Chennai constituency gets ready for Jayalalithaa's poll play

J Jayalalithaa
Residents of RK Nagar in Chennai will get a glimpse of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on June 22 when she begins - and most likely ends - her campaign to contest the RK Nagar Assembly seat, after she was acquitted of criminal charges in a disproportionate assets case by a Bengaluru court. She is hardly ever seen publicly, not even by the state government officials, so her coming out of her residence to campaign will be a big event.

Even as the Karnataka government prepares to file an appeal against the case, the campaign for the Assembly constituency has already begun. As many as 22 candidates are contesting against Jayalalithaa, although both the Congress and the principal opposition party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), have decided to stay away. Spirits are bright in the constituency because locals expect a bounty of money ahead of the elections. The Election Commission is keeping its eyes peeled even as AIADMK workers throng the neighbourhood.

Yogendra Yadav's new outfit plans farmers' marches to Delhi

Members of the newly launched Jai Kisan Andolan, a movement started by expelled Aam Aadmi Party leaders Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, will visit one lakh villages in 17 states in August to identify various issues faced by the farmers.

Explaining the rationale of a new movement, Yadav said farmers in each region of India have their own problems. "After collecting the details from the farmers, we will organise marches from various places to Delhi. We will submit our report when Parliament begins," said Yadav. This means roads in Delhi will witness traffic snarls during that period.

The Jai Kisan Andolan will be using social networking sites for the campaign.

Asked whether the Andolan will later merge with any political party, Yadav said it was too early. "It's not the right time to launch a political party. People are a bit disappointed now. We have to show them what a movement like this can achieve. We will decide on the political part depending on the progress we make," he said.

Steps towards normalising relations with Pakistan?

Preparations seem to have begun for a possible meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on July 9 and 10.

The first indication was a phone call from Modi to Sharif ahead of the beginning of Ramzan. Now tentative signals are being sent out that some sort of conversation might take place and the grounds are being cleared for a framework in which the conversation (not structured talks or dialogue) could take place.

If that happens, it will be the first baby step towards normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan.

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