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Ex-Tamil Nadu CM Panneerselvam faces triangular contest in Ramanathapuram LS seat



Chennai, April 7 (IANS) Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O. Panneerselvam will be facing a stiff challenge in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as he is locked in a triangular contest in the state’s Ramanathapuram Parliamentary constituency.

Panneerselvam is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Ramanathapuram as an Independent candidate. He is being supported by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). His election symbol is ‘Jackfruit’, and in every public meeting he has been participating, he displays the symbol, and at times the jackfruit, to ensure it is etched in the minds of the voters.

Sitting MP of Ramanathapuram Lok Sabha seat, Kani K. Navas of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is seeking re-election from the constituency.

The AIADMK, which was an alliance partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, has snapped ties with the BJP.

The AIADMK has fielded P. Jeyaperumal as its candidate for the Lok Sabha polls.

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In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Kani K. Navas won the seat by a margin of 1,27,122 votes defeating the BJP candidate, Nainar Nagendran.

However, Panneerselvam contesting as an Independent candidate has boosted the overall pre-poll mood in the NDA camp.

OPS belongs to the influential Thevar community which has a sizeable presence in south Tamil Nadu including Ramanathapuram constituency.

AIADMK leader P. Jeyaperumal is also a popular candidate in the constituency, which makes the contest a three-cornered one.

Ramanathapuram Lok Sabha constituency has six assembly constituencies in Aranthangi, Tiruchuli, Paramakudi, Tiruvadanai, Ramanathapuram, and Mudukulathur.

While Aranthangi constituency is represented by the Congress, Tiruchuli seat is with the DMK.

Paramkudi seat is with the DMK while Tiruvadanai seat is represented by the Congress.

Mudukualathur and Ramanathapuram seats are with the DMK.

However, the BJP leadership said that elections to the Lok Sabha are entirely different from that of Assembly polls.

Senior BJP leader and former MLA H. Raja, while speaking to IANS, said: “The elections to the Lok Sabha is to decide on who rules the country and the people of Ramanathapuram knows that the NDA is supporting a top leader who is a former chief minister of Tamil Nadu.”

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He also said that the DMK government of Tamil Nadu was facing anti-incumbency and that this would also reflect in the voting at Ramanathapuram.

The senior BJP leader claimed that for the development of Ramanathapuram constituency, people would vote for O. Panneerselvam.

According to political analysts, Panneerselvam’s candidature would lead to a major shift in the AIADMK vote bank as he had been the coordinator of the party before he was expelled and several local leaders of the AIADMK had an emotional connection with him.

A senior AIADMK leader on the condition of anonymity told IANS: “Panneerselvam had helped several ordinary party workers while he was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, in the capacity of an AIADMK leader. Whatever the party says, the workers will not forget him.”

K. Selvanathan, political analyst and psephologist who has been following the southern Tamil Nadu politics for a long time told IANS: “Panneerselvam is making all the difference. His candidature will lead to several AIADMK votes shifting to him. While arithmetically, the INDIA bloc candidate Kani K. Navas has the advantage. But elections always have big surprises in store and Panneerselvam would be giving a tough battle to the sitting MP as well as the AIADMK candidate.”

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Delhi HC issues notice on fresh pleas against NEET(UG) grace marks, paper leak




New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notices in response to four new petitions challenging the award of grace marks and alleging a paper leak in the NEET (UG) Examination held on May 5.

Justice Neena Bansal Krishna of the Vacation Bench sought responses from the National Testing Agency (NTA) on the petitions.

On the petitions filed by candidates Adarsh Raj Gupta, Keya Azad, Mohammed Florez, and Anavadya V., Solicitor General (SG), Tushar Mehta, informed the court that multiple writ petitions regarding the examination have been filed in various courts, including the Supreme Court.

He stated that the issues raised in these petitions broadly fall into three categories: The awarding of compensatory or grace marks, anomalies in certain questions, and the alleged paper leak.

SG Tushar Mehta further noted that the NTA is in the process of filing a transfer plea before the Supreme Court to consolidate all related petitions for a unified hearing.

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In light of this, the Delhi High Court issued notices on the fresh petitions and scheduled them for hearing before the Roster Bench on July 5.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court also issued a notice on a separate plea seeking the cancellation of the NEET (UG) examination due to allegations of a paper leak, with a hearing scheduled for July 8.

Last week, a 17-year-old moved the High Court challenging the NTA over alleged inconsistencies in the NEET (UG) 2024 examination.

The petition, filed by the student’s mother on her behalf, contests the accuracy of the answer key for the exam conducted.

The issue revolves around Question No. 29 in Test Booklet Code R5, where the final answer key, released on June 3, reportedly listed two correct answers.

This contradicts the instructions given in the examination booklet, which clearly stated that only one option could be correct for each multiple-choice question in Section A.

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The petition highlights that the provisional answer key was published by the NTA on May 30 with a window for students to raise objections until May 31.

Despite this, the final answer key considered both options 2 and 4 as correct for the disputed question.

This discrepancy has significant implications for the examinees, it stressed.

The petitioner argues that the NTA’s decision to award marks to students who selected either of the two options unfairly benefits those who guessed or inadvertently marked one of the correct answers.

This, the petition claims, discriminates against candidates who followed the instructions and refrained from marking an answer due to the ambiguity.

The petitioner further contends that this inconsistency has resulted in arbitrary and unfair grace marks, adversely affecting the ranks of students who did not benefit from this decision.

