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Two-stage assembly by-elections advantage for AIADMK

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The two-stage by-elections for 22 vacant assembly seats in Tamil Nadu is advantageous for the ruling AIADMK as the pie has grown bigger now for a safe bite, while it is going to be an acid test for DMK President M.K. Stalin, political analysts said.

They also said in the present situation, there is no threat for the stability of the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister Palaniswami.

There are 22 assembly seats currently vacant in Tamil Nadu. The Election Commission had earlier announced by-elections on April 18 along with the Lok Sabha polls for 18 seats.

On Tuesday, the poll body announced by-elections for four more seats on May 19.

“The two-stage by-election for the 22 vacant assembly seats is advantageous for the ruling AIADMK. In the second phase, all the ministers can spend time in the four assembly seats and see to it that AIADMK wins them all,” Raveendhran Dhuraiswamy told IANS.

According to him, holding the by-elections for four assembly constituencies on May 19 is also good for the T.T.V. Dhinakaran-led AMMK party.

According to analysts, AIADMK may not find it difficult to win eight seats out of 22 to continue comfortably in power.

In the 234 member Tamil Nadu assembly, the ruling AIADMK has 114 members (including the Speaker), DMK-88, Congress-8, and the IUML and Independents one each.

To attain a simple majority, the AIADMK has to win just four seats in the by-elections. Factoring in the switching of camps by some of the lawmakers, the AIADMK has to win seven or eight seats in order to be safe.

On the other hand, the DMK has to win all the 22 seats to take the tally, along with its allies -Congress and IUML – to 119, just one number more than the simple majority.

Analysts are of the view that even if Chinkara’s AMMK wins a couple of seats, the DMK’s dream of coming to power by toppling the AIADMK government may not come true.

“Even if DMK wins all the 22 seats, it still needs the support of Congress to capture power. Congress, then, will demand its pound of flesh like being part of the Ministry.
The Congress can even demand the post of Deputy Chief Minister. The DMK has not shared power with Congress earlier,” political strategist John Arokiasamy told IANS.

On the other hand, if Dhinakarana’s AMMK wins a couple of seats, then the equation changes in favour of ruling AIADMK, analysts said.

“It will be an acid test for Stalin’s leadership. Assuming Dhinakaran’s AMMK wins some seats, what action Stalin will take will have to be seen,” Dhuraiswamy said.

He said that Dhinakaran may not join hands with the DMK if he emerges as a leader in his own right by winning seats, and the state government would survive.

“If Dhinakaran partners with DMK then he would fail as a leader,” Dhuraiswamy added.

“Why would Dhinakaran partner with DMK now knowing well that the latter will be in power when the assembly elections are held next year?” Arokiasamy asked.

“The AIADMK can comfortably manage the elections and win the needed number of seats to remain in power. It has to be seen whether Dhinakaran would allow DMK to get into power, if AMMK wins good number of seats, say four or five,” writer and political Commentator Maalan Narayanan told IANS.

According to Narayanan, the AMMK leader may go for a compromise with AIADMK.

There is also a possibility of Dhinakaran remaining solo and building his base to face the next assembly polls.

“If the BJP wins power at the Centre and the political situation in Tamil Nadu turns fluid, then the former can suspend the assembly for sometime to stall the DMK,” Narayanan said.

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National News

Tejashwi Yadav raises Sitamarhi encounter in Assembly, hits out at govt

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The Bihar government is on the back foot after an encounter with the liquor mafia in Sitamarhi district on Wednesday claimed the life of a sub-inspector while a guard sustained grievous injuries.

Leader of Opposition and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav raised this incident in the Vidhan Sabha on Thursday. He said that the law and order situation in Bihar is in a bad shape. This is the reason why police officers are getting killed in broad daylight.

“Transfers and postings would be done for only those police officers who used to give “RCP tax” (Bribe) to top bosses in the Nitish Kumar government,” Tejashwi said.

The encounter took place in Sitamarhi’s Kunwari village under Majorganj police station on Wednesday afternoon when a police team headed by Dinesh Ram reached the village. The criminals, upon seeing the police team, opened fired at them. Ram sustained fatal bullet injuries while guard Lal Babu Paswan also sustained gunshot injuries and is battling for his life in hospital. A criminal identified as Ranjan Singh was also killed in retaliatory firing.

