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Collage Maker-12-Aug-2022-11

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.
Collage Maker-05-Aug-2022-12

Arkady and Anand

Huge Role Looms For Viswanathan Anand In World Chess Admin

Grandmasters from close to 190 nations are battling it out on the boards for the blue ribbon of team events at the Olympiad near Chennai. But there is an even bigger war going on in Mamallapuram, also the venue where 200 countries will be voting on August 7 to decide who will run world chess for the next four years. In a highly political race between teams of politicians and Grandmasters for President and Deputy President of FIDE, the favourite duo is current President Arkady Dvorkovich, a Russian politician seeking re-election and whose right-hand man is India’s first world champion Viswanathan Anand. A clear favourite among four teams endorsed by more countries than the minimum required to contest, Dvorkovich may use Anand to reorganise world chess, including bringing fundamental changes to the world title match, which is getting boring according to reigning champion Magnus Carlsen. Opposing them fiercely is former Ukraine chess champion and U.S. resident Andrii Baryshpolets, who is convinced a Russian politician has no business heading FIDE and that the world must stand up to the aggressor against Ukraine. Whether the real war being fought in his home country has any effect on the election or not, a polarised world is reflected in the chess election too. There are two other tickets of four candidates but Dvorkovich and Baryshpolets may be the dominant players.

No Crack In DMK-Cong Alliance Clarifies Stalin

The Tamil Nadu political scene will remain settled for a while at least after Chief Minister M K Stalin’s assertion that the DMK-led alliance is an ideological one and not only for polls. That should put an end to the noises that came from the local Congress honchos who were smarting under the usual grievance of not being given enough importance. The Prime Minister and Chief Minister meeting on a couple of occasions last week in Chennai and the warm vibes they shared had got the rumour mills going about cracks in the DMK-Congress alliance. The CM has set the record straight and the message has gone out to TNCC not to rock the boat. It is the principal opposition party AIADMK that is in a bit of a turmoil after the Edappadi Palaniswami coup on the plank of a pressing need for a single leader. That leaves another former CM, O Panneerselvam (OPS) out in the cold. So annoyed was he that even the EC refused to recognise his position that he sent his representative uninvited to the meeting to examine the Aadhaar-electoral roll linking proposal. The only alternative for OPS seems to be to join his old tormentors Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran in a parallel party they could well name as Jaya AIADMK. Any merger of forces nurtured by MGR and Jaya would have to wait for much longer.
modi and stalin

Modi-Stalin Vibes Send Confusing Signals To Cadres And Allies

The Modi-Stalin bonhomie at the inaugural of the Chess Olympiad would not have gone unnoticed. The DMK and BJP may be daggers drawn in Tamil Nadu but the top brass of both parties are such pals in public that the signals can be confusing to the cadres. The good vibes between the leaders, despite the crosscurrents of Tamil pride versus Indian nationalism, may however lead to changes in political alignments. The DMK-Congress ties are already strained in the State. The local Congress honcho put out a statement criticising the police for selective action with regard to sticking of PM Narendra Modi’s images on images by the BJP on the hoardings and billboards promoting the chess event and the blackening of those images by DMK men. Knowing full well that Stalin is in charge of the Home Department and the police come directly under him, the Congress statement seems deliberate. The theory that the AIADMK is cosying up to Congress in Tamil Nadu in order to woo the minority voters in the next Assembly polls may be outlandish. The fact is anything is possible in politics, even in Tamil Nadu where DMK has been with the Congress much longer than in its ties with the NDA and BJP in occasional trysts for a share of capital power.
Lalit Modi

Why Lalit Modi Will Never Come Back To India

The release of the book ‘Maverick Commissioner’ by Boria Mazumdar, which could also be the basis for a movie on the cricket admin hotshot who invented the IPL, created waves among cricket circles. Laudatory in many parts of the man who dreamed up a professional cricket league that subsequently became such a success as to attract more than a billion dollars a year in TV and digital rights, the book does not however bring out the details of why Lalit Modi remains a fugitive residing in the UK. It is no secret that Modi, the scion of an industrial family with a history pockmarked with eventful incidents in his student life in the USA, will be arrested by the Chennai Police the moment he sets foot in India. There is an embezzlement charge against him pertaining to alleged pocketing of $80 million facilitation fee from a labyrinth of payments of TV rights. A court in Mumbai is said to have ruled very recently in his favour while stating the principle that facilitation fees are part of legitimate deal making. Whether that extends to an individual allegedly taking it at the expense of the game is another matter. There is no denying that Lalit Modi marketed a fantastic product melding cricket, glitz, glamour and big biz that has become a global super hit in 15 years. However, he remains a fugitive.
Sunak versus Truss

Why Liz Truss Will Beat Rishi Sunak To UK PM’s Post

The basic conservatism of Britain may kick in when it comes to the final contest between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss for UK prime ministership. The PIO whose parents moved from East Africa to the UK was frontrunner for PM up to the moment Tory MPs were the electorate. Now that the polling moves on to 2 lakh primary members of the Tory Party, the odds shifted in favour of the Foreign Secretary to Boris Johnson who stood by her boss till the bitter end. Truss leapfrogged the Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt into the final head-to-head contest for PM. Even Rishi softened his approach to his rival in saying he respects his opponent as well as her proposals for tax cuts in his Op-Ed article in the Daily Telegraph of July 21. Rishi made it known that he is the successor to Margaret Thatcher and that he will bring the economy back to shape despite a 40-year inflation high beyond 9%. There are a dozen in-person hustings (debates) to be run before the votes are to be counted and the results declared on September 5. But the odds are that Liz Truss has already taken the lead among the party voters. Rishi’s background, his personal wealth and his rich wife’s non-domicile tax status may work against him in the final count.
School buses burn

Class 10 Girl’s Mysterious Death: Tamil Nadu Cops Caught Napping

Tamil Nadu cops of Chinnasalem in the central district of Kallakurichi were caught napping on a Sunday morning when protesters gathered in force around a school in which a Class 10 girl died in mysterious circumstances. Police were hopelessly outnumbered when they woke up to the protesters having scaled the walls of the school property. When they tried to gather in force, they were told by protesters not to come near until their vandalism of the school was complete. School Infrastructure, including buses to ferry students, worth around Rs 10 crore may have been damaged beyond redemption by the time the cops were engaged by the protesters in a stone throwing contest. Police had to fire in the air and use tear gas freely to try and rein in the protesters. The police were heard giving the lame excuse that the mob had used social media to gather in numbers. The truth may be closer to the fact that a Sunday morning was a quiet time for the law enforcers. The high court passed strictures against the police while ordering a CBCID probe and a SIT to deal with those who were seen destroying school property in several videos that were shot on the scene. The TN police force may pride itself on being one of the smarter ones in the country but this time they had slipped up.

