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Shashi Rajeev_002

BJP Working Overtime To Down ‘Mr Bombastic’ Tharoor

It is poll season and time for wild conspiracy theories. Among many of them, a fanciful one is that the BJP is so keen on unseating Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram that they set the ED to file a PMLA case against Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter. It is suggested that the senior politician has been told to get his LDF voters to cast in favour of Rajeev Chandrasekhar. This is being done because the noted 3-time MP, a stern critic of BJP, cannot be put down as a ‘dynast’ or a favoured ‘nepo’ baby unlike other politicians that the BJP regularly mocks. Whether the theory is true or not, a close contest is on the cards in a constituency whose demographic dynamic is different from that of other seats as it is a Hindu-majority place, unlike many others in Kerala where the minorities pout together could outnumber the Hindus. The Union Minister may have been brought in a tad late to take on ‘Mr Bombastic’ Tharoor, but the BJP would like to do everything to help him down a thorn in the flesh. Among the two seats that the BJP most fancies in Kerala is also the one in which the actor Suresh Gopi is contesting. Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, has not been a happy electoral hunting ground for Gopi, but he will be in it for a third time to try and fulfil the party’s desire in snatching the seat.

DMK+ Gets Poll Ready, Stalin Generously Offers Extra Seats To Allies

To clear all the haggling over seat sharing with allies, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin has made a generous gesture of allotting the one extra seat over and above the negotiated quota to each party that was clamouring for it. He told his negotiating panel headed by TR Baalu to go ahead and give the extra seat to Congress, which was asking for 9 seats, one over the offer of 8. Kamal Haasan will get two seats rather than just one for himself and the VCK will now get 3 seats instead of 2. The seat sharing among the DMK+ alliance will be tied up by Friday (Mar 8). This comes after the Congress got a bit heated up over being offered only 8 seats though it had won 9 of 10 seats allotted in 2019. Similarly, Kamal had indicated that he would feel sorely done if he went back to his party with just one seat that he may stand in himself. The VCK has been clamouring for 3 and that too has been granted now. The Communist parties that have been given two each may be told to be happy with that offer while the DMK+ may not offer an extra seat to MDMK, which might get one Rajya Sabha nomination instead. All’s well that ends well might well be the emotion on display as the DMK+ gets ready for the poll battle of 2024.

DMK-Congress Alliance Talks At Breaking Point!


The DMK-Congress alliance that has stood the test of time is on the point of cracking up now. A wordy duel between a DMK and Congress representatives over seat sharing ended in both parties coming to breaking point with a deadline of March 7 given to the DMK now for acceding to Congress demands or face a rupture in ties. The DMK is determined not to let the Congress dictate which 9 seats will be given to them but would like to have a say in which candidates Congress will pick as there is some resistance to Karti Chidambaram and Jothimani getting seats. Ajoy Kumar of the Congress left fuming after the meeting and seems determined to inform his high command that the AIADMK offer of 12 seats and campaign funding looks attractive if the DMK offer does not match expectations. Chief Minister MK Stalin was closeted with his senior colleagues on Tuesday (Mar 5) morning at the DMK HQ, but then they had no inkling then that the Congress would get shrill in the seat sharing talks that they had with TR Baalu and his poll seats panel. The issues could get sorted out at the highest levels if any of the senior Gandhis intervene in the seat sharing process, otherwise a 20-year alliance seems to be at risk.
MK Stalin_Kamal Haasan

Kamal Is Not In Limbo, Will Get One Seat From DMK+

Actor Kamal Haasan is not in political limbo. He will get one seat for his party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), and he will be the candidate for the seat. It is just that the DMK has been playing with the Congress a bit, trying to downsize the GOP’s demand for the nine seats that it won in the last Lok Sabha elections. The DMK has been wanting to cut the Congress quota as it is dealing with demands for additional seats from the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi. It was even suggested to the Congress that it take nine seats but allot one seat to Kamal out of that. The Congress offered to accommodate that provided the actor stood on the ‘Hand’ symbol, which Kamal is reluctant to do as he has spent a lot of time and energy on his political party MNM, which has a shining torch symbol. The DMK may not offer him the Coimbatore seat that he craves because that seat has been pledged to a western TN leader. Kamal will probably plump for the South Chennai seat. It appears now that he cannot expect two seats from DMK+ but one seat of his choice may be his if he is the candidate. Since the seat sharing talks could not proceed in time, Kamal even cancelled his US visit to await word from the DMK boss MK Stalin on a meeting and a Lok Sabha seat.
eps annamalai

BJP Gaining In Tamil Nadu At AIADMK’s Expense

Nothing spooked AIADMK more than a recent weekly magazine survey which showed that the BJP had stolen the salience over other Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu and was headed to a larger vote share than the grand old party of MGR-Jaya. Insiders were busy arguing over what was going wrong in the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led party. Naturally, the blame was shifted to the leader for his inability to form an alliance that alone guarantees some success in vote share in the complicated Dravidian politics. There is no doubt that the national BJP, taking baby steps in TN with a reshuffle that found a leader in K Annamalai who has become a well-recognised face in the state, moved up in the party’s reckoning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contribution by way of referring often to the state’s Tamil literary luminaries also sizeable. The Lok Sabha polls will throw light on how far the party has come in difficult terrain, but there is no doubt that the Ram temple opening has moved a lot of people of faith into the party’s corner. Meanwhile the AIADMK, struggling to find allies, was picking on the PMK and DMDK not having decided yet on where they will go to offer them a number of seats closer to their expectations. All may not be lost yet for the AIADMK front, but the writing is on the wall that the BJP may be stealing a march in Dravidian turf.
Thennarasu MKStalin

Not A Proud Ranking: Tamil Nadu Has The Highest Outstanding Debt In The Country

When out of power and in the Opposition, political parties talk differently from when they are in power. This is a given and a glaring example of this popped up at the time the Tamil Nadu Budget was presented by the ruling DMK government for 2024-25. Having spent with a great deal of profligacy in having to keep up poll promises like free bus rides for all women, etc, the State is now expected to bear a debt burden well past Rs 8 lakh crore, with the outstanding Tamil Nadu debt by March 31, 2025 projected to be Rs 8,33,361.80 crore. The government is planning to borrow Rs 1,55,584.48 crore during 2024-25 and make a repayment of Rs 49,638.82 crore. “The amount to be borrowed constitutes 26.41% of GSDP in 2024-25. The Outstanding Debt as a percentage of GSDP is expected to be 25.75% in 2025-26 and 25% in 2026-27, which are well within the norms 107 prescribed by the Fifteenth Finance Commission,” was the finance minister Thangam Thennarasu’s statement in the Assembly. When the debt of each Tamil was measured to be around Rs 2.5 lakh, the DMK made a song and dance about it before the 2021 polls. Now that figure will pass Rs 3.5 lakh. Tamil Nadu has the highest outstanding debt in the country.
tamilisai nirmala

As Tamilisai Eyes Puducherry Seat For Lok Sabha Polls, Nirmala Sitharaman May Opt For Tiruchy

