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Kamal Haasan richest candidate in Tamil Nadu Assembly polls




Our Special Correspondent

 NEW DELHI, March 20:

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has emerged as the richest candidate in the fray for the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections on April 6. The founder and chief of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) declared moveable assets worth over INR450 million. He filed his nomination from the Coimbatore (South) constituency.

 Candidates, including heavyweights such as Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, DMK President MK Stalin, Haasan and Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam, have officially entered the fray for the April 6 election.

 The Chief Minister, who filed his nomination from Edapadi constituency on Monday, declared movable assets worth over INR 4.7 million while stating that he has no immovable assets to his name. He further stated that his wife’s movable assets were worth INR 10.4 million and that of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) were INR 5.021 million.

 He declared immovable assets in his wife’s name at INR 17.8 million and a further INR 21 million under the HUF, including ancestral property. His affidavit further states that he owes a “hand loan” of INR 1.5 million to an individual.

 In his 2016 poll affidavit, the AIADMK joint coordinator had pegged his movable assets at over INR 1.283 million and immovable assets at INR 19.7 million. In his latest filed on Monday, he declared that he owes the government no dues, including on the Income Tax and GST fronts.

 Stating agriculture as his primary profession, the CM said he has no pending cases against him. He chose the ‘Not Applicable’ option in a section of the nomination papers where a candidate is required to enter the total number of cases in which he/she has been convicted. Palaniswami has contested six Assembly elections till date, winning four of them.

 Stalin declared movable assets worth a little over INR 49.4 million, while pegging his immovable assets, comprising land and residential buildings, at INR22.4 million. The DMK president, who is seeking a third successive term from Kolathur constituency, stated that his wife’s movable assets were worth INR 30,52,854.

 He said he had no vehicle in his name while his wife was in possession of gold jewellery worth INR 2.477 million. Adding that he INR50,000 as cash in hand, Stalin declared that he owed no dues to banks or government agencies and had no other liabilities. He stated the sources of his income as his monthly salary as MLA, bank deposits, and rent.

 Stalin’s son and the party’s youth-wing secretary Udhayanidhi, who is making his electoral debut from the Chepauk-Triplicane segment this year, declared INR211.3 million worth of movable assets, including a four-wheeler of 2016 model. Declaring the ‘procurement price’ of his vehicle as INR17.7 million, he stated that he had immovable assets worth INR 65.4 million.

 Haasan quoted his movable properties over INR 450 million. These include two vehicles – BMW 730 LD and Lexus LX 570, the combined valuation of which comes to INR 30.7 million. The veteran actor pegged his immovable properties, including commercial buildings and agricultural land, at a little over INR1.31 billion.

 He also declared two residential buildings in Chennai, cumulatively priced at INR 195 million, and a joint property in London worth INR25 million. The superstar stated that he has INR 495 million in liabilities, adding that he has no spouse or dependents. 

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Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance



By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.

The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.

NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.

Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.

The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.

MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.

The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.

Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.

The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.

In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.

Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.

Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.

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PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs



A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.

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Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture



Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.

The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.

FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

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