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Thiruvananthapuram Has Been Denied Development, Jobs: Union Minister

In a tough battle with sitting Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for the prized Thiruvananthapuram seat, BJP candidate and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Sunday said the constituency has been deprived of development for the last 15-20 years.

NDTV 22 Apr 2024 4:00 am

Thiruvananthapuram denied development, jobs for last 15-20 years: BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Thiruvananthapuram denied development, jobs for last 15-20 years: BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar In a tough battle with sitting Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for the prized Thiruvananthapuram seat, BJP candidate and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Sunday said the constituency has been deprived of development for the last 15-20 years. Speaking to ANI on Sunday, the Union Minister said, Thiruvananthapuram has been denied development and jobs for the last 15-20 years. None of the two MPs (who represented the seat all these years) did anything for the people. The people here are craving for development, change and jobs. The youth want opportunities. Chandrasekhar faces a stiff challenge from former diplomat and senior Congress leader Tharoor, who is seeking a third term from the constituency. The CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has fielded CPI leader Pannyan Raveendran from the constituency, who won the seat in 2005. While the BJP has never won a Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, the party registered a victory in the Thiruvananthapuram district just once, with O Rajagopal winning the Nemam assembly seat in 2016. In the 2019 polls, the BJP's Kummanam Rajasekharan won 31.3 per cent votes in Thiruvananthapuram, the largest vote share achieved by the party in all 20 Lok Sabha constituencies it contested in the state. However, with Chandrasekhar jumping into the fray this year, the battle for Thiruvananthapuram has turned into a three-cornered one and will be one of the most-watched contests in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. (ANI)

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 11:28 pm

Peace should not be lost over election results: Maldives VP Latheef

Peace should not be lost over election results: Maldives VP Latheef Maldives Vice President Hussain Mohamed Latheef on Sunday underlined the need to maintain peace regardless of the outcome of the crucial parliamentary election, as he urged citizens and political parties to prioritise the interests of the nation. Maldivians cast their ballots for the 20th People's Majlis on Sunday, which is seen as a litmus test for President Mohamed Muizzu, whose policies will have a bearing on the Indian Ocean archipelagic nation's relations with both India and China. Speaking to reporters after casting his vote, Latheef expressed his desire for peace and unity among Maldivians, regardless of electoral outcomes, psmnews.mv reported. Stressing that peace remains a paramount aspiration for all citizens, Latheef urged individuals to prioritise the nation's interests and directed the same message to political parties as well. He also highlighted the significance of the parliamentary election for the Maldivian populace, noting their historical diligence in fulfilling civic duties, according to the report. Latheef also underlined the importance of the current election, which is crucial for President Muizzu, seen as a pro-China politician. Just a few days ahead of the polls, the opposition parties demanded a probe and impeachment of the president following a leaked report of his alleged corruption from 2018, a charge dismissed by Muizzu. Besides, since Muizzu came to office, lawmakers have blocked three of his nominees to the cabinet. Muizzu, who cast his vote at a polling station in the morning, urged every citizen to exercise their right to vote as soon as possible. ''Voting is a constitutional right and responsibility afforded to every citizen. All citizens should come out and exercise their right to vote as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of eligible voters to not wait until evening and quickly attend their respective polling stations to cast ballots,'' he was quoted as saying by Edition.mv news portal. Meanwhile, former President Abdulla Yameen on Sunday alleged that money was given to voters during the polling. Speaking to reporters after voting, Yameen, a top leader of the People's National Front, said the law, which makes bribery an offence, is unenforceable. ''They are distributing money here and there. I am not saying that distributing money is wrong. But it becomes wrong when it is a crime under the law. But what are we doing by making laws that cannot be enforced by the police or the state,'' he was quoted as saying by Adahadu.com portal. Parliamentarians will be elected to a total of 93 seats in the Majlis, with 368 candidates contesting from six parties, including Muizzus Peoples National Congress (PNC) and the main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), and as independents. A total of 602 ballot boxes have been set up in the Maldives and three other countries for the parliamentary election. Polling stations are also open in 34 resorts, prisons, and other industrial islands. The countries in which ballot boxes are placed for voting are Thiruvananthapuram in India, Colombo in Sri Lanka and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, media reports said. The election in the Maldives also came amidst deteriorating ties between the archipelago nation and India since Muizzu, 45, assumed power in November last year. During last year's presidential election, he had maintained a strident anti-India stand.

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 8:07 pm

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor booked for carrying out false campaign against his rival Rajeev Chandrasekhar

According to the Police, the case has been filed against Shashi Tharoor based on a complaint lodged by BJP leader J R Padmakumar. The BJP leader accused Tharoor of carrying out a false campaign against Rajeev Chandrasekhar during a television program.

OpIndia 21 Apr 2024 7:04 pm

Tharoor booked for false campaign against minister

Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha candidate Shashi Tharoor has been booked for allegedly carrying out a false campaign against Union minister and rival candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar, police said in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

Rediff 21 Apr 2024 6:06 pm

Tharoor booked for false campaign against Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Tharoor booked for false campaign against Rajeev Chandrasekhar Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha candidate Shashi Tharoor has been booked for allegedly carrying out a false campaign against union minister and rival candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar, police said here on Sunday. The case was registered by the Cyber Police here on April 15 but its details were revealed only today. According to police, the case against Tharoor was registered based on a complaint lodged by BJP leader J R Padmakumar who accused the Congress leader of carrying out a false campaign against Chandrasekhar during a television programme. The complainant alleged that Tharoor, during the programme, had made defamatory statements against Chandrasekhar with regard to influencing voters of coastal regions in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The case was registered under Sections 171-G and 500 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 65 of IT Act, a cyber police official said adding that an investigation is going on in the matter. IPC 177-G refers to raising false statement in connection with an election, while IPC 500 relates to defamation. Tharoor, who is contesting from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, is yet to react on the registration of the case.

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 5:11 pm

CAA will be repealed when INDIA Bloc comes to power, says Congress leader P Chidambaram

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday said the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be repealed in the first session of Parliament after the INDIA Bloc forms the government at the Centre. Chidambaram said the intention of the Congress party is to repeal the CAA even though it is not mentioned in its manifesto. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPI(M) has been constantly lashing out at the Congress saying its manifesto fails to mention the CAA. Talking to the media here, Chidambaram claimed it was not mentioned in the manifesto ecause it became too long. The former union minister said the 10-year-rule of the BJP has caused tremendous damage to the country as it misused the rute majority in Parliament. There is a long list of laws among which five laws will be absolutely repealed. Take it from me, I am the chairman of the manifesto committee. I wrote every word of it, I know what the intention was. The CAA will be repealed, not amended. We have made it clear, Chidambaram said. The CAA will be repealed in the first session of Parliament in which the INDIA Bloc forms the government, he added. Dismissing the claims of Vijayan that the Congress has not opposed the Law, Chidambaram said Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has spoken against the CAA in Parliament. When asked whether the Ayodhya Ram temple inauguration will have any impact on the elections, Chidambaram said he hopes not. Ayodhya now has a temple. We are happy. People wanted the temple and a temple has come up. That should be the end of the story. Why should a temple in Ayodhya play a role in politics or in elections and on who should rule the country. It should have no role at all, Chidambaram said. TMC manifesto promises guaranteed jobs, free LPG cylinders, CAA repeal On the issue of national border security, the senior Congress leader alleged that the BJP government was hiding the truth from the people of the country that housands of square kilometres of Indian land was occupied by Chinese troops. That's a fact testified by the MP from Ladakh. The fact testified by the Arunachal Pradesh citizens. Therefore, to say that they have secured our borders is a complete lie, Chidambaram said. He also lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government and said the saffron party is no longer a political party but has become a cult that worships Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Targeting the Modi government, Chidambaram said there is a grave erosion of freedom of speech and expression that happened in the 10 years of Modi rule, and urged the people to estore democracy. The BJP constituted the manifesto in 14 days which is not titled manifesto. They called it Modi's guarantee. The BJP is no longer a political party. It has become a cult and the cult worships Narendra Modi, Chidambaram said. He claimed that Modi ki guarantee reminds everyone of the countries where there is cult worship. That cult worship in India has started gaining strength and will lead to dictatorship, he said. He alleged that there has been gross censorship of the freedom of expression under the 10-year Modi rule. If Modi is voted back to power for a third time, he may amend the constitution. We have to restore democracy, Chidambaram said. The Congress leader also criticised Vijayan, who has been vocal these days against the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, and asked the Left leader to look at this election as a national election, which it is. He alleged that its ally in the INDIA Bloc, the CPI(M) was fighting this election in Kerala as if it is a state election. And from a national point of view, who is better placed to fight the BJP and form a government in Delhi. Who is better placed to fight the BJP across India? It is obviously the Congress and not the CPI(M). CPI(M) is literally a single state party now, Chidambaram said. He appealed to the people to vote the INDIA bloc to power in Delhi. I am not sure if I can hold a press conference like this if Mr Modi is elected for a third time. I am not sure whether you will be free to ask any questions to BJP leaders then, he added. Polling will be held on April 26 in Kerala for the Lok Sabha election, and the nationwide results will be declared on June 4.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 3:22 pm

'Port Development Critical for Thiruvananthapuram': BJP's Rajeev Chandrasekhar

The BJP is in support of an inclusive Vizhinjam port development, the party's candidate tells The Quint.

The Quint 21 Apr 2024 1:00 pm

Adoor Prakash banks on development plank, seeks second term from Attingal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Its a hot Thursday afternoon and Kallara, a small town located in the rural parts of Thiruvananthapuram district, is abuzz with a large number of Congress and UDF members thronging the place to have a glimpse of Telangana CM R Revanth Reddy. Reddy, a star campaigner, was in the town to address a convention of UDF Attingal Lok Sabha constituency candidate Adoor Prakash. From the makeshift dais that was perched atop a parked lorry, Reddy exhorted the crowd to vote the INDIA bloc to power so that Rahul Gandhi could become the prime minister of the country. For Prakash, who was standing beside Reddy with hands folded towards the gathering, the Telangana CM fancied another chance. By winning the poll, Adoor Prakashji will get a good portfolio in the centre, he remarked. The crowd replied with thundering applause, while Prakash slightly moved his folded palms as if saying thanks for their feedback. Prakash is engaged in a triangular contest with LDFs V Joy and NDAs V Muraleedharan and his campaign hinges mostly on the need for getting continuity for another five years. The 68-year-old, known for his political astuteness, banks on the theme of development while interacting with the electorate. Prakash does not delve deep into political rhetoric in his interactions and uses the infrastructure development he had ushered in to garner votes. He emphasises on the need for getting another term to finish the projects that have been rolled out and at times takes potshots at former MP A Sampath, whom he had defeated last time, for not doing enough on the development front when he was serving as the MP. Prakashs first pit stop on Thursday afternoon was at Kizhakke Ayilam, a sleepy village in Mudakkal panchayat. He chose to pull up his vehicle near the high-mast light that was constructed using his MP Fund. A small gathering of mostly women and children was present and as the candidate began talking, a man emerged from the crowd and complained that he did nothing to repair the road that was in a bad state. The interruption did not go down well with Prakash as he felt the man belonged to the rival camp and was out to disrupt the campaign. For 29 years there have been many parliamentarians, but it took one Adoor Prakash to do some work, he said in a harsh tone. Until 2019, the CPM had been winning the seat for an unbroken 29 years and that was what Prakash was referring to. Taking potshots at Sampath, Prakash said: Your former MP even did not spend his funds fully. I was the one who had spent the remaining `40 lakh from his fund. The man, who posed the question, was taken aback by the response and he gingerly walked up to Prakash and whispered something in his ear that the candidate received with a full smile. The man told the candidate that he had no grudge towards him and wished him the best, a Congress leader accompanying the candidate later told this reporter. The UDF camp appeared confident about Prakashs prospects, but accepted that their campaigning lacked the verve which was quite evident in 2019. One Congress local leader attributed it to the organisational issues within the party. He said due to the recent organisational rejig, new office-bearers have been selected to the mid-level roles and they are still in the learning phase. The experienced men were replaced during the rejig and that has affected the campaign to some extent.However, he appeared confident about the poll outcome. We will win. There is no doubt about it. Maybe our winning margin might be a bit less than that of 2019, he added. Along the wavy byroad through which the campaign vehicles move, people have assembled to have a glimpse of the candidate. In spots where reception is planned, Prakash interacts directly with the public over the microphone using the oft-repeated words urging them to give him another term. At Parayadi, the entourage was received with cracker bursts and band music, while at Pokamukku, the next point, an elderly woman received Prakash by draping him with a ponnada. She appeared confident that Prakash would win, and denied reports that a strong triangular contest was on. The BJP will be considering themselves fortunate if they can reach the 2019 figures, she said. As night set in, the campaign in Mudakkal panchayat, which was missed in the first phase, was wrapped up and Prakash moved to Elakamon panchayat, the next destination. The UDF has some concerns over their prospects in Varkala and Chirayinkeezhu areas, which are considered as Joys bastion. However, they are banking hopes on the anti-incumbency factor to work against Joy in his backyard.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:32 pm

Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple 'arattu' procession to be rerouted to save turtle eggs at Shankhumukham

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This years annual arattu procession of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple to be held on Sunday at Shankhumukham will see a reroute to safeguard the Olive Ridley sea turtle eggs along the shores of the beach. According to local fishermen and conservationists, the Olive Ridley turtles, which belong to the vulnerable category, have laid eggs at Shankhumukham after a gap of over 30 years. The eggs were discovered two weeks back. We informed the forest officers and following their instruction we moved the eggs to a safer location. The hole where the eggs were laid was not very deep and to ensure their safety, we relocated the eggs to an area with minimal human and animal intrusion. If the temperature and weather conditions remain suitable, the eggs are expected to hatch within 41 days, said Ajith Shankhumukham, a local fisherman and a field officer with The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The local fishermen found around 81 turtle eggs. The arattu ceremony usually takes place in the area where the eggs are safeguarded. We approached the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple authorities and aired our concern and they have agreed not to touch the areas where the eggs are located, said Ajith. We have taken measures to safeguard the location by setting up barricades to restrict access, said Arun, an official with Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:29 pm

Thiruvananthapuram's tumultuous tides: Residents' fight for recognition amid political promises

