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PM Modi Advises Partymen To Be Ready For Bitter Attack From The Opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unfazed by the sharp criticism mounted by the Opposition about the alleged role of the BJP leaders in the conviction of Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case and subsequent disqualification of his membership of the Lok Sabha. Modi’s response is that the BJP leaders should not fall prey to the barrage of “insinuating” attacks on him. His word to the party leaders is that they should go on the counter offensive and tell their constituents about the utterances of Rahul Gandhi on several matters including that on Veer Savarkar, which has already caused a split in the Maharashtra alliance. As far as Modi is concerned, the government has not interfered in any way either in the Lok Sabha Secretariat’s announcement. In 20 odd cases of disqualification of MPs and MLAs, the procedures adopted were the same. So why is BJP targeted? Modi thinks that the Opposition is nervous after the BJP’s impressive performance in the recent elections in the Northeast. They had a similar reaction after BJP’s Gujarat victory too. “The PM told us that the Opposition will attack us more as they are rattled by the repeated victories of the BJP. The more we win, the harsher the attack will be. Now they are worked up because of our wins in Gujarat and Northeast,” said an MP who was part of the meeting.
Sharad pawar_Meeting

Sharad Pawar’s New Masterstroke, Rahul To Stop Attacking Savarkar

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar has once again kept his supporters and opponents intrigued simultaneously, this time by preventing censure of Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.  He has done it by forcing the Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi to sheath their tirade against the Hindutva icon. At a meeting of various Opposition leaders at the residence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, the contentious issue was raised by Pawar, who warned that attacks against Savarkar would prove politically costly for all three partners of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) – the NCP, Congress and Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena – in and beyond Maharashtra. This stand was supported by various Congress leaders, making Rahul to yield. Pawar has shocked the polity time and again by his changing priorities. A close confidant of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP leader Pramod Mahajan,  he became a powerful minister under Manmohan Singh for 10 years. In 2014, he announced unilateral unasked support for the BJP in Maharashtra after the assembly elections. This announcement forced the BJP and the then Sena to form a coalition. In 2019, his nephew Ajit Pawar took oath along with Devendra Fadnavis but their regime survived barely 72 hours. Pawar’s masterstroke was installing Uddhav as Maharashtra chief minister. Once again, he has shown that he can give politics the direction he wishes. 
ICC BCCI disney

BCCI To Benefit From ICC's $ 3 Bn Media Rights Deal With Disney Star

The news in the grapevine is that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is likely to get a humongous increase in its share of revenue from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the 2024-2027 cycle. All this because Disney Star has reportedly shelled out $ 3 bn for the ICC media rights for India (broadcast & digital) for the four year cycle. The ICC recently sold the UK media rights to Sky Sports for the 2024-2031 cycle. People privy to conversations among the high echelons of the full members in the ICC  say that the BCCI  has been urging the Cricket Boards (in the ICC)  to allot it a  higher share of money because it is the  Indian companies that are sponsoring much of ICC’s international events. Not long ago the ICC — with Shashank Manohar as the independent chairman — changed its financial and governance structure that was a little more considerate towards other full members (other than Australia and England) and the Associate Members. But with the new media rights agreements to be in place from 2024, the BCCI will receive more money from the World body from next year. The higher revenue from the ICC next year could result in higher receipts from the BCCI to its affiliated members which already are said to be receiving around Rs100 crore each year. More the better is the refrain among the BCCI members. And why not!

Bitter Divorce Battle May Derail Odia Actor Anubhav Mohanty’s Political Career, BJD Hunts For Names

For Odia actor and Biju Janata Dal Lok Sabha MP Anubhav Mohanty the divorce battle with his actress wife Varsha Priyadarshini which has been getting uglier by the day, has reasons to smile. The Odisha High Court has declined Varsha’s petition to restrain media from accepting Anubhav’s video targeting her. So Anubhav is going full steam to project his side of the story. But, this domestic battle could derail his political career. The Odia actor who defeated BJP’s Baijayant (Jay) Panda in 2019 from Kendrapada’s constituency standing may not get the 2024 BJD ticket, party insiders. They are looking at alternative names to replace Anubhav because of the negative publicity he has received over his divorce battle. Sources say Anubhav has been left out of BJD’s recently held state campaigner list and this clearly indicates BJD’s thinking. Some time back BJD’s Cuttack district unit head Debasish Samantaray said “Parliamentarians should not wash dirty linen in public …they need to keep their image intact”. Names that are doing the rounds to replace Anubhav are: Mission Shakti Head Sujata Kartikeyan; wife of 5T Secretary V K Pandian as a possibility; Odisha energy minister Pratap Keshari Deb and Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak could also be a possibility. Looks like Anubhav Mohanty may not get the Lok Sabha ticket and will now have to focus on his film career.

