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UP Election Analysis
Poor planning led to Cong’s dismal show

New Delhi, May 12
The task of reviving itself was as it is tough for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and the Bahujan Samaj Party's spectacular victory in the Assembly polls has made it tougher.

Mayawati used Congress caste combination to win majority
Lucknow, May 12
Now Uttar Pradesh will have a self-reliant Dalit at the helm of affairs supported by Brahmins, other upper castes, Muslims and Dalits. It goes to the credit of BSP supremo Mayawati for single-handedly turning the Congress constructed traditional support base upside down.
In video (56k)

Outdated ideology, proximity to SP did BJP in
New Delhi, May 12
The BJP’s worst ever performance in the UP Assembly elections since the hey days of the Ayodhya movement is not only the defeat of the party but also a tragedy for the entire Sangh Parivar and its ideology.



EARLIER STORIES


Old buildings being demolished at DN Nagar, Andheri, using the unique implosion technique for the first time in India, in Mumbai
Old buildings being demolished at DN Nagar, Andheri, using the unique implosion technique for the first time in India, in Mumbai on Saturday.
— PTI

UP verdict rejection of communal politics: CPM
New Delhi, May 12
The verdict in Uttar Pradesh has been significant in its rejection of the communal politics of the BJP. In a statement here, the CPM said today the fact that the BJP has lost both in terms of seats and percentage of votes shows how the people refused to be swayed by divisive communal issues.

Nurses seek better deal, present demands to Sonia
New Delhi, May 12
A large number of nurses from Delhi and neighbouring states joined a candle-light march here on Saturday evening to press for pay revision among other demands. Clad in uniform, the nurses, mostly women, marched from Tikona Park near Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, singing “Hum honge kamyaab”.

Husband donates liver to save wife
Kochi, May 12
A 42-year-old comatose woman suffering from acute liver failure here got a new lease of life, thanks to her husband who donated a portion of his liver. Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, where the transplant surgery was performed on Apr 3.

India's bid for 3rd Antarctica research base cleared
New Delhi, May 12
India has got a green signal to set up its third research base in the icy continent of Antarctica at South Pole. Minister for Earth Sciences, Kapil Sibal, announced today that the country's effort to set up the third station at Laresemann Hills had been cleared by the XXX Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.

Addl forces to guard railway project
Guwahati, May 12
New Delhi has sent additional paramilitary forces to Assam to ensure that work on a mega railway gauge conversion project continues smoothly. The project has been facing a constant threat by the armed militant groups operating in North Cachar hill district.

Traders attack Reliance Fresh stores
Ranchi, May 12
Petty traders and vegetable vendors today attacked three of the five Reliance Fresh food outlets here in the first such assault on a modern retail chain by those feeling threatened by it.

Student beaten with hammer by teacher
Ranchi, May 12
A class IX student is in hospital here with a fractured shoulder after he was hit with a hammer by his teacher for failing to bring a book. Sugam Kumar Singh of Loyola School had forgotten to bring his English literature book on Friday and this infuriated his teacher, Subrato Das.

Fake Passport Scam
CID probe ordered in Bapu Rao case
Hyderabad, May 12
Following the ‘shocking’ revelations in the fake passport scam during preliminary investigations, the state government today ordered a CID inquiry into Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLA S. Bapu Rao’s role in the scam in which the alleged kingpin Rasheed and two TRS MLAs, including Rao, were arrested.

200 scribes taken in custody
Chennai, May 12
The police today took into custody about 200 journalists and non-journalists when they attempted to take out a procession to the office of the Director General of Police from Tamil Daily ‘Dinakaran’ office in Mylapore here, condemning the May 9 attack in Madurai.

Aircraft skids off runway
Visakhapatnam, May 12
As many as 72 passengers of the Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam Paramount flight had a providential escape when the ATR aircraft skidded off the runway at the airport here, today.

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UP Election Analysis
Poor planning led to Cong’s dismal show
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
The task of reviving itself was as it is tough for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and the Bahujan Samaj Party's spectacular victory in the Assembly polls has made it tougher.