G. Sundari Born : 16-05-1907 Dead : 08-05-2008 A six-feet grave positioned precariously along the curvy slope next to the reservoir remains a mute spectator as Mallika unfolds her tale of woes with a resigned look, eerily similar to the seemingly quiet yet deeply turbulent waters swirling a mere couple of metres away. Pointing to the tomb, the 62-year-old narrates how the family was left with no choice but to bury her 101-year-old mother on the tiny piece of land that could get submerged anytime the water rises. Many families have moved away as living here has become a difficult affair. We seem to be trapped in red tapism, Mallika says, referring to the stringent regulations enforced by the tourism, forest and irrigation departments that make it difficult for about 25 families residing along the Neyyar dam reservoir to get title deeds for their land. All of them promise to give us title deeds. Weve tried out both fronts (referring to LDF and UDF). Why should we be reluctant to try BJP out too? asks Sulochana, 56, who has been running a shop near the dam for the past 15 years, as her husband Nadimuthu, 60, watches on. L Esther, running a petty shop for over three decades, has lost count of the money she has had to borrow from the blade mafia. The residents here are evidently an ignored lot. Despite possessing sarkari documents like voters ID and ration card, title deeds have somehow eluded them till date. Lacking permission, they are unable to carry out maintenance work either. Mallika next to her mothers grave near Neyyar Dam. Staying in my house would have been nice had there been no monkeys, rues Rajamma, 80, who sleeps at her daughters house for fear of both animal attacks and the looming threat of rising waters. Similar complaints are shared by several residents of the fourth ward at Kallikkad, one of the border panchayats between Kattakkada and Parassala, under the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency. Of its seven assembly segments, six stand with the LDF five having CPM MLAs. Ironically, this coastal belt could prove the most crucial support base for UDF candidate and incumbent MP Shashi Tharoor to retain his seat. The state capital, witnessing a three-cornered fight, holds a special place in the saffron partys wish list as the BJP hopes to open its account this time around through Rajeev Chandrasekhar. On the other hand, the LDF has veteran CPI leader Pannian Raveendran contesting to win back not just the seat but its lost honour too. The constituency comprises about a lakh-strong techie population, in addition to about 20% of Tamil-origin populace and a miniscule north Indian community that have made Kerala their home. Contrary to the general feeling, techies are actually keen observers of political developments, opines Rajeev Krishnan, ex-president of Prathidhwani, an outfit of IT employees. As a community, techies are politically aware. The fourth phase development of Technopark is crucial, he feels. Florence, a fisherwoman at Poovar junction. Upper class and upper caste urban voters, youth, techies, and the coastal community remain the deciding factors in any election in Thiruvananthapuram. And the tribals? The drive from Kallikkadu to Amboori, a pristine border village surrounded by hills and forests, clearly reveal why development remains a distant dream in this faraway land located in the foothills of Agastyaarkoodam. Construction for a bridge at Kumbichal Kadav has been moving at a snails pace while those going to Puravimala turn to their very own boatman, Thankappan, in times of crisis. The Puravimala tribal settlement consists of about 100 families, mostly Kani tribes from Puravimala, Thenmala, Kunnathumala, Kannamamodu, Karikkuzhi and Chakkappara. Led by their chief, Maniyan Kani, the families here primarily depend on agriculture, but the wildlife makes life difficult for them. Wild boars, monkeys, bisons and squirrels make sure we dont get anything to eat. Ive rubber tapping work too. At times, we depend on private financiers. But Im able to look after my family, says 67-year-old Nangeli, beaming with pride. At Karakkonam, a good 17km away from Amboori, Keralas Thiruvananthapuram and TNs Kanyakumari constituencies curiously share the same street. In the middle of the small town, an LDF campaign vehicle has been blaring relentlessly the virtues of voting for the Left. At the local library at Desasevini, a bunch of youngsters are busy chatting. Are you first-time voters? Why do you want to know? I think, I could be. Anyway, Im not going to vote, answers a youngster after much persuasion. Catching up with a bunch of elderly fisherfolk at Poovar junction, one cannot but help admire their socially aware electoral stance. Florence, 52, apprises you of how erosion has been playing havoc on the Kerala coast, especially after the Vizhinjam port construction began. Water enters our houses every time the sea gets rough. Some of those who lost houses were given flats. Its also a fact that we were given 3.5 cents and `10 lakh, she admits ruefully. The resentment over the Vizhinjam project is sure to affect the prospects of all three fronts in different ways. As you enter the coastal belt of Pozhiyoor and move along to Karimkulam and Vizhinjam, you come across ardent party supporters. While they are keen to make you politically wiser, the wait continues for their dreams to finally materialise.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:25 pm

National Council of Dalit Christians extends support to UDF in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC) has extended its support to the UDF and INDIA bloc in the Lok Sabha elections. In Kerala, the NCDCs squads are campaigning for the UDF candidates in 16 constituencies. NCDC, a federation of Dalit Christian organisations, has institutional and individual memberships across the country. In Kerala, the council has over 35,000 individual memberships. Different churches and organisations, like the Church of South India, several Pentecostal Missions and the Sidhanar Christian Maha Sabha are its members. The decision to support the INDIA bloc and UDF in Kerala was taken by the political affairs committee of the council, said its national president and Kerala convener V J George. The council had supported the LDF in the 2016 assembly election. The LDF did not deliver the five promises to Dalit Christians in its 2016 manifesto. Worse, the second Pinarayi government stopped educational benefits for Dalit Christian students which have been there since the 1960s, George told TNIE. According to him, the LDF government excluded Dalit Christian students in aided institutions from the stipend and lumpsum grant schemes. We staged two protests demanding their restoration. The community members also submitted petitions at Nava Kerala Sadas in all districts. However, the government was adamant on its stand, he said. The LDF, which once supported the cause of Dalit Christians, changed its stand following a report on the community prepared by an academician, says George. Citing the report, former CPM acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan told us that Kerala had only 1.59 lakh Dalit Christians, and could not support our demands, he says. Calling the report a blunder, George said that the CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese alone had over 1 lakh members. The state has over 30 lakh Dalit Christians. So, we demanded the government increase the reservation for government jobs from 1 to 4%. We also demanded a 10% reservation in educational institutions starting from Plus-I. But the government did not pay heed, he said. The NCDC opposes the NDA since it did not support its plea in Supreme Court seeking SC status for Dalit Christians. Rising attacks against Christians under the Modi government is also another reason. Strong opposition to LDF and NDA The council turned against the LDF after the latter failed to deliver the five promises to the council LDF govts withdrawal of edu grants for Dalit Christian students also reason NCDC opposes the NDA as it did not support its plea in the apex court seeking SC status for Dalit Christians

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:15 pm

'Assault on disabled boy serious': Kerala HC

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has observed that the case against two sisters of St Anns Convent, Sneha Bhavan, Vellarada in Thiruvananthapuram, for alleged physical assault on a 17-year-old physically disabled child is very serious. When the anticipatory bail pleas of Sr Rosamma Joseph alias Rosy Sister and Sr Sheeja N J alias Sheeja Sister came up for hearing, Justice P V Kunhikrishnan said that the case should be heard in detail on merit after perusing the records. However, the court granted an interim order till May 27. If the petitioners are arrested in connection with the case, they should be released on bail on executing a bond for a sum of Rs 50,000 with two solvent sureties. During the period, the investigating officer is free to summon the petitioners for interrogation after issuing notice under Section 41A of the CrPC. The court made it clear that the petitioners would not get any advantage because of this order.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:59 am

BJP no longer a political party, but a cult worshipping Narendra Modi: P Chidambaram

Thiruvananthapuram: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government and said the saffron party is no longer a political party but has become a cult which worships Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Targeting the Modi government, Chidambaram said there is a grave erosion of freedom of speech and expression happening Get the latest updates in Hyderabad City News , Technology , Entertainment , Sports , Politics and Top Stories on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. You can also download our app for Android and iOS .

The Siasat Daily 21 Apr 2024 11:52 am

Thiruvananthapuram Elections 2024: Shashi Tharoor vs Rajeev Chandrasekhar in Clash of the Titans

Considered to be the political nerve centre of Kerala, the Thiruvananthapuram seat is locked in a three-way contest between sitting MP and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, BJP leader and Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and CPI's Panniyan Raveendran

News18 21 Apr 2024 11:37 am

People like me... my karma bhoomi has now become my naadu, says Shashi Tharoor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Shashi Tharoors fourth electoral outing in Thiruvananthapuram appears to be the toughest one he has faced so far. Though said to be a triangular contest, the incumbent Congress MP views it as a prestige battle between him and NDA candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Frankly, it is the BJPs strongest seat in Kerala, Tharoor recently told the media. We are also batting with equal vehemence and confidence. Tharoor, however, does not display any sign of anxiety as we join him in one of his campaign trails. Clad in a bright magenta kurta, he begins the day praying at the Sree Narayana Guru Mandiram, and paying tributes to the statues of Mahatma Ayyankali and Chattambi Swami all in and around Gowreesapattom, which is part of the Vattiyoorkavu assembly segment. He reaches a bit late at Mulavana Junction, where former Congress state president V M Sudheeran, who hails from the area, launches the first campaign meet of the day. As Tharoor ascends the makeshift stage, many passers-by and motorists halt to catch a glimpse of the UDFs global citizen. Supporters line up to drape him in handloom shawls and tricolour stoles around his shoulders In his speech, Tharoor assails the BJP, accusing the party of creating divisions in society. Besides exhorting people to back the Congress, Tharoor also highlights the importance of the INDIA bloc at the national level. Tharoors makeshift campaign vehicle is well-equipped to beat the heat two fans and an air cooler. As the motorcade proceeds, Tharoor fastens his seatbelt and adjusts the seat height so as to get a clear view of people on the roadside. Fervently waving at supporters, mostly youngsters and women, Tharoor notes that there are hardly six days left for the polls and recalls Parkinsons Law. It is the old adage that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. I have been doing everything possible within the seven-week campaign period, he tells TNIE as he waves at a group of young women in front of a ladies hostel at Ambalamukku. I need votes from all generations. However, it is true that the youth express excitement on seeing me. Everything I do is, ultimately, for the next generation. They see hope when they see me. Tharoor nonchalantly dismisses murmurs about him facing anti-incumbency. Is there a case of familiarity breeding contempt? People who know me like me, he replies. I get this feeling that they like me. We can see the youth and women standing outside their homes and waving at me. The menfolk must be at work. I have contested in three elections. I feel this one, too, is coming my way. Thiruvananthapuram used to be my karma bhoomi (land of action) , but now it has become my naadu (hometown). Later, while attending a brief corner meeting at Brindavan Housing Colony in Pattom, a group of first-time voters throngs him. City residents Jisha and Gadha say they are excited about voting for Tharoor. Their friends, Shwetha from Bengaluru and Rajat Subham Roy from Kolkata, who are here for National Eligibility Test coaching also join the huddle. Unlike in West Bengal, the candidates in Kerala are warm and approachable, says Rajat, who has been in Thiruvananthapuram for eight months. However, there we have more door-to-door campaigning. The main issue we face in our colony here is the shortage of drinking water. The candidates should take it up. Tharoor has a brief chat with the youngsters, before rushing back to his motorcade. And, as he boards the vehicle, he points to the message pasted on its side: INDIA will win, we will win.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:10 am

Can This Techie Win Thiruvanathapuram?

Whether Rajeev Chandrasekhar wins or not, Thiruvananthapuram will likely never see such an interesting contest again.

Rediff 21 Apr 2024 8:33 am

For Rajeev Chandrasekhar, politics of performance matters most

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Rajeev Chandrasekhar hardly smiles. The BJPs candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat is looking for a Kerala cannonball run as he winds his way through Thiruvananthapurams pastoral expanses and sandy seaside. Yes, Ive been told that before, he says laconically. And Chandrasekhar is trying, as if his posters sporting a wide smile speak the real truth. The Thiruvananthapuram war is not just between ideologies but a clash of personalities. The affability of Shashi Tharoor and the somewhat wooden Chandrasekhars passionless voice are a notable contrast. When Chandrasekhar mumbles to constituents, Please vote for me, make me win. Together lets bring prosperity to Thiruvananthapuram, it is as if his heart isnt in it. But their rivalry is vicious. If Tenzing Norgay claims to have climbed Mount Everest, people will believe him, unlike some random Congress politician saying so, he sneers. The billionaire elaborates that he brings the politics of performance to the table. When I say things, Ill get it done. He echoes his slogan, Now itll get done. Chandrasekhar says he had achieved so much in his life, to be compared with someone who has done so little. Unverified charges against rival Rajeev Chandrasekhar: EC warns Tharoor Throwing such shade at Tharoor could backfire: Tharoor is the only Malayali celebrity who almost became the UN chief, authored bestsellers, and is a three-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram. Chandrasekhar is particularly bitter about the Congress drumming up his I-T returns controversy. The habitually skeptic Malayali doubts that such a wealthy businessman earns less than a taxi driver, according to Santosh, an auto-rickshaw driver, who scoffs at the BJP leaders affidavit claiming he earned only `680. Nevertheless, he plumps for BJP. My vote is for Modi, I dont care about the candidate. Reminiscent of the 2009 Kejriwal wave in Delhi, Santosh says that auto drivers back the BJP. Though there are days to go before we know if a rickshaw revolution is underway, the BJP poll machine is ebullient. Chandrasekhars campaign vehicles advertise collages of him and Modi. Vehicle-born loudspeakers blare operatic exhortations that will make a Mollywood music director envious: Here he comes, our darling Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the charioteer of development, bless him, anoint him! For the blessing and anointment, Chandrasekhar is betting on his reputation of 18 years of flawless, blemishless public life and of course my entrepreneurial record. Any campaign experience? Though its the first Lok Sabha polls that Im fighting for myself, Ive helped many friends in the late 90s from behind the scenes. Thiruvananthapuram is not his first rodeo. The party is concentrating purely on development; Chandrasekhar promises, My mission is to ensure the states capital dont decline further and achieve full potential. What works for him? Chandrasekhar answers that he is part of the politics of performance and the change in Indias capabilities Modi has brought. What works against him is shadowy; the Kerala idyll hiding deep faultlines of caste, religion, class and ideological conficts. There is scarcely a ripple on the silver mirror of the Vellayani backwaters, but old hatreds lie submerged. The CPI is out in force, supporting its octogenarian contender Pannyan Raveendran, whose campaign vehicle is an open Willys Jeep bedecked with red balloons and red flags. Raveendran dismisses the BJP as an irrelevant intruder. Communism is an ideology that has failed across the world, how can it survive in India? Chandrasekhar scoffs. The BJP is trying to create a Hindu atmosphere in Kerala, different from the patriarchal North India. Hindutva activist Lakshmi Kumari writes in Sita Must Live, If Hindu Dharma is to regain its glory and make its impact on the present-day world civilisation, Sita, the spiritual power and essence in Ramas life, must also be given her place by his side. The restoration and revitalisation of Hindu dharma lie in the hands of the present-day daughters of Sita, the women of India. This is perhaps why Ayodhya hasnt had the impact the BJP expected in Kerala. A man clad in saffron shirt shouts, Bharat Mata ki... Neither Chandrasekhar nor the crowd responds with Jais. Battle of legal notices plays out in Thiruvananthapuram constituency Most people assembled at the campaign stops are Sangh members. A man holds up his young son towards Chandrasekhar, who pats him on the head and gives a rare smile and jokes to the boy to vote for him. Like in the Congress, there is discontent in the state Parivar not between factions, but against an outsider to Thiruvananthapuram. Chandrasekhar protests, When the normal person is struggling to improve his familys lot, how does it matter if two candidates are slugging it out? He insists the voter must examine the performance of his sitting MP and his challengers potential . Peoples suffering cannot be addressed with letters. To every question I raise, Shashi replies he has written three letters. But I dont rest till the problem is solved. Chandrasekhar certainly isnt resting. He has miles to go before he leaps, and Thiruvananthapuram to take the leap of faith with him.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 7:55 am

