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Deflated By Twin Defeats, Star Kohli’s Team Left Grinding Through Exit Rituals

Virat Kohli and the Indian team have been under the cosh for their dismal performances in the two opening matches of the ICC Men’s World Cup Twenty20 against Pakistan and New Zealand. Both the matches were played on Sundays and at Dubai, and Kohli appeared quite fed up with the long gap between the two matches. The outcome against New Zealand, to which Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team had lost in South Africa at The Wanderers, Johannesburg in 2007 at Nagpur in 2016, was even more deflating. In Dubai, Kohli’s run down team had no answers to a professional work in the field by a low profile side. Reactions from former players across nations have been assorted, and those regularly active on the social media have been quick to put out their own reasons, but it is former India batting maestro, Sunil Gavaskar who has hit the nail on its head by making an observation that may not go down well with Kohli or the decision makers in the Indian team. And Dhoni is the mentor of the team. Gavaskar has said that Ishan Kishan is a hit-and-miss player and by asking him to open the innings with KL Rahul the team was only suggesting that it doesn’t trust him against left arm seamer Trent Boult. Clearly Kohli’s team is down and out before the match against Afghanistan at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Ambani & Adani’s Green Investments Seen Boosting Modi India’s Climate Leadership

At the G20 climate summit held in Glasgow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi must have felt like Midas, reincarnated. Heads I win, tails you lose. This last chance for reigning in global warming saw a new phase of tu tu mein mein. And this blame game and tug of opinion between the have nations and have nots couldn’t have been better articulated than what Andy Mukherjee, columnist and analyst wrote for Bloomberg: “The real action is happening in NW Gujarat, not Glasgow.” Modi has two of the most ambitious, richest and dedicated fighters in the corporate world, racing for supremacy – Mukesh Ambani, 64 and Gautam Adani, 59. Like quick change Houdini, Ambani (with world’s biggest refining complex at Jamnagar spewing emissions) has already committed investments worth $36 billion in four sunrise domains: solar panels, batteries, green hydrogen and fuel cells. Adani had a head start with his coal powered plants (not seen cool by environment guardians); his 360 degree turn is for a 20,000 MW gigantic integrated solar wind and hybrid electricity empire. The hydrogen generation units will take off like the proverbial balloons, decarbonising India’s fuel needs for the future. Now is it crystal clear, Modi wins any which way. It just means custom making certain policies for the Atlas corporations. Is anyone complaining?

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PM Modi’s Invite To Pope Takes Joie De Vivre Out Of Didi’s Goa Holiday

Nothing more upset supporters of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee than the warm meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis on October 30 at the Vatican. Modi pulled off a surprise by not only calling on the Pope but also extending an invitation to visit India. It would be the first such visit after a gap of 22 years. RSS general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale welcomed PM’s meeting as well as invitation. Modi presented the Pope with a book on a topic close to his heart — The Challenges Of Climate Change: Children On The Front Line. The invite for papal visit had a positive impact with Kerala Catholic Bishop Council looking forward to it. Only TMC backers looked distraught and began to question Modi’s timing of the invite. Was it timed with Goa polls? Mamata had spent three days in Goa. A third term CM of a large state such as West Bengal, she was scouting fish markets of Mapusa to fraternise with locals. Journalists from Kolkata were brought to chronicle the beginning of her journey from “Goa to Delhi.” Did Mamata zero in on Goa thinking that since Modi became PM only because it was at Goa BJP National Executive in 2013 that he had been declared PM candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha elections, she too must start from Panaji!

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Shiv Sena’s First Big Win Outside Mahahrashtra, Turfs BJP Out Of Dadra & Nagar Haveli

It is a big victory for Uddhav Thackeray that too outside Maharashtra. Shiv Sena’s candidate Kalaben Mohanbhai Delkar, wife of former MP Mohan Delkar who had committed suicide in a Mumbai hotel, won the Dadra and Nagar Haveli Lok Sabha seat with a margin of 51,269 votes defeating BJP candidate Mahesh Gavit. In most by-elections, BJP candidates have lost. This convincing victory margin could make Sena think of spreading its tentacles and also aligning with like-minded parties to take on BJP in 2024 Lok Sabha polls. It may be recalled that Uddhav during the meeting of CMs of states ruled by Congress and allies – convened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi – had called to be ready for a fight against BJP. It was TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee who was the first to respond to Uddhav’s call. Uddhav, according to sources close to him, prefers his work to do the talking. He feels BJP can be defeated by reaching out to voters with a promise for a change. In this win, Uddhav has played his cards well. Though he wants to play spoilsport in Uttar Pradesh, he knows what happened in Bihar and West Bengal. As for BJP in Maharashtra, they need to do serious introspection: the proverbial wolf cry has come to nought. For now, the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi seems well entrenched.