“On Thursday, an inspector rank officer was involved in manhandling a MLA of CPI (ML). I have not heard about or witnessed any such incident where a police officer is manhandling a legislator,” Tejashwi said.

“The alleged officer is a SHO of Secretariat police station and he was also involved in a ruckus outside my residence as well,” Tejashwi said.

After this incident came to the knowledge of the House, Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha directed the concerned officers to check the CCTV footage.

“If the officer is guilty, he will be punished under Breach of Privilege Act,” Sinha said.

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North East will be India’s growth hub: Amit Shah

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has identified the Northeast region as India’s “Growth Hub”.

Addressing a gathering in Nagaon district’s Batadrava Than, Shah said the Modi government has already started work to make the region as the growth engine of India.

“To take the Northeast development in a mission mode, the Prime Minister had visited the region 35 times in the past five years. The Congress leaders and ministers visited Assam only during the election time,” the senior BJP leader said.

“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stewardship, a new era of development has started in Assam and the Northeast region. Entire Northeast region is transforming. Northeast India will emerge as the highest contributor in the GDP of India,” said Shah.

Urging the people to reinstall the BJP government for the second time, Shah promised that his party’s vision is to make Assam an infiltration free, flood free, corruption free, violence free, agitation free and number one state in India.

“A satellite based survey has been conducted and plans are afoot to permanently resolve the flood problem and to undertake many projects to develop tourism and other infrastructures,” he said.

The Batadrava Than in central Assam’s Nagaon district is the birthplace of social reformer Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva, who was a 15th-16th century Assamese saint, scholar, poet, playwright, social-religious reformer and a figure of importance in Assam’s cultural and religious history.

Shah on Thursday launched the work of a state-funded Rs 188-crore project for the beautification of Batadrava Than.

Saying that the Centre and state double engine governments of the BJP have undertaken a large number of steps for the all round development of Assam and protection of Assamese culture and traditions. He said the NDA government has awarded late famous singer and composer Bhupen Hazarika with Bharat Ratna; and the Padma Bhushan award posthumously to former Assam Chief Minister and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi.

“Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh represented Assam, the Congress ruled Assam for 15 years (2001-2016) but did nothing for the betterment of Assam and its people.

“The BJP-led NDA government has constructed over 20,000 km road, bridges, airports, railway projects, approved a lot of gas and oil based projects, mega health institutions including AIIMS and many educational institutions,” he pointed out.

The Home Minister said that the BJP government in Assam, to protect and promote the traditions and culture of Assam had provided Rs 2.5 lakh each to 8,000 “Namghars” (traditional Vaishnavite monasteries of Assam) under the Assam ‘Darshan’ programme.

“Namghars”, literally meaning Prayer House, introduced by Srimanta Sankardeva, are places for congregational worship associated with the entire Assamese community and the Ekasarana sect of Hinduism, in particular, which is native to Assam.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state’s Finance, Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also addressed the gatherings.

Later in the day, Shah will visit the hill district of Karbi Anglong where he will address another public meeting at Dengaon and is expected to meet surrendered extremists.

Earlier, Shah visited Assam on February 11 and January 23, and addressed several public rallies.

On February 11, with an eye on the Assembly polls in Assam and West Bengal, he met influential Koch-Rajbongshi leader ‘Maharaj’ Ananta Rai and spent about an hour at his residence in western Assam’s Chirang district.

The Koch-Rajbongshi community habitats in Assam and West Bengal and claims to have over 18.5 lakh votes in the two states.

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All students of classes 9, 10, 11 declared pass: Tamil Nadu CM

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Thursday announced that students of Classes 9, 10 and 11 will be declared passed without writing their annual/board exams for the academic year 2020-21.

Announcing this in the Assembly, Palaniswami said considering the extraordinary Covid-19 pandemic situation and going by the views of the education experts and appeals of the parents, students of 9, 10 and 11 classes will be declared as all pass without them writing the annual school or board exams.

He also said the government will announce the detailed norms for calculating the marks for the students for the academic year 2020-21.

Palaniswami said the schools were closed due to the pandemic and the students learnt through the Kalvi TV channel and online. Their study portions were also reduced.

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