3-time lucky, Tharoor charm continues to draw crowds in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is a hot day in Thiruvananthapuram and Shashi Tharoor is hot property. Suntanned, voice hoarse after scores of speeches made at crossroads, marketplaces and local temples, Tharoor is enjoying his skirmishes in summer. The air is muggy with the oceans salty breath, and he is fighting to retain his bailiwick, which has a large minority coastal population. His pitch isnt confined to Thiruvananthapuram. At all my pit stops, I say my main objective is to change the Modi government in Delhi, he explains. The BJPs Christian outreach seems vulnerable after the Manipur pogroms. During Sunday sermons, priests are advising their flock to vote according to your conscience and love for your brethren. Tharoors anti-Modi rhetoric turns the local election into national fight against divisiveness; a clever tactic. Without trying too hard, my popularity seems to have grown, he laughs, quoting recent opinion polls.Tharoor and his BJP rival Rajeev Chandrashekar trade snarky barbs. Rajeevs principal motivation is to be a successful businessman. That he has structured his financials to hardly pay any tax is embarrassing, Tharoor says, adding, If a candidate of a Desh Bhakti party behaves in this manner, what sort of patriotism is this? Leaders without borders: Idea whose time may have come All across Thiruvananthapuram, shop verandahs, temple grounds and auditoriums are swarming with Tharoor Bhakts. Men, women and children rush out of their homes to greet his convoy. Tharoor waves back animatedly. There is mutual excitement, even genuine liking. For 15 years, they have seen him on these very streets at Thiruvallam Chitranjali junction, Vandithadam, Punchakkari and Konchiravallah; the novelty factor doesnt count. I won my first election while I was sort of stumbling and sleepwalking through some of the minefields and pitfalls of politics, Tharoor recalls. He has crossed them unharmed, but the mines are there. Tharoor isnt taking sides, and would rather be an outsider than join the regional power game. People would say in the beginning that Im not a politician and a misfit. Nobody says that anymore because Ive won three elections. But the perception hasnt disappeared completely, which is ironically his strength. The outsider who abjures the white cotton uniform of the professional Congress politician and wears his trademark kurta and dhoti is trusted more by constituents than the career politicos whose theatrical intimacy disappears after the last ballot is cast. Tharoors personal and emotional connect with voters are palpable. He gets off his campaign van at the Nelliyode Devi temple for a short prayer. The goddess seems to like him, too; an old woman blesses him. Tharoors manner is affectionately familiar in the way he places his hand on a workers shoulder as they chat like old acquaintances. The famous Tharoor charm is alive and well. INTERVIEW| Claim of BJP's 'exemplary' performance in South in LS polls product of its propaganda mill: Tharoor The women of Thiruvananthapuram remain under his spell, thronging sidewalks, shops, and gates of their homes; some stirring the muggy air with bamboo fans embossed with his face. The Left candidate is Pannyan Raveendran (CPI), a long-haired septuagenarian and retired Lok Sabha MP whom Pinarayi Vijayan pulled out of his armchair where was reading either Marx or Manorama. It is ironic to see red, tricolor and saffron flags flying side by side in many places; a confederation of power seekers who seem to accommodate each other, at least outwardly. Winning Thiruvananthapuram matters to the Congress, though many khadi leaders are suspicious of Tharoor. Tharoors anti-Modi trope makes him a national batter. Here the candidate folds his hands, says a few words, accepts scarves and off he goes to the next pit stop. Now when I speak about bringing change in Delhi, Im applauded, which is very unusual in situations like this. It means people are responding to my message. His message for Kerala? Making Keralas voice heard nationally involves fighting for the idea of India and democratic values. At a small junction, a young woman with a bank job has come to watch him campaign. She and her family were formerly Communists. This time they will vote for Tharoor. Why not the BJP? They just want to build temples, she laughs. For now, Shashi Tharoors effort is to consecrate his career with a fourth win. He attends weddings, funerals and even birthdays of children, comments a famous Malayalam writer wryly. Even before the elections were announced, Tharoor had issued a constituency progress report claiming success in completing the Kazhakoottam-Karode national highway bypass, establishing new railway stations, and successfully implementing the village adoption scheme. The suave Congressman explains, State elections are two years away and I hear people say my real target is to be CM. Ive come into politics with a national and international vision and Id much rather we form the government in Delhi in June before anything else. He laughs, saying his political shelf life is reaching its expiry date. Going by visible voter enthusiasm, the shelves are still stocked with the Tharoor brand. How much has been sold will be revealed only next month.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 7:47 am

Priyanka Gandhi, Kerala CM lock horns in heated poll campaign exchange

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/PATHANAMTHITTA : Gloves were off between the ruling CPM alliance and the Congress leadership as senior party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan traded charges during their Lok Sabha election campaigns. The spirit of unity in the Oppositions INDIA bloc evaporated as both sides refused to pull their punches for the second successive day. Priyanka alleged that Pinarayi was targeting her brother Rahul Gandhi but was silent on the BJP. She charged that Pinarayi was compromised as he attacks only the Congress and Rahul. Earlier in the day, Pinarayi had sought to put the Congress on the mat for for being silent on the Citizenship Amendment Act in its manifesto. Going by the report (in this newspaper), there was mention of CAA in the first draft of the Congress manifesto. But later it was dropped. How could the Congress ignore such a crucial thing? Isnt the Congress executing the Sangh Parivar agenda, he asked. He also raked up the allegedly shady DLF-Robert Vadra connection to question the Gandhi familys probity. Priyanka shot back, saying Pinarayis name had come up in various scams, including gold smuggling, but the Centre chose not to take any action against him. Your CM is compromised. He only attacks Rahul Gandhi and the Congress and never speaks a word against the BJP, she alleged during a public meeting while campaigning for UDFs Pathanamthita candidate Anto Antony. The state Congress leadership had recently alleged that there was some understanding between the BJP and the CPM. Rahul, too, had wondered why the BJP government was not taking action against Pinarayi though two chief ministers are in jail. Pinarayi shot back reminding Rahul that his grandmother (Indira Gandhi) had jailed him during Emergency.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 7:34 am

Country facing an unusual election, says Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader spoke while leading a roadshow on the stretch from Valiyathura to Poonthura in the district, along with Shashi Tharoor, Thiruvananthapurams UDF candidate

The Hindu 20 Apr 2024 9:10 pm

Pinarayi Vijayan has joined hands with BJP to attack my brother: Priyanka Gandhi

Thiruvananthapuram : Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Saturday said that the Kerala Chief Minister...

absoluteindianews 20 Apr 2024 7:27 pm

Over two lakh complaints of election violation received in Kerala

Over two lakh complaints of election violation received in Kerala Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 20 (PTI): With Lok Sabha polls just six days away, a total of 2,09,661 complaints regarding violation of model code of conduct have been received in Kerala, of which action was taken in 2,06,152, Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Kaul said here on Saturday. The complaints were received through the cVIGIL mobile app set up by the Election Commission. The complaints were received from March 16 to April 20 and 426 are currently being processed, Kaul said in a statement. Majority of the complaints received through the cVIGIL were related to unauthorised posters, banners, boards, wall writings, posters without mandatory information, property vandalism, unauthorized monetary transactions, use of vehicles without permission, distribution of alcohol, gifting, weapon display, and hate speeches. Of the total complaints received, 3,083 were dismissed as baseless, the statement said. The Chief Election Officer said that the public can send complaints about violations through the cVIGIL (Citizens Vigil) application. Immediate action will be taken on complaints sent via the app, he said. The identity of the complainant will be kept confidential, the Chief Electoral officer added.

devdiscourse 20 Apr 2024 7:27 pm

DNA Exclusive | Shashi Tharoor vs R Chandrasekhar: Who is winning social media war? Check LSS here

Today we will talk about the social media popularity of Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor v/s BJP's Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who are both contesting from Thiruvananthapuram.

DNA India 20 Apr 2024 7:01 pm

Revamp done, KSRTC to press Navakerala Sadas luxury bus into Bengaluru service

As per initial reports, the bus will be pressed into service on the Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru route or the Kozhikode-Bengaluru route

The Hindu 20 Apr 2024 1:23 pm

As LS poll date approaches, will ED question CM Vijayans daughter?

Thiruvananthapuram : The focus in Kerala these days is on the Lok Sabha polls that...

absoluteindianews 20 Apr 2024 11:09 am

Pre-monsoon sanitation drive in Kerala faces hurdles due to polls, extreme heat

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The upcoming general election and the extreme heat situation prevailing in the state are posing challenges for local self-government institutions (LSGIs) to carry out pre-monsoon sanitation drives, which are crucial to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and urban flooding. According to the Met department, Kerala is expected to receive a normal monsoon this year. As part of the Malinya Muktha Nava Keralam campaign, the local self-government department (LSGD) has issued orders to ensure the time-bound execution of the sanitation drives, and has set a May 20 deadline for their completion. The shortcomings in the drives of the previous years saw LSGIs attracting heavy public criticism. We are unable to review activities because our resources have been diverted for election duty. There are constraints in organising outdoor labour, which is essential for pre-monsoon drives, because of the extreme heat situation. All these are challenges that we need to overcome, said Sarada Muraleedharan, additional chief secretary, LSGD. The LSGD has sanctioned Rs 30,000 per ward for the drive and has directed the respective LSGI councils to clear an additional Rs 10,000 for hotspots from their own funds. Sarada said much social mobilisation is required to carry out pre-monsoon drives, which have been hampered by the election. It has limited our monitoring capability. Yet, a lot of activity and preparations are taking place. We will pick up momentum by the end of April, by which time the election will also be over. We hope to complete all the work within the deadline, said Sarada. According to official sources, LSGD has drawn up a transportation plan to ensure timely movement of non-biodegradable waste accumulated at the nearly 20,000 material-collection facilities (MCFs) across the state. The plan will focus on collecting and shifting of waste within local bodies from mini MCFs. Regularity in collection and movement of waste is key to resolving accumulation. The plan is almost ready and we aim to have a system in place, said Sarada. LSGD has deployed block-level teams to review MCFs. We will examine the reports and make interventions at stress points, she added. Directives issued by LSGD 100% door-to-door collection from households & other establishments Cleaning up of waste dumps in public places and unclogging of canals and water bodies to ensure free flow of water Dry-day observation in households, institutions and establishments Cleaning up of water bodies, including drains & canals Sanitation activities with public participation

The New Indian Express 20 Apr 2024 9:09 am

LDF's Thiruvananthapuram candidate confident of a return after around two decades out of power

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the Lok Sabha elections come closer, Pannian Raveendran, the LDF candidate for Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, commenced his campaign trail with unwavering determination on Tuesday. It was 3.30 pm and he hopped on to the vehicle after having a hot cup of lemon tea from a nearby tea stall to begin the second part of the fervent campaign trail for the day. Despite the formidable challenge from UDF candidate Shashi Tharoor and BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Pannyan remains steadfast and confident and believes that he will come out victorious. Amid the bustling streets of the state capital, his campaign trail began from Kamaleswaram - one of the main suburbs. Wading through heavy traffic, his campaign vehicle passed through the congested road with much fanfare. Surrounded by ardent party supporters and volunteers, as the campaign vehicle progressed he was welcomed with warm receptions at every stop. Irrespective of age groups, toddlers and residents eagerly waited to receive him with garlands, ribbons, and shawls. There were firecrackers and paper showers that gave the campaign a festive mood. The media is after high-profile candidates but the LDF has a stronghold in this election. From the feedback I receive, people are telling me to ignore the exit polls. We did a study and in 2021, we won in all six assembly constituencies here despite the controversies. This election, we are going to get more margin. Kovalam constituency is a Congress stronghold but this time the tide has changed and Shashi Tharoor is not going to get the votes from there like he got in 2019. Things have changed. Besides political votes, many cultural organisations have extended their support to me, says a confident Pannyan. The loud sound of percussion and blaring announcement on the arrival of Pannyan Raveendran from the vehicles tailing the campaign vehicle drew the attention of the crowd. He addressed the people gathered around at every stop with short speeches on how the democracy in the country is in danger and how the BJP government has sold and is selling national assets. The tall claims being repeated and used for garnering votes by both Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and three-time MP Shashi Tharoor are a farce. Shashi Tharoor has lost his glamour as a politician and he has done nothing for this constituency. In 2005, when I was elected I took so much effort and brought in a lot of development in Thiruvananthapuram. These include the second terminal at Thiruvananthapuram Airport, railway terminal at Kochuveli, and the Rs 200-crore worth super-speciality facility at Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. My opponents have literally nothing to showcase as their achievement, he added.

The New Indian Express 20 Apr 2024 8:42 am

BSNL society scam victims in Kerala demand speedy probe

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Victims of the BSNL Engineers Cooperative Society scam have demanded a speedy investigation by the Crime branch into the case related to the swindling of `260 crore of the depositors money. The government had initiated the move to reclaim properties from the culprits by invoking the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes (BUDS) Act. However, victims alleged the district collectors of Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam were soft pedalling the process. Its been a year, and approximately nine acres in Thiruvananthapuram and around 56 properties in Kollam are yet to be seized, said a victim, in case of anonymity. Since the inquiry is incomplete, the chargesheet has also been delayed. The victims accused the Crime Branch and the government of not taking any steps to obtain information from the court regarding the status of properties recovered. According to the victims, despite numerous individuals being affected, the case has not garnered the attention it deserves, compared to the Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank scam and is often ignored by officials. While the Enforcement Directorate has stepped into the case, victims say that a comprehensive investigation is yet to begin. The victims alleged that there was delay in the investigation as the main culprits were politically influential people. The Crime Branch had arrested the society president A R Gopinathan and clerk Rajeev in the case of fund misappropriation of about `260 crore in December 2023.

The New Indian Express 20 Apr 2024 8:33 am

Bird flu: Kerala health dept strengthens preventive measures

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The health department held a meeting on Friday to prepare an action plan in the wake of bird flu outbreak in Alappuzha. Health Minister Veena George said preventive measures have been taken by enhancing surveillance and arranging facilities. The minister stressed on measures to prevent the infection from spreading to people. As per the plan, those with fever and other symptoms in the affected areas will be subjected to special observation for two weeks. A special OP, instead of a general OP, will be arranged in government hospitals to examine them. A fever survey will be conducted within a 3km radius of the area where bird flu has been reported and swab samples will be tested to confirm the absence of bird flu. Field-level activities will be strengthened under the leadership of Asha workers and field-level employees. Those who come into contact with birds infected with avian influenza should be directed to strictly observe quarantine. Surveillance will be strengthened in areas within 10km radius of this area. Any bird deaths should be reported immediately. Volunteers trained in One Health will also be involved, said the minister. The meeting also assessed the hospital preparedness. The General Hospital in Alappuzha has been designated as an isolation centre if there are cases of duck-to-human transmission. The Alappuzha Medical College Hospital superintendent has been directed to arrange facilities for patients with serious symptoms associated with bird flu. A nodal officer will be appointed to coordinate the activities.

