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WhatsApp Image 2023-02-03 at 11.25

The Mystery Deepens, Who Killed 23 Russian Oligarchs?

The mysterious deaths of at least 23 elite Russians have sparked a global murder mystery. But no one seems too bothered as the war rages on in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin is busy threatening the world with nuclear weapons and spouting war rhetoric. What media investigators looking into the issue are asking is: how can so many billionaires with bodyguards and the best healthcare just drop dead? Many people are suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin is involved but they are too scared to come out in the open. The string of deaths started just before the Ukraine war while the manner of death has varied from strokes and suicide to freak accidents like falling off a speeding boat or a simple fall down the stairs have also cropped up. Oligarchs, aged between 37 and 73, have been disappearing, among whom have been military leaders, billionaire oil and gas oligarchs, top business executives and high-ranking public servants. The common thread is the deceased’s elite status in Russian society and the wealth they have amassed during their ascent to the top of their industries. Several were either closely tied to the Kremlin or outspoken opponents of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. An anonymous Wikipedia user created a page entitled “2022 Russian Mystery Deaths” which began a running count of the fatalities. Putin and his state are not averse to using violence and coercion. Meanwhile, the string of oligarch deaths is expected to continue.
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Stalin Evolving Into One Of The Smartest CMs

From allowing the Governor to bury the hatchet to maintaining civil relations with the highest in the land while not allowing any of it to hamper his ideological tilt, Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin is evolving into the smartest of chief ministers around the land. He was in a bit of a corner when the Governor called him on his mobile to invite him to the Republic Day tea party on the lawns of the Raj Bhavan and also sent an invite to his home through his principal secretary. Having decided to sip tea with the Governor, Stalin brought most of his Cabinet too as if to show political differences mean nothing when it comes to celebrating a national day. Cordiality in interactions with people across the political spectrum stops when it comes to electioneering, which is when he lets go at Narendra Modi & co. In kicking off the poll campaign for the Erode East constituency, Stalin blasted Modi for silently supporting Hindi imposition while mouthing Tiruvalluvar couplets every other day. Stalin is also encouraging the pursuit of aims like taking Tamil Nadu off NEET and even the impossible dream the Sethusamudram project appears to be. The fact that he knows he is in a stable condition with the people’s vote seems to have helped him quickly evolve into a statesmanlike figure who will, however, not give up ideological goals.
EPS Jan 27

EPS Needs Party Symbol To Fight Ruling DMK In Erode East Bypoll

Edappadi K Palaniswami, who needs the Two Leaves symbol, to make a fight of the Erode East bypoll, moved the Supreme Court with an urgent plea. The court has agreed to hear it on January 30. With the last date (Feb 7) looming for the bypoll nominations, EPS is keen that the AIADMK party issue be settled in the Supreme Court as soon as possible. The party was depending on a favourable verdict from the top court on January 24 but the case was not even listed that day. With time pressures on and the importance of the symbol being enhanced in rural areas, the fight is really about the party symbol though the EPS group has a clear majority of the party. EPS wants the top court to record that he is the Interim General Secretary of the party and that the post of Coordinator, held by rival O Panneerselvam, had been abolished at the party meeting authorised by the Madras high court as well as the SC. As the principal opposition party to the ruling DMK, the AIADMK, now controlled by EPS, is the one expected to put up a fight. EPS has put in place a large panel of 117 members to help with the campaign and the name of the candidate is to be announced soon.
Modi at a temple

Will Modi Give Up Varanasi, Contest From Ramanathapuram In 2024?

It has been whispered that the BJP has tasked a private agency with the task of finding out the chances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi winning from a Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu in the coming 2024 elections. Sample surveys are being made in constituencies like Ramanathapuram and Coimbatore already. It seems a stretch that Modi would wish to give up his Varanasi constituency that has far greater meaning in its Hindu spiritual association as well as politically. Rameswaram may be a big abode of Lord Siva too but Uttar Pradesh looms much larger on the political scene of India with its 80 seats in the Lok Sabha. But the TN BJP has been given the task of sussing out the possibilities and they are doing their masters’ bidding. It is a distinct trademark of the BJP that it takes elections as a 24×7 task, and they have begun work already to assess how much Tamil Nadu can give them. Of course, the western parts of the state are more receptive to Narendra Modi and the BJP than the #GoBackModi ways of the young urbanites of Chennai and surroundings. Senior leaders, including Tamilisai Soundarrajan are sounding out their party with their willingness to enter the poll fray. It will be interesting to see if it can even be imagined that Modi would leave the comfort of Varanasi for Dravidian Tamil Nadu.
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EPS Keeps Party In The Fray, AIADMK Throws Its Hat In Erode East Ring

In a quick turn of events, AIADMK supremo Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) decided not to let the Erode East bypoll to the Tamil Nadu Assembly go without the party contesting, He requested ally GK Vasan of TMC to permit AIADMK to contest. The party will do irrespective of which way the verdict goes in the Supreme Court about the party, symbol etc. The party lawyers are confident of a favourable verdict on January 24 but EPS wishes not to depend on it and is going ahead with his plan to put up a candidate so that he can put O Panneerselvam’s faction in its place. AIADMK is confident that BJP will not disrupt the plan by insisting on a candidate of its own. The AIADMK candidate may be former minister KV Ramalingam of Erode to oppose any candidate Congress may put up as part of the DMK+ alliance. If the court orders don’t favour EPS claiming the party symbol of the “Two Leaves’, the candidate will contest on the “Crowing Cock” symbol that Jayalalithaa had first stood on in her political career. Congress has been asking the stalwart EVKS Elangovan to contest but he would rather point the way to his second son Sanjay as his eyes are set on a Lok Sabha seat in 2024.
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GK Vasan and Edappadi Palaniswami

DMK Has The Edge As AIADMK May Back Out Of Erode East Bypoll

The bypoll for the Erode East Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu to be held on February 27, will be the first major test of the political waters since the Assembly elections of 2021 won by the DMK under MK Stalin. The DMK+ is in pole position to take the seat and may well give it back to the Congress since its MLA Thiruman Eeveraa, great grandson of EV Periyar, had died mid-term, but the Opposition is in great disarray. AIADMK is not even certain it can put up a candidate officially as the cases between the EPS and OPS factions are still in the courts, in Supreme Court as well as Madras HC and ECI, and the final word on them may not come before the time for nominations arrives. As a matter of abundant caution, AIADMK has approached GK Vasan of TMC towards fielding a candidate again in case EPS, who heads the legally recognised AIADMK thus far, cannot get his candidate authorised to stand as the signatures of both Coordinator and Joint Coordinator may be needed for this. Since a TMC candidate had stood there in 2021, it might seem logical for the AIADMK+ in the State to make over the candidature to that party. EPS may also wish to avoid a showdown with DMK so early when the AIADMK cases are still in court.
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Will BJP Move The Tamil Nadu Governor Out?

