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India Vs NZ: Kya Ashwin, Thakur, Ishan Ka Number Aayega?

Team India is facing the classic do-or-die situation in the T20 World Cup. Failure to beat New Zealand in Dubai on Sunday (October 31) would mean elimination as other results are expected to go by the form book. A couple of changes in the playing XI are bound to be there for the key game. India is grappling with two major problems in its bowling. The woes go beyond how flat the bowling looked against Pakistan because of the heavy dew factor. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was seen to be too ineffective, so too the mystery finger spinner Varun Chakravorty. An interesting thing to look out for would be whether the team would be wise enough to accept its bowling failures and reinforce the attack with Shardul Thakur coming in for Bhuvi and Ravi Ashwin for Varun. It may be time for skipper Virat Kohli to keep aside any prejudices against Ashwin and play him in the hope that his cleverness can help get over the conditions if Team India are forced to defend a total again at night. And then the question of bringing in in-form batsman Ishan Kishan remains but will the team dump Surya Kumar Yadav and play Kishan? Hardik Pandya’s place can’t be assured if he can’t turn his arm over.

On Golden Jubilee Sunny Gavaskar Gets A Special Viewing Box At Wankhede From MCA

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) will honour Sunil Gavaskar by presenting him a separate viewing box at the Wankhede stadium on Friday (October 29). This is the little master’s golden jubilee year of playing Test cricket, having been capped for the first time in the 1971 series in the West Indies that he made memorable by amassing 774 runs in four Tests. “The MCA has allotted a 10-seater box to Mr Gavaskar,” said the MCA Secretary Sanjay Naik. Gavaskar turned out for India in 125 Tests and became the first batsman in the annals of the game to cross the 10,000-run milestone and finished at 10,122 runs with 34 centuries. He was also part of the Indian team that won the 1983 World Cup, but more significantly he showed tremendous commitment sporting the Bombay cap, playing 77 matches, scoring 5898 runs including a high of 340 in the 1980-81 season against Bengal. Gavaskar’s arrival in 1971 triggered a tremendous interest among the youth to pursue the sport. After bidding adieu, he has touched virtually every aspect of cricket from coaching to administration to expert commentary. Present at the Wankhede would be his brother-in-law, Gundappa Viswanath, another giant of Indian cricket, Dilip Vengsarkar who will be honoured by naming of a stand in his name and also Sachin Tendulkar, a jewel of Mumbai and Indian cricket.

Might Of The Marans Behind Rajini Starrer ‘Annathe’ But Still ‘Enemy’ Lurks Around

Tamil Nadu’s powerful political family which has stranglehold on the film business is going all out to promote Rajini starrer Annathe this Diwali. Marans are leaving no cinema seat vacant to promote Annathe. Timing could not have been better. Superstar has just won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Besides, the overdrive is largely because one of the distributors is Udhayanidhi Stalin, Chief Minister’s son and promoter of Red Giant Movies — production and distribution house. Marans and Stalin call shots in all things entertainment in the State. Stalin Junior, according to Kollywood sources, is bargaining for a higher take from cinemas with a target of 700 screens all over TN. But is Annathe the one and only release this Diwali? No! A number of producers who have completed their films are praying anxiously for theatres to open but are scared to release their films as they do not want to take on the might of Rajini-SUN combo. But there are exceptions. Vishal and Arya starrer Enemy is planning to take on the behemoth as a me-too Diwali release. Flashback to 2019, when Rajini starrer Petta and Ajit’s Viswasam collided at the box office. Petta earned Rs 50 crore less than factored. Viswasam hit the finish line with critical acclaim and money.

