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OPS CM and EPS AIADMK chief? April 22, 2017 15:40

Rumours are striving that, the AIADMK factions have zeroed in to a compromise formula, OPS as CM and EPS as party chief. The ruling AIADMK (Amma) faction on yesterday has announced the formation of a committee under party's senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam to oversee the merger talks between the camps headed by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his predecessor, O Panneerselvam. According to a reports, the ruling AIADMK faction sealed the deal due to “vulnerable state of the government”. The merger is likely to be announced on Monday. “The merger deal has been sealed and formal talks will begin now between the senior leaders of both factions to finalise and announce the decision. Palaniswami will step down for Panneerselvam, and become the party chief. Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, whose properties were raided by Income Tax officials, may be dropped from the cabinet. Former minister and MLA Senthil Balaji may be inducted along with one or two more faces from southern Tamil Nadu,” a senior AIADMK leader said. Other leaders in the ruling faction have started to distance themselves from Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran. Both the factions of the AIADMK had on Friday formed committees to discuss the merger. Panneerselvam’s panel is headed by former AIADMK minister KP Munuswamy, includes senior leaders Mafoi Pandiarajan and V Maitreyan. Panneerselvamhas formed a seven-member committee, which will be headed by Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithiyalingam, and includes ministers C Sreenivasan, KA Sengottaiyan and D Jayakumar among others. By Premji

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Taj visitors made to remove scarves with Hindu religious symbols April 21, 2017 12:13

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials have asked the contestants from several countries for a super model crown, who were visiting the Taj Mahal, to remove the scarves bearing Hindu religious symbols and words like 'Jai Shri Ram'. Right-wing organisations Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), said it has hurt the sentiments of Hindus and have launched high-decibel protests in Agra. ASI superintending archaeologist Bhuvan Vikrama said, "I have written to the CISF asking them to explain what transpired there during the visit. Whatever we know so far is through the media only. The models were quite happy with the visit. There was no complaint, but now after some organizations have taken offence at the alleged act, we have sought to know the details." Brij Bhushan, commandant, CISF, said, "ASI through an order has stated that all sorts of religious symbols are banned from being taken inside a protected monument. Such scarves are among them. Our intention is not to hurt anyone's religious sentiments, but to maintain peace and harmony." Shivendu Dixit, director of the event management company which has organized the group's visit to the Taj, said, "There was no issue at all. The models were travelling from Mathura and to avoid the heat some of them had bought scarves from there. Some might have religious faith also. Actually, it was the guide who first told the models to remove the scarves and it was reiterated by security officials." Sunil Sharma, city coordinator (enrollment cell), BJYM, said, "Our intention is not to stoke religious sentiments, but we will enter the Taj wearing saffron attire and scarves on Saturday. We will see how they stop us. This is our government. Officials cannot hurt people's sentiments." Avinash Rana, general secretary, HJM (Agra), said, "In past also such incidents had happened, but now we will not tolerate this. It is shameful that ASI and CISF officials behaved in this irresponsible manner. Why don't they stop people wearing skull caps from entering?" By Premji

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Babri Masjid case, BJP leaders to be tried - Supreme Court April 19, 2017 15:26

The Supreme Court has given directive to complete the trial against BJP leaders accused of conspiracy to demolish the Babri Masjid. The court has said that Uma Bharti, Modi's water resources minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veterans L. K. Advani and M. M. Joshi, should face the trial on criminal conspiracy charges for making inflammatory speeches that has incited Hindus to tear down the 16th century mosque. The court's decision to order the trial and for it to be completed within two years, will be a blow to the BJP and revive the debate about the brand of Hindu nationalism within Modi's party. The BJP is committed in building a temple on the site of the mosque, which Hindus consider as the birthplace of SriRam, "within the framework of the constitution". It is for the courts to decide whether Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and other BJP leaders accused in the case have actually conspired to get the structure razed. For the BJP, the order could be a blessing in disguise. It could mean an opportunity to keep the Hindutva pot boiling and serving the Ram Mandir issue hot in the 2019 elections. A speedy and almost day-to-day trial of the case would ensure that the issue, the BJP and its affiliates are holding close to their heart since Independence continues to dominate headlines. The trial is bound to get a lot of attention because of the involvement of the BJP's top brass. It could end as a PR heist for the Hindutva brigade. If Advani, Joshi and other alleged conspirators get indicted, the party would do everything to showcase them as martyrs to the Hindutva cause, a strategy, like the Ram Mandir movement, become a dominant theme in elections, where the majority is already looking to assert itself and has several grievances, both imaginations and real, against the minorities. If they are let off by the courts, BJP could always claim the high moral ground, arguing how its leaders, like Sita, faced an agni pariksha and emerged clean. By Premji