Why Tamils Never Forgave Gotobaya

It was with certain relish that sections of supporters of Eelam in Tamil Nadu celebrated the news that Gotobaya Rajapaksa had fled Sri Lanka. They have never forgiven the Sri Lankan Army for killing all of the Velupillai Prabhakaran clan towards the end of the war around May 18, 2009 and Gotobaya had a direct role to play in this as the news of Prabhakaran’s capture was conveyed to him. He asked Sarath Fonseka, chief of the army, to rush to the venue of the capture and ensure that Prabhakaran and his people were eliminated. Fonseka carried out the order to the T also eliminating Prabhakaran’s young son who may have had little to do with his father’s revolutionary movement. The word from Gotobaya, then Defence Secretary, was to get rid of all the clan as not a DNA of the family should linger. The little told story of Prabhakaran’s final hours was to do with how he and his guerrillas had been wiped out but he refused to bite the cyanide bullet as he would rather stand up to the enemy. Instructed to wipe out the family DNA, the army chief acted as told and then the pictures of Prabhakaran’s body lying in the field was leaked because sections of the media had said that the chief of the Tigers was still alive. Gotobaya was the one who gave the order to shoot.

Rishi Sunak Is The Front Runner But Penny Mordaunt Might Swing It

India is fascinated with a PIO as the front runner for occupying 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister of the world’s fifth largest economy but the anticipation among Tories is that Penny Mordaunt might be able to beat him in the head-to-head runoff. She nearly doubled her support to 67 votes behind Sunak’s 88 as Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt were eliminated. In an intense phase of campaigning, Sunak is using a staff of 20 besides a personal chauffeur to rush around London while Penny has been clever in making her campaign – “PM (Penny Mordaunt) for PM.” A new poll among Conservative Party members suggests that PM will indeed become PM. As a former military woman, she made some startling observations, including stating the fact that women cannot have a penis in order to ward off criticism that she is too “woke” to be leading the Tories. While Sunak is promising to run the economy like Margaret Thatcher, Penny feels a lot more is needed than just tax cuts to revive the $3.4 trillion economy that is in danger of going into recession in the face of runaway inflation. Under fire for his wife’s non-domicile tax status in the UK, the son-in-law of former Infosys czar NR Narayana Murthy is still certain to take a good shot at becoming UK’s Prime Minister.
EPS at GC meeting

EPS at AIADMK’s General Council meeting

EPS Takes Total Control Of AIADMK, Sacks OPS From The Party

Presented with a fait accompli of a General Council meeting ratifying Edappadi Palaniswamy as the Interim General Secretary until elections are formally held in the AIADMK party, former CM and now former Coordinator O Panneerselvem will be exhausting all legal avenues before charting his future path. In seizing total control over the party, EPS also had OPS ejected from party membership saying he had been given enough opportunities to discuss issues and sort out differences. The only recourse available now for OPS would be to approach the courts with his claim that the entire GC meeting was illegal as he had not co-signed the notice convening the meeting. The courts did not take kindly to OPS seeking to stop the meeting and OPS didn’t attend the meeting either, preferring to go to the party HQ on Lloyds Road and camp there with his supporters. The BJP washed its hands of the AIADMK internecine tussle and will sit it out until it’s clear who is legally and officially in control of the party.  OPS had no support from the top duo of BJP and is out in the political wilderness. He tried to play his cards too smartly, keeping a foot in the Sasikala camp while keeping channels open to the DMK leadership. OPS’ hold was on the treasury but he has lost that too.

Djoker Has The Last Laugh In Bromance With Kyrgios

Novak Djokovic had the last laugh in his bromance with Nick Kyrgios as he kept his date with destiny in his 21st Grand Slam win. But just about. For a major part of the first set and in many parts thereafter, the explosive Aussie seemed the better player, serving solidly and dominating the exchanges as the Serb struggled to read his serve. It was his temperament that kept letting Kyrgios down as he muttered to himself, chattered to people in his box and imploded in the fourth set tiebreaker. The statistics are awesome – Djokovic is unbeaten at Wimbledon since 2013 across 39 matches but they don’t tell the real tale. Grass is not Djoker’s best surface though he has won seven Wimbledon titles, same as Pete Sampras and one behind Roger Federer. He has equalled Borg, Sampras and Federer in winning four Wimbledon titles on the trot. The grace of a multiple times champion, who has the albatross of being an anti-vaxxer on his shoulders, Djokovic came through in a difficult year in which he was hounded out of Australia and was underdone when Rafael Nadal outplayed him in a quarter-final at Roland Garros. It was poetic justice as a player a Covid-struck world loved to hate raised his game to beat Kyrgios and keep the long running race for Grand Slams with Nadal and Federer alive.
EPS gives OPS out

Decks Clear For Anointing EPS As Sole Leader Of AIADMK, OPS Faction Loses Out

The decks are clear for Edappadi K Palanisamy to take over the AIADMK party as its General Secretary at the July 11 meeting to be held in Chennai.  A division bench of the Madras High Court on July 7 dismissed a contempt application seeking to punish the former CM and AIADMK leader and his supporters for alleged non-implementation of its earlier orders. The bench of Justices M Duraiswamy and Sundar Mohan also dismissed the applications to stay the general council meeting and the one against Tamil Magan Hussain, who had been nominated as the permanent presidium chairman of the party at its June 23 general council meeting. Since their orders passed in the small hours of June 23 had been stayed by the Supreme Court on July 6, the judges said they were dismissing the applications and petitions. OPS has lost the battle because EPS was able to gather a brute majority favouring a “single leader” rule that had been in force till the death of party supremo and CM J Jayalalithaa in 2016. EPS ran a sustained campaign in the background to woo all important party functionaries to his side. His clever portrayal of OPS as a “double agent” leaning towards Sasikala as well as the ruling DMK helped swing support. Only the anointing of EPS as leader of the principal Opposition party in TN remains to be completed now.
Stokes - McCullum

Brendon McCullum & Ben Stokes

Steve Smith Mocks “Bazball”, The New Cricket Word After Batter

In the middle of a net session before the second Test in Galle, Australian batsman Steve Smith suddenly shouted “Bazball”. He was mocking the new buzzword to enter the cricket dictionary. But the English are mighty proud of having invented it to name it after their revolutionary new coach Brendon McCullum. He has taught them this method of a fearless approach to Test cricket in which they go after the bowling regardless of how tough or challenging the conditions or the state of the match were. Smith believes Bazball may not work when there is green in the pitch or the ball is turning square. But, in four remarkable fourth innings chases, England have rewritten the rules of batting and it has made cricket entertaining to watch. Bazball may not apply to all conditions but it is one hell of a way to play modern Test cricket, which would otherwise descend to chore-ridden cricket that even less people would watch than now. Many of the modern batsmen do play their own versions of the Bazball – like Pantball that Rishabh Pant plays. Team India may have been at the receiving end of Bazball but it was exhilarating to watch and they could adapt it too provided they can get over the superstardom of some of their greats like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma and play more like a team with a positive approach.
Sourav Ganguli (2)


