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MADURAI: TTV Dhinakaran the rebel AIADMK leader launched his political party on Thursday called 'Amma Makkal Munetra Kazhagam'. At the party launch here, Dhinakaran also displayed the party flag that bore the image of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, and said, "We will win all upcoming elections from now by using latest name and party flag, we will also try to retrieve the two leaves symbol, till then will use cooker symbol."

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LUCKNOW: Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday condemned newly-inducted Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Naresh Agrawal's statement directed at veteran actor and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Jaya Bachchan.

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NEW DELHI : Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday came out in support of Maharashtra farmers calling their march "a stunning example of peoples power". He appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to accept their demands.

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NEW DELHI: Congress President Rahul Gandhi has approved twelve names from his party to contest the biennial Rajya Sabha elections. This includes that of senior journalist Kumar Ketkar, with party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi to contest from West Bengal, Akhilesh Prasad Singh and Lekhram Sahu, who will contest from Bihar and Chhattisgarh respectively.

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NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley filed his nomination papers for the Biennial Elections for the 58 Rajya Sabha seats on Monday in Lucknow. Earlier on Sunday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released a list of 18 candidates for the biennial elections for the 58 Rajya Sabha seats.

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NEW DELHI: Launching a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central Government, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday accused the ruling dispensation of suppressing the voice of the Opposition.

Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2018, Sonia asked that whether India was really a "giant black hole before May 26, 2014?" as claimed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and added that such claims are "an insult to the intelligence of our people."

Accusing the BJP-led Centre of 'suppressing' their voice in the Parliament, she said, "Our freedom is under assault. Today we are embracing a regressive vision. Parliament is a forum for the exchange of views. If you are not allowed to speak, then what is the point?"

Sonia further highlighted the 'growing intolerance' in the country and said that the "voice of the people is being silenced and religious tensions are being fuelled with just one agenda to win the election."

Further criticising the NDA government, the Congress leader said that the 'judiciary is in turmoil' and the Right to Information Act, which was brought to bring transparency, has been put in cold storage.

"Fear and intimidation are order of the day; alternate voices are being silenced, religious tensions are being fuelled, vigilante armies are being let loose with state patronage, society is being polarised with a view to winning election," she said.

Sonia also accused the BJP of persuading people that Congress was a Muslim party. "BJP has managed to persuade people that Congress is a Muslim party. We have always been to temples. When I traveled with Rajiv Gandhi, wherever we used to go, there was always a major temple that we used to visit. But we never made a show of it," she added.

Talking about the performance of the party in 2014 general elections, Sonia averred that the Congress was 'out-marketed' and they really need to develop a new style of connecting with people.

"We have to look how we project our programs and policies. Rahul does insist on having younger and newer talent for the party to grow, but not at the cost of seniors," she said.

Expressing confidence in coming back to power, she said, "We' re (the Congress) going to come back, we're not going to let them (the BJP) come back."

Source: ANI

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NEW DELHI : The TDP on Thursday quit the Modi government, with its ministers P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju (Civil Aviation) and Y.S. Chowdary (Science and Technology) submitting their resignations.

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KOHIMA: Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) leader Neiphiu Rio took over as Chief Minister of Nagaland. Governor P B Acharya administered the oath of office and secrecy to Rio and his 11 Council of Ministers. In a first, the chief minister and council of ministers of a newly-elected government in Nagaland took oath in full public view at the Kohima Local Ground.

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AGARTALA: Biplab Kumar Deb has been announced as the Chief Minister of Tripura and Jishnu Kumar Deb as the Deputy Chief Minister on Tuesday. The announcement was made by Union minister Nitin Gadkari at the state guesthouse in Agartala.

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KOCHI: The move by Communist Party of India (Marxist) to induct Kerala Congress (M) into the Left Democratic Front (LDF) headed by it has received a boost with the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) giving a clean chit to the party chief K M Mani in the infamous bar bribery case.

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KOCHI: The devastating defeat that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) suffered in Tripura has come as a big jolt to the Kerala unit of the party, which has opposed any kind of electoral understanding with Congress. Congress leaders said that the extent of the devastation could have been reduced if not avoided totally if the state leadership of the party had not adopted an adamant stand against party general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s line for electoral adjustments with their party.

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NEW DELHI: Opposition parties should strive to field a common candidate against the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in each constituency in the next Lok Sabha polls and alliance talks among them should start early to allow workers to align themselves, according to senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid.

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RAMANATHAPURAM: Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Wednesday formally began his political journey from former President late A. P. J. Abdul Kalam's residence here and said he is no more a movie star but a lamp in the homes of people. "Like the lamp in your homes you should protect me," Kamal told a gathering here on his way to Madurai.

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RAMESWARAM:  Veteran actor Kamal Haasan is all set to launch his political party today. Haasan reached Rameswaram early this morning. He will take a roadshow from the house of late President A P J Abdul Kalam at from here. He is scheduled to set out on a yatra (roadshow) and launch the political party in Madurai.

 Haasan was given an inspiring welcome by his supporters. He addressed the fishermen community and said, "Different governments have made different promises and then when people ask why the promises are not met, they bring different problems in front of them."