It appears Tamilisai Soundarrajan, currently Governor of Telangana and Puducherry, is preparing to come back into active politics. She has been pressing for the Union Territory (UT) seat, which Rangasamy’s party that heads the alliance, has marked for the BJP. With her term as Governor coming to an end, she was looking for an MP seat to contest after her unsuccessful foray in 2019 when she lost to Kanimozhi in the Lok Sabha polls. As she is a favoured candidate in a winnable seat in the UT, it seems Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has had to strike off one of the seats she was aiming at in Tamil Nadu where she must stand for the polls as BJP has decided to field all its ministers and senior leaders in elective seats. The current FM had been eyeing the Puducherry as well as the South Chennai seats. But Kamal Hasaan will be a high-profile candidate for the DMK+ front in South Chennai and the finance minister may have to move further south to seek a suitable seat. She might now pick the Tiruchirapalli constituency since she had gone to college and graduated from there. Kamal favours South Chennai for his foray into Lok Sabha polls as Coimbatore, from where he fought the last assembly elections, has been marked for Mahendran of DMK.
Ramadoss abumanu

PMK May Choose To Go With BJP In Lok Sabha Polls

While Tamil Nadu was agog with the excitement of Vijay stepping into politics to keep up a film star tradition, the older parties may be putting on their thinking caps to see what effect this will have on the polity. Of course, Vijay’s party will be a player only in the 2026 Assembly elections. TN parties are now busy pulling out their calculators for forging alliances. It is all but confirmed that the PMK — led by founder S Ramadoss and son Anbumani — one of the first as a caste party to gain prominence in the avowed “casteless’ Dravidian society, will go with the BJP’s offer of seven seats in the Lok Sabha polls. Having toyed with joining DMK, the Vanniyar party has few options but to go with BJP as it cannot mix with a front in which the VCK, another caste outfit, is an ally. It appears senior AIADMK leaders have told Eddapadi K Palanswami not to entertain the PMK. Besides the PMK, the BJP front might have the DMDK in its fold as Premalatha might throw in her lot with Modi’s party as her late husband Vijayakanth was a great fan of the Prime Minister and canvassed for him and his party from 2014 onwards. Tamil Maanila Congress, without a great vote share or presence, is yet to make its choice clear. The three-way battle will be on with the DMK-Congress-MDMK-VCK combine against the BJP- front while AIADMK will go in without any major allies.
Sekhar Babu MK

After Image Hits, Lok Sabha Polls Will Be DMK’s Sternest Test

Just a few months ago the DMK was confident of delivering close to 39 seats for the I.N.D.I.A bloc. Such a haul would have represented the second biggest after the Congress. Now, months away from the Lok Sabha polls, DMK is not so sure. Its image has taken a deep hit after Cyclone Michaung dumped huge amounts of water on four districts around the capital Chennai and the monsoon pelted more places in the south. The 10 constituencies where the government seemed helpless in dealing with flooding may be a litmus test of the ruling party’s popularity. There was another major image hit in the Supreme Court rapping the TN government over handling of the Ram temple consecration, which a few temples wanted to share with their devotees by putting it on LED screens within their premises. Party insiders are squarely blaming the HR&CE minister Sekar Babu for misguiding the chief minister into trying to control the event through the police. They believe the event would have passed without much of an impact if the government had quietly allowed the devout to view the consecration. In his bid to please the master, the minister may have needlessly invited trouble and harsh words from the top court. Throw in the corruption drama around the first DMK minister being convicted and the overall image of the DMK is not what it may have been after three years in the saddle.
Rahul MKStalin

TN Poll Alliances Still Not Firmed Up

The poll alliances in Tamil Nadu seem far from settled. Asked about the sealing of seat-sharing arrangements in the I.N.D.I.A bloc, all that the senior DMK minister Duraimurugan would say was that things were moving smoothly. But there are tugs and pulls, with at least one major party in AIADMK trying to change the scenario by offering more seats (12) to the Congress than the DMK (6 or 7) is ready to offer. Also, voices are being heard in I.N.D.I.A bloc from the likes of the AAP that the bloc may be better off without the DMK as the party’s stand on Sanatana Dharma has spoilt the Hindu vote bank for the alliance. But given MK Stalin’s loyalty to members of the Congress first family, it is unlikely that the matter of a few seats would see the alliance come unhinged. Stalin might convince the DMK to allot nine seats to the Congress to keep the front intact. His son has also been told to tone down the anti-Hindu rhetoric till the elections and not to sully the pitch to the electorate, which already has reason to ditch the DMK because of the corruption clouds that are gathering over a few major figures. The Muslim also have reasons to feel cut up as they see the DNK as not having done enough for them, including in the non-release of prisoners.
EPS amit shah_002

Secret Pact Between BJP And AIADMK Is Out

AIADMK staying away from the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls is part of a master strategy worked out by the party’s head honcho Edappadi K Palaniswami and Amit Shah. The secret pact, arrived at as a Tamil-English interpreter from Karnataka was the only other person present at the one-on-one meet, was to enable the taking away of minority votes from the DMK by presenting an alternative in an independent AIADMK that is back to where J Jayalalithaa had kept it. There is no doubt that the DMK has suffered quite a few image hits recently, with the first conviction of a minister for graft and another sitting in jail as a minister without portfolio. The heavy rains of the monsoon in 9 districts around Chennai and the extreme south also led to undermining of the ruling party’s dominant political stature. So much so, there is an opinion shared by some Congressmen that it is time the party broke its DMK ties and accepted more seats that the AIADMK would offer it. One of those who is leading this campaign is currently being disciplined for suggesting PM Modi is more popular than the party’s scion Rahul Gandhi. DMK is planning on cutting the Congress seats down to just six to give itself a better chance to get the number of seats that would give it much bargaining power in any post-poll scenario.

DMK On The Back Foot After Ponmudy’s Conviction

The ruling DMK has been pushed onto the backfoot in Tamil Nadu. In a first, a senior DMK minister has been convicted of graft. K Ponmudy, already convicted in 2016, had the verdict overturned smartly after the party came back to power in 2021. But the wheels of justice, known to roll along slowly, caught up with him. Priding itself on having nil convictions in its long rule, the DMK used to deride the AIADMK for corruption cases, including those against J Jayalalithaa, in some of which she was convicted and did go to jail. But the smart recovery of convicted Ponmudy may not have escaped the eyes of the Madras High Court. And now other senior ministers are running scared. Having resorted to legal legerdemain to stay in power, the likes of Thangam Thennarasu, S Raghupathy and Anita Radhakrishnan are now worried if their cases would be raked up again. They are hoping that Ponmudy’s appeal to the top court would bear fruit quickly as there is an issue of latent bias in the ruling by tough judge G Jayachandran. Another uncompromising judge in Anand Venkatesan has been posted to take charge of cases against elected representatives and serious judicial action is on the cards. Tamil Nadu’s institutionalised corruption, that has enriched ruling families and close aides of both Dravidian parties, may be exposed again.
Karti chidambaram

Karti Sets Record As Most Searched Indian

Karti Chidambaram has a healthy contempt for the powers that be and the central investigating agencies. He has probably set a record for being the most searched Indian with the ED constantly after him. In the latest episode, Karti countered them by asking for time since they were only on a fishing expedition and that he had to get his documents ready to satisfy them. He has greater ambitions within the Congress and would rather see them fulfilled. For starters, he would like to head the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee which has a veteran politician holding the post of President now but there is reason to believe he is out of touch with the changing scenario in which traditional media houses are being overtaken by the social media channels as purveyors of news. If the TNCC, once famous for felicity in flipping between the DMK and AIADMK despite the Centre having toppled both the governments of M Karunanidhi and MG Ramachandran and bringing in President’s Rule. Currently with the DMK in the ruling alliance with a prominent position and commanding eight MPs in the Lok Sabha, the Congress is hoping to lean on the Dravidian party for more seats in the 2024 polls. Expect a promotion any time soon for Karti Chidambaram to head TNCC and drive the bargaining for seats.