The New Indian Express 20 Apr 2024 8:19 am

Kerala LDF activists detain businessman backing Congress candidate

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: LDF workers on Friday night detained businessman Biju Ramesh near Aruvikkara alleging he visited the place to distribute cash and seek votes on behalf of UDF candidate Adoor Prakash. Biju and a few people who were with him were detained at Vadakkemala Colony around 7pm. The LDF workers alerted the police and Election Commission. The police took Biju and others to Aruvikkara station. Biju said they were detained when they went there to visit a local Congress leader. Biju alleged that a person accompanying him was beaten up by LDF activists and hence he approached the cops to file a complaint on the matter. He said the officials did not find any cash in his vehicle or the house he had visited. Vadakkemala colony falls under Attingal Lok Sabha constituency. Adoor, the UDF candidate, is a close relative of Biju.

The New Indian Express 20 Apr 2024 8:05 am

V Muraleedharan's campaign in Kerala is all about 'Modi mantra'

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As dusk falls, Attingal BJP candidate V Muraleedharan addresses a modest crowd at Mamom on the National Highway 66. Brand Modi dominates his speech. Departing from his usual style of attacking the state government, the Union minister of state for external affairs exhorts people to vote for a government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Under Modis leadership, the NDA government did a lot of good work for the common people over the past 10 years. Now, he wants to complete his mission of providing housing, drinking water, electricity and toilets to all, Muraleedharan says. All places need to be connected with good roads. The NDA will ensure healthcare and employment for all. Vote for the Lotus symbol to realise these. Muraleedharan has a quick chat with the local party leaders and accepts saffron shawls from supporters, before boarding his campaign vehicle a modified jeep with a raised roof. His convoy includes an announcement jeep, and a lorry with percussionists. As the motorcade proceeds on the highway, Muraleedharan waves to the public on the roadside. The next stop is Attakkulam, which appears to be a BJP stronghold. A large crowdwaiting near a pond after which the place is named to welcome the candidate. Some elderly women hug him, some place their hands on his head to bless him. Children present him flowers, and youngsters huddle for a selfie. Muraleedharan repeats the Modi mantra in his speech, and rushes back to the jeep. With barely a week left for the campaigning to end, he is in a hurry to cover as many areas as possible. Meandering through several residential areas, the motorcade proceeds to the KSRTC Junction. Muraleedharan, who is a former state president of the BJP, shakes hands with every supporter who approaches him. The next stop is Kodumon Junction. Yet again, a large crowd enthusiastically welcomes Muraleedharan. Party workers shout slogans as he alights the jeep and greets senior leaders present at the venue. With a pleasant smile, he bows to the people standing in line to drape saffron shawls around his neck. Another round of Modis guarantee follows. Its been over seven hours of campaigning. The percussionists and party workers accompanying seem a tad tired. But Muraleedharan appears calm, smiling and invigorated, as if he draws energy and confidence from each of the campaign venues.

The New Indian Express 20 Apr 2024 7:17 am

DC Edit | INDIA bloc leaders need to stop targeting each other

The misuse of Central agencies the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and income tax department has been a point of grave concern for the Opposition. Almost every party in the INDIA bloc has been flagging this issue repeatedly in rallies and public statements. A chief minister whose party is a partner in INDIA was forced to resign before his arrest by the ED while a sitting chief minister from the same coalition has been put in jail by the same. It cannot be denied either that the ED, mandated as it is with investigating money laundering, takes the lead even in corruption cases. The defendants find it difficult to get bail under the draconian provisions of the 2002 Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Even if the courts question the maintainability of the prosecutions case, they find it hard to grant it, which results in leaders languishing in jail for weeks, months and years. However, one is still hard pressed to find the rationale behind Congressman Rahul Gandhis statement (rant?) against the Kerala CM as to how come he has never been questioned or arrested by these law enforcement bodies. That Mr Gandhi is wrong is only one part of the story, because even if till date no investigating agency has listed Mr Pinarayi Vijayan as an accused or even a witness in a case so that he can be questioned or arrested, his former private secretary, a senior IAS officer arrested for his proximity to some of the accused in a case of gold smuggling through Thiruvananthapuram airport, was alleged to have been pressured to name him. The United Democratic Front (UDF) Mr Gandhis party is leading in Kerala is pitted against Mr Vijayans CPI(M) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) it helms. Yet all constituents of both fronts are partners in the INDIA bloc. While it may be inevitable that he would compete with the LDF in Kerala, this insinuation from him is thus a low blow bordering on the desperate. It is unbecoming of a good leader. Not to allude to how absurd of him it was to suggest that the Central agencies have spared him as his party has a deal with the BJP. The Left Front in India has always had a spotless record on the subject of corruption. With his antics Mr Gandhi has only undermined the very cohesion of the Opposition platform that his party is actually heading and armed the NDA with morale and ammunition. It can now, in turn, call INDIA out for crying wolf when its complaints about the misuse of ED and other agencies are legitimate. The Congress in Delhi which was earlier at the forefront of the agitation against ED hanky-panky in the Delhi excise policy investigation has since backtracked. It is taking a similar position in Kerala as well. Yet, it is still complaining that the ED and other Central agencies including the I-T department are unjustified in their pursuit of cases against its own leaders. Such a double standard on its part is poor show by the grand old party. Not to mention terrible leadership as it sows seeds of mistrust amongst bloc partners.

Deccan Chronicle 19 Apr 2024 11:41 pm

Dont scare us with jail Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan tells Rahul Gandhi

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday unleashed a no-holds-barred attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reminding him that he should not behave in a manner that justified the name given to him by his adversaries in the past. The chief minister was indirectly referring to the name Pappu which was used extensively by the BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits to mock Rahul. Pinarayi's sharp reaction in Kozhikode on Friday came in the wake of the criticism unleashed by Rahul Gandhi against the chief minister the other day. The Kerala chief minister has neither been questioned nor investigated by the ED when two chief ministers are in jail. I leave it to the people of Kerala to ponder as to why Pinarayi Vijayan is getting such preferential treatment from Narendra Modi, he said while addressing election meetings in the state the other day. Taken aback by Rahuls accusations, the chief minister told the Congress leader not to scare him with jail and investigation. Your grandmother (Indira Gandhi) who was all-powerful at one time, put us in jail for one and a half years (Emergency period). He accused Rahul of having a Sangh Parivar mindset which according to him was evident from his silence on the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Don't scare us with jail and investigating agencies. Your followers say you have changed, but others say there is no change. You should brood what others are saying, he said. Pinarayi said the only issue Rahul Gandhi avoided during his yatras was the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Even when you came to Wayand to file your nomination papers you didn't utter a word on the CAA. What is the reluctance to speak about CAA ? This is the only criticism we raised against you, the chief minister said. The chief minister accused Rahul Gandhi of remaining silent on the abrogation of the status of Jammu and Kashmir. What do you have to say about the scores of Congress leaders who secretly congratulated the Centres decision on the abrogation of 370? Were the 18 MPs elected from Kerala seen anywhere? Hence there is no point speaking now. The big question is what did you do in the last five years, the chief minister asked. Pinarayi said when the central government tried to make the UAPA more draconian, Rahul and his party stood by the BJP. Did you ever raise your voice when Kerala was denied what it rightfully deserved? The Congress in Kerala was invited for a joint protest against the Centre's neglect. But you sided with the Centre. Aren't you responsible for this stand? the chief minister asked. With just seven days left for the crucial Lok Sabha polls, the top leaders of the Congress and CPM have scaled up their attack, accusing each other of being soft on BJP-RSS.

Deccan Chronicle 19 Apr 2024 9:02 pm

ECI lists out steps for ensuring free and fair polls

App to check impersonation of absentee, shifted, and dead voters during the upcoming polls. Arrangements made for 100% webcasting in Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Palakkad, Thrissur, and Thiruvananthapuram districts, ECI informs HC

The Hindu 19 Apr 2024 8:44 pm

Shoot starts for 56th film of Mohanlal and Shobana helmed by Renjith

Thiruvananthapuram : The highly successful duo of Mohanlal and Shobana is making a comeback as...

absoluteindianews 19 Apr 2024 7:01 pm

LS polls: Priyanka Gandhi to visit Kerala for campaigning on Saturday

LS polls: Priyanka Gandhi to visit Kerala for campaigning on Saturday Thiruvananthapuram: AICC general secretary and star campaigner of the party Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will arrive in Kerala on Saturday to address three election rallies and lead a road show in the state capital city. She is scheduled to land in Kochi by a [] The post LS polls: Priyanka Gandhi to visit Kerala for campaigning on Saturday appeared first on Mangalorean.com .

Mangalorean 19 Apr 2024 4:49 pm

Five poll officials suspended in Kerala for allowing CPI-M leader help elderly woman cast her vote

Thiruvananthapuram: Kannur District Election Officer (DEO) Friday suspended five poll officials for dereliction of duty after it was found that a CPI-M polling agent helped a 92-year-old woman cast her vote from home. According to the election rules, voters above the age of 85 can vote from their homes. The incident took place Thursday at []

orissapost 19 Apr 2024 2:55 pm

Lok Sabha polls: Thiruvananthapuram Collector denies errors during mock polling in Keralas capital district

Collector lodges complaint with Chief Electoral Officer (Kerala) against online media platform which allegedly published a report saying VVPAT slips displayed extra votes for BJP in mock poll

The Hindu 19 Apr 2024 12:07 pm

Retro DJ Night in Kerala's capital city beckons 40-yr-olds to the dance floor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The stage is set and the lights are dimmed. The city gears up for its first-ever Retro DJ Night, promising to take attendees away on a nostalgic journey through music history. DJ nights are typically associated with younger crowds. However, this exclusive DJ event is a special occasion tailored for those aged 40 and above. Just because someones youth is behind them does not mean that they have lost their love for hitting the dance floor with friends. These individuals, who once celebrated the energy and camaraderie of their youth, deserve the opportunity to revisit those moments and create new memories. Scheduled to take place on April 20 at the WINK Vivanta Thiruvananthapuram, this event is going to be a celebration of bygone eras, where the timeless melodies of yesteryears will reign supreme. The event is organised by DJ Arun, renowned for his mastery of retro tunes. I want to convey the message that retro music has the profound ability to bridge generations and offer a nostalgic journey through time, he says. For someone in their 50s or 60s, seeking to reminisce about their youth, theres no better way than engaging themselves in the tunes of the 70s and 80s. Its all about bringing people back to their favourite memories and reliving the magic of days gone by, DJ Arun adds. From the swinging 50s to the groovy 70s, from the neon-lit 80s to the rebellious 90s, the event promises to be a great start for people to come together and build a community of like-minded people who share a passion for the classics. All the music featured will consist of English chart-toppers of that time. DJ Arun is also planning to expand this concept to other districts. My goal is to foster a sense of community through these events. Also, the plan is to host a similar event on a larger scale in May or June. Im also considering inviting retired rock band members, singers, and other professionals with ties to the retro music scene to add authenticity to the event, he says. More than just a celebration of music, the Retro DJ Night is a homage to the passionate people who appreciate the charm of vintage culture. As the clock strikes 7.30, attendees are encouraged to dust off their dancing shoes and prepare to dance the night away to the beats of the past. With bookings filling up fast, now is the time to reserve a place at Trivandrums most anticipated retro extravaganza. For inquiries, contact: 9747441226.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 11:07 am

Lalithambika Sangeetha Natya Koodam to host 'Lalitham' classical arts competitions

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Lalithambika Sangeetha Natya Koodam, a collective comprising graduates from the Swathi Thirunal College of Music, is set to host the inaugural Lalitham Ragam and Lalitham Nadanam competitions, showcasing the pinnacle of classical music and dance. Registrations are open till May 5 and the event will be held in the same month. Divided into two categories seniors (15 to 25 years of age) and juniors (7 to 14 years of age) the competitions are poised to attract talent from across the region. Unnikrishnan L P, founder of Lalithambika Sangeetha Natya Koodam, expressed his excitement for the pioneering programme and said, It is rare to see classical art forms competition like this anywhere else except youth festivals. Lalitham Ragam and Lalitham Nadanam aim to elevate classical arts by providing a platform for pure expressions of Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music. The competitions will begin on May 10 and May 17 for music and dance, respectively, at the Lalithambika Sangeetha Sabha. The organisers will also live stream the events on Facebook. Distinguished judges will assess performances and cash awards will be distributed among the winners.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 11:03 am

How does getting inked for the first time feel like?

