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Rahul Gandhii

Rahul Gandhi Uses Lok Sabha Floor To Make Libelous Charge Against Adani, Rail Against PM Modi

After stalling Parliament for a few days over the Adani controversy, the Congress finally got back to work on January 7. Rahul Gandhi took the Lok Sabha floor to make allegations linking PM Modi to billionaire Gautam Adani, perhaps hoping he would be spared legal consequences. An MP enjoys the privilege to speak freely and what is spoken inside the House is not liable for any scrutiny. Oddly, Rahul’s speech did not evoke much response by way of cheering or thumping of desks even from Opposition benches as states like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have projects that are being executed by the Adani Group. But then so do Congress ruled states like Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. He wanted to know how Adani’s net worth had increased from $ 8 bn to $140 bn between 2014 and 2022; how the businessman had gone from 600th to second rank when the BJP came to power in 2014. He wanted to know from Modi “How many times did Adaniji join you later on your foreign trip? How many times has he reached you after you landed in a foreign country?”. He also asked how much money Adani gave to the BJP in the last 20 years. He seemed most upset that GVK-GMR, who controlled airports under the UPA era, were forced out using agencies like ED and I-T. Six airports including the Mumbai airports were” handed over” to Adani after 2014.
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Thackeray Vs Thackeray: Shinde Faction Plans To Field Nihar Against Cousin Aaditya Thackeray

Shiv Sena (U) party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya is likely to face his cousin Nihar in the next assembly election from Worli in Mumbai if plans of chief minister Eknath Shinde’s Sena faction materialise. A practising lawyer, Nihar is the son of Uddhav’s eldest brother Bindumadhav, who died young in 1996 in a road accident. Aaditya has been on the offensive over the past few days, challenging Shinde to contest against him any time. “Let us face each other in Worli or Thane. The choice will be yours,” Aaditya has said repeatedly. His Sena (U) followers are taunting the chief minister for being ‘scared of a 32-year young’ as Shinde has not reacted to the provocation. However, plans to persuade Nihar to jump into the fray are now under discussion. Nihar was the first member of the family of Balasaheb Thackeray to support Shinde. He had said, “Shinde is the true representative of Balasaheb’s ideology.” The association became firmer when Nihar became part of the legal panel representing the Shinde faction in the Supreme Court and the Election Commission. As Uddhav is a member of the upper house, Aaditya’s Worli assembly constituency will become one of the most prestigious electoral contests in Maharashtra. The fight will become national news if two Thackerays take on each other.
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If It's Australia, It's About Baggy Green, Mental Disintegration And Final Frontier!

The team that has immortalised the Baggy Green cap is in India, and no wonder there is so much buzz around it because of the quality of the pitches (speculated though) that will be rolled out for the four Tests at Nagpur, New Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Australia needs to win one Test and India much more to proceed to the final of the ICC World Test Championship in London. Pitches in India in the past have been notoriously described as dubious, snake pits and what not. A few decades ago, Steve Waugh chose the mental disintegration strategy and labelled a Test series in India as the final frontier. He succeeded against most countries, but not in India. He lost 1-2 the famous series of 2001 when Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman turned the Kolkata Test around on its head with a 376 run stand. India went on to win the Chepauk Test too. The present captain, Pat Cummins, who won the home Ashes series against England 4-0 and beat Pakistan in its backyard 1-0, is hoping to outwit India in India for the first time in nearly 19 years. Cummins has not lost a Test series, but he and Australia know that India will be a tough nut to crack at home. In the last four home Test series against Australia, India won 10 Tests as against Australia’s one win.
Bhagwat

RSS ‘Clarifies’ Mohan Bhagwat’s Remark, Says No Slight To Brahmins

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s reference to the learned section of society has been wrongly interpreted and it does not mean the Brahmin caste, the organisation has clarified. What Bhagwat had meant was ‘scholars,’ RSS has conveyed. Bhagwat was addressing a birth anniversary event of Sant Ravidas in Mumbai on February 5. He said the Sant had spent his life to accord dignity to work and not to caste. In the speech, Bhagwat had used the word ‘Pandit.’ Very soon, the speech report began making rounds of social media and the RSS had to ask news agency ANI to come out with a clarification as it had covered the event and reported it. At the same time, a statement has been issued by RSS leader Sunil Ambekar. Both have hastened to clarify that the meaning Bhagwat had in mind was ‘Vidvaan’ (scholar) and not Brahmins. Bhagwat’s ‘exact’ statement has been quoted by Ambekar as, “…Some Pandits speak of caste-based divides on (the) basis of Shastras, it’s a lie. It’s his exact statement…” Ambekar has emphasised.  The controversy has the backdrop of a whispering grievance that the RSS has been treating the Brahmin community unfairly although it was the anchor of the organisation in its fledgling years. In the Mumbai speech, Bhagwat had also said that we were misled by the caste superiority illusion which has to be discarded. These differences were exploited by others and outsiders ruled us, Bhagwat had observed.
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Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Scindia Attack Shashi Tharoor For Praising Pervez Musharraf

Former Pakistani prime minister Pervez Musharraf’s death provoked a sharp exchange of words between the Congress and the BJP. He was a Pak general who was responsible for the Kargil war in 1999 that claimed so many lives and was responsible for the attack on India’s Parliament in 2001. Yet it didn’t stop Congress MP Shashi Tharoor from fondly recalling his annual meeting with Gen Musharraf at the UN and how he “found him smart, engaging and clear in his strategic thinking.” As a former MoS for external affairs Tharoor defended his praise of the Pak general saying he was raised in an India where “you are expected to speak kindly of people when they die”. A Congress leader eulogising a Pak General who attacked our country during Kargil War could not go unchallenged. That too after PM Modi had recently named 21 Andaman & Nicobar Islands after Param Vir Chakra awardees as recently as on January 23. At least two Union ministers —  Jyotiraditya Scindia and Rajeev Chandrasekhar  took on Tharoor. Chandrasekhar hit out at Tharoor for finding peace in a person who “inflicted terror, a backstabbing conflict and tortured our soldiers in violation of every International law”. Scindia wondered whether the Congress was on “a hath-se-hath mission” with the enemy? “An Indian ‘national’ party’s leader first casts doubts on our soldiers’ act of bravery in Pulwama. Then another one eulogises Musharraf who was responsible for the Kargil war.”    
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CII All Set To Launch Indian Corporate Cricket League

India is a cricket-crazy country. The IPL (Indian Premier League), which followed immediately after M S Dhoni-led Men in Blue winning the World Cup in Mumbai, has now become one of the largest annual sporting events in the country. From this year we will have a women’s premier league as well.  The cricket mania is now really expanding. Industry body CII is now gearing up to hold Indian Corporate Cricket League (ICCL).  It is a national-level initiative of the industry body. This will be a pan-India exercise, done at the behest of the Sports Ministry.  It will happen across India in each state. At state-level, it will have a round-robin format. The Tennis Ball cricket will have T-10 matches at state-level in round-robin format. Post-qualifying round, it will take the T-20 format. The CII is reported to have commissioned the services of an event management organization, which will be entrusted with the job of providing end-to-end logistic and related support facilities for the conduct of the ICCL across the country. CII is hoping for a participation of 25 teams in each state in the round-robin level. If grapevine has to go by, the Union Sports Ministry is reportedly keen that this kind of a pan-India corporate initiative is spread to other sports such as kabbadi and the likes. Sports at long lost is given its importance. That’s a welcome sign, indeed.
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Dr RG Anand

