President to dismiss the present government right away.

Governor’s rule should be imposed and elections conducted under Governor’s rule,” Farooq told the media. Thanking the people who supported him, he said: “This was the bloodiest election ever. I am not happy with the win. But results show that people are in favor of NC.”

In a statement issued by the NC party, spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said, “We won’t celebrate the victory in the by-poll in view of the deaths that occurred on balloting day.” Voting for the parliamentary seat saw a record low turnout of 7 per cent on April 9. Re-polling was held on April 13 for 38 polling stations in Budgam district that saw a mere 2 per cent balloting.

Anantnag

Abdullah also demanded that by poll for the upcoming Anantnag parliamentary seat should be held under Governor’s rule. “Otherwise people would not get justice,” he said.

Anantnag by poll has been deferred by the Election Commission of India till May 25 in the wake of the deteriorating situation in Kashmir. On the day of election to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, eight civilians were killed and over 200 injured by government forces. Reacting to a video showing a man tied to an army vehicle as “human shield” against stone throwers, Abdullah said it “was shameful and bad act against democracy”. He called the eight people killed on poll day as “martyrs”. “Many others are in hospitals or jails. I have never seen such an election,” he said and thanked “the people who risked their lives to vote in such a difficult situation”. “Such things add to the fire. I request them not to do these things,” said Abdullah. He trashed the ‘rumors’ suggesting he would resign from Lok Sabha after today’s win. “I will follow what my party high command decides,” he said.
Reacting to a video showing a man tied to an army vehicle as “human shield” against stone throwers, Abdullah said it “was shameful and bad act against democracy”. He called the eight people killed on poll day as “martyrs”. “Many others are in hospitals or jails. I have never seen such an election,” he said and thanked “the people who risked their lives to vote in such a difficult situation”. “Such things add to the fire. I request them not to do these things,” said Abdullah. He trashed the ‘rumors’ suggesting he would resign from Lok Sabha after today’s win. “I will follow what my party high command decides,” he said.

Indo-Pak dialogue

Abdullah demanded resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue and talks with all stakeholders including the resistance leadership, saying “war wasn’t a solution”. “New Delhi and Islamabad have to talk and try to honesty resolve the Kashmir Issue. The people of Kashmir cannot be expected to suffer endlessly. There is no alternative to talk. You have to talk in an effort to find a solution,” Abdullah said. Talking to reporters after he was announced as winner of the Srinagar parliamentary seat, Abdullah said, “I appeal to the Governor and President of India to dismiss this government and impose Governor’s rule in the state. This is the only way to give some respite to people. The government even failed to hold peaceful elections,” said Abdullah.

Saying that dialogue is the only way forward between the nuclear states of South Asia, Abdullah called for resumption of Indo-Pak talks and dialogue with all stakeholders including separatist Hurriyat Conference. “War is not a solution to anything,” he said. Reacting to the video of a youth tied up to an army vehicle, Abdullah said it is very shameful and a very bad act against democracy. “I request them not to do such things which will add to the fire and render it uncontrollable,” Abdullah said.
“New Delhi and Islamabad have to talk and try to honesty resolve the Kashmir Issue. The people of Kashmir cannot be expected to suffer endlessly. There is no alternative to talk. You have to talk in an effort to find a solution,” Abdullah said. Asked about the lowest-ever poll percentage in Srinagar by polls, Abdullah said, “How does it matter? We have seen polls before also where hardly any percentage was there. And what do you say to people who have voted even if it may be 7 per cent with all the pressures on them.”
Dispelling rumours of his resignation, he said that he was not going to resign. “I have neither said such a thing nor will I resign,” Abdullah said. Rumours were flying thick and fast in Kashmir on Thursday that Abdullah will resign if he wins the by-poll. On the other hand, Khan who had joined PDP after parting ways with the Congress was fighting his maiden Lok Sabha election. In the wake of unprecedented poll boycott and clashes during voting for the Srinagar segment, the Election Commission deferred by-election for Anantnag parliamentary segment—which was scheduled on April 12—till May 25.

 

Observation

The victory of octogenarian Abdullah is seen as a major boost for the NC, who used every card from separatism to a soft pro-Pakistan line ahead of elections.

Defeat of the ruling PDP candidate reveals the anger of Kashmiris towards the PDP-BJP joint government, targeting Muslims.

Kashmir has for too long been searching for a genuine government to serve the cause of a sovereign Jammu Kashmir where the people could live in peace and without fearing the military boots of occupation forces from neighboring countries. Both PDP and NC play tricks with Kashmiris by joining hands with BJP or Congress to form the government to advance their own interests. Even the so-called freedmen fighters try to betray the Kashmiris by working for foreign nations.

 

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