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Collage Maker-12-Aug-2022-11

As T20 Leagues Proliferate Cricketers May Have To Choose Between Club And Country

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Cricket is broken, they said when Ben Stokes gave up ODIs to concentrate on his Test career. But even as the death of the 50-overs format was being freely predicted, ICC’s future tours programme is dotted with cricket in all three formats, as busy as ever. It’s not cricket that is broken but the bodies of star cricketers who are playing too much. The greatest danger ahead even as Trent Boult quits the New Zealand contract and predicates his playing future around various T20 leagues is that T20 franchises will soon be ruling world cricket. Indian IPL owners have bought into the Caribbean, South African and UAE leagues and soon the stars may be forced to make a difficult choice between club and country. Cricket Australia is prepared to spend a hefty packet to keep David Warner interested in the Big Bash rather than travel to UAE as expanding T20 leagues start cutting into the southern summer cricket scheduling in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Spectators used to own the game until the TV stations came along with their multi-million-dollar rights bids. And now it appears the T20 franchise owners, like the club-owning oligarchs of English football, are set to dominate world cricket.
Collage Maker-12-Aug-2022-06

10 Janpath Back In The Reckoning As Tejashwi Yadav Decides To Pay Sonia A "Courtesy" Call

Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav’s meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi (Aug 12), three days after he took oath along with Nitish Kumar has come as a booster dose to the secular alliance. The Mahagatbandhan government will face a floor test on August 24. Bihar Congress leaders described Tejashwi’s visit as a courtesy call and said specifics of portfolios of Congress ministers would not be discussed. Congressmen are delighted with the Yadav scion’s visit, as 10 Janpath is back in the reckoning. After all it was Sonia who had played a crucial role in forming the Nitish-Tejashwi government. Reportedly, Nitish had reached out to Sonia when she was battling Covid in early June. While discussing her health, Nitish had shared with her how the BJP was trying to break his party. Sonia had asked him to contact Rahul Gandhi as well. Nitish had asked Tejashwi to get in touch with Rahul. Years ago, Rahul had taken out Tejashwi for lunch. But, Rahul will not be part of Sonia-Tejashwi meet. Even as all 19 Congress MLAs want to be ministers, a section of Bihar leaders are keen that the party does not join Nitish-Tejashwi and like the Left parties they should provide outside support. “Whenever we have shared power with RJD, Congress has lost. Whether in 2005 or in 2015, our tally has always gone down,” says AICC member Kishore Jha.
Arvind

Why Kejriwal Fears Review Of Freebies By The Supreme Court Ahead Of Gujarat, Himachal Polls

Ahead of Gujarat and Himachal polls, the Centre pleaded in the Supreme Court (SC) to set guidelines on freebies with dos and don’ts till the time legislature steps in as the country was heading towards a financial disaster. In its affidavit, the Centre offered to set up a committee of experts such as Union and state finance secretaries, finance commission chairman, a member from every national political parties, officials from the RBI, and ECI, and NITI Aayog, representatives from FICCI, CII and Discoms. The panel would examine all freebies. The AAP vociferously argued against the SC getting into the area of freebies and warned that the Apex Court should not heed Centre’s plea as it would lead to a political thicket. The SC remained unfazed and has endorsed the Centre’s move for an expert panel. Looks like AAP’s free power promise has the Centre worried with “many electricity generating companies and distribution companies most of which are government-owned being severely stressed. But having won Punjab on freebies, Kejriwal is just not bothered and is out there wooing Gujarati voters with 300 units of free power and Rs 3,000 dole to unemployed youth. Ironically, when Modi took over the state as CM two decades ago people had proudly told him — we don’t want free power, we want assured supply. Does Kejriwal hope to entice Gujjus with his Revdis (sops)?
Collage Maker-12-Aug-2022-11

Sena, NCP Distance From Congress In Maharashtra, Patole Stoking Fire

Distance between Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and the Congress party in Maharashtra is widening. The latest provocation is Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole’s assertion that the earlier ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) was not a ‘natural’ alliance. Sena’s unilateral decision to install its MLC Ambadas Danve as leader of the opposition in the state upper house has exposed older wounds in MVA. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has backed the Sena, isolating the Congress further. Former chief minister Ashok Chavan has attempted damage control by claiming that Patole’s statement was his ‘personal view’ though he concurred that Uddhav’s step was taken without consulting the Congress. On the other hand, NCP leader Ajit Pawar said the party with the largest number of MLCs can automatically become the main opposition party. Pawar is the opposition leader in the assembly. NCP also had ignored the Congress earlier when its senior leaders called on chief minister Eknath Shinde to greet him. At that time, the NCP had informed neither the Sena nor the Congress. This had angered both. During the MVA regime, the assembly’s speakership was with the Congress. But Nana Patole, who was the speaker then, had resigned and the post was vacant till the Shinde-Fadnavis alliance elected Colaba MLA Rahul Narvekar to it after coming to power.
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‘Marriage Party’ Raids In Jalna Yield Rs 400 Crore Booty

When members of a marriage party that had just arrived in Jalna (Maharashtra) started striding purposefully towards the premises of two famous steel manufacturers rather than to any nuptial venue, the onlookers were puzzled. Because rarely any weddings happen in monsoons. But the suspense did not last for long. It soon became evident that huge amounts of cash and gold were being unearthed. It was a series of simultaneous raids by the Income-tax officials, who had hired about a hundred private vehicles which displayed the announcement, “Rahul Weds Anjali” for the surprise visit. Nearly 250 of them swooped on the establishments on August 3 and continued their operation till August 8. The raids yielded cash of Rs 58 crore and over 30 kg of gold, besides precious stones. The cash was found in a farmhouse outside the town in Marathwada region of Maharashtra. The officials needed 13 hours and eight note counting machines to calculate the booty. After counting, the notes were sealed in stout gunny bags which were stashed one atop another. The resultant wall was eight feet in height. The raids were based on intelligence received by the I-T’s Nasik office. However, it was kept a secret till the last moment. The businessmen concerned deals in steel, real estate and textile. Moreover, documents leading to benami property deals worth Rs 100 crore are also said to be recovered.
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Nitish Forced To Rebut Claims He Wanted To Be V-P; BJP Worries About Its Bihar Initiatives

A day after BJP leader Sushil Modi claimed that the BJP and the JD (U) parted ways because Nitish Kumar was not made Vice-President, the Bihar CM rushed to deny it. Nitish’s rebuttal came on a day Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar took oath of office. The denial possibly came as the ambitious CM who wishes to be PM in 2024 doesn’t want to be seen as challenging a Jat V-P. “I have no such desire. Did they forget how much our party supported their President and Vice-President candidates?” he said, pointing to how he had announced his exit from the NDA only after polls were over. In Bihar BJP, no one is grieving over Nitish’s exit from the NDA. It is good riddance; their only worry is about the fate of their initiatives such as the mega textile park undertaken by industries minister Shahnawaz Hussain. State BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal says, “Nitish didn’t like our work on the textile park; we had brought land prices down. Whenever we raised issues of law and order, he did not like it. He didn’t like the NIA investigation into the PFI links case. I bet by Holi next year, Tejashwi who has support of 115 MLAs, will force Nitish out of CM’s office.”  BJP feels it was the arrest of Bhola Yadav, a key accused in the land-for-railway-job scam by the CBI last month that triggered Tejashwi to forgive Nitish for 2017 betrayal.
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@rajinikanth