The Congress, which wanted to shore up its presence in UP to put up an impressive performance in the next general elections, has been left groping for answers at its dismal performance. Not only has the party to build its organisational structure in the big state, now it also has to find answer to the successful social engineering done by the BSP leader Mayawati who has captured the electoral base of the Congress. A worrying factor for the Congress is also the limited impact of the massive campaign of its lead campaigner Rahul Gandhi.

In a state sharply polarised on caste lines, the Congress apparently lacked an effective election strategy. With no major caste and community at the party's back, Congress leaders sought to focus on development agenda, comparing the progress of the state under SP, BSP and BJP dispensations to that under the Congress government which was last seen in the state 18 years back.

Rahul Gandhi sought to connect with the youth but lack of organisational structure ensured that curiosity and interest generated by his campaign did not translate into votes. Congress hopes of getting reward in UP for UPA government's intiatives concerning minorities were belied as there was little to show on the ground. None of the nearly 55 Muslim candidates fielded by the Congress won.

The results have shown that Congress effort in UP had several flaws. As Mayawati quietly and firmly built her caste equations over the past few years, the Congress spent its energy in running down the Mulayam Singh Yadav government. The SP government was discredited eventually but the advantage went to the BSP which was seen as the real alternative. To make its caste rainbow work, Mayawati repeatedly emphasised the large number of upper caste candidates fielded by her party. The BSP decided its candidates months in advance of elections and the Congress did its characteristic last-minute rush.

In addition to swinging a substantial chunk of upper caste vote in its favour, the BSP also got sizeable votes of minority community whose main goal was defeat of the BJP. The limited consolation for the Congress is that BJP's losses in terms of votes and seats are more acute. The BJP has lost nearly three per cent of its vote compared to the last election. While the BSP's vote share has risen by nearly 10 per cent from the last Assembly polls, the SP also saw a marginal increase in its vote share. A major factor for the BSP victory was the consolidation of anti-SP vote in its favour.

Congressmen feel they will have some chance in UP in the general elections only if the party sustains the effort made during the campaign and build grassroots organisational structure. Though there is worry about sheen wearing off Rahul Gandhi, AICC leaders point out that Congress had lost some state elections in initial years of Rajiv Gandhi's stint at the AICC.

The Congress will introspect the UP results deeply in the coming days as they mark a new phase of political mobilisation in the Hindi heartland. Congress President Sonia Gandhi is expected to overhaul UPCC in the coming days and set her eyes for selecting the AICC team for the next general elections. For the Congress to regain its pre-eminent status at the Centre, there can be no route bypassing UP.

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Mayawati used Congress caste combination to win majority
Shahira Naim/TNS

Lucknow, May 12
Now Uttar Pradesh will have a self-reliant Dalit at the helm of affairs supported by Brahmins, other upper castes, Muslims and Dalits. It goes to the credit of BSP supremo Mayawati for single-handedly turning the Congress constructed traditional support base upside down.

It was this same social combination that had earlier kept the Congress in power in the state. The crucial difference being that a Brahmin or Thakur was the ruler enjoying power on the basis of Muslim and Dalit votes, who not even once were given the opportunity to occupy the Chief Minister’s chair.

One cannot help appreciating the dynamism and far sightedness of Mayawati to experiment and reverse the equation with far reaching implications. It has also made her party inclusive to other castes, making it broad based enough to garner adequate support to break the 14-year jinx of fractured verdicts in the state.

The BSP was technically formed on the platform of opposition to Brahmins, Rajputs and the trading classes, which had till then held political power in the country. However, the Mandal years saw the rise of the upper OBC classes considerably undermining the vice-like grip of these castes on the polity of the country.

Mayawati was successful in bringing back the Brahmins from their political wilderness. Now that the BJP and the Congress are virtually past their prime in the state and no longer are in a position to promise loaves and fishes of office or even the psychological advantage of being close to the corridors of power.

