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Will Onam Now Be A Regular Lifestyle In Kerala?

As the Final Countdown begins for the high-voltage Kerala Assembly elections on April 6, the voters are presented with two simple options: BJP candidate E Sreedharan’s Palakkad model and Kochouseph Chittilappilly-Kitex’s 20:20 model, versus the decades old alternate rule model of the Left and the Congress. Sreedharan has outlined his five-year development vision for Palakkad. This is also reiterated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi: “The time has come for FAST development in Kerala — F for fisheries and fertilisers, A for agriculture and Ayurveda, S for skill development and social justice and T for tourism and technology.” V Guard’s Chittilappilly and Kitex’s Sabu have transformed Kizzakambalam panchayat’s (in Ernakulam) socio-economic landscape with their 20:20 party’s transformative endeavours: roads built to last with a 20-year guarantee, a corruption-free panchayat office and the 20:20 supermarket (akin to a DMart or Walmart’s scale) that enables even a poor family of four members to shop their entire week’s groceries for just Rs 500! Sreedharan, Chittilappilly and Sabu are positioning themselves as the Mahabalis of Kerala (the legendary king of the native folklore in whose memory the festival of Onam is celebrated by all communities in Kerala), who can ensure that it’s a daily Onam lifestyle in certain assembly constituencies of the state. Is “Onam Lifestyle” – having Onam every day as a way of life – an idea whose time has come? Well, we will have to wait for the final word from the Kerala polls to understand the voters’ tryst with Onam.  
E Sreedharan

E Sreedharan: Redefining Kerala Politics

BJP Set To Rewrite Kerala's Political History?

With technocrat and builder of some of India’s iconic public infrastructure projects, E Sreedharan joining the BJP, the Kerala voters finally have an “optimistic third option.” The state assembly elections have traditionally been marked by a two-horse race to power – and the rotation of power between the LDF and the UDF over the past couple of decades. Two scenarios are available for the voters: BJP backed by the Christian leadership, Church and voters, could get the 72-seat simple majority to form the government (140 seats). The state observers hold that Sreedharan’s clean image, the likelihood of political autonomy that he may command, and a “strategic” election manifesto should nudge the average Kerala voter to back the BJP and allies. In the second scenario, contrary to opinion polls now favouring the Left, the Congress can form the government, mainly backed by allies IUML, SDPI and Welfare Party. However, it will be a plain replay of the past 20-year administration. Though the Anna-Kitex group backed 20:20 party could win the entire eight contested seats, it prefers to sit independent in the opposition and continue with its well-received public welfare goals. For some analysts, with this assembly polls, the NDA and the 20:20 party may get positioned as formidable options in the next 10-15 years in a radically transformed Kerala.
K Chittilappilly

The Net Worth Game: Are Politicians Scoring Better Than Industrialists?

V-Guard Industries’ Founder Chairman and philanthropist Kochouseph Chittilappilly, in a no holds barred chat with Kerala’s popular Food Vlogger Mrinal Das Vengalat, dropped a bombshell that Yusuff Ali, CMD of the multi-continent Lulu Group, may not be the richest Malayalee of Kerala origin, despite a net worth of $4.8 billion! Chittilappilly, a self-made billionaire, said the combined personal net worth of the UDF and the LDF politicians, who ruled Kerala by “default turns” over the last 20 plus years, could surpass that of Lulu’s Ali. If one were to extrapolate Chittilappilly’s observation to the entire country, then the combined net worth of politicians could well be over billions of dollars, surpassing that of combined networth of top 10 industrialists. The money-spinning arithmetic of politicians only gets eye popping every year, especially in the light of the letter written by the recently transferred Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh. In his letter, he alleged that the Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had asked the arrested Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Vaze to collect Rs 100 crore every month. And the maths that was allegedly given was: “There are 1,750 bars and restaurants in Mumbai. If you collect Rs 3 lakh on an average that works out to Rs 50 crore. As for the balance amount, there are other avenues.” Is India a land of “mega bucks” for the renegades?


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.