A THRONE OF THORNS AWAITS THALAPATHI STALIN IN TAMIL NADU - The Daily Guardian
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A THRONE OF THORNS AWAITS THALAPATHI STALIN IN TAMIL NADU

But even without the help of any surveys, media persons with an ear to the ground were certain of a change in Tamil Nadu as the AIADMK government was perceived commonly as one that was remote-controlled by the BJP from the Centre, which was also seen as anti-Tamil Nadu.

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For DMK and its president M.K. Stalin, 2 May has been the super Sunday he has been waiting for. The longest-serving understudy to his father and DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi for nearly five decades, Thalapathi as he is fondly called by his supporters and cadres looked set to form the government in Tamil Nadu after the DMK alliance appeared set to win a comfortable majority in the Assembly elections.

As leads firmed up on early Sunday evening, the DMK-plus was poised to cross the 150-mark in the 234-member House, polling for which was held in April, leaving no one in doubt that Stalin is the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after results and trends of counting of votes pointed to a comfortable victory for DMK and alliance partners. His victory was always on cards, especially after he swept the Lok Sabha elections winning all but one of the 39 seats in 2019 at the height of the Narendra Modi wave that engulfed the nation at that time.

Since nothing much has changed on the ground since then, in issues and narratives, the DMK was expected to do very well in the Assembly elections as was predicted in a spate of pre-poll surveys and later by exit polls.

But even without the help of any surveys, media persons with an ear to the ground were certain of a change in Tamil Nadu as the AIADMK government was perceived commonly as one that was remote-controlled by the BJP from the Centre, which was also seen as anti-Tamil Nadu when it came to a host of issues, whether it was NEET, farmers’ agitation, hydrocarbon project of GAIL, or even GST dues.

If not anything, Stalin managed to mount a potent campaign on these issues, painting the Centre as the villain of the piece and built a perception that the EPS government was functioning against the interests of Tamil Nadu. For good measure, he invoked Tamil pride and the language issue for good measure that ensured a solid connection with the masses in the state that takes pride in the richness of its language and culture.

Along with such a narrative, Stalin mounted a good, high-pitched, and scorching campaign early on and had covered almost all the constituencies twice over before the elections were announced. And clearly, he was decisive enough to fend off demands for more seats from the alliance partners, and at one stage it appeared that Congress could go away as it found the 25 allotted to it as an “insult”. Stalin stuck to his stand, and convinced Congress citing its poor strike rate in the previous 2016 elections when the Congress could win a mere 8 from the 48 it contested.

As the leads show, his decision appeared to be bang on, and even the Congress strike rate improved with leads in 16 seats out of the 25 it contested. For sure, another key decision that helped in his victory was securing the services of political campaign strategist Prashant Kishor, who rebuilt and rebranded the leader and helped in mounting a powerful electoral narrative and prepared an action plan to convey the message to the masses effectively.

Seems like Stalin’s style of politics too received the stamp of approval of the masses. Somewhat tired of the AIADMK government and itching for a change, they found in Stalin a viable proposition and they were willing to give him a chance. In a highly politically aware state, people do remember Stalin’s firm stand of not toppling the AIADMK government when it was undergoing a crisis after a revolt by its senior leader O. Panneerselvam and instead declared that he wanted to come into power through the right royal way—something he did on 2May2021.

But it is a throne of thorns that awaits Stalin and top on the list is to handle the Covid-19 pandemic that is raging on in the state. Already, the Chief Minister-to-be has announced vaccination at doorstep, something that his government will take up immediately once he gets sworn in.

To be fair, Chief Minister and AIADMK leader Edapaddi Palanswami handled the Covid-19 crisis effectively and had tried his best to deliver governance. But where he and the AIADMK lost out is in the perception battle, that the party and government were subservient to the BJP.

More important, Stalin will be tested heavily on how he deals with the Central government now that he will be the Chief Minister. Having mounted a shrill campaign against the BJP and the Centre, Stalin will be very closely watched by the people and the AIADMK, as to how he manages to forge a working relationship with the Central government.

The victory of Stalin in a battle of the two Dravidian parties makes it very clear that Tamil Nadu remains a two-horse race notwithstanding the tall talk of a third and a new alternative to these old political forces. The fate of the political party—Makkal Neethi Maiyam—floated by superstar Kamal Haasan is a case in question. He came a cropper,with his party failing to open its account. Perhaps, the other superstar, Rajinikanth, assessed the situation accurately and opted out of the political arena, not unlike cricket Saurav Ganguly whom the BJP was keen to rope in as its face for West Bengal.

