May be sign of a healthier political trend.
Setting a healthy political trend in Tamil Nadu, where the polity is deeply dominated by personality cult, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday received Opposition Leader M K Stalin at his chamber in the Secretariat. Stalin was being helpful towards the government to the extent of recommending a slew of steps to resolve the perennial crisis plaguing the transport sector.
Such meetings are rare in Tamil Nadu politics in which the rivalry among the head of the ruling party and those of the main opposition parties would be so intense. In fact, Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi, who alternatively ruled Tamil Nadu for a quarter of a century between 1991 and 2016 after Jaya became CM for the first time, never saw each other eye to eye. This is the first time that Stalin is meeting Palaniswami in his chamber while he has held discussions with the latter's predecessor O Panneerselvam when he was Chief Minister after J Jayalalithaa's death.
Armed with a report prepared by DMK leaders on how to reduce loses and restore the transport department to its old glory, Stalin led a delegation of senior leaders to Palaniswami and submitted the document to him. We will convene another all-party meeting and discuss our next course of action. The Chief Minister received the report, but he did not commit anything, Stalin was to say after the cordial enough meeting.
The DMK Working President has been opposing the recent hike in bus fares by the Tamil Nadu government and had even rallied the entire opposition to protest against the ruling party.
In the report submitted to Palaniswami, the DMK recommended removal of existing taxes on diesel like VAT and levy 10 per cent GST, which will result in an annual savings of Rs 1,600 crore for state-run transport corporations, revenue generation through advertisements and courier services by transport corporations, and attaching buses which ply beyond 200 kms to the State Express Transport Corporations.
The government should also upgrade its luxury buses on par with private bus operators who mint by flaunting their services and allot Rs 1,000 crore every year in the Budget for phasing out of old buses and replacing them with new hi-tech vehicles are some of the other recommendations made in the report.
A five-member panel headed by former Union Surface Transport and Shipping Minister T R Baalu prepared the report. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Stalin indicated that the government was non-committal on implementing recommendations made in his party’s report. The transport corporations suffer loses every day and have debts to the tune of `16,000 crore.
Crackdown follows report submitted by 3-member panel
The DMK on Sunday dissolved all its party units in Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency based on the report of the three-member committee that looked into the circumstances that led to the humiliating defeat of the party’s candidate Marudu Ganesh in the recent bypoll.
The committee headed by party whip R. Chakrapani has advocates R. Girirajan and Kannadasan as its members. It submitted its report to the party’s working president M.K. Stalin on Sunday.
The R.K. Nagar constituency is part of DMK’s North Chennai district unit. Though officially it has seven wards, the DMK had divided them into 14 for administrative purposes. Now, all the units in these wards have been dissolved and new party in-charges will be appointed soon.
According to party sources, while the purpose of the probe was to identify the lapses of the partymen in the constituency during the election, the committee had also reported on the role played by money. What worried the party was its candidate’s failure to retain the deposit and the steep erosion in its vote base. In contrast, in 2016, party’s candidate Shimla Muthuchozhan had secured around 56,000 votes despite contesting against the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
A senior leader claimed when the DMK cadres approached local people with a pencil and paper to gather their opinion on the election, many of them came with the ₹20 currency notes allegedly distributed by the winning candidate T.T.V. Dhinakaran’s supporters thinking that the party had come to settle the amount.
The committee in its report also said that in many units people were not active because of age and health problems. The party decided to revamp all the units to prepare them for future elections.
DMK makes final push for RK Nagar constituency.
CHENNAI: Already touted as the frontrunner in byelection to Dr RK Nagar assembly constituency even in the midst of heavy bribing of voters by rival parties, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Friday made a final and firm push by wheeling in its chief M Karunanidhi to Anna Arivalayam — the party headquarters. The ailing DMK chief had not stepped out of his Gopalapuram residence since October 2016 except for his hospital visits and a brief trip to the office of Murasoli — the DMK mouthpiece that he launched when he was just a teenager to propagate views of the Dravidian movement.
Karunanidhi's sudden visit to Anna Arivalayam — his favourite place where he used to spend majority of his time a day —has not just infused cheer among the DMK cadre but has also sent out a message to the R K Nagar electorate that all was well with him. DMK working president and Karunanidhi's son M. K. Stalin, his daughter Selvi and senior leader Durai Murugan accompanied the 93-year-old leader.
The former chief minister's vehicle, which is customized to accommodate his wheelchair, arrived at the Anna Arivalayam on the arterial Anna Salai at around 9 pm on Friday, instantly sending cadre and general public in the area into rapturous smile. DMK cadres emphatically shouted slogans and affectionately called him "Thalaivar." After spending 15 minutes at Anna Arivalayam, Karunanidhi left in his vehicle.
Political analysts view the visit of Karunanidhi, a hardcore political animal, to the DMK headquarters as a masterstroke by the Opposition party six days before electorate in RK Nagar exercise their democratic right. Winning RK Nagar is crucial for the DMK since this is the first election Tamil Nadu faces after the demise of charismatic J. Jayalalithaa and the party has managed to rally the entire opposition behind it for the crucial electoral battle. Anna Arivalayam has been Karunanidhi's third home for the past five decades as he used to drive there early in the morning to read newspapers. Old-timers recall that their leader would spend almost 15 to 16 hours in Arivalayam when he is out of power meeting cadre and party leaders.
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