EPS Wants Place For AIADMK In I.N.D.I. Alliance

Politics might be well-known for its propensity to bring together the strangest bedfellows. In today’s context of political alliances that are firming up before the 2024 polls, the strangest alliance being sought is that of the AIADMK pressing for a place in the I.N.D.I. alliance. Edappadi Palaniswami is hankering for it and is pursuing it through talks with the likes of Mallikarjun Kharge. His reasoning is simple. The DMK is not an ideal partner in the alliance because of its anti-Hindu stance. He is pointing out that Kamal Nath not only spoke about it but also wrote a letter to the Congress high command complaining against the anti-Sanatana Dharma stand of Udhayanidhi Stalin that is against the interests of the Congress party. In fact, he blames the anti-Hindu posturing of the likes of junior Stalin and A Raja for the Congress losing the Madhya Pradesh election. The Periyarist philosophy based on atheism may have a few followers in the Dravidian heartland, but it has few takers outside Tamil Nadu and publicising it will only hurt the Congress in the Hindi-Hindu-Hindutva heartland. Palaniswami has indicated that his party is willing to be part of the I.N.D.I. alliance regardless of whether the DMK is part of it or not. He is keen on making the point that the DMK will bring down the alliance’s chances in the 2024 polls.
Chennai flood

Angry Chennaiites To Get Some Money From Helpless Govt

When people are angry, give them some money. That is what they did in 2015 when Chennai was overwhelmed, both from torrential rain from cyclone and poorly planned and desperate discharge from an overflowing lake. Jayalalithaa’s government gave Rs 5,000 per ration card in Chennai to try and assuage the anger people felt at the rulers for the apathy that led to a civic disaster in floods. Stalin’s government went one better in announcing Rs 6,000 per ration card. But that is no guarantee Chennaiites will vote for them when they turn up at the polling booth the next time. This is what happened to Jaya’s party when Chennai rejected almost all their candidates in the 2021 elections. The Tamil Nadu government is aware of that, but the bureaucracy and the rulers could not think of anything else to cool down the extreme anger displayed by the people whenever the leaders and officials came to visit them in their wet dwellings five days after the rain stopped on December 4. The disaster of 2023 was no less than that of 2015 with huge swathes of Chennai still under water while small pockets got back to normalcy quickly after the deluge. The State Chennai was in may have been made apparent to the defence minister who surveyed the disaster by helicopter. Nothing has changed in eight years except that the ration card holders of Chennai get Rs 1,000 more this time.
prabhakaran family

Games Politicians Play: Perpetuating Prabhakaran Myth

Believing in the myth of the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran being alive is a kind of business in Tamil Nadu. Perpetuating the myth of the slain separatist who waged war against the Sri Lankan State on behalf of the Tamils is the MDMK leader Vaiko and a few others who were close to the Tiger chief when he was alive and even took breaks in Tamil Nadu to meet top political leaders, including MGR. As his anniversary comes around, the myth is narrated by Vaiko and even picked up by the media. This year, there was additional grist to this mill with a fake video surfacing purportedly showing Prabhakaran’s daughter Duwraka speaking. Truth is Sri Lanka’s top military brass reported to the political boss Mahinda Rajapaksa that the LTTE chief had been captured on May 17, 2009. The President was said to have then sent the army chief to get rid of the rebel leader and all his family as the State did not want his DNA to survive. This is why Prabhakaran was eliminated, so too his wife Mathivathani Erambu, daughter Duvaraga and son Balachandran. As his clan was seen as enemies who waged war against the State, the murder of his entire family was not seen as a human rights violation. Keeping him alive is the job of semi-retired politicians like Vaiko, who made a big business out of supporting the Eelam cause, Pazha Nedumaran and Kashi Anandan.
mk udhaya

Udhaya Crowning May Be Just Days Away

The DMK succession plan is gathering pace. The young gun Udhaynidhi Stalin, son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, will be crowned as the Deputy CM to coincide with the DMK conference to be held on December 17 in Salem. The first family thought it through and with a bit of pressure coming from the home front, Stalin is inclined not to repeat the mistake his father did in not promoting him as the party boss though he was 92 during the 2016 elections. The CM was involved in making his son’s birthday on November 27 a bigger occasion with the Udhayanidhi-inspired cycle rally made part of the party’s poll campaign. The youth heard at the rally that a bigger role in the 2024 poll campaign for their young leader was on the cards after his successful appearances in the 2019 and 2021 polls that made an impact. As the young lion, Udhaya was able to speak up boldly against AIADMK as well as the NDA front the party was a part of. How the party views his promotion as Dy CM may depend on the mood of the elders, but there is none in the party today to question the chief on these matters as it happened in the case of Kalaignar Karunanidhi. And, as one politician ally said it, Udhayanidhi Stalin’s horoscope is a good one.
Durga stalin_002

First Family Of Faith Contradictions Helps Temples In Tamil Nadu

The first family household of Tamil Nadu may be a bundle of contradictions with an atheist head, a super faithful Hindu better half, a son tending to atheism with a wife from another faith and a daughter who is apolitical. It must cope with various demands in an intensely political life under a spotlight, which is why chief minister MK Stalin is going all out to stress that his party DMK, an offshoot of the non-believing Justice Party, is not against Hindus. He took umbrage at the Union Finance Minister’s statement that the government and the party were stealing from temples by usurping their lands. While assigning party loyalists and functionaries as chairpersons to temples that are in great public demand like Tiruvannamalai, Rameswaram, Srirangam and Palani, the government has gone all out to help temples recover lands alienated decades ago. The HR&CE Minister PK Sekar Babu, who goes on every temple run with the first lady to ensure she is received with honours, put out a statistic saying that so far Stalin’s government had reclaimed lands worth Rs 5,500 crore in two years. The figures are not in dispute, but what is also relevant is Union Minister Murugan’s statement that while TN temple lands were recorded in 1986 to be 5.25 lakh acres, now there are only 4.78 lakh acres in their possession. There may be some way to go in enabling temples to repossess their property, but the Stalin government is at least trying and the faithful must accept things are better now.
kapil dev

Kapil Dev’s Explosive Comment Of 1983 Retold 40 Years On

What did Kapil Dev say to two journalists soon after India had won the World Cup in 1983? In his earthy style, the winning captain told two journalists at Lord’s in London – “Ghoron ka aur Kaliyon ka, dhononka !@#4 paad diya”, translating to – “The whites and the blacks, we screwed them both”. This well-kept secret was revealed by one of the two journalists with whom Kapil Dev interacted after the final in the sponsor Prudential Insurance Company’s hospitality tent. He told me that 40 years on there was no harm in revealing what was an emotion that the captain felt in his heart after having achieved what was the greatest triumph of the underdog in the world of sport in one of its biggest stages, which was the ODI World Cup. Had these words been spoken in this ‘woke’ era it might have stirred up a real storm and Kapil Dev pilloried as a racist. But in those times, four decades ago, celebrities spoke what they felt, at least in asides to scribes in the confidence that it would not be blown out of proportion. There was no social media either in those times to exaggerate each word and troll the speaker in myriad posts.

