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‘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.
EPS Amit shah

Beyond Karnataka, BJP Looks Ahead To 2024

The national party BJP may be preoccupied with Karnataka as the polls there are proving a challenge despite Congress missteps like Malikarjun Kharge’s ‘snake’ comment. Opinion polls are favouring the Congress, so too do some internal surveys done by the contesting parties. But the BJP is looking ahead to 2024, towards which Maharashtra looms as its next big issue as the verdict on the Sena split is due soon and preparations are on in case Eknath Shinde’s rule is disrupted. With the Karnataka polls round the corner, BJP had been asked by Amit Shah to put Maharashtra operations on hold, much as the Congress had done with its Rajasthan problem. Meanwhile, the BJP tied up its alliance with Edappadi Palaniswami as he had offered 10 seats in all to BJP – 9 in Tamil Nadu plus Puducherry – while the AIADMK would fight most of the other 30 seats, subject to what it may have to part with for allies if the likes of PMK and TMC stay with it for the 2024 Lok Sabha pills. It appears EPS had chosen to ignore whatever the TN BJP chief Annamalai may have said about alliances because he was confident that any decision would be made by Amit Shah, who he met in New Delhi. He has also requested the Home Minister that the CBI be asked to take over the Kodanad estate probe as the DMK is said to be playing games through the police.
Harsha bhogle

In Anodyne World Of Tutored Commentary, Harsha Bhogle Stands Out

Harsha Bhogle drew praise recently for making Mahendra Singh Dhoni feel so much at home in the post-match interview that he opened his mind on impending retirement. The popular commentator is a rare one from the amateur world of early radio days to make it big in the professional world of TV cricket commentary of today. In an anodyne world of tutored speaking that is largely controlled by BCCI, which virtually owns world cricket and hates contrary ideas and words, Bhogle survives in a rat race of former players looking to don the mike and making a buck after retirement. Cricket jobs are virtually monopolised by ex-players who rarely let any competition in. But there are exceptions in this controlled world of opinionated speakers like Sanjay Manjrekar who sprouts independent opinions, not always good. He is one of the few who speaks his mind, however poorish the diction may be and however misplaced his low opinion of performers who prove him wrong so often. Ravi Shastri had blazed a trail of airing his opinions freely in a professional manner before becoming an Establishment figure in his coaching days. There are too many others who fit the bland stereotypical, obedient, middle-of-the-road ‘gobs on sticks’ in the commentary box. There are very few on the IPL scene who match Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain in informed, entertaining comment on what goes on in the middle
Annamalai eps

Even As EPS Grows In Stature, Annamalai Wades Into DMK Corruption Issues

Edappadi Palaniswami getting the nod from Election Commission might prove embarrassing for the Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai. The Supreme Court had nudged ECI to take the call within 10 days and the EC came up with the permissions needed for EPS to be recognized as the general Secretary of AIADMK and while also granting his faction the right to use the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol. Word on the ground as a tiff was developing between EPS and Annamalai was that the BJP was not happy about a Gounder (caste) taking on a Gounder, which is why it appeared there was a chance that the party might press for O Panneerselvam’s faction so the party could bring the dominant caste Thevars to support them. All that proved to be just speculation, which was fuelled some more by the Prime Minister not meeting EPS or OPS on his Chennai visit. Meanwhile, Annamalai, who is busy taking up corruption issues against the top DMK leaders, played an audio tape reportedly containing finance minister P Thiaga Rajan’s (PTR) alleged admission that the CM’s son Udhayanidhi and son-in-law Sabareesh were collecting Rs 10 to Rs 20 crore a day and that they may have amassed Rs 30,000 crore so far. Indeed, these are interesting times in Tamil Nadu where alone the central agencies like ED and CBI are not seen to be that busy.
bjp karnataka

BJP Is Up Against The Odds In Karnataka

The ruling national party BJP is facing the biggest challenge nine years after coming to power at the Centre. It has lost assembly elections before but never been beaten out of sight. Such a prospect is in the offing in Karnataka unless its lead campaigner and charismatic leader Narendra Modi can pull a rabbit out of a hat again. The word on the ground is the Congress is in for a big shot at revival in Karnataka even as the BJP campaign has hit solid roadblocks. Lingayat leaders have been deserting the BJP and without their backing it would struggle to win enough seats for a majority though the JD(S) is expected to lose ground. The distribution of tickets is always tricky business. The BJP’s cleaning up campaign to deny seats to incumbents whose image may have taken a hit has not been popular with those who have been left out. This is the first time that whispers on the ground are suggesting that even local BJP leaders are inclined to accept that the tide is turning against them and the sympathy factor when JD(S) was up to its old tricks has dried up. Karnataka, important for a BJP footprint in the south, might slip away unless Modi can convince the voters that he can control local leaders whose corrupt ways have led to this.
Saudi stadium

Cricket May Get Super Saudi T20 League Boost

There are super teams in T-20 owned by Indian franchises that will soon be dictating terms to world cricket. But even their influence and reach could be dwarfed by a super T-20 league that is being planned in Saudi Arabia as part of its ‘greenwashing’ programme through sport and tourism. The Indian franchises like MI, CSK, KKR and others already owning teams beyond India are likely to be included in the super Saudi League that will be spending billions on the sport and its players. It is learnt that Saudi authorities are already in talks with international franchises around the world. Why they would like to rope in the Indian franchises is because Indian players cannot play in foreign T-20 leagues and that could change only if the likes of MI and CSK are roped in to play in the Saudi Super league. Cricket is the next big project for the Saudis after Formula One and LIV golf. The ICC Chairman Greg Barclay himself acknowledged that the Saudis are serious about bringing cricket to the kingdom. “Given their advance into sport, cricket would work quite well for the Saudis,” he said. Building stadiums might take a year or two with venues in Riyadh, Jeddah, AlUla and the Red Sea. They will also have a ready-made cricket knowing crowds of Indian expats who are working in Saudi. So cricket must get ready for another super T-20 boost.
K annamalai

