India News Kerala Politics

Kerala BJP chief vows to rename Sultan Bathery

Surendran is contesting against the Communist Party of India (CPI), Annie Raja, and Congress sitting MP Rahul Gandhi…reports Asian Lite News

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Kerala president K Surendran, who is contesting from Wayanad, stirred up a controversy on Thursday by promising to change the name of Sultan Bathery town to Ganapativattam, if he wins the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

“Actually, the place is Ganapativattam. How many years ago did the Sultan’s invade? Who is Tipu Sultan? How is he related to the people of Wayanad? What is the importance of Tipu Sultan? That place was known as Ganapativattam. People are aware of this,” Surendran said while speaking to ANI.

Alleging that Tipu Sultan, the erstwhile ruler of Mysore led several religious atrocities in Wayanad and Malabar, the Kerala BJP chief said that both his rival political alliances, the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Alliance and the Congress-led United Democratic Front have renamed the place to Sultan Bathery.

“People know that Ganapativattam was renamed because both LDF and UDF, are with Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan attacked many temples, converted lakhs of Hindus in Kerala, especially in Wayanad and Malabar regions,” Surendran said.

Surendran is contesting against the Communist Party of India (CPI), Annie Raja, and Congress sitting MP Rahul Gandhi.

Kerala, which sends 20 parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha will go to polls on April 26. Counting of votes will take place on June 4. (ANI)

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India News Kerala Politics

Kerala initiates legal action over smear campaign against state

The Kerala government has initiated legal action against an allegedly fake communal narrative on social media against the state….reports Asian Lite News

Kerala Education Minister V. Sivankutty on Thursday filed a complaint with the state police chief against a social media account on the X platform with the name of ‘Mr Sinha’.

Sivankutty expressed anger as it shows a Kerala school text book which according to the person’s (Mr Sinha) post is meant to cause huge resentment in the society.

Sivankutty took to his X platform and wrote, “This book is not published by the Kerala Govt’s Education Dept. Merely another endeavor to incite animosity towards the state. Those acquainted with us understand the camaraderie & unity among Keralites. No room for hatred – precisely why communal agenda fails to take root here,”.

Sivankutty in his complaint has asked the police to ensure that steps are taken to see the post is deleted and appropriate action is taken against the creator of it.

Graph is down for BJP: Isaac

Former Finance Minister of Kerala and CPI-M candidate from Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha seat, Thomas Isaac took a jibe at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government and said that in Kerala, “people want Modi to be out” and that the “graph was down” for the BJP in the state.

While speaking to ANI, the CPI(M) candidate said, “In Kerala, people want Modi to be out. The choice is between Congress and CPM. BJP had around more than 20 per cent of the votes in the last parliament elections but the vote share came down sharply to 16 per cent in the assembly elections. I think the graph is down for the party.”

He further said that Prime Minister Modi’s claim of winning in “double digits” from Kerala was the biggest joke and that if he were to win in double digits, it would be winning in “two zeros.”

“It includes a double-digit seat from Kerala (BJP’s claim of 400 plus). Including Kerala is the biggest joke for the PM to come and make a claim. He should announce something like this in North India rather than come to Kerala and say, he will win two zeros (in Kerala),” said Isaac.

Thomas Isaac further said that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) would win the polls by a huge margin and said, “In Kerala in 2004, not a single Congress candidate was selected for the parliament. It is unlikely that we win 18 seats this time but it is sure that we will win a big majority of seats in Kerala.”

When asked about Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s statement on CAA, the CPI-M candidate said, “CAA is a serious issue in Kerala, the Muslim community and democratic-minded people are concerned about it. This has been a very serious problem for Congress, they have not outrightly said that they will withdraw CAA once they come to power. But we have taken the position.”

Isaac also spoke about the controversial movie, the Kerala Story, “Inter-religious marriages will continue to take place in Kerala, inter-caste marriage was one of the key slogans of social movements in Kerala and it’s misleading to call it ‘Love-Jihad’. These are the slogans raised to create ill will between the social groups in Kerala.”

Earlier on Thursday, Anto Antony, Congress leader and United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate from Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency expressed confidence in retaining his seat while claiming that there is no scope for Bharatiya Janata Party or its candidate Anil Antony in the upcoming elections.

“There is no space for BJP here, the fight here is between LDF and UDF. BJP is only a small front, they did not get anything from Kerala. Anil Antony contesting as a candidate of BJP. People do not believe in BJP here. They are very secular They live a life of comradeship. That’s why they do not believe in BJP. There is no scope for Anil Antony,” Anto Antony told ANI on Thursday as he seeks a fourth term from the seat.

Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency, which is traditionally a UDF stronghold voted for Anto Antony thrice since 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

While BJP has fielded Congress defector Anil K Antony against Anto Antony, the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) has fielded former minister and veteran leader Thomas Isaac from the seat.

All 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala will go to the polls on April 26.

