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IANS Interview: BJP manifesto won't succeed in TN, INDIA bloc aim is to win all seats, says Vaiko

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Chennai, April 16 (IANS) MDMK founder Vaiko is considered a great orator and a strong voice for Tamil nationalism and the Dravidian movement. In an exclusive interview with IANS, the veteran leader said that the election manifesto of the BJP which promised to promote Tamil language and culture would not be accepted by the people of Tamil Nadu. He also said that the aim of the INDIA bloc was to win all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry’s one seat and sweep the 2024 Lok Sabha elections

IANS: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited Tamil Nadu eight times in the last two months and the recently released election manifesto of the BJP has touched upon Tamil Nadu, its language and culture extensively. Is the BJP slated to win at least a few seats in the state in the forthcoming elections?

Vaiko: The Prime Minister has visited Tamil Nadu several times and the BJP promises to open Thiruvalluvar cultural centres globally in its election manifesto. This won’t make any impact for the BJP in Tamil Nadu. These visits by the Prime Minister won’t get the BJP a single seat nor will the party’s new-found love for Tamil Nadu. The people of the state are smart enough to see through the game plan of PM Modi and the people will give a fitting response to the PM and his party from our state.

IANS: You are part of the INDIA bloc. What are the chances of your front in the April 19 Lok Sabha polls?

Vaiko: I don’t have any doubts that the DMK-led INDIA bloc will sweep the elections in Tamil Nadu. We are aiming to win all 39 seats of Tamil Nadu and one seat in Puducherry in the forthcoming elections. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, we won 38 of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.

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IANS: How are you so confident of the DMK-led INDIA bloc sweeping the polls in Tamil Nadu even before the elections?

Vaiko: I have been in politics for several decades and can easily understand the pulse of the people and how they think. Everywhere INDIA bloc leaders go there is a huge welcome from the public. The people of the state wait for long hours just to meet our leaders and to hear what we say. These are clear indications that the people are waiting for the moment to vote for us.

IANS: Is there any specific reason for such a positive response from the electorate?

Vaiko: Yes indeed, there are reasons for this fabulous response and love from the people. First there is a people-friendly government at the helm in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of Chief Minister Stalin. The Chief Minister introduced several welfare measures for the people of the state ever since the DMK government assumed office. These people-friendly schemes are of immense help to the citizens. The breakfast scheme for schoolchildren and the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thogai (KMUT) scheme that puts Rs 1,000 into the account of women heads of families each month are path-breaking measures. The Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam scheme of taking healthcare to the doorstep of the people is another revolutionary scheme of the Stalin government.

I can count many welfare schemes that have been successfully implemented ever since the DMK government under Stalin assumed office in Tamil Nadu. The care shown by the Stalin government is being reciprocated by the people of the state and they wait for hours to have a glimpse of the INDIA bloc leaders. My experience in electoral politics has given me the required insight to tell you that it will be a sweep for the DMK-led front in Tamil Nadu.

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IANS: What’s your opinion about the General Elections at the national level?

Vaiko: Nationally, the BJP and its allies cannot repeat the 2019 performance. The BJP’s allies cannot win more seats in Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Its strength lies in North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. However in Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was instrumental in bringing the BJP back to power in MP has been sidelined. This will lead to the Congress winning more seats in Madhya Pradesh. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar also, the BJP will not be able to repeat its earlier performance and the Congress will gain.

IANS: How do you rate the preparations of the Congress in the elections at the national level to take on the BJP?

Vaiko: The Congress party is united this time and has done proper groundwork. This was not the case six months ago. The Congress has settled all its differences and is now fighting the elections unitedly in a more cohesive manner. This is necessary for the country because if the BJP comes back to power, they will change the Constitution. Power has gone to the head of the BJP and PM Modi is trying to take the country towards the Presidential form of government like in the US.

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IANS: The principal Opposition party of Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK has come out of the BJP alliance and is fighting the polls on its own alliance. What are the chances of the AIADMK in the elections?

Vaiko: The AIADMK’s move to come out of the BJP alliance was a good political decision on their part. Though the AIADMK is weakened in Tamil Nadu, it will still get more votes than the dissidents who are out of the party.

IANS: The AIADMK and the BJP have accused the DMK government of ignoring the drug menace in TN. Your comments?

