Civilians Struggle as Transport Unions call for Strike in Tamil Nadu

The public buses in Tamil Nadu refused to function on January 5, 2018, in the wake of an indefinite strike called by 12 transport unions across the state, as reported by NDTV. The strike was announced on the evening of January 4th after the demands of the state transport workers union regarding salary increment was turned down by Transport Minister MR Vijayabaskar. A large number of commuters were left stranded at the bus stands as only a few buses plied in Chennai and other cities.

Reports from Times of India stated that the key demand of the transport workers was a hike in their wages, making it equivalent to the salary of the drivers in state government corporations. While the government was ready to boost the wages by 2.44%, the union insisted for 2.57% raise. The demands of the Labour Progressive Federation was supported by opposition party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) minister M. Shanmugam.

However, the workers associated with the ruling party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) refrained from joining the strike. Following the strike, A. Soundarrajan of Centre of Indian Trade Unions said that they would like to have further negotiations to solve the matter. Nonetheless, Vijayabaskar stated that the wage growth offered by the government is indisputable and advised the workers to return to their duties. He also added that the strike was a political agenda planted by the opposition party.

Tamil Nadu houses a navy of 22,500 buses with a workforce of 1.4 lakhs. The capital city, Chennai holds around 3,500 buses, as reported by Times of India. Thus the strike has put the citizens in a situation of inconvenience as 15,000 buses remained off the streets. This resulted in the unmanageable crowd in the Metro and suburban trains. Auto rickshaws took advantage of the situation and overcharged their passengers.

AIADMK Crisis: TN Governor meets Rajnath Singh

Amid an ongoing political crisis in Tamil Nadu the Governor C Vidyasagar Rao met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on September 19.

A day after the disqualification of 18 MLAs  owing allegiance to the rebel AIADMK(All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagamleader) TTV Dhinakaran, Rao met the Home Minister at his residence in New Delhi. According the TOI, the Governor informed the Home Minister about the current political development in Tamil Nadu, in the 20-minute meeting.

Rao arrived a day earlier in Delhi and met President Ram Nath Kovind and the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.  The opposition parties and the and the rebels of the AIADMK legislators have urged the Governor to convene the assembly for a floor test at the earliest. Rao is yet to take a decision on the Chief Minister K. Palaniswami  vote of confidence.

The disqualified MLAs accused Palaniswami of being corrupt and  said they had no confidence in him.

The Governor is scheduled to fly on the afternoon of September 19 to Chennai, where he will meet the CM to discuss his approach on summoning the assembly .

Sasikala ousted as AIADMK General Secretary

V K Sasikala, who appointed herself as the General Secretary of AIADMK after the death of Jayalalithaa, has been ousted from the party. The decision helped to create a stronghold for Tamil Nadu chief minister E. Palanisamy and O Panneerselvam. The former interim chief of the party is currently doing her sentence for a disproportionate assets case in which Jayalalithaa and Sasikala were investigated for.

The same people who took the decision to make Sasikala the interim chief made the decision today to remove her from the party.

Some reports state that the party is planning on removing TTV Dinakaran too. However, he states that he is still part of the party and serves as the deputy general secretary.

The General Council amended the laws to remove the post of a general secretary in the party thus paving the way for the dismissal of TTV Dinakaran too. The party members believe that Jayalalithaa will remain as the General Secretary and no one can take her place. This was stated as the reason to remove the post.

According to The Hindu, Dinakaran told reporters, “They (Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O Paneerselvam and others) selected Sasikala as the General Secretary. But after Sasikala went to jail they started taking steps arbitarily”.

Sources: News18, ET

Sasikala’s lawyer to seek her transfer from Bengaluru prison to Chennai jail

On February 14, Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on disproportionate assets case and convicted Sasikala and her relatives J Ilavarasi and V N Sudhakaran. Now, jailed AIADMK general secretary, Sasikala’s lawyers are trying to seek her transfer from Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara jail to Chennai’s Puzhal Central Prison.

According to the procedures, Sasikala’s lawyers have to apply either to the superintendent of ParappanaAgrahara jail or approach the Karnataka law minister. “It is up to the consent of the two states. We will move the plea to Karnataka government Karnataka government which will in turn forward our request to the Tamil Nadu government,” said N D S Kulasekharan, Sasikala’s counsel.

