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DMK leader, ex-Union Min Baalu in easy contest at Sriperumbudur



Chennai, March 28 (IANS) Senior leader of the DMK and former Union Cabinet Minister, TR Baalu, is engaged in a three-cornered fight at Sriperumbudur for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Senior leader TR Baalu, who is hugely popular at the grassroots, is facing a relatively easy battle in his turf.

In the 2019 general elections, TR Baalu won the seat by a margin of 507,955 votes. He polled 793,281 votes while his nearest opponent, A Vaithilingam of PMK (which was part of the NDA with BJP and AIADMK in 2019) received 285,326 votes.

In this general election TR Baalu is facing G Premkumar of the AIADMK and VN Venugopal of the Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) which is a constituent of the NDA.

While the AIADMK was a constituent of the NDA in the last Lok Sabha elections, in 2024 it is fighting outside the alliance and the NDA has put up its own candidate.

Moreover, the Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) of Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan had garnered 135,525 votes in 2019. The party is now aligned with the DMK and all these factors give TR Baalu a clear advantage in the elections.

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However, it has to be seen whether the AIADMK will fetch votes from the Muslim community after snapping ties with the BJP.

CS Ravichandran, Director, Socio Economic Development Foundation, a think tank based out of Madurai and election analyst told IANS, “TR Baalu is at a relatively easy position. Arithmetically Baalu is at a great advantage. However in politics, more than arithmetics, chemistry works and it has to be seen how the main opponent of the AIADMK, Premkumar is putting up his act.

“At present it’s clearly Baalu who is winning, but more than 23 days remain to the polls and in politics this is a long time.”

The DMK has also another advantage in Sriperumbudur as many new industries have come up in the constituency due to the policies of the Chief Minister Stalin government, thus increasing employment opportunities leading to more people drifting towards the DMK.



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Thane cop and woman on motorcycle mowed down by speeding dumper




Thane (Maharashtra), June 12 (IANS) In a shocking incident, a police constable and a woman riding pillion on his motorcycle were crushed to death by a speeding dumper in Maharashtra’s Thane city on Tuesday, a police official said.

The incident happened around 12.20 p.m. in the busy Vartak Nagar area of Thane when the duo was travelling on the two-wheeler to a government department for some official work.

Just then, the speeding dumper zoomed and knocked down the motorcycle, with the policeman and the woman flung on the road and sustaining serious injuries.

Social worker, Binu Varghese, who was in the vicinity rushed there to see the blood-splattered bodies of the victims as they were rushed to a nearby hospital where they died during treatment. The deceased were identified as policeman Sunil Rawate, 44 residing in Thane and Nisha Dhaypurkar, 47, of Kalwa town, who was employed in a nearby shop.

After Varghese complained to the local authorities, the police swung into action and within hours, tracked the dumper involved in the hit-and-run accident.

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An official of Vartak Nagar Police Station said that the dumper driver, the prime suspect in the case, has been detained and was being questioned before being formally arrested.



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PM Modi, others attend swearing-in of new BJP-led govt in Odisha




Bhubaneswar, June 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with several dignitaries witnessed the grand swearing-in ceremony of the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Odisha on Wednesday.

The BJP managed to wrest power from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) following a grueling and intense poll campaign led by PM Modi himself.

PM Modi, during the campaign, had asserted that “June 4 was the expiry date of Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government in Odisha”.

During his speeches at almost every public meeting, the prime minister used to extend an invitation to the people of Odisha to attend the oath taking ceremony on June 10 at Bhubaneswar.

PM Modi along with other senior leaders of the party toured extensively to every part of the state and addressed a number of public gatherings during the campaign.

On Wednesday, PM Modi, after reaching Bhubaneswar airport at around 2.10 p.m. went to the Raj Bhawan — the residence of Odisha Governor.

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Later, the Prime Minister reached the venue in a special carcade and attended the swearing-in ceremony as promised during the campaign.