Rajini’s Delhi Trip, Guv Meet Foxes Fans, Friends And Politicians

After J Jayalalithaa‘s demise, Rajinikanth’s political entry was much trumpeted. Even when a huge fan following bragged about the style he would bring as the “CM of TN“, sceptics bandied this joke…”Rajini Can’t” wade into the turbulent political waters. When he announced that he was withdrawing from politics his fans went into despair. He was trolled mercilessly for developing cold feet. His last two movies did nothing much to boost his cine status. Better to ride off into retirement gracefully. But no, adulation is an addiction and fan worship is a narcissistic opiate. Suddenly, on August 7, he dashed off to Delhi, followed by a much-hyped meeting the next day with Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi at the Raj Bhavan. Soon he was front-page news and trolled heavily. Was Rajini, the Pink Panther on the prowl again? Why would a film star meet the Governor? Was he joining the BJP? Post Raj Bhavan visit, Rajini met the Press at the gate of his bungalow and a volley of questions followed: Did you discuss politics with the Governor? Did you highlight the niggardly, miserly GST share for TN? Rajini quickly but stylishly put on his mask, and bolted into his house. Is Rajini hoping that his next movie Jailer would put him into the limelight like Vikram did for his rival Kamal Haasan?
Tata Mumbai Marathon 2023 Launch PC pic

Eknath Shinde Gets 100/100 At TMM 2023 Launch Event

For his ready wit, Eknath Shinde got a 100/100 at the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2023 launch event held at the packed Regal Room at South Mumbai’s Trident Hotel on Wednesday (Aug 10). Dressed in his signature long-sleeve white shirt, trouser and the prominent round tilak on his forehead, Shinde created an electrifying atmosphere at the event saying: “What about our marathon; Mumbai to Surat and from there to Guwahati and to Goa. We did not know if we would be successful. But we won it eventually. But we have won only the half marathon now, we will win the full marathon in 2024.” The Maharashtra Chief Minister took a quick recall of the dramatic incidents that his supporters in the Shiv Sena were part of before taking control of Mantralaya. The Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was scheduled to share the stage at the unveiling of TMM 2023, but instead came the towering and erudite Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar. Also present at the high profile registration launch of the street race were the BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, Mumbai Police Commissioner Vivek Phansalkar and the Vice Admiral Krishna Swaminathan. As a parting shot Shinde said amidst a guffaw: “We not only run our marathons, but also make others run the marathon.” So many political connotations at a sports event, but Shinde won a lot of admirers!
Collage Maker-11-Aug-2022-10

Of Black Shirt and Black Flag protests

When Colour Black Make PM, CM See Red

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken umbrage at the Congress party’s recent black clothes protest against price rise, saying that “Those who believe in black magic will never be able to earn the trust of the people. Some people are resorting to black magic as they are immersed in despair and negativity. We saw on August 5, that there was an attempt to propagate black magic. These people think that by wearing black clothes, their period of despair will end,” Modi said. What Modi does not know is that the all black protest first started in Kerala, albeit inadvertently. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has been at the receiving end with the opposition waving black flags at almost all his public functions and motorcade. Since the Kerala Police was at its wits end to stop this form of protest, an over-zealous officer issued an order banning not only black flags but also wearing black shirts to CM’s function. This blew up in the face of the cops with protesters across the state wearing black shirts not only at the CM’s functions but also during the assembly sessions. The CM is in a spot of bother these days as an ex-employee — Swapna Suresh —  of the UAE Consulate in Trivandrum revealed that gold was smuggled using the diplomatic channel by the CM’s office.
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Twitter

Did Tejashwi Yadav Prod Nitish Kumar To Walk Out Of NDA?

As Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav staked claim to form a new government of the mahagatbandhan in Bihar on August 9, it came as no surprise to the BJP. Bihar political circles point out that the RJD and the JD (U) came together after a bitter parting of ways in 2017 only to protect each other’s interest. In the last few months, Nitish was prodded to walk out of the NDA to protect Tejashwi’s interest; Tejashwi has temporarily put his CM ambition on hold to protect Nitish’s honour. Tejashwi who heads the single largest party RJD with 79 MLAs has decided to rally behind Nitish because he was too scared that the BJP with 77 MLAs would appoint Union Minister Nityanand Rai, a Yadav like him — as CM.  The BJP cadres were restive with Nitish as CM and Tejashwi felt if a BJP Yadav became CM that would be the end of his politics. As the Yadavs would have all flocked to the BJP. For Nitish, remaining CM seemed paramount more than his credibility; he no longer cared for his pet slogans like “Susashan” or good governance. Or else imagine the Yadav scion who is being probed by the CBI for land-for-railway job scam gets to endorse Nitish as the only capable PM pick for the Opposition for 2024!
WhatsApp Image 2022-08-08 at 12

Will Odisha Govt’s Second Attempt To Push Local Air Travel Via India One Air Take Off?

There is good news both for the Government of India UDAN scheme and Government of Odisha’s sustained effort to link its inaccessible airports.  With a view to boost inter-state and intra-state travel the Naveen Patnaik’s administration is making air travel affordable for both the government officers and local citizens. Towards this flight tickets on 9-seater UDAN flights are capped at Rs 2500 per ticket for 500-600 km travel. This pricing will bring in a multiplier effect, boost tourism, regional growth vis a vis Odisha economy. The UDAN maiden flight Bhubaneswar-Jeypur-Vizag is expected to take off any time soon. The Odisha government has roped in the Ahmedabad-based regional airline India One Air. This company has already secured an operating licence to fly the Odisha sector from DGCA.  According to Prasanna Pradhan, Bhubaneswar Airport Director this initiative will meet with success as most seats will be filled by the state government officials. Once the subsidized air travel takes off, UDAN flight capacity will be increased to 18-seater. This new initiative comes against the backdrop of Odisha government’s failed efforts a few years back. By definition the airline industry’s success depends on several factors, the most important being ATF pricing, occupancy ratio and punctuality. What will work this time will be the viability gap funding; 80% will be shared by the Aviation Ministry and 20% by the state government. Besides, GST will not be levied in certain sectors.
Collage Maker-10-Aug-2022-11

Aamir Khan’s Past Utterances Hit Day One Advance Collections Of His Latest Movie

It really seems that people are refusing to forgive Aamir Khan for his utterances on the insecurity of living in India he made a few years back. And that is reflected in the box office collection of his latest movie Laal Singh Chaddha.  The day one advance is around Rs 14 crore which is really sad and is equivalent to that of a newcomer Kartik Aaryan film. Even trade pundits are shocked at the day one advance booking and feel Aamir’s Bharat darshan is also not helping. The actor did react to the boycott #LaalSinghChaddha campaign and told the media, “…I feel sad that some of the people who are saying this, in their heart, they believe that I am someone who doesn’t like India. In their hearts they believe, but it is untrue. It is rather unfortunate that some people feel that way. That’s not the case. Please don’t boycott my film. Please watch my film.” The first trailer of the film was panned by the critics and people, and since then the movie has only received negative publicity. The actor’s interviews, integration with south and word-of-mouth publicity by Bollywood watchers of the film hasn’t really been able to boost collections. Clearly, social media has become a strong tool and it can make or break a film. But, Bollywood watchers are hopeful that like all his films which catch up later so too will Laal Singh Chaddha and the movie-goers will not be disappointed.
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Maharashtra Cabinet Expansion: Shinde-Fadanvis Government Faces Flak On Opening Day

Maharashtra’s two-party new cabinet is facing flak for various reasons, primarily aimed at the members of a faction belonging to chief minister Eknath Shinde, who himself is included in the attack. A Shiv Sena petition seeking disqualification of the original 16 ‘rebels’ is pending before the Supreme Court. Shinde’s name features prominently in the list. But the focus of the attack is against former ministers Sanjay Rathod and Abdul Sattar. While Rathod was sacked by the previous Uddhav Thackeray government when a female forest officer committed suicide by allegedly blaming him, Sattar’s two daughters are said to be connected with a questionable academic employment test. Sattar has refuted the allegations and shown readiness to face any probe. Rathod, on the other hand, has refused to respond to media questions on the issue. However, Shinde claimed that Rathod had been exonerated. Till yesterday, Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis were under fire for their inability to form their cabinet though a month had elapsed after their own swearing-in. Now that the team has been expanded, inclusion of Rathod and Sattar is adding fuel to the fire. The most hurting onslaught against Rathod’s entry was launched by BJP leader Chitra Wagh, who had campaigned for his expulsion as a minister. A former NCP leader, Wagh has emerged as a strident female voice in the party. Indications are that she will become more vocal now.
Jairam