Word has gone back to the BJP top brass that the ideological confrontations the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi is getting into are not helping the party’s cause in the State. This is a time when there has been a bit of an upsurge in the party being led by former police officer K Annamalai to take on the Dravidian ruling party. The bit of salience achieved may be at risk if the Governor stays on the warpath on issues like religion and culture, which are very differently viewed in Tamil Nadu, a State known for religious diversity not causing any communal disturbances. The Governor seems to be intent on continuously raking up Sanatana dharma while putting down Tamil culture. It went to such an extent that he even tried to change the title of Tamil Nadu, which has constitutional ratification. This riled the chief minister who was keeping his cool on the issue while advising his party men not to make it personal though he may not have discouraged allies like VCK and even the PMK from taking on the Governor in a more direct manner. Stalin even called him with the disdainful Tamil pronoun of “Oruthan” in describing how “one person” was going around saying not to call the land Tamil Nadu. It would be the national party’s interest not to let this Governor needle the rulers and people of the State any further.
Stalin and MLAs (1)

War On Against Governor Ravi But Stalin Plays It Cool

War may have been declared on the Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, but the Chief Minister MK Stalin is not saying it. He had a word of caution for his MLAs the day after the theatrical events of the first Assembly session of the year in which the Governor skipped portions of his address prepared by the government and added a few things of his own. Stalin warned his MLAs about there being a conduct code for them and that they are also bound by the whip in the Assembly. “Don’t make it personal,” he cautioned. It will be DMK’s allies who will be taking on a brunt of the campaign against the Governor who has not endeared himself to Tamil Nadu by suggesting that the State be named “Tamizhagam”, maybe because the “Nadu” (country or place) in Tamil Nadu may be suggestive of a land seeking autonomy or independence. The issue itself could be quite silly as the DMK had shed its call for breaking away from the Union of India almost 60 years ago, in the wake of the China war of 1962. There were demos by students as well as DMK’s political allies and posters reading “Get Out Ravi”. Stalin would like to keep it to protest in formal channels rather than take it to the public as the appointment of a Governor is at the President’s pleasure.
Stalin at a temple event

Stalin Slams Those Who Brand His Party As Anti-Religion

It is not often that Stalin gets worked up so much about religion that he must lash out at those eternally projecting his party as anti-religion. Provoked by a series of comments including the latest round of loaded political words from the feisty Governor RN Ravi, chief Minister M K Stalin came out in voluble defence of how his party is not anti-Hindu as the opposition makes it out to be. He emphasised at yet another function hosted by the HR&CE, this one to announce Rs 2 lakh support to each of 2,500 small temples in rural areas, that his government was committed to protecting the temples as they exemplified the State’s art and culture and stood as witness to traditional expertise and talent in sculpture making and art. He said he had attended as many as 25 events connected to temples in a year and presided over grants that benefited nearly four lakh people. Regardless of his personal faith in God or lack of it, Stalin has always maintained that his party is for all religions and that the only reform they aim at is social equality by which temples must be made to accept that priests can be from any community. This was also part of the Dravidian Model, he pointed out in the course of a stout defence of Dravidian beliefs.
Kamal-at-BJYatra

Reinvention Of Kamal Haasan As A Politician

There has been a burning ambition in Kamal Haasan (named Parthasarathy Srinivasan at birth) to be counted as a force in politics. None in Tamil Nadu may ever come close to MGR and his protégé J Jayalalithaa in terms of switching from films to politics and capturing the hearts of the people. When Kamal stepped in, it was with a view to making an impact in politics. Little did he know then that he would be a bigger flop than even the thespian Sivaji Ganesan. To Kamal’s credit, he is not giving up. His journey to the Bharat Jodo Yatra was to cement his place in the DMK-Rahul equation while abandoning his old association with Arvind Kejriwal when he was a political novitiate. The DMK is looking for a broader alliance to take on the AIADMK-BJP front that is the main opposition in Tamil Nadu and towards this would like to invite the likes of Kamal Haasan and even the caste-based PMK to join a broad-based alliance for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Kamal’s consorting with Rahul Gandhi has enhanced his image and Chief Minister MK Stalin is known to be a fervent admirer. Voters may not understand Kamal’s politics, but their votes will be his if he stands with DMK support in his chosen western Tamil Nadu base of Coimbatore.
Sir-Don-Bradman

Cancel Culture Catches Up With Sir Donald Bradman

In this ‘woke’ age, not even the most iconic of men are above being taken apart. Cancel culture, quite the phenomenon of the year, caught up with Sir Donald Bradman too with social media pundits denouncing him as a RWNJ (Right Wing Nut Job) after a letter he had written to Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser in 1975 emerged and was dissected by new age warriors.  The cricketer whose deeds at the batting crease helped pull Australia through the Great Depression, has plenty of defenders in leading public figures too as opposed to those wishing to take down his reputation. The backlash, during which he was also described as a “bigoted right-wing politician”, was condemned as “disgraceful” even as fears were expressed that Twitterati iconoclasts might start demanding that Bradman’s statues, of which there are many in Australia, be taken down. The public are being reminded now of how Bradman, as chief administrator of Australian cricket after retirement, changed his stand after hearing out protesters and then opposed cricket ties going on as normal against the Apartheid-era South African teams. Bradman may have been right wing and had players who didn’t see eye to eye with him in his own team like Bill O’Reilly and Jack Fingleton, but overall he was a batsman par excellence and an icon too far to be cancelled now
Mbappe baby doll (1)

Argentina Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez Triggers Football War

They say he is a character. Would that mean anything he does is to be seen as a joke and the villain forgiven? Emiliano Marinez, the Argentine goalkeeper who saved a penalty and distracted another French shot taker into kicking it wide, is busy stirring up things back home after the World Cup win. He has incensed France by mocking Kylian Mbappe repeatedly. He asked for a minute’s silence in honour of Mbappe in the dressing room soon after Argentina won the cup – “A minute’s silence for Kylian Mbappe, who is dead” he said. Worse, he took a doll with a photograph of the French striker stuck on its face. At one point, he was filmed rubbing the doll on his genitalia as Argentina players took their open top bus ride in Buenos Aires. He had made the same gesture when he rubbed the golden Glove trophy after the final and seems to have gotten away with it. There hasn’t been a pip out of FIFA on this flagrant obscene act that was carried live to a couple of billion people. Incidentally, he is mocking a player who scored a hat-trick in the final and slotted the first goal in the penalty shootout. His tactics as goalkeeper in the shootout should also be analysed but FIFA, drunk with the success of the World Cup, is keeping mum.
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AIADMK-BJP Alliance At Breaking Point, All Eyes On DMK

The TN BJP chief K Annamalai is keen on his party taking its own direction in the state. He wants to test the waters in the Lok Sabha polls of 2024 to check what percentage of the votes the BJP can get in the state when standing on its own. Depending on the outcome, he would like the party to decide on the Assembly poll alliance for 2026. The party is impressed with the response Annamalai’s leadership is getting even if he himself is under pressure over the designer Rafale special edition watch, said to have been priced at Rs 5 lakh, that has been raked up after he targeted the DMK for corruption. The AIADMK, led by Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), is on tenterhooks regarding the outcome in the party case. The verdict is due on January 4 and his bargaining power on behalf of what is so far the official AIADMK could depend on where the judges go on the dispute with OPS’ wing of the same party. The BJP is playing a clever waiting game to see where the judgment takes the issue and if EPS comes off the worse in court, he could be in for a tough time. Meanwhile, there is talk of DMK joining the NDA fold but that is so much hot air at the moment even if in politics anything is possible.
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Statues In India: Why Are They So Much Part Of Politics?