JP Nadda's Mega Wedding Reception For His Son Leaves A Bitter After-Taste

BJP President J P Nadda held a gala wedding reception for his second son Harish in a Delhi stadium on February 5. It was held in such pomp and style that guests were simply overwhelmed, so were the hosts it seemed. From high profile dignitaries such as President Droupadi Murmu, PM Narendra Modi, Vice- President Jagdeep Dhankar, former President Ramnath Kovind, UP CM Yogi Adityanath to a swish set of foreign envoys to all BJP CMs, MLAs and MPs and the media – there were simply too many VVIPs guests. Unlike Arun Jaitley who would have normally held three to four receptions for comfort of his guests, Nadda went for an overkill — a mega one. Party sources said a record 25,000 invites were sent out. It was as if Nadda had decided to make most of the one-year extension he had secured in office. After all, PM Modi had reposed faith in him to lead the party for 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Never mind if his home turf Himachal was lost by less than 1% votes. Significantly, Modi spent about 40 minutes at the reception. Besides, there were far too many guests than invitees. And there were such long queues at food counters that many guests simply made a hurried exit as they didn’t want to be jostled as at least one dignitary did.
Bommai

Maharashtra & Karnataka Compete To Woo People Of Border Areas

In a bid to match the Maharashtra government’s announcement to extend ‘cultural funding’ to the Marathi-speaking areas along the border with Karnataka, a provision of Rs 100 crore has been declared by Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai for the Border Area Development Authority. The BJP government in Karnataka is completing its five-year term this year and will be presenting its last budget on 10 February. In view of the ensuing election, Bommai has made the populist announcement. Although the tension prevailing over the border feud has subsided, Bommai’s counter-announcement could provide another provocation for the protagonists from the neighbouring states to take up cudgels again. He has stated that the amount would be provided for in the budget for expending in border areas for education, industry, infrastructure development and for promoting Kannada. Earlier, the Karnataka government had made a provision of Rs 25 crore for these areas. Maharashtra’s Marathi language minister Deepak Kesarkar had declared that financial provisions would be made by the state to create facilities for educational and cultural activities in the Marathi-speaking border areas.  Bommai’s announcement has come to counter this move, it is felt. The border dispute has been holding fire for several decades and is now before the Supreme Court. Both states have fielded top-notch attorneys to reinforce their claims. Though the situation has remained peaceful after initial skirmishes, the initiatives by both the states are considered potent.
nirmala sitarama new

Nirmala Sitharaman: Don't Focus On My Saree, Look At The Budget

Two days after she presented the Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman opened up on how she felt about the media focusing more on her saree than on the Budget and didn’t know whether “to take it positively or negatively, I have no clue about it”. She wondered if a male FM presenting a budget “wearing a black colour suit or jacket” would be asked a similar kind of question. She was responding to an audience question on the sets of India TV’s Aap ki  Adalat. “Don’t look at my saree, hair or its colour, rather look at my budget,” she pleaded. At least three observations made in this interaction stand out. One is the FM’s reaction to Robert Vadra’s comment on the Adani issue. She wanted to know if he had come “clean” on the land that he acquired in Haryana and Rajasthan and was amazed at his “confidence” to offer comments on Adani.  On the Adani issue, she said “it is not a matter relating to the government, regulators are looking into it” and referred to state governments who had invited the industrialist to set up projects. “Modi Ji never does this. He always prefers open and transparent bidding through tenders. The Rajasthan government gave land for his project. The Communist government in Kerala invited him to carry on with the port project. If you (Left) don’t like him, jaa kar hata do ji“. She also made an important disclosure: in the Modi Government, “we don’t give instructions on phone to ED, I-T”.
Ajit Pawars

Ajit Pawar’s Revelations Raise Hackles, Congress Livid

Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar’s sensational disclosures about the victory of Congress rebel Satyajeet Tambe in the legislative council election for the Nashik graduate constituency and Uddhav Thackeray’s perceived failure to prevent the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra in June last year are likely to become a bone of contention within MVA. The revelations have angered Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole as Tambe defeated official MVA nominee Shubhangi Patil by a huge margin. Tambe had claimed that he had not received the required authorisation from the Congress in time and hence was forced to contest as an independent. Ajit had said that NCP president Sharad Pawar himself had advised his Congress counterpart Mallikarjun Kharge to field Tambe but things didn’t work out that way. Similarly, Ajit said that Sharad Pawar had alerted then chief minister Uddhav about the possible rift in the Shiv Sena but the latter had replied that he did not expect his MLAs to walk away from him. The dramatic change in Maharashtra occurred soon thereafter. So far Uddhav or the Sena (U) have kept mum about Ajit’s utterances. Patole has objected to both statements, saying that though the NCP was holding the home portfolio, the Uddhav government fell. The matters will be taken up in the next MVA meeting with the NCP, he announced.
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Cong Puts Capt Amarinder Singh's Wife & Patiala MP On Sack Notice

Six months after her husband and former Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh joined the BJP, Patiala Lok Sabha MP Preneet Kaur has been suspended and given a show-cause notice to explain why she should not be expelled from the party for indulging “in anti-party activities”. Explaining the action against Kaur, Disciplinary Action Committee member Tariq Anwar said the party was getting regular complaints from PCC president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring about Kaur for indulging in anti-party activities and the state unit has been pushing for disciplinary action against her. “Kaur was working for her husband and our Punjab unit wanted us to take action against her,” said Anwar. For the moment, the AICC decided to suspend Kaur and issue a show-cause notice to her to explain within three days as to why she should not be expelled. It seemed odd that the Congress should take punitive action against a Lok Sabha MP just a year ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Besides, the party’s number from Punjab will take a hit with the death of sitting Jalandhar MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary in Bharat Jodo Yatra. Only last month, the party saw the exit of senior leader Manpreet Badal to the BJP.
Shinde-Fadnavis

Maharashtra Legislative Council Election Shocker For Shinde-Fadnavis And MVA

The severe jolt received by the ruling Shinde-Fadnavis alliance in the legislative council election in Maharashtra has generated shocks on both sides as each has lost a prestigious seat or two from its assured traditional area of influence. The ruling alliance lost both Vidarbha seats, Nagpur and Amaravati, which the BJP had been holding for a long time. Similarly, the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA)lost the Raigad seat, which the BJP has won for the first time. The decision of Nashik seat victor Satyajeet Tambe about his future plans is yet to become public. Overall, the ruling alliance’s performance is considered dismal especially since deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is known to wield clout in Vidarbha area. The defeat of BJP’s Amaravati nominee Ranjit Patil, a confidant of Fadnavis, is intriguing since almost 6000 ballot papers bearing his name have been declared invalid in a battle he has lost by just over 3000 votes. The rules require that a voter has to indicate his or her first and subsequent preferences. As Patil’s was the only name marked, the votes were rejected. Rather than pleasing MVA, the outcome has sparked off a war of words within as Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole has decided to admonish the NCP for some of its leaders’ remarks in connection with the election in Nashik.
Shubhman Gill