During the 2019 general elections, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) won 19 of the 20 seats. Of these, 15 seats were taken by the Congress, while the rest were won by other UDF members.

The election for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases starting April 19. Nearly 96.8 crore people are eligible to cast their votes in the upcoming polls at over 12 lakh polling stations. The counting of votes will take place on June 4. (IANS/ANI)

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India News Kerala Politics

Fight primarily between INDIA bloc partners in Kerala

On the other hand, the UDF which won 19 seats secured a vote share of 47.48 per cent and the Left Front which bagged just one seat got 36.29 per cent votes…reports Asian Lite News

With April 26, the date for voting in the Lok Sabha polls getting closer in Kerala, it is getting clearer by the day that the battle is primarily between key INDIA bloc partners the Congress-led UDF and the ruling CPI(M)-led Left, with the BJP-led NDA in for a triangular fight in two constituencies.

In the 2019 General Elections, barring the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, the NDA candidates finished a distant third and managed a 15.64 per cent vote share.

On the other hand, the UDF which won 19 seats secured a vote share of 47.48 per cent and the Left Front which bagged just one seat got 36.29 per cent votes.

An analysis of the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies reveals that, while the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others claims that this time big surprises are in store, figures tell a different story.

Things may not be as easy as the BJP leadership thinks. In the 2019 polls, only in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency did the BJP candidate get above three lakh votes and finish in second place.

The BJP candidates could manage above two lakh votes in just four constituencies, namely Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, Palakkad and Attingal. In nine constituencies the NDA candidates mustered above one lakh votes and in six constituencies their candidates could not even manage one lakh votes.

Out of the 20 constituencies, NDA candidates got the least votes in Kannur (68,509) and the highest votes in Thiruvananthapuram (3,16,142). As things stand now, a very clear triangular fight has emerged in Thiruvananthapuram where the BJP candidate, Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar is facing off against the sitting Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor and the CPI candidate Panniyan Ravindran.

At Thrissur actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi is fighting the INDIA bloc partners. The other constituencies where the BJP appears to be putting all its energy into is at Attingal, where Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan is facing off against sitting Congress MP Adoor Prakash and CPI(M) candidate V Joy and at Palakkad where their candidate is local BJP veteran Krishnakumar who is facing off against the CPI(M)’s A Vijayaraghavan and the Congress’ VK Sreekandan.

At Pathanamthitta also the BJP is expecting to put up a stiff triangular battle as it has managed to rope in Anil Antony, son of Congress veteran, AK Antony. However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and AK Antony have already said in public that the NDA will not even finish second in any of the constituencies and AK Antony went a step further to say that the best days of the BJP were in 2019 when the Sabarimala temple issue was at its peak and this time they will only create noise and settle for third place.

Chandrasekhar sends legal notice to Tharoor

BJP candidate for Thiruvananthapuram, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has slapped a legal notice to his Congress counterpart, Shashi Tharoor, for defamation.

In his notice, Rajeev Chandrasekhar accuses Tharoor of disseminating patently false information among the constituents of Thiruvananthapuram, purportedly spreading misleading information regarding bribing key voters and influential figures such as Parish priests, among others.

Chandrasekhar has expressed ‘shock’ at the allegations made by Shashi Tharoor in a TV interview by a Kerala-based news organization called ’24 News’.

The BJP leader has also demanded the retraction of what he deems as reckless statements made by Shashi Tharoor and further demanded that he issue a public apology, or else face legal ramifications for the same.

The notice read, “Immediately withdraw all the allegations and aspersions made by you the Noticee against Our Client, i.e. Rajeev Chandrashekhar on the aforesaid news channel dated 06.04.2024; Tender an unconditional public apology to Our Client to his satisfaction through print and electronic media about the said baseless allegations and aspersions made by you the Noticee; and Immediately cease, refrain and desist from defaming, harassing, hampering the reputation of Our Client and spreading any uncalled for rumour and stop indulging in any such activities in the future.”

The legal notice also states that Tharoor has made these statements “with an intent to harm” Rajeev Chandrasekhar. It emphasizes how such defamatory statements have harmed and disrespected the entire Christian community of Thiruvananthapuram and its leaders by accusing them of engaging in cash-for-votes activities, further highlighting the need for a public apology within 24 hours.

“Shocked and surprised to watch the news video dated 06.04.2024 on a Malayalam news channel named 24 News, wherein you, the Noticee (Shashi Tharoor), made defamatory statements alleging that Our Client (Rajeev Chandrasekhar) had indulged in illegal activities of offering money to voters and that Our Client is spreading lies in Christian communities. Not only are the said statements totally and completely false but it is clear that the same was made with the clear mala fide intent to tarnish the reputation of Our Client to try and gain an unfair advantage in the upcoming elections,” the legal notice further said.

This legal notice comes shortly after Tharoor violated Rule I(2) of the Model Code of Conduct, which strictly states that political candidates must confine their criticisms to “their policies and programme, past record and work” and refrain from making criticisms of other parties or their workers based on “unverified allegations or distortion”.

