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Senthil balaji

Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balaji Spends Over 100 Days In Jail, HIs Brother Still On The Run

Till Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji, Stalin’s points man, and serial party hopper hit the national headlines for his arrest on June 13 by the ED, he was only a regional mover and shaker. This talent gave him the heft to party hop. DMK was his fifth hop. TN chief minister MK Stalin honoured him with two critical portfolios — Electricity and cash cow TASMAC. But the laws of nature and physics inevitably bring such a luminary down. The ED’s arrest on charges of money laundering started a newsworthy saga of imprisonment. He had a heart attack, was taken from the Omandurar government hospital (where Stalin visited him) to a private Hospital, rumoured to have had a heart surgery, long and mysterious recovery there and later remanded to custody in Puzhal prison. Jail sources say he is withdrawn and morose. His brother Ashok Balaji still on the run despite ED’s relentless chase; was he a proxy to get his brother?  On September 20, the court denied him the bail and Balaji was remanded to further custody. TN has a tradition of celebrating 100 days run of a film… Balaji has also seen 100 days. Legal opinions aver that if a judge is fully convinced about not finding evidence of guilt in the sections that he is charged, bail is a natural step. Till then he will have to cool his heels.
New parliament_003

MPs Not Happy With New Parliament Complex: Dub It A Convention Centre

While Congress leader Rahul Gandhi may have extolled the virtues of the new Parliament building in the course of his speech on the Women’s Reservation Bill about how “it is quite a nice building, nice peacocks, nice peacock feathers on the ground, nice peacock feathers in the chair… it’s a nice tasteful building” and NCP MP Praful Patel tweeting a picture of himself with Sharad Pawar hailed it as a “marvel”, not many MPs are happy about the new Parliament complex. “It is more like a convention centre than a Parliament and the corridors are too narrow. Even those leading up to the ministers’ chambers are narrow. There is just one entry/ exit point to this building and it gets pretty crowded,” cribbed a healthy MP from Punjab. With long winding corridors leading to the chambers, it is proving to be a long trek for members. MPs are having a problem finding a way out to reach for their transport.  Some male MPs found even the swank toilets too small for use. As for the swish cafeteria that has been built to hold 80/ 90 people, it simply failed to supply even tea when the discussion on Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha was going on up to 11 pm. “The cafeteria is not like the Central Hall canteen that could cater to all 543 Lok Sabha MPs…This can at best be called Modi ka maqbara,” says a Congress leader. This means PM Modi’s favourite architect Bimal Patel could be receiving some flak.

Ash And Washy Get Into The Right-Hand Finger Spinner Fray

The ICC Cricket World is just a fortnight away and most of the teams are girding up its loins to compete hard in conditions that are most likely to show bias to the spinners. Surprisingly though India will be going into the multi-nation event with two finger spinners of the left arm variety and one of the Chinaman — leg spin and googly. A left quadriceps tear to the conventional left-arm spinner, Axar Patel may appear to have kept the door ajar for a right-hand finger spinner to find his way into the team that will be confirmed on September 28, a day after India plays its third and last one day international against Australia. The two contenders are Ravichandran Ashwin who has entered his 38th year but brings in a 113-match experience with 151 wickets at an economy rate of 4.94 an over. He played two matches of the 2011 World Cup that India won and eight matches of the 2015 World Cup. The veteran offy has played only two ODIs in the last six years, missing 122 matches. The second option is Washington Sundar who will be 24 in 13 days; he has played 17 ODIs and has taken 16 wickets. The final call may be taken by skipper Rohit Sharma. The three-match series against Australia will guide Sharma to make a choice should Patel be declared not fit for a competition that will be tough as it comes.

New Twist: BJP Ready To Patch Up With AIADMK

It appears BJP is ready to patch up with AIADMK if there are any problems regarding their alliance, which was said to have been broken by AIADMK unilaterally announcing that the BJP was no more in its alliance. But it appears there was more to it than meets the eye. It was Edapaddi Palaniswami (EPS) who was peeved not so much at the demand for 15 Lok Sabha seats out of 39 in Tamil Nadu (Pondicherry to remain with BJP as it is in power there in alliance with Rangasamy) as the insistence on the alliance expanding to bring in Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran into the poll mix. AIADMK is adamant that whoever BJP wants to accommodate can be within their quota of seats. Even there, EPS would like to draw the line on any sneaky comeback bid by Sasikala through her ardent supporter O Panneerselvam. The AIADMK supremo, who is in firm control of the Dravidian major now, will not compromise on the issue of a re-entry for OPS. The former CM would, however, not be averse to a reconciliation bid as he is aware that without the Centre’s support he and his party leaders would be under pressure from the TN government, which is ready to set the DVAC and other state agencies after them in corruption cases. There is no easy way out of the impasse, but the allies are playing a game of oneupmanship now.

Luxury Cruise Service Between UAE And Kerala To Start From December 2023

At a time when Cruise services are turning popular in India, Kerala has found a new way to counter the exorbitant air fares to the Gulf. Come December 2023, Malayali expats can travel home in luxury cruises. The Kozhikode-based Malabar Development Council and Indian Association, Sharjah, have planned to ply private luxury cruises between UAE and Kerala. Each cruise will have a capacity of 1300 passengers and the three day trip will cost Rs 10,000 one-way. Each passenger will be allowed to carry baggage of 200 kg. The fare will be 50% lower than the present average airfare between UAE and Kerala. The associations behind the cruise project, have approached the Kerala Government and the Kerala Maritime Board with the proposal. Once the clearances come through, the promoters will approach the Central Government for a formal approval. The Kerala government had earmarked Rs 15 crore to resolve issues faced by expats travelling between UAE and Kerala. The promoters hope that this money could be used as seed money to start the operations. A vessel currently being constructed at the Cochin Shipyard could be diverted for the project. The Andaman and Nicobar Administration which placed the contract for the vessel has now backed out for unknown reasons.
Sachin begging box

Begging Bowl For Sachin Tendulkar, Amaravati MLAs Novel Protest

Firebrand independent MLA Bachchu Kadu from Maharashtra has organized a novel agitation against cricket icon and Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar for propagating an online gaming company through a TV advertisement. The politician’s organization, Prahar Sanghatana, has kept a collection box called “Bheek Peti” (begging bowl) outside its Ganesh Mandal and declared that the collection will be sent to Sachin in Mumbai. Kadu has repeatedly condemned Sachin’s appearance in a commercial that advertises the online gaming application. He had staged an agitation outside Sachin’s Bandra residence, too. According to Kadu, online gaming is a dangerous addiction, which has resulted in many suicides. It is not proper for Sachin, being a Bharat Ratna, to do such advertisements, the Amaravati MLA said. “We are proud of Sachin as a great cricketer but can’t accept such crass commercialization,” Kadu has emphasized. He declared that he would demand a ban on such commercials and meet the Maharashtra chief minister in this regard soon. Kadu’s agitation has received some support across the state. In Solapur district, he was invited to perform the Ganesh pooja at Akolekati village. After the ceremony, Kadu dropped a hundred rupee note in the bowl and asked his followers to install such bowls at their pandals, too. Kadu said the trend to play online games was increasing with alarming speed and the main victims were the young boys and girls from predominantly poor and lower middle class families.
Parliament meet_002

Law Minister Fact Checks Rahul On OBC Officers, Gandhis Skip The Passage Of Historic Women's Bill