@ShubmanGill

Litmus Test Awaits In-Form Shubman Gill Against Australia

Shubman Gill has been in good nick this season; he has collected plenty of runs, boosted by a maiden Test century in Bangladesh. He sustained his form in the home white ball series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand piling up 567 runs in six innings with big scores of 116 against Sri Lanka and 208 and 112 against New Zealand. The lean right-handed opener also showed his class with a lovely knock of 126 not out in the last Twenty20 match against New Zealand at Ahmedabad. In such great touch with the willow, executing splendid ground and aerial shots, Gill is virtually coercing the team management to pick him for the four Test series against Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India has to be on the positive side of the results in order to travel to the UK for the ICC World Test Championship title match in June. Gill is likely to be a walk into the XI because Shreyas Iyer needs time to mend his back ailment, but he will find the Australian bowling combination tough to deal with. He looked the part making 259 runs in three Tests of the 2020-21 series in Australia, but thereafter he did not set the home series against England on fire in early 2021. But with another one year of international cricket under his belt, he must be feeling a bit better before the litmus Test against Pat Cummins and company.
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The Heroes Of 90s Are Reclaiming Their Place In Bollywood With A Vengeance

The heroes of the 90s are making a comeback in a big way. Ajay Devgn started the return trip to the box office with Drishyam 2 which grossed Rs 343 crore worldwide and is still running in cinemas. His arch-rival and Badshah of Bollywood has broken records with Pathaan’s worldwide collection crossing the Rs 600 crore mark and is still counting. Shah Rukh Khan who had a super flop like Zero is back with super dialogue hitting out at the newer stars who think they have replaced them. Pathaan’s popularity is affecting new releases. Kartik Aaryan’s Shehzaada was to release on February 10 but has now been postponed.  Does it signify solidarity? Though the makers say it is out of respect for SRK, it seems more out of concern for Kartik who has taken himself to be a ‘Shehzada’ of the industry. Likewise Salman Khan had a big flop in Antim is returning with Kisi Kaa Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan on Eid. Trade is saying it will open to about Rs 40 crore on day one. Akshay Kumar who had strings of flops has about 10 films in the pipeline. His film Selfie, a remake of the South film Driving Licence, looks interesting and could be a box office hit. Aamir Khan has taken a back seat as an actor and is now focusing on production and knowing the man he is definitely going to make a comeback in a big way.
WhatsApp Image 2023-02-03 at 11.25

The Mystery Deepens, Who Killed 23 Russian Oligarchs?

The mysterious deaths of at least 23 elite Russians have sparked a global murder mystery. But no one seems too bothered as the war rages on in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin is busy threatening the world with nuclear weapons and spouting war rhetoric. What media investigators looking into the issue are asking is: how can so many billionaires with bodyguards and the best healthcare just drop dead? Many people are suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin is involved but they are too scared to come out in the open. The string of deaths started just before the Ukraine war while the manner of death has varied from strokes and suicide to freak accidents like falling off a speeding boat or a simple fall down the stairs have also cropped up. Oligarchs, aged between 37 and 73, have been disappearing, among whom have been military leaders, billionaire oil and gas oligarchs, top business executives and high-ranking public servants. The common thread is the deceased’s elite status in Russian society and the wealth they have amassed during their ascent to the top of their industries. Several were either closely tied to the Kremlin or outspoken opponents of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. An anonymous Wikipedia user created a page entitled “2022 Russian Mystery Deaths” which began a running count of the fatalities. Putin and his state are not averse to using violence and coercion. Meanwhile, the string of oligarch deaths is expected to continue.
Narendra Modi

Modi To Visit Mumbai Second Time In Three Weeks, Why?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second Mumbai and third Maharashtra visit within 50 days is being planned to highlight the importance the BJP attaches to the city and the state in view of the elections scheduled in the near future. With this visit scheduled on February 10, Maharashtra will be the only state to boast four Vande Bharat trains, two of them just within the state. The other highlight of Modi’s upcoming visit will be the opening of the Dawoodi Bohra community’s Arabic Academy in Andheri East. The sect’s head, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, will be present on the occasion, a community official said. Modi’s acceptance to attend this event will endorse the BJP’s systematic efforts to reach out to various sections of the minority population. One Vande Bharat train that Modi will flag off will be on Mumbai-Solapur route, the other will link Mumbai with Shirdi on February 10. The Mumbai-Solapur Vande Bharat train will cover the 455 km distance within six and a half hours while the Mumbai-Shirdi Vande Bharat train will traverse the 340 km distance in five and a half hours. Already, two Vande Bharat trains ply in Maharashtra. The first started running between Mumbai and Gandhinagar. The second, linking Nagpur and Bilaspur, was shown a green flag by Modi in December.
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Centre's Largesse For Karnataka Has Cong Worrying About Poll Outcome

The Union Budget announcement to allocate Rs 5,300 crore for the Upper Bhadra Project in poll-bound Karnataka seems to have completely upset the Congress, which instead of welcoming the allocation slammed the Centre for failing to allocate even a quarter of the total funds required to implement the project. Leader of the Opposition K Siddaramaiah said the project is estimated to cost around Rs 23,000 crore and the Centre has agreed to fund only around a quarter of the project. “Moreover, it hasn’t clarified whether the allocation was for a period of one year or five years.” While Siddaramiah appeared critical, Karnataka Congress leaders concede that the Centre’s move in the Budget for drought prone regions would have an impact on people living in the state’s drought-prone districts of Chikkamagaluru, Chitradurga, Tumkuru and Davangere and could influence poll outcome. Party sources feel Centre must have extended a helping hand only because of chief minister Basavaraj Bommai’s track record as Irrigation Minister; apparently he is also known to deliver results. A major lift irrigation scheme, the Upper Bhadra Project envisages lifting up to 17.40 thousand million cubic (TMC) of water in first stage from Tunga to Bhadra and lifting 29.90 TMC of water in second stage from Bhadra to Tunnel near Ajjampura, in Tungabhadra sub-basin of Krishna basin. In 2021, the Union Jal Shakti Ministry approved a national tag to the project with an estimated investment of Rs 16,125 crore.
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The Woman In Red Dominates Parliament

Nirmala Sitharaman has evolved, over her terms as finance minister. From briefcase to Bahi Khata to a red covered tablet, her budgets too have traversed the gamut of potholed roads and paved runways. This year, presenting her McDonald’s (Burger, Nuggets, Fries and Cola) populist budget, she stunned Parliament in Red Avatar, the way of fire. Gracefully clad in a red handwoven ILKAL silk saree, made in her Rajya Sabha borough, Karnataka she must have made the women member’s envy her. Dharwad’s Aarathi Hiramath and artist Rukaiva Bandunavar were given just 10 days to create this heirloom for an anonymous client, and now the duo are drenched in praise. Was Sitharaman sending a message in her Durga Avatar? Was it a subliminal warning to that encircling cabal that her government saw red in all coincidental portends hitting her party, en masse? The tea leaf readers and talking heads are on overdrive… Sitharaman has raised the battle conch of Dharmakshetra Kurukshetra. The lady in red can give as good as she gets in power dressing.
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Kasba Peth Assembly By-Poll: Acid Test For BJP As MVA May Play Spoilsport

By-election to the Kasba Peth assembly constituency in Pune is proving to be a potential battleground among the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) partners while the BJP is yet to decide upon its candidate after the demise of its sitting MLA Mukta Tilak. The last date for filing of nominations is February 7. A traditional BJP stronghold, the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena (U) have claimed the right to contest, trying to junk the assertions made by the other MVA constituents. However, the two Congress parties are serious claimants as the Sena had always left this seat for the BJP under the two-party electoral adjustment. Sitting Pune BJP MP Girish Bapat had been winning the seat successively. It was won in 2019 by his party’s Mukta Tilak with a thumping margin. Her untimely demise has caused the by-election, which will be a major test of strength between the ruling Shinde-Fadnavis alliance and the MVA. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, too, has declared its intention to contest from Kasaba though it is not taken seriously. Internecine differences have surfaced over the probable candidature as each MVA party has at least half a dozen hopefuls. On the other hand, the BJP also is treading cautiously since it is determined to repeat its victory in the constituency. It will face a tough task to endorse a candidate, party leaders admit.
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Green Signal: West Bengal BJP Leaders Woo Muslim Voters With An Eye 2024 Lok Sabha Polls