We are never far from statue politics in a country that reveres its icons so much that there cannot be a town without a clutch of statues, ranging from nation builders to sporting champions. The latest salvo against a statue comes from the husband of Mary Kom, six-time World Women’s boxing champion and an Olympic bronze medallist. Onler Karong says the statue in Imphal’s Olympic Park does not resemble his wife, Mary. Be that as it may, there was more trouble in the capital of statues, which is Chennai in Tamil Nadu when a statue of Indira Gandhi had to be moved out of the pedestal to make way for six-laning of the Chennai-Bangalore highway at Sriperumbudur, a spot not far from where her son Rajiv Gandhi was cruelly decimated by a body belt bomber from Sri Lanka who came straight out of a Frederick Forsyth novel. TN’s Congressmen were upset that an iconic statue to which Rajiv had paid homage before going to the public meeting at which he was assassinated on May 21, 1991 was being shifted. They would not let the highways department move the statue but then relented in a public cause of highway expansion. They moved the statue themselves to the entrance of the Rajiv Gandhi memorial so mother and son could be remembered as victims of political assassinations. Finally, who can forget Mayawati for erecting statues of herself when she was UP’s chief minister (2007-12).
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Doting Mother Picks Auspicious Date For Udhayanidhi To Take Oath As TN Minister

A DMK minister was heard saying that the initiation of Udhayanidhi Stalin into the Tamil Nadu Cabinet was late by a year and a half. He should have been there from the start in May 2021 so the line of succession would have been clear already. Others say that the family is safeguarding its interests by bringing in a successor who will carry forward the Karunanidhi tradition. The most interesting aspect of his inclusion in the Cabinet now is that the date of swearing-in was chosen by his mother Durga who wished to avoid Margazhi, considered inauspicious for various occasions like marriages and events. And hence the hurry to induct him before the Tamil month of Margazhi, famous for Chennai’s music festivals, begins on December 15. CM Stalin may not be willing to accommodate any religious feelings as he goes about his duties as the party’s credo is not faith in God. But he can hardly argue against the wishes of his religious wife Durga whose temple visits are well-recorded. The first lady’s influence can be seen in the tolerance for faith and religion that the DMK shows now even in its official dealings with different religious heads, temples and places of worship. Stalin had studiously maintained that he is not against people following their faith and belief in God.
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Kal Aaj Aur Kal

‘Rising Son’ To Move Up In Political Career With Minister Post

DMK Youth wing secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin may be getting his long awaited ministerial berth in the Cabinet headed by his father Chief Minister M K Stalin. The induction may take place as early as December 14 as a CM secretariat official was said to have gone to the Raj Bhavan to get time on that date from the Governor for the swearing-in. Stalin’s son was slated to join the ministry even as the DMK was forming the government in 2021 but the ‘rising son’ may have preferred to complete all his film engagements before taking a Cabinet post. He may get only the minor portfolio of the CM Cell that takes care of petitions from the public, but it is a giant step for the family as it must be seen as establishing a line of succession. Stalin’s wife Durga had always been keen that her son should be a Minister rather than just a youth leader. She knew very well that her father-in-law had delayed his son’s succession so long that the party may have lost the 2016 Assembly elections only because M Karunanidhi was clinging on in the hope of becoming the CM again. It was rumoured that Mrs Stalin was very hurt at her husband losing the chance to become CM, which became reality at least five years late in her reckoning.
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Brazil Find Their Samba Rhythm Again!

The Brazilians are back and how! They may have dropped a game in the preliminaries to Cameroon after rostering out all the stars in their lineup. With Neymar back in the knockouts after an ankle injury, the football World Cup favourites were back to top form in their 4-1 annihilation of South Korea. The result was only expected but the Brazilian performance went beyond the score line. Selecao were not only scoring goals but enjoying their football, which should make them the most dangerous opponents from the quarter-final onwards. Their dance routine after scoring each of their four goals in a choreographed style was quite the talking point. While some critics panned it, others saw the delight the Brazilians are taking in doing what they do best – play football, score goals. Analysts of their form and performance are giving the Brazilians a real chance at winning the World Cup after 20 years. Playmaker Neymar’s return makes them more formidable. Beyond that, the talent of the strikers who are dancing the samba is striking. Richarlison scored a memorable goal, bouncing the ball three times off his head while keeping possession. And when he let the ball fall to the ground, he passed to a colleague only to get a return pass nearer goal when he sent the ball sliding in.
Pant with Sanju Samson

Is This The End Of Rishabh Pant As White Ball Striker?

The rebuilding of Team India after the crash in the T20 World Cup has not gone smoothly enough. All the faults of a bowling attack without sting and batsmen not getting out of the starting gates smartly enough in the first powerplay were also seen on the tour of New Zealand. The greatest disappointment, however, lay in Rishabh Pant still being unable to crack the white ball code. He may have all the striking talent in the world as seen in many of his Test innings. But his tendency to overhit the white ball brings about his downfall too often as he often skies the ball into the deep. Team India has lost a lot of time in trying to get its stars to find their top form as we saw in the case of Virat Kohli and as we will see in the case of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. But what happens to the team as selectors celebrate backing the stars is becoming clear enough. Indian cricket would be better off If only the selectors can see the damage to team performances as individuals try to justify their places. As Sanju Samson sat on the bench, the failure of selection policies was all too clear. Building a new team seems the best option now.
KS Alagiri with Stalin

KS Alagiri with MK Stalin

DMK’s Grand Alliance Ambition Puts Big Question Over The Future Of Congress In Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu branch of the Congress seems to be on a suicide mission. There is a rebellion against its chief KS Alagiri but then this is routine for a PCC that has a leader thrust on it from New Delhi. Worse is to come for the party as the DMK is on the road to forming a grand alliance against AIADMK and BJP and wants to corner as many of the TN (39)+ Puducherry (1) 40 seats as possible to take a leading hand in the government formation after 2024 polls. The DMK plan is to include PMK, DMDK and Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi besides old allies like VCK and MDMK in its coalition. The Congress share of seats may come down drastically from the 10 seats they had last time out. At best, DMK may allot 5 or 6 seats to the Congress as it must accommodate so many others. The DMK is also sweating after the new thrust of BJP under K Annamalai resulted in his being able to organise demonstrations against rising milk prices in as many as 1,200 places in the State with 25 to 1,000 workers at each spot. The AIADMK-BJP alliance is in trouble over unity issues in AIADMK that may lead to the Two Leaves symbol being frozen if Edappadi K Palaniswamy is not willing to compromise.
Steve Smith

