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Jutsice Chandru committee (1) (1)

Tamil Nadu All Set To Ban Online Gaming Sites With A Stake


The online gaming industry may be in for a rude shock as the Tamil Nadu government seems bent on banning any site offering online gaming with a stake. By stake it means money you pay to place a bet. The government, worried over reports of suicides due to debt problems of some addicted gamers, had appointed a committee headed by retired Justice Chandru of the Madras High Court to recommend what action to take.  The committee which submitted its report to Chief Minister MK Stalin on June 27, recommended that the government enforce a ban of not only gaming sites but also the advertisements that promote it which are often seen during the cricket telecasts. The problem is that a blanket ban will not care to distinguish between the legitimate e-gaming sites and the gambling sites, including many offshore sites that are operating freely in the internet environment as it exists. The three largest online skill games associations are already concerned over reports suggesting that the GST rates on online skill games are to go up from 18 % to 28 %. Banning by one state could be emulated by other states. Karnataka had been contemplating action on online gambling in which several sites are claiming revenues in excess of Rs 1,000 crore per annum.
Draupadi Murumu (4)

This Droupadi Is All Set To Preside Over Maha Bharat

When BJP announced the name of 64-year old Droupadi Murmu from Odisha as NDA’s Presidential candidate penny and jaws dropped. One of India’s best management minds Prof R Vaidyanathan said: “The choice of Droupadi Murmu is a massive tectonic shift in Indian polity. Mark my words, not many developed nations could have mustered the consensus for such a role model like Droupadi to adorn the Presidential chair”. Murmu, a capable administrator comes from the adivasi Santhals of Odisha with stints as a Minister and later, a Governor. A devoted Sanathana dharmi, the first thing Murmu did was to visit the Shiva temple. Undoubtedly, the polity and power shift is in favour of the OBC’s. The RSS, focusing on the importance of the Vanavasis, set up 600,000 vidyalayas in tribal areas to bring the tribals under the umbrella of education. So the choice of Murmu is a logical step for inclusion. Two significant irritants cast their shadow on the tribals of India –.the Naxalite threat and the Christian Missionary Conversion issue, parading under the euphemism, “Soul harvesting by planting the cross”.  With successive government’s tough stand, the Naxal threat spread over 185 districts has now come down to 25. Murmu is bound to face and preside over more such irritants and challenges as our nation moves up to pole position.


Rhea's Career In Suspended Animation With NCB, CBI Still On Her Tail

Boom to gloom sums up the life of 30-year old Rhea Chakraborty who made headlines when her beau Sushant Singh Rajput died of an unnatural death. Since then her life has been topsy-turvy. On September 8, 2020, she along with her brother Showik was arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) for supplying marijuana to Sushant. After cooling heels for 43 days Rhea managed to get bail and made efforts to get back into circulation. A number of producers were keen but none signed for fear the drug case relating to Sushant was not closed. And their fears were not unfounded. On June 22, 2022, NCB filed draft charges against Rhea and Showik before a special court in connection with a drugs case linked to Sushant’s death. It may be recalled that the late actor’s family had accused the actress of abetment to suicide and siphoning off the actor’s money. In fact, Sushant’s sister Priyanka reacted to NCB’s chargesheet; so it is definitely not going to be easy for the Chehre girl. While her talent management company continues to work for her, a matured Rhea is taking everything in her stride; making public appearances, going to gym in the hope she will be back on the big screen or OTT platform. As for the money part, Rhea who has nearly 2.3 lakh followers on Twitter gets paid for her social media posts.
Collage Maker-28-Jun-2022-06


Will Congress Replace Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot With Sachin Pilot To Quell Dissension?

Looks like the Congress high command may have to opt for leadership change in Rajasthan if it has to halt erosion in the party’s cadre ahead of 2023 assembly elections. Acharya Pramod Krishnam, a close aide of Priyanka Vadra, has openly called for elevating Pilot as CM and a central role for Gehlot. Party sources admit that a groundswell of sympathy is emerging in the state for Pilot, who as PCC chief led the Congress to victory in 2018, but was denied CM’s post. Sources said if Gehlot leads the party to assembly polls, then it’s likely that BJP may sweep the poll. It was felt if Pilot was made the CM, the Congress could somewhat reverse the damage. After all, even state BJP leaders call Pilot “Neelkanth” (swallower of poison). Significantly, Rahul Gandhi recently praised Pilot’s patience at Jantar Mantar. Rahul’s praise seems to have rattled Gehlot which is perhaps why he has begun attacking his former deputy chief minister for taking BJP’s help during his 2020 rebellion. On his part, Pilot continues to play cool about Gehlot’s taunt and takes it in his stride. “Earlier, also the CM had spoken about me saying nakara (useless), nikamma (jobless) and much more. Ashok Gehlot is an experienced, elderly and fatherly figure, if he speaks something I don’t take it otherwise,” he said.
Praful Patel

Is Committee Of Administrators A Solution For Sports Federations?

Almost six years ago the Supreme Court of India found a way to set things right at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Following alleged malpractices in the IPL, the Apex Court appointed a Committee of Administrators (COA) to run the BCCI’s day-to-day affairs. The BCCI is still not convinced with certain reforms in cricket as recommended by former CJI RM Lodha; but in recent times the Courts — the Apex Court and the Delhi High Court have probably taken the cue from the BCCI case to sort out administrative and other matters at the All India Football Federation, Hockey India, and the National Federations of Table Tennis and Judo. In the year of the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham, England, the Courts have appointed COAs to make the federations compliant with the National Sports Code and “clean the administration” as described by a senior sports administrator. A couple of big guns — Praful Patel of the AIFF and Narendra Batra of the Indian Olympic Association — were unseated following the Court orders. Amidst all the hullabaloo around the maladministration of the sports bodies, a former table tennis player of repute, wondered whether the COA is the right way and solution to bring integrity in the functioning of the national sports federations.  Well, as of now, it’s like telling us: Like it or lump it!

Hunt On For CII’s UK Head With Sudden Exit Of Lakshmi Kaul

The news that Lakshmi Kaul, Head & Representative, Confederation Of Indian Industry, UK has moved out caught everyone in London by surprise. Nobody knows where Kaul is headed. Unlike her predecessor Suchita Sonalika who moved to the USA in 2018 to head the CII office in Washington, sources say it is unlikely that Lakshmi will stay within the CII.  While Lakshmi was in New Delhi last week, CII’s senior director in Delhi, Kavita Choudhry flew to London to hold the fort till a new successor is found. Kavita who has worked with CII for over a decade was responsible for the Europe sector for over four years as well as the South East Asian corridor. Though Kavita is capable and has rich experience, the sudden departure of Lakshmi has perplexed trade, business and media especially at a crucial time when negotiations related to the Free Trade Agreement are in full swing. CII plays a stellar role in the UK as a powerful trade organisation representing Indian business interests. Lakshmi’s warm demeanor and social engagements have proved very valuable to CII over the years. Lakshmi who worked for over 15 years in the UK handled a whole gamut of things ranging from relationship building, public relations, research, strategy and policy work to creating community networks. Lakshmi will definitely be missed.