Mayawati’s political opponents had greeted with a snigger the BSP’s experiment of holding district level Brahmin sammelans culminating in a mahasammelan in Lucknow exactly two years ago. This was followed by Vaishya sammelans as well. There were also whispers of her core Dalit constituency not taking too kindly to this new stance of the party.

However, during distribution of tickets Mayawati clearly proved that she meant business. She gave 86 seats to Brahmins, 93 to Dalits, 61 to Muslims, 38 to Thakurs, 14 to Vaishyas (trading classes) and 110 to OBCs.

Her political arithmetic has finally hit the bull’s eye returning her to power with 206 seats in a house of 403 - the voter had finally conferred a clear majority to a political party after a gap of 14 years. Of the 86 Brahmins, 24 have made it to the Vidhan Sabha. Similarly, 30 of the 61 Muslims and 20 of the 31 Thakurs have also won refuting the claim of the Samajwadi party of having the support of these two communities.

BSP's Brahmin candidates Rajesh Tripathi and Bhagwan Sharma outwitted stalwarts like Harishankar Tiwari in Chillupar in Gorakhpur and BJP leader Kalyan Singh’s son Rajveer Singh in Debai in Bulandshahr constituencies.

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Outdated ideology, proximity to SP did BJP in
Satish Misra
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
The BJP’s worst ever performance in the UP Assembly elections since the hey days of the Ayodhya movement is not only the defeat of the party but also a tragedy for the entire Sangh Parivar and its ideology.

The BJP got 17 per cent of the popular votes and could manage just 50 seats.

After the defeat of the BJP-led NDA in the Lok Sabha election in 2004, the BJP has failed to put its house in order and has been living from one crisis to other.

Living in the make-believe world, over-dependence on the communal card and being oblivious of the fast changing ground realities in the state are some of the main reasons for the dismal performance of the BJP.

The unexpected victory of the party in the civic polls last year in the biggest state gave a pleasant shock to the BJP leaders, who till then were at a loss to comprehend the dismal performance of the party in the Lok Sabha election.

After the civic polls, the party’s performance in Punjab, Uttaranchal and then in the Delhi municipal elections made the BJP leaders confident that the party was back in people’s reckoning.

The party began its campaign for the Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh from December last year when it held its national executive session in Lucknow and declared that party’s senior leader Kalyan Singh was party’s chief ministerial candidate.

Massive turnout at the rally in the state’s capital during the executive session convinced the party leaders that the party was regaining its lost appeal.

BJP president Rajnath Singh, who assumed charge of the party at the Lucknow session, was confident that state’s electorate was looking towards the party with hope and expectations.

The party leadership was sure that the Hindu votes would polarise behind the BJP and precisely that is why they were missing no opportunity to attack the UPA for its minority appeasement policies. Head count in the armed forces, Sachar Commission, scrapping of POTA, delay in hanging of Parliament attack accused Mohammad Afzal and the Centre’s soft line towards militancy became the party’s weapons to sharpen the religious divide in the state in the hope that polarisation would help the BJP to garner Hindu votes.

The BJP leaders were sure that the party had to fight its main battle against the secular parties like the Samajwdi Party and the Congress and accordingly prepared the electoral strategy.

It failed to focus on the BSP whose leader Mayawati had been silently but surely working for the past three years. Not only that the BSP had shifted its ideological focus from Bahujan Samaj to Sarvjan Samaj but the party had also changed its slogans to catch the popular attention.

Mayawati was the first to capitalise on the prevailing anger against the “goon” culture and governance style of the state government when she told the electorate that she book Mulayam Singh Yadav and SP general secretary Amar Singh for their misdeeds.

While her past record of putting mafia politicians behind bars carried credibility with the people, the BJP leaders, particularly chief ministerial candidate Kalyan Singh, assertion that the BJP government would punish the SP leaders did not convince the people because of the perceived proximity between the SP and the BJP.

In popular perception, Kalyan Singh was very close to Mulayam Singh and the electorate thought that if the BJP came to power then the SP leader would go scot free.

Moreover, Kalyan Singh’s relationship with a party MLC Kusam Rai also damaged the BJP as voters thought that in case of a BJP government, she would pull the strings of power.