S Devasankar, 21, student, Kochi Our social science teacher taught us that voting is not only our right, it is our responsibility. Though I didnt understand the gravity of this then, now I am more aware. I like to look at elections with an optimistic eye and believe that they can bring about changes to our society. I know that this is a highly romanticised point of view. I am thrilled to vote for the first time because I get to play my part in the functioning of Indian democracy. So, it is a dream coming true. I believe that this election is a crucial point in history and we are going through a transitional period. I have decided to vote for the party, which is better in comparison. My policy is to choose what is lesser evil among the limited options we have. Jeeba Surgi, 22, student, Thiruvananthapuram This year will be my first vote. I couldnt cast my vote during the assembly polls. I dont want to waste my franchise. It is my right. I have been keeping up with the current political climate and the elections main talking points. What I want is to live in a secular country, and I want to contribute to building a nation like that. Since Im not satisfied with the candidates, I will most probably vote for NOTA. Its my way of expressing my disagreement with the political parties. Bahira K, 20, student, Kannur I think our country is witnessing a decline in democratic and secular sentiments. Politics have turned more ruthless with some in power using everything in their arsenal, including government institutions, to mute the opposition. I neither see any eligible leaders in the major opposing parties nor in the ruling one. Im guided by what the MPs have done previously. I dont want to contribute to the politics of hate. Im thinking deeply about whom to cast my vote on the D-day. Kesav Siju, 18, student, TPuram Many youngsters are clued in to whats happening in the country. Some keep away from the political issues because politicians and their policies are not catering to their needs. That said, all of us are very political. While it is true that Thiruvananthapuram is a Tharoor bastion, I think change is on the horizon. Ive learnt about the work that BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar has done. Also, the Narendra Modi factor cannot be discounted. We are in for a big election and Im excited to cast my vote. Sreya R Nair, 19, student, Palakkad I feel indifferent about the upcoming elections as Im not into politics. Since Im living in Ernakulam and casting my vote in Palakkad, I only have a rough idea about the candidates. I think it is better to vote based on the ideology of parties rather than individual candidates. I find the Left more appealing. Abhinand S S, 20, student, Thiruvananthapuram Ram Mandir is a big topic this election season. But I dont think the temple should be used as a political tool. For the past 15 years, the same candidate has been winning in my constituency. I wouldnt mind a new MP. I will vote for the candidate that I agree the most with. I wont waste my vote on NOTA. Sharat Nair, 24, IT professional, Thiruvananthapuram I never wanted to vote because I was under the impression that one vote cannot make any significant change. This time, I will vote because Im satisfied with the ruling government and I want the same to continue. In Kerala, it is tough for the party to win. So if my vote could buoy them, then why not? Ill be travelling from my workplace in Bengaluru to Kerala for the purpose. Saarika T S, 23, student, Perumbavoor The main issue I am facing is unemployment. Most of the youngsters, including my friends, are going abroad. I hope this election will bring about a positive change. Though I have a personal political leaning, this time I will be casting my vote for NOTA. Merin Rose Bijoy, 20, student, Kochi I find it hard to be interested in the voting process when all I hear about is corruption and self-serving parties. None of them seem to work for the peoples benefit. The lack of genuine options concerns me. I consider voting for NOTA. Nima B M, 18, student, Thiruvananthapuram I have already decided whom to vote for. I dont like discrimination based on religion or any attacks based on it. My vote will reflect that. I dont think any religion is superior. Having thoroughly reviewed all the manifestos, I have made my decision. My vote is not for NOTA. Doing so would be a big loss. Ananthakrishnan C A, 19, student, TPuram Im thrilled about the upcoming election because I will be participating in the worlds largest democratic exercise. Since childhood, I have watched family members going to the polls. This time, I will have the chance to experience it myself. I have not yet decided on whom to cast my first vote, or if it should be for NOTA. Im learning the current political scenario through various media. I have also closely observed the candidates. I will make a decision soon. Dona Maria Sebastian, 21, student, Peermade I dont even know the names of the candidates contesting from my constituency. So my vote will go for the party that closely aligns with my needs. I feel like the issues that should be at the forefront are unemployment, corruption, and price hikes. I dont know whether the election result will solve any of these. However, I do believe that my vote is important, and I wont give it away. Im also very certain of which party will not win in my constituency. Aravind R Nair, 21, student, Ernakulam I dont follow politics. It is not a big conversation among my friends. But parties have started campaigning on social media too these days. Thanks to this, Im aware about the candidates. I want to see politicians who keep their promises. Ensuring womens safety and tackling the drug menace are two issues I want the soon-to-be MP to prioritise. While Narendra Modis influence cant be discounted, punching in equal weight are also Shashi Tharoor, Rahul Gandhi and K K Shailaja. Annarose Jaison, 18, student, Thrissur Participating in democracy for the first time feels empowering. Im eager to take part in deciding which party will form the government. However, recent news about EVM malpractices has me questioning the integrity of my vote. While I may not know much about the candidates yet, Im looking forward to learning more. Sam Jones, 26, IT professional, Pathanamthitta I was not in Kerala for a while and couldnt vote till now. This time, I can exercise my franchise. Im concerned about the lack of separation between state and religion. The latter should never have any place in the matters of government. As far as the constituency I belong to is concerned, it has the potential for development. I was not content with the activities of the previous MP. Now, I have done a detailed analysis of the candidates to help my decision. Neha Valsaraj, 20, student, Kannur As a first-time voter, Im curious about the whole process. I checked the Election Commission website to understand everything. More than a right, I think voting is a citizens responsibility. Im interested in politics and I did a detailed study on the candidates contesting in my constituency and others. What Ive understood is that most of them have vested interests. Only some are genuinely interested in being the peoples representative. My major issue with our country is gender discrimination. Though the Constitution grants equal rights, it feels like the country has a long way to go. Vaidyanathan S, 20, student, Kozhikode I think I have figured out the candidate who can best help our people. I have heard many stories of how helpful that candidate has been to all. My personal view is that whoever wins should strive to ensure that they do everything possible for the welfare of the people. Political and other biases should not impair their work. Ongoing issues regarding inefficient governance are certain to dictate the polls. More than the candidates mass appeal, I think it is their political goodwill that counts. I believe in this democratic exercise and Im certain my vote will help usher in a positive change. Compiled by: Mahima Anna Jacob, Ronnie Kuriakose, Parvana K B, Niranjana K P, Swathy Lekshmi Vikram, Aparna Mary Bilna

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 10:32 am

Kerala's e-governance platform disposes of over 6 lakhs applications

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K-Smart, the one stop e-governance platform that integrates all services offered by the local self-government institutions, has processed 6,33,733 out of the total 9,60,863 applications received for various services since its launch on January 1. The service delivery platform was developed by the Information Kerala Mission (IKM). With K-Smart, citizens can access a wide range of services, including applying for birth and death certificates, marriage registration, building permits and property tax payments. The public can also raise their grievances through the platform which provide a hassle-free experience as they dont have to repeatedly visit the offices. K-Smart has received 8,876 complaints from citizens, of which, 1,322 were resolved. Till date, revenue to the tune of Rs 628.66 crore has been collected through K-Smart. An amount of Rs 500.66 crore was collected via front office, Rs 5.46 crore through outdoor collection and Rs 77.03 crore as e-payment through the platform. It has issued around 67,176 birth certificates and 30,694 death certificates. Around 29,073 marriage certificate applications were submitted via K-Smart and 12,826 marriage certificates were issued. A total of 5,459 new trade licenses were issued and around 65,354 trade licenses were renewed. As per a release issued on Thursday, around 3,27,130 applications are under process. The new system is expected to enhance transparency, and improve the efficiency of service delivery by LSGs. After the introduction of K-Smart, cash transactions made by the public for various services are being recorded in real time. Budget document creation, long-term, mid-term, and short-term cash flow management, regular cash position reports, daily cash collection reports, and budget summaries can be accessed through K-Smart. The release claimed that K-Smart is able to issue building permits for low-risk category buildings within 10 seconds. Around 5,066 building permits have been issued by K-Smart since its launch. Milestones Total number of applications received: 9,60,863 Total number of applications processed: 6,33,733 Total number of applications under process: 3,27,130 Total revenue collected via K-Smart: Rs 628.66 crores Total number of birth certificate issued: 67,176 Total number of marriage certificate issued: 12,826

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 9:10 am

'India Employment Report pitches for policy to promote jobs': Colloquium

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The India Employment Report (IER 2024) has called for evolving a comprehensive policy aimed at promoting inclusive employment opportunities in diverse domains and addressing the challenges facing Indias workforce including the gaps in skill development, speakers at a colloquium at Technopark have said. IER 2024 also has its emphasis on quality education, technical training, and policy support to enhance employability in the evolving Indian job market, said stakeholders and policymakers at the event organised by Technopark-based startup Lifology Foundation. This seminal report, a joint initiative of the Institute for Human Development and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), provides an in-depth analysis of the employment scenario in the country over the past two decades. It offers specific insights into youth employment, education, and skill development, leveraging data from 2000-2022 and the first quarter of 2023. Dinesh P Thampi, vice-president and delivery centre head, TCS; Richard Antony, director (India operations), global delivery services, EY; Ajayya Kumar V, COO, Emircom, UAE; Deepu S Nath, MD, Faya India; Riyas PM, executive director, Kerala Innovation Council; and Rahul J Nair, co-founder and director, Lifology Foundation, were the panellists who discussed the reports findings, which indicated significant trends and shifts in the labour market. The conversation also saw a gathering of distinguished industry leaders, academicians, and policymakers. The IER 2024 notes that there has been an improvement in labour market indicators since 2019, including a decrease in unemployment rates and an increase in labour workforce participation, especially among rural women. The report shows the continuing dominance of the informal sector and a rise in self-employment and unpaid family work, predominantly among women. It also delineates the challenges the youth face in the labour market such as low participation rates, higher rates of informal employment, lower wages, and challenges posed by technological progress.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 9:06 am

AICC spokesperson Shama Mohamed booked for hate speech in Kerala

KOZHIKODE: AICC spokesperson Shama Mohamed has been booked in a hate speech case. The case stems from the remarks she made during an election campaign for M K Raghavan in Kozhikode, where she stated that if the BJP were to regain power, mosques and churches would cease to exist. The remark prompted a Thiruvananthapuram resident to lodge a complaint with the Kozhikode City Medical College police, accusing Shama of attempting to incite religious discord. However, Shama defended her statements, asserting that her comments were in reference to the Manipur issue and were not directed towards any specific religious community.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 8:55 am

On lookout for nightspots in Kochi? Check out Kalamasserys HMT-NAD road

KOCHI: After Mattancherry, Fort Kochi and Marine Drive, a 2km stretch along HMT-NAD road, in Kalamassery, is emerging as a vibrant nighspot in the city. Going by rising footfalls, the stretch holds the potential to become a venue for various activities, akin to Thiruvananthapurams Manaveeyam Veedhi, which has evolved into a nightlife corridor hosting exhibitions, displaying artwork and street art, and staging cultural performances. Although the location is not widely known, evenings see large numbers of youngsters gathering along the stretch. The increased activity is proving to be a blessing in disguise for local shops and eateries. Following word-of-mouth publicity, the place now attracts film shoots, wedding photography and similar activities. The live screening of various sporting events like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Indian Super League (ISL) has added to the lure of the place. Moreover, the road itself is a venue for weekend skating camps for children. Salma Aboobacker, deputy chairperson of Kalamassery municipality, points out that the road is only partially open. Seaport-Airport road, near HMT, is still under construction, she said, welcoming the active nightlife on the stretch. But she has a word of caution. We should be aware of the possibility of antisocial elements taking over the area. Nightlife on HMT-NAD road connecting Seaport Airport road. Snehamol Ninan, who resides in nearby Manalimukku, said she spends her evenings there. It is a location where me and my best friend have been regularly spending our leisure time for the past 2-3 years. We are witness to the changes and are happy that our meeting place is now part of a new nightlife culture, she adds. If the infrastructure is improved, by adding street lights and comfortable and adequate seating facilities, it will encourage organisations to hold cultural programmes at the venue, she said. Sulfikar Kollayil, who lives in Mattakkad, Kalamassery, pointed out how the place offers a distraction from his busy life. It is my familys stress buster, he said. Shahana Basheer, a techie who works at Infopark, says the place is a favourite with families, too. The road is a venue for weekend skating camps for children. Rashid, a cafeteria owner, is optimistic the area will develop further and become as attractive as Fort Kochi or Marine Drive. We were among the first to open a shop here. In the initial days, business was dull. This has all changed and now we are open 24x7, he said. Rashid reckons the business will rise manifold once construction of the Seaport-Airport stretch is completed.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 8:28 am

'Pro-LDF wave in all 20 constituencies,' says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

With just a week left for the state to vote in the Lok Sabha election, whats your assessment? In 2019, the Congress had campaigned on the plank that the party should be voted to power, so that Rahul Gandhi can form the government. The majority of Keralites are against the BJP. Thats how the UDF recorded a major victory. However, the UDF MPs failed to raise Keralas concerns in Parliament. The second Modi government has been blatantly executing the RSS agenda. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act was one such move. Kerala has always strongly reacted to such issues. The UDF MPs failed to raise their voice to protect the secular values that we stand for. When many Left leaders were arrested, the Congress was nowhere to be seen. In Kerala too, the decision was to move ahead with a united protest. But, the Congress backtracked. Similarly on issues like special status for J&K, which too was based on the RSS agenda, the Congress remained silent. There are many Congress leaders with a Sangh parivar mindset. The UDF MPs never raised Keralas issues like the states financial crisis and the much required assistance from the Centre. They always supported the Centre, and have never once stood with the state. In short the BJP has an anti-Kerala approach. The UDF backs this approach. People would be voting against this anti-Kerala approach. Theres a pro-LDF wave in all constituencies. The Prime Minister in his recent speeches has been targeting you. Its not about targeting me. Its part of a discriminatory approach towards Kerala. Kerala rejects the ideology of hatred. Thats the BJPs basic issue. Thats why political parties that resist them are being targeted. Its happening in other states too. We started our political life without hoping to get anything in return. We only have one purpose whats being done should be righteous. I can say with confidence that so far, theres no blemish to that commitment. Thats why I am able to face any opposition. The PM should ponder whether such remarks are worthy of the position he holds. Do you see this LS election as a referendum on the LDF government in the state? Normally, Lok Sabha election is an assessment of issues at the national level. But its only natural that the state governments deeds get mentioned in any election. We have no concerns about that. The primary focus is on the challenges faced by the country like threat to secularism, democracy, independence, unity and national integration. The country itself is in danger. In the face of such grave threats, UDF MPs never took the right approach. This is going to be an assessment on their performance and approach. Why is it that in this poll, you have nothing but CAA as campaign issue. Congress says you have nothing to project as governments achievements? I spoke about government and administration during the Nava Kerala Sadas. Thats not what we should talk about now. Here, it is the issues that the country faces and the Congress approach to these issues. How attempts are being made to destroy our nationhood... Its being done by the BJP, hence criticism is against the BJP. Criticism against the Congress is its failure to take a position against the BJP. What is the general sentiment in this election? Now the general sentiment across the country is that the BJP must go. What is best for the country once the BJP is ousted can be worked out after the elections. Based on the post-election scenario, appropriate decisions will be taken and leaders will emerge. The first priority is to defeat the BJP. Thats the approach taken in each state. You have been consistently asserting on defeating BJP. Are you genuinely confident? The BJP government is becoming more and more desperate day-by-day. It is doing anything and everything to continue in power. It is resorting to desperate measures that cross all acceptable limits. People will not approve of such acts. Naturally, the BJP has been facing major setbacks, even in places where they claim to enjoy tremendous support. If we look across the country, theres a new found resistance against the BJP that stems from simmering resentment, protests and opposition towards such arbitrary acts. In short, theres an anti-BJP movement cropping up at the national level. Do you mean the arrest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal? Yes. The statement by Sarath Chandra Reddy is the only thing against Kejriwal. Usually when a businessman is involved in a case, he would be keen to be get out of it at the earliest. He was reportedly asked by the ED to name someone. Now two chief ministers are behind the bars. Its a very strange situation. If these two suddenly decide to shift their allegiance to the BJP, theyll be declared innocent overnight. We have seen several such instances. Can anyone recall such blatant abuse of the system and its machinery in the past? If his arrest was unfair, why do the courts reject his arguments? Thats an important point. Courts function as per the judicial system in place. But when theres misuse of the judicial system, courts in our country, especially the Supreme Court, should intervene and examine. The CPM has raised this. Courts also have realised this. Some of their remarks indicate this. At times, courts have expressed their resentment to the ED in this regard. You mean to say the courts have begun to realise that the judicial system is being misused? The courts have realised how the system is being misused. Judges of the Supreme Court have openly come out against attempts to interfere with the judiciary. At the national level, the CPM has been associating with INDIA bloc. Do you think the INDIA alliance will get a majority? The CPM doesnt see it as an alliance. Its more of an arrangement of bringing together all secular parties who can unite against the BJP. Defeating the BJP in each state will be given priority. The regional parties will have a major role to play in this effort . In some places the Congress too will have to play the role of either as the lead partner or a junior partner. The CPM manifesto says controversial legislations like the UAPA will be repealed. But one of the major criticism against you is that the LDF government has been widely imposing UAPA, despite the CPMs position. In general, the party position has always been against imposing UAPA. But when such a law exists, in some cases, it may need to be imposed. That cannot be avoided. So we need to ensure with utmost care that its not being misused. It is imposed only after review by a committee led by a judge. We have never rushed into slapping the UAPA. The cyber attack against Vadakara candidate K K Shailaja has been widely discussed. How desirable is such a trend? These the cyber attacks and personal attacks are two different things. The one against Shailaja teacher is personal attack. It is mere hooliganism. Such things cannot be accepted. No attempts should be made to justify such acts is what I want to tell the Congress leadership. Cyber attack is another thing. People make such random comments on social media. Necessary legal action should be taken. But we cannot effectively restrain such acts unless we take a collective call. When it comes to attacks against Shailaja, such low-level slander should be rejected outright. Going by reports, some prominent people in the Youth Congress were involved. Is political violence making a comeback in Kerala? Im asking this in the background of the Panur bomb blast. One cannot say theres such a major move...Peace prevails in these places. However, the recent blast shows that the tendency still exists. The government will take stringent action against those involved. There is no way we can accept bomb culture in politics. The BJP has been hopeful of making it big in at least five constituencies in Kerala. How do you assess the BJPs chances here? The BJP will not secure even second place in any of the 20 constituencies in Kerala. In many seats, they will face major setbacks. The party is especially hopeful of Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur? Its certain that the BJP will end up a poor third in both these constituencies. The ED has been persistently targeting both the CPM and you. They seem to be closing in on the party, Thomas Isaac and you. Are you worried of the ED ensnaring you? Have you got any such indication? I havent got any such indication. So far, nothing has happened that could lead them to me. Earlier too there were apparent indications as if the ED was right at the doorsteps, but they fizzled out (smiles). What about Isaac? The court itself asked why such a position is being taken. The Masala Bond was issued after clearance from the RBI. Their validity is over. The money has been repaid. There were no irregularities. The ED coming after such a matter itself is illegal. As state finance minister, Isaac had no special responsibility in the matter. It was decided by a board of experts. We dont want to resist any probe agency. But its actions should not be politically motivated. Is there any such politically motivated approach in the CMRL issue involving your daughter? Its a different issue. Its a transaction between two companies. All details are available with the accounts of both these companies. All these details have been handed over to Income Tax officials. Investigation is being conducted into a legal transaction alleging lack of transparency. Its obviously being carried out with vested interests. Is there an attempt being made to target you personally? (Laughs). Many people will wish many things. There has always been a section of people who think and act against me. There are some others who nurture such people. My hands are clean. People know that. So such wishes will remain wishes. So you are certain that the probe agencies wont come after you? Under normal circumstances, theres absolutely no ground for them to come after me. But as you said these are not normal times. If such an extraordinary situation arises, well see what to do. We can now speak, based on the current scenario (laughs). The ED has been after the Karuvannur scam. The cooperative sector in Kerala has been functioning commendably. The government wants to maintain the sectors credibility. In this particular case, some people may have erred. The governments position is clear. There shall be no compromise with such people. Stringent action will be taken. But we wont let this cooperative outfit be destroyed. We will protect the sector. In Karuvannur, the ED didnt find anything new.They just gave it more publicity. Thats all. If we look at the cooperative sector in Gujarat, the BJP failed to protect the sector. Even the RBI has complained about it. Congress says Rahul Gandhi has been emerging as the leader of INDIA bloc. I dont think thats correct. As leader of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi is a prominent face. When it comes to being the leader of INDIA bloc, that will be decided later. The other day there was a verbal duel between A K Antony and his son. Later, certain allegations were raised by T G Nandakumar. In this, there are certain issues that would have an impact on A K Antony. I dont want to raise it as an electoral issue. When such information gets leaked, and later, a few Congress leaders themselves attest it, naturally it gains credibility.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 7:55 am

