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Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the accident site

Will BJP Spare Oreva Owner Because Of His Close Links To A Central Minister?

The Gujarat assembly elections will be held in two phases on December 1 and 5; while results will be declared on December 8, the Election Commission announced thus ending speculation that it could be put off in view of the Morbi bridge tragedy on October 30.  The tragedy that claimed 135 lives has potential to unravel BJP’s plan to return to power with huge numbers. But then Saurashtra region has always been the party’s underbelly, which is perhaps why there has not been much change in election schedule. Of course, CEC Rajiv Kumar did admit there was some delay in announcing the dates due to the recent tragedy. The term of the 182-member Gujarat assembly ends on February 18, 2023. Meanwhile, police officials went to the office of Oreva Group, contractor for the renovation of Morbi bridge to verify claims made by its nine arrested staff members. There is a lot of public anger as the top management of Oreva — known mainly for making ‘Ajanta’ wall clocks — has not faced any action. That includes its managing director Jaysukhbhai Patel, who had publicly claimed that the bridge will hold up for “at least eight to ten years” when it was reopened, ahead of schedule, on October 26. He is highly networked into the BJP; his daughter is married into a central BJP minister’s family. Is he being spared because he is kadva Patel?
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Modi Announces A Maha Package For Maharashtra, Effort To Blunt Opposition Onslaught

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a Rs 200,000 crore package for Maharashtra in the form of over 200 different projects in a bid to blunt opposition criticism over the flight of industrial investments from the state. Modi made this announcement while video-participating in the state government’s ambitious ‘Maharashtra’s Megaplan’ gala event, organised to mark the beginning of creating 75000 jobs in a year. Actual appointment letters were issued to some of the candidates at the main event in Mumbai. Similar functions took place at all divisional headquarters. Modi was confident that millions of job opportunities would be generated in Maharashtra in coming years and said the Centre would keep on supplementing these efforts by the state. Modi’s reassurance is viewed against the backdrop of the decision of three major industrial projects preferring Gujarat over Maharashtra. Opponents of the Shinde-Fadnavis government have been trying to exploit the situation politically, hinting that the shifting was a well-planned move. Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray has been heading a battling force to corner the state government about losing large projects by alleging that it is being done at the behest of the Centre to benefit Gujarat. Realising the potential damage, the government has launched an all-out campaign to rubbish the criticism. Modi’s announcement is expected to serve the purpose, to some extent.
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‘Saamana’ Displays Smiling Modi, Shinde And Fadnavis On Front Page, Miffs Followers

Strange things continue to happen in Maharashtra’s political arena, again and again blurring or highlighting interparty differences.  On Thursday, ardent followers of Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray were shocked when the daily ‘Saamana’ was delivered at their doorstep. The entire front page was displaying smiling images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, state chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. So far, all three names have been taboo for the mouthpiece ever since rebellion took place in the party and the Shinde-Fadnavis government came to power.  Justifying the decision to accept this advertisement, released by the state government, Uddhav’s confidant and former minister Anil Parab said this was not anybody’s private or personal advertisement, it has been released by the government utilizing public money. Parab did not comment on the inclusion of the name of Sena MP Arvind Sawant in the advertisement. Taunting the Uddhav faction about accepting the advertisement, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Sandip Deshpande has questioned it, “How big a ‘box’ has reached ‘Saamana’ office?”  In another development, state Congress president Nana Patole has declared that the Sena under Uddhav is not a ‘natural ally’ of the Congress party. Though Patole is not taken seriously in politics, the timing of this strange comment has miffed the party. Not a single notable Congress leader has reacted to it so far. Incidentally, Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo yatra is scheduled to enter the state soon.

Maharashtra Tourism Minister In London To Woo Global Tourists, MTDC Privatisation On The Anvil

The Shinde-Fadnavis government in Maharashtra has given Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a reputed builder and staunch BJP loyalist an important portfolio. He has been appointed Minister of Tourism, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Women & Child Development. And one big task he has been entrusted with is to attract global tourists to the state. Toward this objective he has decided to camp for over a week in London for roadshows. Incidentally, his wife Dr Manju Lodha, author-poet, is also in London to release her book Ankahin Kahaniyan at the Nehru Centre to be launched by the Indian High Commissioner. The minister is expected to use this event to hobnob with the biggies and woo them to Maharashtra. Post the book launch Lodha accompanied by Saurabh Vyas, Tourism Secretary, Dr BN Patil, Director, Directorate of Tourism and Dr Dhananjay Sawalkar, Dy Director, Directorate of Tourism will attend World Travel Market between November 7-9.  Lodha and team are likely to privatise MTDC’s 30 resorts. The Lodha team is likely to engage Tatas (Taj group), Mahindra group and other experts from the travel trade and hospitality to revamp, refurbish and make all properties productive and profitable. The current Maharashtra government’s thinking is developing strategy is the job of the government but businesses have to be run by private enterprises.

What Makes City Union Bank Tick?

This is one of the oldest private sector banks in the country. It was incorporated on October 31, 1904. Twenty prominent citizens of Kumbakonam joined together to sign the Memorandum of Association. Initially, it preferred the role of a regional bank and built for itself a place in the delta district Thanjavur. The first branch was opened at Mannargudi in January 1930.  It was included in the Second Schedule of Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, on March 22, 1945. It was originally known as ‘The Kumbakonam Bank Limited’. In April, 1965, two other local banks – The City Forward Bank Limited and Union Bank Limited – were amalgamated with it. Consequently, it was renamed as Kumbakonam City Union Bank Limited. In November 1965, the bank’s first branch in Madras was opened at Thyagaraya Nagar. Its first branch outside Tamil Nadu was opened at Sultanpet in Karnataka in September, 1980. That set the stage for its foray into other states. Its name was changed to City Union Bank in December 1987. Today, it has a deposit base of over Rs. 48,770 core (in the 1st quarter). With a net profit of Rs.225 crore in Q1 FY23, the bank is on a solid ground. Unlike Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, which just went public, the journey of this one has been fairly smooth. Well, longevity lends substance to the brand.


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.