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Vijay Mallya arrested in London April 18, 2017 16:20

Fugitive, Vijay Mallya who has fled India after duping the banks by not repaying the loans has been arrested by the Scotland police. He will be produced before a majistrate shortly. He is expected to be extradited to India. Mallya is wanted in several economic offences cases, including defaulting on loans worth crores of rupees. “The UK Home department on February 21 conveyed that the request of India for extradition of Mallya has been certified by the secretary of state and sent to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a district judge to consider the issue of releasing of warrant,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said. The flamboyant entrepreneur has left India a year ago amid attempts by a group of banks to recover around Rs. 9,000 crores in loans to his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines. Mr Mallya has been charged with cheating and conspiracy by the CBI that has filed a 1,000-page chargesheet against him for defaulting on a 900-crore loan taken from the IDBI bank in 2009. The CBI probe found that 250 crore of this - given to buy aircraft parts - was diverted abroad. The development is a great achievement to the Modi government as the opposition parties had alleged that the government was blind when he fled teh country. The arrest of Mallya will increase the credibility of the Modi government. By Premji

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Begum Jaan Movie Review April 14, 2017 10:14

Begum Jaan (Vidya Balan) owns a brothel house and she stays with her girls in a huge Kotha leading a careless life. It is after Independence, the proposal of partition between India and Pakistan that starts troubling Begum Jaan. She receives notices from the government to vacate the Kotha and she seeks the help of local king (Naseeruddin Shah) after she refuses to vacate. After she refuses to bend under pressure, INC leader Hariprasad (Ashish Vidyarthi) and Muslim league leader, Illyas (Rajit Kapoor) find violent ways to threaten her to leave. Watch Begum Jaan to know what happens next.

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BJP grabs Rajouri Garden, AAP lost deposit April 13, 2017 15:05

In the by-polls to 10 assembly seats in 8 states, BJP has registered a significant victory. The winning spree continues for BJP, while AAP which has won 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi assembly has been routed out in the by-election in the Rajouri constituency. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Harjeet Singh has lost the Assembly election by-poll from Rajouri Garden in Delhi, he came third and lost his deposit. Congress’s Kalale Keshavamurthy has defeated BJP’s V Srinivas Prasad, a former Minister, in Nanjangud by a margin of 21,334 votes, while Geetha Mahadev Prasad, wife of former Minister Mahadev Prasad, who was the Congress candidate in Gundlupet, beat her BJP rival Niranjan Kumar by 10,887 votes. BJP retained the Bandhavgarh Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh after defeating rival Congress by a margin of over 25,000 votes. At Ater in Bhind district, BJP candidate Arvind Singh Bhadoria was leading over his nearest Congress rival Hemant Katare by 637 votes. In the Kanthi-Dakshin [South] by-election in Purba [East] Medinipur district in south Bengal, ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) is comfortably ahead of its nearest rival by a margin of about 40,000 votes. Significantly Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has replaced the Communists and the Congress in Kanthi Dakshin, once considered a bastion of Communist Party of India (CPI). BJP candidate Ranoj Pegu has won the Dhemaji Assembly by-election in Assam defeating his nearest Congress rival Babul Sonowal by 9,285 votes. BJP candidate Shobha Rani is leading by 22,602 votes after ten rounds of counting in the Dholpur Assembly bypoll in Rajasthan. BJP candidate Dr. Anil Dhiman won the Bhoranj (SC) Assembly seat in Himachal Pradesh by 8,290 votes. By Premji

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"Jab hoga toh pata chal jaayega: Congress President Sonia Gandhi April 12, 2017 13:35

Sonia Gandhi will remain as the president of the Congress for a longer period, contrary to earlier reports suggesting that her son and party vice president Rahul to be elevated as the Congress' official head soon. According to a news agency, when Sonia was asked about Rahul's elevation as the party president, she replied in a cryptic manner, stating, "Jab hoga toh pata chal jaayega (You will know when it will happen)." The buzz around organisational changes in the Congress has been doing the rounds for quite some time now. The Congress president has been refraining from attending key party functions and shouldering important responsibilities. It is the Congress vice-president who was taking centrestage in the day-to-day party affairs. Under Rahul's leadership the party has faced humiliating defeats since 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Things for the grand old party looks grim after the Congress has scored badly in the assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand recently. Moreover, Rahul is yet to give the Congress a major election victory under his leadership, the post is expected to remain elusive for him. A section of Congress is opposed to Rahul's elevation, others in the party wanted him to 'officially' take charge of the party, since Sonia is not so active in politics due to health-related issues. By Premji