While announcing his political tour last month, the actor had said he too shared the vision of Mr Kalam who dreamt of a "good Tamil Nadu". By launching his tour from the residence of Mr Kalam, he would be moving forward towards that goal, he had said.

The Yatra will end in Madurai where he will address the rally to announce the party’s name and launch its flag. Sources close to him said they expect Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to attend the rally; Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar too were invited and they could send video messages as they could not reach Madurai.

According to the report of NDTV, as he drives, Kamal Haasan will stop to address public meetings, including in his hometown Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram and in Sivaganga. He said he has picked Madurai for the launch as it is the cultural and political capital of the state. It's not clear yet where he will announce the name of his party; he has already released an anthem, "Nalai Namathe (Tomorrow is ours)".

"I will start my rally tomorrow from Rameswaram and will announce party flag and ideology in Madurai. All are invited," the actor said before he left Chennai for Madurai on Tuesday.

Kamal Haasan also said, "I am entering politics only because the ruling AIADMK is bad. That is why I am not meeting any of them." Ahead of his party's launch, Mr Haasan has met Tamil cinema's other mega star Rajinikanth, who too has announced his political debut, and also leaders of opposition parties like DMK chief M Karunanidhi and DMDK chief Vijayakanth. He said he was calling on "whom I like."

In Madurai and all along the route from Rameswaram to the temple town, there are posters that picturise Mr Haasan in different political roles in which his fans and supporters would like to see him, the report said.

In several posters, Dr Kalam, rationalist leader Periyar and BR Ambedkar make an appearance. Some posters show Mr Haasan as a second Dr Kalam, and say he will fulfil the dream of his hero Dr Kalam, with the legend - "Kamal is a second Kalam."

According to the report of Indian Expres, there is one poster that shows Mr Haasan walking in Mahatma Gandhi's footsteps. Mr Haasan has always spoken about being a great admirer of Mahatma Gandhi. It was in Madurai that Mahatma Gandhi gave up his regular dress and adopted loin clothes. Several posters are inspired by memorable roles the actor has played in films. "Nammavar" or "our man", released in 1994, comes up often.

One calls him Dravida Haasan. Kamal Haasan on Tuesday re-asserted his plan to take on the state's Dravidian heavyweights, saying he is confident that he will succeed with his Dravidian brand of politics.

He had last month called for unity among southern states under the "Dravidian" identity to give them leverage with the centre. "Dravidian is our identity... When the Dravidian identity is celebrated across south India, it will lead to a united chorus that will reach New Delhi," the actor had said.

On Tuesday, he told reporters, "You will know when I make it a success."

Both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth are seen to be eyeing a gap in Tamil Nadu politics perceived to have been created by the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who led the ruling AIADMK, and the illness and advancing age of 96-year-old M Karunanidhi. They have been painstakingly non-committal on whether they could join hands.

After the Madurai launch today, the actor plans a state-wide tour and has said he will adopt a village in every district, with development and fighting corruption as his main agenda, the report said.

What remains unclear, however, is who else the party will include other than Kamal Haasan. Some sources close to these developments say he may announce, at the rally in Madurai, the list of office-bearers for the party’s district committees. Other reports, on the other hand, suggest that he is likely to follow the same route as the late J Jayalalithaa, who was the single power centre in the party she ran until her death.

 “There are intellectuals, activists and anti-corruption groups guiding and advising him, but he is unlikely to project a second leader next to him in the initial stages,” said one source. “It will be a party with a Dravidian flavour, inspired by Aam Aadmi Party and similar anti-corruption movements in Tamil Nadu. The party name may not include words such as ‘Dravida’ or ‘Kazhagam’. Some of the final designs selected for the flag are simple ones in two or three colours.”

Kamal Haasan’s plans to visit a school where Kalam studied has already been criticised by a few right-wing groups, which have blamed him for trying to patronise the late President and alleged that he had only one meeting with Kalam — accidentally, during a flight. “Due to this opposition, he may meet those children at some other place. The local authorities fear that the school education department, too, might object if Kamal Haasan is allowed to visit the school during his roadshow,” said a source.

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan said on his facebook post today that, the People of Tripura will no doubt reject this anti people anti peace alliance. He was wishing the left front in the upcoming legislative election. The Assembly polls will be held in the state February 18, 2018. The state has 60 Assembly seats and the term of the current Assembly expires on 14 March.

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KOCHI: The acquittal of former Kerala Transport Minister A.K Saseendran from a ‘sleaze phone call’ case has come as a relief to him, his Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), but the moral issue it has raised may continue to haunt all the three. The Thiruvananthapuram Chief Judicial Magistrate on Saturday acquitted him after hearing the woman complainant who denied the allegation against the NCP leader.

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BANGALORE: The term of the current Assembly in Karnataka will be over towards the end of May, and Assembly elections are due in the state, and with election campaigning in full swing in the party, prominent leaders are making rounds of the state, addressing rallies, giving fiery speeches and waxing eloquent about their party and the work they have done in the state, while accusing their adversaries of every possible misdeed.