Vaiko: Drugs were there during every government’s tenure but the DMK government has taken stringent measures against them and crushed this menace with an iron hand. The Opposition is raising the allegations for the sake of it and there is nothing more to it.

IANS: Your son Durai Vaiko is contesting from the Tiruchi Lok Sabha seat as an INDIA bloc candidate. The DMK wanted him to contest on the ‘Rising Sun’ symbol but you insisted that your son cannot contest on that symbol. Your comments?

Vaiko: There is no problem at the grass root level. We told the DMK leadership that we would not contest on its symbol as we would have to resign from the MDMK and join the DMK, which was not possible. Things have changed and Durai Vaiko will win easily.

–IANS

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LS polls: MK Stalin says communal forces trembling with fear anticipating defeat

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Chennai, May 26 (IANS) Asserting that communal forces were trembling with fear in anticipation of defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin called upon the DMK cadres to “dedicate the victory of the INDIA bloc to the memory of his father and (late) former chief minister, M. Karunanidhi”.

In a statement on Sunday, Stalin said that M. Karunanidhi’s birth centenary falls on June 3. “The results will be out on June 4. Let us hoist the flag of victory and dedicate the victory of the INDIA bloc to our leader Kalaignar Karunanidhi.”

Stalin said that the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for elections had come in the way of celebrating the centenary of M. Karunanidhi. Still, the election-related work carried out by the party cadres was a tribute to his memory.

The Chief Minister said: “No one could deny his contribution. He upheld federalism and state autonomy.”

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Stalin, also the president of the DMK, said that the party was synonymous with social justice, communal harmony, rights of the ordinary people, and saving Tamils from the onslaught of the “oppressors’ language” and pioneering schemes.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, further targetting the Opposition, said: “We can hear them lamenting on the prospect of the INDIA bloc forming a ‘new India’.”

–IANS

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Delhi fire tragedy: Hospital had been in row earlier over nurse's abusive behaviour

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) The Delhi hospital, where seven children were killed after a massive fire broke out late on Saturday, had faced allegations of abuse to a newborn child in the past.

Care New Born and Child Hospital owner, Dr Naveen Kichi, was arrested on Sunday, had moved the Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of an FIR registered against him in 2021 over the allegation that a hospital nurse had beaten a newborn infant.

In that case, he had contended that the allegations in the FIR as well as the CCTV footage only showed allegations against the nurse and he had nothing to do with the allegations in the FIR.

Later, he chose to withdraw his plea since the police charge sheet did not name him as an accused or as a witness.

Dr Kichi, a resident of Bhairon Enclave, Paschim Vihar, was granted anticipatory bail by the high court in the case in December 2021.

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Meanwhile, a police probe into the incident has revealed that the licence issued to the hospital by the state government had expired on March 31 and doctors holding BAMS degrees were handling Neonatal Intensive care.

According to police, the fire at the hospital was reported to the Vivek Vihar police station around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, following which a police team rushed to the spot. As per Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Chaudhary, all the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people and shifted to East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital.

Delhi Fire Service chief Atul Garg said that seven children were declared dead at the hospital while five other babies are undergoing treatment.

–IANS

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Rajkot game zone fire: Search for missing individuals continues; relatives anxious

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Rajkot, May 26 (IANS) The search for the missing persons in the TRP Game Zone here continued on Sunday a day after a massive fire claimed the lives of at least 35 people including children.

Relatives of those yet to be found or identified among the missing and dead waited anxiously at the site of tragedy as rescue workers continued a relentless search operation.

Meanwhile, several bodies were also awaiting identification at Rajkot Civil Hospital.

“Rescue workers were continuously bringing out charred bodies but no information about my relatives was available. The five missing relatives are Khushali Dusara, Vivekbhai Dusara, Isha Modasia, Smiley, and Himanshu Parmar,” a Rajkot resident, Dilipbhai Modasia, said.

Another city resident, Devikaba Jadeja, said that her father Virendrasinh Jadeja remains missing.

Virendrasinh Jadeja disappeared after he rushed to the upper floor of the game zone to save his son and three other relatives when the fire erupted.

“Authorities are currently listing him as ‘missing’ and we are anxiously waiting for the DNA test results to confirm their identities,” she said.

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Officials have recovered five drums of ethyl acetate, a highly flammable compound, from a repair site at the gaming zone.