Various cultural programmes were performed along the road from Raj Bhawan to Janata Maidan during the movement of PM Modi’s convoy.

Similarly, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan among others, were also present during the oath-taking ceremony.

Former Odisha chief minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik also attended the mega event.

Besides Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Goa CM Pramod Sawant, Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel, Chhattisgarh CM Vishnu Deo Sai, Uttaranchal CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, Tripura CM Manik Saha, Haryana CM Nayab Singh Saini and Rajasthan CM Bhajan Lal Sharma also attended the swearing-in ceremony of new Odisha Chief Minister Mohan Majhi and his council of ministers on Wednesday.

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Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma also played a pivotal role in the election campaign of the BJP in Odisha.

More than 50,000 people witnessed the grand event at Janata Maidan.



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Third BJP govt in Arunachal led by Pema Khandu to be sworn in on Thursday




Itanagar, June 11 (IANS) Pema Khandu, who was re-elected as the BJP legislative party leader on Wednesday, will take charge as Arunachal Pradesh Chief Ministerial for the third straight term on Thursday.

The Governor would administer the oath of office and secrecy to the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers at the Raj Bhavan On Thursday.

Soon After his re-election as the BJP legislative party leader on Wednesday, Khandu accompanied by other leaders met Governor Lt Gen (Retd) K.T. Parnaik at the Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form the government.

Sources said that along with Khandu, several ministers, including outgoing Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein, will also take the oath.

BJP President and Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national General Secretary B.L. Santosh, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and several other Chief Ministers from the northeastern states will attend the oath ceremony.

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Former Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP national General Secretary Tarun Chugh, and the party’s Arunachal in-charge Ashok Singhal were present at the meeting which re-elected Khandu as the legislative party leader.

On Tuesday, the Parliamentary Board of the BJP appointed Prasad and Chugh as the party’s central observers to elect the legislative party leader in Arunachal Pradesh.

The results of the Assembly polls, which were held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections on April 19, were announced on June 2, two days before the declaration of results for the general elections.

The BJP secured 46 seats — five more than its 2019 tally — in the 60-member Arunachal Assembly. Of these, 10 seats, including that of CM Khandu, were won uncontested before the polls.

The National People’s Party (NPP) headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma won 5 seats, followed by the Ajit Pawar-led NCP (3), the People’s Party of Arunachal (2), the Congress (1), while 3 seats were won by Independent nominees.

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The NPP, the NCP, and the PPA have already announced their support to the BJP government.

Monpa community leader Khandu (45) first became the Chief Minister in 2016 after he, along with several MLAs, left the Congress for the PPA before joining the BJP.

The BJP registered its first electoral victory in Arunachal in the 2019 Assembly elections.



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17 new faces in Chandrababu Naidu’s team




Vijayawada, June 12 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu’s 24-member ministerial team, which was sworn-in along with him on Wednesday, has 17 fresh faces as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief has given preference to young leaders.

The remaining seven had served as ministers either in Chandrababu Naidu’s Cabinet in bifurcated Andhra Pradesh or in the united one.

All the three ministers from Jana Sena and the lone minister from BJP have been inducted in the Cabinet for the first time.

Majority of the 20 ministers from TDP are young leaders with some of them elected to the Assembly for the first time.

In all, nine of the ministers in Naidu’s Cabinet were elected to the Assembly for the first time.

The most prominent fresh face is Jana Sena leader and actor Pawan Kalyan, who is set to be appointed Deputy Chief Minister.

The 56-year-old has been elected to the Assembly for the first time.

Pawan Kalyan, who studied till Intermediate, made his electoral debut from Pithapuram constituency in Kakinada District.

The younger brother of megastar Chiranjeevi, Pawan Kalyan is among three ministers from Jana Sena in Naidu’s government.

Jana Sena won all 21 Assembly seats it contested.

Pawan Kalyan’s close aide and Jana Sena’s Political Affairs Committee Chairman N Manohar has also been inducted into the Cabinet.