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi sending out a clear message on the need of wooing the minorities, a new buzz in Bengal BJP is reaching out to the muslims since the community comprises nearly 30% of total voters and BJP must reach out to them to garner votes ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha election. Out of 294 Assembly seats in Bengal, 125 are muslim-dominated and Trinamool Congress (TMC) won 90  of those seats in the 2021 Assembly poll taking her party tally to 213. However, incidents like Leftist student leader Anis Khan’s death and the arrest of Indian Secular Front MLA, Naushad Siddique, the scion of Furfura Sharif in South 24 Parganas, one of the muslim dominated districts have raised questions against TMC. Interestingly, besides Congress and CPI(M), BJP too led movements against the arrest of the minority MLA.  Minority Cell chairman Charle’s Nandi has recently stated that muslims in Didi’s tenure are the “most poor and backward”. Sources in the saffron camp said that a two-wheeler rally will be taken out in 13 Lok Sabha constituencies which are majorly dominated by Pasmanda muslims to sharpen its outreach among this socially backward muslims. Moreover, the state BJP which has a minority morcha cell, in the 41 of the 42 Parliamentary constituencies, held a residential training camp for its minority leaders and workers at Berhampore in the muslim-dominated Murshidabad district. Will all these efforts yield dividends? That’s the moot point.
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Under-19 Team’s World Cup Triumph Gives A Big Boost For BCCI's Women's Premier League

Women’s cricket in India got a shot in the arm when its Under-19 team led by Shafali Verma beat its counterpart from England with clinical efficiency in the final to win the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19 Twenty20 in South Africa. For long India’s senior women’s teams showed a lot of promise, but flopped in the ICC events. Now the pressure is on the team led by Harmanpreet Kaur to win the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in South Africa. The BCCI Secretary Jay Shah has announced a cash award of Rs 5 crore to the under-19 team. But there could be bigger rewards for the under-19 players when the auction is held for the inaugural Women’s Premier League that has a media rights worth Rs 951 crore and the five team owners have agreed to shell out Rs 4669.99 crore for the first 10 seasons. So the win by Shafali’s team could not have come at a better time than this. Not long ago there were doubts about the WPL getting quality Indian players, but it appears now that there will be decent numbers in the basket for the five franchise owners to pick from. The likes of opening batter Shweta Sehrawat, fast bowler Titas Sadhu, leg-spinner Parshavi Chopra, all-rounder Trisha Gongadi and left -arm spinner Mannat Kashyap, are likely to be in demand at the WPL auction.
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Soon Restaurants in New York To Ban Plastic Utensils & Condiments In Takeaways

This seems to be the global trend — banning the manufacture, sale and use of single-use plastic items like plates, cups, straws, trays and polystyrene. In India too it has been banned but some states like Maharashtra under pressure from the business fraternity have relaxed it. The latest news comes from New York. The extra but convenient plastic cutlery, chopsticks and sauce packets that restaurants throw in your takeout bag may soon disappear for good as New York City’s City Council has just passed a bill that would bar eateries and food delivery services from providing this accouterment unless specifically requested. Those businesses that keep including these items regularly, would be subject to civil penalties but warnings, instead of a monetary penalty, would be given for any violation occurring before July 1, 2024. The hope is to cut down on single-use plastic that can’t be recycled and ends up in landfills and take away the financial burden of purchasing these items from small businesses. Every year, more than 320 million tons of plastic are consumed globally, with 95% of plastic only used once and 14% for recycling. By arrangement with tfninternational.com.
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Tit For Tat Politics In Maharashtra: Sena (U) Leader Anil Parab’s Unauthorised Office Demolished

Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray’s confidant Anil Parab’s Bandra (East) office demolition on Tuesday (Jan 31) has set off a verbal slugfest, joined by independent MLA Ravi Rana. Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had been pursuing the matter with Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) in whose jurisdiction the office is located. Somaiya was prevented by the police from visiting the site. The political atmosphere in the state will become murkier as Somaiya has warned to intensify similar campaigns against former ministers Nawab Malik, Aslam Shaikh and Hasan Mushrif. Parab later led a Sena (U) morcha to MHADA offices to protest against the demolition which he himself had started the previous night. Taking on Somaiya at a Press meet, Parab asked him about his allegations against some leaders like Narayan Rane who subsequently joined the BJP and Somaiya’s silence thereafter. In retaliation, Ravi Rana said his residence in Mumbai was attempted to be dismantled by the BMC under Parab’s instigation. The vocal MLA challenged Parab to speak about a new residence of Uddhav Thackeray alleging that there was some FSI theft. A civic action against actress Kangana Ranaut’s apartment, too, came up.
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As Opposition Pipedreams About Coalition, Modi Says Stable Govt Firewalled India

Efforts to unite Opposition parties ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections may still be at a nascent stage. But then PM Narendra Modi is not the one to take solace from the fact that 15 Opposition parties of the 23 political parties had stayed away from the closing event of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Srinagar January 30. Or is he willing to take comfort from the fact that Telangana CM KCR’s Bharatiya Rashtriya Samiti efforts were restricted to inviting just four political parties in Khammam town  on January 18. That is why it was significant that President Droupadi Murmu’s first address to the joint session of the Parliament on January 31 had a message. It focussed on the kind of decisive mandate Modi government had received in May 2019 and how such a mandate had helped the country cope with many adverse situations in the last few years.  “I express my gratitude to the people of the country for electing a stable government for two consecutive terms… From surgical strike to a firm crackdown on terrorism, from a befitting response to every misadventure from LoC to LAC, from abrogation of Article 370 to Triple Talaq, my government has been recognized as a decisive government…India is in a much better position than the rest of the world due to the decisions taken by my government in the national interest.”
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‘Pathaan’ Helps Reopen Single-Screen Theatres In Kolkata, Bengali Movies Lose Out

Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Pathaan gave a big push for the reopening of closed single-screen theatres in Kolkata. At least nine such halls including Bijoli, Prachi and Orient were reopened after they closed down due to stiff competition from multiplexes. However, Bengali films, including Dev and Mithun Chakraborty’s ‘Projapoti’, and superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee’s ‘Kaberi Antardhan’, celebrated actress Rituparna Sengupta’s ‘Maayakumari’ which were running at the box-office had been unceremoniously brought down owing to Pathaan release. Single Theatre Distributors’ law which clearly states that the single theatre owners will have to screen all four shows if the film has to be played on a single screen. While a section of the single-theatre owners chose Pathaan over the Bengal movies, another section chose to stand by the regional films. Owner of iconic single theatre Priya Cinema, Arijit Dutta said that his decision was purely from a business point of view where Pathaan pre-release booking surpassed the box-office collection of Bengali movies. Generally, one show used to be allocated to Bengali movies in case of big banner Hindi films but now there are no shows. Superstar Dev cautioned that it will soon become a “black Friday or black Wednesday for Tollywood” on the release date of a big Hindi film. On the contrary, owner of renowned single-theatre Navina, Navin Choukhani continued with Dev’s Projapati instead of Pathaan, saying that it had been his conscious decision to stand by Tollywood.
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Kashmir Flights Cancellation: Airlines To Reimburse Up To 75% Cost If Flight Tickets Downgraded