Besides, liquor was also seized from the amusement park administrators’ office.

An NDRF team remains on standby at the site of the incident.

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel earlier on Sunday conducted an on-site assessment.

The Chief Minister also visited the Rajkot AIIMS and other hospitals to check on the injured and interacted with the injured and their families.

He also met the families of those who lost their lives, offered condolences, and assured them full support.

Meanwhile, the Rajkot Merchants’ Association has announced that all markets in the city will remain closed until 1 p.m. on May 27.

–IANS

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Gurugram: Man kills girlfriend over 'blackmail', surrenders to police

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Gurugram, May 26 (IANS) A man allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death in Gurugram late on Saturday and then, surrendered to the police, police said on Sunday.

Both the accused and the deceased hailed from Maharashtra’s Akola district.

According to the police, they received information about the murder of a 22-year-old woman in a PG located in Tikri village, under the Sadar police station area, on Saturday night, and a police team, along with forensic science and fingerprint teams reached the spot.

“At the spot, the woman’s body was found lying in a pool of blood. Stabbing marks were found on her head and neck. The post-mortem examination was also conducted,” a senior police officer said.

The man came to the Sadar police station and told the policemen on duty that he had killed his girlfriend.

Police suspect that the matter relates to a love affair.

The woman had reportedly come to the city two to three days ago to meet the man.

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The accused told the police that she had filed a rape case against him in Maharashtra and was blackmailing him. She came to Gurugram in this connection, a quarrel broke out between them, and he killed her in a fit of rage, he said.

“All the facts are being investigated. A case of murder has been registered against the man and he has been arrested,” the SHO, Sadar Police Station, said.

–IANS

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Cyclone Remal: NE states on high alert, local officials asked to be prepared

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Guwahati/Agartala, May 26 (IANS) Ahead of the approaching severe cyclonic storm “Remal”, disaster management authorities and security forces in various northeastern states have been placed on high alert and district administrations asked to take advance precautionary steps.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast, Cyclone Remal, predicted to cross the coast on Sunday midnight, is forecast to make landfall between Sagar Island along West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh and intensify into a severe cyclone.

Currently, a maximum sustained wind speed of 110-120 kmph, gusting to 135 kmph, prevails around the cyclone centre.

The outer cloud band lies over coastal areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal leading to heavy rainfall activity. The cyclone is under the continuous surveillance of the Kolkata Doppler Weather Radar, an IMD statement said late on Sunday.

The Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur, and Mizoram governments have issued separate advisories and asked the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Forces, district administrations and other departments concerned to remain maximum vigilant and ready to meet any eventualities.

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The Assam government has taken measures to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens in light of the impending increase in rainfall and wind speeds due to cyclone Remal.

The Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said that the IMD has warned of extremely heavy rainfall over Assam along with other northeastern states on May 27 and 28.

Orange alert has been issued for Dhubri, South Salmara, Bongaigaon, Bajali, Tamulpur, Barpeta, Nalbari, Morigaon, Nagaon, Hojai, and West Karbi Anglong districts and Red Alert for extremely heavy rainfall in Chirang, Goalpara, Baksa, Dima Hasao, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj districts, an ASDMA statement said.

It said that squally winds of 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph are likely over south Assam and Meghalaya on Monday.

A Meghalaya government notification said that the state government urged residents to remain vigilant, ensure that emergency kits are prepared, avoid unnecessary travel during this period and stay updated with the latest weather reports.

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In light of the imminent weather threat, authorities emphasised the importance of preparedness. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cyclones provide essential guidelines for emergency responses, the notification said.

The Tripura government, in view of the cyclonic storm “Remal”, has closed all educational institutions including universities on May 27 and 28.

Tripura Revenue Secretary Brijesh Pandey said that in view of cyclone Remal’s impact on the coastal region of West Bengal, including Kolkata, all kinds of flight operations in the Kolkata-Agartala route were suspended till 9 a.m. on Monday.

However, the flight services on other routes — Agartala-Guwahati, Agartala-Delhi, and Agartala-Bengaluru — are operating normally.

The first cyclone in the Bay of Bengal in this pre-monsoon season, it has been named “Remal” (or sand in Arabic), according to a system of naming cyclones in the Indian Ocean region.

–IANS

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