In this case, Tharoor’s statements made to ’24 News’ on how Rajeev Chandrasekhar offered money to key voters in the constituency, including religious and community leaders such as parish priests, without disclosing their names publicly, have not been verified.

Tharoor was also accused of “violating sub-section 3 of section 123 of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, by appealing to the religious identity of the voters, and his actions constitute a corrupt practice under the RP Act as held by the decision of the 7-judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Abhiram Singh v. CD Commachen (Civil Appeal No.37/1992).”

The legal notice further stated, “It is apprehended that you (Shashi Tharoor) have concocted these allegations and circulated them to influence the voters in Thiruvananthapuram. It is feared that you have engaged in spreading such false news to subvert the process of free and fair elections.

It is feared that your statements are now being circulated by your agents, supporters, and party members through various platforms including social media and messaging apps to spread the false allegations against Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the notice added. (ANI)

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Kerala Politics

Tharoor accepts Chandrasekhar’s challenge

Shashi Tharoor said that he welcomed the debate but also accused Rajeev Chandrasekhar of evading the debate till now…reports Asian Lite News

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has accepted the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s challenge to have a debate on the development of Thiruvananthapuram.

In his post on X, Tharoor said that he welcomed the debate but also accused Chandrasekhar of evading the debate till now.

“Yes, I welcome a debate. But the people of Thiruvananthapuram are aware of who has been evading a debate till now. Let us debate politics and development. Let us debate price hike, unemployment, corruption, communalism and the BJP’s 10 years of propagating politics of hatred,” he said.

“Let us also discuss about the development of Thiruvananthapuram and the visible progress we have made in the last 15 years,” Tharoor added.

Earlier in a post on X, Chandrasekhar accused Tharoor of spreading misinformation during a recent interview with the Kerala-based news organization where he falsely accused Chandrasekhar of offering money to religious leaders and key voters in the constituency.

In his post on X Rajeev said, “We have been debating in multiple forums during the last two weeks, and people have seen you struggle for answers to my questions on these occasions. Forced into a defensive mode, you chose to disseminate falsehoods that not only defamed me but also besmirched numerous social and religious organizations within my constituency. Therefore, to start with, you need to answer the following questions I have posed to you.”

“I demand an immediate retraction of these baseless accusations and a sincere apology directed towards me and to these esteemed individuals. After that, let’s engage in a constructive debate for the comprehensive development of Thiruvananthapuram,” Chandrasekhar added.

Chandrasekhar took another dig at Tharoor, saying contesting elections is not about being a global citizen or impressing people with mastery of English, but about addressing the people’s pressing needs and effecting positive change in their lives.

“My mission is to propel the development of Thiruvananthapuram, which has been stagnating for several years, in reverse mode. Thiruvananthapuram wants progress, development, employment, and investment. This can be achieved through the politics of performance,” he said while addressing a meeting of his voters in the state capital city.

The Union Minister contended that for the past 15 years, there has been a “continuous effort to distract the public from serious developmental issues by focusing on trivial matters and falsehoods” and urged people to stay away from such negative politics.

“I entered politics 18 years ago with the sole aim of making a positive impact on people’s lives. There are still many households in Thiruvananthapuram which lack access to safe drinking water and gas connections that should be available under the Ujwal Yojana subsidy. These needs should no longer be just on paper. I have taken it upon myself as a mission to transform their lives. Working under the Narendra Modi government, I am committed to doing just that,” he said.

“I have come here with a mandate to make a difference by attracting investments and fostering development in Thiruvananthapuram. My mantra is the politics of performance. We need innovation, development, employment, and investment. I have a clear vision for this, and I am ready to show you the results. My mission is to implement it. As the son of an IAF officer, my foremost priority is to serve the nation and make India proud until my last breath,” said Chandrasekhar, who is also pitted against former Thiruvananthapuram MP Pannyan Raveendran, of the CPI.

Notably, a letter has been sent to the Election Commission of India, the Chief Electoral Officer of Kerala, and Adeela Abdullah, the Additional Chief Electoral Officer & Additional Secretary Nodal Officer of Model Code of Conduct, Kerala, stating that Tharoor violated the Model Code of Conduct by spreading falsehoods and misinformation about Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

The letter sent on Monday was written by advocate VV Rajesh, the NDA convener for Trivandrum Parliamentary constituency.

Notably, the constituency of Thiruvananthapuram will go to the polls on April 26 during the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections. This constituency in Kerala is being closely watched due to a high-profile contest between Congress’ Shashi Tharoor and the BJP’s Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

UDF, BJP afraid of poll verdict in state: Kerala CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday attacked the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the BJP, saying that they are afraid of the Lok Sabha election verdict in the state.

He accused the BJP-led central government of discrimination in financial allocations concerning the state.

“Both UDF and BJP are afraid of the election verdict. The Central government is the cause of the financial crisis. Both parties want to hide this. Kerala does not feature among the states with higher borrowing rates,” Vijayan told the media here.