Kashmir valley is witnessing heavy snowfall as a result all flights to and from Srinagar airport have been cancelled. Even the national highway has been shut. As per the latest reports, heavy snowfall has been witnessed across the valley while rain has been lashing the Jammu division. Reportedly, 5 inch snow had accumulated in Srinagar city till Monday morning, whereas other popular tourist places, like Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam received more than 1-3 ft of fresh snowfall. Realising the problems faced by tourists, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has amended its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) rules on facilities to be provided by airlines to passengers due to cancellation of flights, denied boarding, and delays in flights. It added that the amendment will allow passengers, who are downgraded involuntarily and are carried in a class lower than that for which the ticket he purchased, to get reimbursements online. The DGCA proposed that airlines need to refund the full value of such tickets, including taxes, and that the said passenger will be flown free of cost in the next available class.  The reimbursement will differ between 30-75% in case of international ticket downgrade. By arrangement with tfninternational.com.
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Bageshwar Provides BJP-Baiters A Hefty Stick In Maharashtra, Utters Irreverent Remarks About Sant Tukaram

Self-proclaimed holiness Bageshwar Dham Baba Dhirendra Shastri has provided a hefty stick to the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra to kick the ruling BJP by making a ridiculous statement about Sant Tukaram, revered throughout the country for his egalitarian Bhakti philosophy. The spiritual-religious issue has turned political as all major parties have joined the chorus to embarrass Hindutva outfits. The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have come down heavily against the BJP while the Shiv Sena (Uddhav) has asked some stinging questions to deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. According to Baba’s utterances shown in a video clip that has gone viral, he has said,“Sant Tukaram’s wife used to beat him up daily. When asked, the Sant replied that had he been married to a loving wife, he would not have loved God. This wife was giving him that opportunity.” Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has demanded immediate action against Bageshwar for the comment while Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant has alleged that this is a BJP conspiracy to demean Maharashtra’s icons. Its object is to banish reformist thinking and re-establish Manu’s tenets. If people don’t wake up in time, they will be chained forever, he has warned. Sena (U) firebrand speaker Sushma Andhare has challenged Fadnavis to take action against the controversial god-man. “While Bageshwar is insulting our topmost saints, why are followers of Mohan Bhagwat silent,” she has asked.
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Herd Mentality: Tamil Nadu BJP To Have Its Own TV Channel

On the lines of what most political parties in Tamil Nadu do, the BJP too may soon have its own TV channel to carry its message to the people. Yes, Janam Tamil Television, a new Tamil news channel with close links to BJP-RSS is being launched in April. The channel will be along the lines of its counterpart in Malayalam and will coincide with the start of TN BJP chief K Annamalai’s state-wide yatra from Tiruchendur in April .“Our goal is very clear: we should keep our individual agendas aside when it comes to the national agenda. We work predominantly with people and professionals who believe in ‘Nation First’,” says U S Krishnakumar, MD, Janam TV Malayalam. “Our Malayalam channel was able to make a remarkable change in the attitudes of TV channels and the public, which was evident during the Sabarimala season,” he added. In a statement, the promoters said the channel promises to work with “truthfulness to Tamil people”, and that standing by the truth in an unbiased manner was their motto. They further said that they aimed to deliver news in a balanced manner, and without political bias. S Narendran, director of Janam Tamil Television, said that the channel was a necessary initiative in the state and would delve into nationalism as well as spirituality.
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BBB Trust: Bringing Brahmin Businessmen Worldwide On A Single Platform To Help Them Grow

A social economic forum, this one was founded in 2017.  This triple B forum is headquartered in Mysore, it has 19 chapters and claims to have a membership of over a thousand spread across the Southern states of India. They operated under a trust model. The trust acts as ‘head and shoulder’ for all chapters. It is to assist, support and monitor their engagements. The trust is intended to bring under a common fold all brahmin business entrepreneurs. The objective is to mutually share and refer businesses among the members. The Forum for Business By Brahmins – BBB Trust is a community-based entity. This is not a business body by itself, though.  It will work for business promotion and otherwise wellness of each individual in each chapter and community at large. Growing together is the chosen mantra. The objective is to build a strong global platform which will create growth opportunities for businessmen in the community. Also, it is intended to work for the improvement of the quality of life of the people in the community The BBB Forum has three chapters in Chennai. Well, it is planning to host its two-day annual conference in Chennai on February 4. The conference is expected to facilitate information sharing, relationship building, business leads and the like. A unity mantra to grow, it appears.
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Sena (U) Attacks Modi Regime For Honouring Mulayam But Forgetting Savarkar & Thackeray

The Shiv Sena (Uddhav) has attacked the Modi government for conferring the Padma Vibhushan honour posthumously on Samajwadi Party leader and former UP chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ‘who had massacred Kar Sevaks’ in Ayodhya. Lashing out at the Union government for forgetting to honour Hindutva icons Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Balasaheb Thackeray with posthumous Bharat Ratna laurels, Sena (U) mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ has insinuated that the firing resorted to by the Mulayam Singh government killing Kar Sevaks had led to generating a wave of anger among the Hindus and finally politically benefitted the BJP in North India. “Is the honour bestowed upon Yadav for repaying this debt?” the edit has asked. Sena (U) MP and ‘Saamana’ Executive Editor Sanjay Raut said the government of Mulayam Singh had killed more than a hundred sadhus and sevaks, turning the Sarayu waters into a red pool. Afterwards, the Sangh Parivar outfits began calling him ‘Maulana Mulayam.’ They had also demanded to file murder charges against him. “The same Mulayam Singh has been selected for the second highest civil honour by a government claiming itself to be staunch Hindutvwadi,” Raut jeered. People should remember this lapse, he has advised in the edit. Raut alleged that honouring Mulayam and the late S M Krishna was a ploy to garner OBC and Vokkaliga votes, respectively, in the election
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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.
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PM Modi's Public Outreach In North Karnataka Has Put Cong In A Tizzy; Kharge Worries For Son

Initially, Gujarat assembly results had a numbing effect on Congressmen in Karnataka. They were particularly worried by the impressive win posted by the BJP — a record 156 seats out of 182 seats. At that time Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge had assured state leaders not to worry. He was confident that Modi could be paid back in his own coin in Karnataka. Yes, Kharge was confident he would be able to play the “asmita card “– pride in the son of the soil — that is to seek votes like the way Modi did in Gujarat. Yet, party sources had felt it would be a tall order for Kharge to pull off the asmita card considering he had failed to win the popular vote in 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Gulbarga. And ever since PM Narendra Modi began his public outreach in northern Karnataka on January 19, the Congress hopes came crashing down. In fact, Congress leaders were stunned by the manner in which PM Modi handed the ‘Hakku Patra’ (land title deed) distribution drive for over 52,072 nomadic Lambani (Banjara) tribes in five districts in north Karnataka visiting Kalaburagi. Party sources say Kharge is now more worried about the fate of his son Priyank in the assembly polls after Modi’s outreach. Former CM Siddaramaiah even charged the ruling BJP “feasting on the meals” on the initiative of Thandas revenue villages started during his government from 2013 to 2018.
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Bollywood’s Superhit Director Rajkumar Santoshi Returns After A Decade

