villupuram l Sunday l April 04, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 26 l city EDITION Frontliner window closed Centre on Saturday said no fresh registration of frontliners will be allowed to prevent the misuse of provisions by ineligible people to jump the queue Sharp Spike 89,129 cases recorded on Saturday 714 fatalities, the highest in over six months 47,913 cases reported from Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka (4,991) and Chhattisgarh (4,174) The last time such a high spike was reported was on September 20, 2020, when 92,605 infections were recorded in 24 hours ipl under covid scare 50% cases in 10 dists 6,58,909 active cases on Saturday (5.32% of total infections) 10 Districts: Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Thane, Nashik, Bengaluru Urban, Aurangabad, Delhi, Ahmednagar and Nanded (50% of the total active caseload in the country) Problem states Maharashtra has shown a nine-fold jump in the number of active cases in the past two months In percentage terms, Punjab has reported the maximum increase in active cases Five states — Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, K’taka and Chhattisgarh — together account for 77.3% of the total active cases 24,69,59,192 A raft of Covid-19 positives dampened the build-up to the next edition of the IPL, scheduled to begin on April 9. Here's a look at developments ■ ■ ■ ■ Axar Patel (DC) becomes second IPL player after Nitish Rana (KKR) to test positive. Rana started training again on Saturday More than 15 others, including six event management officials, also test positive Organisers bringing in different set of groundstaff to tend to Wankhede Stadium after they also test positive Reports suggest Hyderabad kept as a back-up option to shift games but Mumbai to remain venue as of now | P10, 13 Samples tested for Covid-19 up to April 2 Eight states Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh account for 81.42% of single-day infections 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 announcement The cover price of The New Sunday Express has been revised to `12 with effect from April 04, 2021. — Editor 3,446 New Covid cases in Tamil Nadu Of them, 1,290 were reported in Chennai. As the number of active cases reached 20,204 on Saturday, Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan said more restrictions would be imposed in the State if needed | P6 WITH THIS ISSUE The Spirit is Willing PLUS 12 PAGES In conversation with Express, CM Palaniswami denies anti-incumbency wave, says his government maintained balance between welfare and development ‘Only the AIADMK can protect common man’ E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday expressed confidence that the AIADMK would return to power with the alliance winning more than 200 seats in the State. He also stoutly denied the existence of any anti-incumbency wave against his government, saying it delivered on its promises by implementing historic schemes and developmental projects. In an interview with The New Indian Express, Palaniswami answered questions on various issues, including allocation of seats for aspirants, the 10.5 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community, criticism regarding the alliance with the BJP, and his relationship with Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, among other things. Asked about the possibility of Tamil Nadu becoming the State with the highest debt burden due to poll promises, such as `1,500 per month for women family heads, six gas cylinders per year, and washing ma- Battle against the bribe hots up across State as polling day draws near EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Krishnagiri/Coimbatore/Salem/ Tirupattur With the polls just three days away, Saturday witnessed a marked increase in the value of bribes detected and confiscated from political party workers across the State. Among the items seized were hundreds of mock voting pads, thousands of liquor bottles, and lakhs of rupees. At Danishpet in Salem district, flying squad officials found 300 mock voting pads — bearing the name of AMMK’s Harur Assembly constituency candidate Murugan — in a car. Since they were being transported without permission, they were seized and handed to Omalur constituency election officer Geetha Priya. Meanwhile in Tiruppur, the Cheyur police arrested two men who stored 2,051 liquor bottles, which were allegedly meant to be given to voters on polling day. The bottles were found during a raid at the house of a panchayat ward member named Baby on Friday night. The arrested per- sons — Baby’s husband Murugesan (57) and son-in-law Ayyappan (35) — bought the liquor from several TASMAC outlets in the Avinashi region, sources said. Bribe money too was seized in different parts of the State. In Tirupattur district, the police seized `1,26,900 in cash from two DMK cadre and arrested them. The money was allegedly being distributed to voters. A case was also registered against the DMK’s Ambur constituency candidate AC