Earlier, CM Vijayan had said the CPI (M) manifesto pledges to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, whereas the Congress manifesto is silent on the issue.

“The CPI (M) manifesto pledges to repeal the CAA whereas the Congress manifesto remains silent on the issue,” he said.

The Central government notified the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2024, on March 11, days before the announcement of the schedule for Lok Sabha polls.

Pinarayi Vijayan

The bill concerning CAA was passed by Parliament on December 11, 2019.

The 2019 Act amended the Citizenship Act, 1955 and provides that people are eligible for citizenship if they belong to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities and entered India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. It only applies to migrants who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.

Kerala sends 20 parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha and voting will take place on April 26.

The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 will be held in seven phases, starting on April 19. The counting of votes is on June 4. (ANI)

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India News Kerala Politics

CAA issue takes centrestage in Kerala

Kerala’s election buzz: CAA sparks debate among traditional rivals – Congress and CPI(M) – ahead of single-phase polling for 20 Lok Sabha seats….reports Asian Lite News

 Weeks before the single-phase polling to Kerala’s 20 Lok Sabha seats, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continues to take centre stage in the election campaign of the state’s two traditional political rivals – who are part of the INDIA bloc at the national level but fierce competitors in the state.

A reason why the CAA is now one of the most discussed and debated poll issues between the ruling CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front is the state has nearly 24 per cent Muslims in its over 3.30 crore population.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took up the issue right after the CAA was passed by the Parliament in 2019, asserting that it would not be implemented in Kerala. On the last day of 2019, his government, with the support of the Congress-led opposition, got a resolution demanding the scrapping of the provision passed nearly unanimously by the Assembly, with the lone BJP legislator O. Rajagopal being the only one opposing it.

Since then, the issue was lying dormant but regained focus with the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls, and Vijayan again used it to attack the Congress.

The Chief Minister has been consistently slamming the Congress’ national leadership in general and Rahul Gandhi, who is an MP from the state, in particular over their “silence” on the CAA.

But when he claimed that the issue was also missing in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, the state leadership of the Congress, including the Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan and veteran legislator Ramesh Chennithala, hit back at him, alleging that he was shedding crocodile tears and pleasing the BJP leadership by attacking Rahul Gandhi.

However, Vijayan is refusing to abandon the issue, noting in the election campaign that right from 2019 when this issue first surfaced, the Left, inside and outside the Parliament, had strongly come out against it but the Congress “played hide and seek”, showing some inclination for a joint protest, but backing out later.

His tirades intensified when the Congress manifesto came out and he pointed out that while his CPI-M’s manifesto is clear that the CAA will be repealed, the Congress is still “silent” on it.

“Just look at the Congress manifesto, there is total silence on what they will do if they come to power with regards to the CAA. Is it not clear that they are hand in glove with the BJP with regards to the CAA,” he claimed.

But the Congress is hitting back at Vijayan, with acting state Congress President M.M. Hassan accusing the Chief Minister of attacking Rahul Gandhi and the Congress to keep Prime Minister Narendra Modi “happy” as he has grave cases against him and his family.

Hassan also said that Vijayan is “engaged in spreading lies” against Rahul Gandhi, but the truth is that the Congress leader has 18 cases in various states because he protested and spoke against the CAA.

The BJP, starting from PM Modi to the grassroots party workers, is also seeking to capitalise on the issue, accusing the two fronts of hypocrisy by being part of the INDIA bloc but fighting in Kerala.

State BJP President K. Surendran contended that times have changed and the people of Kerala have now understood that the CPI-M and Congress are two sides of the same coin and both these parties have just one agenda of garnering the Muslim votes and will go to any extent for this.

“They hug in Delhi and they fight in Kerala. This tactic will not work anymore,” he said.

Kerala Congress Rivalry Peaks in Kottayam

The electoral landscape of Kottayam, Kerala, paints a vivid picture of political manoeuvring and strategic campaigning as the Lok Sabha elections draw near. The significance of this constituency transcends mere political rivalry; it embodies a microcosm of Kerala’s socio-political dynamics, with a blend of regional identity, agrarian concerns, and national issues.

The campaign buzz in Kottayam commenced early, ignited by the announcement of the first candidate for the state. Kottayam, often considered the citadel of influential Kerala Congress parties and the hub of rubber plantations, sets the stage for a compelling electoral battle. Amidst the fervent discussions to finalize candidates, the Kerala Congress (M) asserted its presence by nominating MP Thomas Chazhikkadan for re-election under the Left Democratic Front (LDF) banner.

However, the political landscape in Kottayam is not a mere showdown between traditional rivals. It’s a multifaceted contest marked by the convergence of various political factions. Chazhikkadan’s opponent, Francis George, represents the Kerala Congress (Joseph), an ally of the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF). This electoral rivalry encapsulates the intricate alliances and realignments within Kerala’s political spectrum.