Telangana Today

Yashwant Sinha Seeks To Meet LK Advani, Staff Decline Appointment Stating Daughter Pratibha Down With Covid

Before filing his papers for President’s election, joint opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha reached out to BJP veteran L K Advani for a meeting with him and to seek his blessings. The staff of the BJP leader however told Sinha that since Advani’s daughter Pratibha was down with Covid, a meeting perhaps would not be possible now. Interestingly, before the papers were to be filed the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti pledged its support to Sinha. It was also announced that KCR’s son KT Rama Rao would be present. And he did. Prominent among those who joined him to submit his papers included Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel, Akhilesh Yadav, DMK leader A Raja and Tiruchi Shiva, and Farooq Abdullah. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot was also present. However, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha was not represented as Jharkhand’s ruling party is yet to decide on whom to support in the presidential polls. Also present was Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Leader Jairam Ramesh, TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee and Saugata Roy, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Jayant Chaudhary, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Misa Bharti, Revolutionary Socialist Party’s N K Premchandran and Indian Union Muslim League’s Mohammed Bashir.
Simranjit Singh Mann

By-Election Setback For AAP, Punjab Elects A Khalistani Backer To Lok Sabha

Normally, in by-elections ruling parties tend to have an advantage. This was seen in the manner in which BJP clinched the two Samajwadi Party (SP) bastions of Azamgarh and Rampur in Lok Sabha by-polls in Uttar Pradesh (UP). However, what came as a surprise was that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lost Punjab’s Sangrur Lok Sabha seat — a parliamentary constituency, vacated by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, in less than four months after it swept to power in the state. While the two Lok Sabha seats in UP were previously held by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav (Azamgarh) and senior SP leader Azam Khan (Rampur), the Punjab seat considered a stronghold of Mann has gone to an avowed Khalistani supporter Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Simranjit Singh Mann. AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha, however downplayed the loss by pointing out that “AAP had retained its vote share with a meagre fall from 37% to 35% and all other parties INC, SAD (Akali Dal) and BJP lost deposits.” The BJP’s tally of Lok Sabha seats in UP has risen from 62 to 64, while the SP has been reduced to three seats. Though the BJP bagged the Rampur seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it lost the seat in 2019. Interestingly, Akhilesh Yadav had stayed out of campaign in Rampur while Azam Khan fielded a “weak” candidate.

Didi Leaves Nothing To Chance, Hits Campaign Trail For 2023 Panchayat Polls

Looks like Trinamool Congress Supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is taking no chance as far as elections in her state are concerned. Panchayat polls are in 2023 but Didi is already in an election mode. She plans to visit every district in the state so as to establish direct contacts with TMC booth-level workers and voters. This early preparation by Didi is for several reasons. First, to take stock of the implementation of her government’s development schemes and glean whether local leaders and administration are working in tandem. Second, to nip factional feuds within TMC. Third, to weed out corruption from the grassroots level. Above all, Didi has recruited a special force from outside to give her reports without dilution of what’s happening within her party at all levels. Didi who kicked off her panchayat campaign visiting the Jangalmahal areas in the Jhargram district is likely to visit all 23 districts of the state. Her one message to her party workers is: ensure panchayat polls are peaceful unlike 2018, which was marred by violence and opposition not allowed to contest. That poll violence cost the TMC dearly in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections where it lost 16 seats – from 38 it was down to 22 seats. This worked to BJPs advantage, winning 18 seats. Didi cannot afford that mistake again.
Edgar Su

Clash Of Titans: Djoker Stands Between Rafa And Calendar Slam

Tennis’ great rivalry is set to resume at Wimbledon with Rafael Nadal, the champion with 22 Grand Slams, and Novak Djokovic seeded at the top to meet only in the final. Their quarter final at the French Open was a match for the ages in which Djokovic bowed to Nadal’s supremacy on clay. On grass, it will be a different Djokovic who could deny Nadal the greatest quest of his career of a calendar Grand Slam as the Australian and French Open winner of 2022 sniffs at a chance he has rarely had in his career. His 22 Grand Slams are weighted in favour of clay at 14 but he has two Wimbledon titles suggesting he can master the fastest of the four different surfaces too. Of course, Djokovic, the last player to come within a title of the calendar Grand Slam but was to be denied by Medvedev in 2021 when he was beaten in the U.S. Open, boasts of seven Wimbledon titles in his collection of 20. Nadal said after his French Open win that tennis was a passionate pursuit at which he also won titles but Djokovic is known to chase the record of Grand Slams. It will be 2022’s greatest match if the two gladiators get to the final.
Shiv Nadar

Eyebrows Raised As Theosophical Society Leases Out 14-Acre Chennai Land To Shiv Nadar Foundation

Land is a touchy subject. Not surprisingly, any land deal in this part of the world draws more than cursory interest across the canvass. This time it belongs to the venerable Theosophical Society in Chennai. This institution at Besant Nagar in the heart of the city of Chennai has now penned a pact with an equally well-known name – Shiv Nadar Foundation. The society has decided to give the foundation 14 acres of its land on a long-lease basis to the Shiv Nadar Foundation. The Shiv Nadar Foundation is planning to set up a world-class K-12 school in Chennai, which, it claims, will be a progressive, ecologically-sensitive school with the highest international standards. Shiv Nadar Foundation is India’s leading philanthropic initiative by Shiv Nadar, founder of the HCL Group. It has established a chain of not-for-profit progressive schools in the National Capital Region (NCR) of Delhi. Today, these are among the most sought-after educational institutions in the area, and are consistently ranked among the top schools in the country. With their novel pedagogical approach, Shiv Nadar School nurtures young children into life-long learners and conscious citizens. The Society-Foundation alliance comes years after its lease pact with J Krishnamurthy Foundation-run school expired. In a state where anti-anything sentiment sprouts up at the drop of a hat, the society-foundation agreement has also come under intense focus.


Shilpa Shetty’s Comeback Dream Shattered As Two Films In A Row Bomb

Actor-dancer-reality show judge Shilpa Shetty has always been in the limelight. Yet, she yearned to return to the big screen. Towards this the 47-year fitness freak signed two films Nikamma and Hungama 2. Unfortunately, both films flopped thereby crashing her comeback dream after 14 years. It is learnt that Rohit Shetty has signed her to play as a cop for an OTT series. This role could be a game changer for her. Shilpa who made her debut in 1993 with Baazigar was an average actor but a great dancer. Her move to reality TV shows as a judge worked in her favour.  She has been part of that ecosystem since 2006. The star, known for her videos on yoga, shot to fame after participating in the UK reality show Celebrity Big Brother. She received international media coverage for the racism she faced by her fellow contestants and for eventually winning the show. Like Shilpa, there are many actors scripting their comeback. Neetu Kapoor who returned to films after a long gap has won accolades for her role in Jug Jugg Jeeyo. She has already signed a web series and is judging a reality show.  Bhagyashree who returned with a cameo in Thalaivi will now be judging a reality show. And finally An Evening In Paris gal, Sharmila Tagore too makes a comeback.

Didi Makes Efforts For Opposition Unity But Doesn't Get To Preside Over High Table

Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has had a tough time in forging Opposition initiatives to finalise a candidate for Presidential elections. Even as Yashwant Sinha quit TMC to please Left parties that found it difficult to back a candidate affiliated to a political party, Didi was quite stumped by her efforts to get NCP chief Sharad Pawar to be first a candidate and later to even attend the initial round of meeting she had called on June 15. Pawar’s presence was important for her to forge Opposition unity but for some reason the NCP chief was reluctant to take any lead. Didi had to persuade Supriya Sule and Praful Patel to ensure that the veteran leader was present at the event. Mamata even called on Pawar at his residence along with her nephew Abhishek on June 14. Yet in spite of her extra efforts, not all non-BJP parties turned up. Parties like AAP and TRS gave it a miss while the Left was critical that the meeting was held at short notice. Leaders of regional parties seemed more worried about their worth in 2024. At the meet Pawar surprised Mamata by ruling himself out of the contest right at the launch. This wasn’t how Mamata had planned. So finally on June 21 when Yashwant Sinha’s name was finalised at the Opposition meet, 2nd round, Mamata chose to skip it. 