The 60-year-old has become a minister for the first time. Son of former chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh Nadendla Bhaskar, he served as Assembly Speaker in united Andhra Pradesh from 2011 to 2014.

Manohar, who did MBA from Osmania University, was elected from Tenali constituency in Guntur District. A three-time MLA, he quit the Congress to join Jana Sena in 2018.

Interestingly, Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh, who was part of the earlier TDP Cabinet, is also a first-time MLA.

Lokesh, K. Atchannaidu, Kollu Ravindra, P. Narayana and N Md Farooq were all ministers in the TDP government between 2014 and 2019.

Kolusu Parthasarathy and Anam Ramanarayana Reddy had served as ministers in Congress governments in a united Andhra Pradesh.

Farooq had also served as minister in the TDP government in an undivided state.

Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, who hails from Nellore District, had quit YSR Congress Party to join TDP last year.

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A senior minister in the Congress governments between 2004 and 2014, he was upset over his non-inclusion in the Cabinet by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The 72-year-old was elected from Atamkur constituency in the recent polls.

He was first elected to the Assembly in 1983 as a TDP candidate. He had switched loyalties to the Congress in 1991.

Kolusu Parthasarathy had quit YSRCP to join TDP early this year and Naidu had promised him a Cabinet berth.

The senior leader, who comes from undivided Krishna District, had served as a minister in the Congress government in united Andhra Pradesh.

After the state’s bifurcation in 2014, he joined YSRCP.

Lokesh, who is TDP General Secretary, is also a first time MLA. In 2017, he was elected to the Legislative Council and served as minister for information technology and rural development in the Cabinet headed by his father.

The 41-year-old, who has done MBA from Stanford University, was elected from Mangalagiri constituency in Guntur District. He had lost from the same constituency in 2019.

Atchannaidu, who retained Tekali seat in Srikakulam District, has once again found a place in Naidu’s Cabinet. The six-time MLA is currently the President of the TDP’s Andhra Pradesh unit.

The 54-year-old, who is a graduate, served as minister of handlooms, textiles, Backward Classes welfare, empowerment and information & public relations in the TDP government between 2017 and 2019. He is the younger brother of former Union minister late K Yerran Naidu and uncle of K. Ram Mohan Naidu, who was inducted as a minister in the PM Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet on Sunday.

Kollu Ravindra has also become a minister once again. He had served as minister for excise and BC welfare between 2014 and 2019.

The 51-year-old has studied BA, LLB. Elected from Machilipatnam constituency in Krishna District, Ravindra is a member of the TDP politburo, the highest decision-making body of the party.

Ponguru Narayana, founder of Narayana Group of Institutions, is one of the highly educated ministers. The 68-year-old had served as minister for municipal administration and urban development between 2014 and 2019. Naryana, who has done MSc and PhD, was elected from Nellore City constituency in Nellore District in the recent elections.

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N. Md Farooq is the lone Muslim minister in the Cabinet. The 74-year-old was re-elected from Nandyal constituency in Nandyal District.

Farooq, who has studied up to PUC, served as a minister in Naidu’s Cabinets both in undivided Andhra Pradesh and in the bifurcated state.

A four-time MLA, he had also served as Deputy Speaker of the Assembly in united Andhra Pradesh.

Vasamsetti Subhash is among the first-time MLAs who have become ministers.

Belonging to the Settibalija (BC) community, he was elected from Ramachandrapuram constituency in Ambedkar Konaseema District.

He has studied B.Sc, LLB and he had resigned from the YSRCP to join the TDP a few months before elections.

Vangalapudi Anitha is one of the three women ministers in the new Cabinet. Elected from Payakaraopeta constituency in Visakhapatnam District, the 45-year-old is a first-time minister.

A member of the TDP politburo, she has done Masters in arts and literature.

Nimmala Rama Naidu is also a new face in the Cabinet. In the recent elections, he was elected for a third time from Palakonda in West Godavari District. The 55-year-old has done MA, M. Phil and PhD.