After a gap of nearly 10 years Bollywood’s super hit director Rajkumar Santoshi is on a comeback trail and that too with a vengeance. That was obvious at the various media interactions he has had. The 66-year old Santoshi, is in throes of controversy, over his latest movie Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh with a non-star cast film. The only star is AR Rahman who scores music for the film. Santoshi has been struggling to make Gandhi Godse for a long time but had no takers; even finance remained an issue. He managed to convince Rahman and that set the ball rolling. Rahman calls Santoshi courageous for making the film. Santoshi’s daughter Tanisha makes debut in the film which seemed unconventional for a celebrity kid. Santoshi has directed over 16 films and most of them have been big hit. His first film Ghayal in 1990 starring Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Seshadri was a runaway success. So too his film Damini whose dialogue “tarek pe tarek” became famous. He was besotted by Meenakshi Seshadri and wanted to marry her but she decided otherwise, packed her bags and settled down in the U.S.  Similarly, he seems to have had fallout with several people including Big B and Sunny Deol. With Sunny it was after Damini. But now they have patched up and will be making a film together titled Lahore 1947. So will the second innings of this maverick filmmaker better his first one?
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Indian Firms Should Acquire Japanese SMEs To Promote Business Relations

There is a huge potential to increase bilateral investments between Japan and India, says Tomio Isogai, director of the Kansai Japan-India Cultural Society. Agreeing with the Japanese government-run Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) on the crying need to increase the number of SMEs in India. Quoting JETRO India’s Chief Director General Takashi Suzuki, he says this is definitely necessary because small and medium enterprises (SMEs) here account for only one in five of the over 1400 Japanese companies that operate in India. The corresponding figure in China, ASEAN and Bangladesh is between 40% and 60%. This “abysmally low” presence of Japanese companies here, Suzuki has said, is “a very unique element” of the business relationship between the two countries. Indian companies in the fields of healthcare, elderly care and social care related services have major opportunities in Japan, while green hydrogen and the renewable energy sector also offer big scope. Isogai, a veteran in both Japan and India, spent 37 years in Japan’s Sharp Corporation and is a former managing director of the erstwhile Kalyani Sharp in Pune. He is currently a freelance advisor to the Hyderabad Management Association. Companies in both countries have already unveiled manufacturing plans, they point out.
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Mumbai Falls By The Wayside Again In The Prestigious Ranji Trophy

Mumbai’s cricketing fortunes in recent times has been like a curate’s egg; while on the one hand the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has contributed to the national team, going back to from the heady days of Sunil Gavaskar’s achievements, on the other hand the cricketers representing the famous Lion Crest has not been able to maintain consistency in winning the Ranji Trophy, the symbol of supremacy in the broader context of India’s cricketing canvas. Last year it was outwitted by Madhya Pradesh in the final in Bengaluru, and on Friday (Jan 27), the MCA team marshalled by Ajinkya Rahane could not outsmart Maharashtra in the last group match, and as a consequence has been left by the wayside. Mumbai has won the Ranji Trophy 41 times, and those who have played a part in it have left a legacy to follow. The past teams played for pride. This season Mumbai did not have the class of 2009-10 and 2012-2013  when led by Ajit Agarkar and 2015-2016 when the team had champions and budding talents in Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur, Shreyas Iyer, Siddhesh Lad and Suryakumar Yadav. Mumbai has the exalted reputation as a champion side; and so, going seven years on the trot without the title will hurt the true blue Mumbai cricketer. From 2002-03 to 2015-16, Mumbai won the title seven times, it’s been barren thereafter!
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Stalin Evolving Into One Of The Smartest CMs

From allowing the Governor to bury the hatchet to maintaining civil relations with the highest in the land while not allowing any of it to hamper his ideological tilt, Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin is evolving into the smartest of chief ministers around the land. He was in a bit of a corner when the Governor called him on his mobile to invite him to the Republic Day tea party on the lawns of the Raj Bhavan and also sent an invite to his home through his principal secretary. Having decided to sip tea with the Governor, Stalin brought most of his Cabinet too as if to show political differences mean nothing when it comes to celebrating a national day. Cordiality in interactions with people across the political spectrum stops when it comes to electioneering, which is when he lets go at Narendra Modi & co. In kicking off the poll campaign for the Erode East constituency, Stalin blasted Modi for silently supporting Hindi imposition while mouthing Tiruvalluvar couplets every other day. Stalin is also encouraging the pursuit of aims like taking Tamil Nadu off NEET and even the impossible dream the Sethusamudram project appears to be. The fact that he knows he is in a stable condition with the people’s vote seems to have helped him quickly evolve into a statesmanlike figure who will, however, not give up ideological goals.
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Porsche, BMW To Mark Their Presence At Chennai’s Glitzy Leather Fashion Show

After a two-year Covid-induced hiatus, the Leather Fashion Show is back. Chennai is gearing up to host the India International Leather Fair next week, and the Fashion Show, as was in the past, will form a crucial component of this. This time around, the show will showcase products that are made out of recycled leather. For the first time perhaps, lifestyle car brands such as Porsche and BMW have chosen to mark their presence at the Leather Fashion Show. Such shows are often intended to woo high net worth customers. These high net worth people are the potential buyers of fancy high-end cars. Well, Porsche and BMW are finding the Fashion Show a useful platform to touch-base with their potential clients. It is unusual for these esoteric automobile brands to put their cars in a public area. A Fashion Show of international standard followed by dinner at a high-end venue like the ITC Grand Chola is an opportunity that these car majors aren’t willing to miss. They are more than happy to display their high-end cars in the Fashion Show. The association of such global car makers surely will add credence to the profile of the leather industry in India. And, the presence of various Miss India title-holders will add further spice to the upcoming Leather Fashion Show in Chennai.
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Shocker: After Shaking Hands With Uddhav Thackeray, Prakash Ambedkar Warms Up To BJP

Republican leader Prakash Ambedkar keeps on shocking the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) by expressing his opinions right and left. His conditional willingness to go with the BJP has administered another jolt to the three-party coalition. Already under fire due to charges that he heads the BJP’s ‘B’ team, Ambedkar’s latest handshake with Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has generated many riddles in the state’s polity. On top of that, he has beckoned the BJP. Ambedkar told the media that the BJP would not be taboo for him ‘provided it burnt Manu Smruti.’ He also renewed his barbs against NCP president Sharad Pawar by charging that Pawar and BJP were hand in glove. Sena (U) MP Sanjay Raut and several NCP leaders had warned Ambedkar to be careful while talking about Pawar. However, he has not taken any cognisance of the disapproval. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole extricated his party from the simmering feud. He said Ambedkar has formed an alliance with the Sena (U) and MVA was not concerned with it. NCP leaders Jayant Patil and Sunil Tatkare have made it clear to Uddhav that the seat share for future elections will be limited to three MVP partners and if Ambedkar had to be accommodated, Uddhav will have to do it from his party’s quota. Ambedkar’s response to the developments is awaited with baited breath.
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Tamil Nadu’s Enduring Tryst with Titles, Doctorates & Epithets

Tamil Nadu politicians have this strong fetish for creating titles and using them on every billboard and official communication. So much so, many organisers have been pulled up for invites not including these “conferred” honorary titles. So you find a plethora of Doctorates conferred on chief ministers, and the competition to add more epithets is overwhelming, often laughable. The unlettered wouldn’t know that such doctors can neither heal nor have they added to the boundless fund of knowledge. PonmanaChemmal (Golden Heart), the late MGR was conferred three Doctorates, his protégée J Jayalalithaa went overboard with five. Kalaignar (creative artist) is M Karunanidhi’s everlasting sobriquet. The former PM Manmohan Singh was asked to use the epithet, in spite of his difficulty to pronounce Kalaignar, as Tamilians love titles. Not only politicians, even film stars love such honorifics and epithets. Rajini is Superstar and Thalaiva; Kamal is Ulaga Nayagan (global hero); Vijay is Ilaya Thalapathy and Ajit is Thala (head). Recently, yesteryear hero Sarathkumar hurled a challenge to Rajini. He claims that his own Supreme Star title overtakes Superstar! No wonder TN Governor R N Ravi too got into this christening fray, wanting to float his own cache of titles? Social media wags aver that you get as good as you give. Was Guv’s controversial effort to make Tamil Nadu, Tamizhagam a reflection of this amusing craze for honorary title culture?
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Bharat Jodo Yatra’s Concluding Event Puts Pressure On South Leaders To Put Up A Grand Show