Captaincy Muddle In Team India, Blame It All On Ganguly

It’s been 35 years since a fast bowler led India. Not since Kapil Dev was dethroned after the home World Cup of 1987 – due to issues involving commercial stickers on bats by Chancellor cigarettes rather than for losing to England in the semi-finals – has Team India even thought of a bowler as captain in Test cricket. While there is no taking away credit from Jasprit Bumrah for having risen to the Test captaincy, the BCCI must accept that it has created this captaincy muddle with so many bewildering changes. All of them were thrust on the team thanks to Rohit Sharma, elevated as triple format captain, running into all kinds of fitness problems before being infected with Covid in England. An ego clash between Virat Kohli and BCCI boss Sourav Ganguly had led to all the dramas we are witnessing today. By making a big issue out of Kohli’s desire to drop the T20i captaincy only to lessen the burdens of triple format captaincy, Ganguly had created the conditions for a peeved Kohli to quit captaincy altogether. Since then, we have had KL Rahul leading the Test side to cover for injury to Kohli and then Rishabh Pant leading in white ball cricket. Old timers might believe they have not seen two players more unsuited to leading Team India.
Jutsice Chandru committee (1) (1)

Tamil Nadu All Set To Ban Online Gaming Sites With A Stake

The online gaming industry may be in for a rude shock as the Tamil Nadu government seems bent on banning any site offering online gaming with a stake. By stake it means money you pay to place a bet. The government, worried over reports of suicides due to debt problems of some addicted gamers, had appointed a committee headed by retired Justice Chandru of the Madras High Court to recommend what action to take.  The committee which submitted its report to Chief Minister MK Stalin on June 27, recommended that the government enforce a ban of not only gaming sites but also the advertisements that promote it which are often seen during the cricket telecasts. The problem is that a blanket ban will not care to distinguish between the legitimate e-gaming sites and the gambling sites, including many offshore sites that are operating freely in the internet environment as it exists. The three largest online skill games associations are already concerned over reports suggesting that the GST rates on online skill games are to go up from 18 % to 28 %. Banning by one state could be emulated by other states. Karnataka had been contemplating action on online gambling in which several sites are claiming revenues in excess of Rs 1,000 crore per annum.
Edgar Su

Clash Of Titans: Djoker Stands Between Rafa And Calendar Slam

Tennis’ great rivalry is set to resume at Wimbledon with Rafael Nadal, the champion with 22 Grand Slams, and Novak Djokovic seeded at the top to meet only in the final. Their quarter final at the French Open was a match for the ages in which Djokovic bowed to Nadal’s supremacy on clay. On grass, it will be a different Djokovic who could deny Nadal the greatest quest of his career of a calendar Grand Slam as the Australian and French Open winner of 2022 sniffs at a chance he has rarely had in his career. His 22 Grand Slams are weighted in favour of clay at 14 but he has two Wimbledon titles suggesting he can master the fastest of the four different surfaces too. Of course, Djokovic, the last player to come within a title of the calendar Grand Slam but was to be denied by Medvedev in 2021 when he was beaten in the U.S. Open, boasts of seven Wimbledon titles in his collection of 20. Nadal said after his French Open win that tennis was a passionate pursuit at which he also won titles but Djokovic is known to chase the record of Grand Slams. It will be 2022’s greatest match if the two gladiators get to the final.

With EPS Taking Over The Reins Of AIADMK, Will OPS Be Shown The Door?

Having exhausted all attempts to stop the conduct of the AIADMK General Council (GC) meeting, to be held on June 23, party coordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS), who is expecting to be ousted from his post, has decided to boycott the event. He refuses to be part of what could be the coronation of his party colleague, joint leader, and now enemy No 1 as he aims to crown himself the sole leader of the party. OPS had been telling his supporters in the GC to strategise counter moves to those of the Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) camp who are determined to raise the issue of a single leader and take control of the party. OPS could not scuttle the GC legally as the court refused to stay the meeting. He also wrote a letter to the Avadi Police Commissioner requesting him to deny permission for the meeting at Vanagaram that falls under his Avadi jurisdiction. But the police are unlikely to take OPS’ word as the party has officially convened the meeting. Police are expected to be present in good numbers as OPS has raised the bogey of violence both in the court and with them. It does appear OPS’ days are numbered in AIADMK and he may also lose the post of Treasurer presiding over two big trusts that control about Rs 3,000 crore corpus.

Not By Choice But Compulsion AIADMK Will Stay Intact And Not Split

AIADMK, the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu, is in turmoil. A tussle between the two factions headed by Joint coordinators Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) has led even to skirmishes and a former minister’s car being thumped as he left HQ. Together, EPS and OPS mean something in Tamil Nadu politics but if they go their separate ways, the former ruling party, founded by MGR and nurtured by J Jayalalithaa, will lose ground rapidly. Prime Minister had played the peacemaker on his last visit to Chennai, telling both party honchos to stay united and play a constructive role as opposition party. What is causing stress now is the playbook of EPS supporters eyeing to bring back the old days of a unitary leader and to hold an election for a revived general secretary post. But, OPS, fearful that he may stand no chance in a party poll, would like to avoid a head-to-head contest. A compromise may be OPS’ best route out but he would end up losing whatever hold he has on the party. A hidden hand in this is, of course, that of the Jaya confidante VK Sasikala whose political ambitions run sky-high. Truth to tell, EPS is the party’s best-known face but he can assert himself only at the cost of the party splitting. June 23, when the party council meets, should be fraught with interest.

KCR Stargazing For National Role, TRS To Be Rechristened BRS Before Presidential Poll?

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao wants to rebrand his party as Bharat Rashtra Samiti on the premise that he wants it to grow nationally. The whispers inside his own party are that their chief honcho is guided by astrologers who seem to have picked on the name ‘TRS’ as the reason why it won’t do well in the next polls. In fact, short of saying he may be heading for defeat for the first time since the State of Telangana was formed and the party its leading votary formed sweeping the polls twice, soothsayers may have warned KCR that the stars don’t foretell a great future beyond the elections that are due in 2023 in the state. By rebranding his party through a change to Bharat, KCR believes he can build on his national ambitions by seeking to expand beyond Telangana boundaries. While it is moot if the party can so much as seek to do well even in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, it’s likely KCR is thinking of projecting himself in the Hindi belt, towards which he would like to take on the avatar of a national leader, beginning with an active role in the Presidential polls in July. What the stars portend may be a fear driving him but KCR is convinced that a national role awaits him.
Jagan Reddy with Narendra Modi sent via email

BJP Banks On Allies & Jagan Mohan Reddy For Presidential Polls In July

The term of the first ever President from BJP-RSS, Ram Nath Kovind, is getting over and the race for succession has been throwing up interesting names. While the Modi-Amit Shah-RSS chief trio may come up with an outreach name of their own choice to spring a surprise as they did last time, the importance of the person holding the post in 2024 in having to decide who to call to form the government is not to be underestimated. The odds are the name will be acceptable to allies on whom the BJP will be relying to get its candidate past the post. Kovind got more than two-thirds of the vote, which may not happen in these more polarised times. But the BJP is certain it will seal the numbers as the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party(YSRCP) will be its banker. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is an ally who has never stepped out of line, maybe because of his experience with the central agencies before sweeping the polls to become Andhra CM. The result is not in doubt thanks to Jagan deciding to stick with the rulers. The UPA has been toying with various names, including that of Nandan Nilekani whose brainchild is Aadhaar, but it lacks the numbers to make any great impression on Presidential polls that have always been won by the candidate of the ruling dispensation.
tks Elangovan