What distinguishes Kottayam’s electoral battle is the direct confrontation between factions of the Kerala Congress (M) and the Kerala Congress (J), both vying for supremacy in the region. This dynamic interplay of factions adds layers of complexity to an already intense campaign atmosphere.

Key issues reverberating through Kottayam’s political discourse range from national concerns like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to regional challenges such as declining rubber prices and agrarian distress. The rubber price issue, in particular, holds paramount importance in this constituency, reflecting the livelihood concerns of the local populace.

Amidst the electoral cacophony, candidates vie for attention by presenting their visions and promises for the constituency’s development. Chazhikkadan emphasizes his track record as an MP, citing infrastructural projects and development initiatives undertaken during his tenure. Conversely, George advocates for farmers’ rights and proposes comprehensive plans for the revival of the constituency, including agricultural reforms and infrastructural development.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) also seeks to make inroads by addressing the concerns of rubber growers and projecting a development-centric agenda under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As Kottayam braces for the electoral showdown, the stakes are high, resonating not only with political ambitions but also with the legacy of prominent leaders like Oommen Chandy and K M Mani. The outcome of this election will not only shape the political landscape of Kottayam but also reverberate across Kerala’s socio-political milieu, reflecting the aspirations and concerns of its diverse electorate.

ALSO READ: IMD predicts high temperatures for Kerala, issues yellow alert

Environment India News Kerala

IMD predicts high temperatures for Kerala, issues yellow alert

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a yellow alert in various districts of Kerala on Saturday, predicting scorching temperatures and challenging conditions for people from April 6 to April 10.

According to the weather department, the maximum temperature is likely to be around 40 C in the Kollam and Palakkad districts.

“In Thrissur and Kannur districts, the maximum temperature is likely to be around 38 C” added IMD.

The department also stated that the maximum temperature is likely to be 37 C in Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Kozhikode districts.

“In Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram and Kasaragod districts, the temperature is likely to be 36 C (2 to 4 C above normal),” said the India Meteorological Department.

Hot and uncomfortable weather is very likely over these districts except in hilly areas from April 6 to April 10, 2024, due to high temperature and humidity

Heatwave grips Tamil Nadu

As heatwave hits Tamil Nadu, Karur and Dharmapuri breached the 40-degree mark, as per India Meteorological Department’s Chennai office.

These districts reported maximum temperatures of 41.0 degrees Celsius and 40.7 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Heatwave is a condition of air temperature which becomes fatal to human body when exposed. It is defined based on the temperature thresholds over a region in terms of the actual temperature or its departure from normal. In certain countries, it is defined in terms of the heat index based on temperature and humidity or based on the extreme percentile of the temperatures.

Heatwave is considered if maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 degree C or more for Plains and at least 30 degree C or more for Hilly regions.

IMD had also forecast that heatwave conditions were likely to prevail over parts of east and peninsular India till today.

Regions that were likely to see heat waves were Odisha, Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, Vidarbha, North Interior Karnataka, Coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam, Rayalaseema and Telangana.

IMD advised people to avoid heat exposure, wear lightweight, light colour, loose cotton clothes, cover head, use a cloth, hat or umbrella.

Guidelines issued in Odisha

As the mercury level is rising and temperature expected to sour in Odisha and other parts of the country, Director of Public Health Odisha, Dr Niranjan Mishra, said that guidelines have been issued to all districts on what has to be done to combat the summer.

A fresh guideline by the Director of Public Health was issued after eight people were admitted to different hospitals in Odisha due to heat-related illnesses.

Dr Niranjan Mishra said, “The temperature is rising in Odisha. We have to remain prepared for all heat-related illnesses. This heat-related illness is the spectrum of diseases that can include heat exhaustion, heat cramps. We have issued guidelines to all districts on what has to be done and we have recently conducted a training of doctors covering all the districts.”

He further said that heat wave is expected to remain for 18 days in Odisha this year, compared to 14 days last year.

“Due to high temperatures, there can be loss of body fluid. There can be drop in blood pressure and this can reach to extreme fatigue, vomiting and patient can go to shock and become unconscious,” he further added.

Notably, on Saturday, IMD predicted ‘no major change’ in temperature in Odisha in the next 24 hours. The Met Department, however, predicted a dip in temperature on April 7 and 8 due to rainfall.

Odisha is on high alert as the state is bracing for an intense heatwave, bringing challenging conditions for residents. With the mercury soaring to unprecedented levels, authorities are urging citizens to take immediate precautions to safeguard against the adverse effects of the blistering heat.

Earlier, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a heatwave warning for Odisha, predicting temperatures to soar above 40-45 degrees Celsius in many parts of the state.

Umashankar Das, Senior Scientist IMD Bhubaneswar said, “Several parts of Odisha recorded 40 degree Celsius and above on Friday. The highest temperature has been recorded at Boudh and Malkangiri. Seven stations have recorded 41 degrees Celsius and above. We are expecting a further 2-degree rise in the coming two days. We have issued a yellow warning for heat waves. Night temperature is also likely to rise by 2 to 3 degrees celsius.”