Tamil Nadu Governor Put In His Place?

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has been put in place. It took strictures from the Supreme Court to bring this staunch authoritarian around. Governors in independent India were never meant to ‘govern’ but this person proved to be the most confrontational of them all, putting the likes of Channa Reddy in the shade when it came to operating from the Raj Bhavan in Chennai. “He acted more like an opposition member”, was one of the milder charges made by the DMK supremo and CM Stalin against him. In putting on the shelf close to two dozen Bills, the Governor was acting way beyond his powers and, only after top court frowned upon the tactics of Governors in non-BJP states, did he wake up to reality, lest he be quartered and hung by a top court angered at the sight of Governors destroying the interpretations to the Constitution by floating the theory that, once a Governor withheld consent to a Bill, the legislation was dead. Besides his regular job at needling the government of the day, the Governor also fancies himself as an interpreter of the Constitution. Now that 10 of the Bills he refused to give assent to have been sent back to him on the same day they were reenacted in a special Assembly session he is duty-bound to sign them into law. Of course, he might view the constitutional provision on this differently. So combative is this Governor!

Has Greater Madhya Pradesh Decided Who To Vote For?

The odds are that the undivided Madhya Pradesh in the form of MP and Chhattisgarh that are going to the polls will have voted overwhelmingly for the Congress. It may have been cocky for the son of the CM designate Kamal Nath has already fixed a date for his dad’s coronation, but the anticipation is he might have said so on the strength of various private polls that have been done in the two States. Senior BJP figures know that in these two states they have been fighting a losing battle, despite the divisions in MP between Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh. People have been openly saying that the Prime Minister who is canvassing hard in his criss-cross campaigns is wasting his time because these are Assembly polls and not for the Lok Sabha. The people of MP are angry that the verdict they delivered for the Congress last time out was twisted by defections and the regular ‘Operation Lotus’ that goes on to undermine the majority won by non-BJP governments in the States. Chhattisgarh has been a Congress stronghold for some time now and the closer contests anticipated in MP may not come about because of public anger. So, will MP be another big State that will go Congress way after Karnataka and Chhattisgarh keep faith?
Glenn maxwell

Has ‘Bat First’ Time Come In The World Cup?

Is it ‘bat first’ time from here onwards in the World Cup? Putting a total on the board and challenging the opponents to meet the target used to be a regular tactic in World Cups, the first five of which were won by teams batting first. Being played in the modern era after the advent of T-20, the 2023 World Cup has been bucking the trend with great chases, none more excellent than the one staged by Glenn Maxwell for Australia against Afghanistan with New Zealand getting close to 400 and coming within a six hit against the Oz. But the obvious things on the minds of captains at the toss will be India’s virtual invincibility batting first, enhanced by the new balls zipping around under lights for Bumrah, Shami and Siraj. The only way to play them would be to take them on in the afternoon when there may not be that much swing and seam. But the challenge is that India’s spin twins may then throttle those aiming to put a large total on the board. Considering South Africa are lions when batting first and lambs when chasing may mean that we know what would happen at the toss if India and Australia win theirs in the semi-finals. Can New Zealand beat India even if the toss goes in their favour? Can South Africa shake off the choker’s tag if they are chasing?

DMK Succession Plan May Have Been Advanced

It was always a question of when and not if. But the DMK succession plan involving Udhayanidhi, son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, may just have been moved up due to pressures from within TN’s first family. It is learnt that Stalin’s wife Durga is keen that the succession be quickly defined so that her son does not undergo the long waiting period her husband suffered because the DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was unwilling to let go of the top party post lest they isolate him after such a long innings in public life.  Durga was known to criticise her father-in-law for delaying the nomination of his son as the CM candidate and so losing out in the 2016 election to J Jayalalithaa who retained power. Having spent 40 years as heir apparent, Stalin became party president only when his father was facing ill health in old age and allowed the promotion of the once deputy CM to party boss as well as CM candidate. The scion, now sports development and youth welfare minister, could well be deputy CM by December when the party will be holding a youth wing conference. Udhaya has also been the loudest voice of the party in taking on Governor RN Ravi on the Sanatana Dharma issue, gathering signatures against the medical entrance test NEET and drawing praise from his father and CM on his work. Udhaya is also convinced there is positive resonance in the public on the topics he is picking to take on the Centre and the Governor. 

DMK Pleased To Have Confrontational Governor In Tamil Nadu

The standard response to confrontational Governors, whose number is growing in State capitals, would be for the regional party to ask for their recall. But the DMK is taking a different view of retired security forces honcho, RN Ravi, who is the Tamil Nadu Governor. The DMK and its chief MK Stalin want him to stay on in the Raj Bhavan because his run-ins with the State government is finding resonance with the party cadre as well as people as they are seeing through his game as one of North versus South. The Governor’s actions in stopping legislation, certain high-level appointments and his critique of the State’s view of Sanatana Dharma are making him the kind of anti-hero who can bind the opponents together. So high are the decibels of the confrontations with Stalin’s government that the DMK believes it will help the party get even more votes in the next polls. The daily cries of hate against the Governor grew to such an extent that someone tried to throw a Molotov cocktail at the Raj Bhavan. And the Director General of Police had to put out the visuals from CCTV to show it was as much a dud as a non-performing Diwali firecracker. DMK’s head honcho, firmly in the saddle and with the power play button in his hands as he alone can assure to deliver close to 40 seats for the I.N.D.I.A bloc which will be the highest number after the Congress, is laughing all the way to Fort St George as the Governor is helping his cadre bind into a cohesive vote gathering unit.
India SL Ferry

Sri Lanka-India Ferry Service A Goner

The resumption of the ferry service between India and Sri Lanka has run into rough weather of the literal and metaphorical kind. The ferry from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanthurai near Jaffna, promoted as a game changer in ties with Sri Lanka, has met with such a tepid response from the travelling public that it faces closure once again. Passenger movement was lukewarm to begin with after all the effort put in to create the travel-visa-customs infrastructure at both ends. It fell even further after the much-publicised maiden run on October 14 and the government of India decided to call a temporary halt, quoting the onset of the Northeast monsoon as an excuse. The economics of it was probably not studied hard enough as New Delhi stretched itself to resume the service. It costs Rs 7,600 to cross over on the ferry, that too from the southern tip of India to the northernmost tip of Sri Lanka. It probably costs less to fly from Chennai to Jaffna, or even Chennai to Colombo. The idea of floating the ferry service again was not only for nostalgic reasons. A Boat Mail used to run from Madras Egmore railway station to Dhanuskodi for the transfer to ferry and a longer sea journey to Colombo. Dhanuskodi was washed away in the 1964 cyclone and the ferry service had to stop. No one wants to ride the ferry anymore as it is no luxury cruise either.