“I’m Back, Baby” Says Steve Smith After Giving Up The Fidgety Shuffle

The quirkiest of techniques in a big walk across the stumps will not be seen anymore at the batting crease. Steve Smith, who made batting seem almost comical in his big shuffle and his mannerisms like tugging at his pads and gloves, has transformed into a still, almost statue-like approach to facing the cricket ball. He is so confident now about his reformed batting technique that he was heard telling his partner David Warner – “I’m back, baby”. Once the world’s top rated Test batsman who defied the fastest of bowlers while walking across his stumps to play them, Smith found himself less wanted in the white ball game. He was almost an anachronism in the T20 game because he was wedded to the old-fashioned technique of playing in the V. His innings in his new style against the white ball world champions England was significant. “I’m actually using the middle of the bat for once. I’m just standing a lot stiller, not moving as much. I feel good at the moment,” he told the commentary team on the mike during a break for drinks. Even more classical now at the crease, Smith is looking forward to making runs again. Maybe, his batting clone Marnus Labuschagne, will also give up the copycat gestures soon.
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EPS Determined To Keep Door Shut On OPS, Sasikala

Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) is determined to fork out on his own path if the BJP pushes him too hard to take back OPS and Sasikala to make a united AIADMK. If push comes to shove, EPS will not hesitate to break the alliance with the BJP provided he is secure in the legal status quo of his heading the party with the Two Leaves symbol and the Lloyds Road HQ. The local BJP chief K Annamalai asserted recently that the BJP-AIADMK alliance is intact and that the AIADMK lead by EPS will lead that alliance into the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The national leadership seems, however, to favour a united AIADMK party along with the two politicians who are right now out in the cold – OPS and Sasikala. OPS made a show of going out to meet Amit Shah at the India Cements diamond jubilee celebrations but all he got was a perfunctory greeting from the Home Minister who later went into a huddle with his own party men in Chennai rather than invite allies over. The Prime Minister was in Tamil Nadu too but on a schedule in four states in two days too busy to pay much attention to Tamil Nadu politics.
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How A Phone Call Led To England Storming Into The T20 World Cup Final

A phone call made several months ago was instrumental in Team England cruising into the final of the T20 World Cup. The call was made by the protagonist himself as Alex Hales picked up his mobile and called Rob Key, MD of England cricket, to present his case the moment he heard of Jonny Bairstow’s freak golf accident. Kept out of the England team from before the 2019 World Cup because he had failed a drug test twice, Hales was in cricketing wilderness for three years before he saw a door opening for him. His old partner in opening the innings in white ball cricket Jason Roy was woefully out of form and England’s captain Eoin Morgan had called it quits. Hales backed himself to fill the void. To Key’s credit, he took Hales’ case to the selectors, and they too agreed to give him a chance at redemption. The team management kept their cool as Hales came back into a difficult tour of Pakistan. Having recaptured his form in stands with his skipper Buttler, including in the game against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup league and then against Sri Lanka in a must win game, Hales simply took the Indian bowling attack to the cleaners, treating it with contempt at one of his favourite Adelaide Oval where had once scored a century in the Big Bash.
Vorat Kohli at T20 World Cup

Bookies Favour Team India In T20 World Cup

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Bookmakers have made Team India the favourite for the T20 World Cup. They are at 2.25 as against 2.5 for England, 3-1 New Zealand and 3.5 for Pakistan. The expectation is that the winner will come from the India-England semi-final. The slower Adelaide pitch and conditions can be said to favour India more with the short side boundaries suiting the team’s explosive batting. T20i cricket may be the hardest to predict but the chances are this Team India is rolling in higher gear now since beating Pakistan in the opening game. Starting trouble that used to plague India in Cup events is not there this time, which is another reason why the prospects of this team getting to the final seems better. England have a specialist T20 team too but what could hamper them is they are dependent on the top order to get them rolling and the top three could be hemmed in by the kind of movement available for Arshdeep and Bhuvi in the late spring conditions prevailing in Australia now. There is only one selection dilemma and that is probably already solved by Team India wishing to give Rishabh Pant more than just the one chance. He is a better bet to come off on the bouncier Aussie pitch than Karthik who may not be able to force the ball given the bounce.
TN Governor Ravi

DMK May Hate Governor RN Ravi’s Ways, But They Cannot Shift Him

The Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi may make mysterious air dashes to the capital New Delhi. But, when in Chennai, he does what he can to light a match under the DMK’s ideological stand on various issues, most of all religion and NEET. The Governor can do little about the national entrance test as it is a Supreme Court cleared reform, apart from sitting on the legislation that the Assembly passes Where the Governor tends to get on the nerves of the rulers of the land of the Dravidians is when he harps on sanatana dharma, which is more a personal matter of faith though it becomes political as it clashes with the DMK’s ideological belief in atheism. The Stalin government has tried to make Governor Ravi the enemy No.1 of the state on the grounds that he sits on Bills and breaches Constitutional propriety. Clashes with Governors are not a new thing even in Tamil Nadu where Jayalalithaa passed a resolution in the House against Chenna Reddy with whom she had running battles. With regard to god and religion, the DMK has changed somewhat over time as the party line is one of leaving faith and religion to the individual. But, as the Centre is unlikely to budge on the Governor, TN can only disparage him rather than unseat him.
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BJP Vs TRS: Munugode By-Poll A Barometer For State And Lok Sabha Polls

The Munugode by-election is a barometer for the 2024 polls in Telangana. Tied in a three-way battle with the Congress and the BJP, it is prestigious for the ruling TRS of KCR. The BJP is fighting tooth and nail with KCR, drawing him out in a personal battle over his daughter they call ‘Liquor Rani’, to come up at least a close second to trigger a series of defections before the big event two years hence. The battle used to be between the Congress and the TDP in the constituency for decades before Telangana was formed and TRS came into the picture. But the Congress got so busy with the Bharat Jodo Yatra of its prince that it brought campaigning to a halt to go to the neighbouring district when barely days remained for the poll on November 3 (result on Nov 6). The BJP, already engaged in a large but shady campaign of wooing TRS MLAs over with inducements, is hoping to seriously challenge the TRS in Telangana in the coming Assembly elections. Surveys indicate a huge anti-incumbency building against TRS and KCR in India’s youngest state and BJP is aiming to not only take Telangana but also try to boost its tally of MPs from a non-BJP state in the south in 2024. It appears the Congress has willingly put itself in a third position where it should have been battling for a comeback.
Khushbu

DMK Spokesman In Trouble For Denigrating Women Netas

DMK spokesperson Saidai Sadiq is on a sticky wicket after having called actors-turned-netas such as Khushbu Sundar and Gowthami as “items”. He may have believed he had picked soft targets but ran into a doughty Khushbu who took it up on social media with such force as a defender of women that Sadiq had to make a grovelling apology on TV. But that came only after Kanimozhi, DMK MP, had tendered an apology to Khushbu and others, saying such sexism cannot be tolerated. The high- profile daughter of M Karunanidhi has just been elevated in the party as a Deputy General Secretary and has clout with the top party brass, which is why Saidai’s position is looking increasingly shaky. Also, in picking on Khushbu, he may have strayed into very sensitive territory for, as a member of the DMK before she crossed over to BJP, she was very close to the first family, having known three generation of male leaders in Karunanidhi, Stalin and Udhayanidhi by dint of their film industry links. The issue at hand is, however, clearly about the denigration of women and to say they are an “item” was most demeaning. The speaker is certain to face his party’s wrath for only recently Stalin had said publicly that he has spent sleepless nights because of such unwarranted remarks from his partymen.
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An Indian Takes Over At 10 Downing Street