Congress moves EC over article in CPIM mouthpiece Deshabhimani

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress has approached the Election Commission of India (ECI) against the use of the word porngress in an article published in Deshabhimani, the CPMs mouthpiece, on Thursday. Congress state president in-charge M M Hassan alleged the word was used with the knowledge of CPM state secretary M V Govindan, and urged the EC to take urgent action against the CPM for violating the Model Code of Conduct. The news would not have been carried without the knowledge of the CPM secretary. The eight-column news, carrying a cartoon, referred to all Congress candidates as porngress. It was planned, Hassan said, adding that CPM resorted to such actions after its attempts to spread lies against the UDF candidate in Vadakara backfired. Now, CPM is trying to pin the blame of the fake video circulating in Vadakara on the Congress, Hassan said, adding that such a move from an INDIA bloc ally was unexpected.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 7:34 am

KC Venugopal in a must-win contest in Alappuzha, the Venice of the East

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A Rajya Sabha seat from north India becoming a talking point during elections in Kerala may sound bizarre. In this poll season, however, the Alappuzha constituency in central Kerala is abuzz with murmurs over the Rajasthan seat, courtesy the surprise candidature of AICC general secretary and Rahul Gandhis man Friday, K C Venugopal. KC, as he is known in the states political circles, is currently a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, which the BJP wrested from the Congress in the assembly elections last December, and his tenure lasts till 2026. If KC wins in Alappuzha, he will have to relinquish his seat in the upper house of Parliament. And that would be a booster for the BJP, which is just four seats short of majority in the Rajya Sabha. The Left Democratic Front has been raising this bogey, especially among the minority communities that have a significant influence in this constituency. KC is one of the national leaders in the fray this year, along with the likes of Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor, Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Annie Raja. And this stature is certainly helping him bridge the five-year gap with Alappuzha, which had elected him to the Lok Sabha in 2009 and 2014, and the state assembly in 1996, 2001 and 2006. That KC managed to maintain his local connections developed during his previous stints here as an MP and MLA will work to the advantage of this former Union minister of state in the UPA II government. However, ironically, the weak organisational structure of the Congress has turned out to be a worry for the AICC general secretary in-charge of organisation. Moreover, KC faces equally strong opponents this time sitting MP A M Ariff of the CPM and Sobha Surendran of the BJP.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 7:29 am

'Partial symbol loading in VVPATs caused printing of extra slip': Bharat Electronics on Kasargod EVM row

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Disconnection of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine from its Symbol Loading Unit (SLU) before printing all the election symbols or moving to the next stage before completion of the process could have resulted in the printing of an extra VVPAT slip during mock poll in Kasaragod Lok Sabha seat. This is the finding of a report submitted by the Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), that provides the EVMs, to the Election Commission on the incident. Irregularities were detected in four EVMs during the mock poll in Kasaragod Parliamentary constituency on Wednesday. When the vote was cast for all 10 candidates in the EVMs, the VVPAT machine gave 11 print outs. The BJPs Lotus symbol was found to be printed twice during the mock poll. The report from BEL, seen by TNIE, explained that during the election symbol loading process, all the symbols are first loaded from SLU to VVPAT and then printed continuously without cutting in between. If the VVPAT is disconnected from SLU before printing of all the loaded symbols, a partial printed slip is generated till the time of disconnection and is not cut. At the next power-on event, the printout of the standardisation slip generated will add to the partial printed slip generated during symbol loading, the BEL report said. Taking into account this possibility, the combined printout (standardisation slip and the partial printed symbol slip) will have added information of NOT TO BE COUNTED printed at the top. The lotus symbol of BJP candidate Ashwini M L, was listed on top as per alphabetical order of candidates. If the VVPAT is disconnected from SLU during printing of first candidate. the same gets added to standardisation slip at next power on event during mock poll, BEL explained. Since NOT TO BE COUNTED is printed at the top of such slips, these are to be discarded during mock poll verification, the report by BEL said. The incomplete symbol loading which had happened in four VVPATs in Kasaragod could have occurred due to disconnection of the cable or by moving the VVPATs to next stage before completion of prints, BEL said. Done in haste A total of 280 engineers of BEL have been deployed across the 20 parliamentary constituencies in the state, with two personnel in each assembly segment. The poll panel is reportedly of the view that the commissioning process, carried out by BEL engineers, was done in a haste, resulting in the fiasco and it constituted a serious lapse on their part.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 7:03 am

EC dismisses concerns as Kasaragod mock poll sparks row

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/KASARAGOD : The Election Commission has termed as baseless the reports that electronic voting machines (EVMs) in Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency erroneously logged in votes in favour of the BJP during the mock polls. Irregularities were detected in four EVMs during the mock poll in Kasaragod constituency on Wednesday. When the vote was cast for all 10 candidates in the EVMs, the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine issued 11 printouts. The BJPs lotus symbol was found to have been printed twice during the mock poll. In the wake of the complaints, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Kerala, Sanjay Kaul, sought a report from the district collector of Kasaragod, who is also the district electoral officer, on the matter. As per the report, the VVPAT slip that was not printed during the initial inspection conducted by officials, came out printed during the mock poll, causing the confusion. According to the CEO, the message not to be counted was printed on this slip. It also recorded Standardisation done, and the VVPAT serial number. Besides, the slip was also longer than other VVPAT slips. All this makes it all the more evident that the slip obtained during the mock poll was the preliminary examination slip, the official said. Kaul added that all voting machines used in the Lok Sabha elections in the state are completely safe and flawless and that there is no need for any apprehensions. He said the commissioning of EVMs is carried out by engineers of Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) under the direct supervision of assistant returning officers. The commissioning process takes place in the presence of the candidates or agents appointed by the candidates, and the process is also fully webcast, he said. The issue also came up before the Supreme Court on Thursday when it heard a batch of petitions seeking direction to the Union government to ensure that voters are able to verify through VVPATs that their vote has been been counted as recorded. Irregularities related to VVPAT machines sorted Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for a petitioner, cited a report on mock poll results in Kasaragod. Following this, the apex court bench directed the ECI to examine and inquire into the allegations. Later, the ECI made it clear to the top court that the allegations with regard to the Kasaragod incident was not correct. Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Kasaragod, District Collector Inbasekar K said the irregularities related to four VVPAT machines were sorted. The commissioning process was finalised once the candidates agents were satisfied. We are fully convinced of the operation of the machines, he said. However, two of the VVPAT machines in question were replaced due to technical problems based on the report of the polling officials, he said. Nassar Cherkalam, UDF candidate Rajmohan Unnithans agent, who brought the issue to the medias notice said there is no assurance that an error will not occur again. VVPAT is not used for counting votes. But in a scenario, when the VVPAT has to be counted for crosschecking and the BJP agent claims the votes to be counted, it will create complications regarding the result, he pointed out.

The New Indian Express 19 Apr 2024 6:58 am

Diversity is the flavour of summer camps in Thiruvananthapuram

One is spoilt for choice with the sheer variety of activities offered at summer camps in Thiruvananthapuram

The Hindu 18 Apr 2024 10:14 pm

Cong spokesperson booked for hate speech in Kerala

The poll panel received the complaint from a native of Thiruvananthapuram, they said.

Rediff 18 Apr 2024 9:06 pm

Day 3 On Kerala Express: Understanding The Voters' Pulse

With just a few hours until the world's largest electoral exercise is set in motion, what better way to track the pulse of the Indian voters than a train journey on the world's largest rail network. NDTV's Marya Shakil caught the Kerala Express from New Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram. Covering 3,000 kms across eight states, taking nearly 50 hours, she caught up with her co-travellers about the journey of India's democracy and what the elections mean to them.

NDTV 18 Apr 2024 7:08 pm

Why Kerala's Manaveeyam Veedhi Road Is A Major Tourist Attraction

Situated in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city, the Manaveeyam Veedhi Road has become famous for its numerous artworks.

News18 18 Apr 2024 5:22 pm

Kerala LoP raises Mancherial saffron clothes row with Telangana CM

Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan on Thursday spoke with Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy regarding the incident of vandalism at a school managed by a Kerala-based church in Mancherial district of the state. The protection council of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese of the Syro Malabar Church had issued a statement Get the latest updates in Hyderabad City News , Technology , Entertainment , Sports , Politics and Top Stories on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. You can also download our app for Android and iOS .

The Siasat Daily 18 Apr 2024 5:18 pm

Kerala cop under suspension found hanging

KOCHI: A circle inspector-ranked police officer under suspension was found dead hanging in a tree near Ambedkar Stadium in the city on Wednesday morning. Police suspect it to be a case of suicide as the deceased officer was wanted by the Crime Branch in a rape case. The deceased is A C Saiju, a native of Nedumangad, Thiruvananthapuram. The body was found at an isolated plot behind a chicken stall on the eastern side of Ambedkar Stadium near Ernakulam Bus Station around 7 am. A resident who found the body hanging on a tree informed the police. The identity of the deceased was confirmed from the ID card recovered from the pocket. According to the police, Saiju stayed with his family in Thiruvananthapuram. He left the house on Tuesday. He was accused in a case of raping a doctor while serving at Malayankeezhu police station between 2019 and 2022. He had obtained bail in the case which was revoked by the Kerala High Court after it was revealed that he used forged documents to obtain bail.

The New Indian Express 18 Apr 2024 7:46 am

Extreme heat plays spoilsport, domestic tourists not warming up to Kerala for now

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The extreme heat situation since February in the state has come as a heavy blow to the tourism industry, which has been heavily reliant on domestic tourists since the easing of the pandemic. According to stakeholders, compared to previous years, the industry has witnessed a significant dip in bookings since mid-March, which suggests a considerable drop in domestic tourists visiting the state. In the past years, vacationers from all over the country thronged Kerala for its idyllic climate and natural beauty, but extreme temperatures and constant yellow alerts are forcing vacationers to pick other cooler destinations like Kashmir. As per industry insiders, there has been a 30-40% drop in domestic tourists at all major tourist destinations in Kerala, including Munnar. In 2023, around 2.18 crore domestic tourists visited Kerala, which was 15.92% higher than 2022. There is a significant decline in domestic tourist arrivals. The April-May summer break is supposed to be peak season for domestic tourism. Unfortunately because of the extreme heat situation, even people from driveable locations within the state are not very keen to spend their vacation at getaways, says Manzoor A R, corporate sales manager of Abad Group of Hotels and Resorts. We have 14 properties at seven destinations and there is a considerable decrease in occupancy compared with previous years. Occupancy was almost full in the last two years, and there was not much difference during weekdays and weekends. But now there is a 30-40% drop in bookings in general, Manzoor said. Increase in airfare too affecting inflow of tourists to Kerala Many feel that sweltering summer heat and the Lok Sabha election have largely contributed to the decline in domestic tourists. The climate in Kerala is not an USP for the time being and from mid-March bookings have come down. Munnar is one of the key destinations that should be in high demand. People are looking to escape the heat but Kerala is not a choice anymore. Bookings to cooler destinations like Kashmir have gone up, says Vinesh Vidya, president of Tourism Professionals Club. Besides the rise in temperatures, increase in airfare is another factor affecting the industry. Election and temperatures have adversely affected the industry. People are unable to travel with surplus cash. The rise in airfare is also a major setback for domestic tourism. People from Gujarat are among our major clients. But last Diwali many cancelled their bookings because of high airfare. Its becoming expensive for domestic travellers, says Vineeth K Nambiar, director of Green Roots Hospitality.