Twitter

Jairam Ramesh Concedes Nitin Gadkari's Point On EVs By Buying One

For once the former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who fancies himself as a fierce critic of the Modi Government went on record concurring with the views of Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles by encouraging use of electrical vehicles. He even confirmed that he had bought a Tata Nexon EV after his exchange with Gadkari during the Budget Session. In a tweet on August 6, Jairam shared a link of his exchange with Gadkari during Question Hour on March 22 and disclosed how “I got myself a Tata Nexon EV. I firmly believe India should put an end to manufacturing of all types of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 at the very least, and massively bring down the cost of EVs.”  In this exchange Gadkari had refused to give a time-bound plan to phase out petrol/ diesel vehicles as he felt comfort of EVs would guide buyers and manufacturers. As for the Monsoon Session hurriedly ending on August 8, Ramesh pointed out that the government did not have much of a legislative agenda. “Obviously they were not in any urgency to pass any Bill. The Bills passed by Lok Sabha, such as the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill and the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, could easily have been passed by Rajya Sabha this August 10,” he pointed out.
Avinash sable

Eddie Sequeira: Sable Should Increase Speed Between Hurdles To Have A Go At Paris Olympics

Avinash Sable is the new poster boy of athletics sports in India. The Beed-born track star from Maharashtra has outwitted a few champion runners in the 3000 metres steeplechase, an obstacle race run over seven and a half laps of 400m each. At the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, he startled a couple of Kenyans to win the silver medal in a new national record time of 8:11:2 seconds. A former Olympian who ran the quarter and metric mile, 5000 m race and the 3000m steeplechase, Eddie Sequeira (82) said: “Sable has the physique and he is good. If he can improve the speed between the hurdles, he has a good chance at the Paris Olympics in 2024. Steeplechase is not easy, I used to run it in the All India Steel Games. It’s tough. I am sure the coaches are working on his speed.”  Sable prevented a Kenyan 1-2-3 sweep that had begun in Melbourne in 1998. Sable is a special track athlete: apart from creating a new national record in 2019, he won the silver in the Asian Athletics Championship. He became the first Indian steeplechaser to run at an Olympics in Tokyo 2020 and to reach the final of the World Athletics Championships at Oregon22 last month. “He has been remarkable so far”, said Sequeira.  
Collage Maker-08-Aug-2022-12

V Sabareesan: The Go To Man In Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin’s son-in-law V Sabareesan has been in the news ever since DMK came to power. He is the CM’s alter ego, go to man and a conscience-keeper. Recently he was on “mission yagna” to save, and keep the government in the saddle. His mission was against the backdrop of four temple chariots in Tamil Nadu toppling and killing 12 people. This is considered a bad omen for the ruler of a State. On hearing the news, Sabareesan’s best friend London Venkat spoke to a well-known astrologer Mahesh Iyer, who advised the duo to immediately perform certain rituals to ward off the evil and impending calamity to the CM. But to perform the rituals, Sabareesan had to get the go- ahead from the first family which they did. Finally, a yagna was performed at the Subramaniya Swamy Temple in Tiruchendur. Political wags were on overdrive about Stalin’s son-in-law performing the ritual as a proxy. Social media talked about the two-faced ideology of Stalin who is quick to claim his agnostic status tempered by the Dravidian ideology, even as wife Durga leads her life as a staunch Hindu devotee. Such duplicity by self-serving leaders is not ignored by people. The Dravidian ideology is conveniently jettisoned when it comes to saving his own Gaddi. Sabareesan is now seen as Stalin’s one man Delta Force.
Rashmika

@iamRashmika

Rashmika Mandana: The Southern Star Now On Mission Bollywood

Rashmika Mandana who has acted in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil films is already a popular household name in North India thanks to all-time hit Pushpa. Known as Srivalli in the movie, Rashmika seems to be a favourite of the paparazzi because unlike some young Bollywood actresses she never disappoints them; ever ready to pose for them. This 26-year old star who entered Bollywood in 2022 with Goodbye has signed several interesting Hindi movies. She will be closely working with Amitabh Bachchan in a movie directed by Vikas Bahl. Besides, she has already been signed for Pushpa 2 with Allu Arjun and has been cast opposite Siddharth Malhotra in Mission Majnu. According to a trade pundit, Rashmika is one of the most sought after actresses in Bollywood and has a huge draw even before her first Hindi film hit the big screen. There is a dearth of talent in Bollywood and a south addition was much needed. Down south Rashmika is a big star and her romance with another heart-throb Vijay Deverakonda only added to her popularity. Rashmika is the same actress who was trolled for doing Macho innerwear ad film that featured Vicky Kaushal. Looks like trolling has turned to her advantage as she appears in one too many ad films. The other southern sirens who are on Bollywood producer’s hot lists are: Samantha and Nayanthara.
CWG winners

CWG 2022: India No More Also-Rans In Any Sports

Impressive as the medal tally and a fourth place among countries, India’s performance at the Commonwealth Games is not to be judged only on the strength of the medal haul of 61. The intensity to push oneself to perform better and win medals on the strength of best personal effort marked India’s presence in Birmingham. Eight medals from Track & Field, traditionally India’s weakest area, included one from steeplechase with Avinash Sable, the first non-Kenyan to win a medal (silver) since 1994. A number of medals from India’s base strengths like in wrestling and boxing, besides badminton, helped boost the tally to a healthy level. The sweep in badminton in the men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles was a triple delight but nothing may have warmed the cockles more than Sharath Kamal’s feat in winning four medals in table tennis at the ripe age of 40. Not only has he slayed the hackneyed phrase – age is just a number – but also proved that such a winner were he to be a country, he would have finished 16th in the medals tally. The women cricketers fluffed a great chance to down the Australians, failing to finish a chase they were handling so well so long as the skipper Kaur was in. India’s sporting enterprise is all set to conquer more frontiers in the forthcoming Asian Games and the Olympics.
Mamta news

NITI Aayog Meet: Did Didi Deliberately Keep A Low Profile In Delhi?

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s recent visit to New Delhi remained a low-key affair despite meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi appraising him about the state dues. She has always remained vocal and the biggest critic of the Modi Government and the BJP. But this time, her New Delhi visit did cover several meetings, sans high octane protest and meeting the media. Mamata’s mellowed stance about her visit has led to several questions. A section of the Opposition chief ministers said that Mamata despite attending the NITI Aayog meeting after a long time was not herself that of being extremely vocal. One of the insiders said that during the meeting, Didi did not complain or oppose the government policies. Interestingly, the TMC supremo in her last letter to the Prime Minister complained about non-payment of dues of Rs 97,000 crore by the Centre. Incidentally, chief ministers of Odisha, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Punjab briefed the media about their demands and observations. But not TMC. Insiders say that the media cell of the TMC was asked not to share any information pertaining to her visit. The CPI(M) has pointed out that the visit was mainly to address the ED raids pertaining to the SSC-Teacher Recruitment Scam involving a senior cabinet minister of her government. Presumably, Didi maintained a low profile to avoid any attack on her government over corruption charges.
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Deja Vu 2015: Nitish Dials Sonia, Seeks Cong Help To Tie-Up RJD Support