Kashmir Digest

Holy Cow! India Exports 192 Tonnes Of Dung To Kuwait

India has experienced the full gamut of sentiments concerning the cow — from cow worship, cow vigilantism, to riots to protest beef eating and intolerance to use of leather products.  Against this backdrop, a new chapter has just opened up. For the first time a whopping 192 metric tonnes of indigenous cow dung has been exported to Kuwait by the Jaipur-based Sunrise Agriland Development & Research. The company’s director Prashant Chaturvedi is elated that even Islamic countrIes like Kuwait understand the nutrient value of cow dung. Atul Gupta, President of the Organic Farmer Producer Association of India is gung ho about the potential for organic fertilisers, especially cow dung. Reportedly, in 2020-21, the export value of natural fertilisers was Rs 27,155 crore. According to Kashmir Digest, “Many countries have found after research on indigenous cow dung that it can, not only increase the production of crops, but the use of the products produced from it can relieve humans from serious ailment. This is the reason that many countries have started importing indigenous cow dung along with organic manure from India.”  Kuwait has singled out cow dung as an appropriate fertiliser nutrient for increased Date size and yield. This move has made Goshalas in India optimistic which had all along claimed that dung was the best organic fertiliser for healthy agri-products. Holy Cow, dung in demand!

With EPS Taking Over The Reins Of AIADMK, Will OPS Be Shown The Door?

Having exhausted all attempts to stop the conduct of the AIADMK General Council (GC) meeting, to be held on June 23, party coordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS), who is expecting to be ousted from his post, has decided to boycott the event. He refuses to be part of what could be the coronation of his party colleague, joint leader, and now enemy No 1 as he aims to crown himself the sole leader of the party. OPS had been telling his supporters in the GC to strategise counter moves to those of the Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) camp who are determined to raise the issue of a single leader and take control of the party. OPS could not scuttle the GC legally as the court refused to stay the meeting. He also wrote a letter to the Avadi Police Commissioner requesting him to deny permission for the meeting at Vanagaram that falls under his Avadi jurisdiction. But the police are unlikely to take OPS’ word as the party has officially convened the meeting. Police are expected to be present in good numbers as OPS has raised the bogey of violence both in the court and with them. It does appear OPS’ days are numbered in AIADMK and he may also lose the post of Treasurer presiding over two big trusts that control about Rs 3,000 crore corpus.

Dr PKC Bose, Enercon Windenergy

Government To Farm Windmills Off-Shore, Make Electricity Off TN, Gujarat As the Wind Blows

While India’s Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has set a target of 100 GW for wind energy by 2030, it is also understood that the government is proposing two pilot research projects for sea-based windmills, one each in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. These initiatives, according to alternative energy experts, should result in reduction in the oil import bill. Prominent wind evangelist Senator Dr PKC Bose, for one, was gung-ho about World Wind Day (June 15). “Let’s enjoy the natural therapy of wind,” says Bose, who is Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the German Enercon Group’s Indian subsidiary Enercon Windenergy. Kochi-based boat builder Dr Jeevan Sudhakaran, CMD of Samudra Shipyard in Kochi said,“The sail harnessed it first and continues to do so”, and then told Bose “You are electrifying it without a carbon footprint!” Wind is surely slated to play a large part in the future of energy, with people like John Burroughs, American naturalist and nature essayist of the 19th and 20th centuries, having declared: “The fuel in the Earth will be exhausted in a thousand or more years, and it’s mineral wealth, but man will find substitutes for these in the winds, the waves, the Sun’s heat, and so on and so forth.”

MLC Polls: Defeat Of Dalit Leader Handore, Snub To Mallikarjun Kharge And Message To High Command, Feel Congressmen

The defeat of Congress’s first candidate in Maharashtra Legislative Council elections — Chandrakant Handore– and victory of second candidate Bhai Jagtap by eight votes reflects more poorly on vote management by senior ministers Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat, who is also PCC chief. Party sources feel defeat of Dalit leader Handore, who was to get first preference votes, was a shocker and, fear it would have implications in the Mumbai civic elections. Handore’s defeat also reflected the mood of MLAs who did not like the way party affairs were being managed. Sources said Handore’s defeat was a snub to Rajya Sabha Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge. Apparently, state leaders were irritated by the way Kharge got around to pushing for neo-Buddhist candidates in every election. Once it had even cost the party post of deputy chairman in the Legislative Council in 2018 as he insisted on the late Sharad Ranpise’s candidature. Many in the party feel the defeat of Handore is also a message of Maharashtra Congress to high command for imposing non-Maharshtrian candidates for Rajya Sabha in the past three consecutive elections — Rajiv Shukla, P Chidambaram and now Imran Pratapgarhi. Post Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde revolt, senior Congress leader Anant Gadgil feels Congress should have never joined the Government. “I had told Ahmed Patel in 2019, let us provide outside support to MVA,” recalls a vindicated Gadgil.
Bobby Deol

‘Baba Nirala’ Gives Bobby Deol A New Lease Of Life

Baba Nirala of Aashram has given Bobby Deol a new lease of life. Now, everybody takes the 53-year old actor seriously. It has been a chequered career for Bobby Deol ever since he made his debut with Barsaat in 1995. Post that it was almost like one film a year for a few years and then with most of his movies bombing no producers were willing to sign him on. No work saw him hitting the bottle.  Once while meeting Salman Khan over a drink, Bobby said “Let me climb on your back…give me opportunity”. Big hearted Sallu bhai strongly recommended him for Race 3. That was in 2018. Though the movie did not do well Bobby’s role as Yash Singh was well appreciated to land him two movies – Housefull 4 and Class Of ’83 – in quick succession. For this Dharmendra’s second son, family meant everything; he did everything whatever his father or brother would say. In a way he was cocooned and that perhaps cost him dearly in terms of choosing the script. Even though Bobby has worked in nearly 50 movies yet cinema-goers can’t recall any of the characters or dialogues from any of his movies.  But, people do remember his elder brother Sunny Deol’s movies, characters and Dhai Kilo Ka Haath dialogue. Aashram which is now into Season 3 has given him that recognition.

Amidst ED Summons To Rahul Gandhi, Ashok Gehlot Emerges As Troubleshooter

Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda has been sulking ever since his arch rival and fellow Jat leader Randeep Surjewala got elected from Rajasthan as Rajya Sabha MP and he couldn’t get anyone elected from Haryana. So when Congress high command initially dialled him to make protests in Delhi and at Jantar Mantar over summoning of Rahul Gandhi by the ED a success, a miffed Hooda told them to take help of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot who had ensured election of three Congress RS MPs. Hooda’s refusal made a desperate party leadership to send out a message to summon Rajasthan MLAs and party workers to reach Delhi to block streets on June 20 — Rahul’s fourth day at ED headquarters. But then it seems after initial reluctance, Hooda relented; his supporters not only made the protests a success in Delhi, Hooda himself turned up at Jantar Mantar. Meanwhile, party sources admit Gehlot had emerged as a troubleshooter in the Congress and he has been carrying messages on behalf of party president Sonia Gandhi. She wanted Ghulam Nabi Azad to handle the AICC Organisation — something he had managed in the 80s; Gehlot reached out to Azad who declined saying it must be given to younger people. He also pacified a miffed Tariq Anwar. Both Azad and Anwar were hoping to get a RS berth.
Retiring Indian High Commissioner UK, Gayatri Issar Kumar

L to R: Retired Indian HC Gayatri Issar Kumar, Lord Karan Billimoria, Bangladesh HC Muna Tasneem & Sujit Ghosh Acting Indian HC

London Calling Indian Business And Netas, UK Is New “Summer-Capital” Of India

Retired Indian High Commissioner to UK Gayatri Issar Kumar at her farewell hosted by the Indian Journalists Association there said in lighter vein that London looked like India’s new “summer capital”.  There is a ring of truth to what she said. Post Covid, no sooner were travel rules relaxed than there was a beeline of ministers, bureaucrats, businessmen air dashing to London. Union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Telangana’s IT Minister KT Rama Rao, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Salman Khurshid landed here in quick succession to engage with the Indian diaspora. Goyal’s frequent visits and systematic follow-ups were to generate investments through government bonds and expedite progress of FTA, slated to be concluded by Diwali this year.  Senior BJP leader and RSS ideologue Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who is set to visit London, is scheduled to address Indian groups and includes the Overseas Maharashtrians Professionals and Entrepreneurs Group. India’s growing soft power is the message. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also plans to visit London.  Sometime in July, the Chief Justice of India and law department secretaries have their scheduled visits and public engagements. And finally, the Commonwealth Games will likely see the entire sports lobby from India travelling to the West Midlands in the UK. Clearly, London is not just a summer capital. Indian business and politics seems to evolve and revolve around it.

