coimbatore l monday l March 15, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l late city EDITION bhavani 1st indian fencer to qualify for olympics improves world ranking, goes to tokyo Bhavani Devi took up the sport as a means to escape from the grind of studies. The Chennai woman qualifies on her rankings The 27-year-old sabre fencer secured a spot in the World Cup in Hungary after the hosts lost in the quarterfinals of the team event to South Korea. With South Korea qualifying as a team, two individual spots opened up for the Asia and Oceania regions based on World Rankings through which Bhavani managed to make it. She currently holds the 45th rank ■ 45th hard work and determination ■ ■ She reached round of 16 at Fencing World Championships in 2019, her best effort so far, where she virtually sealed her spot Not pursuing a well-known sport, she struggled with her finances early on. Tamil Nadu govt, GoSport and family supported her She is trained by Italian coach Nicola Zanotti World ranking she occupies to be eligible for Asia slot CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI AIADMK promises free washing machines, 1-yr maternity leave Women will get 50% discount on city bus fares, unemployed youth will get better shot at govt jobs, says party manifesto T M u r u g anan d h am @ Chennai Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam release the AIADMK election manifesto in Chennai on Sunday | Ashwin Prasath Other big promises For women — six gas cylinders per year, cable TV connection, solarpowered cooking stove For students — waiver of educational loans, 2 GB free data for college students for a year For farmers — `7,500 agricultural subsidy, MSP for turmeric, onion, tapioca, paddy, sugarcane, banana, millets; renting of agri equipment For unemployed youth — IT parks in every district, skill-development univ, doubling of monthly assistance Kushbu, Murugan, Vanathi Srinivasan on BJP’s 1st list E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai Actor-turned-politician Kushbu Sundar, who joined the BJP last October, will contest in the high-profile DMK den of Thousand Lights in Chennai, taking on the DMK’s Dr N Ezhilan. The BJP State president, L Murugan, as expected, will fight in Dharapuram against the DMK’s Kayalvizhi Selvaraj. The other big name in the BJP’s first list of 17 candidates, released on Sunday is that of BJP , national women’s wing chairperson, Vanathi Srinivasan, who will lock hor ns with MNM’s Kamal Haasan and Congress’ Mayura Jayakumar in Coimbatore South. In Aravakurichi, BJP State vice-president K Annamalai will face DMK’s Monjanur R Elango, while senior BJP leader H Raja will contest against S Mangudi, of the Congress, in Karaikudi. Interestingly, BJP State vicepresident Nainar Nagenthran, who filed his nomination for TN records over 750 new Covid cases in a day E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ Chennai The Covid curve in Tamil Nadu slowly continued its upward trajectory on Sunday, amid the thick election season. The State recorded 759 new cases and four deaths. Of these, Chennai alone accounted for 294 cases and one fatality. The city now has 1,979 known active cases — about 40 per cent of the State’s 4,870. The number of new cases in TN has been steadily increasing since March 5, when 543 new cases were detected. The health department has been warning people of a spike in cases if they to not adhere to safety norms. Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts reported 63, 27 and 42 new cases respectively . Kallakurichi district, meanwhile, reported no new cases, and 19 districts reported less than 10. WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) DMK MLA joins BJP, gets ticket hours later DMK MLA from Thirupparankundram constituency, P Saravanan, who joined the BJP at noon on Sunday, has been given a ticket to contest from Madurai North, where he will face DMK’s G Thalapathi. When asked how BJP gave him a ticket just hours after he joined the party, a Murugan smiled, “He joined online on Saturday, but just formally joined in Chennai on Sunday” Tirunelveli constituency on Friday, even before the party released the list, has been allocated the same constituency . Unveiling the list in New Delhi, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh asserted that the AIADMK-led NDA alliance in Tamil Nadu would form the State government with a full majority . Continued on P4 Free washing machines for all women rice card holders, an increase in the maternity leave for government employees to one year and a 50 per cent reduction in city bus fares for women are the top promises made by the AIADMK’s manifesto that have been heavily loaded in favour of women. The manifesto, with 163 promises, was released by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam at the AIADMK headquarters in the presence of senior party leaders on Sunday It . includes giving six gas cylinders per year free of cost, a solar-powered cooking stove for all f amily card holders and a cable TV connection. It has promises for all sections of society es, pecially women, students and the unemployed youth. The other “high cost” electoral promises include financial assistance of `1,500 per month for women, a waiver of educational loans, and a government job to one person from each family that doesn’t have any government employees. The manifesto reiterated key promises made by Palaniswami, but may have a paradigm shift in the State’s reservation system: Steps will be taken to conduct a castewise census to ensure the development of people of all communities in accordance with their proportionate population. This follows complaints that the government allocated 10.5 per cent reservation to the Vanniyar community, and other communities might be affected by this. Students, meanwhile, have been promised a waiver of educational loans, 2 GB free data for college students throughout the year, subsidy for women college students buying two-wheelers, extension of nutritious