The 128th Constitution Amendment Bill providing for women’s reservations was passed by the Lok Sabha with bipartisan support of 454 MPs. Yet oddly the Gandhis – both Sonia and Rahul — were missing from the House when the historic bill was passed with a thumping majority. Rahul in his speech made one of the weirdest points about OBC reservation and was duly fact checked by the law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal. He raked up the issue of near non-existence of OBCs among secretaries to the Government of India; he said there were only 3 OBCs among the 90 secretaries to GOI today. Rahul charged that “The moment the Opposition raises the issue of caste census, the BJP tries to create a new distraction, a new sudden event so that the OBC community and the people of India look the other way.”  Law Minister, a former Dalit IAS Officer, replied that OBC quota came in UPSC only post Mandal in 1992. Congress sources admitted that Rahul was clearly misguided by his advisors as it takes an officer nearly three decades to make the grade of GOI Secretary. As for the Bill, Meghwal made it clear that the bill had factored in implementation only post-delimitation in 2026 as the Government did not want the law to be “challenged” in courts. Sonia Gandhi in her speech said there should be OBC quota in the bill. Countering her, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey asked why the 1993 law providing for women quota in local bodies had not provided for OBC quota.
Nari Shakti modi

Modi's Counter To Caste Census & Freebie Politics -- Gender Quota By 2029

PM Narendra Modi chose auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi to usher in the Women’s Reservation Bill providing for 33% reservation in Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The bill, called the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Special Session of Parliament that was held in the newly built Parliament complex. The law, when passed, will come into effect only after the next delimitation exercise, which will be conducted after the first census to be taken after 2026. This means that women’s quota will not come into effect by 2024 Lok Sabha elections or even by Delhi assembly polls which is due in Feb 2025. The bill will be effective only by 2029. Yet the bill is being viewed as a perfect counter to caste-based parties in the I.N.D.I.A front that have been pushing for caste census. It is also a perfect antidote to politics of wooing women voters with freebies. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh felt Modi’s move was yet another election jumla.”We have not yet conducted the 2021 decadal census…Will the Census and delimitation be done before the 2024 elections? This is nothing but EVM — Event Management.” He pointed how the Rao Government in 1993 had brought in one-third reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in April 1993 and because of that there are already 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and nagarpalikas.
Nirmala sitharaman_002

Nirmala Sitharaman Shocks Chennai Media, Gives Tongue Lashing To Stalin Jr In Chaste Tamil

The Press asked for a few minutes when the finance minister was in Chennai. What they got was over 15 minutes of a Nirmala Sitharaman nobody had heard so far in sucker punch sound bites in chaste Tamil. She was taking on Stalin Jr over his comments on Sanatana Dharma. She expressed her angst and anger at this provocative violence in speech, intemperate and insensitive. Almost at the same time DMK MP, TR Baalu had openly chastised Udhayanidhi, even as his father chief minister MK Stalin was present at a DMK meet. Baalu made it clear that indiscretion and verbal bravado would soon bring about retaliation by party seniors. Discretion is the best part of valour, said Baalu. Sitharaman uber cool and calm even as she took on this brash talk by Udhayanidhi said, “Once you have taken an oath as a Minister, you must be extra cautious about verbal violence or instigation to violence. The ultimate punch…they will say let this Pappathi talk (pejorative term used for Brahmin women, contemptuously by the Dravidian parties). The media had a collective moment of total shock when Sitharaman admonished, “The media is quick to pounce on the dare of a UP Baba when he said that he would reward anyone who brought this agnostic’s head. Media, be just…take note of those who threaten others, likewise.”  In just about nine years the FM has learnt the art of neutralising Opposition bullies …using their own rhetoric.
Mamata ultimatum

Didi Gives Ultimatum To Congress, Decide Between TMC And CPI (M) In West Bengal

Following the Mumbai meeting of the I.N.D.I.A., Trinamool Congress has unofficially informed Congress High Command that it will have to decide its ‘friends’ in West Bengal. TMC sources said that the message to the Congress is quite clear that it must choose between the party with a possible 30 LS seats, and the Left with no seats. TMC sources added that it has been conveyed to Congress that if it decides to join hands with the Trinamool, two seats — Baharampur and Maldaha Dakshin would be left to them. At present these two seats are held by Congress with Bengal Congress Chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury winning from Baharampur and veteran leader Abhu Hasem Khan Chowdhury from Maldaha Dakshin. Moreover, TMC will not object if Congress wants to give one to the CPI(M). However, Pradesh Congress sources termed this as the arrogance of party supremo Mamata Banerjee. Incidentally, a senior leader of TMC stated that during the alliance meeting, Didi has made it categorical that specific terms should be followed in the states which do not have alliance. The seat sharing must be decided on the basis of last Lok Sabha seats won, the results of the last Vidhan Sabha polls, three, the results of the last Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls combined. Incidentally, there will be no hassle for 250 seats across the country, remaining seats will have to be decided among various I.N.D.I.A partners.

BJP MLC Remarks Against Pawar Family Angers NCP Ranks

Controversial BJP legislator Gopichand Padalkar’s disparaging statement against the Pawar family has suddenly created another potential explosive situation in Maharashtra, within days of the conclusion of the Maratha caste’s demand for reservations and the resultant agitation. The current fuse for the political outburst is Padalkar’s unsavoury language against Sharad Pawar, his daughter Supriya Sule and nephew Ajit over the Dhangar (cattle shepherds) caste’s demand for reservations and Ajit’s assurance that he would try his best to secure it. Ridiculing this promise, Padalkar described the Pawar clan as wily wolves in an interview that went viral within minutes. Padalkar was once very close to Republican leader Prakash Ambedkar. He then changed his stance and joined the BJP, which has made him a member of the legislative council. An arch opponent of the Pawar family, he had contested one election unsuccessfully from Baramati, the fiefdom of Pawars for decades. Padalkar had also said that his caste did not have faith in Ajit nor did it respect him.  Taking strong exception to Padalkar’s hurtful words, Ajit’s opponents have warned the present ruling alliance that they will not care about their presence in the government if Padalkar was not reined in immediately by deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “We will assault Padalkar in public, even if he apologizes. That day will come soon,” some of them have threatened.
Jayakumar aiadmk

AIADMK Drops A Bombshell, Says BJP Not In Its Alliance


AIADMK spokesperson Jayakumar dropped a bombshell on Vinayaka Chathurthi day in Tamil Nadu saying that the BJP Is currently not in the AIADMK alliance. He will obviously not be speaking without authorisation from his party boss Edapaddi Palaniswami (EPS). The war over local BJP chief K Annamalai and his outspoken ways in which he has been criticising revered AIADMK figures like Jayalalithaa and Annadurai and threatening to lay bare the corruption in previous AIADMK regimes is now out in the open. Jayakumar, however, kept the alliance lines open saying that any understanding with the BJP would be forged only before the polls. In a cheeky comment, Jayakumar said that, on its own, the BJP would fare poorly in the polls in the state and that Annamalai would struggle to beat NOTA. Former ministers have of late been lashing out at Annamalai for dragging the names of departed party leaders when speaking about his war on corruption and his exposes. The local chieftain may not be speaking without authorisation from BJP’s top brass either. But EPS’ equation with BJP’s top duo plus party chief JP Nadda is on a different plane and chances of a patch up cannot be discounted. Right now, AIADMK has dared to declare war and the ball is in the BJP court.
Arjuna Ranatunga