It will not only be a great moment in British history but also that of Indian history as Rishi Sunak takes over at 10 Downing Street after being voted in as Tory Party leader on Diwali day. It is 75 years since Winston Churchill, Britain’s greatest hero of World War II, made the terrible remark on Indians saying – “All Indian leaders will be of low calibre & men of straw”. And that was said by a man who is considered as responsible for the Bengal Famine of the 1940s when he allowed Indians to starve while the grain was earmarked for British troops. Only seven years ago was the greatness of Mahatma Gandhi as the apostle of peace and fighter of freedom for India recognised as his statue was installed in the British Parliament in 2015. Britain gets an Indian origin Prime Minister. At 42, he is Britain’s youngest PM in 200 years, educated at Oxford in true blue Britain and Stanford in the US, as rich as royalty thanks to his wife Akshata, daughter of Narayana Murthy of Infosys fame, and as fund manager at Goldman Sachs conversant with the financial markets. The controversies over his wife’s non-domiciled tax status in the UK and the US green card he kept for too long are behind him now. He is expected to unite Britain at a time of a grave financial crisis.
Rishu Sunak and Boris Johnson

Cynical Boris Johnson Backed Liz Truss To Have Comeback Chance

The return of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain is a distinct possibility. He will be up against his former protégé and now rival Rishi Sunak for the right to reside on Downing Street. There is reason to believe that Boris deliberately and cynically backed Liz Truss as the candidate for PM against Rishi though he knew he was backing the wrong candidate for the job. This was his way of creating a comeback trail for himself. Had he proposed the correct candidate in Rishi he may not have stood this chance of getting back in the job because Tory MPs would have realised what their wrong choice could do to the country and its economy. The master and his protégé had fallen out during the partygate crisis after Rishi had first stood by Prime Minister Boris. But, as the crisis grew in such proportions that Boris was in danger of being dethroned, Rishi pulled out to make a play for the top job. And that is when Boris plumped for Truss in the hope of swinging the nomination for her. This was cynical politics at its best and Boris was never averse to pursuing it. In what could be a shortened contest in view of the emergency situation in Britain, it might become a straight fight between Boris and Rishi with Penny Mordaunt likely to be left behind, once again. Teorex Inpaint Crack
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End Of Sasikala’s Political Ambitions?

The finger of suspicion pointing at VK Sasikala and others in the matter of the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa might spell the end of her political ambitions. Already disqualified from contesting elections till 2027 after going to jail on a disproportionate assets charge, the former confidante of Jaya might find very few willing to join hands with her in promoting her political future. She might find a faithful loyalist in the pliant O Panneerselvam who was substitute CM whenever Jaya was not qualified to hold the CM post or ill. But none would take her seriously any more in Tamil Nadu’s Dravidian political scene after Justice Arumugasamy Commission indicted her. Having taken charge of everything during Jaya’s illness, including ordering the CCTV cameras in the CCU unit of Apollo Hospital to be switched off, she and her kin who is a doctor took the final call on several decisions regarding Jaya’s medical treatment. No one else, not even acting CM OPS, had access to the CCU area that was cordoned off. Bureaucrats who took orders directly from Sasikala will also be under the scanner when the government orders an inquiry. Any chance of rapprochement with the AIADMK party claimed by Edappadi K Palaniswami may have also evaporated as none would be ready to associate with a hanger-on suspected of doing away with her mentor in the hope of capturing her powerful seat.
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Didi Boldly Bats For Dada But May Be Bowled

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The West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee came out strongly in support of hometown boy and displaced BCCI President Sourav Ganguly. She wants the BJP government at the Centre to back Dada for the ICC president’s post. But it may be too late already as only a couple of days are left for filing a nomination for President ahead of the ICC meet in November. Didi made it clear that she was only batting for youngsters as she also supported Jay Shah continuing for a second term as BCCI Secretary. Ganguly got ejected from the ticket thanks to N Srinivasan, the former CSK owner and de facto boss, shooting down Dada when the cricket group met at Amit Shah’s house where Roger Binny’s candidature to replace Dada was worked out. The sitting ICC President Greg Barclay is seeking a second term and the BCCI may not like to rock the boat there. All Didi got in response to her backing for Dada is a snarky comment from BJP brass asking her why she cannot replace Shah Rukh Khan as Brand Ambassador for Bengal and give Ganguly the endorsement package. Dada lost out because he chose commerce over leadership role in BCCI by signing on with companies competing with the Board’s official sponsors in such fields as betting and gaming.
Suella Braverman

PM’s Proposed Air Dash To UK Called Off As Trade Deal Is A Dead Duck Already

The much-anticipated Indo-UK trade deal is a non-starter. A Diwali deadline had been put on its signing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former British PM Boris Johnson. But the deal is on a back burner now despite Liz Truss wanting to move things along. In fact, it was suggested that PM Modi take a flying trip to the UK to meet Truss and speed up the deal, but that idea was shot down after Suella Braverman, Britain’s Home Secretary, swam into the picture to cloud up the waters with her gripe against Indians. An Indian-origin migrant born to Indian parents, Suella targeted Indians as the worst kind of visa over stayers in the UK. While statistically that may be true, there was little need for her to take off on a rant above Indian migrants at this juncture. The Indian foreign office is miffed with Suella’s tirade, which they see as a spoke in the wheel of the trade deal. Tending to the visa regime and laying down guidelines favouring India in visas was part of the deal. But the Tory government is on such shaky ground regarding the British economy and the mini-Budget that Kwarteng presented under Truss’ tutelage that the India trade deal has taken a back seat. The Diwali deadline is set to run out in 10 days from now.
Obstruction-event

Jos Buttler Took Diplomatic Stand On ‘Obstructing The Field’ Incident

There was an intriguing sample of the kind of bizarre events likely to crop up during the T20 World Cup. The warm-up games, while providing plenty of action, are also a teaser to how players may react to Mankading and even “obstructing the field” incidents. Jos Buttler, the England captain who was once the victim of a controversial Mankad run out by Ravi Ashwin in the IPL, was at the centre of the storm as Team England was subject to a clear case of obstruction when the bowler Mark Wood was prevented from going for a return catch by Matthew Wade putting a hand on his chest. Wicket-keeper Buttler saw the event differently. He said his team were just setting out on a very long tour of Australia that includes The Ashes and he didn’t want to have an early brush with the notorious Australian crowds with a fair quota of yobos, hecklers and downright racist punters. “They asked if I wanted to appeal and I said ‘no’. I’ve only just got to Australia so I thought just carry on with the game,” Buttler said. He took the diplomatic route out, but his example is unlikely to be followed by players in the T20 World Cup who will exploit every opportunity to win matches. After all, the debate over Mankading is yet to settle after the Deepti-Charlie event in the women’s T20 in England.
Online gamblign sites