DMK MP TKS Elangovan gives a twist to his rant against Hindi

Stalin's Mind Your Language Class, Asks DMK Leaders To Go Vocal On Hindi But, Cut Out Caste

A message has gone out to DMK party members from the Stalin household to mind their language in public. A full licence has been given to keep knocking the Centre over Hindi and NEET but don’t get into caste politics by dragging names of communities is the message. Stalin has mastered the art of saying it nicely even if he is diametrically opposed to the Centre and its Governor but many down the line may have lost their way in packaging their messages. The DMK MP TKS Elangovan’s rant against Hindi imposition would have been fine with the party except for the twist given in dragging caste into it with the word “shudras”. The higher education minister K Ponmudy had also raved against Hindi and he also overstepped in calling all Hindi speaking people as “Paani-puri wallahs” but the humour had struck home.  Having won the battle against caste hierarchy long ago after having come to power in 1967, the DMK would like to keep social justice as an ideological peg and not give it a spin by airing caste politics. Their high command may have enjoyed the divisions among the AIADMK over the BJP trying to take over, at least in voice, as the main opposition in the State but it does not wish to get tangled in rhetoric taking over practical politics.

The Sasikala copycat gesture of Jaya from balcony

BJP Keeps TN Options Close Gated, No Sasikala Card As Long As EPS-OPS Stay United

The BJP has devised a master plan for the three southern States that are the last bastions against the right – Andhra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The party has been stepping on the toes of regional parties, predominantly in Tamil Nadu, where they have been showing a tendency of setting the cat among the pigeons. The latest friction concerns former Jayalalithaa confidante VK Sasikala. When asked whether the BJP would accept her into their party, Nainar Nagendran said that indeed they would. This set off tremors with senior AIADMK leader C Ponnaiyan wondering whether the growth of BJP was good for the State’s two Dravidian majors who have been ruling the roost alternately over the last 55 years. BJP chief Annamalai stepped in to clarify that the comment represented an individual viewpoint and that only the BJP’s Parliamentary board may decide on high-profile political entrants. So long as the two former CMs – EPS and OPS – stay glued together, there is little threat of BJP admitting the eternal political wannabe Sasikala – a backroom manipulator until her attempt at becoming CM was shot down by the top court. PM Narendra Modi also wants the AIADMK honchos to stay united and not be drawn into divisions. But, in case a split does come about, the BJP might just use the Sasikala card.
Motorcade for Hardik

The Captain Hardik Pandya Transformation, Leading Him Towards Team India Coronation?

The campaign began after Hardik Pandya emulated Shane Warne, taking his debutant team to the final and winning the IPL. He is now tipped as a future Team India white ball captain. It’s not only his star turn with bat and ball that was impressive. His zen-like calm as skipper throughout the season was also notable, though he lost it when Shubman Gill declined a third run, and he was left facing a Warne-like ripper that pitched outside leg stump and spat as it spun to catch his outside edge. But, as Gill anchored the chase to a triumphant finish, it was well-deserved coronation time for Pandya. Controversy was his middle name as the tattoo-loving admirer and owner of the most expensive watches was once suspended for a sexist comment during a celebrity TV interview. Captaincy transformed him into a studious, responsible leader who has curbed his flamboyance to contribute meaningful contributions. Having faced the axe from Team India for not being able to bowl through a painful phase following back injury, Hardik worked his way back and bowled at close to 140 kmph in IPL to make his point. He was in winning teams four times before but, the 2022 win was special and it has spurred his ambition to contribute to Team India well enough to break a 11-year World Cup drought.

Mount Road’s Tall LIC Tower Will Be Dwarfed, By 25 Storeyed Office Block, Exploiting New FSI Rules On TVS Plot

Chennai is set to soar high. The old man on Mount Road, the 13-storey LIC Building, for long the only noticeably tall landmark in an otherwise vertically challenged city used to growing sideways rather than upwards, will soon get company. A 25-storey tower block of offices is coming up on the old TVS plot. Whether vertical growth is defined as progress would depend on the point of view. But, with a change in government, came a significant FSI change – from 3.5 to 5. You can think what you will of how such changes come about, the most obvious being the use of financial clout by the builders’ lobby.  The fact is the Brigade group of Bangalore, with its political connections and heft, will be the first to take advantage of the higher FSI with a landmark building that will dwarf the nearby LIC structure, old Chennai citizens described using the Tamil phrase – Heightu da! A lot of changes are also on the cards for what used to be the centre of the city’s business district, with many old firms likely to sell out to builders in the CBD. TVS’ R Dinesh, who inherited the old HQ of the reputed TVS group on Mount Road along with the Honda dealership, was the first to cash in on the new FSI.
Semmalai of Salem

AIADMK's Semmalai (in shawl) may get Rajya Sabha ticket

EPS-OPS Agree To Disagree On One Rajya Sabha Nominee, So, Semmalai It May Finally Be

Former CMs of Tamil Nadu Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) have agreed upon one seat each for the Rajya Sabha elections due on June 10 but, the process got held up as EPS shot down one name proposed by OPS. While EPS’ choice is senior party leader S Semmalai, the proposal of OPS to nominate Syed Khan from Theni district is a problem because he had convened a district meeting calling for Sasikala’s return to the party fold. Meanwhile, sensing an opportunity, senior leader and former minister Jayakumar from Chennai has sought a nomination to the Rajya Sabha. With ongoing investigations against him by the DVAC besides charges being pressed by the ruling DMK, Jayakumar has pleaded for the seat in a bid to ease off the heat on him once he becomes a member of the Upper House. A vocal critic of the Stalin rule and one of his party’s spokespersons, the senior member was under pressure lately. There are other former ministers too seeking the seat and fomenting tensions in the ties between the two senior leaders, currently in total control of the party and in harmony after settling the Sasikala issue by agreeing to keep her out. While Semmalai seems a shoo-in, the second candidate could be just about anyone.
Arivu with Stalin

Perarivalan hugging Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin

Model Prisoner Perarivalan Has Paid His Debt To Society, Supreme Court Sets Him Free

Tamilians celebrated the release of AG Perarivalan, aka Arivu, from incarceration by the Supreme Court that invoked its special powers under Article 142. Terming Perarivalan totally innocent in the conspiracy to assassinate former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on May 21, 1991 would be untrue. A known LTTE sympathiser Arivu actively involved in small jobs like ferrying cassette tapes of regional news about ongoing events in Tamil Nadu. He was a member of the team that made dry runs to meetings of Rajiv Gandhi and PM VP Singh in Chennai. He was not part of the innermost circle that planned the assassination considering the many layers of secrecy existing in the militant organisation, LTTE and, how its Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran operated. He procured two 9-volt batteries for the one-eyed member of the assassin squad, Sivarajan, who may have used these in the belt bomb, taking a leaf right out of a Frederick Forsyth novel, which the assassin wore and triggered when ostensibly garlanding Rajiv Gandhi. Arivu was a model prisoner, who served more than a life term for his role in the LTTE sponsored political assassination. Having paid his debt to society he may not be begrudging his freedom now. Most LTTE sympathisers then harboured ill will against Rajiv Gandhi, for ordering Indian Peace Keeping Forces to intervene in Sri Lanka during the ethnic crisis.
Chidambarams, father and son

Will CBI Raid Foil Chidambaram’s Chance Of Getting A Rajya Sabha Ticket?