Sterlite Copper On The Chopping Block, As Promoter Anil Agarwal Seeks To Exit Tamil Nadu

The going has been tough for this one right from the word go. This one came to Tamil Nadu after two States – Maharashtra and Goa – spurned it. Finally, it found sanctuary in the Dravidian state. And, the Sterlite Copper smelter plant at Thoothukudi had run freely for over two decades under the dispensation of AIADMK and DMK – the warring political parties in Tamil Nadu. Problem began when it went in for expansion. A protest followed. Not just that. A police firing on the anti-Sterlite protesters saw 13 people killed. A panicked government ordered the immediate closure of the plant. Well, this has caught everybody in an inextricable position. Many jobs have disappeared and thousands of crores lost in the process. And, India slipped from its pre-eminent position in the global copperfield. Virtually caught in a cobweb, Anil Agarwal, promoter of Sterlite Copper has now chosen to sell the immobilised plant. The move has taken everybody off guard. Is it a positioning strategy? Or, is it a business decision? With Ford exiting India, the proverbial sword hangs over the heads of workmen at its Maraimalai Nagar plant in Tamil Nadu? Coming as it does in the wake of Agnipath imbroglio, the Sterlite Copper sale move has surprised everybody alike, including the authorities. Well, it is yet unclear how Sterlite wants to go about selling its assets in Tamil Nadu.
Red Jackfruit

How Red Coloured Jackfruit Turned Aerospace Engineer Into A Pomologist

Aerospace engineer M Premkumar who works for Honeywell Aerospace in Bengaluru has turned a Pomologist, a specialist in fruit culture. Call it serendipity. While travelling through rural areas of Karnataka he came across an unusual red variety of Jackfruit which was succulent and dripping with sweetness. Immediately he fell in love with this fruit and felt it should be grown in his village in Tamil Nadu’s Ranipettai district. He zeroed in on some 30 of these exotic red varieties and set up a model red Jackfruit breeding farm and raised 1500 saplings, and sold it for Rs 250 per sapling. Says Premkumar “These saplings need care for three years, and then they can live up to more than 50 years yielding soft fleshy fruits which don’t spoil for up to five days.“ The ordinary jackfruit yields just 20% of its weight as edible fruit, while the red variety yields up to 65% per kg. This makes the red variety hugely attractive in terms of investment as 1 acre can accommodate 70 saplings. Unripe Jackfruit is already in big demand globally, as it tastes like shredded chicken, pulled pork and is considered a boon for vegans.  Premkumar is trying to develop uniform varieties for creating a market under the National Horticulture Mission.  To connect Jackfruit farmers world over he has started a WhatsApp group that exchanges ideas for this fruit.

Not By Choice But Compulsion AIADMK Will Stay Intact And Not Split

AIADMK, the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu, is in turmoil. A tussle between the two factions headed by Joint coordinators Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) has led even to skirmishes and a former minister’s car being thumped as he left HQ. Together, EPS and OPS mean something in Tamil Nadu politics but if they go their separate ways, the former ruling party, founded by MGR and nurtured by J Jayalalithaa, will lose ground rapidly. Prime Minister had played the peacemaker on his last visit to Chennai, telling both party honchos to stay united and play a constructive role as opposition party. What is causing stress now is the playbook of EPS supporters eyeing to bring back the old days of a unitary leader and to hold an election for a revived general secretary post. But, OPS, fearful that he may stand no chance in a party poll, would like to avoid a head-to-head contest. A compromise may be OPS’ best route out but he would end up losing whatever hold he has on the party. A hidden hand in this is, of course, that of the Jaya confidante VK Sasikala whose political ambitions run sky-high. Truth to tell, EPS is the party’s best-known face but he can assert himself only at the cost of the party splitting. June 23, when the party council meets, should be fraught with interest.

As Steel Prices Soar PSU Contractors Seek ‘Blacklisting’ To Escape Penalties For Not Executing The Projects

There was a time when a contractor would give an arm and a leg to win a big government tender. Not anymore. According to ministry mandarins, many contractors who bagged major contracts are doing their utmost to get blacklisted to avoid executing the tenders, and escape severe penalties for failing to meet the project execution milestones. According to a highly placed PSU source, many of the contractors had bagged the contracts in 2020, when steel prices were in the range of Rs 37,000 per tonne. The contractors, as is the norm, would have factored in a 15-20% hike in steel prices. In reality steel prices doubled to Rs 72,500 in March 2022 before falling to around Rs 60,000 per tonne in April 2022 “There is no way the contractors can execute projects at these prices; it’s totally unviable. But given the stringent penalties for failing to meet tender conditions, the only hope for contractors to escape the penalties is to get blacklisted on some count or the other,’’ said a source. If a large number of contractors get blacklisted it will be a big setback for all public sector undertakings. With the government chalking up a CAPEX of Rs 7.5 lakh crore in 2022-23, it will be a lose-lose proposition for everybody. So, should public sector undertakings go in for re-tendering the contracts?
Smitha Harikrishna

WC Batter-Bowler Smitha Harikrishna Won't Get BCCI's Monthly Gratis

A substantial increase in the monthly gratis announced by the BCCI for retired cricketers has brought joy to all of them. The Indian Cricketers Association (ICA) whose representatives — Anushman Gaekwad and Shanta Rangaswamy — are in the Apex Council of the BCCI conveyed its happiness to Jay Shah (Secretary, BCCI); some cricketers took to Facebook and Twitter outlets to thank Shah, but there is one unhappy soul — Karnataka’s Smitha Harikrishna — who is left wondering why she was given the go bye by her fraternity and the BCCI whose President is former India captain Sourav Ganguly. Smitha played 22 one day internationals from 1995 to 2000, 13 matches of which were in World Cups held in 1997 in India and in New Zealand. Those who argue for Smitha’s genuine grievance say that if those who have played only one Test (before the cut-off date of December 2004) can get Rs 30,000 a month, why is Smitha being discriminated against. Initially the BCCI took a policy decision to consider monthly gratis to women players who have played upwards of five Tests on or before December 31, 2004, but the Supreme Court appointed of Administrators extended the benefit to those who played even one Test match, leaving one day specialist Smitha in tears. The increase in monthly gratis payment has only compounded her woes.
Sonia Gandhi


Convalescing Cong Chief Sonia Gandhi To Miss June 23 Date, ED Will Just Have To Wait

So now it is quite obvious that when Congress President Sonia Gandhi avoided the first ED summons in the National Herald case on June 8 citing COVID, it is clear she wasn’t suffering from it. A party statement  now has claimed she was  admitted to the Sir Gangaram Hospital on June 12 citing “profuse bleeding from the nose” where she  is currently being treated for a fungal infection detected in her lower respiratory tract, along with other post-COVID symptoms. That it is not COVID became clear by the manner in which Rahul and Priyanka were regularly visiting Sonia in the hospital. She underwent a related follow-up procedure on June 16 morning. “She continues to be under close observation and treatment.” It seemed very odd that a medical bulletin on Sonia’s health should be issued by the party, instead of the hospital. Of course, the statement was carefully worded, loaded with medical terminology to help Sonia avoid her June 23 date with ED. Towards this end new AICC media head Jairam Ramesh has done a thorough job. Yet, it is surprising why the hospital did not issue a health bulletin on Sonia? This is generally the practice most hospitals follow whenever well-known political leaders are admitted under their care.