Though the party’s campaign strategy was well prepared and election in charge of UP M. Venkaiah Naidu worked relentlessly to ensure the party’s victory and even the RSS along with the other saffron outfits like the VHP worked overtime to bring the BJP back in the reckoning of the electorate but its divisive approach and its outdated ideology went against it.

Even the absence of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the election campaign was also a factor as the electorate apparently missed him.

The RSS attack on former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani on the Jinnah issue made a serious dent on the BJP’s image in the popular perception as Rajnath Singh, who was installed the party President at the behest of the RSS, did not carry conviction with th party’s leaders and cadres.

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UP verdict rejection of communal politics: CPM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
The verdict in Uttar Pradesh has been significant in its rejection of the communal politics of the BJP.

In a statement here, the CPM said today the fact that the BJP has lost both in terms of seats and percentage of votes shows how the people refused to be swayed by divisive communal issues. In contrast, the Samajwadi Party has retained its electoral base even though it has lost the elections. The defeat of the SP is mainly due to the lawlessness and criminal activities under the regime and the gathering of all the anti-incumbency vote around the BSP.

The people of UP have given a clear verdict in favour of the Bahujan Samaj Party. It remains to be seen how the new government headed by Mayawati will fulfill the expectations of the people.

Noting that the elections had shown the strong influence of caste appeal in the state which has been adversely affecting the prospects of the Left, the CPM and the Left will have to take this reality into account in formulating its strategy to project an independent platform based on the real issues affecting the people.

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Amar Singh quits

Lucknow, May 12
A day after the defeat of the Samajwadi Party in UP assembly polls, Amar Singh and four other heads of government undertakings today resigned from their respective posts Amar Singh, chairman of UP Development Council, Deputy Chairman of State Planning Commission Ram Saran Das, and Chairman of the UP Agriculture Production Mandi Parishad had resigned, an official release said.

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Nurses seek better deal, present demands to Sonia
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
A large number of nurses from Delhi and neighbouring states joined a candle-light march here on Saturday evening to press for pay revision among other demands.

Clad in uniform, the nurses, mostly women, marched from Tikona Park near Mandi House to Jantar Mantar, singing “Hum honge kamyaab”. They did not go unnoticed as their march briefly brought the traffic to a halt.

Led by Ms G.K. Khurana, secretary general of the All-India Government Nurses Federation, nurses from Chandigarh, Delhi and Rohtak presented a memorandum at 10, Janpath, the residence of UPA Chairperson.

The nurses are seeking revision in pay scales, Non-Practising Allowance and an end to the contractual system in nursing services.

The memorandum to Sonia Gandhi follows similar memoranda presented to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in February and to the chairperson of the Sixth Central Pay Commission in December last year.

In its memorandum, the federation has drawn Sonia Gandhi's attention to their working conditions and exploitation. The memorandum reads, “Nurses serving in Central/state government services, despite their pivotal role in the medical set-up of the country and their singular contribution to the ‘Public Health Delivery System’, are the most exploited lot, grossly underpaid and facing innumerable difficulties, including environmental hazards and deplorable working conditions.”

They have also sought the UPA chairperson's intervention to consider sympathetically the memorandum presented to the VIth Pay Commission.

In their memorandum to the VIth Pay Commission, the federation has proposed for staff nurses a pay-scale of Rs 6500-200-10,500 instead of the existing scale 5000-150-8000. For Assistant Nursing Superintendent, the Federation has demanded Rs 10,000-325-15,200 instead of the existing 6500-200-10,500.

Khurana told TNS that nurses are poorly paid and deserve proper pay scales commensurate with their qualification and experience. She pointed out that the Nursing Allowance of Rs 1,600 fixed by the health ministry following their agitation in 1998 remains the same and is not counted in basic pay. She said the nurses demand that 25 per cent of the basic pay be given as Non Practising Allowance and should be part of pay for all purposes.

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Husband donates liver to save wife

Kochi, May 12
A 42-year-old comatose woman suffering from acute liver failure here got a new lease of life, thanks to her husband who donated a portion of his liver.

Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), where the transplant surgery was performed on April 3, claimed that this was for the first time in south India that liver transplant was carried out for acute liver failure from a living donor.

The woman, Lucy Raju, developed jaundice due to an unidentified cause. Despite treatment by ayurvedic drugs, her jaundice continued to intensify and she was ultimately admitted to the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences here where she was diagnosed with fulminant hepatic failure, Dr Prem Nair, Medical Director, Amrita Institute and Dr S. Sudheendran, liver transplant surgeon, told reporters here.

Lucy’s family was informed that she needed a liver transplant since her own liver was more or less entirely damaged, they said. She was already slipping into coma from liver failure and the only way to obtain a liver for transplant was to persuade any of her relatives to donate part of their liver and Raju, her husband, agreed.

Lucy was admitted to the hospital on April 1 and had to be put on the ventilator immediately as she became comatose, Dr Sudheendran said. The procedure was carried out in a 13 hour-long surgery, performed by a multidisciplinary team of doctors from Amrita. — PTI

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India's bid for 3rd Antarctica research base cleared
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 12
India has got a green signal to set up its third research base in the icy continent of Antarctica at South Pole.

Minister for Earth Sciences, Kapil Sibal, announced today that the country's effort to set up the third station at Laresemann Hills had been cleared by the XXX Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCH). The Committee for Environmental Protection advised the ATCH that the draft Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE) of the new Indian base met the requirement, which was subsequently endorsed by the ATCM.

This now clears the way for India to go ahead with development of a detailed plan of the research base at the site selected will now finalise the CEE of the new base within the next few months.

Terming it as a historic step, he said suitable name for the new base was under consideration. “It could be some Sanskrit name,” Sibal told media persons after the conclusion of the two-week long ATCM.

The other two Indian research stations at Antarctica have been christened Dakshin Gangotri and Maitri. However, Dakshin Gangotri is completely non-functional as it is now buried under ice. As far as Maitri is concerned, 20 scientists are working at the Indian research base in the Schirmacher Hill area.

The satellite earth station at Larsemann Hills is expected to provide better communication and data transfer facility between Antarctic and mainland India. Its main advantage is that it will be very near the sea so that ships can come close to the station. The weather conditions are also better compared to Maitri station with average wind speed of 50-60 km an hour.

On the other decisions of the ATCM, Sibal said a resolution had been adopted by 37 countries to regulate ship-based tourism in the Antarctic waters, he said India wanted as much regulation and as much protection of Antarctica as possible.

This year more than 37,000 tourists entered the Antarctica Treaty Area, an increase of about 14 per cent from the last season. The meeting adopted a resolution for regulation of ship-based tourism in Antarctica waters.

Tour operators will not be allowed to carry more than 500 passengers in their vessels and not more than one ship will be allowed at a landing site at any given time. The number of passengers on shore at any one time will be maintained to 100 or fewer and the guide-to-passenger ratio to a minimum of 1:20 while ashore.

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Addl forces to guard railway project
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, May 12
New Delhi has sent additional paramilitary forces to Assam to ensure that work on a mega railway gauge conversion project continues smoothly. The project has been facing a constant threat by the armed militant groups operating in North Cachar hill district.

Assam director general (police) R N Mathur informed the media here that additional companies of paramilitary forces were rushed immediately after union home minister Shivraj Patil reviewed the security situation in the state in a high-level meeting on May 8.

The DGP said six companies of additional central paramilitary force personnel that had been sent to the state would be deployed to provide security to railway staff and workers engaged in the Rs 1,500-crore gauge conversion work along the Lumding-Silchar section of the North-east Frontier Railway (NFR).

The Lumding-Silchar section runs through the insurgent-infested Karbi Anglong and North Cachar hill districts of Assam. Work has often been disrupted as tribal militant groups active in North Cachar Hill district have been making frequent extortion demands from contractors working on the project.

The Railways is yet to complete the project that started way back in 1996-97 as the work couldn’t progress at the desired pace because of the constant threat.