The World Now Respects India As A Partner Across Hi-Tech Verticals

The current push from both the Indian and UK governments to expand their engagement on defence, aerospace and homeland security has seen an intensity of engagement between the two countries that is unprecedented since Independence. A recent meeting with the UK’s national security advisor, on the sidelines of a meeting in London for cooperation in the defence industry, showed the ‘huge’ respect India now commands from the world. The delegation met three UK ministers including the minister for defence procurement, besides the national security advisor and many senior bureaucrats. Says a ‘happy and proud’ Shekhar Sardessai, Executive Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Goa-based Kineco Ltd and Kineco Kaman Composites, who was part of the delegation: “I have seen how we were treated 10 years back as an insignificant country. The same people are now keen to woo India as a partner. All credit to what our government has done in the past few years to build a formidable position for our country.” Other business leaders agree. “Great!” says Senator Dr PKC Bose, Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Bengaluru-based Enercon Windenergy, a subsidiary of Germany’s Enercon Group. “It’s India’s time.”

The Other Side Of Vocalist Mahesh Kale You Don’t Know!

India’s renowned vocalist and national award winner Mahesh Kale is a globally respected artiste. But, there is more to him. Recently, the singer flew into the UK three days before his concerts leaving his organisers, fans and followers guessing. No, it was not to do a dry run but to travel the local tube in London, walk over 15000 steps in Central London, and explore the “vibe of the city.” Kale believes that weather is part of human life as nature has an inseparable bond with mankind. Kale is a tree hugger and also chooses to sit on a park bench and write a poem. He ensured that his disciples from Edinburgh accompanied him at both his concerts in the UK. Local travel in the city of performance helps him to understand a little more of the culture of that land, their liking for music. At his show in Manchester, a 6-month old baby Swananadi Kulkarni, overwhelmed by the audience and gathering, started crying. Kale walked up to her and whispered a song into her ears, and soon she stopped crying and started smiling. Kale is an avid traveler. This year he will be performing in the U.S., Germany and Switzerland. Kale is married and lives in the Bay area.

Are The Lines Between Bollywood And Kollywood Blurring?

Are the lines between the south Indian film industry and north Indian film industry (read Bollywood) blurring it? It seems so, as both the territories are very important for them. And incidentally, factoring these north-south audiences the film makers are doing casting that will appeal to both the worlds of cinema. Whether it is Oscar winner RRR or now Sriram Raghavan casting Vijay Sethupati in Merry Christmas with Katrina Kaif is certainly going to help both the industry. Now that’s just the operation part but we notice that the south is making that attempt of bridging the divide that was there in the earlier days. Now south stars have Pan India appeal but a few decades back actors like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Nagarjuna were not easily accepted. Today, satellite and dubbed films of south are being lapped in the north and the south’s overall business has grown by 20%. Perhaps Bahubali, KGF triggered this trend. Karan Johar was the distributor of Bahubali 1. One may not hear so much from Bollywood honchos but south actors have been vocal about calling it as one big industry. While talking to media Telugu star Nani said “Pathaan hamara hai aur Dasara (his film) aapka hai.” But all this conversation of one film industry started with KGF 2 when Yash fondly called Rocking Star said that we should stop talking about various industries and consider cinema in totality.  And celebration of the victory of RRR in the international world and by the whole country means we are now one.

Environmental Issues Dog Adani’s Navi Mumbai International Airport

Environmental issues continue to dog the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport being built by Adani Airports. As the project secures extension of Environmental Clearance to allow Adani to complete the project, green groups are up in arms against what they called misleading Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted by the company. The EIA quotes exhaustively the research report by the BNHS which called for protecting and conserving at least five major wetlands as migratory bird destinations. The State-government owned city planner CIDCO would take steps to implement these suggestions. Moreover, the controversial golf course planned by CIDCO filling two wetlands – NRI and TS Chanakya – was cancelled, the EIA said. But the ground reality is totally contradictory as the wetlands continue to be under attack, green groups Save Navi Mumbai Environment and NatConnect Foundation have complained to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Control. One wetland at Bhendkhal, has been completely buried, another one at Belpada majorly landfilled and a third – Panje – often goes dry as the intertidal water flow to it is blocked by “vested interests”, the greens said. The golf course plan is still alive as the project proponent has recently obtained Coastal Regulation Zone clearance. The tragic part is that CIDCO refuses to accept the existence of the wetlands identified by BNHS as well as the State Mangrove Cell, Nandakumar Pawar of NGO Sagar Shakti said.

Setback For OPS: After Madras HC Order, EPS Becomes AIADMK Supremo

On a day of fast-paced action, Edappadi Palaniswami was declared elected as General Secretary of the AIADMK, the party founded by MGR and nurtured by Jayalalithaa. In the morning the Madras High Court had rejected a plea on behalf of the O Panneerselvam faction on delaying the election of the General Secretary of AIADMK. The interim applications filed by the OPS camp were rejected and the EPS group, with a clear majority of the party behind it, moved quickly to the party headquarters to first celebrate the news of the HC order and then go ahead and announce the election of EPS as General Secretary. Earlier, the court had allowed the election to go ahead but asked the EPS group not to announce the result until the court ruled finally in the matter. It is clear now that the will of the majority has prevailed and that the attempts by OPS, with a small splinter group basically comprising supporters of the Jaya confidante Sasikala, to scuttle the complete takeover of the party by the EPS group have failed. The control of the trust funds worth about Rs 3,000 crore will also rest with the EPS group. Of course, OPS may go to the Supreme Court with challenges, but the de facto position with EPS as duly elected General Secretary will continue until further orders.


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.