Stalin May Demand His Pound Of Flesh If I.N.D.I.A Wins

Secure in the belief that he is the only one who can deliver upwards of a guaranteed 35 seats to the I.N.D.I.A front, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin is looking for a place at the high table when and if the coalition were to gain power at the Centre. While nursing no personal ambition to be in New Delhi even as Deputy Prime Minister as he would be totally out of his Tamil environment, Stalin may demand several high-power ministries if the bloc is able to snatch power at the expense of the BJP-led NDA. While a central ministry would be a way to reward the likes of his cousin Dayanidhi Maran who surrendered his personal ambitions to be part of the Stalin-Udhayanidhi party setup, Stalin may also like to promote his favourite minister Thangam Thennarasu who has been a loyal lieutenant while proving capable of managing the industry ministry in a manufacturing heavy state. Stalin’s aim has been to promote his son Udhaya with an eye on the 2026 Assembly polls rather than at any earlier time as, say, in a promotion to Deputy CM. Stalin knows that the DMK is the party that can furnish the biggest block of MPs as their alliance is capable of landing close to maximum in the 39 TN seats, of which they won 38 in 2019. Stalin feels the least threatened of any in the I.N.D.I.A bloc.
KL rahul_Ashwin

Score Is 1-1 In Team India Versus Critics

In returning to peak form and playing crucial innings in the World Cup opener for Team India against Australia, and before that figuring in a long stand with Virat Kohli against Pakistan in the Asia Cup, KL Rahul has bowled his critics over. They had railed against the selectors and Rahul Dravid for reposing blind faith in the batter and part-time white ball wicketkeeper, but he repaid them in spades. His delicate late cutting of balls from the stump line to various parts of point and third man was outstanding just after Team India was down in the dumps having lost three batters for ducks with less runs on the board than wickets. But then critics had leapt into the lead 1-0 by proving right on Ravi Ashwin. They had been blasting the BCCI, selectors, team coach and captain for openly showing their bias against the off spinner for nearly two years since 2021 when they played him in only one Test, which was the first WTC final against New Zealand. Critics certainly scored as the team left out Ashwin from the World Cup squad and sheepishly brought him back only by posturing that Axar Patel was so badly injured as to be out of the World Cup. And they even picked Ashwin for the opening game at Chepauk and he shone with the ball to prove how wrong they have been in discriminating against him.

Ruling BJP’s Worst Nightmare Just Round The Corner, In Five State Polls

The ruling BJP’s worst nightmare might be round the corner. Rahul Gandhi was not far off the mark in releasing the results of early internal surveys of the mood in the five states going to the polls soon. He said Congress could certainly win three of them –Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana – while Rajasthan could be a tossup, with Mizoram in the northeast likely to also be affected by what is going on in Manipur and hence could turn against the national ruling party. While Chhattisgarh is a given considering it has been a Congress stronghold for a while now, Telangana is where the Congress might put up its most impressive show. The BJP, acutely aware that the party stands little chance in the State given its indistinct local leadership, is banking on KCR to withstand the anti-incumbency wave and keep the State away from the Congress. There is talk in Hyderabad of a deal already struck between BJP and BRS regarding the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. The Congress is hoping to create a national mood swing with a good showing in four states, including Rajasthan which may see a close-run race. Telangana is the big swing State that might impel the Congress campaign for the big polls in 2024.

Politics Might See Strangest Of Bedfellows Yet If AIADMK Joins I.N.D.I.A After The Polls

Politics makes strange bedfellows. The strangest of them may even come together after the big break up that occurred in Tamil Nadu where Dravidian major AIADMK severed its links with the BJP and NDA. It is learnt that long before the alliance was off, Edapaddi Palaniswami (EPS) was in touch with Mallikarjun Kharge about AIADMK seeking admission into the I.N.D.I.A bloc. Apparently, Sonia Gandhi was not for confusing the picture for their supporters and voters by allowing such an alliance. Yet EPS was told to first break free from the BJP and that any offer to join the alliance might be considered in a post-poll scenario. Keeping all his options, EPS is looking to first win a few seats that may be useful post the verdict and then play his cards accordingly. The break from the NDA is final, so far as EPS is concerned. The undisputed leader of AIADMK might even see his hold on the party challenged in the top court by O Panneerselvem who is now looking to confirm his entry into the NDA once he forms his own party that could be named Puratchi Thalaivi Amma DMK. Annoyed by the Big Brother attitude and BJP’s propensity to dictate who all from the former undivided AIADMK may be in the NDA, EPS walked out and created a stir in national politics.

New Twist: BJP Ready To Patch Up With AIADMK

It appears BJP is ready to patch up with AIADMK if there are any problems regarding their alliance, which was said to have been broken by AIADMK unilaterally announcing that the BJP was no more in its alliance. But it appears there was more to it than meets the eye. It was Edapaddi Palaniswami (EPS) who was peeved not so much at the demand for 15 Lok Sabha seats out of 39 in Tamil Nadu (Pondicherry to remain with BJP as it is in power there in alliance with Rangasamy) as the insistence on the alliance expanding to bring in Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran into the poll mix. AIADMK is adamant that whoever BJP wants to accommodate can be within their quota of seats. Even there, EPS would like to draw the line on any sneaky comeback bid by Sasikala through her ardent supporter O Panneerselvam. The AIADMK supremo, who is in firm control of the Dravidian major now, will not compromise on the issue of a re-entry for OPS. The former CM would, however, not be averse to a reconciliation bid as he is aware that without the Centre’s support he and his party leaders would be under pressure from the TN government, which is ready to set the DVAC and other state agencies after them in corruption cases. There is no easy way out of the impasse, but the allies are playing a game of oneupmanship now.
Jayakumar aiadmk

AIADMK Drops A Bombshell, Says BJP Not In Its Alliance


AIADMK spokesperson Jayakumar dropped a bombshell on Vinayaka Chathurthi day in Tamil Nadu saying that the BJP Is currently not in the AIADMK alliance. He will obviously not be speaking without authorisation from his party boss Edapaddi Palaniswami (EPS). The war over local BJP chief K Annamalai and his outspoken ways in which he has been criticising revered AIADMK figures like Jayalalithaa and Annadurai and threatening to lay bare the corruption in previous AIADMK regimes is now out in the open. Jayakumar, however, kept the alliance lines open saying that any understanding with the BJP would be forged only before the polls. In a cheeky comment, Jayakumar said that, on its own, the BJP would fare poorly in the polls in the state and that Annamalai would struggle to beat NOTA. Former ministers have of late been lashing out at Annamalai for dragging the names of departed party leaders when speaking about his war on corruption and his exposes. The local chieftain may not be speaking without authorisation from BJP’s top brass either. But EPS’ equation with BJP’s top duo plus party chief JP Nadda is on a different plane and chances of a patch up cannot be discounted. Right now, AIADMK has dared to declare war and the ball is in the BJP court.
EPS amit shah_002