On October 6, the Black Widow militants killed 11 persons including seven Railway Protection Security Force (RPSF) personnel who were on duty at the under-construction project. The tribal militant group is suspected to have close links with Naga rebels, who are now in truce with the Government of India.

Work on the project came to a temporary halt in August last year after the Black Widow militants destroyed a Rs 60-lakh excavator engaged in the project. The contractors had suspended work in protest and demanded more security.

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Traders attack Reliance Fresh stores

Ranchi, May 12
Petty traders and vegetable vendors today attacked three of the five Reliance Fresh food outlets here in the first such assault on a modern retail chain by those feeling threatened by it.

About 200 persons barged into the stores, which sell grocery, fruits and vegetables, smashed glass panes and pulled down shelves as Reliance Fresh staff ran for cover.

A retail outlet at Lalupur Chowk became the first target, followed by one near Tagore hill and another near Plaza cinema here.

City superintendent of police Richard Lakra said the protesters pelted stones, injuring a constable as the police tried to stop them near the Tagore hill shop. They also attacked and damaged passing vehicles.

Reliance Retail officials, however, declined to comment.

The police had to use ‘mild force’ to quell the mob, which was joined by people from the weekly haat at Tagore hill, as it began looting the shops, Lakra said.

According to unofficial reports, about six persons were injured. All five Reliance Fresh stores downed shutters with the police standing guard.

Recently, vegetable vendors and small retail shop owners had demonstrated against the opening of Reliance Fresh outlets in Jharkhand, accusing the private sector of directly hitting their business. — PTI

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Student beaten with hammer by teacher

Ranchi, May 12
A class IX student is in hospital here with a fractured shoulder after he was hit with a hammer by his teacher for failing to bring a book.

Sugam Kumar Singh of Loyola School had forgotten to bring his English literature book on Friday and this infuriated his teacher, Subrato Das. Das first slapped the boy and later beat him with a hammer used to ring the class bell. After hitting the student, the teacher asked him to go out of school.

Sugam was admitted to Raj hospital in Ranchi.

Shibu Singh, the boy’s father, is a senior guard with a bank. The school administration has suspended the teacher and asked him for an explanation. — IANS

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Fake Passport Scam
CID probe ordered in Bapu Rao case

Hyderabad, May 12
Following the ‘shocking’ revelations in the fake passport scam during preliminary investigations, the state government today ordered a CID inquiry into Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA S. Bapu Rao’s role in the scam in which the alleged kingpin Rasheed and two TRS MLAs, including Rao, were arrested.

City police commissioner Balwinder Singh said two cases were registered against the two MLAs, who purportedly obtained fake passports for Gujarati women in the name of their families, and Rasheed.

The CID team would investigate the case registered against Rao only.

Stating that the central crime station police, investigating the fake passport cases, have completed their probe, he said only a CID probe would be the ‘right option to unearth more facts behind the scam’.

The CID team would visit US Embassy in Chennai to gather more information and documentary evidences about the involvement of the accused in the scam. The team would also visit Gujarat from where women were smuggled abroad through the Hyderabad airport with fake passports. — UNI

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200 scribes taken in custody

Chennai, May 12
The police today took into custody about 200 journalists and non-journalists when they attempted to take out a procession to the office of the Director General of Police from Tamil Daily ‘Dinakaran’ office in Mylapore here, condemning the May 9 attack in Madurai.

Police said the processionists were rounded up when they attempted to take out the procession without police permission, demanding the arrest of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s elder son M K Azhagiri, whose supporters were behind the attack.

The agitators belonged to journalist organisations such as the Tamil Nadu Union of Journalists, Madras Union of Journalists, Press Club, Chennai, All Media Journalists Association and Madras Reporters Guild. — UNI

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Aircraft skids off runway

Visakhapatnam, May 12
As many as 72 passengers of the Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam Paramount flight had a providential escape when the ATR aircraft skidded off the runway at the airport here, today.

According to Visakhapatnam Airport Traffic Controller C Pattabhi, the mishap occurred when the pilot lost control of the aircraft. — UNI

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