The New Indian Express 18 Apr 2024 7:39 am

Kerala mosques step in, tweak poll day 'Jumuah' prayer timings

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Concerned that many believers may choose to stay away from exercising their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections on April 26 since it is a Friday, Muslim jamaath committees are rescheduling the obligatory Jumuah prayer and cutting short its duration. The Friday prayer, comprising sermons in Malayalam and Arabic, followed by namaz, is one of the exalted religious practices of Muslims. It normally spans 45 minutes to an hour. The move being taken by several jamaath committes aims to help believers, who might be torn between performing their religious duties or fulfilling their democratic responsibilities, by facilitating their participation in both. The prominent Palayam jamaath committee in Thiruvananthapuram announced that the Jumuah on April 26 will be curtailed and held from 1pm to 1.20pm instead of the usual 12.45pm to 1.30pm. The Jumuah prayer, usually lasting 45 minutes, will be cut short by 25 minutes on poll day. We took the decision after consultations and announced it during Eid prayer. Several nearby jamaath committees are also opting to reschedule Jumuah to help believers cast votes without relinquishing the obligatory prayer, said Palayam committee president Haji Sheikh Zabeeb. Haji A Saifudeen, secretary of the influential Kerala Muslim Jamaath that is aligned with the Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musliar-led Sunni faction, said the committees are fixing prayer timings to make it easier for the community members to vote. If a mosque has set 12.45pm as its prayer time, the prayer in the nearby mosque will commence a few minutes later. Nearby mosques will adjust timings accordingly so that voters and those involved in election duty, such as police officers, can attend the prayer as per their convenience, Saifudeen said. Namaz to be performed in 15 mins on poll day Saifudeen said sermon durations will be trimmed, and namaz will be performed within 15 minutes on April 26, poll day. As citizens of the country, exercising the right to vote is very important. The Friday prayer is obligatory too. So jamaath committees carefully curated the prayer schedule so that people can fulfil both duties, he said. The Panakkad Qazi Foundation headed by Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal also directed mosque managing committees under it to take practical steps to help voters from the community. Its circular to the committees said prayer timings should be revised accordingly. When the election dates were announced last month, Muslim organisations had urged the Election Commission of India to postpone election phases falling on Fridays, but to no avail. Following this, several Muslim leaders had urged believers not to skip voting, and time the Friday prayer accordingly.

The New Indian Express 18 Apr 2024 7:34 am

Impersonation, open voting: What some parts of Kerala see during polls?

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : You are just a presiding officer. You need to act accordingly. Otherwise, we will chop off your hands and legs! This was the threat an election official allegedly faced in a CPM stronghold for trying to prevent bogus voting during the last local body polls in December 2020. The officer, K M Sreekumar, was the leader of a Left-leaning service organisation. And the threat came from none other than the then local MLA K Kunhiraman. Sreekumar, who was deployed as presiding officer at GLPS Kizhakkumbhagam ward in Kasaragods Uduma constituency, did not yield to the intimidation. Consequently, the polling percentage in the constituency dropped from 94% in the previous election to 83% that year. The incident came to light as Sreekumar shared his harrowing experience on social media. Though he had initiated legal action, the issue was later put to rest abruptly. This was not an isolated case. There have been numerous accounts by polling officials who have faced such harassment while on duty. Polling agents of rival fronts also end up helpless in bastions of different parties. The agents are intimidated. They are forced to sit through the whole process as mute witnesses, said a former presiding officer. If they raise any issue, they will face unpleasant consequences. They know they will be hounded, attacked. Bogus voting begins as soon as polling starts in the morning. Through blatant impersonation, party cadres cast votes of those who support the rival party within the booth limits. Generally, they choose the elderly and strong supporters of the rival party. They reach the polling booths with old, faded voter ID cards. None of the polling agents of the rival party would oppose due to fear. Lets say there is an 83-year-old Divakara Panicker who votes for X party. The rival party cadres would send another elderly individual to cast Panickers vote at 7am itself, an official explained. The rival partys agent would be aware that its not Panicker, but would remain silent due to fear. Later, when Panicker comes to cast his vote, he will be told that his vote was already cast. If he insists, he may cast a tendered vote. Some do, while others play safe and leave. Another legitimate way of fraud is open voting, where people with disabilities like visual impairment are assisted by someone to cast their votes. Its said to be the most convenient way of bogus voting, and is common in so-called party villages. Party cadres arrive at the booths along with elderly individuals, and claim that the voter is visually impaired. The presiding officers usually allow the assisting individual to cast the vote. At times, just for the sake of it, the officer might ask the actual voter to identify a particular colour. The voter will obviously fail the test, and the accompanying partymen are allowed to assist. If the presiding officer takes a firm stance, the cadres are alerted. Intimidation begins. Booth agents of the dominant party will create a ruckus, arguing that the visually impaired person could end up pressing the wrong button. If the poll official remains adamant, another round of threats begins. This would go on for the entire day. Polling agents are threatened. Often, more than 5 per cent of open votes are cast this way. Polling officials, too, are intimidated to avoid presenting the actual number of open votes when they submit data to the Election Commission (EC), said Mohammed Blathur, a KPCC member from Kannur. Mohammed expressed hope that such incidents will not be rampant in the upcoming polls. This time, thanks to live webcasting by the EC, bogus voting is likely to come down. Kannur CPM leader TV Rajesh maintained that allegations of bogus voting were baseless. We, too, can raise such allegations against the UDF. If they have evidence, let them approach the EC, he said. Political observers, however, would not brush aside the issue. The most crucial phase is said to be between 3.30pm and 4pm. With just about an hour for polling to end, the ghosts and NRIs arrive to vote. Party workers, with the help of polling agents, gather information about people yet to cast their votes those who are deceased but whose names still remain on the voters list; those who are abroad; and others who have not been able to make it to the polling booth. Its alleged that, in some party villages of north Kerala, people are recruited to replace the missing voters. They would be allowed to vote, as officials work in an atmosphere of fear. The moment a polling official enters a booth, party workers do a background check. Depending on the officials political affiliation, they choose the strategy. Threatening calls by prominent leaders and raising a ruckus at the booth are common tactics. There are instances when some people vote six or seven times. They would change their attire each time, said an official. Once they gain confidence, they would come in the same attire. Polling officials will be frightened, and desperate to leave the place. So a spike in polling percentage might not always indicate a healthy democracy, officials noted. Especially in the case of party villages.Will the ECs measures, such as live web streaming, help curb malpractices? We will get to know that on April 26.

The New Indian Express 18 Apr 2024 7:21 am

'There is a UDF wave in Kerala, it will win all 20 seats': C P John

Communist Marxist Party (CMP) general secretary C P John sees a UDF wave in Kerala and believes that the front could win all 20 seats. At the national level, he says the BJP will not cross the magic number of 272 seats as the party would face setbacks even in its strongholds. In a conversation with TNIEs Arun M for the Quick Five segment, John, who is also the UDF secretary, exudes confidence that the anti-incumbency against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will reflect in the polls. Excerpts You seem confident of the BJP losing several seats at the national level. Why so? The INDIA bloc is growing stronger with each passing day. At this rate, the BJP will not cross the magic number of 272 seats. Reports suggest that the party will lose many of the sitting seats even from its strongholds, including Uttar Pradesh. The Congress manifesto, promising `400 wage for MNREGA workers, change in educational loan structure, etc, puts forward a strong political stance. Fielding Rahul Gandhi again in Wayanad has seen the LDF accusing the UDF of sending the wrong message. Your take? Rahul has the right to contest from a seat he feels safe. When AKG was the leader of Opposition in parliament, he challenged Nehru to contest from Kasaragod. However, when AKG shifted his constituency to Palakkad in 1970, KSU leader Kadannappally Ramachandran won the Kasaragod seat. I have a question for my Left friends. If any other Congress leader other than Rahul contests in Wayanad, do they think they can win the seat? In how many seats do you see the BJP posing a challenge to the UDF? Strong contests are on in some constituencies. For instance, in Thiruvananthapuram, the NDA candidate was ahead in the first round of campaigning. However, the situation has changed and Shashi Tharoor is on top now. Thrissur will also witness a tough fight. Pathanamthitta had the potential to put in a fight but Anil Antonys candidature has ruined the prospect. There is a UDF wave in Kerala and Im certain that the Front will win all 20 seats. Pinarayi attacked Rahul Gandhi and the UDF while the PM Modi was visiting Kerala. Does that show that the BJP and the CPM are involved in adjustment politics? Congress is Pinarayis main rival. The CPM attacks the BJP only according to their convenience. This is the reason why the CPM has not sent a representative to the executive committee of the INDIA bloc. CPM has alleged that the UDF is behind the cyber attacks on LDF candidate K K Shailaja. Whats your stand? Cyber attacks against women leaders are condemnable. All parties should refrain from engaging in such malicious attacks.

The New Indian Express 18 Apr 2024 7:02 am

Thiruvananthapuram airport handles record 44 lakh passengers

In 2022-23, the figure was 34.6 lakh passengers

The Hindu 17 Apr 2024 9:23 pm

Election Junction: From Delhi To Thiruvananthapuram

Travelling from Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram on the Kerala Express just ahead of the election, on 'India Decides' we bring you the voice, issues and the gamechanger that will play a key role in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Watch now

NDTV 17 Apr 2024 9:18 pm

Congress seeks stringent measures to ensure transparency in vote-from-home system

Congress seeks stringent measures to ensure transparency in vote-from-home system Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 17 (PTI): The Congress in Kerala on Wednesday approached the Election Commission seeking stringent measures to ensure that the postal votes are stored in sealed ballot boxes and not in loose carry-bags for transparency in the vote-from-home system. The EC has introduced the facility to Vote-from-Home (VFH) for senior citizens and those with disabilities in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Senior party leader and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan lodged a complaint with the EC seeking its urgent intervention in this regard. Multiple incidents have been reported across the states where the votes have been carried in loose carry-bags, he alleged in the complaint. ''This would sabotage the election process and affect the results in tightly fought constituencies,'' the LoP said. Satheesan, in the complaint, recalled that it was requested in his prior letter to make sure that the votes are placed in sealed ballot boxes rather than loose carry-bags. He also pointed out that he had wanted Chief Election Agents of the candidates to be notified in advance of the voting schedule. ''However, it is quite shocking to note that despite repeated requests, votes are carried in loose covers in flagrant violation of pertinent directives in this regard,'' the Congress leader added. He also stressed on the need to ensure a free and fair vote-from-home process ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

devdiscourse 17 Apr 2024 7:10 pm

I Am 100% Sure BJP Not Getting Anywhere Near 300: Shashi Tharoor

Congress leader and incumbent MP of Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor claimed on Wednesday that the BJP will not be able to win 300 seats in the ensuing general elections and lose its majority in the Lok Sabha.

NDTV 17 Apr 2024 6:36 pm

4,476 persons cast vote from home in Thiruvananthapuram district

The facility for those above 85 years and differently abled voters with above 40% disability is open till April 22

The Hindu 17 Apr 2024 6:12 pm

Flights to be halted for 5 hours on April 21 at Thiruvananthapuram airport for religious procession

The Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Ltd. (TIAL) said the flight services would be suspended from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 21

The Hindu 17 Apr 2024 4:58 pm

Congress abandons party flags in Wayanad out of fear for BJP, alleges CPI(M)

Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling CPI(M) in Kerala alleged on Wednesday that the Congress had abandoned its own flag and that of its key partner, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), during the Lok Sabha poll campaign in Wayanad out of fear of the BJP. Taking a dig at its main political opponent in Kerala, CPI(M) state Get the latest updates in Hyderabad City News , Technology , Entertainment , Sports , Politics and Top Stories on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. You can also download our app for Android and iOS .

The Siasat Daily 17 Apr 2024 1:21 pm

Why Bengaluru traffic is creating political noise in Kerala ahead of Lok Sabha elections

Bengaluru's notorious traffic problems have gained worldwide attention, even becoming a focal point in the election race in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Heavyweight politicians Shashi Tharoor (Congress) and Rajeev Chandrasekhar (BJP) are competing for victory in the Lok Sabha elections, with the Kerala Congress questioning Chandrasekhar's capability to address infrastructure issues

The Economic Times 17 Apr 2024 1:17 pm

BJP replaces 100 sitting MPs with new faces, fearing defeat in election: DK Shivakumar

Thiruvananthapuram: The replacement of 100 sitting MPs with new faces by the BJP for the Lok Sabha elections shows that the saffron party is not strong enough to fight with the INDIA bloc, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said. Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, the Congress leader said there is no wave []

goachronicle 17 Apr 2024 12:36 pm

Airport operations to be suspended for 5 hours on Apr 21 due to religious procession

Airport operations to be suspended for 5 hours on Apr 21 due to religious procession Flight services from the international airport here will be suspended for five hours on April 21 for the smooth continuation of the holy 'Painkuni Arattu' procession of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple across the runway, TIAL said on Wednesday. The Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Ltd (TIAL) said the flight services would be suspended from 4 pm to 9 pm on April 21. It said the updated timings of the flights are available with the respective airlines. The airport has been pausing operations and rescheduling flights twice every year for decades to enable the bi-annual centuries-old ceremonial procession of the shrine to pass through the runway. The practice of the temple procession taking that path to reach the Shangumugham beach for the holy bath of the idols began centuries ago and it has been continuing even after the establishment of the airport in 1932. When the airport was constructed at the particular place, the then Travancore King Sree Chithira Thirunal had made it clear that facility would be open for public for 363 days in a year and for two days for Lord Padmanabha, the titular deity of the royal family, according to historians. The royal era ritual has been continuing even after the Adani Group took over management of the airport. The airport issues a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) twice every year before the runway is closed during the bi-annual Alpassi festival which falls in October-November and the Painkuni festival in March-April.

