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Eye On Election: Modi’s Trusted Aide AK Sharma Tipped To Be New UP Deputy CM?

Be it Assembly election or Lok Sabha poll, Uttar Pradesh has always remained at the centre of electoral calculations for all political parties in the country. The five year term of the BJP government led by Yogi Adityanath ends on 14 March 2022. So the election for 403 seats will be held some time in February.  It is against this backdrop one has to see why all political parties are going to town to smear Yogi Adityanath’s government’s performance on all fronts — handling of second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, law & order issues, unemployment, minorities appeasement etc. Even the Sangh Parivar with its ear to the ground is not taking any chances.  It is learnt that the RSS held a chintan baithak with home minister Amit Shah and national president JP Nadda to discuss a comprehensive strategy for image makeover ahead of elections. The agenda also included maintaining the much-needed coordination between the party organization and Yogi’s government which they feel is currently missing. According to informed sources, various remedial measures were discussed by the BJP and RSS leaders, including SD Hosbale; and UP BJP’s organization secretary Sunil Bansal.  According to insiders, a cabinet reshuffle is imminent with some non-performers being dropped. Besides, there is a strong possibility that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trusted aide and former IAS officer AK Sharma, who was elected recently to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council may be appointed as new Deputy Chief Minister. Sharma can play a crucial role to streamline the administration and curb anti-incumbency. One thing is loud and clear: BJP cannot afford to lose the UP Assembly election as 80 Lok Sabha seats are at stake which are crucial for them to retain power at the Centre in the 2024 elections.
Subramanian Swamy_002

Swamy Warns Against Orchestrated Slandering Of Chennai PSBB School

“I will legally defend Chennai PSBB school if TN Govt does not stop goons slandering them, says Dr @Swamy39 jee.” This was retweeted by Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy early morning Thursday (May 27) to reiterate his stand on Chennai’s distinguished Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School (PSBB). The legally sharp BJP leader has decided to step in, sensing that the prestigious institution could be unfairly targeted for an employee’s alleged misdemeanours – in a highly polarised Tamil Nadu polity where Brahmins are often at the receiving end of toxic, hate campaigns. Reacting to caste-phobic slurs, he tweeted earlier: “Only a Gyani and Tyagi can be a Brahmin. So Muthuramalinga Thevar is for me a Brahmin. School teachers, Pujaris etc are Brahmins. No one is born Brahmin per se. If some teacher misbehaves by an inquiry, he should be disowned.” The accused teacher was suspended by the school administration – after complaints of online harassment; and later arrested under POCSO Act sections 11 and 12; IPC Act 354 (a) and 509; and IT Act section 67 and 67 (a). While the law will take its course, the schools are required to raise the bar on compliances to protect children. PSSB was founded by educationists. The allegations come close on the heels of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women directing Chennai’s Loyola College to pay Rs 64.3 lakh to a woman faculty member who was allegedly harassed by a Jesuit Father and terminated from service.

Why Is Chennai’s Padma Seshadri School Being Singled Out?

The Chennaite, housebound and locked down, a salacious incident has ignited his voyeuristic interest for the past three days. A teacher, from the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan, Rajagopalan, allegedly sexually harassed his female students, both online and in person. Sexual harassment in workplace, and educational institutions is nothing new. But this school, PSBB, considered a Holy Grail institution, founded by two eminent academics, the late YG Parthasarathy and his wife Late Yecha Gunja Rajalakshmi Parthasarathy or Mrs YGP and the scandal garnered more than normal attention. Why? For the Brahmin bashers, this has come like manna from heaven for those who are bent on denigrating the well-disciplined and highly respected Brahmin community of Tamil Nadu, not just for their scholarly ethos but for the top bureaucratic positions held by this small community.  YG Mahendran and his daughter, Madhuvanthi (who stood for the BJP ideology in the just concluded elections), both trustees on the School’s Board are facing scathing criticism, as they are seen responsible for what happens in the school under their Board. Agreed, sexual harassment by anyone has to be dealt with an iron fist, no one should take shelter under any community label if proved guilty. But using this incident as a rallying point for political mileage, to shame and bash to pulp the reputation of an entire community crosses all boundaries of decency.
Sunil gavaskar

I Could Be Approaching A Century There (RT-PCR Tests), But Not Too Sure: Gavaskar

A champion in his own right for over three decades in the cricketing media world, Sunil Gavaskar is all set to travel to England for the ICC World Test Championship final at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, from June 18. Celebrated as one of the best opening batsmen in the annals of Test cricket, Gavaskar will be the only Indian voice for the official broadcaster at the WTC final. Prior to starting his duties in England, the legendary opener, also known as the Little Master, has to endure the bio-bubble life that has been in place across the world for sports events. From September 2020, though, Gavaskar has beautifully adjusted to the hotel quarantine in the UAE, Australia and in India. Hinting a philosophical note about the unprecedented times of these days, Gavaskar said: “I am in Mumbai and God willing, should travel to the UK by next weekend. There is nothing much to do in quarantine as you are confined to your room. Catch up on sleep, read and watch some series on TV. In the bio-bubble, you can go out, like to the match and even to the hotel gym or restaurant, since these are open only for the others with you in the bio-bubble, and not to outsiders. So, the bubble is a lot easier as there’s interaction with others. As for the number of tests (RT-PCR for detecting Covid infection), yes, I could be approaching a century there, but not too sure. Trust all well. Stay safe and healthy,” signed off, Gavaskar, an NRI UAE resident. For half a century, Gavaskar has been in the vanguard of Indian cricket, as an opening batsman and commentator. His Pune-based friend Raju Metha said: “He must have completed 100 Test matches as a commentator long time ago.”
kartik aryan_002