The two icons had health issues to contend with as well, and cited the same to refrain from entering the political arena. To be fair, Ganguly never expressed a desire to enter politics, but Rajinikanth flirted with the idea often and had even announced the formation of a political party and contesting elections. But he pulled out just ahead of elections.

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PUNJAB AGRICULTURE MINISTER CALLS ON MANDAVIYA ON DAP CRISIS

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On the intervention of Punjab`s Minister for Agriculture, Farmers` Welfare and Food Processing Randeep Singh Nabha on DAP shortage crisis, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday assured to supply 10 rakes of DAP (Diammonium Phosphate), 5 rakes of NPK (Complex Fertilizer) and 2 of SSP (Single Super Phosphate) within three to four days to Punjab. Considering Punjab`s demand Union Minister also assured for adequate supply of Urea to Punjab in the coming November and December.

Punjab Agriculture Minister, who called upon Mandaviya at latter`s office here, informed the Union Minister that the total requirement of DAP for rabi crops is 5.50 lakh MT, out of which 4.80 lakh MT is required during October & November for timely sowing of wheat crop. DAP is an essential input for ensuring optimum productivity of wheat, which is sown on an area of about 35.00 lakh hectares in Punjab.

“We apprised the Union Minister that the Punjab, known as food bowl of the nation, is being allocated much lesser quantity of DAP in comparison to Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. We have been writing the union government for last six months on this sensitive issue. We also informed the Union Minister that shortage of DAP on the onset of Rabi season can lead farmers` unrest“ said Nabha expressing hope that the Union government would stand by its commitment of supplying DAP.

After the meeting, Nabha revealed that Union Minister has said that the shortage of DAP was due to non-availability of the fertilizers in the international market and the union government would ensure adequate supply of DAP to Punjab.

“During the meeting we also demanded that the Union Government must repeal the farm laws against which the farmers are protesting for last one year. The farmers are feeling insecure as they argue that with these farmer laws the big Corporate would get away their farm lands,” said Nabha.

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BJP MP wants more central forces’ deployment for West Bengal bypolls

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Emphasising the need for free and fair polling in the upcoming by-elections, BJP MP Arjun Singh on Tuesday urged Chief Election Officer of the state to allot more security personnel for bypolls in four constituencies, which is scheduled to be held on October 30.

In the letter, Arjun Singh said, “As you are aware the spate of post-poll violence, which started from the day of counting after the General Election still continues.

The High court also took cognizance of the situation and ordered a CBI probe in the case.” He also mentioned that the “TMC goons” attacked the party candidates – Joy Saha from Khardah and Ashok Mandal from Dinhata – while they were doing door-to-door campaign in their respective constituencies.

Requesting to deploy more security personnel in the constituencies, Singh wrote, “In this context, we repeat our request made earlier for immediate allotment of Central Security cover for our candidates as we have no reliance on the West Bengal Police.”

The MP requested the CEO to deploy 30 companies of CAPF per constituency to ensure free and fair polls on October 30.

Requesting to deploy more security personnel in the constituencies, Singh wrote, “In this context, we repeat our request made earlier for immediate allotment of Central Security cover for our candidates as we have no reliance on the West Bengal Police.”

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SUKHBIR SINGH BADAL NAMES 4 MORE PARTY CANDIDATES FOR 2022 POLLS

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The Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday announced 4 more candidates of the party for coming 2022 Assembly election. SAD Senior Vice President Dr Daljit Singh Cheema disclosed that Baldev Singh Mann will be party candidate from Sunam, Bhai Gobind Singh Longowal from Lehra, Harpal Juneja from Patiala Urban & Hardev Singh Megh (Gobindgarh) from Balluana assembly seat. He said that with this announcement, now the party has so far announced 74 candidates.

Meanwhile, Punjab assembly speaker Rana K P Singh has accepted the resignation of MLA Bholath, Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Tuesday. Due to this Bholath assembly constituency has been declared vacant according to a notification of Punjab assembly. On this Khaira said, “I had resigned as MLA on 3rd June before joining Congress. Thereafter the Speaker asked me to submit resignation in a proper format , which I did today in person. My resignation has been accepted.” It may be noted that Khaira had won from Bholath in 2017 assembly election as AAP candidate and recently joined Congress.

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SWASTH HARYANA APP TO CUT LONG QUEUES AT HOSPITALS

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The Haryana government has launched a string of new applications have been launched by the government recently. Several new applications were brought into existence for the better and fair administration as well as for the benefits of commoners.

In this series, a new app namely Swasth Haryana by Anil Vij, state Health Minister for needy people visiting the government health institutions for the treatment. New app will get rid of long queues as they can get themselves registered on the app before going to hospitals. Vij said: “Through this app, patients can get themselves registered at any Civil Hospital of the State and the app is also available on Google Play Store.”