Vilvanathan under Section 171E (Bribery) of the IPC, since he is the uncle of one of those arrested. Not far away, in Vellore district, a Flying Squad Team (FST) caught two men distributing cash to voters on behalf of the DMK at Thuthithangal village on Friday night. The men were identified as Ramesh and Dhakshanamoorthy, and `21,880 was seized from them. At Sathuvachari and Manga Mandi, `11.13 lakh in cash, which was being carried without valid documents, was seized by the FST and Static Surveillance Team (SST) on Saturday Continued on: P3 . chines for family card holders, Palaniswami recalled how the noon meal scheme of former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran faced criticism from several quarters, includi n g t h e D M K , wh e n i t w a s introduced. “Now, the whole world considers it as a model scheme. In the last 10 years, we have been balancing between welfare and development. Welfare measures are a direct intervention to improve the economic well-being of people. In a democracy , political will to implement such welfare-oriented programmes is needed,” Palaniswami reasoned, adding that funds for such schemes would be sourced without compromising development and fiscal discipline. On the notion that there is an antiincumbency wave, the Chief Minister said, “That is a politically-motivated propaganda by the Opposition. I see very positive responses to our campaign from the people. I have been Chief Minister for just four years, but implemented a number of historic schemes and projects. How charge-sheet filed against 8 PFI members NAMI TA B AJ PAI @ Lucknow can there be a mood of anti-incumbency when our government has delivered the goods?” Palaniswami said that as a firsttime Chief Minister, he received much warmth from the public. “For the development of the State to continue — which the people want — I must continue as Chief Minister. I am sure the people trust me,” he added. As for why people should vote for the AIADMK and reject the DMK-led alliance, he said this is necessary for the development of Tamil Nadu. “The DMK must be rejected primarily for its dynastic politics and undemocratic and arrogance of its leaders. The common man will be protected only if the AIADMK comes to power.” Full interview: P2 E xp r ess News S e r v i ce The Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh police on Saturday filed a 5,000-page charge-sheet against eight members of Popular Front of India (PFI) in the Mathura additional district judge and sessions court on Saturday The court has posted the matter for next . hearing on May 1. Those named in the charge-sheet include journalist Siddique Kappan, Atiqur Rehman, Rauf Sharif, Mohammad Danish, Alam, Masood Ahmad, Feroz Khan and Asad Badruddin. All the accused were charged with receiving `80 lakh from financial institutions in Muscat and Doha for fomenting unrest in UP The STF . had arrested five PFI members, including Kappan, in Mathura on October 5, 2020, while they were on the way to Hathras allegedly to meet the family of a Dalit girl who was gangraped. The FIR against them said they were going to Hathras with an intention “to breach the peace” as part of a “conspiracy”. Continued on: P10 @ Raipur express read Jailed prof Saibaba sacked from DU college New Delhi: Delhi University’s Ram Lal Anand College has terminated the service of assistant professor G N Saibaba, who is serving life term in Nagpur Central Prison for alleged Maoist links. According to a memorandum received by Saibaba’s wife Vasantha on Thursday, his services were terminated from the afternoon of March 31. Terming the development a “witch hunt”, Saibaba’s wife alleged that it was a “violation of employee’s rights” and she would take the matter to court ‘most corrupt’ A fierce gun battle between ambushed security forces and Maoists left at least five personnel and two rebels dead in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district on Saturday. Around a dozen personnel were reported injured. Reinforcements were rushed to the site, but the forces were yet to return from the operation, Director General of Police D M Awasthi said. On Friday night, several parties of the security forces fanned out across the Bijapur-Sukma border on anti-Maoist operations based on intel inputs. The ultras ambushed one of the parties near Tarrem on Saturday noon, resulting in a nearly three hour exchange of fire. Two choppers and nine ambulances were rushed to Bijapur to aid the forces, officials said, adding bodies of two rebels had been recovered from the site. Poll diary Don’t vote for Poongothai, says her mother Nadda campaigns in Coimbatore Coimbatore: BJP’s national president, JP Nadda, on Saturday stated that the DMK was losing its patience in Tamil Nadu and that the statements made by the party leaders against women and Dalits were shameful | P2 T h i n a k a r a n R a j a m a n i @ Tenkasi The State is in the last-leg of campaigning, and the candidates as well the cadre are out in the open, wooing as many votes as they can. But, here