Tamil Nadu Govt Bites The Bullet, Bans Online Gambling

The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Ordinance that totally bans all games of chance with money or other stakes goes further than most states in curbing what is an uncontrolled menace in the country. The ordinance says online gambling is addictive, causes suicides due to unsustainable debts and leads to financial distress and ruined families. It’s not certain how the ban will apply online as net trawlers may know how to get around outright bans. But features like geo-tagging may make it tougher for the ordinary web user to get on to gambling sites from Tamil Nadu. Based on the recommendations of the 5-member committee headed by Justice (Retd) K Chandru, the ordinance was brought in with the clinching evidence from a survey of 2 lakh school teachers revealing that concentration in children was impacted, eye defects were detected, intelligence quotient decreased, writing skills and creativity affected, self-esteem lowered and anger and indiscipline increased. The ordinance provides for setting up a ‘Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Authority’ to exercise powers and regulate the gaming industry and prohibits banks, financial institutions and payment gateway providers from extending any financial services to the gaming industry.  Only 27 people out of 10,735 who sent mails expressing their opinion on online gambling and games, did not want a ban.
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Tamil Nadu CM Stalin Wished The Malayalis On Onam But Stays Silent On Puja

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Another Hindu festival season is passing without a greeting for the people by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. While the Governor and leaders of all political parties wished the people for Ayudha Pooja, when all workers of the State spare a thought for the machines that enable their livelihood, etc., Stalin remained silent. In this, he follows his father’s footsteps in not wishing Hindus on their festivals while making it a point to wish the minorities on theirs. The exception is Pongal, which Kalaignar believed was the real New Year of the Tamils and not the birth of the Chithiari month, which is usually followed as Tamil New Year by a vast majority of Tamils. However, Stalin may have embarrassed himself as recently he wished people on Onam. Did he not know that Onam is also a Hindu festival? He tried to fob off his greeting in Malayalam as one for a festival of togetherness and solidarity to strengthen Dravidian links with Kerala and not intended as recognition of any religious festival of the Hindus. BJP’s Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai lost no time in reminding the public the Tamils that Stalin had wished Malayalis on Onam but would not do so for the Puja or Deepavali or any of the significant Hindu festivals. Stalin might find it difficult to justify his Onam greetings as opposed to his silence in the Puja season.
Bumrah

India’s Ferrari Breaks Down

Team India’s Ferrari of a fast bowler has broken down and needs repairs. Only a lengthy time out can come to the aid of Jasprit Bumrah, the quick with a quirky action. A stress fracture of the lower back is about the worst injury that any fast bowler has to endure because rest and rehab rather than a quick-fix surgery is the only way out. Any expectation that Bumrah will be available for the T20 World Cup is overly optimistic. Ask Dennis Lillee, the guru among modern fast bowlers, and he will tell you all about lower back injuries and how painful fixing them can be. Neither front-on or square-on delivery style is to be blamed for fast bowlers tend to break down regardless of what is done. And modern fast bowlers have the additional burden of hard workouts at the gym every day, besides bowling. The BCCI and its IPL franchises may claim to have the best medical support teams at hand but there is no remedy for the stress, strain and the pivotal tensions that fast bowlers have to suffer. And Bumrah’s action is so unusual in the sense that it depends on his back strength more than momentum built up in the run-up. The Ferrari needs to go to the “garage” before hitting the road again. And that is a pity as it affects Team India’s chances in the T20 World Cup.
KCR goes national

Will KCR’s Dussehra Gambit Of Merging TRS With Bharatiya Rashtra Samiti Get Him Into National Politics?

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is making a curious gambit. He is to announce the founding of his national party BRS (Bharatiya Rashtra Samiti) with regional TRS to merge with it on Dussehra day (Oct. 5). The new party will retain the TRS flag, its car symbol as well as the party colour pink. TRS, which came into prominence during the emotional agitation for a separate Telangana, will soon be consigned to history. Will the KCR gambit work is the question as long time Andhra-Telangana observers see a huge wave of anti-incumbency sentiment against KCR. While it is possible that KCR is doing away with the name TRS on the advice of soothsayers, it is his national foray into 150 seats that is loaded with risk. Those trying to unite the Opposition for 2024 are convinced that a single entity to take on the BJP will work better, as it may have been proved in the recent Italian elections where the Right coalition fielded a united single candidate in most seats. KCR’s national opposition unity moves, which he began in flashy meetings with Arvind Kejriwal, Nitish Kumar and HD Kumaraswami are also being met with scepticism by the likes of Mamata and Sonia Gandhi’s Congress. The BRS will dictate who will be PM in 2024, the new party’s intending founder KCR has been heard saying.
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Federal Fund Transfer Policy: Tamil Nadu FM's Grouse Is Valid

Tamil Nadu finance minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan’s grouse about the nature of revenue gathering having changed in India is credible criticism of the system as it exists after the introduction of GST. Before the “great and simple tax” came into being, states were free to raise revenues through indirect taxes which allowed financial freedom to make policies. States are now dependent on federal fund transfers that have become too political. Today, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the two states with the least population growth and best fulfilment of parameters of progress in child health, education and several other social spheres, are suffering the most in terms of being denied a fair share of revenue. The two States are among the worst off in terms of the differential between transfers from the Union and their own tax revenue. Thiagarajan’s complaint about States having become virtual municipalities in terms of managing their own finances has more than a ring of truth to it. The chart from a data scientist carried by the BBC brings out the enormity of the unfair nature of federal revenue transfers. Given the population parameter by which revenues are distributed, the south, well-known for population control measures that have been woven into the system through education and awareness, is likely to suffer even more if the delimitation process is completed this decade and seats to Parliament are decided.
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Senior DMK Woman Leader Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan's Decision To Retire From Politics Surprises Everybody

It’s not often that an active party member resigns when the party is in power. But that is what former Union Minister Subbalakshmi Jagadeesan has done. She was currently Deputy General Secretary of the DMK when she sent her resignation to party president MK Stalin declaring that she was retiring from politics. Insiders, however, say that she was unhappy about her prospects in the party after being denied a Rajya Sabha seat nomination that she was expecting considering her seniority. She was in the UPA-1 Cabinet (2004-09) as Minister State for Social Justice and Empowerment. Her husband Jagadeesan may not have helped her cause by putting out posts on the social media critical of the party, the contents of which were promptly relayed back to the party command. The party president did ask his senior minister Durai Murugan to find out what the problem was but, apparently, the lady said she was suffering health issues and that she wanted to retire from politics. Stalin had no option then but to accept the resignation. Heading a party that believes in transparency in dealing with its senior members and pays a lot of attention to its cadre-based strengths, Stalin had done his bit to keep the senior former minister in the fold. Her departure may not mean much as it is not the start of defections or desertions.
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Attack On Hinduism: Raja Too Close To DMK First Family For Action To Be Taken

