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e-paper-stories Latest News

Exit polls project cliffhanger for West Bengal

New Delhi: The exit poll projections of the recently concluded assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala, and Puducherry have been released on Thursday.

As per the poll of exit polls, analyzed by The Times of India, West Bengal is the only state which is not throwing up a clear result – it is likely to be a cliffhanger. Some exit polls give BJP a clear majority, others Mamata Banerjee a third term, and one projected dead heat.  Mamata has clearly proved a tough cookie to crack by BJP, which had a robust campaign led by Modi and-Shah. There is no doubt though that the BJP has emerged as a key player on the political landscape of Bengal.

In Tamil Nadu, in a clear verdict, the DMK led by M.K. Stalin, Karunanidhi’s son and political heir, will come to power with a big majority, dethroning the ruling AIADMK, late Jayalalitha’s party.

As per the CVoter Exit Poll for Times Now/ABP News, the BJP aligned NDA is winning Puducherry, barely retaining Assam while the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF is set to return to power for the second time in a row in Kerala.

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Articles Latest News

Sadhguru wants Tamil Nadu temples freed from govt control

By Sukant Deepak

Even as #FreeTNTemples, part of ‘Peoples Manifesto’, conceived by Jaggi Vasudev, popularly known as Sadhguru, continues to take the social media by storm with more than 3.32 crore people supporting it, the founder of Isha Foundation feels that while before the polls, political parties put up manifestos and tell citizens what they will do — it is a fundamental aspect that needs to change.

“In fact, before the election, every citizen must state what they want. Then we will decide who to elect based on which party says they can do it,” he tells IANS.

The yogi and author feels that in Tamil Nadu, five things need to happen — Cauvery must flow 12 months a year; education needs to improve; increased investments skill development for youth; improvement in farmers’ situation; and temples freed from government control.

“This is what I articulated before the elections,” he asserts.

Talk to him about the fact that it is the ‘Free Temples’ point in the manifesto that everyone is talking about, and Vasudev says: “A temple is not a place of prayer, it is the soul of Tamil culture. Here, most towns were built holding the temple as the center. The town evolved around it. This is why they are called temple towns.

“In a culture so steeped in devotion and spiritual process, unfortunately, temples are in various states of decline and dilapidation. This is why it is in people’s hearts that they must be restored to devotees. Three crore and thirty two lakh people have supported this movement in an electorate of about five crores — no government can ignore that. It is just a question of time before the temples are released from government control.”

While churches, mosques and gurudwaras are not managed by the government, Sadhguru says that some people ask him — ‘Why can’t the government take them over’…. “They should not be touched. Because there is one injustice, you don’t have to multiply that. No one has any right to take anyone’s place of worship.”

He adds: “We call ourselves a secular nation. In my understanding, secular means religion does not mess with government and government does not mess with religion.”

Stressing that devotees should manage temples as Indian temples were not created as places of prayer, he says: “There is no single person leading a prayer for a group of people. These are largely different types of energy centers where people can soak themselves in the energy, empowering themselves to blossom to their fullest potential.”

Talk to him about the absolute mismanagement of temple wealth and he asserts that the Madras High Court says over 47,000 acres of temple lands have been encroached.

“What the government should do in the first six months is to appoint an external audit – not just about property and money, but also the condition of the temple, whether it is alive or not, is the pooja happening or not.

“After the audit, the first step is, if someone is sitting on temple land, either you pay the current market price of rent or price of sale. Otherwise vacate the premises. The government should pass this as legislation,” he says.

Adding that the movement has been contained to Tamil Nadu as the issue there is far more serious than anywhere else, he says: “The law is far more draconian and temples are too many. And there was an election happening. Now that the election is over, inevitably this movement is spreading across the country.

“The Uttarakhand government has already released 51 temples that were recently mandated to be under government administration. It is truly wonderful that this step has been taken. In other states, it may not be as simple as Uttarakhand, but whatever the issue, it can be sorted out and we can find solutions if there is willingness.”

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Latest News Sports

50% fans allowed for 2nd Test in Chennai

Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) on Tuesday said that 50 per cent of the seats at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium would be allowed to be filled with spectators for the second Test between India and England starting February 13, though England speedster Jofra Archer said he is not buying into it till he witnesses it with his own eyes.

“Till it happens I won’t believe it. Last eight months have been just as crazy and we have made a mere promise and something like that (fans returning) hasn’t come off. So, till I actually see the fans walk in, I won’t believe it,” Archer told reporters on Tuesday.