Akshay’s Flop Show Trends At Box Office, Time For Instrospection Say Critics

Lady Luck seems to have stopped smiling on actor-producer Akshay Kumar. The 55-year-old Bollywood money making machine, with over 100 films, faced a series of flops in recent times. But, he is unfazed as he personally suffered no monetary losses. The moment a film bombs he completely cuts himself off from the project and moves on to the next one. These days Kumar takes pride in the fact that he created a record of sorts, producing and acting in the maximum number of films during the Lockdown. However, not all the films were successful. Laxxmi was OTT streamed, Bell Bottom got panned by critics and Sooryavanshi was an average hit only thanks to Rohit Shetty. Bachchan Pandey also bombed at the box office.  It was the third flop in a row for Sajid Nadiadwala but, didn’t really impact Akshay Kumar. As is his wont, he went on to promote Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan and dropped out of the promotions when it too flopped. Well-known trade analyst Komal Nahta aptly summed up Akshay’s problems. He says Akshay needs to carefully choose his subject and get into the skin of the character. For instance, in Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan he looked like Akshay, not the character he was playing. Perhaps his political alignment has not gone down well with his fans.

KCR Stargazing For National Role, TRS To Be Rechristened BRS Before Presidential Poll?

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao wants to rebrand his party as Bharat Rashtra Samiti on the premise that he wants it to grow nationally. The whispers inside his own party are that their chief honcho is guided by astrologers who seem to have picked on the name ‘TRS’ as the reason why it won’t do well in the next polls. In fact, short of saying he may be heading for defeat for the first time since the State of Telangana was formed and the party its leading votary formed sweeping the polls twice, soothsayers may have warned KCR that the stars don’t foretell a great future beyond the elections that are due in 2023 in the state. By rebranding his party through a change to Bharat, KCR believes he can build on his national ambitions by seeking to expand beyond Telangana boundaries. While it is moot if the party can so much as seek to do well even in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, it’s likely KCR is thinking of projecting himself in the Hindi belt, towards which he would like to take on the avatar of a national leader, beginning with an active role in the Presidential polls in July. What the stars portend may be a fear driving him but KCR is convinced that a national role awaits him.
J P Nadda

Nadda Puts Bengal Bifurcation Plan On Hold, Don’t Press For WB Divide in Public For Now, BJP Leaders Are Told

BJP has woken up to the harsh reality of difficulty in dividing Bengal politically. This realisation saw BJP Chief JP Nadda telling partymen not to rake up the Bengal bifurcation issue in public. Some BJP leaders were pushing for a separate state/Union territory status for North Bengal from the state’s western plateau. This change of heart comes even as TMC postures on unity in political diversity making BJP top leader thinks it is inopportune time to be treading on the statehood landmine and getting perceived as dividers of Bengal. BJP’s MLA numbers are down owing to cross-overs to the TMC. Nine local BJP MLAs have written a letter to Nadda expressing displeasure over recent organisational changes in the state. More importantly, with the Presidential election in July, 2023 panchayat elections and 2024 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s top brass won’t risk slicing Bengal politically for the time being. BJP has also realised that there is no common cause among political parties in North Bengal. “The splitting of Bengal is far from being over, BJP has pressed the pause button for now”, analysts say. So, for now the party is focussed on consolidation fearing its anti-Mamata and divide Bengal politics may boomerang.

Awign Co-Founders Annanya Sarthak, Gurpreet Singh & Praveen Sah

Big Cos Proliferate Start-ups, Outsource Work On Gig Platforms, Keep Costs In Check, Just Ask Awign, Taskmo

A new bee on the job horizon goes by the exotic name of Gig business. Many big companies including Tatas, Infosys, Britannia, Wipro, Ola, Fresh to Home etc are looking to the gig economy to cut costs and access talent across locations. There are now quite a few popular gig worker platforms like Awign and Taskmo. Gig is a slang term used for a single professional engagement usually for a short duration. Some of the examples are freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires. The huge interest has seen Awign’s top line and bottomline grow 10- fold, according to Annanya Sarthak and Gurpreet Singh, the founders. In the last one and half years, the business profile of its  customers changed to large enterprises — either Rs 1000 crore brick and mortar enterprises or scaled up growth companies like Swiggy, Ola, Byju’s etc which have grown into large enterprises. Another company, Taskmo, is also seeing its business grow. Taskmo has added 430-450 new task listings. At least 20% of them were as per specific customer requirements. This is a new trend with momentum picking up as companies look at flexi-hiring to rationalise talent acquisition, says Prashant Janadri, Taskmo promoter.


IPL's $5.6 Billion Valuation Makes BCCI Bosses Feeling Richie '$$$' Rich!

One cannot grudge the BCCI functionaries if they feel like the fictional character Richie Rich, whose net worth was once valued at $25 billion. The fact is that the prime cricket property in the world with a famous acronym IPL — a Twenty20 tournament conducted by the BCCI — has been screaming about having crossed the $5.6 billion mark valuation; a far cry from the Richie Rich valuation and what the ideator of the tournament, Lalit Modi had predicted; between $8 to 10 billion for the 2023-27 period. But the BCCI top brass must be pleased as punch with Rs 47,000 crore valuation of the tournament that in 2008 was put in place by business tycoons from the textile, oil, beverages, real estate, cement, media, pharmaceutical, airport industry and celebrities from the tinsel town.  SONY Sports held the media rights for the first 10 years at Rs 8,200 crore plus and Star Sports held it for the last five season cycle for Rs 16,347 crore plus. And now the successful bidders for the 2023-27 cycle,  reported to be Star Sports for television and the Ambanis driven Viacom18 for digital, have to shell out Rs 4,750 crore and Rs 4,100 crore to the BCCI for each of the next five seasons. The BCCI’s Jay Shah and Brijesh Patel have every right to feel like Richie Rich!
Sharad Pawar

Pawar's Play At Work, Change Of Guard In Maharashtra?

A lot of meaning is being read into the way NCP Chief Sharad Pawar praised BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis for winning all the 3 seats his party contested. Pawar praised Fadnavis for succeeding in working the “miracle” of weaning away independent MLAs from rival camps using “different means”. He said that there was nothing shocking in the election results, in which a Shiv Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar lost to BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik. “One has to accept the miracle in which BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis succeeded in weaning away independent MLAs and also those from smaller parties, who would have otherwise supported the MVA. He was successful in bringing people (independent MLAs) close to him by using different means,” said Pawar. Congress sources said the two AIMIM MLAs who extended support to the MVA Government didn’t vote for Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar but only Cong-NCP.  Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who scraped through the polls, however down played BJP’s accomplishment. Political buzz is that the NCP could soon stake its claim to lead the government in Maharashtra. It is being said Pawar would like to see his daughter Supriya Sule installed as the state CM. The MVA Government under Uddhav Thackeray has completed two and half years in office. Guess it must be NCP’s turn now at the top.
Salman khan

Real Life Villain Bishnoi Threatens Salman, Bhai Shoots In Hyderabad for Bhaijaan, Black Buck Day Returns