Arjuna Ranatunga Questions Integrity In The Governance Of Cricket

In a leafy Colombo suburb on Friday morning an animated Arjuna Ranatunga dressed in a Sri Lankan-style sarong and Deklo Technology T-shirt talked about Sri Lankan cricket with zeal. The captain of the 1996 World Cup-winning Sri Lankan team — a courageous individual who backed Muthiah Muralitharan to the hilt and who never pulled his punches back on matters — did not have anything tolerable to say about the way the game is administered in his country, and by the International Cricket Council. “I have raised questions on sports, in particular about cricket, a hundred times in the parliament,” says Ranatunga, the 59-year-old who underwent corrective surgery to treat a troubling hernia and shed his heavyweight status. Ranatunga was a member of the parliament and a minister till 2019 and as he says at present he is in the vanguard of a national movement. The daredevil captain who named Aravinda de Silva as the all-time best cricketer, says he does not like the idea of consultants and advisors because they do not have any responsibility.  He is startled by the decision of the Asian Cricket Council to provide a reserve day for the India-Pakistan match and surprised by the silence of the other cricket boards in the ACC. He says it’s the responsibility of the ICC to protect cricket and that more cricketers should be involved in the governance of the sport.
Soumya ranjan patnaik letter

Naveen Patnaik Drops Media Baron From BJD’s Vice President Post, Creates Ripples In Odisha

The recent sacking of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, editor of Odisha’s largest daily Sambad from Biju Janata Dal’s vice president position by supremo Naveen Patnaik has sent a clear signal to party leaders — behave appropriately or face consequences. What does this mean in clear terms? Do not challenge BJD supremo’s decision with regard to governance mechanism or question his decision to bestow powers to his trusted bureaucrat VK Pandian with regards to holding state wide meetings. IAS officer Pandian’s rise has been severely questioned not only from his party members but also BJP’s MP Aparajita Sarangi. Reportedly, BJD MLA and media baron Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was extremely critical of the money spent by Pandian on his state wide tour; he equated the spent with that Chandrayaan-3’s budget. Calling spade a spade in journalistic parlance makes sense but not so in the political world. Media baron Patnaik’s future seems uncertain. He however seems well prepared since he has made the complete circuit Congress to BJP and now BJD. Will BJP welcome him back is the billion rupee question everybody is asking.
NCP flag

Pawar Vs Pawar: Whose Time It Will Be Anyway

Although NCP founder Sharad Pawar has once again adopted a dual stand over the ‘split’ in his party, his nephew Ajit has reiterated that the majority of the party workers and MLAs are with his faction, which is the ‘real’ NCP. Pawar has maintained before the Election Commission (EC) that there is no split in his party and that some of his party colleagues have adopted ‘a different stand.’ Disregarding this argument, EC has decided to begin a hearing over the rival claims from 6 October.  Ajit, now Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister, has claimed that 41 of the 52 NCP MLAs are behind him. On the other hand, Pawar told his supporters that henceforth, his faction will operate as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi for future elections. His submission before the EC and his assurance to his followers have regenerated confusion about his exact posture. The EC, meanwhile, has informed both that it had concluded that there were two rival groups after considering the matter. The split came to the fore on 30 June when Ajit sought the EC’s recognition of his faction as the real NCP on 3 July, he was sworn in as DCM in the Shinde-Fadnavis government. Since the matter requires a ‘substantive determination’ under the rules, the EC has directed both sides to be present for a personal hearing on October 6.

Is CPI(M) Hesitant To Join The I.N.D.I.A Coordination Committee?

A tough road lies ahead of CPI(M) Politburo at its two-day meeting between September 16 and 17, where it will decide upon its representation at the I.N.D.I.A Coordination Committee. Out of a 14-member committee as decided by the Bloc, the 14th one remained vacant when the first meeting of the committee was held at NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar’s house in New Delhi on September 13 since CPI(M) is yet to give its representation. However, it is known that party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury met Pawar the day after the meeting and discussed the alliance. According to party insiders, the central committee of the CPI(M) held a meeting after the I.N.D.I.A Bloc’s Benguluru meeting, but no name was proposed for the coordination committee representation. Instead, there’s a divide of views where a section of senior leaders feel that the party should refrain from being a part of the committee, another section feels that it should take time to decide upon a name. However, central committee member Shamik Lahiri informed that the name will be finalised in the Politburo meeting itself. Interestingly, some of the leaders from the Bengal unit said that it is difficult for the Politburo to finalize the name by bypassing the Central Committee. In that case, a new debate may be created within the party, at a time when cadres are questioning the party’s decision to be a part of Trinamool Congress ally.
EPS amit shah_002

EPS Faces Kodanad Estate Robbery And Murder Case Heat, Meets Amit Shah

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) is in a bit of a bother with the Kodanad Estate robbery and murder case coming too close to him for comfort. Taking a leaf out of the operations of the Union government through central investigating agencies to pile the pressure on political opponents, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, is also cranking up the machinery for replicating such tactics. The DVAC has moved against a couple of former AIADMK ministers even as the long delayed Kodanad case is picking up momentum amid myriad conspiracy theories and angles to move the lens towards former CM Palaniswami. Afraid of being framed in a case in which he had to take an interest as it involved the former CM J Jayalalithaa and her confidante Sasikala’s possessions and secrets, EPS went to New Delhi to convince Home Minister Amit Shah to get the CBI to take up the investigation so that he may not be called in for questioning by the State police who can be hostile to him. While a smokescreen was drawn to make it appear as if EPS had travelled to the capital to seal the alliance with BJP, the main purpose of the trip was to seek BJP top brass support in taking the heat off him from the Kodanad Estate case.
Rajeev_ Anil antony_ESreedharan

Loud Thinking: BJP Can Make Inroads Into Kerala If Sreedharan, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Anil Anthony Lead It

The talk among intelligentsia in Kerala is that BJP can come to power only if the party tweaks its leadership strategy. This new thinking comes close on the heels of Anil Anthony’s — son of veteran Congress leader AK Anthony — elevation as the national secretary and spokesperson of the BJP.  An analyst says Anthony should be assigned the role of introducing Artificial Intelligence (which he has studied and specialised from  a US university) in public services like weather departments, airlines’ air traffic control etc.  Additionally, Anthony along with Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and metro man E Sreedharan should be the core team to make this happen.  This formidable troika, a strong brand by themselves, can give a real run for CPM and Congress considering that Hindus roughly constitute 55%, Muslims 27% and Christians 18% of the total population. But, there is a catch; despite Hindus being a majority the eligible voters’ percentage are not sufficient to form a majority government. Hence BJP will need the support of Christian voters. So the induction of Anil Anthony is timely. He is the son of an honest and straightforward politician. His entry will surely swing significant vote share of Kerala Christians to BJP. The trinity Anthony, Rajeev and Sreedharan can create a significant impact for BJP in the next Assembly election.

Taking Indian Cuisine To Feed The Vikings

India, says Sarita Sehjpal, has given what is probably one of the most important ingredients to the world, crystallised sugar. It was back in the year 290 BC that Greek ambassador Megasthenes reported that people in the India Valley eat honey made by men and not by honeybees, the India-born entrepreneur writes in her new book in Norwegian, Saritas Indiske Kjokken. In those days, they made sugar out of sugarcane, which is native to Papua New Guinea.  Describing her well-researched book as “not only a recipe book but also a history of Indian food, tracing its journey from pre-historical times till today”. Having grown up in Norway she is fluent in the local language, besides Hindi and Punjabi, which were spoken at home, and decided to introduce Indian food to the Scandinavian region. Beginning with selling home-made, ready-to-eat Indian meals in grocery stores in her city of Kristiansand, she built her own brand, SaritaS. Along the way, the minority immigrant has blossomed into a distinguished name in Norwegian society, whose life story is taught as an inspirational biography in an English textbook in Norwegian schools, Step by Step. Her first book, Sarita’s India, was sold widely across Norway and was even nominated for a literature prize. Today, having made SaritaS the biggest Indian brand in Norway, with a portfolio of chilled Indian ready-to-eat meals, Indian sauces, chutneys and the like.
Shekhar sardessai