Kicking off speculations about his future moves, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar reportedly phoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi on August 7 seeking an appointment with her. It is believed he wants support of 19 Bihar Congress MLAs and much more. Possibly, revival of Mahagatbandhan or secular alliance of 2015. The tell-tale signs are there for all to see. Nitish skipped NITI Aayog meeting of CMs citing COVID; he took action against his one-time close aide RCP Singh, a Kurmi like him, for moving close to the BJP. In dialing up Sonia, Congress sources say, Nitish was merely following from his copybook of launching the 2015 alliance. Then, Nitish first got in touch with Sonia and took her help to persuade RJD supremo Lalu Prasad to accept him as leader of the alliance. This time round Nitish hopes Sonia will persuade RJD to back him as CM. “With just 45 MLAs, Nitish can’t expect the RJD to back him. The RJD is the single largest party with 80 MLAs. Tejashwi Yadav will want to become CM,” points out a Bihar Congress leader. That means Nitish’s luck could be running out. Maybe it did ever since he was humbled during the 2020 assembly polls. On its part, the BJP is on wait and watch mode, though its 77 MLAs are restless propping up Nitish as CM.
Fadnavis (1)

Fadnavis Assuages Apprehensions Of MPs From Shinde Faction

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has declared that the BJP will spare no efforts in 2024 to ensure re-election of the dozen Lok Sabha members who have pledged their loyalty to chief minister Eknath Shinde. This assurance by Fadnavis is viewed as an attempt to assuage the disturbed Shinde faction, which was said to be apprehensive after the BJP’s announcement that it will concentrate on the LS constituencies lost by the party in 2019 with a narrow margin or which it has never won. They include the prestigious Baramati constituency, which has remained with the family of NCP president Sharad Pawar throughout. Extra attention is being provided towards Baramati, from where Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule has been elected. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is entrusted with the task to snatch it away. She is expected to visit the constituency in coming days. Unease in the Shinde faction was palpable as the CM’s son Shrikant’s Kalyan constituency came in the picture. Kalyan has remained a bone of contention between the BJP and the Sena. Similar scenarios were seen in Thane, Aurangabad and Kolhapur’s Hatkanangale constituencies after local BJP leaders started saying that these seats will be in the party’s kitty in 2024. The reassurance by Fadnavis is expected to calm the troubled waters even as the Supreme Court is taking up the various petitions concerning Maharashtra.
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OTT Boom Spells Doom For DTH Players

The Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms may not have set the cash registers on fire but they sure are gaining traction at the expense of direct to home (DTH) operators. According to latest figures by TRAI, DTH subscriber base has shrunk from 68.52 million to 66.92 million in the last quarter ended March 31, 2022. In fact, the DTH numbers have not been looking good since 2020, when the overall subscribers were 100 million. This dropped to 70.99 million in 2021. The OTTs made their entry in the Indian market in 2019 with Netflix leading the way followed by Amazon Prime. Indian players like Zee5, ALT Balaji, Sony Liv, Voot, Jio Cinema and Disney-Hotstar have cornered 102 million subscribers. This is expected to double to 224 million by 2026. Among the DTH players. Tata Play continues to be the market leader with a share of 33.23 % down from 33.48 %. Bharati Telemedia, ranked second, saw its share drop from 26.36 % to 26.24%. Only two players recorded gains — Dish TV from 22.04% to 22.10 % and Sun Direct from 18.11 % to 18. 43%. Reliance Big TV DTH seems to be nowhere in the picture. The OTTs have also hit satellite channels with many big players like Star, Zee, Sony Colors etc reducing the number of channels in their bouquet, especially in English language.
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PM Modi On Backslapping Terms With This Gandhi

There were many interesting asides when the PM Narendra Modi visited Chennai for inaugurating the 44th Chess Olympiad.  Post the event Modi went to Raj Bhavan for his night sojourn and also to meet numerous BJP functionaries. Even as the PM strode in, he headed straight to a simple man, waiting with the others, calling out “MRG” and shook him by the shoulders, with others watching this breach in protocol with amazement. Modi evidently has a very spontaneous warm side, his whole demeanour changed and he was visibly happy to meet Nagercoil (Tamil Nadu) BJP MLA MR Gandhi who shares a special relationship with Modi as both were from the RSS. The warmth of the greeting for this 77-year old man who wears no footwear, may have reminded many of the mythological meeting of Sudama and Lord Krishna at Dwarka. Gandhi was touched and honoured. This TN man had failed in earlier attempts to get elected to the Assembly but won in 2021. Incidentally, Gandhi too was the subject of some unsavoury press. Apparently, his aide Kannan’s son Amrish has political ambitions. His bike number plate is emblazoned “Grandson of the Nagercoil MLA”, a euphemism that he created for himself, using the MLA’s name.
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Sanjeev Gupta: The Whistleblower Who Has Bowled Out Many

If Aditya Verma of Bihar was responsible for shaking veteran cricket administrators like a leaf through his famous Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of 2013 in the Bombay High Court which subsequently led to the downfall of a few mandarins of the BCCI and forced new governance/ accountability rules on the establishment following a Supreme Court order, Indore-based Sanjeev Gupta has been demonstrating the bulldog spirit to protect an Apex Court order that pertains to Reforms in Cricket. Always referring to Diary Number 24114 of 2013 and case number CA/4235/2014 in the Supreme Court, the indefatigable Gupta with the objective of seeking justice for the game and the institution, has written around one thousand letters to the BCCI’s Ombudsman and Ethics Officer (O&EO) pointing out violations that has occurred in the last three years. Recently he urged the BCCI’s new O&EO Justice Vineet Saran to resolve 26 pending cases in a time span of 24 months to 10 days. The pending cases relate among others to former India captain Virat Kohli, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly, BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla, BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal and Nita Ambani of the Reliance Industries. Following his previous complaints a few heads have rolled. He even gave up life membership of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association presumably to avoid a conflict of interest situation.
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Dr Kondal Reddy Kandadi (centre) receiving MBE Award

UK's Bolton University Forges Ties With Hyderabad-Based iVOlViS

University of Bolton in Greater Manchester has been in the forefront of forging ties with India’s educational institutions. To strengthen its ties with India, Bolton University sought special permission from the Queen’s Office, and conducted the MBE Award Ceremony to honour Dr Kondal Reddy Kandadi at its recent Graduation ceremony. This was unprecedented; never before such an award ceremony was held at the University’s graduation ceremony. Reddy was the former Deputy Vice Chancellor at University Of Bolton who left the UK shores last year at the peak of his career to return to his homeland Telangana to start his own educational venture iVOlViS by collaborating with Bolton University. “At iVOlViS, we are deploying globally proven educational pedagogies, systems, processes, people and technologies to achieve this core goal of realising the Power of Education in every child,” says Dr Reddy. Besides, Dr Reddy, Telangana’s high powered bureaucrat Jayesh Ranjan was conferred with Honorary Doctorate degree for his “outstanding contribution to the development of collaborative relationships between India and Manchester (particularly in the technology sector). “For the past many years I have tried to forge more partnerships between the province of Hyderabad and the UK and that is why I am getting this fabulous recognition by the University of Bolton and why I have received this honorary doctorate,” explained Ranjan.
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Arkady and Anand

Huge Role Looms For Viswanathan Anand In World Chess Admin

Grandmasters from close to 190 nations are battling it out on the boards for the blue ribbon of team events at the Olympiad near Chennai. But there is an even bigger war going on in Mamallapuram, also the venue where 200 countries will be voting on August 7 to decide who will run world chess for the next four years. In a highly political race between teams of politicians and Grandmasters for President and Deputy President of FIDE, the favourite duo is current President Arkady Dvorkovich, a Russian politician seeking re-election and whose right-hand man is India’s first world champion Viswanathan Anand. A clear favourite among four teams endorsed by more countries than the minimum required to contest, Dvorkovich may use Anand to reorganise world chess, including bringing fundamental changes to the world title match, which is getting boring according to reigning champion Magnus Carlsen. Opposing them fiercely is former Ukraine chess champion and U.S. resident Andrii Baryshpolets, who is convinced a Russian politician has no business heading FIDE and that the world must stand up to the aggressor against Ukraine. Whether the real war being fought in his home country has any effect on the election or not, a polarised world is reflected in the chess election too. There are two other tickets of four candidates but Dvorkovich and Baryshpolets may be the dominant players.
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Dinner hosted by Kharge for Alva

