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Probe ordered into Jayalalithaa’s death, EPS and OPS factions of AIADMK move closer

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Jayalalithaa

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapaddi Palanisami accepts rival O Panneerselvam camp’s demand, commission headed by a retired judge will investigate the death former AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, her Poes Garden residence – Veda Nilayam – will be converted into a museum dedicated to ‘Amma’

In clear signs of a realignment within the faction-ridden AIADMK, Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palanisami, on Thursday, accepted a key demand of his rival camp led by his predecessor – O Panneerselvam – and announced that an enquiry commission will be formed to probe into the circumstances and cause of J Jayalalithaa’s death last year.

The enquiry commission will be constituted under a retired High Court judg, Palanisami said, adding that the order was being given as per the demand of Tamil Nadu’s people. The chief minister also said that Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence in Chennai – Veda Nilayam – will be converted into a museum that would showcase the immensely popular leader’s life and career.

Sasikalaa and Jayalalithaa

EPS, as Palanisami is referred to in political circles, and his loyalists within the AIADMK have been working out a blueprint to bury differences with the camp led by Panneerselvam, known as OPS, and either sideline or win over those within the AIADMK who still owe their allegiance to jailed party chief and Jayalalithaa’s confidante, VK Sasikala .

An enquiry into Jayalalithaa’s death had been one of the key demands of the OPS faction for a truce with EPS. Jayalalithaa, referred to across party lines as Amma – had died on December 5 last year at Apollo hospital in Chennai after a prolonged illness and ever since, there have been speculations about foul play in the death with fingers often being pointed at Sasikala.

In the days prior to Amma’s death, the party had elected Panneerselvam to act as chief minister and he was sworn-in to the office immediately after Jayalalithaa was pronounced dead. However, in the days following her demise, while Sasikala was still contemplating her political moves, Panneerselvam announced that he had “heard the voice of his conscience and of Amma” and will stay on as chief minister. Sasikala’s faction of the party had come out in open rebellion against OPS, calling him a traitor, and imploring Sasikala to take over as chief minister.

However, the Supreme Court convicted Sasikala for four years in a disproportionate assets case, effectively nixing any chance of her taking on the executive role after which EPS was sworn-in as chief minister. The party has ever since been divided into three factions, those led by Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, OPS and EPS.

EPS OPS

Palanisami’s announcement of the probe into Amma’s death comes days after Dhinakaran held a ‘show of strength rally’ in Madurai in which 20 AIADMK and independent legislators had participated. EPS had removed Dhinakaran from the post of AIADMK deputy general secretary earlier this month.

There is still no word on another pre-condition that the OPS-led Puratchi Thalaivi Amma faction had put forth before Palanisami for a truce and merger of the two rival camps – that Sasikala and her family members – known within the AIADMK circles as the Mannargudi Mafia – be expelled from the party. However, if the two factions indeed move towards a merger, sources say, Sasikala’s ouster from the AIADMK chief’s post would be certain.

The merger between these rival AIADMK factions is crucial for the party to get back its election symbol – two leaves – which the Election Commission had suspended after the split. Also, since Amma’s demise, the party has been floundering in search of one leader behind which the cadre can stand firmly. This has left the political space in Tamil Nadu wide open for the party’s principal political rival – M Karunanidhi’s DMK. Perhaps more importantly, the factional feuds is also giving a golden opportunity to the BJP to either gain its own space in Tamil Nadu politics or work towards an alliance with whichever faction of the AIADMK gives it more tactical strength.

Sources say that the EPS and OPS factions are aggressively working towards a unification plan – a key aspect of which could be that Palanisami continues as the chief minister while Panneerselvam gets to be the AIADMK general secretary after sacking Sasikala.

Sasikala’s election as AIADMK general secretary is itself pending before the Election Commission. If the poll panel rules against her, OPS could be made the party chief without having to sack Amma’s closest aide of decades. He may also be offered the deputy chief minister’s post.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah deletes post on reservation for Kannadigas in private sector after backlash from business community

the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

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Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday deleted his social media post on the reservation Bill, which reserves seats in groups C and D for Kannadigas only in the private sector, after backlash from the business community.