Fifty-seven and yet, Bollywood’s eligible bachelor Salman Khan’s run in news columns continues for the right or wrong reasons. This time the reel life hero was targeted by a real-life villain Lawrence Bishnoi, the gangster who bumped off singer Sidhu Moose Wala over an old killing of his own aide by Moose Wala’s personal aide. After an anonymous letter threatened Salman and his father Salim Khan, the actor told police he was clueless, nor did he suspect anyone. Khan flew to Hyderabad to shoot the Bhaijaan movie thereafter. His stand-up macho act to criminal intimidation won him admiration among fans. The commercially successful star was linked up to with one too many affairs naming Sangeeta Bijalani, Somy Ali to Aishwaraya Rai and Katrina Kaif but, mostly ended up with bad press for alleged physical intimidation bordering on domestic abuse blamed on him by his girl-friends. The Bhai remained unfazed and bounced back professionally. He was acquitted in the Bandra hit-and-run case, but the Black Buck shooting case continues to still haunt him.  The Bishnoi gang’s linkages to the community that had Salman arrested for killing of black buck deer is the latest buzz. Khan‘s 44 million followers on Twitter are hard at work.
Imran Pratapgarhi

Imran Pratapgarhi, The Elusive Poet-Quawwal Who Acted Pricey With Maharashtra Congress Faithfully Voted To Rajya Sabha

Maharashtra Congressmen simply cannot get over the fact that they had to elect AICC minority cell head Imran Pratapgarhi to the Rajya Sabha. It was a tough call to elect an outsider for the single seat that fell vacant in the state. But then it was a whip from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.  So all the 44 MLAs duly voted Pratapgarhi. Yet what is riling many party seniors is how Pratapgarhi, a well-known poet-qawwaali singer, had played hard to get during the 2019 assembly election campaign. State party managers recalled when asked to do some shows in Muslim-majority pockets in western Maharashtra, the snooty poet had quoted Rs 2 lakh per show. It was a price the state unit found too high to afford. Pratapgarhi had lost from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Today, Maharashtra has quietly sent him to Rajya Sabha, hoping he may not send a huge bill for the campaign again. In this context, old timers recall how when veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad was sent to the Rajya Sabha for one term in the 90s there was a howl of protest. That too after he had already been twice elected to Lok Sabha from Washim in Maharashtra.

Hong Kong's Strict Laws Edging Out Lax Indian Public Sector Banks, Except SBI

A huge amount outstanding in bad loans which they will have to write off because they can never recover the money is seeing Indian public-sector banks (PSBs) winding up their operations in Hong Kong. The city state, unlike back home in India, has strict laws about bad loans in bank’s books. Many of these PSBs, perhaps, were pressured to open branches for political and not commercial reasons. These allowed businessmen to get easy loans, allegedly for a fee, and these borrowers then declared huge losses and, eventually, bankruptcy – obviously leaving the lenders in the lurch. Says a local banker: “Even today, there are too many Indian banks here and none making money!” While there is an uproar in Parliament if banks write off loans, HK laws say that bad loans must be written off if they are not collectible. “Bahut chor hain – and banks are bakras!” he adds. “It is good that finally, this government is closing down banks which are not profitable.” The Union Bank of India has already transferred its client accounts to its Singapore and Australian branches and is on the threshold of winding up in HK totally. There are three more in the process of winding up in HK. Eventually, State Bank of India will probably be the only PSB left there.
Meethali raj


With Time Up On Her, Mithali Raj Calls It Quits!

Mithali Raj put an end to all speculation regarding future appearances wearing the India colours by announcing retirement from international cricket. Into her 40th year, it was time to move on for the prima donna of the national team after 23 years of playing Test, one-day internationals and Twenty20 cricket. Mithali took to Twitter to inform fans that she was bidding adieu to the game; her declaration coming a few hours before the BCCI announced Harmanpreet Kaur as captain of the Indian team for the white ball series (ODIs and Twenty20) in Sri Lanka. These two events happening one after another, sent the rumour mill on a spin with whispers that she may have been elbowed out. Mithali’s last assignment as India captain was the failed campaign in the ICC Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. Her team lost four league matches and could not enter the semi-finals. For over a decade she had shouldered the task of scoring runs until Harmanpreet and Smriti Mandhana arrived on the scene, exhibiting lovely stroke play that riveted attention on them in domestic and international cricket. Then came Jemima Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Harleen Deol, Richa Ghosh and Yastika Bhatia; all of whom went after the ball and sent pulses racing. But the famous ‘Didi’ of Indian women’s cricket cannot be denied her exalted place in the pantheon of women’s cricket in the world.
Nayantara (1)


Super Star Nayanthara Ties The Knot With Ace Director Vignesh Culminating Seven Year Courtship

At long last they are married. After a seven-year love story, amid now-on-now-off rumours regarding actress Nayanthara’s wedding with writer-director Vignesh Shivan, it finally happened at a 5-Star resort in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, amid a vetted down guest list of 200 people, digital invitations and QR codes in place. Reportedly, Nayanthara wanted a Tirupati Balaji temple wedding. But the Netflix offer of Rs 25 crore for telecast rights for an orchestrated ceremony was too good to resist. Nayan, the savvy entrepreneur, quickly course corrected towards a resort wedding. The Vicky-Katrina wedding had set benchmarks of monetisation. The guest list read like a K Town compendium — Rajini, Kamal, Karthi, Vijay, Sethupathi, AR Rahman to name a few. Rajini did the ritual honour of giving the ‘thali, maangalyam’ (mangalsutra) to Vignesh, who has waited seven long years to snag one of the most wooed and striking stars from K town. Ace director Gautam Vasudev Menon directed the 2-hour proceedings in his inimitable style ensuring a slick event with an ensemble cast. Nayan’s vermilion clingy saree, the beautifully embossed choli (with Lakshmi motifs), heavy emerald and polky diamond jewellery vied for attention with Nayan’s drop dead gorgeous looks. Shah Rukh Khan with director Atlee sashayed in style to wish his Jawan heroine loads of happiness. Next to follow is the high-octane reception at the Grand Chola.
Jagan Reddy with Narendra Modi sent via email

BJP Banks On Allies & Jagan Mohan Reddy For Presidential Polls In July

The term of the first ever President from BJP-RSS, Ram Nath Kovind, is getting over and the race for succession has been throwing up interesting names. While the Modi-Amit Shah-RSS chief trio may come up with an outreach name of their own choice to spring a surprise as they did last time, the importance of the person holding the post in 2024 in having to decide who to call to form the government is not to be underestimated. The odds are the name will be acceptable to allies on whom the BJP will be relying to get its candidate past the post. Kovind got more than two-thirds of the vote, which may not happen in these more polarised times. But the BJP is certain it will seal the numbers as the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party(YSRCP) will be its banker. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is an ally who has never stepped out of line, maybe because of his experience with the central agencies before sweeping the polls to become Andhra CM. The result is not in doubt thanks to Jagan deciding to stick with the rulers. The UPA has been toying with various names, including that of Nandan Nilekani whose brainchild is Aadhaar, but it lacks the numbers to make any great impression on Presidential polls that have always been won by the candidate of the ruling dispensation.
Naveen Jindal and Nupur Sharma

After Nupur-Jindal Loud Thinking Courts International Ire, BJP To Monitor Spokepersons, Mind Their Language

Post the embarrassment of fire-fighting utterances of the now sacked party voices Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, the BJP has come up with new guidelines for its spokespersons appearing on TV shows. As per the new guidelines, only the official spokespersons and panelists will now be allowed to appear on TV debates. The party’s media cell has been charged with assigning spokespersons for the talk shows on TV channels.  The party will once again go back to the old system when spokespersons were briefed by senior leaders or ministers such as the late Arun Jaitley or Sushma Swaraj. Looks like the media cell will once again be guided by senior party leaders or ministers.  For a while spokespersons have been operating autonomously, relying on their own understanding of the subject. The media cell has been sorely missing critical inputs of someone like Shrikant Sharma — now a minister in the Yogi Government — who used to give briefs to spokespersons before they went on air. Sharma used to ensure that no one crossed the line or made any controversial comment.  As per the new advisory, spokespersons have been advised to research on the topic of debate before they go on air and prepare themselves keeping in mind the party line.