He further stated that hot and humid conditions are going to prevail over coastal Odisha.

“People are advised not to go out between 11 am and 3 pm. As it is election season it should be monitored. People are advised to take plenty of liquid. Farmers are advised to drizzle water over their vegetables and food crops,” he added. (ANI)

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INDIA 2024 India News Kerala

Attingal braces for fierce battle

A union minister, a sitting member of Parliament, and a sitting member of the legislative assembly are vying for the coveted seat…reports Asian Lite News

The electoral battleground in the Attingal Lok Sabha constituency of South Kerala is ablaze with competition, featuring a formidable lineup of candidates including a union minister, a sitting member of Parliament, and a sitting member of the legislative assembly all vying for the coveted seat. Attingal’s diverse terrain, encompassing hills, midlands, and coastal areas, presents a formidable challenge for candidates seeking to connect with voters in their quest for electoral success.

Sitting MP Adoor Prakash of the Congress finds himself embroiled in a fierce contest, with stiff competition from LDF candidate V Joy, the CPI(M)’s sitting MLA, and BJP’s V Muraleedharan, who also serves as the Union Minister of State for External Affairs. Muraleedharan, deeply engaged in canvassing within tribal settlements of the constituency, expressed optimism regarding his chances, highlighting the need for effective implementation of central government schemes in these areas.

During his campaign, Muraleedharan engaged with tribal communities, acknowledging their concerns and advocating for their rights, as witnessed during his visit to the Moododu tribal settlement camp at Kallar. While interacting with PTI, Muraleedharan underscored his commitment to representing the interests of the constituency, emphasizing his familiarity with the region’s dynamics and his belief in BJP’s growing influence across Kerala.

In contrast, LDF candidate V Joy’s campaign exuded enthusiasm and energy, particularly evident during his rallies in semi-urban areas. Joy, buoyed by his performance as an MLA, confidently touted his credentials and lambasted his opponents for their alleged failures in delivering development to the constituency. He rallied supporters, urging them to uphold the state’s interests and constitutional values by voting for the LDF.

What is boosting the confidence of Joy and the CPI-M is the fact that all the seven Assembly seats in the Attingal Lok Sabha constituency are held by the ruling Left parties — five by the CPI-M, and two by the CPI.

UDF candidate Adoor Prakash, while pressed for time during interactions with the PTI team, exuded confidence in retaining the seat. Dismissing allegations of BJP support and opposition criticism, Prakash emphasized his track record of initiating developmental projects and connecting with constituents, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

As the election fervor intensifies, candidates are leaving no stone unturned in their quest for victory in Attingal, a constituency historically dominated by the LDF but which saw a shift in 2019 with Adoor Prakash’s win.

While Joy was the first to hit the campaign trail, Prakash and Muraleedharan have just started theirs, though one thing is certain — Attingal is one of the few seats among the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala that will witness a real triangular poll battle this time.

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India News Kerala Politics

‘Rahul should fight from BJP stronghold, not Kerala’

CPI-M’s Shubhashini said that the Wayanad sitting MP should fight from the BJP’s bastion- Uttar Pradesh…reports Asian Lite News

Subhashini Ali, a leader of the CPI (M) that is part of the INDIA alliance on Tuesday questioned the candidature of Rahul Gandhi who is contesting from the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate Annie Raja, asking why the Congress leader is not fighting the BJP head-on.

Shubhashini, while speaking to ANI said that the Wayanad sitting MP should fight from the BJP’s bastion- Uttar Pradesh.

“Congress Party is claiming that they are leading the joint fight against the BJP. Then why is their biggest leader contesting elections from Kerala, where there is no fight with the BJP? He should fight from Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP has the biggest stronghold. If he defeats the BJP there, it will have a huge impact,” she said.

She further said that Rahul Gandhi should think about what message he is giving by fighting the election from Wayanad.

On Monday, the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also slammed Rahul Gandhi for contesting in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency against Annie Raja.

Addressing the media ahead of the election campaign in Kozhikode, the Chief Minister said, “Rahul Gandhi is contesting against Annie Raja, who is a well-known left leader nationally. She strongly called out the Bharatiya Janata Party’s government (BJP) in the Manipur issue and she was attacked by calling her anti-national. But what is Rahul Gandhi’s role in this? We can see Annie Raja’s presence in every protest that is happening in the country. But we can’t see Rahul Gandhi, a prominent leader in Congress, among such protesters.”

Both Rahul Gandhi and Annie Raja are contesting from Wayanad constituency. The BJP has fielded Kerala State President K Surendran as a National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate from the constituency.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi won from Wayanad with a huge margin of over 4.31 lakh votes; the highest margin in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Kerala. He secured 64.94 per cent vote share defeating LDF candidate PP Suneer. The NDA had fielded BDJ(S) leader Tushar Vellapally who secured just around 78,000 votes which accounted for a mere 7.25 per cent.