According to the petition, such arbitrary awarding of marks can cause a rank difference of approximately 20,000 places, potentially impacting the future prospects of many candidates.

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Given these grievances, the petitioner has filed a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution, seeking the High Court’s intervention to address the alleged violations and ensure a fair resolution for all affected candidates.

The petitioner seeks a reassessment of the disputed question and a revision of the results to ensure equity and fairness in the examination process.

The High Court has sought NTA’s stand on the matter.



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Haryana declares solid waste exigency in Gurugram




Chandigarh, June 12 (IANS) Haryana Chief Secretary T.V.S.N. Prasad on Wednesday said due to the alarming levels of untreated waste in Gurugram the government has declared a municipal solid waste exigency under Section 22 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

In order to address the critical waste management issues, SWEEP (Solid Waste Environment Exigency Program) has been initiated.

He said the SWEEP program, spearheaded by a high-level committee, including the Divisional Commissioner, aims to overhaul waste management in Gurugram.

He said the committee is tasked with implementing a three-tier system for waste collection, segregation, transportation, processing, and disposal across all 35 wards of Gurugram and GMDA areas.

Additional measures include establishing a round-the-clock control room with a helpline for active monitoring, conducting a gap analysis of existing infrastructure, creating a GIS-based map for waste tracking, and developing a robust grievance redressal mechanism.



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Husband kills wife, tries to make it look like suicide




Gurugram, June 12 (IANS) A man was arrested after he allegedly killed his wife and tried to make it look like suicide by hanging her body from a ceiling fan in their house in Gurugram’s Indra colony, police said on Wednesday.

Satish, a resident of the Kannauj district of Uttar Pradesh had a strained relationship with his wife Reena and was also doubted her character. They often fought with each other, police said.

According to the police, on June 10, Sector-40 police station received information that a woman had committed suicide by hanging herself in the Indira Colony.

Police reached the spot where the deceased’s husband Satish Kumar and their two children were found. The police took the body into custody and started an investigation. During the investigation, the police found the matter suspicious and then the police contacted the deceased’s family.

On June 11, the deceased’s brother, Sudama, informed the police that his sister Reena was married to Satish 12 years ago. She was residing with her husband and children in Indira Colony, village Silokhara. Satish used to beat his sister since they got married.

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Thereafter, police interrogated the deceased’s husband thoroughly, who confessed to his crime and told the police that he killed his wife by strangulating her to death over suspicion of her character.

After committing the murder and trying to mislead the police, he told them that his wife had committed suicide by hanging herself.

“The accused has been arrested and further investigation is underway. The accused has confessed to his crime,” Sandeep Kumar, spokesperson of the Gurugram police said.



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PM Modi to leave for Italy on Thursday to attend G7 Summit




New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) In what would be his first overseas visit after assuming office for the third consecutive term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to Italy on Thursday to attend the Group of Seven (G7) Summit being held in Puglia from June 13-15.

PM Modi will be attending the G7 Summit’s Outreach Sessions on Friday at the invitation of Italy’s Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.

“The visit will provide PM Modi an opportunity to engage with other world leaders present at the G7 Summit on issues of importance to India, as also to the Global South,” said Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra.

This will be the 11th time that India will be taking part in the G7 Summit and Prime Minister Modi’s fifth consecutive participation.

The outreach sessions, where PM Modi is going to participate along with leaders of other invited countries, are expected to focus on Artificial Intelligence, energy, Africa and the Mediterranean.

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“India’s regular participation at the G7 Summit clearly points to increasing recognition and contribution of the efforts that India has been consistently making in trying to resolve global challenges, including those of peace, security, development and environment preservation,” said Kwatra.

Prime Minister Modi is also expected to hold a series of bilateral meetings with several leaders on the sidelines of the event.

The Foreign Secretary stated that India will also be participating at the Ukraine ‘Peace Summit’ being held in Switzerland, later this week.

“India will be participating in the Peace Summit at an appropriate level. That consideration is currently going on in the system and as and when we have a decision on the representative from India who will be participating, we will be happy to share,” said the top diplomat.



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POCSO case: Victim's brother moves Karnataka HC seeking Yediyurappa’s arrest




Bengaluru, June 12 (IANS) In a setback to former Chief Minister and BJP Parliamentary Board member B.S. Yediyurappa, a writ petition was submitted in the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday seeking his arrest in a POCSO case lodged against him in Bengaluru before the Lok Sabha elections.

The victim’s brother filed the petition before the high court, claiming that the police have not taken any action though it has been months since the complaint was filed against the veteran BJP leader.

The victim’s mother, who passed away on May 26, had filed a case against Yediyurappa in March this year under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, alleging harassment of her daughter when she went to the former CM’s residence seeking help in a 2015 case of assault.

The petitioner claimed that the CCTV footage from Yediyurappa’s residence was not seized, and neither was a notice served to the BJP under Section 41A, which is a basic step in a POCSO case.

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Earlier, Yediyurappa also approached the high court seeking quashing of the POCSO case against him.

He submitted in his petition that he did not indulge in any unlawful act, and alleged that the complainant had a habit of filing complaints.

“I had attended the interrogation after the FIR was lodged. The police had collected voice samples but did not record my statement,” Yediyurappa claimed.

In March, the victim’s mother had filed complaints against 53 persons, including senior police officers, politicians, and bureaucrats.

Commenting on the case, Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara said on Wednesday that the investigation is going on and the police are gathering more evidence.

Earlier, the Congress government in Karnataka handed over the case to the special wing of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).



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