Payyavula Kesav is one of the key TDP leaders, who has been finally rewarded with a Cabinet berth. He had entered politics in 1994 and was recently elected to the Assembly from Uravakonda in Anantapur District for the seventh time.

He had retained the seat even in 2019 when there was a YSRCP wave.

At 42, Kondapalli Srinivas is one of the youngest ministers in the new Cabinet. He is the first-time MLA from Gajapathinagaram constituency in Vizianagaram District. Hailing from a political family, Srinivas is a software engineer who had been actively participating in social service.

Gummadi Sandhyarani is another first-time minister. She is also the first-time MLA, having been elected from Saluru constituency in Parvathipuram Manyam District. The 51-year-old has studied B.Sc. In 1999, she had unsuccessfully contested for the Assembly on a Congress ticket. She later joined the TDP but could not win the elections in 2009 and 2014.

Anagani Satya Prasad is a three-time MLA from Repalle in Bapatla District. The 52-year-old is a graduate.

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Dola Balaveeranjaneya Swamy has been elected to the Assembly for a third-consecutive term from Kondapi in Prakasam District. The 54-year-old is a MBBS and worked at a primary health centre in Kondapi.

Gottipati Ravi Kumar was recently elected for the Assembly for the fourth-consecutive time from Addanki in Bapatla District. The 48-year-old has done engineering and is in the granite business. In 2009, he was first elected to the Assembly on a Congress ticket. He retained the seat as YSRCP candidate in 2014 but joined the TDP in 2016. He won the seat again in 2019 and 2024 on a TDP ticket.

Kandula Durgesh of Jana Sena is also a first-time MLA who has made it to the Cabinet. He began his political career with the Congress party and was defeated in 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Rajahmundry constituency. He joined Jana Sena in 2018. He contested unsuccessfully as Jana Sena candidate from Nidadavole in West Godavari District.

The TDP’s BC Janardhan Reddy was elected to Banaganapalli constituency in Nandyal District for a second time. The 55-year-old has studied up to eighth standard.

Satya Kumar Yadav is the only BJP representative in the Cabinet. He is a first-time MLA, having been elected from Dharmavaram constituency in Sri Sathya Sai District in the recent elections. He has done MA in political science. He served as Personal Secretary of former Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. In 2018, he was appointed National Secretary of the BJP. He is currently co-incharge of BJP in Uttar Pradesh and incharge for Andaman and Nicobar.

TG Bharath, who has done MBA in UK, is a first-time MLA. The 48-year-old was elected from Kurnool constituency. He is the son of former minister TG Venkatesh.

S Savitha was elected to the Assembly for the first time in recent elections from Penukonda in Sri Sathya Sai District. She is the daughter of former MP and minister S. Ramachandra Reddy.

Mandipalli Ram Prasad Reddy is one of the youngest ministers in the new Cabinet. The 43-year-old is a first-time MLA from Rayachoti in Annamayya District. He had quit YSRCP to join TDP in December 2023.



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Shivraj Chouhan takes up 100-day action plan for agriculture sector




New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday held a detailed discussion with senior officials on the 100-day action plan of the ministry.

Agriculture Minister Chouhan told the officials that they should focus their entire attention on farmer-oriented works so that work can be done speedily as per the sankalp (resolution) of the Prime Minister, the ministry said in a statement.

He said that the availability of quality fertilizers, seeds and other inputs to farmers should be ensured on a priority basis. The Agriculture Minister asserted that the farmers should not face any problem in this regard and special care should be taken on this.

He emphasized that agricultural production and productivity should increase in the country, and there is a need to implement a concrete action plan so that the country can export quality agricultural products to other countries of the world and meet domestic needs as well.

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In the meeting, senior officials gave presentations of department-wise schemes.

Union Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Ram Nath Thakur and Bhagirath Chaudhary, Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja and other senior officials were present at the meeting.



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