IT Sector Attrition Rates At All Time High, Demand For Experienced Employees Shoots Up, As Corporates Sigh!

The high attrition levels in the IT industry is turning into a big headache for corporates. Big IT companies like Cognizant, Infosys, TCS, Capgemini, Wipro are witnessing an exodus of employees with five years of experience or more. The reason is amply clear, as salaries have jumped up after the long Covid break. Cognizant saw attrition levels of 40%, Infosys @ 25% and TCS @ 15% to name just a few.  Earlier, someone with five years of experience earned Rs 24-25 lakh per annum. Now the salaries for the same level and experience net an employee Rs 30-38 lakh per annum.  It is not clear if the same is happening for higher level jobs in IT companies but, this is good news for engineering graduates. The IT sector has been a mass recruiter for some years now contributing to 5% of the Indian GDP. But it was saturating with only good skilled IT engineers in demand. All this was before the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S. produces around one lakh engineers per year in a $ 16 trillion economy. And India produces 15 lakh engineers in a $ 2 trillion economy. With manufacturing, electrical and civil taking a back seat as employment generators, it was the IT sector that has been the saving grace for some time now.
tks Elangovan

DMK MP TKS Elangovan gives a twist to his rant against Hindi

Stalin's Mind Your Language Class, Asks DMK Leaders To Go Vocal On Hindi But, Cut Out Caste

A message has gone out to DMK party members from the Stalin household to mind their language in public. A full licence has been given to keep knocking the Centre over Hindi and NEET but don’t get into caste politics by dragging names of communities is the message. Stalin has mastered the art of saying it nicely even if he is diametrically opposed to the Centre and its Governor but many down the line may have lost their way in packaging their messages. The DMK MP TKS Elangovan’s rant against Hindi imposition would have been fine with the party except for the twist given in dragging caste into it with the word “shudras”. The higher education minister K Ponmudy had also raved against Hindi and he also overstepped in calling all Hindi speaking people as “Paani-puri wallahs” but the humour had struck home.  Having won the battle against caste hierarchy long ago after having come to power in 1967, the DMK would like to keep social justice as an ideological peg and not give it a spin by airing caste politics. Their high command may have enjoyed the divisions among the AIADMK over the BJP trying to take over, at least in voice, as the main opposition in the State but it does not wish to get tangled in rhetoric taking over practical politics.
Sudheendra Kulkarni

Vajpayee’s Former Speech Writer Sudheendra Kulkarni’s New Political Tryst, This Time With Congress As Strategist?

Ever since election strategist Prashant Kishor walked out on the Congress, many tried filling into his shoes. Even his understudy turned rival, poll strategist Sunil Kanugolu has now become part of the Congress task force for the 2024 general elections. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi constantly seeks someone to give him an edge over PM Narendra Modi. It is in this light that a recent tweet by Sudheendra Kulkarni caught the attention of Congressmen in Karnataka. On May 22, Kulkarni tweeted that he had conducted a training camp for Congress karyakartas in Bengaluru in Sarvagnangar assembly constituency of party MLA KJ George. IIT-Bombay educated Kulkarni was a speechwriter for former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A native of north Karnataka, he also handled senior BJP leader LK Advani’s 2009 election campaign. He is credited for Advani’s praise of Jinnah’s speech in May 2005 during the Pak visit. Congress sources say Kulkarni is yet to join the party. Kulkarni was a student of Jairam Ramesh’s father at IIT, Bombay and it is possible Jairam may have introduced him to Rahul Gandhi. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, after BJP failed to win, Kulkarni exited the BJP.  Then, BJP leader Muktar Abbas Naqvi had said Kulkarni was never a member of the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi

RaGa Condoles Moose Wala Family, Visits Late Singer’s Home Town, Ignored Priyanka Vadra Supporters Frown

Days after popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala was murdered, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited his family in Mansa district on Tuesday, June 7, to offer his condolences. Sidhu Moose Wala had joined the Congress in December 2021 and unsuccessfully contested from the Mansa seat in the 2022 Punjab state assembly elections. Rahul’s visit to the singer’s family in their native village of Moosa was interesting in the backdrop of Moose Wala’s parents meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah on June 4 at Chandigarh airport. At the meeting, Moose Wala’s father Balkaur Singh had demanded a probe by central intelligence agencies into the brutal murder of his son in Mansa on May 29. Rahul Gandhi was abroad at the time and returned over the weekend. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also planned to visit the Moose Wala family. But it was finally decided that it would be Rahul. With a number of Congress leaders joining the BJP in Punjab, Rahul’s visit to the state assumes importance, party sources said. Rahul was accompanied by several Congress leaders including Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and LOP in the Punjab Assembly Partap Singh Bajwa. Yet some MLAs, apparently those close to Priyanka Vadra, like Suhkpal Singh Khaira felt miffed as they were not included in Rahul’s itinerary.


Top Broadcasters Vie For Piece Of IPL Media Rights Pie, As BCCI Reaches For The Sky

The 15th season of the Indian Premier League concluded and with it, global media rights secured by Star India for Rs 16,347 crore for five seasons from 2018. SONY Pictures had won the first 10-year media rights for around Rs.8200 crore in 2008. Fifteen years back Lalit Modi, chief architect of the trailblazing Twenty20 league, monetised the franchise auctions and media rights for astronomical figures. The refrain in the ad world today is “sky’s the limit” for the next IPL media rights 2023-27 (in four categories) as IPL is the most premium product for advertisers now. “The IPL became a premium product after the first 10 seasons. Today corporate first set aside money for IPL, before considering other options. There are a number of them. The IPL is the pivot for broadcasting companies as a whole, not just their sports channels,” explained a doyen in the media rights business. The BCCI has pegged a high reserve price of Rs 32,890 crore for all four categories together. There are reports that TV18-Viacom, Disney Star, Sony, Zee and Amazon have bought the invitation for tenders. NP Singh, CEO & MD of SONY Pictures feels the need for a reality check on the reserve price following a drop in viewership for IPL-15. The weekend e- auction of media rights will quantify the windfall BCCI will reap.

Shock Therapy Or Winning Strategy: Naveen Patnaik’s New Cabinet Has Young Women Faces, Eyes On 2024 Polls

Playing a master stroke is a habit with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. But, the latest one caught his band of ministers by surprise. Emboldened by the recent bypoll win in Brajrajnagar and the Panchayat polls earlier, Patnaik did the apparently unthinkable –asking all his ministers to resign en masse on Saturday (June 4) and rejigged the 21-member new cabinet with new faces the next day. Non-performers were shown the door. Surprisingly, Governor Ganesh Lal approved the entire exercise without quibbles. In simpler words Modi’s dispensation did not throw any spanners in the works. Seasoned politicians from Odisha say no Odisha Chief Minister ever, including Naveen’s father Biju Patnaik, had the audacity to do what he did at such a short notice. His decision was with some purpose. Naveen babu clearly wants his party BJD to sweep the 2024 Lok Sabha election in Odisha. To ensure the win, he did away with deadwood, controversial ministers and sycophant advisors. While 20 ministers quit, Naveen gave cabinet berths to only nine. Five women and, seven people elected from western Odisha, considered a stronghold of BJP were also accommodated. Some political analysts are calling it a shock therapy while others are saying it’s Patnaik’s winning strategy. There is no denying that Patnaik remains an undisputable hero for some time to come.
x-prem bengali movie