Scratch a politician and foreign accounts will pop up. This is not a particular Indian phenomenon. From the day Indira Gandhi was heard asking about Sanjay Gandhi’s watch after he died in a light plane crash it has been known Indian politicians revelled in stashing money away from prying Indian eyes. But it must be said it’s not particularly bright to keep stashing money when it can act better as capital, which is what smart businessmen keep telling politicians. The troubles the Chidambarams, father and son, are going through are not new to them. They may be the cleverer lawyer types knowing that money should be shrouded in several layers to make it difficult for snooping bureaucrats, no great shakes when it comes to analysing hidden money games, to ferret out. At a time when Chidambaram is trying to convince the Congress high command (read Sonia Gandhi) that his Rajya Sabha innings must continue through the seat so magnanimously offered by Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK, the latest set of CBI raids may be just an inconvenience. In fact, the grand old party might honour PC with a longer run in the Upper House thanks to these perennial raids, one of which was so poorly handled that some operatives were hanging from the roof of the former finance minister’s house in New Delhi when he was to be arrested.
Stalin and Durga

Rationalist Stalin Is Realistic Too, Lets Palanquin Tradition To Continue, A Religious Practise In Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin’s decision to allow ‘Pattina Pravesam’, by which the head of a mutt is carried in a palanquin by his disciples, is practical considering its ancient traditional significance. Rationalists may baulk at such practices but, when it comes to matters of faith, it may be best to leave it to the faithful than trying to introduce mandatory reforms. Not only did the CM assess the situation as one that would add to the existing anxiety around his tendency to favour minority rights, without much caring for the majority community but, also because he has a staunch believer living at his home, his wife Durga. The CM probably felt the need to maintain a happy balance. How does the voluntary action of believers, who wish to carry a living person in a palanquin, trample upon the rights of others, activists ask? The other side of the faith and rationalism divide, which is pretty well marked in Tamil Nadu. They point to rituals of other faiths that could draw criticism in equal measure on the yardstick of human rights. The CM told the seers that the ritual may go ahead this year and that the issue would be discussed in detail later. The woke crowd may, however, may keep the pot boiling. Only, for now religious peace was allowed to prevail.

CSK’s Blames Captaincy Change Fiasco On High-Profile Market Guru Imported From Mumbai Indians

As the blame game comes to a close, defending champions in IPL-15, the Chennai Super Kings team thinks on its way forward. The confusion over captaincy and bidding around it that went haywire with the franchise seeking Dinesh Karthik and Shreyas Iyer for an interim period to take over from Dhoni is being attributed to high-profile marketing guru who was imported from Mumbai Indians. Unwilling to pay an exorbitant price for a new captain, CSK stuck with Ravindra Jadeja, an experiment that was a big flop because Jadeja lacked the urban, communicative qualities needed to be a leader. In order to stop any erosion of its billion-dollar valuation, CSK has swung right back to Dhoni, who has indicated that he will continue to lead the team till a settled succession plan is put in place. In any case, Dhoni will not retire from the arena without playing a match in his favourite city of Chennai and is expected to be in the saddle for IPL 2023 also. The franchise avers that there is nothing wrong with their links with Jadeja as a player and that he is free to stay and recover from the disappointment of having the captaincy taken from him. Dhoni remains the key to their immediate future plans and he is able and willing.
PC and Stalin

Stalin Wooed For Rajya Sabha Nomination, DMK Sway Over Four Seats May Help PC Avoid Political Flatline

Pleasing M K Stalin is the new found mantra in Tamil Nadu for Congressmen. Having completed a remarkable journey as Chief Minister for a year Stalin, the chief executive of the state, feels like the “most wanted man” thanks to the reputation he has earned for helping out old friends and associates, bestowing favours. The one party wooing him most at the moment is the Congress, with veteran P Chidambaram bent upon getting the Rajya Sabha seat the DMK can spare in the elections slated for June. Of the six seats, DMK can win three on its own steam and, one more with alliance party votes. It appears the AIADMK’s two seats are also in heavy demand with party seniors, who are out of power in TN, seeking a ticket to keep their high-profile political careers going. Among them are D Jayakumar, C Ve Shanmugham, JCD Prabhakar, Gokula Indira and C Ponniyan. Congressmen aiming for the upper house also include TNCC President K S Alagiri and EVKS Elangovan. Former Union Finance Minister Chidambaram has gone one up on rivals, however, following his recent visit to Stalin’s home to seek the favour, something his party high command has also assented to. PC has enough clout in TN to get his way to extend his Rajya Sabha innings and prevent his political graph exhibiting a flatline.
Dhoni NS

Mahi Back At The Helm Of CSK’s Billion Dollar Ship, Could Still Make Playoffs, Pleasing Sponsors TVS Eurogrip

Super Kings and that brought about a stunning transformation in the body language of the team. Unlike Mumbai Indians, CSK were never out of a mathematical chance to still make the playoffs. With 8 points in the kitty, after five games, they still have potential to reach 16 points. Early season debacles were owed to very conservative bidding at the player auctions, where reps of ‘Srini Mama’ and his daughter Rupa were apparently inert and hardly picked up players of high value.  The change of captaincy, effected after the deal was signed, had offended the main sponsor TVS Eurogrip, who had shelled out Rs 100 crore. Miffed at the change in captaincy, and a lacklustre Ravindra Jadeja not looking the part to rev up the team, they pressured Srinivasan to bring back Dhoni as captain. Srini was concerned about any possible drop in valuation of the team, currently rated at around $1 billion, and impact on future sponsorships. There was only one way out of the impasse, bringing Dhoni back to the helm. CSK may or may not make it to the playoffs but they look like a competitive team now. The fans are mighty pleased and the sponsors are happy.

Elon Musk The New Owner, May Purge Absolute Indian Free Speech Censors From Twitter

Is Elon Musk picking up a bias against Indians? It would appear so if emerging dramas follow an early trend in which the world’s richest man, out on a spree to buy his favourite toys, has had bones to pick with Vijaya Gadde, a lawyer of Indian origin, even as the status of Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal is under a cloud after the acquisition. Vijaya, top censorship advocate at Twitter had taken decisions to keep out contentious content in 2020 and she was fiercely defended by Twitterati after the Muck onslaught. As owner of the company, Musk will have the power to fire key individuals and Parag may be the a name on that purging list even if he had picked up a reputation as a top engineer who had helped transform Twitter’s developing projects, including letting algorithms guide moderation software.  Musk’s ‘absolute free speech’ platform may be up for confrontations with India, which has been thin-skinned to the extent of being the country asking for the most tweets to be taken down. Musk’s ties to China with his Tesla electric cars, which are not being allowed free access if they are not made in India, might also put him on a collision course with India. His obsession with the number 420 places him in a piquant position with the number in India’s IPC that is to do with cheating and fraud.