Sasikala’s counsel said that they are considering to move to the Supreme Court with a review petition. Sasikala has to file a review petition within 30 days of the proclamation of her verdict.

B V Acharya, the special public prosecutor in the disproportionate assets case said, according to the jail guide, shifting a prisoner could be decided among the top officials of the two prisons. He also added, “However, Sasikala’s case is different. She has been imprisoned in the Karnataka jail as per the directions of the Supreme Court. According to me, she cannot be shifted without the SC’s permission. If they do so without informing the apex court, then it can be challenged.”

Sources – TOI, IndiaTv

Image source – NewsMinute

 

DMK moves Madras High Court, questioning the trust vote

On Monday, DMK party moved to Madras High Court, challenging the floor test conducted in Tamil Nadu assembly on February 18th, 2017. In the trust vote process, AIADMK leader E Palaniswami won with the support of 122 MLAs, but this led to a violent protest by DMK leaders.

Palaniswami was sworn in as the Chief Minister following Sasikala’s arrest in the disproportionate assets case. However, he was asked by governor C Vidyasagar Rao to prove his majority in the assembly in 15 days.

MK Stalin, DMK’s executive leader termed this floor test as a “murder of democracy” and appealed to C Vidyasagar Rao to nullify it. The decision to move to the court comes a day after DMK announced its state-wide hunger strike on February 22, as a revolt against the proceedings of the TN assembly.

Due to the chaos, assembly was adjourned twice by the speaker and DMK leaders were expelled, post which the situation escalated.

The bench of Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice R Mahadevan has asked R Shanmugasundaram, a Rajya Sabha member to file a petition, so that the hearing can take place on February 21.

Sources: Indian Express, Firstpost

CM Palaniswami announces closure of 500 liquor shops in Tamil Nadu

Chennai, February 20: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday, February 20 announced the closure of 500 state-run liquor retail outlets.

According to NDTV, the announcement was made by Palaniswami in his first formal press conference as a part of late AIADMK head J Jayalalithaa’s promise to usher in prohibition in the state in a phased manner.

With the passing of the order, there will be around 5,000 TASMAC shops in the state. Earlier, there were a total 6,000 shops in the state before. This was among the first five orders Palaniswami signed as Chief Minister.

Late Jayalalithaa in May 2016 announced the closing of 500 Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) retail outlets as part of her assembly poll promise on implementing prohibition.

Along with this Palaniswami, who was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state on February 16, also announced an Amma two-wheeler scheme by which women will get a 50 percent subsidy, with an upper ceiling of Rs 20,000, to purchase a scooter. This also was an election promise. Special housing scheme for the benefit of 5,000 fishermen was also announced.

SOURCES-

1.TIMES OF INDIA- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/tamil-nadu-cm-palaniswami-orders-closure-of-500-tasmac-shops-unveils-amma-two-wheeler-scheme/articleshow/57248847.cms

2. NDTV- http://www.ndtv.com/tamil-nadu-news/tamil-nadu-chief-minister-palaniswami-announces-closure-of-500-liquor-shops-1661437

3. INDIAN EXPRESS

E Palaniswamy’s government cleared the floor test to win power

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy won the floor test with 122 MLAs in his favor after high drama and violence over secret ballot demand in Tamil Nadu assembly.

Former chief minister O Panneerselvam lost his last chance to turn to the CM seat as only 11 MLAs were on his side. The rest of opposition legislators from DMK and IUML were evicted, while the congress members walked out in protest. Therefore Palaniswamy government won the confidence vote with only AIADMK legislators present in the assembly.

The House witnessed two adjournments on Saturday due to the conflict over postponing the assembly and ballot voting as Speaker P Dhanapal was in favor of holding division vote while the opposition parties and the rebel AIADMK insisted on holding a secret-ballot voting. The assembly soon turned into a war zone as chairs were flung, tables turned over assembly notes torn, and even the speaker’s microphone was broken amidst the chaos.

Surprisingly the CM Palaniswamy, rebel Paneerselvam, and AIADMK MLAs remained seated and did not react to the chaos, the DMK legislative created a ruckus. Opponent M K Stalin attracted press by showing his torn shirt. He rushed to the Raj Bhavan to meet the Governor and complain about the incidents.

The floor test in the Assembly happened for the first time in the state in about 30 years.High security was arranged outside the Assembly to prevent any turmoil.

News Sources: Indian Express, Times of India

Image Source: PTI