TMC MLA’s Movie Gets Screening Preference At State-Run Nandan Theatre While Award Winning Director Srijit Mukherji Denied Slot

Four-time National award-winning director Srijit Mukherji’s film X=Prem was declined screening slots at the iconic state-run Nandan theatre. Director-cum-Trinamool Congress MLA Raj Chakraborty’s film Habji Gabji got an afternoon slot though. Srijit tweeted, “Two films released on the same day. Both applied for Nandan. But, only one got through. Whereas ideally and in all fairness either both or neither should have. Why did this happen? Though all films are equal, some films are apparently more equal than others :-).” Raj Chakraborty’s counter was quick stating, “I don’t want publicity through controversy because the film will speak the final (last) word.”  Mukherji later clarified that his question was addressed to the state government’s information and cultural affairs department, which did not cite any reason while denying him the daytime slot. Interestingly, the reason why producers clamour for the state -run theatres, especially Nandan, is because 50% of the revenue earned at the state-run theatres goes to the producers after GST deduction. The rule is applicable for the first week of release and, thereafter the amount drops to 40% in week two and so on. In the recent past, director Anik Dutta’s film Aparajita, based on legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s journey on his masterpiece creation Pather Panchali, was denied screening at Nandan as Dutta is anti-TMC.

From Helicopter Shot To Drones, Captain Cool Plays High Stakes, In Chennai Based Garuda Aerospace

CSK is Dhoni and Dhoni is CSK. This is often reiterated by N Srinivasan, the owner of the Chennai franchisee of the IPL team. To be sure, Dhoni and Chennai have become inseparable. Not surprisingly, Dhoni has often said his last game in the highly popular Indian Premier League would be in his adopted home city of Chennai. His affinity to Chennai is all too apparent. And, his propensity to think out-of-the-box is legendary. It is no wonder that people across the spectrum view him a strategist par excellence.  How else could one decipher his investment in the Chennai-based Garuda Aerospace, which is a DaaS (drone-as-a-service) provider.  If highly-placed sources are to go by, the former Indian cricket captain has invested close to Rs 10 crore into Garuda Aerospace. Garuda has also signed up the World Cup winning captain as its brand ambassador. This is expected to fetch MSD Rs 5 crore. Besides bringing in Rs 5 crore, captain cool will be investing this fee also into Garuda. This makes his total investment into the Chennai-based company at Rs 10 crore.  The investment of Dhoni is part of the bridge round, ahead of Garuda’s $30 million Series A round. He may have quit international cricket. Yet, Captain Dhoni remains a formidable brand to reckon with.
Akhilesh Yadav

Samajwadi Party Proposes Then Disposes Better Halves Of Akhilesh Yadav And Azam Khan For LS & RS Polls Respectively


It seems wives in the Samajwadi Party have lost out on party tickets, whether for the Rajya Sabha or, even for Lok Sabha by-elections. SP men simply aren’t willing to risk their better halves in UP under Yogi. First it was Dimple Yadav, wife of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav who couldn’t win a nomination to Rajya Sabha as the RS ticket went to RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary. No wonder when Akhilesh Yadav met senior leader Azam Khan in the hospital, after the latter’s release from jail, a clash ensued between the two over the question of fielding candidates for two upcoming Lok Sabha by-elections. Akhilesh wanted to field wife Dimple from Azamgarh, the Lok Sabha seat he vacated to retain his assembly seat of Karhal, even as Azam Khan was against it during their couple of hours long meeting. Finally, Akhilesh picked his first cousin Dharmendra Yadav to contest from Azamgarh. Similarly, Azam Khan initially proposed his wife Dr Tanzeem Fatima but, later opted for SP city president Asim Raza for the Rampur Lok Sabha by-polls. “Earlier it was Dr Tanzeen Fatima but Raza will be contesting now. He is one of the loyal workers we have,” Khan said in Rampur. The BJP has fieIded Dinesh Lal Yadav, who is asking for a vote for “your development”.
Ministry of External Affairs

BJP Suspends Nupur-Naveen After Gulf Heat, MEA Stands Up To OIC

A day after receiving flak for all out appeasement of Gulf countries and suspensions of BJP spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal, over controversial statements regarding a religious entity, India is standing its ground while dealing with the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC). The Ministry of External Affairs on June 6 cited an OIC statement asking it to stop pursuing a “communal approach and show due respect to all faiths and religions”. “The Government of India (GoI) categorically rejects the OIC Secretariat’s unwarranted and narrow-minded comments. The GoI accords the highest respect to all religions,” the MEA statement stated adding that “offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality were made by certain individuals. And that they do not, in any manner, reflect views of the GoI.”  The MEA had earlier referred to Sharma and Jindal as fringe elements on June 5. BJP sources say Nupur, an Arun Jaitley protégé and Naveen Jindal were too ambitious and not in sync with the official party line; while perpetually competing to impress party bosses. During TV debates Nupur flaunted her skills in shaming fellow panellists. Only this time, her one upmanship blemished efforts by the PM to improve India’s ties with Gulf nations. The ‘y’ category security accorded to Sharma, however, remains unchanged particularly in view of threats issued to her.
Shahrukh & Atlee


Will Jawan Tamil Director Atlee’s Hand, Restore The Midas Touch For King Khan?

Even as Atlee tried to convey his excitement about directing the King Khan in a much talked about pan India film, Jawan, the goose bumps were evident. When the deal was signed, Atlee in a teary tweet said, “I have grown up watching his movies, lapping up every Khan nuance. And now directing him….it is unbelievable. I am blessed “. Atlee has hit the mother lode in his very first Bollywood venture by getting to direct Shah Rukh Khan. Of late, a number of Bollywood films, five to be precise, could not match up to the box office takings of many south Indian movies. SRK’s choice of Atlee for Jawan, produced by his wife Gauri Khan, is seen as an acknowledgement of this 35-year-old director with the Midas touch. Trained under S Shankar, Atlee has given Tamil hits like Raja Rani, Theri, Mersal, Beast and Bigil. For good measure Jawan has Kollywood Lady Super Star, Nayanthara in the lead, with Sunil Grover and Sanya Malhotra adding more glitter to the awesome twosome. Rock star Anirudh Ravichander who scores the music is bound to Amp up the quotient. The teaser is out and SRK’s role has triggered excitement. Could Atlee’s Midas touch work in Bollywood which in recent times has seen strings of flops? One has to wait till June 2023 for the answer!
ucb 1

Indian Universities Ink Pact With University College Birmingham, To Boost Skills Development Curriculum

Every region in the UK is actively pursuing collaborations and tie-ups with Indian organisations.  Recently, the University College Birmingham (UCB) entered into a tie-up with a range of academic institutions and organisations in India as part of a continuing drive to boost skills development in India. Bharat Sakhuja, Associate Director of the University’s International department and Alice Wilby, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Access, Participation and Student Experience) at University College Birmingham from the University were in India recently to meet Dr Sangeet Jaura, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Chitkara University, Professor Tabrez Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor of GD Goenka University, Dr Manju Gupta, Dean Academics at IMS Noida, Ved Mani Tiwari, Chief Operating Officer of the NSDC. The duo told, “The new linkups will offer a wide range of potential benefits and opportunities covering key areas including student mobility and up-skilling, progression arrangements, teacher training and cooperation, as well as collaborating in joint conferences and seminars.”  They also shared that discussions were held towards creating more opportunities for Indian students to attend short courses in the UK.  Collaboration between these Indian institutions and UCB will allow effective mobility of students between the institutions and enable them to consider integrated pathways which would be beneficial not only for students but for the academics in raising the level of teaching.


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 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.