Announcing the Bill on X, Siddaramaiah said the Cabinet meeting held yesterday approved a bill to make it mandatory to hire 100 per cent Kannadigas for C and D-grade posts in all private industries in the State.

The post further read, “It is our government’s wish that the Kannadigas should avoid being deprived of jobs in the land of Kannada and should be given an opportunity to build a comfortable life in the motherland.” He said that his government is a pro-Kannada government and their priority is to look after the welfare of Kannadigas.

Later after criticism from industry leaders, the Kartnataka CM deleted the post and then shared another post in Kannada that talks about giving reservation of 50% for administrative posts and 75% for non-administrative posts for Kannadigas in private industries and other organizations of the State.

Speaking to the media, Labour Minister Santosh Lad said the government is trying to introduce a law to give preference to locally available skills. He added that at the management level, it has been decided to provide reservations to 50% of the people.

At the non-management level, it has been decided to provide work to 70%, he said. If a particular skill is not available, people can be outsourced and they can be given work here. But the Government is trying to bring in a law to give preference to locally available skills, the minister further added.

In response to the government’s announcement about the passage of the Bill, industry leaders and unions voiced concerns that it would impede industry growth by pushing away skilled workers not protected by the quota. Nasscom, the apex body for the technology industry in India, stated that the Bill was “deeply disturbing”.

Mohandas Pai, a Padma Shri Awardee and former CFO and Board Member at Infosys, also said that the government must focus on increasing jobs, training, and educating Kannada youth instead of driving away investment. Karnataka is India’s best state, adding that he said we should not destroy this. Pai termed the Bill as ‘discriminatory, regressive, and against the Constitution’ even as he attacked the ruling Congress for the decision.

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Maharashtra sends controversial IAS trainee Puja Khedkar back to academy

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Trainee IAS officer Puja Khedkar, who has been the eye of the storm, has been asked by the Maharashtra Government to report back to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie.

A letter from Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary Nitin Gadre stated LBSNAA has suspended district training of Khedkar and has called her back for further necessary action. The letter said she has been relieved from the district training programme of the state government of Maharashtra and has been asked to join the academy by July 23 under any circumstances.

Khedkar had made it to the headlines for her alleged demands of a separate office and official car, besides using a beacon on her private luxury car without official sanction.

Earlier this month, a report regarding Khedkar and her father’s objectionable behaviour was sent by Pune District Collector Suhas Diwase to the state government.

Reports said Khedkar completed her MBBS and then appeared for the UPSC exams several times. According to her, she joined the IRS in 2019. In a later interview she said she could not join the IRS since there were some technical problems in the OBC allocation of her seat.

Thereafter, in November 2021, she applied and got appointed as the assistant director in the Sports Authority of India. She then appeared for the Civil Services Examination in 2021 and cleared the preliminary exam, the main examination, and the interview, securing the 821st rank.

However, she failed to present herself for a medical test to confirm disability claims of blindness and mental illness due to which she was getting benefits under the category of Persons with Benchmark Disabilities. Consequently, this persisted as a legal battle in Central Administrative Tribunal against UPSC.

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Supreme Court issues notice to CBI, ED on Manish Sisodia bail plea

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Manish Sisodia

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the bail pleas moved by former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The Supreme Court’s decided to issue notice to the two agencies after arguments on Sisodia’s petitions for bail in two cases relating to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped Delhi liquor policy. The court granted two weeks to the agencies to file their views.

“Views of agencies have to be heard before any decision is taken,” said Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, pointing at the seriousness of the charges slapped on Sisodia. The former Delhi Deputy CM has been under judicial remand since February 2023 over corruption and money laundering charges.

According to Sisodia’s counsel, the charges against him are politically motivated and lack enough evidence. The counsel had sought bail on medical grounds, to which the CBI or ED objected, saying his release might hamper the ongoing investigation into the case by influencing the witnesses or tampering with evidence.

According to the CBI and ED, Sisodia’s involvement in the liquor policy scheme was responsible for substantial state revenue loss and worked in favor of private liquor vendors.

Manish Sisodia, known for his transformational work in the field of education under the Delhi government, is not the only Aam Aadmi Party leader in jail. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Satyendar Jain are also behind bars. While Kejriwal is jailed in connection with the liquor policy case, Jain is in prison for corruption charges.

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