Annie Raja to file nomination

Communist Party of India (CPI) Lok Sabha candidate from Wayanad, Annie Raja is set to file her nomination on Wednesday, the same day Congress candidate and sitting MP, Rahul Gandhi is also slated to file his nomination.

The CPI is a partner of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front in Kerala.

While the CPI and the Congress are partners in the opposition INDIA bloc, the two parties are fierce contenders in Kerala with both parties pitting their strongest candidates against each other.

Annie Raja, wife of CPI general secretary D Raja holds the post of general secretary in the party’s National Federation of Indian Women and a member of the national executive of CPI.

Born in Iritty in Kerala’s Kannur district, Raja started her political career by joining CPI’s student wing, All India Students Federation and then its youth wing, All India Youth Federation.

Raja also served as the Kannur district secretary of the CPI’s women wing and then member of the CPI state executive committee. She became one of the leading voices in her party, staunchly protesting against attocities against women.

Rahul Gandhi will be filing his nomination papers for Wayanad on Wednesday after holding a rally in Kalpetta town, kicking off his electoral campaign. Other than Raja, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the prime rival of the INDIA bloc at the Centre, has fielded its state president, K Surendran from the key constituency.

Rahul Gandhi bagged 706,367 votes from Wayanad with 64.7 per cent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. CPI candidate PP Suneer who came second got 274,597 votes securing 25.1 per cent vote share.

The Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) won 19 out of 20 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. While the Congress won 15 seats, its allies Indian Union Muslim League won two seats, the Revolutionary Socialist Party won one and the Kerala Congress (M) won one seat.

The Communist Party Of India (Marxist) won one seat in Alappuzha. (ANI)

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Mukesh, Premachandran ready for Kollam battle

In 2019 again CM Vijayan and his close aides tried their best to prevent Premachandran from winning and brought in the then young turk and present State Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal. But Premachandran again won with a margin of over 1.48 lakh votes…reports Asian Lite News

The Kollam Lok Sabha seat in Kerala will see a fight between two-time sitting MP, who is aiming for a hat-trick and film star-turned-politician Mukesh. Mukesh is a two-time CPI(M) legislator and has acted in many Malayalam films.

The sitting MP, N.K. Premachandran belongs to the Revolutionary Socialist Party and is considered to be an archrival of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after he switched from Left to the Congress-led UDF.

Premachandran was one of the most popular State Ministers in the cabinet of CPI(M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan (2006-11), but soon after the Oommen Chandy-led Congress government took over in 2011, a big section of the RSP, including Premachandran, joined as an ally of the Congress which irked CM Vijayan and other CPI(M) leaders.

Premachandran was also a member of the Lok Sabha from Kollam in 1996 and 1998, then as an ally of the Left. In 2014 he was fielded by the Congress from Kollam, and CPI(M) had one of its then stalwarts, state Minister and present politburo member M.A. Baby. The former won with a margin of over 37,000 votes.

In 2019 again CM Vijayan and his close aides tried their best to prevent Premachandran from winning and brought in the then young turk and present State Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal. But Premachandran again won with a margin of over 1.48 lakh votes.

Now for the third time CM Vijayan and his team will try to defeat him. This time the Left has brought film actor-turned-politician and two-time legislator representing the Kollam Assembly constituency, Mukesh to stop Premachandran from winning again.

Incidentally, the BJP, which is yet to announce their candidate, is eyeing TV star Krishnakumar to add glamour to the Kollam contest.

The BJP candidate at the 2019 polls managed around 1.03 lakh votes. Hence this time too the main battle is going to be between Premachandran and Mukesh.

Premachandran, through his soft and polite behavior, is a popular MP for the Congress-led opposition. Tongues, however, began to wag, when he was asked to join lunch which was hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with another eight MPs during the last session of Parliament.

“I fail to understand the manner in which the CPI(M) spread canards against me as they have nothing else to say,” said Premachandran after speculation surfaced that he might shift loyalties.

The biggest advantage that Mukesh is banking on is the CPI(M)’s win in all the seven Assembly segments, including his own. That win has made the Left sure of victory this time, but the Congress is confident of the hat-trick.

Kerala readies for polls with over 3.7 lakh first-time voters

Kerala’s Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Kaul said on Wednesday that as of March 18, the state has 2,72,80,160 voters, including 1,40,95,250 women and 1,31,84,573 men.

The 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala go to the polls in the second phase on April 26.

“Of this, there are 2,49,960 voters above the age of 85 and there are 2,999 who are aged 100 or above. There are 3,70,933 first-time voters besides 88,384 NRI voters,” said Kaul and added that they are busy in including more people who have not enrolled so far. The last date for it is March 25.

He said there will be 25,177 polling booths and 181 auxiliary booths and of these 2,776 will be model polling booths.