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Goshamahal BJP legislator Raja Singh booked for hate speech April 10, 2017 15:26

Hyderabad, Goshamahal BJP legislator Raja Singh's hate speech against those opposing Ram temple at Ayodhya has triggered strong reaction from the Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT). "Indian Muslims are not wearing bangles. We will not tolerate your rantings with silence. We warn you Raja Singh," said MBT leader Amjedullah Khan. Khan has approached the Dabeerpura police station to file a complaint against Raja Singh for his provocative statements during the Ramnavami procession. He has lodged a complaint with a copy of Raja Singh's speech on a CD. Based on the complaint, a case was lodged against Raja Singh under Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) of IPC. "We have registered the case after legal opinion. We will decide whether to transfer it to Shahinayathgunj police station," said Dabeerpura inspector D Venkanna Naik. Khan has posted a video reaction to the speech: "Why has Hyderabad police not acted against Raja Singh yet? Why is Telangana government not taking action?" he asked. "We also know how to give you a fitting reply," he said. "With the case of title deed still to be settled in the apex court, Raja Singh's statements are contempt of court," he said in the police complaint. Amjedullah said Raja Singh had taunted Muslims by saying: "Tum hamara pair pakad lo, kahin na kahin tumhara Babar ki masjid bana denge. (Fall at our feet, we will help build your Babar's mosque somewhere)." In the Ram Navami Shobha Yatra, Raja Singh had said: "Ram lalla, hum aayenge. Mandir wahin banayenge. (We are coming. The temple will be built there)." The BJP MLA said that the 'mullah sarkar' has gone in Uttar Pradesh. "Ab tumhari baap ki sarkar hai (now it's our own government)," he told the crowd. MIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owasi said, "I prefer to ignore Raja Singh's remark. Let them speak more. Then Hindus who voted for BJP will realise they have been taken for a ride". By Premji

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EC cancels RK Nagar bypoll April 10, 2017 12:03

The election commission has decided to cancel the by-election to the R K Nagar constituency, which is scheduled on April 12. This comes two days after the income tax department has raided the Tamil Nadu health minister Vijayabaskar and reportedly seized evidence of bribing voters. “The by-election to fill the vacancy in RK Nagar shall be held by the commission in due course when the vitiating effect created by the distribution of money and gift items to lure the electors gets removed with the passage of time and the atmosphere in the constituency becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair election," said a 29-page statement signed by chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi and his two associates and election commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat. I-T officials told the media representatives that the raids had helped to uncover a major plot to bribe voters. The documents unearthed showed that close to Rs 90 crore was distributed to voters in R K Nagar constituency by the AIADMK Amma party which has fielded T T V Dhinakaran. "Before parting with the case, the commission cannot help expressing its anguish over the sordid state of affairs as revealed in the reports of the election expenditure observers, election expenditure monitoring teams, static surveillance teams, flying squad teams, video surveillance teams, as well as the reports of the income tax authorities," the statement said. "Some of the states have particularly excelled in innovating more and more subtle ways to circumvent the statutory provisions enacted by parliament to curb the menace of money power in elections," said the commission. "If not their express consent, their tacit approval to resort to such undesirable activities on the part of their candidates and electoral managers cannot be wished away. It is high time they exerted their moral influence and legal authority to rein in their erring candidates and electoral managers without loss of time if democracy is to flourish and deepen its roots in our country," it said. The commission has directed under Article 324 of the Constitution read with sections 150, 30 and 56 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and further read with Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 and all other powers enabling it in this behalf, that its notification dated March 16 announcing the by-election stands rescinded forthwith. Consequently, all actions and steps taken by the returning officer have been declared null and void, said the EC. By Premji

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Naam Shabana Movie Review March 31, 2017 11:31

Naam Shabana starts with two Indian agents being killed in Austria by Mikhail a mafia don. Shabana (Taapsee) who is on a date with her boyfriend Jay (Taher Shabbir) undergoes an eve-teasing incident that ends up in the death of Jay by the eve-teasers. It is during this time she will be approached by secret agents and she gives her nod to an operation. Succeeding at her first task in eliminating Jay’s killers, she is soon sent out for another mission involving Tony (Prithviraj Sukumaran). The rest of the film is all about what happens next.

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