noon-meal schemes to Classes 9, 10, 11 and 12, and provision of 200 ml of milk to all students from Anganwadi to higher secondary courses. Besides this, a high-quality training centre is to be established in each district to encourage students who wish to take the UPSC, NEET, IITJEE and TNPSC exams. Continued on P4 inside who’s in for a bumper catch in Tiruvottiyur? | P2 Postal ballot procedures out; officials get security | P2 DMDK, AMMK join hands 22 DAyS TO GO Vijayakant’s party will contest in 60 constituencies, including 23 reserved seats. Premalatha will contest from Vriddhachalam | P4 18 protesters killed in Myanmar E xpress N ews S ervice AT least 18 protesters were killed in Myanmar on Sunday in one of the most violent crackdowns by security forces against dissent since last month’s military coup, news agency AFP reported. More than 95 protesters have been gunned down by the soldiers so far. In Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar township, police and soldiers faced off against protesters wielding sticks and knives as they hid behind makeshift barricades, fleeing after forces opened fire. Protesters — using cut-out trash cans as shields — managed to retrieve the injured, but a doctor said not all could be reached. “I can confirm 15 have died,” the doctor told AFP adding that she had , treated about 50 people with injuries and expects the death toll to climb. “I can’t talk much — injured people keep coming,” she said. With the situation escalating, the military imposed martial law in two townships in Yangon. Full coverage: P9 ‘Selling govt banks a huge mistake’ E xpress N ews S ervice Lending indirect support to the twoday strike called by a section of publicsector bank employees over the Centre’s plan to privatise two PSU banks, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Sunday said the government’s move would be utterly foolish. “I think it would be a colossal mistake to sell the banks to industrial houses,” Rajan said in an interview to news agency PTI. According to Rajan, currently a Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, it will also not be politically feasible to sell any de- cent-sized bank to foreign banks. He feels some Indian private banks may be in a position to acquire inefficient PSU banks and turn them around, too. But the question is whether they have the appetite, he said. According to bank unions, over 10 lakh employees will take part in the strike on Monday and Tuesday The pro. test could cripple branch operations such as deposits and withdrawal at branches, cheque clearance and loan approvals. Most PSU banks, including SBI, have alerted customers about possible disruption in operations. ATM and internet banking services are unlikely to be hit. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a rally to mark Nandigram Diwas, in Kolkata on Sunday | PTI I have faced a lot of attacks in my life but I have never surrendered before anyone. I will never bow my head. An injured tiger gets more dangerous.... My pain is not greater than the suffering of people as democracy is being trampled through dictatorship Mamata Banerjee EC rules out attack angle, suspends police officers E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi Rejecting claims that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was attacked in Nandigram, the Election Commission on Sunday attributed the injury she sustained on her left foot on Wednesday to an accident. Nevertheless, the EC placed under suspension a few senior officers for lapses in the CM’s security, and appointed former DGP Intelligence Punjab Anil Kumar Sharma as a special police observer for the state. The poll panel ordered the suspension of Vivek Sahay, Director Security of the CM’s protection team. “The charges must be framed against him within a week for grossly failing in discharge of his primary duty as Director Security to protect the Z+ protectee,” the EC said. It also suspended Pravin Prakash, superintendent of police of Purba Medinipur for failing to provide adequate bandobast at Nandigram. The district magistrate and district election officer of Purba Medinipur, too, was axed. The decisions were based on the report of the chief secretary and the joint report by special general observer Ajay Nayak and special police observer Vivek Dube. BJP bazookas in fray from south bengal P r o na b M o n d a l @ Kolkata The BJP is deploying heavy artillary to wrest south Bengal from the Trinamool Congress, if one were to go by the list of candidates for 63 seats in the third and fourth phases of the eight-phase West Bengal Assembly polls. For, it has fielded four BJP members of Parliament, four defectors and an equal number of actors, trying to whip up enthusiasm and possibly create a wave for the big fight. The party has already made deep inroads in north Bengal during the Lok Sabha polls. While Union minister and Asansol MP Babul Supriyo will contest from Tollygunge in Kolkata, Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta will enter the fray from Tarakeshwar. Dasgupta’s name is already doing the rounds as a possible chief ministerial candidate. Tarakeshwar is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site in Hooghly district and his candidature is significant in the backdrop of the BJP’s Hindutva rhetoric. Fielding Supriyo in Tollygunge is being seen as a smart move as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while announcing her party’s candidate list, had hinted she might contest from there besides Nandigram. Former minister in Mamata’s cabinet Rajib Banerjee has been fielded from his own constituency Domjur in Howrah and Trinamool defector Rabindranath Bhattacharya from Singur. Bhattacharya joined the BJP two days after Mamata denied him a ticket. But angry BJP supporters in Singur reportedly locked up visiting Madhya Pradesh health minister Prabhuram Chaudhary in a party office, demanding Bhattacharya’s axing from the list.
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