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SHILLONG: Congress President Rahul Gandhi will on January 30 launch his party's election campaign for the February 27 Meghalaya Assembly elections, a party official said on Friday. Gandhi's visit is significant for the Congress that has witnessed the exit of seven legislators while three other senior legislators, including four-time Chief Minister D. D. Lapang, have declared themselves "retired" from electoral politics.

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KOCHI: The allegation against Binoy Vinodhini Balakrishnan, son of Communist Party of India (Marxist) Kerala state secretary and politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan that he cheated a Dubai-based company of Rs.13 crores could be shrouded in intrigues but it raises serious questions about the increasing quest of party leaders and their family members for wealth.

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MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena on Tuesday decided to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections independent of its ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), besides spreading its wings nationally. The Shiv Sena National Executive resolved to fight the next round of state and central elections and all future elections separately, its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said here.

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NEW DELHI : A day after he was attacked by party colleague Gopal Rai for making "attempts to bring down the Delhi Government", AAP founder member Kumar Vishwas on Friday hit back, saying Rai should take delight in the contribution of "new Guptas" and not comment on him.

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LUCKNOW : BSP chief Mayawati on Tuesday targeted the BJP and RSS over the violence in Maharashtra claiming that it seemed "casteist forces" were behind the clashes while also blaming the state government for not making adequate arrangements to prevent them.

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GANDHINAGAR : Even as Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Saturday continued to sulk over not being given key portfolios in the new Council of Ministers, Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel asserted that he should leave the BJP and join the Congress party. "I and my supporters are prepared to talk to the Congress leadership to welcome Nitin Patel in the party if he and 10 other MLAs are willing to resign and come," Hardik Patel told reporters in Ahmedabad.

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NEW DELHI: Opposition parties face a daunting task to check the BJP's rise and expansion under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the coming year presents them opportunities to do so in eight states that go to the polls. It will also test them for their ability to build up the momentum against the BJP in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.

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NEWDELHI: A special court on Thursday acquitted all the accused in the alleged 2G scam, giving a major relief to former Telecom Minister A. Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi who were jailed on charges of taking kickbacks to issue the telecom spectrum and licences in 2008 at throwaway prices.

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GANDHINAGAR: After a strong competition with Congress in Gujarat  BJP is expected to form the government on December 25 and Vijay Rupani and Nitin Patel are likely to be named as the Chief Minister and deputy CM respectively.

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NEW DELHI : The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday decided to contest the Gujarat Assembly elections on its own and expressed confidence it would bag the maximum number of seats in the "solo fight". The party's decision came a day after the Congress declared its first list of 77 candidates for the first phase of the elections slated for December 9.

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PATNA : RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Sunday taunted Prime Minister Narender Modi by saying that earlier people used to fear the lion but now they fear the cow thanks to cow vigilantism across the country. "'Pahle log sher se darte the, ab gai se darte hain. Yeh sab Modi sarkar ki den hai," Lalu Prasad said at a meeting of his Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) here.

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KOCHI : In a hard-hitting speech against the Narendra Modi government, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the three-and-a-half year rule has ruined all sectors and also created a wedge in the secular credentials of India. He also questioned the political agenda of the CPI-M in Kerala.

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NEW DELHI : After Moody's upgraded India's sovereign rating and a survey claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was still a "popular leader", the Congress on Friday said both Modi and Moody's have "failed to gauge the mood of the nation". The party said: "After destroying India's economy, the Modi government was clutching at straws to claim lost credibility. "Modiji and Moody's ‘Jodi' have failed," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted.

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GANDHINAGAR : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday announced its first list of 70 candidates for the first phase of the Gujarat Assembly elections, giving tickets to six of the defecting Congress MLAs. Staying ahead of the opposition party in the announcement, the saffron party list shows that it has repeated most of the sitting MLAs in their constituencies.

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NEW DELHI : Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday asked the media to raise questions about the Rafale deal and on BJP chief Amit Shah's son Jay's income from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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BHOPAL : Congress candidate Nilanshu Chaturvedi was on Sunday declared elected to the Madhya Pradesh Assembly from Chitrakoot constituency, defeating his BJP rival by 14,133 votes. The Congress hailed the victory as an "indication of change", Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav termed it a sign of increasing distrust and resistance of people in the BJP, while Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan accepted the result as the people's mandate.

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THARA : Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Sunday asserted that his party will sweep the Gujarat state polls in December, as a "tsunami is coming and the (ruling) BJP is scared of it", and exhorted his party not to speak low of the office of Prime Minister even while criticising the government.

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GANDHINAGAR : The Congress party's central election committee is likely to meet on Friday to finalise the list of candidates for the Gujarat Assembly elections. The meeting in New Delhi will be chaired by All India Congress Committee (AICC) President Sonia Gandhi, where top party leaders, including from the poll-bound state, are likely to attend.

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PATNA : Ending speculation, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Friday said his son Tejashwi Yadav will lead the party in the next Bihar Assembly polls. He will also be the Rashtriya Janata Dal's Chief Ministerial candidate. "RJD will contest the 2020 Assembly polls under Tejashwi's leadership. He will be our Chief Ministerial candidate," Lalu Prasad told the media here.

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