Goan Entrepreneur Over The Moon As His Company Kineco Goes To Space On Chandrayaan-3

The defining moment started for Shekhar Sardessai, CMD, of the 28-year old Goa-based Kineco Ltd, when the rocket carrying India’s moon lander Chandrayaan-3 took off on 23 August 2023. The next 23 days were very anxious for all 50 people involved in the project.  Having had a long relationship with ISRO, Sardessai and his team should have been more blasé about their latest project, but it was a bag of mixed emotions. Sardessai always had an ambition to be in aerospace and space since 2002, and his first big moment was when we won the bid for supplying 10 antennae for India’s space programme in 2012-13. This project has established the Kineco group’s credentials, rocketing its reputation from being a company that was “too small for this game” to a situation where it is rubbing shoulders with international giants. The opportunities now available to Kineco and other Indian companies are “huge”. This is a very interesting era, in which the next generation of entrepreneurs can give their dreams the power to take them anywhere they want to go.
Modi Mohammed

Saudi Crown Prince Visit Rings Alarm Bells In Konkan, Refinery Project To Revive

Even as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the conclusion of the G-20 Summit, alarm bells have started ringing in Maharashtra’s Konkan region. The reason was the concern over the logical outcome, which signalled the resumption of the plan to set up a mega oil refinery project on the ‘west coast of India’ which in other words could mean the verdant Konkan region. Though the first steps for developing the $ 50 bn refinery project there were taken in 2015, it has been stalled for mainly political considerations. The obstacle was the then Shiv Sena’s changing stance despite its presence in the government. Now that the major fraction of the Sena is sharing power with the BJP in the state, the double-engine push is expected to accelerate the project once more. Wise after the previous experience, the Centre has agreed to set up a joint task force to help in identifying and channelisng the $ 100 bn investments. Both countries have also decided to establish a monitoring committee for tracking the progress of the project. Due to this development, villagers at the Barsu sight in Ratnagiri district have started voicing their opposition to the project. However, no major political party has as yet come forward to support them. 

Why King Khan Will Continue To Rule The Roost

Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan is creating records at the box office. The audience has connected with the film as it has raised all the relevant points that the Opposition parties have been asking the Modi government. A WhatsApp message has gone viral saying how the movie is a campaign for the Congress party. Jawan was released at a time when the whole world was busy with the G20 Summit. To avoid any backlash like Pathaan, SRK played it smart by congratulating PM Modi for the success of G20 Summit. Those in the trade feel it is too late for politicians to do anything now as Jawan has turned out to be a tsunami at the box office. The Badshah of Bollywood has made a big comeback and is not going anywhere for the next 10 years. The kind of subject he has chosen gives him ample scope like Rajnikanth who continues to rule the roost at 72. On a personal level, SRK is a hurt man after what happened to his son Aryan Khan in the drug case and the way the media hounded him. Post that he has kept the media at arm’s length. Of late, he prefers to connect with his audience through appearances at Mannat and social media. In the case of Jawan his move to get an accomplished South director, Atlee has enabled him to create an impact in the South.
AR Rahman


No Symphony: AR Rahman’s Concert In Chennai Turns Into A Nightmare Stampede

AR Rahman, the slumdog millionaire and Oscar holder dreamt of a grand music concert, planning to belt out his immortal songs in Tamil to delight a mammoth crowd. Passionately he named the concert Marakkuma Nenjam(will this heart forget). Sure enough the 50,000 odd crowd that pushed into the venue which could accommodate just 20,000 ticket holders swear they would never forget the stampede, women and kids screaming in alarm, people pushing their way through and genuine ticket holders of Rs 5000 left high and dry, unable to get to their assigned seats. The blame game is in full swing…most blame the organisers ACTC events who seemed to have only focused on raking in the money at any cost. The sound system was so poor that even those near the stage could not hear much. People in the know are putting the onus squarely on the maestro himself for trusting an event organiser like ACTC. Incidentally, the maestro himself was grounded in the traffic grid near the venue. The negative publicity saw Rahman tweeting, “Dearest Chennai Makkale, those of you who purchased tickets and weren’t able to enter owing to unfortunate circumstances, please do share a copy of your ticket purchase to along with your grievances. Our team will respond asap.” Will this tweet be music to the ears of Rahman’s fans? Not really.

TVS Settlement Model: A Successful Template For Other Business Families To Follow

Tamil Nadu is known for its iconic business families. TVS, Murugappa, Amalgamations, Rane, Spic et al –  the list can go on and on. They are to a large extent responsible for the early industrialisation of the state. The foresight of the elders of these industrial houses has pushed Tamil Nadu into the national forefront. Of course, many multi-nationals have come into the state since then. But these traditional industrial houses have to tackle a problem of an unusual kind. When families expand, fissures creep in. How best are these handled? That is indeed a big challenge. In the not so distant past, the Murugappas have put an end to the internecine quarrel with a female member by penning a peace accord. Some months ago, the four branches of the illustrious TVS group legally went their own ways in an extraordinary arrangement. The Murugappas perhaps are likely to follow the TVS template. What is this TVS model about? According to grapevine, the key to the TVS model is the generosity of big members (in terms of their market capitalisation) who chose to adequately compensate others who were managing businesses that had inherent growth limitations. The early apportionment of businesses among different branches allowed some to get high growth fields and others not-so-high growth businesses. The appreciation to erase the initial disadvantage is the stand-out feature of the TVS model.
Abhishek Kant

Delhi Declaration: Sherpa Amitabh Overshadows MEA, EAM Jaishankar Makes Amends

India’s sherpa for G-20 Amitabh Kant seems to have got into trouble for trying to project the G-20 Delhi Declaration as a personal achievement, nearly overshadowing the role of the MEA and the external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Of course, he did attribute the role of four key MEA officials who worked with him on the draft declaration and had helped him negotiate with other countries, but eventually he ended up claiming MEA’s effort as all his own. At least from the way he was seen making his point in the media — how he was awake till 4 am to finalise the draft, it may seem he was the only man on the job. It first started off with a tweet that Kant put out on September 9, the day the G-20 Delhi Declaration was accepted crediting the IFS officers who worked with him. Kant was all over the media and in the social media space, much to the surprise of the MEA too. The Congress, which was disappointed by the success of G-20 Delhi Declaration, decided to focus on sherpa Kant rather than the political leadership of both PM Modi and Jaishankar. Singling out Kant for praise, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor noted “Looks like the IFS lost an ace diplomat when you opted for the IAS!” but generously acknowledged that it was “A proud moment for India at G20!” With things getting uneasy with the MEA, Kant clarified a day later to Tharoor how it was “not about IAS or IFS. It is about working as a Team for the country.” Now to bring MEA’s perspective about its role in G-20, Jaishankar is back again making his points.
poll finger

Likely Poll Scenario: 10 States To Go To Polls Along With Lok Sabha Elections In April-May 2024

A very likely poll scenario for 2024 is the holding of the Lok Sabha polls along with Assembly elections in 10 States. Private polling as well as analysis of opinions gathered by their own pollsters is that the BJP is beginning to fear defeat in all four major states in 2024 – MP, Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh. They do not want such results impacting the Lok Sabha polls, which is why this idea of a national poll is being pressed at this time and may come up in the special session of Parliament called for during Ganesh Chaturthi time. The LS poll plus 10 States at the same time is what the BJP is aiming for after having brought up the concept of ‘One Nation, One Election’ idea. While the Assemblies in five States — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram – will see their terms run out on different days in January 2024, the States of Andhra, Odisha, Sikkim, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh will have to go to polls some time in 2024 after the LS polls. The idea now gaining ground is to pass legislation to push back the dates of the expiry of five states that go to polls in early 2024 to a common period in the summer of 2024 as in late April and early May and to push forward the closing date of the assemblies in the five other states so that 10 states can go to the polls together in April-May.
KL virat yadv