Kartik Aaryan Takes In Stride Double Hits From SRK + Karan Johar

Thirty-year-old Kartik Aaryan, considered one of the most bankable NextGen stars, has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. First, Karan Johar’s Dharma Production dropped him from Dostanna2 for his ‘alleged misbehaviour’. Now, comes the news that Shah Rukh Khan promoted Red Chillies Entertainment has dropped him from Good-Bye Freddie. Is it coincidence or a coterie at play? There has been no official confirmation but people close to Kartik say that he has returned the signing amount of Rs 2 crore. His exit seems to have evoked mixed reactions. His rivals that include few producers and stars who were unhappy with his meteoric rise are elated. They are wishing he goes down like the yesteryear’s superstar. But it’s wishful thinking as there are producers after producers eagerly waiting to sign this most bankable star. The news brings to fore once again the raging debate about nepotism and outsider vs insider in Bollywood which started with the untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput in June 2020. Reportedly, Karan Johar is playing safe and is looking for Kartik’s replacement from ‘outside’. So what are the reasons for Kartik’s exit? Sources say in both cases he asked for scripts to be changed – a theory that has not many takers. But is it the first time a star has made such a request? All stars have made changes while at the peak. Luckily, two production houses have offered Kartik a three-film contract worth Rs 70 crore, but he is yet to sign on the dotted line. For now, millions of his fans need not worry, they will see more of their hero.

Salman Khan’s ‘Radhe’ Sets The Trend, Hybrid Release Will Be The New Normal

It does seem like Salman Khan has set the trend of hybrid releases in India. Even if the net business is Rs 125 crore, Radhe has set a new yardstick for tangible recoveries, proportionate to Box Office (BO) returns. Overseas, the theatre numbers of the film are very encouraging, given the currently restricted footfalls in the cinemas. In the past Zee had released Khali Peeli which didn’t work but a Tamil/ Telugu film released on the same day worked wonders. So, the writing is on the wall, that in the coming months when cinemas will start opening, the hybrid formula of the revenues via Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) will continue. It has raised the bar, which will only add to the BO number game. There are middle-order films that are now released directly on OTT like Hungama 2 and Bhoot Police and we also hear that some big films that are in the pipeline are looking to keep a TVOD window for their films.

Is Uddhav Thackeray Eyeing A Bigger Role In National Politics?

He shocked and surprised everybody by severing ties with BJP after 32 years. Not without reason. The Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray was very clear from day one — he wanted to be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.  Here, the NCP supremo Sharad Pawar played a key role by bringing NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena to form Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi, and in the process cocked-a-snook at BJP. But, ever since Thackeray took over the reins he has been battling crisis after crisis — first wave of Covid-19 lockdown, Sushant Singh Rajput case, Sachin Vaze conspiracy to second wave lockdown.  In all fairness he managed to stem the Covid wave in Maharashtra with Mumbai becoming a role model for other states to emulate.  According to insiders, Thackeray is nursing a bigger ambition; he is keen to play a bigger role at the national level. It may be mentioned that Thackeray was a prominent signatory to two recent letters signed by leading Opposition leaders demanding free vaccination and supporting the farmers’ agitation. Thackeray, it seems, has already dropped sufficient hints not to rejoin hands with the BJP but will play a crucial role in the anti-BJP front. He enjoys good relations with veteran opposition leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Farooq Abdullah, Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav.  Shiv Sena MP and Saamana, Executive Editor Sanjay Raut has reportedly launched backstage activities to project Thackeray as a leader who managed the second wave of Covid outbreak successfully, and can be the leader to lead the anti-BJP front.  Thackeray is indeed getting ambitious.

Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin Plays Straight Bat On The Net

One of the most intelligent cricketers to ever twirl the ball in the air with a zillion variations, Ravichandran Ashwin is just emerging from the shadows after taking a break from IPL because of illness affecting a number of family members.  The quick-witted spinner is always ready with a handy retort on social media but this time he took up the cause of children in getting into the heart of the issue of sexual harassment of schoolgirls by a teacher in a reputed school. As an alumnus of the school, Ashwin had an extra reason to join the issue after several people had commented on the unseemly goings-on in school, rightly calling for action to put an end to such episodes. In quarantine ahead of the England tour, Ashwin seems to have a bit of time to keep his spinning fingers busy on the mobile keyboard. But, to his credit, he has not taken those who trolled him seriously after they went at him viciously, even finding imaginary reasons why he quit IPL mid-season, saying he did so because he was annoyed with skipper Pant over his refusing a DRS review call the spinner seemed bent upon. Willing to back himself to do his own thing, Ashwin was not scared by the nasty reactions to his “Mankading” Buttler. The spin master knows he cannot always have the last laugh but is always willing to battle to make his point.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.