Prashant Kishor’s Congress Dalliance Sustains, Even As TRS Signs Up I-PAC For Election Race

It appears election strategist Prashant Kishor is running rings around India’s political parties with his well-researched understanding of the voter behaviour, besides insights into which seats swing on what issues. But his former poll research company Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), from which he had disassociated himself, has signed up with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). While Sonia Gandhi, in her own political despair, is said to be inclined to accept Kishor’s help though it comes with conditions like his wishing to be like a working president while she remains the figurehead, senior Congressmen are not convinced. Insider dope has it that despite Kishor’s dalliance with TRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao, which included a two-day stay at his residence, Sonia might accept Kishor into her party. There may be a bundle of contradictions in Telangana where Congress must fancy its chances of a comeback in the face of disillusionment among the people with KCR’s style of governance. But Congress will be left hoping that people might understand that a common cause unites not only KCR but also the Left who oppose Congress in Kerala but are on the same page when it comes to national affairs. No decision is likely before Kishor’s one year of self-declared detachment from politics which comes to an end in early May, however, a week of drama is on the cards.

As UK Prime Minister Inaugurates JCB Factory In Gujarat, Amit Shah Says Stop Bulldozing Illegal Shops, Homes For Now

In stark irony, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson inaugurated a JCB manufacturing factory at Halol in Gujarat. The bulldozer with claw-like extensions, has become the contemporary mascot for an aggressive Indian mainstream politics today and used rampantly to raze encroachments, even homes of offenders stoking communal fires in BJP ruled states. The use of the bulldozer to get even became quite the rage in UP, MP and lately New Delhi, before it ran afoul of the Supreme Court for being pushed into action at Jahangirpuri of north Delhi. Under the prompting of the BJP head of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), bulldozers had cleared shops in front of a mosque. The message for the minority community over allegedly stoking communal passions, resorting to stone throwing during a Hanuman Jayanti procession that was taken out by the majority community was loud and clear: do not take the majority for granted. Even as the issue boiled over into the top court, a voice of reason was said to have come from one of the highest in the land. BJP insiders revealed that Home Minister Amit Shah had sent a message down the ranks to keep the bulldozers at bay for now, idling in parking lots for the time being. With the message already conveyed, the Home Minister wants to maintain peace, at least for now.

Ambitious Telangana Governor Tamilisai, Eyes Indian President’s Post, Reaches for the Sky

Whoever said Tamilians, laidback to the point of indolence as they can be, do not nurse ambitions? Take the case of Tamilisai Soundararajan, Telangana Governor who is also in charge of Puducherry. Having been given a supposedly apolitical gubernatorial post, she is angling for much higher things as all BJP and pro-BJP personalities are on a watchlist for picking the next President of India. So useful will that person be in office with the power to call who will form the government in case of a hung poll that BJP will be extra careful in zeroing in. Tamilisai is in the running, according to BJP insiders. Meanwhile, music maestro Ilaiyaraja, in the news lately for comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in his penned preface for a book, is facing the music on social media in a state that is highly opinionated against Modi. It is believed that the maestro, who once supported Leftist causes using his music, is now angling for a Rajya Sabha nomination. The DMK — politically savvy enough to keep on the right side of the Prime Minister in public while haranguing everyone else about the Centre’s interference in State subjects — is maintaining a studied silence in public and claims that it has no opinion either way about Ilaiyaraja’e apparent endorsement of Modi.

TN Governor-DMK Faceoff Again, Former IB Officer Ravi Keeps Stalin’s Cooperatives Law At Bay

The relationship between Raj Bhavan and Fort St George were strained even when Tamil Nadu was a ruling BJP-allied State but, has turned adversarial now. Even before R N Ravi headed to Guindy from the northeast, whispers campaigns abounded about his being an ex-IB official, who spelt trouble for the DMK regime. He started off fairly amiably until the new Governor, at the instance of New Delhi, decidedly ran afoul of Stalin & Co. Governor Ravi is sitting pretty on the bill against NEET passed in the TN assembly. He also held back others, including amendments to the cooperative law. The ruling DMK finds itself in a piquant situation, even had to boycott the unveiling of the statue to Bharatiar, beloved poet of all Tamilians, to express their displeasure of the Governor. In days gone by, several occupants at the picturesque Raj Bhavan located in the reserved lung space of Chennai, were dreaded by the then ruling parties. M Chenna Reddy’s run-ins with the fiery Jayalalithaa became part of political folklore. Governor Vidyasagar Rao kept Sasikala waiting as prospective CM until the Supreme Court passed the verdict to send her to jail. There was even a Governor who believed in going into the woods for his morning ablutions, providing the only comic relief from Raj Bhavan.

Who Dangled Chahal From The 15th Floor Balcony?

Yuzvendra Chahal says he was dangled from a 15th-floor hotel balcony by a heavily drunk fellow player during the IPL in 2013. The incident took place during a get-together when the loquacious leg-spinner was a Mumbai Indian. The buzz in Indian cricket is, while many in the know are aware of who the character is, no one wants to say it in public lest the player involved take offence. The player is also a pretty big personality in Team India today and taking his name might be problematic as some voices have already been raised saying the said “bully” should be banned from cricket. It was a party prank but a very scary one for the “victim” who said, “I was holding on to him, with my arms around his neck. If I had lost my grip, we were on the 15th floor… had there been a small mistake there, I would have fallen down.” The player had fainted at the prospect of hitting the ground from that height. The spinner has named others who played milder pranks on him when he was a Mumbai Indian but the perpetrator of the major incident could not be named as he is at the top of the totem pole now. A guess as to the major player’s identity is allowed.

Changing Equations At AIADMK: Now EPS-OPS Join Hands To Keep Sasikala- Dhinakaran At Bay

The AIADMK head honchos mean business. They are full time politicians running the Opposition party in Tamil Nadu and they are determined to take total control of the party, which means keeping Jayalalithaa’s confidante Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran out of the party. The party went into a late-night huddle after rumours began doing the rounds about differences between the top coordinators E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam. They have sent a message out to the party to hold elections in all phases by April so that the general council can be convened in May. A message has also gone out that Sasikala loyalists are not to be accommodated and that they must be defeated in the intra-party polls. It is no coincidence that the ED suddenly woke up to resume the long running case against Dhinakaran in which he is accused of trying to bribe the Election Commission. After Jaya’s death, there was a tussle for the party and TTV did his best to get recognised as the AIADMK’s official representative through the conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar who is in the news for his extravagant gifts to Bollywood actresses Jacqueline Fernandez and Noora Fatehi. EPS and OPS have since then been in control of the party though Sasikala keeps up the pinpricks with her claims to the party as its ‘General Secretary’.