devdiscourse 17 Apr 2024 11:31 am

IIT grad from UP tops civil service exam, 5 from TN among top 100

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu candidates have performed better in Civil Services Examination (CSE) compared to last two years with five of them featuring in the top 100 as per the results declared by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Tuesday. While Aditya Srivastava, a trainee Indian Police Service officer, has topped the exam, Animesh Pradhan, Donuru Ananya Reddy, P K Sidharth Ramkumar, and Ruhani have secured second, third, fourth and fifth rank, respectively. Top ranker Srivastava (27), who hails from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, had completed his BTech in electrical engineering from IIT-Kanpur. A total of 1,016 candidates 664 men and 352 women have qualified in the exam and have been recommended by the UPSC for appointment to various services. Though the state-wise candidate figures are still being awaited, data compiled by former IAS officers and coaching centres show that of the 1,016 successful candidates at least 45 are from Tamil Nadu. The numbers may rise as TN candidates had appeared for the exam from centres outside the state too, they said. Last year, not a single candidate from Tamil Nadu made it to the top 100. Congratulating the successful candidates, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said their efforts will shape the future of the nation in the times to come. In his posts on X, the PM also reached out to the unsuccessful aspirants, saying they have chances ahead to succeed while noting that India is rich with opportunities where their talents can truly shine. 39 from state cleared UPSC exam last year While 39 TN candidates had cleared the exam last year, the topper from the state had bagged 107th rank. In 2021, only 27 candidates had cleared the exam and two had featured in the top 100 list. Last year, we had one of the worst performances of the decade as not a single person from the state had bagged a rank within top 100, said Israel Jebasingh of Officers IAS Academy. S Chandru, academic head of Shankar IAS Academy, pointed that the figures are quite encouraging as over the past few years there has been a steady decline in the performance of TN in the UPSC services. Whenever candidates from the state perform well in UPSC or any All India Services examination and their success stories are highlighted, it encourages many more from the state to write the exam, he said. However, he strongly felt that the states performance could be much better. He cited that in 2014, of the 1,126 candidates who cleared the exam, 119 were from Tamil Nadu. Experts said better pay packages and lucrative job opportunities in the private sector have taken the sheen off civil services, but now students are again turning their attention to the coveted exam. S Boominathan, managing director of KingMakers IAS Academy, said that many candidates who have secured ranks this year are already in service and this helped them to put up a better show. TN topper gets 41st rank T Bhuvaneshram, a native of Tiruvallur who bagged 41st rank, has emerged as the state topper. Currently serving as an assistant manager at NABARD in Thiruvananthapuram, Bhuvaneshram has cleared the exam in his sixth attempt. Dr S Prashanth (25), who holds the record for passing out with 36 medals from MMC, has cleared CSE in his first attempt

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 8:25 am

Filthy cyber attack against Shailaja, political etiquette goes for a toss

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : With just nine days left for the Lok Sabha polls, campaigning hit a new low with a vicious cyber lynching of K K Shailaja, senior CPM leader and LDF candidate in Vadakara. The political slander targeting the ex-minister, defying the code of political decorum, has invited a strong response from the Left front. The cyber attacks with her morphed photos and videos and edited conversations left the woman leader visibly disturbed, as was evident when she interacted with the media and voters on Monday. Shailaja filed a complaint with the Election Commission against her UDF rival Shafi Parambil over the cyber attacks. Fake videos and photos are doing the round terming her Abhisarika (prostitute) and Poothana . The UDF candidate and his workers are conducting a massive campaign on social media to defame her, she said. Attempts are also being made to wrongly influence the Muslim voters, she alleged. As per the complaint, UDF workers propagated a fake message in the name of religious scholar A P Aboobacker Musaliar terming her bombamma (mother of bombs). In another fake message in the name of Mathrubhumi Online, a comment on Love Jihad was made. The complainant or Mathrubhumi Online had never made such a statement, and the messages were spread by fake social media handles to create division and misunderstanding among voters, the complaint said, adding, some portions from a channel interview were extracted and spread to portray her as anti-Muslim. CPM lambasts UDF over cyber attacks on Shailaja A Facebook page named Ente Vadakara KL 18 has been conducting a false campaign to defame her. A social media group Troll Reporter TR published an obscene fake picture with morphed images of the chief minister and her. She was termed a demoness and other obscene names in these fake posters and videos. The perpetrators of the fake campaign were deliberately portraying her in bad light, while highlightimg certain statements by the UDF candidate to negatively influence the voters. The UDF candidate and his accomplices conspired to launch such a malicious campaign against her using fake messages and pictures, the complaint alleged. Meanwhile the CPM leadership came down heavily on the UDF for the cyber attacks. The shameful sexist language used against Shailaja teacher by the Congress candidates social media team is highly condemnable. It is an insult to the women of Kerala. The Congress in its desperation is resorting to such filthy language against a most respected leader, said CPM Politburo member Brinda Karat. Cyber attacks against Shailaja wont happen without the knowledge of the UDF candidate and leadership, said CPM state secretary MV Govindan. He demanded that the UDF leadership should intervene to put an end to the cyber attacks.

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 8:13 am

Tamil Nadu UPSC toppers credit parents for inspiration and support

CHENNAI: T Bhuvaneshram, a native of Tiruvallur, cleared the UPSC civil services examination (2023) with an all India rank of 41. According to sources, he is the top ranker from the state. While this is his sixth attempt, maintaining emotional balance and a well-rounded personality, and believing in the process helped him get through in his long journey. Currently serving as an assistant manager at NABARD in Thiruvananthapuram, Bhuvaneshram started preparing for civil services following his undergraduate studies, at an institute in Bengaluru. My parents instilled in me a passion for public service as part of my upbringing. My father, who is working as an assistant executive engineer in Tangedco, also motivates me to help people. If you want to help people and also get paid for it, civil services is the best option, said Bhuvaneshram. While his parents supported him for five years while he was preparing, he took up work as an assistant manager in NABARD last year. My parents were gracious enough to support me this long. But I couldnt continue to depend on them and took up the job, he added. Meanwhile, he also did an internship at the Tiruvallur collectors office in 2022 which helped him get ground level experience in a few sectors like fisheries. When asked about the challenges of preparing for the last six years, Bhuvaneshram said that his ability to lead a compartmentalised life and trust the process helped him. Like cricketer Dhoni says, it is important to trust the process. I dont believe it is necessary to study a particular number of hours. However, one has to know the syllabus well. It is important to have balance, emotional clarity and also love yourself. I think a well-rounded personality is also essential. While I studied, I also pursued interests such as participating in half-marathons and writing movie reviews, he said.

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 8:10 am

Keralites clinch top ranks in civil services examination

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Candidates from Kerala shone in the civil services examination 2023, the results of which were declared on Tuesday. According to a list released by the Kerala State Civil Services Academy, as many as 11 Keralites figure among the top 200 ranks, including P K Sidharth Ramkumar, who secured the all-India fourth position in his fifth attempt. Ernakulam native Sidharth, who joined the Indian Police Service (IPS), is now undergoing training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad. A graduate of Architecture from the College of Architecture, Thiruvananthapuram, he cracked the Civil Services exam in his first attempt in 2020 but made three other attempts to improve his rank. Other Keralites in the top 100 ranks were: Vishnu Sasikumar (Rank 31) who is settled in Gujarat, Archana P P based in Bengaluru (40), Benjo P Jose from Adoor (59) Kasturi Sha from Thiruvananthapuram (68), Fabi Rasheed, also from Thiruvananthapuram (71) and Annie George from Kannur (93). While Febin Jose Thomas from Kollam and Vineeth Lohidakshan from Ernakulam secured all India ranks 133 and 169 respectively, Amrutha S Kumar from Ernakulam and Manjusha B George from Kottayam clinched ranks 179 and 195 respectively. As per the list released by the academy, 54 Keralites figure in the list of candidates selected for various Civil Services. A total of 1,016 candidates across the country had cleared the examination and have been recommended for different central government services, the UPSC said.

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 8:09 am

There is neither BJP wave nor Modi wave in country, says Congs D K Shivakumar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Exuding confidence the INDIA bloc will form the government at the Centre, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said on Tuesday that there is neither a BJP wave nor a Modi wave in the country. He was speaking to reporters at the Indira Bhavan after attending a roadshow for Thiruvananthapuram UDF candidate Shashi Tharoor, Shivakumar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership are apprehensive of receiving a setback in the Lok Sabha elections, he said. When the UPA front was going through a lean phase, the UDF came up trumps with 19 Lok Sabha seats. Because of this, the Congress leadership has a soft corner towards the UDF. Malayalis are proud of the history of the Congress, democratic values and secular attitude, which would help them vote in favour of the Congress, Shivakumar said. He also wondered what contribution Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the BJP candidate, has made to either Thiruvananthapuram or Karnataka.

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 7:52 am

Name a better-governed state than Kerala, CM Pinarayi challenges BJP

THRISSUR : Questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modis sudden show of interest towards the states development ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan challenged the Union government to name at least one BJP-led state which has performed better than Kerala. Addressing the media at the CPM district office in Thrissur on Tuesday, Pinarayi said Keralas social development index is on par with that of the western countries. Kerala stood first in the country in a sustainable development index survey by NITI Aayog. The state will achieve its goal to eliminate extreme poverty by November 2025. Take any health and social indices, Kerala has been performing far better than other states. What kind of development is the BJP planning to bring to Kerala when it couldnt achieve anything in the last 10 years, asked Pinarayi. The CM also slammed the BJP-led Union governments stand which is allegedly destroying the financial federalism in the country. While the media portrayed the Supreme Court directive to consider Keralas plea through a five-member division bench as a setback to the state government, it is actually a giant leap for us. The directive shows that the top court finds our complaints against the Centre valid, he said. Pinarayi lashed out at the BJP for its divisive governance in the country and said such moves will not yield results in Kerala. When asked about the allegations raised by the Congress about a CPM-BJP deal in Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur, Pinarayi said his party will never carry out such politically cheap tricks. It is the Congress that entered into terms with communal factions, not the CPM, he said. To a question regarding the freezing of the CPM district committees account in Thrissur, he replied that CPM is the only party which received appreciation from the Income Tax department for the proper filing of its transactions. However, he said, neither the ED nor the BJPs political stunt would help Suresh Gopi win the seat in Thrissur. There is an LDF wave across the state and it would be reflected in the upcoming elections, he said.

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 7:43 am

Discrimination holds no place in realm of art: Mohiniyattam dancer RLV Ramakrishnan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Mohiniyattam dancer RLV Ramakrishnan on Tuesday graced the Kilikuttam summer camp organised by the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare with his performance and presence. Encouraging the children to pursue art, Ramakrishnan stressed that discrimination holds no place in the realm of art. A total of 400 children are taking part in the camp. Children welcomed Ramakrishnan by performing popular folk songs written by his brother and actor Kalabhavan Mani. He interacted with the children and shared his insights about Mohiniyattam. He said that his brother Kalabhavan Mani is his source of inspiration and strength. RLV Ramakrishnan has been in the news after the controversial remark made by Mohiniyattam dancer Sathyabhama about him. He expressed his gratitude towards the Malayalee community and the press for their unwavering support during the controversy. The event concluded with his Mohiniyattam performance.

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 7:34 am

Manaveeyam Veedhi continues its search for beloved canine Rani

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Manaveeyam Veedhi, the capital citys famed cultural corridor, is continuing its search for its beloved dog Rani who has been missing for the past seven days. For 12 years, Rani has been a part of Manaveeyam and its rich cultural history, says a visitor. The dogs disappearance has sparked a frantic hunt for clues. Though we have filed a complaint to the police, the officers have not even registered an FIR. They consider this matter as trivial, which is why they have not even filed an FIR. But, for us, it is about the value of life, said Peeyas Hari, editor of Janakeeya Sandesham Magazine, who is a frequent visitor at Manaveeyam. Twelve years ago, Rani was brought to the place as a puppy by artist Sreejith P V. The dog used to spend her time happily with all the visitors. Artworks and hoardings of her, welcoming everyone to the street, were always kept at the entrance. However, it has now been replaced by missing posters of the dog. Even seven days after Ranis disappearance, visitors are still searching for leads. Rani was Manaveeyams guardian dog. It was always friendly and never got aggressive. But there have been instances where people who were averse to street dogs wanted to take her away from the place. Rani usually barks at people who are drunkards and also on drug addicts. We suspect that for the above reasons, somebody might have targeted the dog, said Hari. Rani has been suffering from canine distemper. Visitors are not denying the chances of its death considering Ranis age and disease. However, they demand closure. People at Manaveeyam Veedhi are also organising protests and musical gatherings in Ranis honour.

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 7:31 am

Nothing has been done in the last fifteen years, says Rajeev Chandrasekhar

BJP candidate for Thiruvananthapuram, Rajeev Chandrasekhar says his party aims to make government and politics work for people

Mid Day 17 Apr 2024 7:30 am

Along with Rahul, his translator Jyothi Radhika too woos Wayanad

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : After a brief lull, Jyothi Radhika, the star speech translator of Rahul Gandhi during his visits to Kerala, is back in action. On Tuesday, 44-year-old Jyothi, who is also a KPCC secretary, translated Rahuls speeches during his road shows in Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency. The last time she translated Rahuls speeches was during the assembly elections in 2021. This has been Jyothis thirteenth year as a translator for Rahuls speeches whenever he came down to Kerala. She told TNIE that on Tuesday, Rahul asked her the Malayalam equivalent of extortion. Rahul wanted to highlight Prime Minister Narendra Modis extortion through electoral bonds. When I replied that it was kollayadi, Rahul incorporated it in his speech. I could see that he was extremely happy with my translation. It was so special for me as we shared an excellent rapport, said Jyothi. Clad in a pink cotton saree, Jyothi tied her hair in a bun to escape the scorching sun in Wayanad. She stood along with Rahul atop his open vehicle and translated his short speeches in at least nine points. It was Wandoor MLA A P Anilkumar who requested Jyothi to reach Wayanad on Monday. She was busy in Thiruvananthapuram imparting classes to civil service aspirants, mulling over to pursue research in law as well as being an anchor for Doordarshan. She says its easy for her to listen to what Rahul says as his ideologies have got wider acceptance among people. Rahuls vibrant sense and jovial nature help me relax during my translations. At a time when Rahul had come under flak from the Left, he spoke about the LDF as his own family where there will be ideological differences, added Jyothi. Daughter of Congress leader D Vijayakumar, former general secretary in Alappuzha DCC, and Radhika, a homemaker, the biggest critic in the family is her seven-year-old-son, Govardhan Aman Jyothi, studying at Government Higher Secondary School, Kulathoor, Thiruvananthapuram.

The New Indian Express 17 Apr 2024 7:28 am

All signs point to repeat of 2019 sweep. BJP has zero chances: Shashi Tharoor

Three-time Thiruvananthapuram MP says he doesnt see saffron party getting any significant votes from minorities

Mid Day 17 Apr 2024 7:28 am

Randomisation of EVMs completed in Thiruvananthapuram district

A total of 10,089 voting machines to be used in 2,730 polling stations

The Hindu 16 Apr 2024 9:28 pm

No BJP or Modi wave in country: Shivakumar

The Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister, along with IUML State president Syed Sadikali Shihab Thangal, was taking part in a roadshow for UDFs Thiruvananthapuram candidate Shashi Tharoor

The Hindu 16 Apr 2024 8:00 pm

Rahul Gandhi has not contributed to Indias development, says Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Thiruvananthapuram : Union Minister and BJP candidate from Thiruvananthapuram, Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Tuesday launched a...

absoluteindianews 16 Apr 2024 7:13 pm

Election Junction: What Voters Think?

Days ahead of the world's largest electoral exercise, what better way to track the pulse of the Indian voter than a train journey on the world's largest rail network? NDTV's Marya Shakil boarded the Kerala Express from New Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram. Covering 3,000 km across eight states taking nearly 50 hours, she chatted with her co-travellers about the journey of India's democracy and what elections mean to them. Meet Sherin Kumar a mechanical engineer working in Kuwait and his wife Priyanka Chandrabose, an assistant professor of pharmacy at the local College in Alappuzha as they return home after holidaying in Kashmir.

NDTV 16 Apr 2024 7:08 pm