Rahul, Virat And Kuldeep Rock & Roll Against Pakistan

There was so much joy in the end after the rock and roll display by Virat Kohli and KL Rahul and thereafter by the Chinaman practitioner Kuldeep Yadav with the ball that cut Pakistan to size in the Asia Cup match at Colombo on Monday (Sept 11). India trounced Pakistan by 228 runs. India’s 27th win against Pakistan by runs. It was also India’s fourth win against Pakistan starting from the Asia Cup in Dubai five years ago. The big win at the rain-hit Premadasa Stadium helped Rohit Sharma to maintain a clean slate against Pakistan: 3 wins out of 3. It was not merely the emphatic victory, it was the way India’s batters went about repelling the rival team’s pace pack that had troubled India in Twenty20 internationals in recent times. Left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi had become sort of a bête noire, but for two days in a row, India’s top 4 sent him packing with Sharma flicking him for a first over 6.  Aspersions were cast on Rahul’s selection of Rahul for the Asia Cup and the ICC Cricket World Cup after he had gone down in an IPL match on May 1 and his thigh needed to be set right. An eleventh-hour inclusion after Shreyas Iyer complained of a back spasm, Rahul deployed his multi-faceted skills with the bat to stage a comeback with a bang, as they say; with a score of 111 not out!
Shinde fadnavis pawar

Maharashtra Government To Outsource Staff Recruitment, Protests Likely

The Maharashtra government has decided to expand the scope of its scheme to recruit employees at various levels through private agencies to supply skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled workers. The decision has come in the midst of an agitation that has been going on for the Maratha caste’s demand for reservations. The government had awarded a similar tender to two agencies way back in 2014 for three years. The decision has the backdrop of the swelling expenditure on government establishment by outsourcing as much staff as possible so as to divert funding toward developmental purposes. Presently, the burden of staff salaries and pension payments is approaching alarming levels. Hence, now nine agencies have been authorised to supply a wide range of workers. They will include personnel like project coordinator, engineer, teacher, content writer, clerk, librarian, telephone operator, driver, carpenter, gardener, lift operator, sweeper and peon, to name a few. The government will have to face stiff opposition owing to this decision as no reservation will be provided for in the outsourcing. Moreover, some of the nine firms selected for the purpose are ‘outsiders,’ another reason for a potential protest. The government has stated that salary for each post has been determined and the agency concerned will be permitted 15% commission for each such recruitment. The decision will apply to all the establishments under the state government as well as to local self-governments and its corporations.
Jagan arrest

Chandrababu Naidu’s Arrest: A Game Changer In Andhra Pradesh Power Balance?

Much as the ruling party, Jagan Mohan’s YSR Congress wanted to make former Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s crack of dawn arrest look like a logical move to punish him for corruption in the Skill Development case, the TDP leaders and political analysts are convinced that this whole thing was planned and executed to coincide with AP chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s sojourn in the US. Even as he was remanded to 14-day judicial custody, Andhra erupted into angry protests by TDP cadres who also called for bandh. Actress Roja the firebrand YSR Congress distributed sweets celebrating Babu’s arrest. Not that Naidu has the image of an unsullied political saint ….after his election loss, he has been fighting a running battle with YSR, trying to cadge favours from the BJP, and simultaneously trying his luck for Congress support — classic case of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Is Jagan’s intent to make him an untouchable for the BJP? The I.N.D.I.A bloc has immediately condemned the arrest and professed their sympathy. Telugu star and JanaSena Party founder Pawan Kalyan showing his solidarity to Naidu protested by sleeping on the road as he was denied entry into Andhra. AP is on high alert as TDP cadres are baying for blood, it could turn violent. The moot point is will BJP align with Naidu’s party after such negative publicity?
Manoj Jarange

Maratha Reservation Demand Stir Roasts Its Caste Leaders

The agitation for effecting reservations for the powerful Marathi caste in Maharashtra has started roasting senior leaders belonging to the caste. The latest target was former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, who had to face angry protests at Dharmabad in his home district, Nanded. Over the past few days, the agitation has been spreading to different towns in the state. On the other hand, the state government is witnessing another powerful group, of the OBCs, which has warned it that the existing reservation quota of the OBCs must not be affected in any manner in a bid to accommodate the Maratha caste’s demand for reservations. Several rounds of talks have taken place between the government and the protests led by Manoj Jarange in a Jalna district village. The protestors have been livid since the very leaders who enjoyed power for the past several decades but could not grant the reservations are now trying to grab the headlines by expressing their support for the Maratha demand at this juncture. Meanwhile, former home minister Anil Deshmukh, a NCP leader, has expressed opposition to the suggestion that the Maratha demand for the reservations should be adjusted from the OBC reservations, prevalent for a long time. His stance is said to be reciprocatory of the BJP’s OBC Cell’s similar demand. The reservation for the Marathas, as and when granted in whatever form, is bound to be challenged in court, many organisations have declared.  

G20 Summit: Culture Corridor At Bharat Mandapam

Coming just a day ahead of the G-20 summit, PM Narendra Modi tweeted about India’s leap in financial inclusion, powered by Digital Public Infrastructure! “A G20 document prepared by the World Bank shared a very interesting point on India’s growth. India has achieved financial inclusion targets in just 6 years which would otherwise have taken at least 47 long years. Compliments to our robust digital payment infrastructure and the spirit of our people. It is equally a testament to rapid progress and innovation.” Interestingly various exhibitions at Bharat Mandapam, the venue of the G-20 summit to showcase India’s technological prowess and innovation will offer a multitude of unique experiences to showcase a unique international project — ‘Culture Corridor – G20 Digital Museum’. The Culture Corridor will celebrate the shared heritage of G20 members and 9 invitee countries. The Digital India Experience Zone will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the power of technology being implemented by India first-hand. The Zone will provide key insights into the crucial initiatives of Digital India such as Aadhaar, DigiLocker and UPI. The RBI will display cutting-edge financial technologies at the G20 Summit, showcasing their potential to revolutionise the financial landscape. UPI One World is UPI designed for inbound foreign travellers who do not have bank accounts in India. Foreign nationals can open a Prepaid Payment Instrument linked to UPI to experience hassle-free and secure payments during their stay in India. Delegates will be boarded on UPI One World. Their wallets will be pre-funded with Rs 2000 which they can utilise as they desire. 
bangla diwas

Bengal Gets “Bangla Divas”, But Tussle Continues Over Dates

West Bengal gets its identity day or “Bangla Divas” in a resolution passed by the West Bengal State Assembly. Mamata Banerjee government ratified the resolution to celebrate “Bangla Divas” on Poila Baisakh, the first day of the Bengali calendar. The Assembly also passed the resolution declaring Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s composition “Banglar Mati Banglar Jol,” as the state song. Amid protest from the Opposition BJP, the resolutions were passed by 167-62 votes. The BJP legislators voted against the treasury bench resolutions. Incidentally, the Central government earlier this year issued a notification to celebrate June 20 as Poshchim Banga divas. Subsequently, the day was celebrated at the Raj Bhavan by Governor CV Ananda Bose here which led to a strong opposition from Didi. However, according to the Chief Minister, celebrating June 20 as Paschim Banga Divas was a “distortion of history” since the day also marks the division of undivided Bengal. Meanwhile, Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari and other BJP legislators protested against the resolution and marched to Raj Bhavan where they submitted a memorandum to the Governor. While Didi has made it categorical that it does not matter to her government whether the Governor ratifies the date or not since it is a resolution not a bill, Adhikari maintained that since President Draupadi Murmu wished people of Bengal on June 20, it makes the official date to celebrate Bengal’s resurgence.

