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Canadian government too emulating TN Chief Minister's school breakfast scheme: Udhayanidhi Stalin

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Chennai, April 16 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Youth Affairs and Sports Development Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin on Tuesday said that the state’s Chief Minister’s school breakfast scheme was also being implemented by the Canadian government, showcasing the influence of the Dravidian model of governance.

“The Chief Minister’s breakfast scheme is benefiting 18 lakh students of Class 1 to 5 in Tamil Nadu, and the Karnataka and Telangana governments are also planning to implement the scheme in their states,” the DMK youth wing leader, who is the son of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, said at the election campaign of the party’s Erode Lok Sabha candidate K.E. Prakash at Othakadi in Modakurichi.

Training his guns at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that the PM did not come to Tamil Nadu in the past ten years but is frequenting the state now with an eye on elections.

Udhayanidhi Stalin said that the Prime Minister, who was now speaking about the uplift of Tamil Nadu and Tamil people, did not turn up when the state was reeling under floods.

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Terming Tamil Nadu the medical hub of the country, he said that some of the best doctors in the world were from the state but many of these renowned doctors had not cleared the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

“Tamil Nadu has the world’s best hospitals and best doctors, who have not taken the NEET,” he noted.

The DMK leader said that party patriarch and former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had opposed the NEET in 2010, saying that students would not be able to afford lakhs of rupees as coaching fees for it.

He said 22 students of the state had committed suicide after they failed to clear the NEET, noting that these were all brilliant students but couldn’t clear the exam due to the structured coaching classes.

He said that the DMK had in its election manifesto of 2021 promised that it would exempt the state from NEET and Chief Minister Stalin is taking steps for this.

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Attacking the AIADMK, he said that former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had betrayed the people of Tamil Nadu by joining hands with the BJP-led Union government to short-change the state.

“Not only were the rights of our state infringed, but education, financial and language rights of many other states also met the same fate,” he said.

Udhayanidhi Stalin said women had travelled 465 crore times in government buses free of cost and the success of this scheme was one of the highlights of the ‘Dravidian model’ of governance.

He also said that a total of 1.60 crore applications were received under the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thittam and 1.18 crore applications were cleared. He said that 1.18 crore women were receiving a basic monthly income of Rs 1,000 now and after the verification process, all eligible women will receive the assistance in five months.

–IANS

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Online helicopter booking for Amarnath Yatra to start from June 1

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Jammu, May 29 (IANS) The online helicopter booking for this year’s Amarnath Yatra will start on June 1, officials said on Wednesday.

The rates for the helicopter service to and from the Himalayan cave shrine, located 3,888 metres above sea level, will soon be announced by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), headed by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, which manages the annual yatra.

This year, the yatra will be 52 days long, starting on June 29 and concluding on August 19, and advance registration of pilgrims has already started on April 15.

As many as 125 ‘Langars’ (community kitchens) have been allowed to be set up along the two routes – the shorter one from Baltal base camp in north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district or the longer but traditional one from Pahalgam base camp in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that wanes and waxes with the phases of the moon and devotees believe that it symbolises the deity.

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–IANS

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Manish Tewari failed to cast vote in 2019: Piyush Goyal

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Chandigarh, May 29 (IANS) Union Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday criticized Chandigarh Congress nominee Manish Tewari, stating that the latter, who calls himself a “champion of democracy”, failed to fulfil one of the most fundamental acts of democracy — casting his vote.

Goyal made these remarks while addressing the media here. He had come to the city to campaign for BJP Chandigarh candidate Sanjay Tandon.

Criticizing Tewari, Goyal said, “Manish Tewari, who has a vote in Ludhiana, neglected his democratic responsibility by not voting in 2019. Will he fulfil his duty and cast his vote this time in Ludhiana, or will he once again abstain? It is quite surprising that Tewari who is projecting himself as the guardian of the Constitution doesn’t even bother to vote.”

Labelling Manish Tewari as a mediocre debater, Goyal criticized his tendency to rely on falsehoods for political gain. He highlighted Tewari’s opposition to the removal of Article 370 in Parliament, alongside his misleading assertion about Article 371, suggesting it was a deliberate attempt to misguide the people of the North East.

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When asked why Tandon didn’t want to debate with Tewari, Goyal emphasized, “Sanjay Tandon is a man of action, and the people of Chandigarh know him very well. There’s no need to debate with Manish Tewari, and everyone knows what level of debating skills he has. I will not even send a councillor to debate with him.”

“Tandon served 70,000 meals in a day during COVID-19. Was Tewari seen during those critical times?” Goyal posed this counter question to the media. Goyal further praised Tandon’s commitment to social causes, highlighting his efforts in providing meals during the pandemic and empowering thousands with employable skills.

Goyal criticized the Congress for not attending the Pran Pratishtha Samaroh in Ayodhya and asked Tewari to clarify his stand, “why he and his party didn’t attend the Pran Pratishtha of Ram Mandir.”