The Congress leadership has decided to make January 30 a mega event in Srinagar when Rahul Gandhi will unfurl the national flag at Sher-e-Kashmir International Cricket Stadium at the closing ceremony of Bharat Jodo Yatra. It is apparently the same national flag that was unfurled at Kanyakumari, say party sources. Not only party MPs, Congress Working Committee members and state Congress presidents and CLP leaders have been asked to be present in Srinagar. Most leaders from states have been asked to bring along supporters — a minimum of five. It is this sort of advisory that is adding to anxiety at least in a poll-bound state like Karnataka as many leaders worry if they don’t make it to  Srinagar they may not get a party nomination to contest elections. Party sources admit with reports of police action on terrorists in J&K many Karnataka Congress leaders are wary of visiting the state. While top five leaders including PCC chief D K Shiv Kumar and CLP leader K Siddaramaiah will definitely visit Srinagar. It will be a task to get more enthusiastic numbers to make the brief trip. Added to this was the security fuss kicked up by Rahul Gandhi about local police not being available to manage crowds at Banihal, near Anantnag on January 27 and how he had to abandon his walk and get into the vehicle. His aide K C Venugopal tweeted about how the “sudden withdrawal of security personnel from the D-area had caused a serious security breach at the yatra. Who ordered this”?
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Will Capt Amarinder Singh Replace Koshyari Or Will It Be Om Mathur?

The names of former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and former BJP national vice president Om Mathur are making the rounds of political grapevine as replacement for Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who has expressed willingness to step down.Though no formal or informal confirmation has been available about the successor to Koshyari, his departure is expected to be imminent as he himself has disclosed desire to retire. Frequent visits to the national capital by chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis are considered significant against this backdrop. Koshyari has turned out to be the most controversial head of the state due to some of his decisions and statements. Within three years, he has sworn in three chief ministers, another record for Maharashtra. Capt Amarinder is considered more suitable for the post as Punjab and Maharashtra have a very long association, dating back to the 12th century when Sant Namdev travelled to Guman and constructed several verses, some of which have become an integral part of the Holy Granth Sahib. The Samadhi of Guru Gobind Singh is at Nanded in Maharashtra. A self-made politician, Singh is expected to handle the tricky political situation in the state which will go to the polls after a year. Om Mathur from Rajasthan is a BJP veteran, who was a member of the Rajya Sabha. He was a party vice president as well.
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EPS Needs Party Symbol To Fight Ruling DMK In Erode East Bypoll

Edappadi K Palaniswami, who needs the Two Leaves symbol, to make a fight of the Erode East bypoll, moved the Supreme Court with an urgent plea. The court has agreed to hear it on January 30. With the last date (Feb 7) looming for the bypoll nominations, EPS is keen that the AIADMK party issue be settled in the Supreme Court as soon as possible. The party was depending on a favourable verdict from the top court on January 24 but the case was not even listed that day. With time pressures on and the importance of the symbol being enhanced in rural areas, the fight is really about the party symbol though the EPS group has a clear majority of the party. EPS wants the top court to record that he is the Interim General Secretary of the party and that the post of Coordinator, held by rival O Panneerselvam, had been abolished at the party meeting authorised by the Madras high court as well as the SC. As the principal opposition party to the ruling DMK, the AIADMK, now controlled by EPS, is the one expected to put up a fight. EPS has put in place a large panel of 117 members to help with the campaign and the name of the candidate is to be announced soon.
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Bengal Guv Bose Irks State BJP Leaders With His Pro TMC Approach

West Bengal Governor CV Anand Bose arrived in Delhi on January 26 night amidst BJP leaders openly expressing their dissatisfaction with his style of working. It is likely that he may hold a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. What shocked the state BJP leaders was at a Saraswati Puja event inside the Raj Bhavan on January 26 the Governor reiterated TMC’s ‘election slogan’ at the end of his speech in presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. BJP leader and Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari accused Mamata Banerjee of misleading Governor Bose. “Hatey khori” or a ceremony of learning Bengali alphabets as part of Saraswati Puja event was organized at Raj Bhavan. However, no Bengal BJP leader joined the event. BJP leaders objected to the Governor’s speech as he had ended it by saying ‘Jai Bangla, Jai Hind’ in Bengali. “Jai Bangla” was used by Mamata and the TMC against BJP’s ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan during the 2021 state assembly elections. In fact, BJP leaders have questioned the bonhomie between the CM and the Raj Bhavan as Mamata Banerjee had described the new governor as a “gentleman”. Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said: The governor is known as an educationist, writer and nationalist. He was part of the central BJP delegation team during the post-poll violence. Mamta Banerjee, a dramatist, liar and Lady Kim, is misleading the Governor.
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The Unstoppable ‘Pathaan’

The sizzling pair of shirtless Shah Rukh Khan and daringly bared Deepika Padukone have raised the sagging, down in the dumps spirit of Bollywood to unimaginable heights, despite all the pre-release boycott threats, raves, rants and reprimands. Is Deepika’s bright orange costume too “besharam” for Jhoomta Pathaan? Besharami is in the eyes of the beholder!  Director Siddharth Anand, the alchemist has peppered Pathaan with enough spills, thrills, chills and on screen sizzling chemistry of the lead pair. It is an immersive cinema experience (ICE). The first to be made in this format. Boycott calls and anti-Muslim propaganda filled pre-release. King Khan was silent. The entire industry was mobilised.  And then that whispered fiat from the PM happened…Don’t make public comments to rake up controversy on films, Bingo! The movie’s destiny changed. Released simultaneously in 100 countries, it is the first Hindi Movie on BookMyShow to hit 10 lakh bookings of which 30% was from the South. First Khan movie to have a 6 am show, with producers opting for more screens apart from the 5500 screens in India and 2500 overseas, selling over 8500 tickets in Germany worth 1.5 crore euros, beating KGF‘s full take. The first day collection at the Box Office was Rs 60 crore! Now the hot debate on media…did this boycott threat make Pathaan a forbidden fruit? Once again Pathaan has proved…leave artistic expression severely alone…the audience is the sole judge to applaud or trash.
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BBC Documentary Creates Political Ripple In Kerala Cong, AK Antony's Son Quits GoP

The Congress party faced a crisis of sorts in Kerala, following the sudden decision of former defence minister A K Antony’s son, Anil Antony quitting the party. Anil who was part of AICC Digital Communications team chose to quit after he was asked to delete his tweet endorsing the Modi government’s stand on the BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question‘ on Gujarat riots. He blamed someone close to Rahul’s inner circle – possibly K C Venugopal – at whose behest he had to delete his tweet.”It is very disappointing because you have your leader Rahul Gandhi who is walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir spreading the message of love and his supporters are tearing down everything he is trying to achieve,” said Anil. Kerala Congress leaders like Ramesh Chennithala tried to reach Anil in Delhi but he remained unavailable. “This is my personal decision and I do think this is the best course of action. I did not discuss it with my father. I’ve sent my resignation. I hope that the leadership will accept it. I don’t think this Congress has space for me, “he said. A Stanford University alumni in AI, Anil is a tech entrepreneur. Interestingly, Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor who is considered close to Anil played safe and said, “His (Anil) stand that a documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots would threaten the sovereignty and national security of India was immature”. Meanwhile, BJP leader Tom Vadakkan came all out backing Anil Antony.
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Sharad Pawar Mastermind Of Plot To Arrest Fadnavis, Claims Controversial Lawyer Sadavarte