KL Rahul Vs Ishan Kishan, The Debate Is On!

With every passing day, the debate continues around KL Rahul’s selection for the Asia Cup and ICC Cricket World Cup. The Indian team, especially its main players believe that a player like Rahul cannot be dispensed with easily with the World Cup on home soil scheduled from October 5. Rahul who is accustomed to facing the shining hard ball will bear the burden at No5 with skipper Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill set to open the innings. With Rahul being given extra time to recover from the thigh-related injury, and set to walk into the team, the question that begs to be asked is: Will Ishan Kishan be given the short shrift? The flashy and flamboyant lefty hammered a double century against Bangladesh a few months ago, and recently he batted his way to a rousing 82 off 81 balls at No 5. Sharma hinted that there is a possibility of both getting the nod to be picked in the eleven. Kishan has been groomed to fill the vacancy caused by the absence of Rishabh Pant and everything pointed to the young fellow getting a chance to display his talent on the big stage. Rahul has been out of action since May 1 and he is being prepared for the India-Pakistan Super 4 round-robin league match on Sunday. He will be anxious on two counts — one is to be fit right through the match, and the second is to get runs!


Is Superstar Hrithik Roshan Deliberately Keeping A Low Profile?

While the Khans are seen all over the media we have Hrithik Roshan, one of the last actors to get superstar tag, shooting quietly for his next film Fighter. The 49-year old actor who has worked with Siddharth Anand in War wants to work with him even more especially after Fighter. In the pipeline is Krish 4 but nothing has been finalised. Hrithik, one of the highest paid stars, is an insider both from paternal and maternal sides but he started from the bottom to eventually become a superstar. He formally entered Bollywood in 2000 with Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai. Post that he has had one too many hits like Fiza, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Koi Mil Gaya, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara sequels Krrish, Dhoom. Hrithik who has had his own share of controversies both personal and professional is known to be shy; he avoids parties preferring to spend more time with his children and girlfriend Saba Azad. Besides, he is also deeply involved with his father Rakesh Roshan’s banner. Maybe he is toying with the idea of becoming a director. Trade circle says that Hrithik is definitely one of the most dependable stars who has carved his own place by not being part of any camps. He is also quietly growing his HRX brand by opening gyms and eateries serving healthy food.

DMK’s Double Standard, Attacks Sanatana Dharma But Wants To Control Temples

A few steps from the late Kalaignar’s iconic Gopalapuram home in Chennai is the temple of Venugopala Swami. It is said that Karunanidhi had to see the main deity every single day as he exited his home. Krishna had this vantage point. This Janmashtami brought unprecedented crowds to this temple in the wake of his grandson Udhayanidhi referring to sanatana dharma as a disease that needs to be eradicated. Chennai witnessed a massive outpouring of Bhakti and devotion on Lord Krishna’s birthday. Apart from the emotional and religious anger and fury of a faith scorned, the response of senior journalists and opinion makers were worth being noted. YouTuber and media guru Rangaraj Pandey asks, You say sanatana dharma because you are wary of using the word Hindu, but at the same time you want to control the Hindu temples and its overfilled Hundis through the HR & CE (Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments) Department. You even have a minister who decides which DMK cadres take up positions in temple management. Brahmins never aspire for managerial posts in temples…they are priests. “You could not eradicate Saraayam (liquor in Tamil) but you want to eradicate Sanatana Dharma”.
Sitaram Yechury

CPI (M) Cadres Want No Truck With Didi’s Party In West Bengal

At a time when the I.N.D.I.A front is slowly progressing towards its goal of an united Opposition, Bengal CPI(M) unit finds it extremely difficult to contain the cadres and their questions about the party’s stand.  Recently, the Bengal unit undertook workshops across the districts to work towards anti-BJP campaigns in coming months. However, the district leadership faced a volley of questions mostly pertaining to party’s secretary Sitaram Yechury’s stage sharing with arch rival — Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee. Sources at CPI(M) said that the cadres have not only expressed their discontent over the association with TMC but raised several questions. A section of cadres have questioned whether the party will be allying with TMC in the 2024 Lok Sabha election on the basis of the formula that everyone should support the party in their pockets of influence. If not then what would be the campaign process? Some have even questioned if Congress High Command asks the Pradesh Congress to ally with the TMC, will Bengal CPI(M) continue to hold hands with Congress or go alone.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to defend the ant-TMC stand within CPI(M).  The most significant question of the cadres was whether the party would support the government formed by the I.N.D.I.A. which will have Didi as one of the key players.
Kanimozhi Rahul_udhyanidhi

Rahul Gandhi Dials Kanimozhi To Get Udhayanidhi To Tone Down, Father Lobbies For Son

Alarmed by the unrelenting stance of DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin on his utterances about sanatana dharma, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi reportedly called up his aunt and Thoothukkudi Lok Sabha MP K Kanimozhi to get her nephew to tone down. Rahul communicated with Kani before he left on his Europe tour this week. Initial efforts to get Udhayanidhi to pipe down were made via senior DMK leader TR Baalu by several Congress leaders. It was explained to him how junior Stalin’s utterances could wreck prospects of the Congress in the upcoming elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath made it clear to Rahul how Udhayanidhi’s open threat to vanquish believing Hindus like malaria/dengue had already upset a winning electoral game for the Congress in MP. It was only then that Rahul decided to dial Kanimozhi, so that she may persuade her brother and Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin. Unfortunately, Udhayanidhi seemed too reluctant to backtrack. I.N D.I.A .front allies like the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and Shiv Sena UBT were upset with his utterances against Hindus. In a desperate attempt to win back support  of I.N.D.I.A for his son, Stalin pits him against PM Modi and hopelessly drags in Modi’s directions to his ministers that Udhayanidhi’s remarks against sanatana dharma should be  strongly countered. He said it was unfair for PM Modi to make “comments” without knowing what his son spoke. Fed up with DMK’s obstinacy, Congress has distanced itself from the Stalins.
fadnavis pawar

Charges Against Fadnavis At Pawar’s Instigation, Says BJP Leader

Former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh’s grave allegations against present deputy chief minister and home minister Devendra Fadnavis in connection with the lathi charge against a pro-Maratha reservation morcha at Jalna were made at the instigation of NCP president Sharad Pawar, said a close relative of Deshmukh. “If a pin drops in my house, Anil knows about it and if a phone rings in his house, I come to know about it,” BJP’s OBC Cell’s Ashish Deshmukh has said. Anil’s allegation that the Maratha demonstrators at Jalna were beaten up by the police under the orders of Fadnavis has led to a war of words. Castigating him, Ashish said Anil Deshmukh must apologise for this allegation. Recalling various serious incidents during Anil Deshmukh’s stormy tenure as home minister of the state, Ashish said the NCP under Pawar was now a moth-eaten crumbling structure. To save it, Pawar and Anil were politicising the Maratha reservation issue. When Anil Deshmukh was in power, he did not know anything about the explosives planted near Mukesh Ambani’s house nor was he aware of the permission granted to the Wadhawan brothers during their custody period. “How does Anil now know about the orders issued by Fadnavis if he was unaware of the extortion from dance bar owners in Mumbai by notorious police officer Sachin Vaze then ,” Ashish has questioned.   
Najam jay

Is India Afraid To Play Pakistan And Lose, Asks Najam Sethi

Even as six teams are competing for the Asia Cup a forerunner to the ICC Cricket World Cup, Najam Sethi, a journalist who has donned the chairman’s hat of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) a number of times and who has served under Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif used his X handle to take pot shots at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) for mishandling the tournament. He vented his agony soon after the second half of the India-Pakistan match was washed off in Pallekele, Sri Lanka. The sauve Sethi slammed the ACC for not showing any interest in scheduling the matches in Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates. Pakistan was the only host of the Asia Cup, but became the co-host with Sri Lanka once BCCI decided that it will not send its team to Pakistan. What perhaps got Sethi’s goat was the Pakistan batsmen not getting a chance to chase India’s total of 266. Then after almost two hours of play, it was lost due to rain. Sethi went on an overdrive giving full details of the dialogue between the ACC president Jay Shah and himself. The matter has turned into a full blown tiff with Shah issuing a rejoinder explaining why the Asia Cup could not be fully played in Pakistan or the UAE. The Super 4 matches will be played at the rain-ravaged Colombo as scheduled, And Sethi has asked “Is India afraid of losing to Pakistan?’’