A Raja, a favourite of the ruling DMK’s first family, may have got away with the airing of his opinion on Hindus that stirred a hornet’s nest. Apart from fringe Hindu groups in the Nilgiris, the home district of the former Telecom Minister infamous for the 2G scam that rocked Indian politics, not too many took serious note of the MP’s comments.  His controversial statement comparing Hindus with “shudras” had kicked up a religious and political storm with the Tamil Nadu BJP taking exception to it and accusing the politician of spewing hatred against a section of people. But not much came of it as Raja was mouthing a theory that would have pleased Periyarists who form a majority of the DMK party. The party chief MK Stalin may have been indulgent towards Raja in not rebuking him even privately. The suspicion is the first family may not be averse to prominent party members expressing opinions provided that they do not take on the top BJP brass with whom the CM has cordial relations. And Raja has always been considered close enough to the family for his excesses to be forgiven. In fact, it was Raja’s doings at the telecom ministry that had led to him and Kanimozhi spending a long time in Tihar jail at the height of the 2G scandal.
Carlos Alcaraz

A Lot More Will Be Heard Of This Young Tennis Star Star Carlos Alcaraz

They give him caffeine shots, which is perfectly legal, of course. And then they sometimes have to give him mild sleeping medication so he can rest properly, that is after hot and cold contrast baths. Every bit of his recovery from time on the court in competition is monitored by his team, which is why Carlos Alcaraz, the tennis player with a comet-like trail in becoming the youngest ever World No 1 at 19 and a Grand Slam winner as a teenager, is considered the Real McCoy of tennis. He was marked out for greatness some years ago but it took him a while to win a tour title. Once he did so last season, he broke through with four titles in the USA and Europe, beating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the Madrid Open, before going on to win the U.S. Open title. He is no cyborg, but every inch the modern tennis player with a scientific training programme and on-court coaching with a former world No. 1 in Juan Carlos Ferrero. His trainer says he has a good genetic predisposition towards hard work. Alcaraz himself says, not immodestly, that he deserves respect – “I am 19 years old and I have worked a lot in a very hard way.” He is not going to fade out like other young winners of Grand Slams who broke the monopoly of the trio of all-time greats.
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Stalin Roars Back To Form With ‘This Is Not Hindia’

Having spent a few months quietly, attending to duties in Chennai and around the state, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister roared back to form in response to Amit Shah’s comment on Hindi being a friend of all languages. “This is India, not Hindia,” Stalin said, reminding the Home Minister that Hindi is not the national language and not even the sole official language of the country. His advice to the HM was to celebrate an “Indian languages Day” and not a national Hindi Day. Shah may need no reminding that his assiduous promotion of Hindi is not going to work in Tamil Nadu, which is a kind of last bastion against the language thanks to its history of anti-Hindi sentiment. In fact, it was the anti-Hindi wave that brought the Dravidian parties to power in 1967 with CN Annadurai, the Tamil writer from Kancheepuram, becoming the first non-Congress CM of the state. Since then, no national party has posed so much as a threat to the Dravidian duopoly in 55 years. Any central agency, including the airport and its security teams, have been at the receiving end of language chauvinism opposing their use of Hindi. Of course, Amit Shah makes the point that unless local languages coexist with Hindi, India cannot run the country in its own languages.
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Rahul Gandhi’s Fitness Not In Doubt As He Walks Fast On The Yatra

The one thing that Rahul Gandhi is unlikely to suffer from on his long walk is lack of fitness. He has serious claims to being the fittest politician among the lot who are prominent on the national scene. Apart from being a Black Belt in karate, Rahul is also credited with deep sea diving feats that might surprise the U.S. Marines who pride themselves on their fitness and endurance feats. Rahul is credited with being able to free-dive to depths that the fittest Marines would not find easy to match. So, Rahul’s endurance will probably not be on test so much in the course of his planned 3,570-km walk in about 150 days. The first complaint to be registered as the Bharat Jodo Yatra began was from his security detail who found it difficult to keep pace with his strong gait. It wasn’t so much the speed as the difficulty faced in being able to track any threats from different directions as Rahul raced on his feet on the first day. His feedback team seems to have done a good job as the problem was taken back to the former Congress President who immediately course-corrected by walking much slower from Day 2.
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The 3570-Km Padayatra That Will Define Congress And Rahul Gandhi’s Future

The Indianisation of Rahul Gandhi begins on Wednesday (Sep 7). The real test for him as he takes up a padayatra in the fashion of many in India, from Mahatma Gandhi downwards, is whether he can sustain a 150-day walk covering 3,570 kms. The padayatra is his biggest attempt to revive a sinking party as he hits the ground that he has rarely done as a politician more prone to taking foreign breaks periodically. He is to begin this campaign with a visit to his father’s memorial in Sriperumbudur on September 7 morning and then to the starting point of the padayatra where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin will give him a national flag to carry on his march. The walk is loaded with symbolism and if Rahul is serious enough in walking from one end of India to the other, he stands some chance of washing off the image of a person born with a silver spoon in a political dynasty. While he is still inclined not to worry about who becomes the Congress President, he will assume the mantle of campaign leader for the 2024 elections. If he can simply double the Congress 2019 tally of 52, he would be giving his party and the combined opposition half a chance to down the BJP. But first, he would have to be seen walking like an Indian on home soil.
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EPS Is AIADMK Supremo Again After HC Division Bench Shoots Down Single Judge’s Status Quo Order

There have been more twists and turns than in an India-Pakistan cricket match in the legal battle for the AIADMK party control. Now, after a division bench of the Madras High Court gave its verdict, Edappadi K Palaniswami is restored as the (interim) General Secretary of the party. The legality of the July 11 meeting that EPS had convened and in which he became the party supremo has been restored. There are still many “overs” to be played in this match as the matter is certain to go to the Supreme Court. But, given the speed at which the top court disposes of cases, it can be safely assumed that EPS will be heading the party for a while from here. The division-bench shot down most of the assumptions in a single judge order that had taken the status quo to before the first meeting held on June 23 in which the question of who will head the party if its cadre wishes to have a single leader surfaced. EPS had proved that he had the majority of the party behind him then.  The idea of a unified party with EPS, OPS, V Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, appears even more unattainable now after the one-man commission to probe Jayalalithaa’s death recommended that Sasikala be investigated for her role in the time that treatment was being given to the former CM in the Apollo Hospital.
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Jayalalithaa Death Probe Report: Will Stalin’s Govt Take Any Action?