“As many as 555 polling booths will be manned by all-women teams, while youths will manage 100 and 10 booths will be managed by physically challenged poll officials,” stated Kaul.

He said that people can bring to the notice of the poll authorities if they find any violation of the model code of conduct through the cVigil app and action will be taken in 100 minutes.

“Our officials will be taking action against violation of the model code of conduct with regard to the campaign on social media, using artificial intelligence,” said Kaul.

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Tharoor Accuses Left of Dividing Votes

BJP has fielded Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar against Congress MP Tharoor…reports Asian Lite News

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday alleged that the “only effect” of the CPI’s campaign against him in Thiruvananthapuram is to “divide the anti-BJP vote”.

In a post on X, the senior Congress leader said, “It’s ironic that the same @cpofindia that complains about @RahulGandhi’s candidature in Wayanad is playing the BJP’s game in Thiruvananthapuram”.

His post added: “The only effect of the CPI’s campaign against me in Thiruvananthapuram is to divide the anti-BJP vote. And they preach alliance dharma in Wayanad!”

Reacting to this, CPI General Secretary D Raja said it is left that is “fighting the communal and fascist forces”.

“It is an absurd statement. An educated man like Shashi Tharoor must understand the history of Kerala properly. It is the Left that is fighting the communal and fascist forces…so many Congress leaders are leaving and joining BJP…,” he said.

Hitting back, the CPI leader questioned why is the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad in Kerala.

“Rahul Gandhi claims that he is spearheading the fight against BJP, then why is he contesting from Wayanad and fighting against LDF? Congress must explain, what message they want to convey to people. Who are their main political enemies…,” Raja told ANI on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tharoor believes that his work over the last 15 years in the constituency will speak for itself.

“I’ve served the people of Thiruvananthapuram for 15 years. They know me and have seen my service. It’s not as if I’ve got anything to be ashamed of in my track record. I’ve been consistently available and attended to all the major issues,” he said. “It’s always been a three-cornered fight here because I took the seat from the LDF. They had won it two times before me and then in the last two times, the BJP came second. So we have to take both candidates seriously. I’m very confident that I would prevail,” Shashi Tharoor said on Monday.

BJP has fielded Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar against Congress MP Tharoor.

Pannyan Raveendran, the Left Democratic Front’s Lok Sabha candidate from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, said that the main fight in the constituency is between the LDF and the Congress-led UDF.

“The main contest is between LDF and UDF. BJP is irrelevant in Thiruvananthapuram,” Raveendran who won the constituency in 2005 told ANI on Tuesday.

Kerala will hold elections in a single phase on April 26. There are 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala and the BJP has never won a parliamentary seat in the state.

Earlier in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA won 353 seats, the UPA stood at 91, and Others won 98. (ANI)

Alathur: A Prestige Battle For CPI(M), Congress

CPI(M) stakes prestige on popular face K. Radhakrishnan while Congress fields incumbent Remya Haridas to defend Alathur constituency.

Alathur Lok Sabha constituency, a reserved constituency this time, will witness an intense battle between the CPI(M) and the Congress.

The battle is prestigious for the CPI(M) as it has given the seat to one its most popular faces — State Minister of ST/SC and Devasoms K. Radhakrishnan, whose Assembly constituency Chelakara also is in Alathur.

The Congress has repeated its candidate, Remya Haridas, who has been asked to defend the seat.

While Alathur is in Palakkad district, this constituency has four Assembly constituencies from the district and three from the Trissur district.

The CPI(M)-led Left holds all the seven Assembly constituencies.

While Radhakrishnan, is a former Speaker of the Assembly and also a state minister when he won his debut election in 1996, Remya Haridas stole the limelight in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when she trounced sitting youth CPI(M) leader P.K. Biju, who was looking for a hat-trick win from Alathur.

Haridas, also a youth leader, walked into the hearts of her voters in 2019 by singing songs during her campaign. She won the seat with a massive margin of over 1.58 lakh votes.

“Yes, this time also I will reach out to my voters by singing songs and I don’t think there is anything wrong in it,” said Remya and started singing a few lines when she was spotted at her campaign.

But Radhakrishnan and the CPI(M) know that the margin that their seven candidates got from the Assembly polls in 2021, which fall in the Alathur Lok Sabha constituency, is in excess of two lakh votes and that’s their strength.

What has raised eyebrows is the BJP-led NDA is yet to announce their candidate and with Prime Minister Narendra Modi arriving at Palakkad on Tuesday, they are expected to announce the name soon.

At the 2019 polls, the BJP-led NDA candidate won around 89,000 votes.

Incidentally, Alathur constituency was formed in 2009 after being carved out from the erstwhile Ottapalam Lok Sabha constituency and nearby areas.

The Ottapalam Lok Sabha seat came into national reckoning as it was from here that the country’s former President K.R. Narayanan won three successive elections in 1984, 1989 and 1991 before occupying the top chair. In 1992 he became the Vice-President and five years later the President.

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