Daughters At Murugappa Group: A Pride Or Prejudice?

The traditional joint family system in India has the unique way of sorting out skirmishes among different branches. An informal red line defines the limit within which each member conducts himself/herself. Ostensibly the objective of this informal understanding is to foster a sense of family unity for generations to come. When a female member of a branch Valli Arunachalam, elder daughter of late MV Murugappan, chose to take the internecine quarrel public and the topic became a discussion subject in social media for long, this Chennai-based industrial group and the estranged female member smoked peace pipe for the larger good. For the elders of the Murugappa group, family unity has all along been paramount. Hence, the daughters have stayed away from the business. They have played no small role in sustaining the unity of the Murugappa family. If grapevine has to go by, daughters are never included as part of the promoters in Murugappa group. Not surprisingly, daughters’ shares aren’t considered as part of the promoters’ holdings. The shareholdings of wives, however, are part of the promoter holdings! This philosophy has worked well for the group since it was founded. No murmurs from daughters all along. The Valli episode appears to be an aberration. A closer reading of the recently-released statement on the peace proposal appears to suggest that the Murugappa family is keen to sustain family unity for generations to come.
Jeetega bharat

Only Lip Service To Women’s Representation In I.N.D.I.A And Congress Lists

Although every political party unerringly pays lip service to representation for women and social justice for the minorities, all of them behave differently whenever real politics is concerned. For instance, they have been demanding 33% share for women in parliament and state legislatures, but they do not grant the same proportion when forming their own committees. The latest example of political doublespeak are the coordination committee of the opposition I.N.D.I.A front and the newly recast central election committee of the Congress party. While the I.N.D.I.A committee’s lone woman member is Mehbooba Mufti, the Congress election committee has only two women members, Ambika Soni and Rajya Sabha member Amee Yajnik, besides Sonia Gandhi, of course. This has hardly come as a surprise since it has remained the policy of all political parties to give weightage to the ‘ability to win’ over all other qualities of a candidate. The other highlight of both the lists is the scant representation given to the minorities. The 14-member coordination committee has three Muslim leaders – Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Jawed Ali Khan (SP). The Congress list has three minority members among the 16 names announced. They are Salman Khurshid, Mohammed Jawed and KC George. Similarly, age is another factor that has not impacted the membership of the coordination committee. The case in point is its senior most member, Sharad Pawar, was born in 1940.
Ram nath kovind

Expect Huge Surprises In Special Lok Sabha Session

The special session of Parliament has not been convened just for the government to sing the praises of India’s scientists who put a lander and rover on the Moon and has sent a probe towards the Sun with spotless precision. Insiders say that a lot of Bills are to be presented which, with an eye on the elections, will have an impact on the electorate. The primary one may be the introduction of the simultaneous polls towards which leading lawyers have briefed the government on how legislation can be passed. It is learnt that reservation for women in legislative seats will be introduced through at least 10% of Lok Sabha seats earmarked for them in the coming polls. Also, a Bill to raise the reservation limits beyond 50% to accommodate Dalits, tribals, and other disadvantaged communities is said to be on the anvil. The formation of the Ram Nath Kovind panel on “One Nation, One Election,” is no mere kite flying exercise. Apparently, a lot of work has already been done to draft Bills and legal advice may have it that it could even be passed in a joint session where the government will have the clout in terms of the required majority. The BJP is prepared to pull out all stops in its bid to retain power in 2024.
Rahul Kharge

Cong A Divided House On Dharma & Udhayanidhi

As the BJP continued its onslaught on DMK minister Udhayanidhi Stalin for his “sanatana dharma must be eradicated” remark and dubbed it as an attack on all Hindus of the country, the Congress seemed hopelessly incoherent on how to respond to it. Not only did it shy away from denouncing statements of its powerful Tamil Nadu ally, but it also preferred to toe a middle line stating that “every political party has the freedom to (express) their views”. It was as if the Congress had no stake in the battle for Hindi heartland where sanatana dharma is synonymous with Hinduism; it was as if the Congress wasn’t bothered about winning the upcoming three state assembly polls. The tragedy for the Congress was that its top brass – AICC chief Mallikarjun Kharge and general secretary KC Venugopal — belonged to the South and decided to play safe. The party did depend on DMK for securing Lok Sabha seats. That is why someone like Karti Chidambaram openly backed the DMK idea. And it was left to Kamal Nath to ringfence the party in Madhya Pradesh from disastrous consequences of Udhayanidhi‘s utterances. Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge, son of AICC chief, too backed Udhayanidhi. Incidentally, the Kharges are neo Buddhists. The moot point is why did Udhayanidhi choose to sabre-rattle against sanatana dharma now? Was he trying to settle a score with Guv Ravi who has been talking about it everywhere in TN?

Photo : X

Contradictions At Home: Udhayanidhi Stalin Attacks Sanatana Dharma, While His Mother Is Doing Temple Rounds

The DMK and its posturing as Tamil saviours, savants, charlatans and atheists has scaled new heights of political arrogance through the “cub“ in waiting for the TN gaddi –Udhayanidhi Stalin, son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin. Hindus all over the country are seething at his vitriolic attack on Sanatana Dharma, calling for eradicating it like scourges of malaria, dengue and covid. Probably, he does not have the guts to take on the other faiths — Islam and Christianity. May be he is confident that Hindus are soft targets for spewing venom. May be his Tamil upbringing did not include the iconic poet philosopher Thiruvalluvar whose couplet on indiscreet speech is quoted every day somewhere, “Yaagavaar aayinum nakakkaal, sogappar sol izhukkapattu” (be it anyone, the one who lets his tongue and talk run indiscreetly, will soon meet his deserved fate). Udhayanidhi claims that he is a true saviour of Tamil. That’s why he named his film distribution company Red Giant and this made actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth ask him why not Sigappu Bhootham (in Tamil)? Finally, Udhayanidhi in attacking the Sanatana Dharma pretends he is unaware of his mother Durga Stalin’s lifestyle; she is steeped in worship of Hindu gods, doing the Parikrama of numerous temples.
Uday letter

Uday Kotak’s Handwritten Resignation Letter Gives That Personal Touch

Hard copy in this digital age is passe. Today, all communications are in digital or electronic form save for doctors writing their prescriptions. So it was surprising to see Uday Kotak, Managing Director and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd sending a handwritten resignation letter on September 1 to his chairman Prakash Apte. The 3-pageletter captures the journey of Uday Kotak which started in 1985 with three employees in Mumbai’s Fort area. Today, this successful bank which has over a lakh employees has presence all over India and five other countries. Interestingly, Kotak has tweeted his handwritten letter. Generally, handwritten notes are written to add that personal touch and some CEOs do take that extra effort to send a thank you card or good wishes hand written. This gesture conveys that they care. Ratan Tata is known to do that; he sends handwritten letters especially if it is outside business.  He has very good handwriting. This writer has seen some of his handwritten notes. Coming back to Kotak, he has truly built a formidable bank. In his words, “an investment of Rs 10,000 with us in 1985 would be worth around Rs 300 crore today.” All his stakeholders are laughing all the way to the bank.
Mamata uddhav


What Irked Mamata Banerjee At I.N.D.I.A’s Mumbai Meet?