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Spotlight On Ananya Panday’s Special Talents & Initiatives Amid Aryan Khan-Drugs-On-Cruise Case

Twenty-three year old Ananya Panday is probably one of the most promising millennial actors who won accolades from the audience right from the first film Student of the Year 2. Ananya who played a lead role in Pati Patni Aur Woh has already won two awards for ‘Best Female Debut’. The actress, daughter of the popular actor, Chunky Panday, has been quite vocal about social issues which is rarely a case with today’s younger actors in Bollywood. Ananya’s initiative – So Positive – seeks to create awareness about social media bullying, prevent negativity and build a positive community. This initiative has touched a chord with Bollywood. Ananya has over 20 million social media followers with almost all top youth brands in her kitty. She is also the first female brand ambassador for Skechers India. Currently, she is in the dock over a drug case and was summoned by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) post the arrest of Aryan Khan and others. But, people who are close to her say that the young actor was not nervous when summoned by the NCB. She not only appeared before NCB officials but post that she went about meeting her professional commitments — shooting for her forthcoming films and promoting brands. Clearly, Ananya knows how to balance the two worlds.
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Why Did Lalu Fake A Call To Sonia Gandhi Ahead Of Bypolls?

Sparring between the RJD and the Congress has peaked so much that the national party outright denied a claim put out by RJD chief Lalu Prasad that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had telephoned him and inquired about his well-being. Lalu’s phone claim was debunked by none other than Congress’s Bihar-in charge Bhakta Charan Das, a Dalit leader from Western Odisha. And Lalu had been dismissive of him and called him “a stupid man” who was helping the NDA by fielding candidates in the forthcoming by-elections without consulting the RJD. In this backdrop, it is interesting to know why Lalu made a fake claim that Sonia Gandhi had telephoned him. Was it to confuse voters or Congress workers ahead of the by-elections to two assembly seats in Bihar — Kusheshwar Asthan (SC seat) and Tarapu — on October 30? It has almost become a prestige battle between the Congress and the RJD, UPA allies who had fought the 2020 assembly polls together. During the assembly polls, the Congress had fought and lost Kusheshwar by a narrow margin. This time the RJD decided to field a candidate in a seat it had left to the Congress constituency and is accusing the Congress of not consulting it. The by-elections have been caused due to deaths of sitting JD(U) MLAs. And usually, in such polls candidates of the incumbent government have an edge.

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Modi’s Simple Ideas Creating High Performance Ministerial Teams

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had stayed overnight in a cave near Kedarnath Temple in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections, will be visiting the temple again on November 5 but for a different purpose. It was Modi’s stay in the cave that had led it to becoming a big tourist draw. This time Modi is going there to inaugurate Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi that was reconstructed after the destruction in 2013 floods. The entire reconstruction work has been undertaken under his guidance. His guidance is visible not only in major governance reforms but also in forging high performance ministerial teams. Not only in the way files –that too e-files will move within the government departments but also in the way ministers themselves will move. As regards to movement of e-files, it has been decided that they will not move beyond four hands or four levels before a decision is taken on them by ministers. As for ministers themselves, Modi suggested that the ministers could have a carpooling system to come for meetings like the Council of Ministers — such as the one he had held recently. Carpooling, he felt, would not only save energy but also give them an opportunity to share information about their ministries with each other. The idea is to get one Cabinet minister and two junior ministers in the same car
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WB Govt’s Rs 15K-Cr Tajpur Port Raises Competition For Tata’s Odisha Port

The competition for survival has already begun with the West Bengal government setting up the Rs 15,000-crore greenfield Tajpur port project in the state — positioned next door to Tata Steel’s Rs 5,000-crore Subarnarekha port project at Chaumukh in Balasore district in Odisha. The Odisha government is moving fast. According to K Sudarshan Chakravarty, Collector and District Magistrate, Balasore: “The assignment of providing over 1,000 acres to Tata’s port project will be completed by November 2021.” With regard to the rail and road corridor, and land requirement of 197 acres, 40 acres have already been acquired. Tatas will begin project work sometime in January 2022. As for Tajpur port in WB, sources say that when commissioned this will be a major monopoly port in eastern India, accommodating Cape size vessels. Tajpur port has the backing of Port of Singapore, DP World and other big consortium and conglomerates who have expressed interest in the deep sea port project. Major business groups from W Bengal like Rashmi Group, Shyam Steel, Super Steel and companies from Kharagpur, Asansol, have shown interest to support Tajpur port project, especially steel and coke logistics business. Construction of Tajpur port will begin by mid-2023 soon. Sources say that the Tata Group which is now focussing on its prized Air India acquisition may go slow on the Odisha port project for now. When contacted, Tatas declined to comment.