Earlier, TNCA had announced that 50 per cent occupancy will be allowed in the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

“In view of the government announcement that 50 per cent occupancy would be allowed in stadia, the TNCA will allow 50 per cent spectators for the second Test to be held between 13th and 17th February 2021,” TNCA secretary R.S. Ramaswamy said in a statement.

Earlier, members of the Indian and England teams returned negative results to their Covid-19 tests and completed their quarantine periods ahead of the first Test.

The first two Tests of the four-match series will be played in Chennai while the third and fourth Tests will be played at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, Ahmedabad.

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Festival Special Latest News

Tamil Nadu fireworks manufacturers not to appeal against ban

Chennai: Fireworks manufacturers in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu will not appeal against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order to ban bursting of firecrackers during Diwali in places where average ambient air quality falls is ‘poor’ and ‘worse’ categories.

“There will be a total ban against the sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers in the NCR (national capital region) from midnight of November 9-10, 2020 to the midnight of November 30-December 1, 2020, to be reviewed thereafter,” the NGT had ordered.

“We may not be going for an appeal against the NGT order. An appeal has to be made in the Supreme Court for a stay order,” Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers Association (TANFAMA) President Ganesan Panjurajan told IANS.

The manufacturers are unsure whether they would get any stay order against the NGT order as there is Covid-19 pandemic and the allegations against their products revolve around air pollution during the pandemic.

Further, the manufacturers are relieved a bit as the ban order will be applicable only in places where the ambient air quality is not up to the mark.

In their submissions to the NGT, the TANFAMA said that during the ‘bhumipoojan’ at the Ayodhya temple construction site during the coronavirus pandemic the whole of Uttar Pradesh celebrated the occasion with fireworks.

“There was no spike in Covid cases by bursting of firecrackers. In Tamil Nadu’s Sivakasi there are more than 1,200 firework factories that employ more than eight lakh people directly or indirectly. The factories check the quality of fireworks daily by bursting them,” TANFAMA added.

“Though fireworks are daily bursts, there were only 15 new corona cases on November 5 in the entire district. Nowhere in the world has any country banned fireworks during the Covid-19 pandemic while celebrating their festivals,” the association had said.

The manufacturers are of the view that the industry has been targeted by “vested interests” and that the NGT order will impact the sector for the next two seasons.

They said that NCR, Punjab, Rajasthan and other north Indian states are major firecracker markets that account for not less than 40 per cent of the industry’s sales. “People in these states celebrate Diwali in a grand manner,” he said.

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coronavirus India Latest News

India records worst spike of 17,000 Covid cases

New Delhi: India witnessed the highest spike of almost 17,000 fresh Covid cases, with Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu contributing more than 62 per cent of it in the past 24 hours taking the total in the country to 4.73 lakh, data from the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry revealed on Thursday.

A total of 16,922 new cases took the tally to 4,73,105 so far as India continued to be the fourth worst hit country by the pandemic. According to the Health Ministry data, in the last 24 hours 418 new deaths were reported taking the total tally of fatalities to 14,894 in the country.

Over 1,000 cases more were recorded in 24 hours than what we saw on Wednesday, when 15,968 new COVID-19 cases were reported.

Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu continued at the top contributing almost 62 per cent of the total spike of the Covid-19 cases.

There are currently 1,86,514 active and 2,71,696 recoveries. The number of patients recovering from COVID-19 continues to rise. The recovery rate has further improved to almost 57.42 per cent.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state in the country with total cases at 1,42,900, including 6,739 deaths. It recorded a spike of 3,890 fresh cases with 208 deaths in the last 24 hours.

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Entertainment India Latest News

100 liquor bottles seized from actor Ramya Krishnan car

Tamil Nadu Police has recovered about 100 bottles of liquor from the car of actor Ramya Krishnan, who had starred in movies like Bahubali, Padaiappa and others.

According to the police, the actor was traveling in the car at the time on the East Coast Road (ECR) where they were carrying out vehicle checks.

The police found about 100 liquor bottles in the car boot and when queried Ramya Krishnan said she was unaware about the bottles.

Later the police confiscated the bottles and arrested the driver Selvakumar who said the liquor was bought at the Tamil Nadu government run liquor shop.

The government has not allowed the opening of the Tasmac shops in Chennai.

Another driver came and drove the actor back to Chennai.

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