EPS Faces Kodanad Estate Robbery And Murder Case Heat, Meets Amit Shah

Former Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) is in a bit of a bother with the Kodanad Estate robbery and murder case coming too close to him for comfort. Taking a leaf out of the operations of the Union government through central investigating agencies to pile the pressure on political opponents, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, is also cranking up the machinery for replicating such tactics. The DVAC has moved against a couple of former AIADMK ministers even as the long delayed Kodanad case is picking up momentum amid myriad conspiracy theories and angles to move the lens towards former CM Palaniswami. Afraid of being framed in a case in which he had to take an interest as it involved the former CM J Jayalalithaa and her confidante Sasikala’s possessions and secrets, EPS went to New Delhi to convince Home Minister Amit Shah to get the CBI to take up the investigation so that he may not be called in for questioning by the State police who can be hostile to him. While a smokescreen was drawn to make it appear as if EPS had travelled to the capital to seal the alliance with BJP, the main purpose of the trip was to seek BJP top brass support in taking the heat off him from the Kodanad Estate case.
poll finger

Likely Poll Scenario: 10 States To Go To Polls Along With Lok Sabha Elections In April-May 2024

A very likely poll scenario for 2024 is the holding of the Lok Sabha polls along with Assembly elections in 10 States. Private polling as well as analysis of opinions gathered by their own pollsters is that the BJP is beginning to fear defeat in all four major states in 2024 – MP, Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh. They do not want such results impacting the Lok Sabha polls, which is why this idea of a national poll is being pressed at this time and may come up in the special session of Parliament called for during Ganesh Chaturthi time. The LS poll plus 10 States at the same time is what the BJP is aiming for after having brought up the concept of ‘One Nation, One Election’ idea. While the Assemblies in five States — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram – will see their terms run out on different days in January 2024, the States of Andhra, Odisha, Sikkim, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh will have to go to polls some time in 2024 after the LS polls. The idea now gaining ground is to pass legislation to push back the dates of the expiry of five states that go to polls in early 2024 to a common period in the summer of 2024 as in late April and early May and to push forward the closing date of the assemblies in the five other states so that 10 states can go to the polls together in April-May.
Ram nath kovind

Expect Huge Surprises In Special Lok Sabha Session

The special session of Parliament has not been convened just for the government to sing the praises of India’s scientists who put a lander and rover on the Moon and has sent a probe towards the Sun with spotless precision. Insiders say that a lot of Bills are to be presented which, with an eye on the elections, will have an impact on the electorate. The primary one may be the introduction of the simultaneous polls towards which leading lawyers have briefed the government on how legislation can be passed. It is learnt that reservation for women in legislative seats will be introduced through at least 10% of Lok Sabha seats earmarked for them in the coming polls. Also, a Bill to raise the reservation limits beyond 50% to accommodate Dalits, tribals, and other disadvantaged communities is said to be on the anvil. The formation of the Ram Nath Kovind panel on “One Nation, One Election,” is no mere kite flying exercise. Apparently, a lot of work has already been done to draft Bills and legal advice may have it that it could even be passed in a joint session where the government will have the clout in terms of the required majority. The BJP is prepared to pull out all stops in its bid to retain power in 2024.
Stalin onam

Stalin Paradox Of Onam Greetings

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin continues to present his festival paradox by wishing people on the occasion of Onam while he would not countenance doing that for Deepavali. In some strange Dravidian party ideology logic, their leader is not to wish people on Hindu festivals, but somewhere they seem to have lost the plot because Onam is very much a Hindu festival, marking as it does the good governance of a mythical Hindu king Mahabali. The date of the festival coincides with the day of the Thiruvonam star according to the Hindu Panchangam. While the celebration of festivals has an increasingly universal ring to them these days with people of all religions joining in to take in the grid times and the feasts that go with them, it does appear Stalin has to explain the paradox at least to himself that while he wishes the people of Kerala on a festival he would not do so for a more pan-Indian Hindu festival like Diwali. Of course, on the political front, Stalin has picked up courage to take on Prime Minister in a direct frontal attack saying Narendra Modi has no moral right to comment on corruption and how he plans to fight it while his own government has been pulled up on seven counts by the CAG.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister On The Offensive Against Centre, Governor

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has decided to go all out to oppose the Centre on all issues while throwing his weight behind the I.N.D.I.A that has been cobbled to try and beat BJP in the 2024 polls. He has told his party to go flat out to expose the Governor RN Ravi’s activities in support of the Centre and in being a spanner in the works in the State. He also sought the help of the Congress to highlight the Governor’s activities on occasions on which the government cannot oppose him directly as in the case of the Governor seeking clarifications on the proposed appointment of the retired DGP Sylendra Babu as head of TNPSC. The CM is also prepared to let go of the good equation with the Prime Minister at a personal level if that would help the case of the Opposition bonding more. Any chance of DMK changing sides even in a post-poll scenario of an unclear majority in the Lok Sabha may have disappeared already with the CM deciding on this hard line against the PM and BJP. The State will also take up the reopening of cases against two of its ministers by the Madras High Court by approaching the Supreme Court. The gloves are truly off now that Stalin has decided to throw in his lot with I.N.D.I.A.
EPS Stalin

Do Smaller Political Parties In Tamil Nadu Have A Future?

Tamil Nadu’s minor parties are finding themselves without friends willing to take them into alliances and give them a fair number of seats. As the 2024 Lok Sabha polls are looming, there has been hectic political activity in the State dominated by the two Dravidian majors. But the caste party PMK and the last of the cinema hero centric party, DMDK, are finding negotiations are getting tough. While the VCK, another caste party, will not allow VCK into the DMK-alliance fold, DMDK reflects the virtual shadow of a man that its leader Vijayakanth has become. In an assertion of its perceived strength in a two-horse race, the AIADMK, under Palaniswami, is asserting itself, and is willing to offer only 10 (+ Puducherry where BJP ally Rangasami heads the government) seats to the BJP and is asking its national ally to accommodate smaller parties within that number. And it will not countenance the AMMK of TTV Dhinakaran nor his aunt Sasikala being in the alliance. Betting on its equations with the Delhi duo who control the party, AIADMK is unwilling to listen to Annamalai’s idea of a grand coalition including PMK, DMDK and AMMK. The DMK coalition is on a smoother wicket except that ally Congress is expecting half the 40 seats available in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry

Will The PM Choose To Stand From Rameswaram In 2024?