A Day Ahead VP Polls, Venkaiah Naidu Tells Opposition That MPs Have No Privilege In A Criminal Case

With the Congress kicking up a row over summoning of Rajya Sabha LOP Mallikarjun Kharge by the ED in National Herald case on August 4 and also fussing over his questioning him for 7 hours at the Herald House even as he had hosted a dinner for Opposition leaders in honour of Margret Alva, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu went that extra mile to bust myths of privilege of MPs who have “a wrong notion that they have a privilege from action by agencies while the Parliament Session is on.” He said “Under Article 105 of the Constitution, MPs enjoy certain privileges so that they can perform their parliamentary duties without hindrance. One of the privileges is that a MP cannot be arrested in a civil case, 40 days before the commencement of the Session or Committee meeting and 40 days thereafter. However, in criminal matters, MPs are not on a different footing than a common citizen. It means they do not have any immunity, and can be arrested in a criminal case during session. Citing a 1966 ruling of Dr Zakir Hussain, Naidu emphasized that “no Member should avoid appearing before any investigating agency when she or he is called upon to do so by citing reason of House duty. As law makers, it is our bounden duty to respect the law and legal procedures”.
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@siddaramaiah

Will Davangere Bonhomie Help Cong Clinch Karnataka In 2023?

In what seemed like a show of unity, Karnataka Congress stalwart Siddaramaiah and PCC chief D K Shivkumar hugged each other as prodded by Rahul Gandhi at a humongous event held at Davangere to mark Siddaramaiah’s 75th birthday celebrations. The multi-crore bash was primarily aimed to display bonhomie between the popular and ambitious birthday boy who is Rahul Gandhi’s favourite to be CM and a patient Shivkumar who has been endlessly biding his time. Rahul Gandhi used the occasion to bury reports of intense competition between the two leaders as to who would be the CM if Congress wins the 2023 Assembly elections. It was feared the clash between the two leaders would spoil the Congress’s chances of getting the magic tally of 111 seats out of 224 seats. “Today, I am happy to see Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar hugging each other on the stage”, remarked a relieved Rahul Gandhi. “I and Shivakumar are together. There is no difference of opinion between us,” said a triumphant Siddaramaiah.”  Of course, the state Congress leaders are not sure about the truce. They still feel a Channi-Siddhu style street fight could still be in the offing. Meanwhile, one person most missed at Davangere was AICC General Secretary in-charge Randeep Surjewala. He has gone abroad for a medical treatment. But, since elected as MP from Rajasthan, he has barely attended Rajya Sabha.
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NIA Says Expense To Provide Documentation To 10 Accused In Antilia Bomb Case ‘Unaffordable’

The National Investigation Agency has submitted to a special court hearing the sensational Antilia Bomb Case that the expense of around Rs 40 lakh for providing the entire documentation to the 10 accused would be unaffordable for it. Moreover, given the volume of evidence, it would require 258 days to make enough prints, NIA’s submission has said. The case has been filed in connection with the explosives planted near Mukesh Ambani’s south Mumbai residence by some of the accused and the subsequent alleged murder of a businessman, Mansukh Hiren. The evidence gathered painstakingly by NIA includes vast amounts of digital record, which include videography conducted in Mumbai and Thane. This record has lakhs of such documents, according to the NIA. The NIA chargesheet runs into around 10,000 pages. It is accompanied by a list of nearly 200 witnesses out of which depositions of 164 persons have been recorded before the magistrate. NIA had urged the court for grant of extra days to submit the chargesheet. It filed it two days before the deadline.  The most controversial role in the affair was played by suspended police officer Sachin Vaze, who was re-inducted in the force and was very close to then home minister Anil Deshmukh. Another accused Pradeem Sharma, a former police officer, was a Shiv Sena candidate in the last assembly election.
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For Whom The Trolls Work?

Kangana Ranaut never misses an opportunity to take pot shots at some of the Bollywood bigwigs. The fearless actor is known for her bold tweets and political leanings. This time she has attacked Aamir Khan who has been facing the brunt of social media calling for a boycott of his latest movie Laal Singh Chhada. But, Kangana feels otherwise; she thinks it is the actor’s marketing ploy. On the Instagram, she wrote, “I think all the negativity around the upcoming release Laal Singh Chaddha is skilfully curated by mastermind Aamir Khan himself, this year no Hindi films have worked barring one exception of a comedy sequel….a Hollywood remake would not have worked anyway.” But, it was equally surprising to see that Akshay Kumar starrer Raksha Bandhan that will be released on the same day as Laal Singh Chadda was also trending on social media and the Bollywood buzz is that like Aamir it is Akshay Kumar who is behind the trolling of the film. The reason for Akshay being trolled is that the actor posted the tricolor on his social media DP that enraged the trolls and they called for a boycott of Raksha Bandhan. And Kangana’s overdrive on social media is being attributed to her way of getting attention for her next movie Emergency where she plays the role of Indira Gandhi.
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Rahul, Cong Play Victim Card On ED Action In National Herald Case, Link It To Price Rise Stir On Aug 5

With the Enforcement Directorate sealing the Young Indian Ltd (YIL) office on August 3 in National Herald case, Rahul Gandhi labelled ED’s probe as an ‘intimidation tactic’.  He vowed to be undeterred in his fight to ‘save the democracy and nation’. “If you are talking about the National Herald…they think they can put a little pressure on us and we will shut up. We will not be intimidated, we are not scared of Narendra Modi, they can do whatever they want, and it does not matter. My work is to protect the nation, save democracy, and maintain harmony. No one can stop me.” Rahul has been quizzed for over 54 hours spread over 5 days about transactions related to the YIL and his mother Sonia for over 6 hours. The Congress is determined to milk ED action more than ever and play the victim card. Giving political colour to its “fraud”, the party tried to link sealing of YIL office at the Herald House and raids at 11 other locations as a pre-meditated step to hamper price rise stir called on August 5. In Rajya Sabha, LOP Mallikarjun Kharge protested ED summons to him to join the probe by 12.30 pm on August 4 at YIL office to “preserve evidence” when Parliament was in session. The YIL office was temporarily sealed a day earlier only because Kharge was not available.
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Naveen Patnaik Once Again Pushes Modi Govt To Accord Special Status To Odisha

When Suman Bery, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog called upon Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik he was not really surprised when Patnaik reminded him of Odisha’s long standing demand of being accorded a special category status. But, what was unique this time was Patnaik’s tone — it was non-pleading. Naveen babu believes it is Odisha’s right to be given special category status as the state has been devastated by repeated cyclones.  Ever since Biju Janata Dal split from BJP in 2009 Patnaik has been the lone crusader fighting for the special status without any success. What is new this time is Naveen’s request to the Centre for expanding railway infrastructure, extending banking facilities to rural pockets and providing telecommunication services in the remotest part of the state. Naveen knows that Odisha cannot qualify for a special category status which is presently restricted to North Eastern three hilly states by the Finance Commission. The message CM is trying to drive is asking the Centre to revisit/redefine special status criteria, so that less developed criteria suiting Odisha should be given special dispensation or the centre provides monetary equivalent of a special category status. Political observers say Patnaik has consistently supported Modi in all issues, and it is in Modi’s interest to reciprocate lest Patnaik joins chorus with the Opposition parties.
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Clockwise L To R : Navneet, Swapna,Kangana,& Ketki

Sanjay Raut’s Utterances Against Kangana, Navneet, Swapna, Ketki Could Haunt Him In Future

Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut’s past utterances against various women are likely to haunt him in future now that he is pushed into a corner. One of the women, Swapna Patkar, has filed a police complaint against Raut for allegedly threatening her by using objectionable language. Patkar was a contributor to Saamana edited by Raut some years ago. Mumbai police has invoked IPC sections 504, 506 and 509 against Raut based on her complaint. These sections respectively mean insult with intent to breach peace, criminal threatening and insulting modesty of a woman. Actress Kangana Ranaut was another victim of Raut’s wrath. When a portion of her residence was demolished, the Sena mouthpiece Saamana had come out with a headline, “Ukhaad Diyaa” (Demolished). Kangana had countered that she would not take the Sena’s pressure tactics lying down. Independent MP Navneet Rana had alleged before the media that she had been threatened openly by Raut. She described him as a “goon-like MP.” Navneet and her MLA husband Ravi Rana were arrested in Mumbai for declaring that they would chant Hanuman Chalisa in front of then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshri.’Cine artiste Ketki Chitale was arrested by the police for retweeting an old post critical of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Reacting to this, Raut had described her as an addict (Nashebaaj) and a despicable worm.
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Opposition Boycott ‘Tiranga Bike Rally’; Rahul, Mehbooba Display Indian Flag On Their Social Media Profile

In what could be his last public engagement Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu along with Union ministers Pralhad Joshi and Piyush Goyal flagged off Tiranga Bike Rally for MPs from Red Fort to Vijay Chowk on August 3 morning to mark the Har Ghar Tiranga as part of 75 years of India’s Independence on August 15. However, the entire Opposition skipped the event. Union Minister Smriti Irani was seen on her scooty, while I&B minister Anurag Thakur was spotted giving a pillion ride to Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy. With PM Narendra Modi calling upon all citizens to turn the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign into a mass movement by hoisting or displaying the national flag at their homes and using the Tiranga DP on their social media accounts between August 2 and 15.  His call for Tiranga DP in social media profile got a response from the Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Mehbooba Mufti in their own way. Rahul opted to display a picture of Nehru holding the Tiranga while Mebhooba’s DP showed Tiranga and the state flag which has no relevance today after J&K being reduced to a Union Territory and scrapping of Article 370. She tweeted that the state flag “was irreversibly linked to the Indian flag”. The flags in her DP are shown with her late father Mufti Md Sayeed and Modi.
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@Vaaniofficial

Vaani Kapoor: The Lucky Star Who Got Big Breaks…Now Awaits Big Hits

She is Aditya Chopra’s discovery yet in spite of signing a three-film deal with his company Yash Raj Films (YRF) Vaani Kapoor has not been able to make a big mark in Bollywood. The 33-year old Delhi girl entered Bollywood in 2013 with YRF’s Shudh Desi Romance and won Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for her character Tara. But, nine years later she has not exactly become the heartthrob of the cinema lovers. Some are questioning her capabilities as an actress, more so after her role as Sona in Shamshera opposite Ranbir Kapoor. Not only has the film flopped but even her role has come in for harsh criticism. Incidentally, Vaani, considered Aditya Chopra’s pet, has not found many takers outside YRF camp. In all she has acted in 7 films of which three has been produced by YRF. She did gain praise for a playing transgender woman in the romantic comedy Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui.  And she did dabble in Tamil cinema but post her role in Aaha Kalyanam there were no takers in south. Come to think of it, Vaani is one the few lucky stars to have a mentor like Aditya Chopra and work against big stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Akshay Kumar but big hits are eluding her. Maybe she needs to take tips from Deepika and Katrina.
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Union Bank To Auction Paintings, Watches Belonging To Wadhawans Of DHFL

It is turning out to be the season of precious artefacts owned by controversial people up for sale both at home and abroad. Recently, a watch said to have belonged to Adolf Hitler was sold for $ 1.1 million at the Alexander Historical Auctions in Maryland, much to the consternation of the Jewish community. The timepiece made by German watch firm Huber has a Swastika and initial AH engraved. It was picked up by an anonymous bidder. Also, on the auction table was a dress belonging to Hitler’s wife Eva Braun. Back home, Union Bank of India, is set to auction artefacts owned by scam-tainted Wadhawan brothers of DHFL-fame. During raids at their premises, CBI found rare artworks of S H Raza and FN Souza, luxury watches manufactured by Jacob & Co and Frank Muller Geneve and loads of gold and diamonds. While Raza’s 1956 oil-on canvas painting titled Village is worth over Rs 3.5 cr, FN Souza’s 1964 untitled oil-on-linen piece is valued at Rs 2 cr. The two watches of Jacob & Co and Frank Muller Geneve are worth Rs 5 cr. The gold and diamond jewellery including bangles and necklace were worth Rs 2 cr. Though the Rs 12.5 cr of artefacts recovered is miniscule compared to Rs 34,615 cr losses of DHFL, the consortium of 17 banks say something is better than nothing.
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Prez Murmu Gives Odisha Touch To Menu & Men In Rashtrapati Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bhavan is getting its dose of Odisha touch. With President Droupadi Murmu at the helm, it is not just flavour of traditional Odia food like pakhala along with Sajana Saga (drumstick leaves) and Aloo Bharta (mashed potatoes) that is making its way into the President’s House. President Murmu who wore a Santhali traditional saree for her swearing-in ceremony brought by her sister-in- law Sukri Tudu, is also choosing those who have worked with her in the past to work again with her; like her former private secretary Bijaya Nayak. She has got Nayak in her team to handle press and publicity. Nayak has been appointed as the Additional Secretary (Press). Currently posted as Officer on Special Duty in Odia University, Nayak was the Culture Director for the Government of Odisha before his retirement. He was the Private Secretary to Murmu when she was the Minister for Commerce & Transport and Fisheries & Animal Resources Development from 2000 to 2002.  As President Murmu is a vegetarian and relishes only Satvik food (without onion and garlic), a new menu has apparently been prepared keeping her choices in mind. In 2006, Murmu had turned vegetarian after she lost her two sons and husband. The Raj Bhavan in Ranchi too served only vegetarian food with a dash of Odisha cuisine when she was the Governor of Jharkhand.
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It’s Business As Usual, Fireworks Returns To Parliament

Now that Parliament has resumed work, one gets to see a lot of political fireworks and sharp exchanges between the Opposition and the Treasury even during the routine Question Hour. Like what was witnessed on August 2 when a question by DMK North Chennai MP Dr V Kalanidhi to increase the credit limit of Kisan Credit Card to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 1.6 lakh for fishermen kicked up a political storm of sorts in the Lok Sabha. That is because Minister of State L Murugan who handles fisheries, took pot-shots at the DMK and its inability to fulfil poll promises like giving Rs 1,000 a month to women. Charging the DMK of now shifting the onus of fulfilling its poll pledge to fishermen to the Centre, Murugan pointed out that fishermen could always take a mudra loan — a loan without a collateral if they wanted a bigger amount. At this, the Congress and NCP MPs rallied behind the DMK and said how they had helped fishermen during UPA years. This got senior minister Parshottam Rupala’s goat who said, “You have done nothing. Kisan Credit Card has been extended for the first time to fishermen by PM Modi.” Even then Supriya Sule persisted with her query as to whether the KCC loans could be written off. It got Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to tell her “such loans are never written off”.
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No Crack In DMK-Cong Alliance Clarifies Stalin

The Tamil Nadu political scene will remain settled for a while at least after Chief Minister M K Stalin’s assertion that the DMK-led alliance is an ideological one and not only for polls. That should put an end to the noises that came from the local Congress honchos who were smarting under the usual grievance of not being given enough importance. The Prime Minister and Chief Minister meeting on a couple of occasions last week in Chennai and the warm vibes they shared had got the rumour mills going about cracks in the DMK-Congress alliance. The CM has set the record straight and the message has gone out to TNCC not to rock the boat. It is the principal opposition party AIADMK that is in a bit of a turmoil after the Edappadi Palaniswami coup on the plank of a pressing need for a single leader. That leaves another former CM, O Panneerselvam (OPS) out in the cold. So annoyed was he that even the EC refused to recognise his position that he sent his representative uninvited to the meeting to examine the Aadhaar-electoral roll linking proposal. The only alternative for OPS seems to be to join his old tormentors Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran in a parallel party they could well name as Jaya AIADMK. Any merger of forces nurtured by MGR and Jaya would have to wait for much longer.
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With No Amendments To MCA’s Constitution International Cricketers’ Voting Rights Remain Intact