To do nothing with the Jayalalithaa death probe report submitted by the Justice (Retired) A Arumugasamy commission is probably the best course of action that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin may have decided upon. The very decision to first place the report in front of the Assembly, which is not due to meet till December 2022, is a clear indicator that the government does not wish to take any of the recommendations too seriously. Primarily, it has to do with a death that occurred in December 2016. And Stalin would be the last one to wish to interfere in the Opposition Party matters. The AIADMK is already doing enough to damage itself as the principal opposition. It needs no action from the ruling party to call for a probe into Jaya’s aide and confidante V Sasikala, who anyway met her Waterloo in the Disproportionate Asset case and spent four years in jail while also being ineligible to contest any election for another six years.  Also, it suits the DMK to watch on as the AIADMK implodes with the EPS versus OPS fighting for the spoils and the not inconsiderable Rs 3,000 crore party kitty that lies in two trust accounts. At worst, the government may call for action on the people named in the report without pushing the police seriously to probe them.
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Congress Presidential Elections: Whom Are The Bookies Betting On?

The Congress is in turmoil over electing its President. It won’t be Rahul Gandhi if he has his way. Since owning up to the 2019 defeat, he has been steadfast in not only staying away from heading it but also insisting on someone from outside the Rajiv Gandhi family to take the mantle. While those like Ghulam Nabi Azad who are dissatisfied with his way of wanting power without responsibility are quitting, the field is narrowing. Azad, only a long shot for the job – bookies had him at 100-1 as he is one of the G-23 rebels – is out of the race now. Among the non-Gandhi family members likely to head the party, if Sonia Gandhi and both her children do give the green signal for it are: P Chidambaram, who the bookies place at 3-1, on par with Jairam Ramesh who has gained traction since being a sober and disciplined soldier of the party and family as the chief spokesperson. But the overwhelming favourite among bookmakers is Ashok Gehlot at evens since rumours are that he has already been offered the job by Sonia. At 10-1 beyond the favourites is the debonair Shashi Tharoor who might even be a bright face for the party provided Sonia is okay with him being in the contest.
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Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai?

The ‘Prime Time’ of PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan, Tamil Nadu’s finance Minister, has been all the rage for a while now as he dared to take on the Prime Minister and his plenipotentiaries questioning their pronouncements over freebies. The PM had opened up a big debate after comparing freebies to the coarse sweet ‘Revdi’ and Opposition states took it up big time. PTR was on the warpath everywhere, including in an Oxford debate, in which he compared the Modi regime to British rule. He questioned whether the Centre had performed so well on the economy front that everyone had to follow its dictates. Not to be outdone by someone who took on the highest in the land, the BJP’s mouthpieces began digging into the Tamil Nadu economy to point out that its finance minister was just bragging about a Dravidian model while he was sustaining government expenditure by simply borrowing – as much as Rs 72,500 crore in 2021-22, to be scaled up to Rs. 90,000 crore in 2022-23. After PTR took over, the State’s debt ballooned to Rs 3.02 lakh per family from Rs 2.63 lakh per family. The percentage of debt to GSDP is also on an upward curve even as the Dravidian state leans on liquor sales to sustain its expenditure, boosted of course by freebies like free electricity for farmers and others.
EPS on warpath

EPS Declares War On OPS, Exposes His Past Misdeeds

Former Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami declared war in the AIADMK against O Panneerselvam. Declining his offer of an olive branch a day after the high court reined in EPS’ moves to get himself elected as General Secretary, EPS went on to demolish OPS’ character at a media conference, alluding even to his role of canvassing against J Jayalalithaa in the 1989 elections. He declared that OPS only seeks posts for himself and his son. He accused him of going to court to try and stop the GC meeting and, worse, getting into the party HQ on the day of the meeting and demolishing the place. Not only was the party office damaged and jewellery stolen but also key property files were taken away. EPS also rammed home the fact that had OPS commanded enough of a following in the party, he would have challenged him on the floor instead of staying away from the GC venue on July 11. He challenged the reporters to name one worthwhile scheme that OPS had initiated when he was CM several times in place of Jayalalithaa while she was fighting disproportionate assets cases against her. So outspoken was EPS in putting down OPS that a long legal battle is the only way forward now for the main Opposition party in Tami Nadu, which might just make way for the BJP to assume that role.
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EPS Suffers Big Setback As Madras HC Restores Status Quo In AIADMK, OPS Elated

Former CM Edappadi Palaniswami took a massive hit in the Madras high court which restored the status quo in the AIADMK party that existed before the contentious July 11 General Council meeting that he had convened and in which he was appointed as interim General Secretary. His colleague O Panneerselvam is now celebrating the restoration of the party to dual control after he had been expelled by EPS. The high court order is not the final word as it is bound to be challenged by EPS in the Supreme Court. OPS had not attended the GC meeting on July 11 but had gone for an earlier meeting. He had walked out when heckled and water bottles were thrown at him. The court order means the party is back to the status which had prevailed after the death of J Jayalalithaa and the imprisonment of her aide and confidante VK Sasikala in February 2017. After being together in his reign as CM of more than four years, EPS had manoeuvred his way to take over the party, his ambition being fulfilled as he had the clear majority of the party members. That majority is in question now as both he and OPS have to steer AIADMK through party polls and they are not even on talking terms.
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As T20 Leagues Proliferate Cricketers May Have To Choose Between Club And Country

Cricket is broken, they said when Ben Stokes gave up ODIs to concentrate on his Test career. But even as the death of the 50-overs format was being freely predicted, ICC’s future tours programme is dotted with cricket in all three formats, as busy as ever. It’s not cricket that is broken but the bodies of star cricketers who are playing too much. The greatest danger ahead even as Trent Boult quits the New Zealand contract and predicates his playing future around various T20 leagues is that T20 franchises will soon be ruling world cricket. Indian IPL owners have bought into the Caribbean, South African and UAE leagues and soon the stars may be forced to make a difficult choice between club and country. Cricket Australia is prepared to spend a hefty packet to keep David Warner interested in the Big Bash rather than travel to UAE as expanding T20 leagues start cutting into the southern summer cricket scheduling in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Spectators used to own the game until the TV stations came along with their multi-million-dollar rights bids. And now it appears the T20 franchise owners, like the club-owning oligarchs of English football, are set to dominate world cricket.
CWG winners

CWG 2022: India No More Also-Rans In Any Sports

Impressive as the medal tally and a fourth place among countries, India’s performance at the Commonwealth Games is not to be judged only on the strength of the medal haul of 61. The intensity to push oneself to perform better and win medals on the strength of best personal effort marked India’s presence in Birmingham. Eight medals from Track & Field, traditionally India’s weakest area, included one from steeplechase with Avinash Sable, the first non-Kenyan to win a medal (silver) since 1994. A number of medals from India’s base strengths like in wrestling and boxing, besides badminton, helped boost the tally to a healthy level. The sweep in badminton in the men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles was a triple delight but nothing may have warmed the cockles more than Sharath Kamal’s feat in winning four medals in table tennis at the ripe age of 40. Not only has he slayed the hackneyed phrase – age is just a number – but also proved that such a winner were he to be a country, he would have finished 16th in the medals tally. The women cricketers fluffed a great chance to down the Australians, failing to finish a chase they were handling so well so long as the skipper Kaur was in. India’s sporting enterprise is all set to conquer more frontiers in the forthcoming Asian Games and the Olympics.

TRENDS & VIEWS

Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!