Ukraine-Russia War May Hit Wimbledon’s Centre Courts, As AELTC Considers Ban On Medvedev

Major tennis tours like ATP, WTA and ITF are allowing Russian and Belarussian tennis players to compete without flags or anthems. But Wimbledon, one of four Grand Slams being a private event, is seriously considering a ban on stars like world No 2 Daniil Medvedev and world No 5 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus on the grounds that their victory could boost the Vladimir Putin regime. The legal implications are being considered seriously in the wake of recent images of war crimes on Ukraine’s streets showing up as evidence of the brutal war Russia is waging. The All England Lawn Tennis Club may receive legal advice that private clubs have more freedom to allow or ban players and they would not be subject to the same discrimination laws as the tours. What is the point the tennis fan may be wondering as Russian athletes are so far free to participate in global events as individuals but the UK might wish to take the economic sanctions and sporting bans further because of the war in Ukraine. Wimbledon might find a way out by asking the likes of Medvedev to sign an anti-Putin form and that they are not receiving any money from Putin or Russia or Belarus. Medvedev, like Novak Djokovic, is a resident of Monaco who could now miss two months of tennis due to hernia.
durai murugan

DMK Minister Durai Murugan’s Two Failed Attempts To Fly Dubai On Same Day, Had To Be Deplaned

The senior DMK minister Durai Murugan may have set a record of sorts missing his flight to Dubai, twice on a single day. Having landed up at the VIP room of Chennai airport, the minister realized he had processed his Dubai visa on his old expired passport. He rushed back to the city to rectify the error through back-and-forth calls being made to Dubai. Armed with the rightly secured visa, the minister returned to the airport hours later the same day and, not wishing to waste any more time, advanced his departure by opting for an Air India flight. Seated in the business class and all set to fly, the minister received a call on his mobile from the Tamil Nadu chief minister’s office advising him to cancel his trip. The cockpit door to the pilots’ domain not having closed for departure, the minister was allowed to deplane and go back home to Kotturpuram. The CM’s decision to call off his senior minister’s Dubai trip was partly owing to carping criticism by the opposition AIADMK party that had also found fault with Stalin’s own trip to Dubai earlier with family for which DMK party had paid the charter fare.
Rishi sunak_akshata

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak Under Fire Over Wife’s Holding In Infosys Which Runs Moscow Office

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, once considered a replacement for Prime Minister Boris Johnson if, Partygate had hit his party, is under fire now over his wife’s Rs 430 crore stake in the company her father Narayana Murthy founded. Infosys still runs its Moscow office and delivery office though the company is at pains explaining that its office serves global clients locally in Russia sans any active relationships with Russian companies.  Having advised British companies to cut ties with Russia, the Chancellor is facing the challenge of his wife Akshata’s fortune that is facing calls for full disclosure in the UK. He had said, “We must collectively go further in our mission to inflict maximum economic pain and to stop further bloodshed,” Rishi is under pressure to explain his family wealth through his wife’s holding in India’s second biggest IT company.  Rishi was pointedly asked whether he was giving advice to others that he was not following in his own home and he replied – “I’m an elected politician, and I’m here to talk to you about what I am responsible for. My wife is not.” Regardless of how the Ukraine situation goes while raising such questions, one thing is clear and that is Rishi Sunak may have already lost out in the race to the British Prime Ministership.
putin yacht

US To Seize Putin’s Rs 525 Crore Super Yacht, Assets Worth $17 Bn Of 34 Oligarchs?

Luxury yacht ‘Scheherazade’ with an estimated worth over Rs 525 crore, is thought to belong to the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The yacht has come under the scanner even as it lies anchored at an Italian marina. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has once indicated that the yacht might belong to the Russian President. Its crew members are drawn from the Russian Federal Security Force (FSO), the same force that secures Putin’s luxury villa off the Black Sea coast in Sochi. So far, about $17 billion in assets thought to belong to 34 oligarchs close to Putin have been processed and are ready to be seized though the super-rich Russian President himself is believed to own hidden assets worth about $100 billion. As Putin emerged last week in a blue, knee-length Rs 10.5 lakh Italian designer coat and roll neck sweater worth Rs 3 lakh at a public rally to celebrate the 8th anniversary of Russia’s annexure of Crimea, there were clear signs of the many fine things that Putin fancies. Scheherazade is said to be the world’s most expensive superyacht whose owner has not been identified. With six decks and two helicopter landing areas, spa, sauna, gym and golden fittings in toilets, the yacht drips with luxury that adorns Putin, whose official salary is Rs 70 lakhs a year.

Stalin Is On Mission Impossible, Getting Sonia-Mamata Together This April

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin is taking on what seems politically impossible at the moment – bringing together firebrand West Bengal prima donna Mamata Banerjee and Chief of the fast-fading Congress party, Sonia Gandhi. Stalin’s plan is overly ambitious even as a phenomenal clash of egos will surely ensue between the two over leading a united charge against BJP and its supremo Narendra Modi. Stalin, however, seeks to work in right earnest to bring about a political rapprochement to forge opposition unity and will be using the occasion of the inauguration of the DMK party office in New Delhi on April 2 for the purpose. He is hoping not only to have the two ladies present but also a galaxy of opposition figures including the new rising star Arvind Kejriwal, besides veterans like Sharad Pawar. He wants it to be a big political occasion that will set the ball rolling for the 2024 fight against Narendra Modi’s juggernaut. Egged on by poll strategist Prashant Kishor, the West Bengal CM fancies herself as the one who will take the battle to Modi but Stalin is a loyalist when it comes to the Congress and he would like the national party to be in the mix. April 2 might be the next big date in the Indian political calendar

Modi’s Saffron Clad Monk Breaks All Poll Traditions, Wins Second Term Even Breaking Noida Superstition

The monk who became the first UP chief minister to serve a full term and, win a fresh mandate bucking anti-incumbency has broken quite a few records even though he wasn’t elected in 2017 to the state assembly before being brought in as CM. It has been more than 40 years since any party was re-elected in UP and where, for the first time in 15 years an elected MLA will be heading the government. Yogi Adityanath proved to be the magical vote catcher along with his boss Narendra Modi. Incidentally, he also shattered the urban legend about Noida being the Waterloo of many UP CMs. The jinx had assumed such proportions that politicos began avoiding the city near the national capital like the plague. What Yogi may have proved is the fallacy of such urban legends that are mere coincidences and have no real relevance to actual events on the ground that are shaped by popular will. There are many such urban legends around the country, including one in Tamil Nadu where it is said that any CM visiting the Big Temple in Thanjavur would be out of power in the next election. This had taken such a hold on the imagination that even a diehard rationalist in M Karunanidhi, who visited the temple, entered through a side entrance. But that didn’t help him either.

Stalin’s Heir Udhayanidhi Into Full Time Real Politics, To Shrug Off Reel Life After One More Movie, So Dad Goes National

Udhayanidhi Stalin has signed up with Mari Selvaraj for a movie titled Maamannan (Emperor) which could be his final serious film role. Once the movie is completed in the next few months, Stalin’s son will move to politics full time, probably by the end of 2022. His father and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin is keen that his line of succession is made amply clear. When Udhaya was first tipped for a cabinet post during Tamil Nadu’s ministry formation in 2021, it did not come about because of his commitment to films, not because Stalin was wary of bringing in his kin into the political mainstream to avoid nepotism charges. With Stalin taking an interest in what happens in national politics for the 2024 general elections, he wants his son to help more with party affairs. Also, the second rung leaders behind senior minister Duraimurugan are not seen as charismatic enough for the family to encourage them to assume party leadership roles. Once he comes into the Cabinet, Udhaya will be the anointed as the successor to take forward the Karunanidhi political legacy in Dravidian Tamil Nadu. His exclusion till now was no concession to niceties as the DMK is very much a family party and, the scion will be expected to take up the responsibility.