Ultimately wiser counsel prevailed with a handful of past administrators of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) like Prof Ratnakar Shetty, Shripad Halbe, Ravi Mandrekar, Ravi Savant and Advocate Nilesh Khandre driving home the futility of a discussion on the proposed amendments to the Association’s Constitution. The MCA President, Vijay Patil too played his part by expressing his indignation at the proposal to cancel the voting rights of Mumbai’s 71 international cricketers. As per the Supreme Court order of August 2018, the MCA became a compliant body with the Bombay High Court appointed Committee of Administrators in Justices (Retd) H L Gokhale and V M Kanade registering the Constitution with the Charity Commissioner on September 12, 2018. The new constitution was in line with the BCCI’s and the former CJI RM Lodha authored Reforms in Cricket report, but MCA’s 330 plus clubs were not given the opportunity to consider it at a special general meeting. A senior member described the entire activity as fraudulent and amendment papers as “raddhi“. “There are anomalies between the MCA’s interlocutory application in the SC and the amendments unethically circulated to the members,” said a peeved member. Generally the MCA members feel that the Constitution in its entirety has to be considered at an AGM, rule by rule. “The primacy of the MCA cannot be diluted. I am glad it fizzled out,” quipped a veteran administrator.
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Twitter

Cooperative Bank Scam Rocks Kerala, 160 Unable To Return Depositors’ Money

Things took a bleak turn for the Kerala Government recently, when the Thrissur-based Karuvannur Cooperative Bank rejected pleas by a customer to withdraw a part of his deposit of Rs 40 lakh. Consequently, the customer’s wife died as they did not have money to meet the hospital bills for a critical operation. After that similar deeds of mismanagement, embezzlement, and non-disbursement of deposits have surfaced not only from the Karuvannur but other cooperative banks across Kerala. Kerala has 1600 cooperative banks in all, with bulk of them controlled by CPM. The Kerala Cooperative Minister, VN Vasan, admitted in the assembly that 160 cooperative banks are unable to return funds to depositors due to financial crunch. The modus operandi of cooperative banks are simple. The political parties/leaders start the bank first in each district and then in big towns. Local leaders at the municipality, block and ward level, head these banks. They then employ their cadre in the bank as clerks, managers, peons, sweepers etc. Then they use their clout and political muscle to garner deposits promising higher rates of interest than scheduled banks. Loans are then disbursed to those who curry favour with the party and leaders. Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also the Co-operative Minister is yet to swing into action as majority of the 98,042 co-operative banks in India are in two politically sensitive states, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
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Sanjay Raut’s Efforts To Implicate Eknath Shinde In Cash Seizure Ridiculed

Why did Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut keep a cash amount allegedly given to him by then Sena minister Eknath Shinde for such a long time at his residence? This question is making rounds of political circles now that Raut has been remanded to ED custody for the next three days. It was claimed by the supporters of Raut soon after his arrest last night that the cash amount of Rs.11.50 lakh recovered by ED from his bungalow in north-east Mumbai’s Bhandup suburb was actually handed over to him by present chief minister Eknath Shinde in the past for the Ayodhya Ram Mandir construction. In fact, eyebrows were raised when seizure of such an insignificant amount was reported by ED. But the feeling soon turned into ridicule when Raut supporters tried to shift the ownership of the cash. Shinde faction’s vocal MLA Sanjay Shirsat fired a volley of questions. He said, “There is nothing to show that the amount was given to Raut by Shinde. But even if one assumes this claim to be true, why did Raut keep this cash with him for such a long time? Why was it not sent to Ayodhya? Why is this explanation coming only after the ED action?” Shinde merely retorted, “The loudspeaker that used to start every morning at 8 is silenced.”
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The Complete Picture: Street View Service Back On Google Maps

Six years after being banned, Google is relaunching its street view service in India in partnership with Tech Mahindra and Genesys International. Starting Wednesday (August 3) — Street View — which displays 360 degree panoramic street-level images will be available in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Nashik, Vadodara, Ahmednagar and Amritsar. Google intends to expand the service to 50 cities by 2022. Starting with Bengaluru, Google Maps will also inform users of the speed limits data shared by traffic authorities. The Mumbai-based Genesys International has been a pioneer in the introduction of street imaging maps in India. Over the next 12 months, Genesys plans to cover all of urban India street imaging, spanning over a million kms. This makes it the largest street imaging exercise in the country. Genesys has the technology and capability to capture almost 150,000 unique kms of street imaging data, according to Sajid Malik, Chairman & Managing Director. To put this number into perspective, the island city of Mumbai is 5000 unique kms. The company is building one of the biggest imaging platforms in India, across both street and aerial, in sync with the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India reflected in the geospatial policy, added Malik.
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@MamataOfficial

Post Partha Debacle, Didi On The Path Of Image Correction

The three-time chief minister of West Bengal and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee who had over the years made a clean image of her trademark white cotton sari and rubber chappals is on a path of image correction after the recent recovery of Rs 50 crore allegedly accumulated by her senior cabinet minister Partha Chatterjee. Right now, despite sacking Parthda (as referred to by Didi), the TMC supremo needs to rebuild her image with the Opposition parties. After her thumping hat-trick win in Assembly Polls last year, Mamata was upbeat and confident of taking her brand national and becoming the fulcrum of the Opposition’s planned league against Prime Minister Modi for the 2024 general election. But the TMC chief still does not hold all the cards in the fight against BJP and needs to build bridges with the rest of the Opposition. Mamata will be in Delhi from August 4-8, says party source. Though the official reason for her visit is to boost the confidence of TMC MPs who have been at the forefront of protests against the Modi government. Also, her meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi remains unclear due to TMC’s strained relationship with Congress. It is also being said that the TMC chief is likely to make an appearance in the Central Hall of the Parliament.
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Last Ford EcoSport Rolls Out Of Chennai Plant Signalling The End Of The Road For 4000 Workers!

On July 21, a beautifully decked up bride left her home with 4000 well-wishers (read workers) shedding tears and bidding her adieu. That was not just the last Ford EcoSport car rolling out of their beloved Ford manufacturing plant at Maraimalainagar in Tamil Nadu.  It was the end of the road for all 4000 workers with the Ford parent deciding to exit India.  The Chennai plant was set up in 1995 on 350 acres to make 4 lakh vehicles along with the Gujarat plant. The Figo, Endeavour, Ikon, EcoSport were hugely popular. But how long can a business sustain losses, whatever the emotional quotient tagged to a product made with pride? The President of Ford Motors, Jim Farley had candidly admitted that Ford had accumulated $ 2 billion losses producing only 80,000 vehicles a year with the plant having an installed capacity of 4 lakh vehicles. The Covid-19 lockdown, global downturn and business cycle factors are quoted ad nauseam. Even a brief dalliance for a second time with Mahindra was tried in 2019. No one can really pinpoint why it did not succeed. But for now, it is the plight of these 4000 workers that is heart wrenching. Even as we talk about Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, the future of such trained dedicated workers who suffer the whims of global business has to be seriously considered.
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Modi-Stalin Vibes Send Confusing Signals To Cadres And Allies