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Give Modi One More Chance, Elect Yogi Once More: Amit Shah’s Message For UP

In an interesting move, Union Home Minister Amit Shah went all out endorsing UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath as BJP’s face for 2022 state assembly elections. He said electing Yogi in 2022 was very necessary if people wanted PM Modi to be re-elected in 2024. Shah appealed that “Modiji ko ek aur mauka dijijye, Yogiji ko mukhyamantriji banadijiye” (Give Modi one more opportunity. Make Yogi chief minister again). Shah’s fulsome endorsement of Yogi nixed speculation about the status of his relationship with the UP leader. For some time there has been a view that there was perhaps an undercurrent between the two leaders close to Modi. Age-wise, Shah and Yogi are almost contemporaries; both in their 50s; though Shah is a couple of years older than the UP CM. In terms of profile, both leaders are known to aggressively pursue Hindu causes and interests. So it is in this context that Shah’s backing of Yogi becomes significant. In 2017, Amit Shah as BJP President, had tirelessly worked for his party’s astounding victory in UP and helped Yogi become CM for the first time. Last week, Shah returned to Lucknow to launch BJP’s campaign for 2022. People who worked with him in the past such as UP BJP General Secretary Sunil Bansal are also in the team as key strategists. Union HRD Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has been given charge of the state.

Realpolitik Sobers Down Tamil Nadu’s Outspoken Finance Minister

Working in a corporate environment is one thing. But being a part of the government is quite another. Perhaps, he got a bit carried away initially. And, that got him into one controversy after another. Well, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Dr P Thiaga Rajan, popularly known as PTR, appears to have understood the difference. He doesn’t stray into avoidable terrain now. He has chosen to be a lot more measured and focused. He made the right noises when he met the Press on October 1, 2021. A huge quantum of public money is lying outside the treasury. The task is to identify and bring it back into the Treasury. His efforts seem to be bearing fruits as close to Rs 2,000 crore of unused funds were identified by a task force set up by him. He is not against freebies (for the poor and the backward). But he is all for accounting, even the freebies. Handing out freebies without any responsibility is clearly not his way of doing things. The government order on gold loan waiver gives a clue or two to his thinking. The benefit should reach the deserving. And the system should be capable of doing this. This is what he is striving to do. Well, the thought-process is laudable.
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Indira Gandhi’s Death Anniversary Sees Emotional Atyachar Episode Playing Out In Punjab Congress

Mid-October, Rahul Gandhi surprised CWC members by praising Charanjit Singh Channi’s humility. He informed them how Channi broke into tears on being told he has to take over as Punjab CM. Channi had become emotional because in a state dominated by Jat Sikhs he had never expected a Dalit like him to be picked as CM. However, today no one in Punjab Congress is sure if Chief Minister Channi continues to be Rahul’s favourite. Reason: Channi chose to ignore October 31– Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary. This was in stark contrast to what his predecessor Capt Amarinder Singh used to do: issue advertisements paying tribute to the slain PM. Mind you, Capt Singh was someone who had quit the Congress in protest against Operation Blue Star and resigned as Congress MP in 1984. This difference in approach to Indira Gandhi between Channi and Capt Singh was brought to fore by former Punjab PCC Sunil Jakhar. Meanwhile, the appointment of Jagdish Tytler — someone allegedly linked to 1984 anti-Sikh riots — as permanent invitee in Delhi PCC has evoked mixed reactions. On his part, Rahul Gandhi stayed aloof and preferred to tweet a video of the last moments of his dear dadi’s funeral. As for Channi’s tears, he must be shedding more of it now considering Sidhu has almost become adversarial, questioning every policy decision of his.
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SC Finds Raj Era Mullaperiyar Dam Safe But Tamil Nadu & Kerala Continue To Quibble

The head honchos of Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been collaborating on keeping the alarmists at bay over the Mullaperiyar Dam issue. The States are at loggerheads over the permissible height of water storage in the dam with Kerala wishing to build a new dam and take the 125-year-old dam out of the equation even as TN insists on its water rights from a perennial treaty. Alarmists are having a field day spreading rumours of impending disaster even as the opposition AIADMK is whipping up a campaign on TN’s water rights. The CMs are seeing reason in a tense scenario. The Supreme Court may have said the dam is safe and water can be stored upto 142 feet. Taking into consideration the fear of Keralites living below the dam in Idukki district, TN is keeping the water level only at 139 feet or less. The irrigation and drinking water needs of TN’s southern districts may be great but they will not be met by endangering the safety of a dam that stops a west-flowing river to take the water eastwards through giant pipes from the dam built by British engineer Penniquick who pledged his wife’s jewels to complete the work on his limestone masterpiece that has stood the test of time.

Mughal-E Azam’s Horses & Elephants And Director Asif’s Risky, Huge Cash Advance

There are any number of behind-the-scenes stories when the great historical epic Mughal-e-Azam was being shot in the late fifties. The film, starring greats like Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala, Durga Khote and Dilip Kumar, broke all box office records in 1960 and is considered a milestone in Indian cinema. Well known director K Asif was shooting a scene for the movie somewhere in the deserts of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The scene required hundreds of horses and scores of elephants. Hearing this requirement, a local animal supplier (for films) approached Asif and said he could supply any number of horses and elephants for the shoot. It would cost around Rs 20,000 but he needed an advance of Rs 10,000. The advance money was a big amount in the fifties. But, without batting an eyelid, Asif turned to his production manager and said, “Give him 10,000 rupees.” When the man left, a worried production manager said, “Asif sab, suppose this man is a cheat and he does not come back, your money is gone!” Asif laughed and said, “Arrey…woh dus hazaar rupaiah ley gaya hai, kismat to nahi le gaya!” He told him, don’t worry he will come; and the man did turn dutifully as promised with horses and elephants.


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.