Highlighting the Modi government’s achievements, Goyal underlined India’s remarkable economic progress over the past decade, ascending from the 11th largest economy to the fifth largest globally, with expectations of becoming the third largest within the next three and a half years.

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He lauded the proliferation of start-ups, rapid infrastructure development including expressways and airports, the expansion of inland waterways, and the impending introduction of the bullet train.

Goyal also underscored India’s robust foreign reserves of $650 billion and the manageable inflation rate of 5 to 5.25 per cent.

He added, “Under the Modi government’s tenure, we’ve fostered an investor-friendly environment, resulting in the creation of a substantial number of high-quality jobs. Additionally, our relentless focus on infrastructure development has not only upgraded the nation’s framework but also provided a significant impetus to job creation.”

The lone Lok Sabha seat in Chandigarh will go to the polls on June 1.

–IANS

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Under fire, NCP (SP) leader publicly apologises for ripping B.R. Ambedkar's poster

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Raigad (Maharashtra), May 29 (IANS) Under attack from the ruling MahaYuti alliance and other parties, Nationalist Congress Party (SP) National General Secretary Jitendra Awhad on Wednesday tendered a public apology for ‘unintentionally’ tearing off a poster with a photograph of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

He ripped off the poster during a mass protest in Mahad town against the decision of the state government to include two verses of the Manusmriti (The Laws of Manu) in the school curriculum.

“The government is attempting to include Manusmriti teachings in the school curriculum. We were protesting against it by burning a copy of Manusmriti at the Kranti Pillar in Mahad. While doing this, I inadvertently made a big mistake,” said Awhad.

He said that some activists brought posters of Manusmriti printed on it and B.R Ambedkar’s picture was also on them, and he unintentionally tore it up, sparking huge protests.

“I apologise publicly for this. Everyone knows that I have been trying to follow the ideology of Dr. Ambedkar for many years. I have never apologised for any matter till now. I have always remained in my role and played it. However, today, I am tendering an apology as this was an insult to my Father. I hope all Ambedkar followers will also forgive me,” Awhad said in a social media post.

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He, along with hundreds of other supporters had carried out the protests at Mahad town, to torch symbolic copies of the Manusmriti, raising slogans against the government to oppose the move.

Incidentally, Mahad town went down in history 97 years ago, when B.R. Ambedkar had led a huge protest there on March 20, 1927, to allow the Dalits, untouchables and other lower castes equal access to the Chavdar Lake water, and in December that year, his followers had also burnt Manusmriti copies there.

Awhad’s action on Wednesday afternoon triggered strong protests, comments and police complaints from leaders of the ruling MahaYuti allies Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party-Nationalist Congress Party plus other Dalit organisations also gunning for him in Maharashtra and elsewhere.

–IANS

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No one better qualified to represent Chandigarh than Manish Tewari, says Sibal

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Chandigarh, May 29 (IANS) Making a strong plea for the Congress candidate from Chandigarh Manish Tewari, eminent lawyer Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said no one was better qualified to represent the Union Territory in Lok Sabha than him.

Sibal, while describing Tewari as a brilliant lawyer and parliamentarian, told the media that the Congress leader commands respect from leaders across the political spectrum for his articulate and well-informed speeches in Parliament.

Sibal, who specially came to Chandigarh to join the campaign of Tewari in his capacity as a fellow lawyer, lamented that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has destroyed all robust and autonomous institutions in the country, except the judiciary.

“Our independence and democracy are in grave peril today,” he warned, while accusing PM Modi of lowering the prestige and dignity of the office of the Prime Minister.

Sibal was also critical of abuse of laws like Prevention of Money Laundering Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for destroying dissent and difference of opinion.

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Polling for the lone Chandigarh seat is scheduled for June 1.

–IANS

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Tearing Dr Ambedkar’s poster: BJP functionary files police complaint against Awhad

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Mumbai, May 29 (IANS) A BJP functionary has filed a complaint with the Raigad Superintendent of Police against NCP(SP) legislator Jitendra Awhad for allegedly tearing a poster of Dr BR Ambedkar.

BJP functionary Advocate Vivekanand Gupta in his complaint, has demanded Awhad’s immediate arrest, saying that it was an offence under Section 3 (t) (v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

“Awhad committed the atrocious and appalling act of tearing the poster of Dr Ambedkar who is a revered figure in the country. The said act was live on some electronic channels and this has hurt the feelings of a large number of people and particularly the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes.

“Nobody can ignore Dr Ambedkar for his vast contribution to Indian society. Dr Ambedkar’s photo being torn and thrown has hurt the people deeply both mentally and emotionally,’’ said Gupta in his complaint.

He has demanded that an FIR be registered against Awhad and action be taken in accordance with procedure duly established by law.

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–IANS

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