A rumour, or is it a news tip, refuses to go away. This has to do with Prime Minister Narendra Modi being close to fixing Rameswaram as the constituency from which he will stand for the Lok Sabha in the 2024 election. The BJP is paying a lot of attention to the district in south Tamil Nadu of which Rameswaram, a famous abode of Lord Shiva, is host to a temple that draws devotees in their millions. Rameswaram is also where PM Modi is to host a big meeting on August 18 with Tamil Nadu fishermen to apprise them of steps being taken by the government of India to ensure their safety and better treatment at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy if ever they stray past Indian territorial waters in search of better catch in more southern waters. The district is also from where the TN BJP chief K Annamalai will begin his padayatra after taking the blessings of BJP biggie Amit Shah on July 28. The party is laying much store by the padayatra its chief is planning during which he will also be releasing more of the DMK Files of the kind that shook up the ruling party in TN when it exposed audio clipping featuring the then Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan (PTR). Maybe, there is some heft to the news of Modi toying with the idea of moving south from Varanasi to another holy city.
Zak Crawley

Selection Foibles Are Not Team India’s Monopoly

The Australians take the cake for selection blunders. They not only make them look foolish but also endangers their lead in the Ashes series, which they could well lose 3-2. They had not gone into a Test match for 10 years without a spinner as Nathan Lyon played 100 Tests, but his breakdown seems to have confused them so much that they went in with four seamers into a dry Old Trafford pitch. A run riot of 384 off just 72 overs is the result even if they came on the back of an extraordinarily attacking innings by Zak Crawley. Sent on a leather hunt from which there may be no recovery because the Aussies wasted the gift of batting first as Team England boldly inserted them at a venue where no team has won after opting to bowl, the Ashes may well be going out of Australia. So, it is not only Team India that made blunders in England where the conditions this summer have been confusing, to say the least. Cloud cover and a greenish tinge to the pitch saw Rohit Sharma insert Australia in the WTC final after omitting India’s best spinner Ravi Ashwin. Todd Murphy may be a poor imitation, but he deserves to play to give the attack some balance from a monotony of pace.

EPS Leaves OPS Far Behind In AIADMK War

The EPS-OPS battle for the AIADMK mantle may have been settled finally with the Election Commission formally recognising Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) as the General Secretary of the party. The entry was up on the ECI website leading to celebrations among the cadre owing allegiance to the EPS-controlled majority section of the party. This leaves the other former CM O Panneerselvam’s (OPS) political career out on a limb. He has lost the final battle for the party and has nowhere to go save to form his own party. There too he may have little support as even Sasikala, to whom he owed total allegiance despite her nephew riding roughshod over him when he was CM in Jaya’s place, has started spurning OPS. Additionally, his son has lost the fight in the Madras high court over his election to the Lok Sabha and will be appealing to the Supreme Court to hang on. It does appear as if time has turned sour on OPS, once the most powerful lieutenant of the Poes Garden dual power centre of Jaya and Sasikala. Long before EPS came on to the big stage in AIADMK and TN politics, OPS was ruling the roost with his Thevar connection keeping him relevant as Sasikala pulled the strings. That is all history now. The Salem strongman, EPS, has simply drawn away from his rival, taking the party with him.
G Kishan reddy

Is BJP Committing Hara-Kiri In Telangana?


It appears the BJP is committing hara-kiri in Telangana. Rumours are rife of a big compromise having been struck between the central BJP leadership and KCR by which the BRS will play a supporting role to the national party and KCR is for this only to avoid his son and daughter from being pursued by the central investigating agencies. While the BRS playing second fiddle itself may be sufficient to put people off in choosing an alternative to the BRS in the BJP, it is obvious that the national party is playing into the hands of the Congress in India’s youngest state. The appointment of the soft-spoken G Krishen Reddy of the Union Cabinet as the Telangana party chief in place of Bandi Sanjay is seen as damaging to the party’s ambitions of capturing power in the state. It is being said freely that private surveys are showing the people are disinclined to vote for the BRS again thanks to KCR and his clannish administration and in looking for an alternative are now viewing the Congress as the ideal party to vote for. Spotting the shift in the people’s mood, droves of BRS leaders are joining the Congress and more are expected to cross over in the next couple of months before the poll by the end of the year.
Brandon McCullum

Ashes Cricket On Fire

The cricket in the Ashes may have come closest to resembling the ‘Bodyline’ series even as tensions rise across the world in Britain and in Australia. Prime Ministers have been wading into the ‘stumping’ row involving wicket-keepers Alex Carey and Jonny Bairstow, with Rishi Sunak outright condemnatory of Aussie behaviour that he said is against the spirit of cricket while Antony Albanese saw the humour in it all, saying ‘Same old Aussies, winning all the time”. At the heart of the dispute is England’s Kiwi coach Brendon McCullum whose ‘Bazball’ philosophy is under attack like never before as Team England find themselves 2-0 down and needing to do only what the Australians of 1936-37 have ever done in winning a 5-Test series from the depths of 2-down. It appears McCullum himself had been the guilty party in twice running out batsmen who had left the crease only to celebrate a batting colleague reaching a landmark like a century or a 50. He did it once each to the Sri Lankans and the Zimbabweans though New Zealand were well on the way to victory in both Tests. Years after leaving the active game, McCullum is guilty of talking now of the spirit of cricket. There are no winners and losers in these arguments over controversial incidents – only poor losers damaging the image of the game.

Tamil Nadu Governor Ravi Must Go

The Centre may have realised that the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi must be shifted out. He has exceeded his brief of taking on the DMK government with his ill-considered timing of dismissal of the minister accused of high graft – V Senthil Balaji. Having made several trips to New Delhi to consult lawyers on the Constitution, the Governor seems to have been carried away in his mission of putting down the MK Stalin government. In his actions, the Governor seems to have been guided by a one-point agenda of embarrassing a government that enjoys the confidence of the public, irrespective of an image of high corruption that is creeping in, thanks to the operations of fundraisers like Balaji with key portfolios. After having sought legal opinion, the Governor dismissed the minister without portfolio in haste and the Centre may have to pay the price in terms of the sympathy wave that is gaining ground in the State for the DMK seen to be suffering from the highhandedness of the Centre in its dealings through the Raj Bhavan. In creating this embarrassing situation in which the Home Ministry had to tell the Governor to seek the Attorney General’s opinion on the powers of a Governor to dismiss a minister, however obnoxious a personality, Ravi may have bitten off more than he can chew. Expect a transfer sometime soon.
Nirmala sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman May Contest 2024 Lok Sabha Poll From Chennai South

No one can blame BJP for being a party that works 24×7 on elections. There is no predicting yet how 2024 may go but the ruling BJP is already busy planning its campaign to maximise its chances. The party may be a fledgling force in Tamil Nadu, but it has already initiated planning for the polls in terms of suitable constituencies and candidates who would fit into them. For instance, the party seems to have plumped for Nirmala Sitharaman, finance minister, to contest the South Madras seat where they feel she may get maximum support going by the profile of the constituency voters. Union minister L Murugan may have earmarked the Nilgiris as his place to contest. The party has also zoomed in on constituencies in western and southern Tamil Nadu as potentially most likely to be attracted by its ideology. The party’s bigwigs have been touring the state in the last couple of weeks to put in motion poll plans. Apparently, the AIADMK has agreed to apportion nine Lok Sabha seats plus Puducherry for BJP and the heads of the party have authorised its leaders to examine which nine constituencies would be best to lay early claims to putting up candidates there. The alliance may be far from sealed and seat sharing is even further away, but the BJP is already doing its pre-poll work thoroughly in the State.