Controversial lawyer Gunaratna Sadavarte has alleged that NCP president Sharad Pawar was the mastermind behind the conspiracy to arrest the then leader of Opposition Devendra fadnavis. Sadavarte was arrested last year for leading a violent morcha to the residence of Sharad Pawar. He said, “I understood their design after my arrest.” Sadavarte described the details of his interrogation in police lock-up. More questions to him pertained to the RSS, the Right Wing, Nagpur and Fadnavis than the state transport employee strike for which he was arrested. The strikers had stormed Pawar’s house under Sadavarte’s leadership. The then government wanted to implicate the lawyer for the attack, he alleged. Fadnavis had made the grave charge while participating in a news channel event on Tuesday (Jan 24). The charge was refuted by former home minister Dilip Walse-Patil immediately. Sadavarte has reopened the issue with his allegations. Sadavarte said he possessed knowledge about a crucial meeting in which the conspiracy to trap Fadnavis was hatched, including its location. Some politicians and police officials were present, including then Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey. Claiming that a hard disc existed in a Mumbai police station containing sensitive information, Sadavarte demanded that certain footage from Kolhapur should be brought in so that the details about the conspiracy planning would become clear. The lawyer showered abuse on Pawar on some social issues as well.
Modi at a temple

Will Modi Give Up Varanasi, Contest From Ramanathapuram In 2024?

It has been whispered that the BJP has tasked a private agency with the task of finding out the chances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning from a Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu in the coming 2024 elections. Sample surveys are being made in constituencies like Ramanathapuram and Coimbatore already. It seems a stretch that Modi would wish to give up his Varanasi constituency that has far greater meaning in its Hindu spiritual association as well as politically. Rameswaram may be a big abode of Lord Siva too but Uttar Pradesh looms much larger on the political scene of India with its 80 seats in the Lok Sabha. But the TN BJP has been given the task of sussing out the possibilities and they are doing their masters’ bidding. It is a distinct trademark of the BJP that it takes elections as a 24×7 task, and they have begun work already to assess how much Tamil Nadu can give them. Of course, the western parts of the state are more receptive to Narendra Modi and the BJP than the #GoBackModi ways of the young urbanites of Chennai and surroundings. Senior leaders, including Tamilisai Soundarrajan are sounding out their party with their willingness to enter the poll fray. It will be interesting to see if it can even be imagined that Modi would leave the comfort of Varanasi for Dravidian Tamil Nadu.
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UP finance minister Suresh Kumar Khanna and Dr Shashank Vikram

Uttar Pradesh Finance Minister, Bureaucrats To Visit UK To Woo Global Investors

Uttar Pradesh government’s top level bureaucrats led by the state’s Finance Minister & Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Suresh Kumar Khanna are visiting the United Kingdom to woo global investors. On January 28 Jan, Dr Shashank Vikram, IFS who is the Consul General of India in Birmingham will be hosting “a high profile” gathering of investors to meet the minister and top officials. Birmingham which coincidentally is recognised as the “Engine” of UK economy inspired by James Watt will play host to strengthen ties between the UK and Uttar Pradesh. UP minister Khanna’s visit is primarily to woo investors for the UP’s Global Investors Summit to be held shortly in his state. It is learnt that Khanna and his core team along with Dr Vikram have identified a roadmap and strategies to be followed to enhance trade and economic ties between the UK and UP. Khanna is ambitious with his plans as UP’s vision is to become a $1 trillion economy. Towards this objective the state government has provided a single window clearance for 25 sectors it has opened up for the global investors. With the BJP government elected for the second time in UP, there is political stability. But, the moot point will these roadshows in the UK following the USA earlier, encourage global entrepreneurs to UP?
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How This Fake Passport Holder Got Caught In Coimbatore When Asked To Sing National Anthem

When a full Flight, G9413 from Sharjah landed at Coimbatore’s International airport on the night of January 22, the Immigration authority homed in on this 28-year old man, Anwar Hussain. Scrutinising his travel documents, they made an unusual demand of Hussain. They asked him to sing India’s national anthem. Passers-by may well have thought Ah! It warms the cockles of our patriotic hearts to see that the immigration guys are true Desh Bhakti, asking even an Indian Passport holder to sing Jana Gana Mana! But Hussain could not sing! Stage fright? No. He was holding a fake Indian passport, with a fake West Bengal address. The authorities immediately got suspicious on why a WB passenger would travel to Coimbatore from Sharjah. The local police then took charge to make this canary sing in all its fake ID glory. Hussain was from Bangladesh’s Mymensingh DT’s Palpur village. Why was he in Coimbatore? The Q Branch after intensive questioning, quickly realised that his ignorance of the national anthem was a serious aberration in his preparation for entering the country illegally. Hussain is now booked under 14 C of Foreigners Act, 12 A of the Passport Act. It’s evident that Formal Training and intense drilling in spycraft need more such innovative methods.
Sunny-Varkey

GEMS Education Scouting For Partner

The Gulf-incubated GEMS Education, run by second generation entrepreneur, Sunny Varkey, is on the lookout for a long term partner, failing which it will go for an IPO. The $ 6 billion valued GEMS, is the largest non-Government operator of private kindergarten-to-grade-12 schools in the world, teaching 140,000 students from 175 countries. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have been given the mandate to find a long term partner for GEMS by mid-2023. The hunt for a partner follows private equity firm CVC’s decision to exit its over 30% stake in the world’s largest private school operator. According to informed sources, ADQ (Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Co) and real estate developer Alder have shown interest in GEMS. Sunny Varkey, who started in the healthcare business, later moved to run GEMS started by his parents. Varkey in a recent interview stated that he has no plans to relinquish majority stake in the company. In fact, he stated that he would prefer long term partners like sovereign wealth funds, infrastructure funds or even pension funds. And if the current exercise to find a long term partner fails, then the group will have no option but to go in for an IPO.
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Rahul Gandhi Takes Digvijaya's Outburst In His Stride, Dismisses It As "Ridiculous"

Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi has shown how much he has worked on himself through the Bharat Jodo Yatra. A day after senior party leader Digvijaya Singh’s utterances questioning authenticity of India’s surgical strikes on Pakistan, Rahul pretty much displayed how he has evolved as a political leader. Reiterating his utmost respect for the Indian Army, he described Digvijaya Singh’s views as ridiculous, outlying views. “We are absolutely clear that the Armed Forces do their job exceptionally well and they do not need to provide proof of that,” he said in his remarks to the media in Jammu. When asked if the controversy had undone good work of his Yatra, Rahul said: “I think the yatra has achieved something fundamental and very powerful. What the yatra has done already and this cannot be changed now, it has shown that there are two visions of India. One is a hate filled, arrogant, cowardly vision and other is love filled, embracing, and brave vision”.  As for Digvijay, Rahul said, “I am sorry to have to say this about a senior leader, he said a ridiculous thing.” However, the only time Rahul seemed elated was when a question about a BBC documentary on PM Modi was asked. He said “no amount” of banning the press and using institutions like ED and CBI against people can suppress the truth from coming out.”

TRENDS & VIEWS

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!