The Modi-Stalin bonhomie at the inaugural of the Chess Olympiad would not have gone unnoticed. The DMK and BJP may be daggers drawn in Tamil Nadu but the top brass of both parties are such pals in public that the signals can be confusing to the cadres. The good vibes between the leaders, despite the crosscurrents of Tamil pride versus Indian nationalism, may however lead to changes in political alignments. The DMK-Congress ties are already strained in the State. The local Congress honcho put out a statement criticising the police for selective action with regard to sticking of PM Narendra Modi’s images on images by the BJP on the hoardings and billboards promoting the chess event and the blackening of those images by DMK men. Knowing full well that Stalin is in charge of the Home Department and the police come directly under him, the Congress statement seems deliberate. The theory that the AIADMK is cosying up to Congress in Tamil Nadu in order to woo the minority voters in the next Assembly polls may be outlandish. The fact is anything is possible in politics, even in Tamil Nadu where DMK has been with the Congress much longer than in its ties with the NDA and BJP in occasional trysts for a share of capital power.
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Modi-Stalin Banter At Chess Olympiad Leads To Talk Of BJP-DMK Tie-Up

Post the launch of Chess Olympiad in Chennai by PM Narendra Modi, a new kind of dynamics seems to be working out between the ruling DMK and the BJP, sparking a buzz that the two parties could come together. For the first time, state BJP president K Annamalai who had emerged as the main challenger to the DMK, came out lauding Tamil Chief Minister MK Stalin for a “great opening ceremony”. It is not clear if Annamalai’s praise had anything to do with the friendly banter Modi and Stalin were seen having on the dais. Briefing reporters after meeting Modi, Annamalai said he had lauded the state government for “showing the rich, glorious and spiritual Tamil land of 5000 years that long existed pre 1967 (thousands of years prior to that).” Speculation is rife that the TN BJP could have softened towards the DMK as Stalin had been cordial; it was in stark contrast to the speech he had made on May 26 when PM Modi had visited TN to  launch infrastructure projects. Steering clear of any political reference, Stalin talked about holding the Global Tiger Summit in cooperation with the Centre. It seemed Stalin was happy with Delhi as it had cleared his foreign trip for medical treatment. Looks like Stalin’s immediate worries are to find nominees to run the party and the government; his son Udhayanidhi and wife Durga are in the reckoning.
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Sena Vs Sena: ‘Copyright’ Debate Rages In Maharashtra Politics

Former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s warning to the faction led by Eknath Shinde not to use Balasaheb Thackeray’s image has evoked sharp reactions from Shinde followers and the Bharatiya Janata party. “Is Balasaheb your copyright?” Uddhav has been asked. At interactions with Sena rank and file, Uddhav has been exhorting them to stay firmly with him so that the organization is rebuilt after the recent revolt. On his birthday on July 27, he told his detractors, “Don’t use Balasaheb’s image. I challenge you to get elected without using it.” The Shinde faction has taken strong exception to this provocation as its claim of being the ‘true’ Sena will be heard by the Supreme Court next week, beginning a long-drawn legal battle. The Shinde followers are countering by asking Uddhav, “Would Balasaheb have approved your decision to go with the Congress and the NCP? What moral right do you have to claim his legacy?” BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said Uddhav had perhaps forgotten that his candidates in the last election had used Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s portrait on their hoardings along with that of Balasaheb. “If that was all right, what right does Uddhav have to tell others not to use Balasaheb’s image now?” he demanded to know. Mungantiwar retorted that without Modi’s image, the Sena then would not have won any seats.
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Did You Know It Was A Sports Reporter Who Founded Commonwealth Games

Come the Commonwealth Games and the medals rush of all hues begin for India’s sports persons not accustomed to shine at the Olympics; to an extent even in the Asian Games. The CWG took its new avatar as Commonwealth Games in 1978 at Edmonton, Canada, from being known as the British CWG at Christchurch in New Zealand in 1974. But imagine a sports reporter being chiefly instrumental in founding the British Empire Games in 1930!  Canadian Melville Marks Robinson, Editor, Hamilton Spectator has been credited as the father of the games. At the age of 13, he was an office boy with Toronto Star. Apparently he dubbed the American team’s behaviour at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics as arrogant and obnoxious. “The Games should be merrier and less stern, and will substitute the stimulus of a novel adventure for the pressure of international rivalry”, he said soon after sowing the seeds for the CWG in the Land of the Tulips in 1928. There are 72 countries taking part in the Birmingham 2022 CWG. India has won 503 medals (181 gold) from the 1934 event in London. India’s strength was in shooting sports with 63 gold medals, overall 135. Birmingham put shooting on the hit list leaving India at a war of words with the organisers and the shooters’ dreams shattered.
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The 163-km Sambalpur-Rourkela highway

A Major Embarrassment For Odisha CM, Engineering Giant L&T Seizes Govt’s Property Over Non-Payment Of Dues

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has time and again affirmed his commitment to improve ease of doing business in the state. But, a recent expose in the Assembly by the Opposition parties, BJP and Congress proved to be otherwise; it was a major embarrassment for his government. Apparently, engineering giant L&T was forced to seize government property for non-payment of their dues towards building a 163-km road between Sambalpur–Rourkela at a cost of Rs 1200 crore. Reason: the state government did not see the urgency to settle the full payment to L&T, despite High Court and Supreme Court’s rulings in favour of L&T. Instead, it filed a review petition in the Supreme Court. The opposition alleged that the state government did not give importance and urgency to settle L&T’s dues. They pointed out that a Rs 20 crore outstanding to L&T was allowed to bloat up to Rs 120 crore which included interest component. A well-known Odisha-based businessman pointed out that the problems faced by private sector companies are payment delays, disputes in payments as a result of which the company loses time and money. With issues being highlighted in the Assembly will the Patnaik government fix these kinds of problems and send a positive signal to the industry?
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Modi Govt Unleashes Girl Power To Battle Infringement Of Prez Murmu's Honour & Dignity

The Modi Government unleashed its girl power — deploying Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Women & Child Development Minister Smriti Irani — to take on the Congress in the Parliament for inappropriate reference to President Droupadi Murmu as “Rashtrapatni”. Till the very end Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary  tried to pass it  off as “slip off the tongue”; he had uttered it while speaking to TV reporters. However, pressed for an apology, he charged that a “section of the media was making a mountain out of a molehill.” Compounding Adhir’s offence, Congress President Sonia Gandhi jumped in to defend him saying he had already “apologised”. An irate Sitharaman charged the Congress chief of “misleading the country” and demanded she apologise to the nation. “First Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claims there is no need to apologise, then Smt Sonia Gandhi says he has already apologised. The Congress has been attempting to undermine a tribal self-made, successful leader. We, from the BJP demand, the Congress apologise to the nation,” she said. Smriti Irani recalled how ever since Murmu was announced as presidential candidate, she had been targeted maliciously by the Congress. “Congressmen had called her a puppet; they had called a symbol of evil. Their attacks do not seem to stop against Murmuji even after she has been elected to the highest constitutional office of the country”.

TRENDS & VIEWS

We Have Created A New Segment That Has Resonated Well With Readers: Short Post Editor

Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, said Victor Hugo a long time ago. I felt likewise. So instead of waiting endlessly for the Covid-19 tide to ebb, I decided to take the plunge and launch www.shortpost.in on January 28, 2021. This website, the first of its kind in the country, focuses only on short ‘Authentic Gossip’. Clearly, content is king more so if it is short & crisp (225 words), as a large section of our society is steadily shifting to digital and mobile space. To achieve this, I was fortunate to muster editorial support of some of the most senior and respected journalists in the country to bring out credible content that involves, stimulates and entertains our highly discerning readers — from across continents. We have so far uploaded close to 1,000 posts covering areas like Business, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment. Yes, today we have crossed an important milestone in our journey – #ShortPostFirstAnniversary —  and we are confident many more will follow in keeping with our stated vision – to become a one stop site for authentic gossip. So, what next?  With the third wave showing signs of slowing down things can only look better. So as the year rolls by we promise to pack in more punches. Before I sign off I would like to thank our advertiser IDFC FIRST Bank, angel investors Anuradha Verma, Ashish Kakkar and you readers for making this journey possible.