Further, he said that the government is consistently working to contain the spread of Covid and to augment it further, the Haryana State Health Systems Resource Centre (HSHRC) has developed “Swasth Haryana’’. Mobile app. It is pertinent to mention that it is being considered a milestone as the premier health institute like PGIMER, Chandigarh is providing the facility to the local as well the patients coming from neighbouring states.

Vij added that now the patients can get themselves registered in advance before going to the hospital through this app. while sitting at home and thus the rush of people at the State Hospitals can be managed in a systematic manner. He stated that with this app, the patient can directly go to the specialist doctor and no longer does he need to stand in long queues.

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PUNJAB DY CM SMELLS CONSPIRACY IN SINGHU LYNCHING, PROMISES JUSTICE

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Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa on Tuesday said that there appeared to be a deep rooted conspiracy to defame the farmers’ stir. Referring to the recent incident of lynching of a SC labourer from Tarn Taran, and latest disclosures in media, the Deputy Chief Minister, who also heads the Home Department, promised complete justice saying the government will reach to the bottom of the case and identify and expose as who were the conspirators behind the incident.

Randhawa said, in view of the recent disclosures about one of the Nihang leaders having already been in touch with the Union Minister for Agriculture NS Tomar in particular, the lynching incident has now taken an entirely different turn. The same Nihang leader is now defending the main accused for the killing of Lakhbir Singh, he added.

“Lakhbir Singh, the victim belonged to village Cheema Kalan and was very poor. We need to find out as who lured him to Singhu border and who paid for his travel as he could not even afford his meals”, the Deputy Chief Minister observed, while adding that he had instructed the local administration to find out under what circumstances he was taken away from his home in Cheema Kalan village to Singhu border.

Randhawa said, in view of the recent photographic evidence available, the Nihang leader will also need to explain as in what capacity he had met the union agriculture minister NS Tomar and whether he was mandated to do so by the farmers’ organisations spearheading the campaign against three farm laws.

The Deputy Chief Minister said, given the important place the Nihang leader was camping at and staging dharna at Singhu Border, it was mandatory on his part to keep the farmers’ unions informed and updated about his meetings with the union minister. “This has raised genuine doubts and suspicion among the minds of people which will need to be cleared and the Punjab government will do everything to reach to the root of the conspiracy and expose and punish the culprits,” he promised.

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‘Centre’s move to extend BSF jurisdiction will harm Punjab’s economy’

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Standing at the front against the Union Government’s decision to extend BSF jurisdiction in Punjab, Cabinet Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh, on Tuesday said that the border state has been ignored while granting special package of incentives to neighboring states like Himachal Pradesh for capital investment subsidy and now the extension of BSF Jurisdiction from 15 km to 50 km is yet another jolt to Punjab. It has created a panic and a sense of insecurity in investors, he added saying that how the investor shall go to the 25,000 sq. km border belt (out of a total of 50,000) which is under the jurisdiction of the Security Force Rana asked. Even the adjoining industrial units of Home Grown Industries would consider shifting to safer places, Rana said.

Lashing out at the Modi Government he said that while it was giving step-motherly treatment to the Punjab, on the other side, jurisdiction has been cut short by 20 km in 5 north eastern states of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya where it has had jurisdiction of 80 km. In Gujarat, it has been curtailed from 80 to 50. There should be a level playground and such imbalance would even hit trade, commerce and industry in the land-locked states, besides creating tiffs between central and state agencies, Rana said.

Agriculture sector especially in the Border area is already under stress and extension of the BSF jurisdiction will further add to their difficulties, said the Cabinet Minister. Urging the union government to make the agriculture sector sustainable there, liberal incentives need to be given, he said. He suggested that 90% subsidies should be given to the farmers of the Border Area under the central schemes for drip irrigation system.

Rana said there was a dire need to reconsider the jurisdiction issue in concurrence with the state and grant special incentives at par with North Eastern States. The first step in this direction would be to constitute a Western Border States Advisory Council having Chief Ministers/Governor of the states as members under the Chairmanship of Union Home Minister on the pattern of North East Council to deliberate the issue of creating of a dedicated Corpus Fund pooled through a mandatory contribution from all the Union Ministries in the Union Budget, he added.

The Cabinet Minister assured that he would request Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi to convene a one day session of the Vidhan Sabha to pass a resolution and to take up the matter with the Union Government to reconsider the BSF jurisdiction extension and lead a delegation of all the stakeholders for a meeting with Prime Minister Modi.

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