Looks like I.N.D.I.A front of Opposition leaders is being betrayed from those within. At a time when it seemed a good beginning had been made with the setting up of coordination committees and working groups, no one expected it would be filled with lightweights — barring Sharad Pawar. There was a suggestion from TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee to involve CMs — at least in the election strategy group. For some reason it was scuttled by RJD leader Lalu Prasad who didn’t want Nitish Kumar on the panel. Didi who wanted to host the next I.N.D.I.A event in Kolkata found no takers as it was shot down by CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury as he explained that Left could not be seen in a function hosted by the TMC. Rejection of Kolkata as venue was enough to irk Mamata. She found it odd that Communist leaders had no problem in rubbing shoulders with the TMC or the Congress in Delhi or Bengaluru but not in the home turf of Bengal or Kerala. Mamata also did not approve of the unilateral manner in which Rahul Gandhi raked up the Adani issue at the Opposition event without consulting other parties. The TMC chief had initially pointed to the Congress about the Left and Congress virulently campaigning against TMC for the September 5 Dhupguri assembly by-poll. In fact, Mamata had specially sent her nephew Abhishek to Delhi to complain to Rahul about the tone and tenor of the Left-Congress campaign.
BCCI Viacom 18

Viacom18 Shows Commitment To Home Internationals

The BCCI global media rights for television and digital streaming rights have fetched Rs 5963 crore for the five-year cycle — September 2023 to March 2028. The new entrant in cricket broadcasting, Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd, has left others by the wayside and it will deploy its television channel Sports18 and digital platform Jio Cinema to broadcast the bilateral series home internationals. The Reliance Industries backed Viacom18 and made a big splash when it acquired the digital rights of the 2023-2027 IPL cycle and the full media rights of the Women’s Premier League. However, it has demonstrated a commitment to be the sole owner of the BCCI’s domestic bilateral series rights. There is a lot of glamour around the IPL, but the BCCI media rights represent the essence of cricket where the International Cricket Council’s full members play Test matches that are part of the World Test Championship and also the one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals. These matches are the pith of the home international season and they attract millions of eyeballs Viacom18 has gone out of the way to acquire the rights for a sum that has given immense satisfaction to the BCCI. Viacom18 has made the commitment knowing that the home internationals will have value across all formats, in particular the multi-day Tests and Twenty20, but the BCCI media rights have proved that the game’s future is drifting towards digital viewership.
Rahul Gandhi_India_002

Congress' Backseat Helps I.N.D.I.A Front Glue Together

The role of the Indian National Congress leadership in taking a backseat in the I.N.D.I.A coalition has emerged as one of the key factors that has kept the front together. Had the Congress taken up leadership positions, it would have put off some anti-Congress parties that are part of the coalition,” according to a political analyst. Also, being the dominant partner, the I.N.D.I.A coalition would have earned the tag of a Congress-led initiative, another deterrent factor. Analysts believe that this playing down strategy reflects political maturity on the part of the grand old party. “They are aware of the fact that there are a few parties within the I.N.D.I.A coalition that have won elections on an anti-Congress plank and these parties need to be reassured about their place,” felt Bhalchandra Kango, member of the national secretariat of the Communist Party of India.  If Nitish Kumar had got the parties together in the I.N.D.I.A coalition, we must work to keep all the parties together, Rahul Gandhi is believed to have stated in one of the internal meetings. With this, the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls now promises a straight fight between the 28-party India alliance and the 38-parties BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

Language Barrier: Stalin Surprises Everybody, Addresses I.N.D.I.A Leaders In Tamil

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin chose to give his closing address of the 28-party I.N.D.I.A meet at Mumbai in Tamil. The only South Indian chief minister present on the dais, Stalin just started off in Tamil without any warning. His colleague, six-times Parliamentarian TR Baalu, who was with him on the dais, neither translated his address nor bothered to explain the context to either the delegates or the press. All the other speakers including Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar, chose to address in Hindi except for Sitaram Yechury who spoke in English. A delegate, who was part of the I.N.D.I.A front internal meet, revealed that Stalin failed to fully participate in the internal meetings, due to the language barrier. “Stalin always kept his counterpart TR Baalu around him. Baalu presented the party view at the internal meetings while Stalin merely followed the proceedings in English,” a delegate informed. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has been a strong opponent of imposition of Hindi. Stalin started his short address with a greeting of ‘Vanakkam’ and went on to explain how the I.N.D.I.A front has not come together with the quest for power but with the resolve to protect the nation, its constitution, the society and cultural values. Soon after he wrapped up his speech, he left the dais along with Baalu.

I.N.D.I.A Skips Contentious Issues, Sets Aside Decisions On PM Candidate

The 28-party I.N.D.I.A front has decided to side step the contentious issue of finalising the prime ministerial face to forge ahead in the alliance. The alliance has decided to stay face-less in its fight against prime minister Narendra Modi to diffuse tensions in I.N.D.I.A with multiple claimants throwing hats in the ring. With 11 chief ministers like Nitish Kumar, Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal in the fray, the leadership of I.N.D.I.A is a delicate issue that could destabilize the alliance at any point of time. Though the Congress wanted to push Rahul Gandhi for leadership position, it wisely seems to have given up. Though a similar anti-BJP front had emerged in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, it had failed to work due to lack of unity. Hence, it has been decided to instead let the PM candidate emerge post-election depending on how the parties fare in the Lok Sabha polls. Another contentious issue, that of seat sharing is also likely to be delegated to various state-level committees to diffuse tensions. With parties in West Bengal, Punjab, Delhi and Kerala being at loggerheads in Delhi, the emphasis will be on the ability to win seats to determine seat sharing allocations. Similarly, key responsibilities will be décentralised and delegated to coordination committee and sub-committees rather than a single convenor to avoid focus on a single party or leader.
Thani Oruvan

Sequel Fever: AGS Entertainment Gets Ready For ‘Thani Oruvan 2’ With Jayam Ravi

The sustained box office and artistic success of Southern films is not just about strong story lines, brilliant directors, tight budgets, organised shooting schedules and artists who give value for what they earn. Southies know how to get the best ROI, even in remarkable budget films. Much of the credit goes to producers like AGS Entertainment founded in 2006 by three brothers — S Aghoram, S Ganesh, and S Suresh — which has consistently bankrolled good, wholesome and mostly family oriented themes. AGS Entertainment just announced their Thani Oruvan 2 to mark 8 years of the original hit movie that ran in cinemas for 50 days, grossed Rs 150 crore worldwide, with no carpet-bombing gimmickry or cooked books. What is even more remarkable, the sibling team of director Mohan Raja and Jayam Ravi, team up yet again for a seventh film in Thani Oruvan 2. Jayam Ravi is already riding high as a bankable artist, as gracefully as he rode a caparisoned elephant in both Ponniyin Selvans. He is Ponniyin Selvan, Mani Rathnam’s muse. Starting with Jayam, M Kumaran S/O of Mahalakshmi, Unakka Enakka , Santosh Subramaniam, Thillalangadi, Thani Oruvan 1 all back-to-back hits, and paisa vasool for film buffs. Jayam Ravi will play an IPS officer Mithran once again. Spoiler alert …could the antagonist go after the hero? Nayantara is his love light.


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.