V Senthil Balaji: Key Fundraiser To Be Backed To The Hilt By DMK

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin is determined to milk the detention of V Senthil Balaji by the Enforcement Directorate to the hilt by keeping him on as minister without portfolio. There is political mileage to be had in demonstrating that the Centre is misusing the investigative agencies to pile on pressure against regional parties. The case of this politician is peculiar because he has been a key fundraiser for both the major Dravidian parties and has been known to handle key portfolios where the money flow is the highest like liquor and electricity. There are huge margins in both commodities, including electricity where the most funds flow not from generation and sale as much as purchase of electricity from other states to cover up shortfall in peak demand months. Senthil Balaji has been known to be a fair distributor of the money flow to Dravidian party seniors. He may prove a tough nut to crack as it is unlikely that he will involve anyone else in the troubles he is in because of which he could well become the Manish Sisodia of the south. His ‘show’ of ill health that facilitated a HC order to move him to a private hospital patronised most by DMK bigwigs has come to the notice of the Supreme Court too.

‘Nepo Baby’ Jay Shah Among Most Influential People Now

He has been described as the biggest ‘nepo baby’, meaning nepotism got him to where he is as the Secretary of the all-powerful BCCI. He has been voted among the 50 most powerful people in India by a newspaper rating people for 2022. While many decry the engineering graduate as a member of the dynasty corps of India, and quite ironically because his Union Home Minister father is the biggest anti-dynast, belonging as he does to the ruling BJP and its known bias against dynasties. Even so, Jay has quietly achieved in his job, exerting the power and heft of Indian cricket to get some of the biggest television and digital deals in cricket history. Also, he has been bullying Pakistan into accepting secondary status in ACC, running rings around them in terms of making them play in the World Cup in India while India will not play in Pakistan. He is also swinging a big deal out of the ICC money chest by getting India a share of revenues that is about five times that of England and Australia, a sum in excess of $200 mn a year as compared to the once mighty powers of the Imperial Cricket Conference getting a pittance. In short, he is the undisputed Shah of cricket administration.
Nitish Kumar

‘Rest Of India’ Team To Take On BJP?

The one thing that the Karnataka verdict has done is to energise the moves for Opposition unity. The term itself may be a myth given the complexities of the Indian political scene. What the Opposition needs is a broad understanding of the ‘BJP versus the Rest’ formula for their stated ambition to bring the ruling party down in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. There is no need to pay psephologists or such fancy titled analysts and data crunchers to come up with the finding that a seat sharing formula is the best chance for the combined opposition to come up trumps. A simple analysis shows that in about 180 to 200 seats it is a straight contest between the BJP and the Congress. If the Congress, despite its euphoria of a Karnataka triumph, accepts that and is prepared to play second fiddle to regional parties in about 330 seats or so, there is a mighty good chance of the Opposition coming close to upsetting the BJP applecart. Nitish Kumar is hunting for acceptance of this formula in which many parties must ditch their egos, sacrifice their great national ambitions, and accept to be a member of the ‘Rest of India’ team. The search for unity in seat sharing will begin at a Patna meeting of like-minded parties he is hoping to convene very soon.


Yashasvi Jaiswal: Rarest Gem Among IPL Performers

Yashasvi Jaiswal has just proved that he is the rarest talent to have emerged in Indian cricket for a very long time. There will be a lot of claimants now on who groomed him. The quick transition he has made into a modern T-20 batsman with several strokes in the 360 degrees marks him as one who has arrived and is ready for the international stage. There should be no hesitation now in putting him right at the top of the order in the white ball game. All the stories about his selling pani puri on the periphery of a Mumbai maidan at friendly snack stalls can be consigned to history. The background he comes from as a cricket emigre from his home state of Uttar Pradesh will fill newspaper and online space. What is important is the recognition he deserves and the opportunity to prove himself in tougher arenas. In playing a remarkable innings of 98* on a two-paced pitch that seemed to put everyone else off he has shown the range of his talent that can match the best in the white ball business like his opening partner Jos Buttler. Team India beckons a batter who looks a perfect fit for the rough and tumble of the international white ball game which is several notches above IPL game because of its intensity.

Thevars Look To Regain Their Place In Tamil Nadu Politics

The Thevars, once a politically powerful community when Jayalalithaa was the CM and Sasikala her confidante wielding power from Poes Garden, are looking to regain some of the clout by seeking allies. Numerically strong in the state, the Thevars were sidelined after Jaya’s demise and Sasi’s jail term. Their once trusted leader O Panneerselvam, CM in Jaya’s place on occasion, had rebelled against the clan and had even complained about their strong-arm tactics to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who laughed it off as OPS was CM then and had the police under him. They are now joining hands again in their attempt to regain their hold. OPS’ power electorally is suspect but TTV’s AMMK has a reasonable vote share which appears to be their lifeline. The OPS-TTV combine is hoping that the BJP, in its hunt for an umbrella coalition to take on the powerful DMK alliance, will spare some seats for at least the two of them as Sasikala is out electorally until 2027 as she has been banished for 10 years from standing in polls. The BJP is said to be planning to extract more seats from EPS and use some of them to accommodate the likes of TTV, OPS and even GK Vasan. With less than a year to the Lok Sabha polls, a lot of political action can be expected now.

Congress Propensity To Shoot Itself In The Foot May Lead To Close Contest In Karnataka

In a tense run to the finish in Karnataka, the BJP is seeing a small swing thanks to the propensity of the Congress to shoot itself in the foot. The grand old party can be said to have picked up a genius for defeat since it began stumbling as UPA-II leader from 2009. The run continues with the current Congress chief keeping up the tradition with his “snake” comment that boomeranged on the party. Most private surveys were showing a distinct swing for the Congress which seemed set for a clear majority on its own in the 224-seat Assembly. The BJP campaign was on a staid double engine refrain even as the Prime Minister was elaborating on a corruption plank, although it was his party that was in power in the State. Things began changing the moment the snake comment came and it was too late by the time Malikarjun Kharge came up with an apology. Whoever is advising the party may not have gauged the backlash of a proposed ban on the Bajrang Dal which found its way into the Karnataka poll manifesto. Waiting to pounce on any plank that could stoke the majority Hindu sentiment, the BJP drummed up a fierce campaign chanting “Jai Bajrang Bali.” While only the exit polls on May 10 can offer pointers to the result, expect the battle for seats to be much closer than previously forecast.
PTR MKStalin

PTR Escapes The Guillotine – For Now!

Tamil Nadu’s Finance Minister has escaped the guillotine – at least for now. He will neither be dropped from the Cabinet nor will his portfolio be changed at the impending reshuffle before CM MK Stalin heads to Europe on May 23. Before the Cabinet met on Tuesday, PTR Palanivel Thiaga Rajan had a bit of a frosty meeting with the CM on Monday when Stalin spoke his mind and conveyed his family and party’s unhappiness with the audio tape episodes. PTR received a very cold reception from other Cabinet members at the meeting when only the CM spoke to him. He also excused himself after reading out matters connected to finance saying he had to attend a function at Meenakshi Amman temple in the evening. What Stalin has decided thus far is that by dropping PTR or changing his portfolio he would be sending a wrong message to his opponents that DMK is accepting the truth of the audio having been recorded secretly while PTR spoke to someone. Unless the BJP takes it further by registering cases against PTR, the CM and his party would like to let the status quo be. The CM also wrote on the subject in his Q&A that he did not want to waste time on a matter that had already been clarified by his finance minister.


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.