Changing Political Fortunes As Christian Missionaries Expand Footprint

In Rajasthan, both the Congress and BJP have woken up to the stark reality of widespread conversions happening in the tribal regions. And both parties are blaming Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) for this conversion. BTP is a force to reckon with in the tribal dominated regions of Rajasthan including Dungarpur where it won four local panchayat elections recently. Besides, BTP has two MLAs, who supported the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot. Is conversion a new thing? Not really. It has been thriving for decades now thanks to poverty and illiteracy. Currently, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are hot spots of conversion along with Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.  In the last six months, these states have witnessed a spike in conversion with 80% of converts belonging to SC/ ST. The BJP, it is reliably learnt, plans to launch nationwide agitations against conversions. According to an Intelligence Officer, “The impetus (read funds) for conversions has witnessed a spike as India is considered a soft state. However, these missionary movements funded by radical Christian groups based out of the USA and Europe have consciously kept out of most Islamic nations as they fear reprisals from Islamic forces.” One such missionary activist from the USA, who visited India recently, told this correspondent when asked about the residual fallout of her activities (on escalating tensions between denominations of Indian citizens), “Well I have a lot of money and I can give it to anyone I choose, even you.”

With G-23 Cut To Size, The Gandhis Reinforce Their Role As Congress’ Saviour-In-Chief

Her patience and perseverance are proverbial. Her silence stoic. But enough is enough for her. Sonia Gandhi has heroically sat on mentoring mode for years, hoping Rahul will pluck the party from her studious and strategic clutches. The time has come to talk about cabbages and kings, to muster enough ballast, to cast the die. Has Sonia seen the writing on the wall? Now or never….choose your successor, the heir apparent and quit the regent mode. Congress watchers and seasoned media hands are speculating that Rahul will take over the Grand Old Party, and Priyanka could be the electoral face, a doppelgänger for her Dadi. The party must be in the Gandhi family, take direction from Rahul. How else can one interpret Sonia taking the offensive to the party rebels and baiters? She made it clear that her party veterans lacked “clarity and cohesion.” She voiced her unhappiness… the party must fight the diabolical campaign of the RSS and BJP. At least, she has bought some time and respite from the rebel 23, chafing at the bit. Also, poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s statement – nothing can unseat the BJP, at least for now – suggests he may not be joining Congress. Sonia knows well enough: her children have the DNA to claim the throne. Heads or tails, she knows it is the TINA factor she has to work on.
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Harsha Viji -- Executive vice-Chairman SFL

How Sundaram Finance Strikes The Right Chord With Its Investors

What is in a name? Reputation. When this TVS firm wanted to stop accepting deposits, there was a huge public outcry. If you don’t, where will we go? That was the reaction of senior citizens then. For Chenniates, Sundaram Finance Ltd (SFL) has been a part and parcel of their life. SFL and Chennai are inseparably entwined. SFL has been hosting the annual Mylapore festival for very many years now. And, it has been holding a mikeless concert every first Sunday of a month for over a decade now at the Nageswara Park to provide kids a platform to demonstrate their skills. Covid-19 however has changed everything. In the new normal social distancing world, SFL has its job cut out. It is on a mission mode. It wants people to get fully vaccinated. It has launched a music video ‘Oosingo’, composed by singer Anirudh Ravichander and written by lyricist Arivarasu Kalainesan. Celebrity-influencers too figure in the video. “We are in the last mile in our fight against Covid,” says Harsha Viji, executive vice-chairman of SFL. Well, this TVS company has the experience in providing last-mile connectivity in the vehicle finance segment too. It has budgeted Rs 10 crore for the public service programme. Trust, thy name is SFL.
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Can Priyanka Gandhi’s Charisma Win Voters In Uttar Pradesh?

The Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has moved centre-stage in campaigning in the BJP ruled Uttar Pradesh by releasing a mini-manifesto, but the party is yet to decide whether to go solo or have alliance partners. Samajwadi Party has made it clear that it will not have any truck with the Congress due to past experience. Congress insiders said the party has no choice but to go solo. Among Brahmins, Yadavs, Muslims and various sub castes of Dalit the Congress party has little presence and they are not sure whether Priyanka’s charisma will work to defeat the mighty BJP. Meanwhile, there is unanimity among smaller parties to contest elections by joining hands with the Samajwadi Party under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav. NCP chief Sharad Pawar has announced that Akhilesh Yadav will lead the alliance of like-minded and secular parties to take on the BJP. They will soon meet to formally work out a seat sharing arrangement. Clearly, smaller parties feel that fighting the upcoming polls under Congress party’s leadership will be suicidal. Ironically these parties except BSP, AAP and AIMIM are okay with the idea of coming together and forging an alliance to take on BJP at the national level but are averse to joining hands with Congress in the state. Is Congress doing self-introspection as demanded by G23 for its rejuvenation?

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Islamist Gladiatorial Parade: Is It Cricket? – Part 1

When India plays Pakistan in a World Cup, sparks are expected to fly – but not of the kind that followed Pakistan’s victory over India in the 13th attempt. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed hailed the moment as “victory of the Islamic world (awaam-e-Islam ki fateh),” pointing out: “The Pakistani team had the emotional support of all Muslims of the world, Including Muslims of India.” Pakistan’s legends too didn’t hold back: In the company of Sohaib Akhtar and ARY News moderator, Waqar Younis gushed in: “The best thing, what Rizwan did, Mashalla, he offered the Namaz on the ground surrounded by Hindus. That was really something very special for me.” His expert comments also focused on how Shaheen and Babur – also the name of Pakistan’s missiles aimed at India – will be remembered for a long time. (Pakistan’s missiles Ghaznavi, Ghauri, Babur etc are named after some of history’s most barbaric conquerors who invaded the Indian Subcontinent). This sight of a civil society boasting like Islamic Supremacists has sent a wave of revulsion in India. “I really hope that a lot of genuine sports lovers in Pakistan are able to see the dangerous side to this statement and join in my disappointment. It makes it very difficult for sports lovers like us to try and tell people it is just sport, just a cricket match,” said cricket commentator Harsh Bhogle.

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Islamist Gladiatorial Parade: Is It Cricket? – Part 2

“Takes jihadi mindset of another level to say this in a sport,” tweeted an anguished Venkatesh Prasad on Waqar Younis comment (“Hinduon ke beech me khade hoke namaaz padi, that was very very special for me”). A quarter century ago, it took “something special,” out of this world heroics from the Men in Blue to knock out Pakistan, the defending champions, at the Quarter Final of Wills World Cup 1996 in Bengaluru. The high-intensity match is remembered for Prasad sending Aamer Sohail off (after his arrogant taunt) and ripping the heart out of Pakistan’s batting by removing three wickets in 18 balls (including Inzamam-ul-Haq); Man of the Match Navjot Sidhu missing century (93 runs) — and Ajay Jadeja’s brutal clubbing of Waqar Younis (who conceded 22 runs in the 48th over and 18 in the 50th versus 27 in his first eight overs). “Cricket matches between India and Pakistan are “less cricket and more gladiatorial contests,” remarked the then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh in mid-2001 during the NDA Government, which discontinued cricket bilaterals “given the atmosphere prevailing.” Situation has only worsened in the past 20 years with Pakistan emerging as a home to the world’s largest pool of UN designated terrorists – and India being the No 1 victim of the terror attacks like 26/11, Pulwama and a series of bomb blasts across cities, massacring and maiming thousands of Indians.


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.