is Poongothai Aladi Aruna of DMK who is in a fix owing to the allegations raised by none other than her mother. Kamala Aladi Aruna, the widow of former DMK minister, Aladi Aruna, and the mother of Poongothai, the DMK candidate from Alangulam constituency, urged the voters not to vote for her daughter “as she is most corrupt”. In a video clip that went viral on social media on Saturday, Kamala is seen saying she would pray for the defeat of the incumbent MLA and former minister Poongothai. Comparing her husband and daughter, Kamala is seen saying, “Aladi Aruna helped people of Alangulam constituency in different ways. He was the reason for the growth of rice mill industry here. He never demanded bribes. However, Poongothai is not like him. She is greedy and accumulated assets including resorts and land, disproportionate to her income.” P3 Maoists kill five jawans in ambush hathras plot ‘Modi does not care for fishers’ painting the town saffron Union Minister Amit Shah and BJP’s Thousand Lights candidate Khushbu Sundar at a rally in Chennai | r satish babu | P2 Nagapattinam: DMK president MK Stalin while campaigning here on Saturday morning said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Central government does not care for the fisherfolk or their rights | P2 ‘We’ll win TN; give us a victory in Puducherry too’ Baga l ava n P e r i e r B @ Puducherry Campaigning for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) contestants in the Puducherry and Karaikal region, DMK president MK Stalin on Saturday said that while the AIADMK would fall at the BJP’s feet out of fear of raids, the DMK wouldn’t. His remarks came a day after the Income Tax department conducted raids on premises owned by DMK leaders across the State. Addressing a public meeting at AFT Grounds here, in the presence of 28 candidates of the Congress, DMK, CPI and VCK, besides former Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy and MP V Vaithilingam, Stalin said, “I have campaigned at 234 constituencies in Tamil Nadu and talked at 55 meetings. This is my 56th and our alliance will get a massive victory in Tamil Nadu. Similarly , you should give us a v i c t o r y i n Puducherry .” “In the five-year rule of the Congress-DMK alliance, the BJP-led Central government caused many problems. Don’t forget the trouble they caused through the Lieutenant Gov- ernor - not only to the government, but even to the public,” he added, and asserted that the people shouldn’t allow the BJP to form the government in Puducherry . “Since there are reports in Tamil Nadu that the DMK alliance will win, the BJP is trying to disrupt our alliance and tire our leaders. They raided my daughter’s house, but I don’t care,” he said. Continued on: P3 Shattering stigma It might be a losing battle, but this transperson is in the fray to change perspectives B i n i ta J a i sw a l @ Chennai M Radha knows her chances of winning the Assembly election from Mylapore constituency are bleak. But the transperson, who’s contesting as an Independent, remains resolute as ever because her motive is different. She’s in the fray with the sole intention of making society safer for transpersons. This isn’t the first time Radha has nurtured political ambitions. She contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as an Independent candidate and managed to garner 1,042 votes. This time, she is contesting on the ‘telephone’ symbol. “Members of my community have to suffer so much discrimination and stigma only because of their gender. By contesting the elections, I want to make the message loud and clear that we Mylapore constituency candidate M Radha campaigns ahead of the elections in Chennai | Express are also humans, like other males and females, and are capable of doing anything,” Radha tells Express. Sharing her views in fluent English, the 53-year-old says she knows very well that her chances of winning are poor, yet she toils under the scorching sun, campaigning door-todoor in her constituency . “When people welcome me into their houses, hug me, bless me and interact politely with smiling faces, I feel all my hard work has yielded the desired result. If I am able to change the perception of some people about our community I will be , quite happy The next time they . meet a transperson, instead of ill-treating them, they will be polite,” Radha says. She laments that people assume every transperson is either a beggar or a sex worker. But reality is different, she explains. “We are also equally capable of becoming politicians or academicians, or excelling in any other profession if we are given proper opportunities and are treated equally like people , of other genders,” says Radha, who works as a cook. To manage her poll expenses, Radha relies on crowdfunding and support from members of her community She says she is . confident of garnering over 10,000 votes in this election, as she, flanked by a few of her community members, hops from house to house campaigning.
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