TN This Week: Urban Local Body Polls Declared, Parties Begin Seat-Sharing Talks
Image Credit: Prakash R
The state election commission declared dates for the much awaited and long pending urban local body (ULB) election this week. Read more
Ahead of the ULB poll, a squabble erupted between allies All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP MLA Nainar Nagendran accused the AIADMK of lacking “spine and manliness in the assembly”. The AIADMK retorted in the same derogatory manner asking Nagendran to prove his “manliness” by winning without his ally’s support.
Just as the state is heading towards the ULB polls, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MLA KP Sankar reportedly manhandled an official of the Chennai corporation. The DMK immediately removed him from the post of DMK Tiruvottiyur (West) secretary on February 28.
AIADMK also sacked a senior leader from a party post on the same day. Rajya Sabha MP A Navaneethakrishnan was removed from the legal wing secretary post after he lavished praises on counterparts in rival DMK.
In an unfortunate turn of events, six teenage students drowned while bathing in the Amaravathi river in Dharapuram, Coimbatore on january 24.
COVID-19: RESTRICTIONS EASED
The number of daily fresh COVID-19 cases dipped in Tamil Nadu this week – from 30,744 on January 22 to 26,533 on January 28. However, the daily death count went up from 33 to 49 on the respective days.
The Tamil Nadu government has simultanesouty eased the pandemic protocols. The state has permitted schools to hold physical classes for students from classes I to XII starting February 1 and has allowed opening places of worship on all days of the week.
Meanwhile, People’s Federation Against Compulsory Vaccination staged a demonstration in Madurai on January 24 against mandatory vaccination against COVID-19.
SEAT-SHARING TALKS UNDERWAY
With the urban local body polls (ULB) around the corner, the Secular Progressive Alliance comprising DMK, Indian National Congress (INC), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and others are continuing their pact onward.
Seat-sharing talks are underway between the AIADMK and the BJP. The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) that drifted away from the alliance wants to lay a foundation for the future of the party in these polls.
Meanwhile, overwhelmed by success in the rural local body polls held in 2021, the fans of actor Vijay are contesting the ULB polls as independent candidates.
The Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM), headed by actor-turned politician Kamal Hassan, has already released two lists of candidates and released the third this week.
The Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) initiated election work by forming 15 committees.
BJP’S ATTEMPT AT COMMUNALISING FLOPS
BJP’s attempts to communalise the death of a 17-year-old student seems to have backfired heavily. The party’s Thanjavur district minority wing secretary countered his party’s allegation and said that there was no religious conversion angle to the girl’s death.
The video of the juvenile captured by a local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) functionary where she is seen accusing the hostel warden of forced conversion, is reportedly doctored. Read more
Residents of the Michaelpatti village, where the girl’s school is located, approached Thanjavur collector on January 28 complaining that outsiders are asking them to speak of forced conversions although they are living in harmony.
Another instance of false propaganda by the BJP was pulled up by the cyber wing of the Chennai police. Vinoj P Selvam, State president of the BJP’s youth wing shared an image hinting that the Stalin government is demolishing temples. A case for provocation to cause the offence of rioting and others are registered against him.
Additionally, a group of BJP workers walked into the town panchayat office at Pooluvapatti in Coimbatore district on January 24 with an intent to install a portrait of Prime Minister Narednra Modi, creating tension in the locality.
R-DAY: REJECTED TABLEAU, STATE ANTHEM AND HINDI
The rejected Tamil Nadu Republic Day parade tableau was displayed in the state parade on January 26 in Chennai. The tableau was on a roadshow across the state and reached Madurai on January 28.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials remained seated for the ‘Tamil Thai Vaazhthu’ during the Republic Day celebrations in Chennai and this led to a row. Last year, the DMK-government had issued an order stating that everyone must stand up as a mark of respect for the state anthem. RBI officials, however, have said that they had no such instructions.
In his Republic Day address, Governor RN Ravi underscored the importance of Tamil language; however, he added that the school students should not be deprived of the knowledge of other Indian languages.
Responding to the Governor, the state Minister for Tamil Official Language and Culture said the two-language policy did not affect the state in any way. He further reiterated the State government’s request to the Governor to clear the NEET exemption Bill for Presidential assent.
Earlier in the week, CM Stalin had said, “We are not enemies of any language, let alone Hindi. We are not opposing Hindi. We are opposing Hindi dominance and imposition, not the language.”
PROTESTS FROM ACROSS THE STATE
TNSTC WORKERS DEMAND WAGE REVISION
Government transport workers affiliated to the Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU) and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) staged gate demonstrations at Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) depots on January 24 to demand that the 14th wage talks to finalise remuneration be expedited.
TNSTC workers protest in Madurai. Image courtesy: CITU Tamil Nadu
BETHEL NAGAR FIGHTS EVICTION
Residents of Bethel Nagar have taken to the streets protesting from January 26 after policemen were deployed in the Injambakkam neighbourhood of South Chennai to evict families citing encroachment.
Bethel Nagar residents protesting eviction. Image courtesy: Theekkathir
Meanwhile, the Madras High Court accepted a writ petition from the Bethel Nagar Pathukappu Peravai, which would be heard on January 31.
SUGAR FACTORY CHEATS FARMERS
Thiru Arooran Sugar Factory in Thanjavur has allegedly borrowed loans worth Rs 500 crore in the name of farmers without their knowledge. The sugarcane farmers staged a protest on January 27 demanding the funds due to them and to initiate action against the factory administration.
BADAGAS DEMAND ST STATUS
A group of the indigenous hill community Badaga members, who predominantly live in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, gathered at a Mahatma Gandhi statue at Udhagamandalam on January 26 demanding the Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
‘DON’T OUTSOURCE SANITATION WORK’
Sanitary workers struck work and staged a demonstration in Tirunelveli on January 24 demanding the GOs outsourcing sanitary operations to be annulled.
RAMNAD FISHERMEN INTENSIFY PROTEST
Three fishermen from Pushpavanam coastal village in Nagapattinam district were injured in an attack by suspected pirates from Sri Lanka on January 23 midnight and their properties were stolen.
In protest, Ramnad fishermen threatened to give up their Indian citizenship if the Centre did not ensure the release of all Tamil Nadu fishermen from Sri Lanka.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.