As Cracks Develop In AIADMK, Sasikala Gets Her Foot In The Door To Follow In Amma’s Footsteps

The Stalin era in Tamil Nadu’s politics was firmly established, even as the wounded AIADMK tried to make its way back into people’s hearts. Probably, the return of Jayalalithaa’s aide and confidante Sasikala and nephew TTV Dhinakaran are viewed as vital to rebuilding a political challenge in the unending Dravidian narrative of TN politics. So long as former CMs Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) stood united, the remnants of Poes Garden rule in Sasi and her nephew were disallowed entry to the party HQ on Lloyd’s Road. Breaking that unity was key to the reunion that Sasikala was dreaming of. She was able to force a crack through her old scheming ways, favouritism and heroine-worship based politics. DMK’s success in the recent state assemblies, came after the 2019 debacle when just one MP, OPS’s son, was elected. AIADMK swept the remaining 38 Lok Sabha seats in the state, then also ruling the roost in the state legislature. In the 2021 assembly polls EPS-OPS were not totally wiped out but, local body polls saw a decisive sweep by the DMK, prompting the need for a united AIADMK. That may, however, mean a big loss for EPS, not so much for OPS, who was Chinamma’s choice for acting CM whenever Jaya had to eschew the gaddi.
Ashton agar

Fake Insta Post Warns Aussie Cricketer Ashton Agar’s Partner Against Pak Tour On Pain Of Death As Pak Rigs Up 4000 Strong Force

A fake Instagram post, its origins possibly in India, threatened Australian cricketer Ashton Agar with a message to his partner. It is believed the post was aimed at scaring the Australian cricket team that is touring Pakistan after 24 years and which is scheduled to hold its first practice session on Wednesday (March 2). The social media message was assessed as not credible. The post – “Your children will miss their Father if he comes to Pakistan. Our snipers will blow his head” — was clearly wrong as Agar and his partner have no children. Security agencies analysed it and assured the Aussies that there was nothing to fear. Having lost the New Zealand tourists on the day of their first scheduled international match last year, the Pakistan security establishment will put in place a 4,000 strong police cordon around the Aussies for the 3-Test, 3-ODIs and one T20I series. Pakistan-born Australian Test batsman Usman Khwaja brings a unique flavour to the tour as he visits his country of birth and where he has relatives. But the tour bio-bubble rules are so strict that he may not get to meet them. A successful tour for Australia, known to be very fussy about security in Asia, may generate hope in Pakistan that Team India also travel there soon.

Bookies Bet On Congress In Uttarakhand, For UP On Yogi’s Saffron Attire, While Punjab, Goa Will Go To The Wire

The bookmakers’ odds is one barometer to predict poll outcomes. Their dynamically fluid odds are to be taken under extreme caution, changing as they do by the minute depending on inputs or, even the sheer weight of money at stake. Without exit polls in the currently extended election schedules, bookies are the best guide to assess likely poll outcomes. Bookies had tipped BJP as favourites to retain Uttar Pradesh but, odds had indicated a sharp climb down for the ruling party from the 2017 high of 325 seats to a mere 150 wins. First phase polls (two rounds) in western UP, which had the party worried, did not fare as badly as earlier projections said and the BJP now expects to win 225-plus seats. The Punjab odds have changed and expect a closer fight, uncertain of a clear Congress majority, though the party will likely win the Uttarakhand polls clearly, say bookies. Going by the odds, Goa is also too close to call though bookies slightly favour BJP over the Congress while Manipur is yet to vote. The bookies’ assessment may not be crystal clear on sure winners but provide a good enough poll prediction.
IPL Teams

Capital War To Break Out Over IPL Media-Digital Rights, As Reliance, Amazon Square Up For The Big Fight

The Indian cricket field will soon witness a major turf war of a different kind, a battle for media and digital rights. Amazon and Reliance Industries, two corporate majors locked in a head-on battle for physical shopping space in Future Retail, will also flex their muscles to bid for the 2023-2027 IPL rights. Valuations have breached the stratosphere already with talk of bids reaching $7 billion dollars and, many other giants ready to do battle as well. The previous 5-year cycle that attracted a consolidated Rs 16,347.5 crore from Star-Disney ends with the 15th IPL featuring 10 teams and more matches than were on offer under the 8-team format. Disney-owned Star India may have to reach deep into its pockets to take on the global e-commerce giant Amazon with its Prime Video OTT pay channel, even as India’s industry and commerce behemoth Reliance, with a broadcasting arm in Viacom18, opens up its considerable war chest to bid for what is seen in broadcasting as an everyday Super Bowl with a 2.5 billion worldwide audience. The BCCI may unbundle the TV and digital rights. IPL has probably already factored in its Rs 7,000 crore a year rights earnings, which is believable as cricket is king in India and IPL dishes out magical live sport entertainment.

Stalin’s Deputy PM Plan Counts On Congress Alliance, Or Not At All?

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin would like to be a player on the national scene but, on his own terms. While his ambition to the Deputy Prime Minister’s post isn’t a secret anymore, the Tamil Nadu CM won’t pursue it unless ally Congress fits into the scheme of things. Stalin feels Mamata Banerjee is no national leader, not KCR, Uddhav Thackeray or, Pinarayi Vijayan either. Stalin will only play ball if Congress is in the loop. After openly promoting Rahul Gandhi’s PM candidature before the 2019 polls, Stalin will not abandon him and his party. Stalin looks at Mamata Didi’s national front initiative as a meeting of non-BJP CMs in New Delhi to forge unity for a combined national opposition ahead of the 2024 polls. Stalin is convinced on Congress’ national party status and, cling to its coattails forgetting old grievances against Indira Gandhi for sacking the DMK government and put Stalin in jail under MISA, no more relevant after decades of built-up friendship. He sees no non-BJP, non-Congress front possibly gaining national ascendancy. While he seeks a national role, while placing his son on the TN CM’s seat at Fort St George, Stalin will only do so provided the Congress joins the political front..


We Have Created A New Segment That Has Resonated Well With Readers: Short Post Editor

Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come, said Victor Hugo a long time ago. I felt likewise. So instead of waiting endlessly for the Covid-19 tide to ebb, I decided to take the plunge and launch on January 28, 2021. This website, the first of its kind in the country, focuses only on short ‘Authentic Gossip’. Clearly, content is king more so if it is short & crisp (225 words), as a large section of our society is steadily shifting to digital and mobile space. To achieve this, I was fortunate to muster editorial support of some of the most senior and respected journalists in the country to bring out credible content that involves, stimulates and entertains our highly discerning readers — from across continents. We have so far uploaded close to 1,000 posts covering areas like Business, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment. Yes, today we have crossed an important milestone in our journey – #ShortPostFirstAnniversary —  and we are confident many more will follow in keeping with our stated vision – to become a one stop site for authentic gossip. So, what next?  With the third wave showing signs of slowing down things can only look better. So as the year rolls by we promise to pack in more punches. Before I sign off I would like to thank our advertiser IDFC FIRST Bank, angel investors Anuradha Verma, Ashish Kakkar and you readers for making this journey possible.