Shocking Numbers: Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Releases Assets List Of DMK Leaders

Rs 1,34, 317,00,00,000 crore. Those were the sensational figures used to portray the Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai’s projection of the assets owned by DMK leaders. In a bombshell announcement on Tamil New Year Day on which he also undertakes a padayatra, Annamalai, the ex-police officer, detailed what he believes are the kind of assets that DMK leaders have piled up over the years. He released a document titled ‘DMK Files’ where he published the assets list of DMK top leaders from the first rank of DMK families including late M Karunanidhi, Chief Minister MK Stalin, Kanimozhi, Durga Stalin, Udhayanidhi Stalin, Sabareesan (MK Stalin’s son in law), Senthamari, (Stalin’s sister), Dayanidhi Maran, Murasoli Maran, CEO of Sun TV Network, MK Alagiri (Karunanidhi’s son) and Dhayanidhi Alagiri. He alleged that DMK top ministers and CM MK Stalin’s family members had unaccounted assets worth Rs 1,343,170, 000,000 crore in their family members, friends and benami’s name. “27 DMK leaders alone have assets amounting to over Rs 2 lakh crore, which is 10% GDP of Tamil Nadu.” BJP Tamil Nadu state president alleged. “The part 1 of the DMK files which contains the assets of DMK families released today. Part 2 will be out soon which will release the details of the black money assets of the DMK families.” Many more revelations are likely in the days to come. As is customary, most TV channels were asked to block the news out.

Governors Under Fire: Tamil Nadu Guv Went By Constitution But It Was Too Little Too Late

The office of Governor, a colonial era relic, is under fire like never before. The very need for it is being questioned vigorously by State governments that resent the holder of an ornamental office virtually spying on the States that host them. The Tamil Nadu Governor, probably the one most under fire in a mantle he may have inherited from Jagdeep Dhankar who has become the Vice President of India, went by the Constitution in clearing the Bill banning online gambling because he was bound to sign legislation that was sent to him a second time after being passed in the Assembly. Ironically, on the very day that he did his duty, he was being roasted in the Assembly with MLA after MLA finding it difficult to stay within boundaries and refrain from personal attacks which the Speaker was advising. But then Governor R N Ravi had never missed an opportunity to wage an ideological war with one comment or another on the Dravidian model, Sanatana dharma, the treatment of SC/STs, the uniform test of NEET in medical education. The cold vibes between the two was obvious as they accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi to various functions in Chennai even as CM Stalin and PM Modi were displaying bonhomie like never before. Tamilisai’s problems were almost as many in Telangana as States are beginning to take on Governors with a vengeance.

AIADMK Woos BJP National Leaders As Annamalai And EPS Don’t See Eye To Eye

AIADMK and the local BJP under K Annamalai’s leadership are not on the best of terms. Despite being told to go easy on alliance talk, the former cop keeps harping on the uneasy ties and how 2024 Lok Sabha polls could see BJP go it alone in Tamil Nadu. This is why Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) is hoping to impress on Prime Minister Narendra Modi the need for BJP to treat his party as a trusted ally. EPS will be meeting the Prime Minister on his busy Chennai visit on Saturday (Apr 8) when he will also be asking him for a few seats in Tamil-dominated areas of Karnataka like KGF, Marthahalli and other border areas and Chamrajnagar for the polls on May 10. This would help seal the relationship with the NDA.  Meetings that AIADMK MP, M Thambidurai, had with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda set the tongues wagging in the political circles. But the AIADMK was said to be feeding him with news of what the TN government and its leader MK Stalin are up to and how to keep a check on them. With the courts inclined to support a majority of the party that is behind EPS, the BJP is interested in furthering ties with him but would still keep a door open for the likes of O Panneerselvam in the hope of uniting Jaya’s party.

Kalakshetra Sexual Harassment Case: Its DMK Vs BJP

The Kalakshetra dance school sexual harassment issue has taken a political turn with the Director Revathi Ramachandran, who is a BJP member and nominee of the Union Culture Ministry, under fire from the State Women’s Commission. After the NWC did a cover-up in collusion with the Director under pressure from BJP bigwigs, the State commission swung into action and turned the issue around in favour of the hundreds of girls who suffered sexual harassment for years at the renowned institute. Only under the prompting of the local commission did the Director agree to stop harassing girls who were coming forward to lodge complaints, including an FIR lodged with the police that set in motion the arrest of Assistant Professor Hari Padman. The said gentleman was felicitated on Women’s Day just last month for his contribution to dance, under the watchful eyes of Revathi. While a resignation would have been graceful given the circumstances and a number of complaints against her for not doing enough to protect young girls at the dance school, the Director now seeks an extension that should come up when her second term comes to an end in September. The State, well aware of the political undertones, has told the police to go all out to get the four accused male dance teachers for interrogation or custody. It’s now DMK versus BJP in the dance school fracas.

Independent Probe Called For Into Kalakshetra Sexual Harassment Complaints

The #MeToo issue surrounding the famous dance school Kalakshetra, run by the Union Culture Ministry in Chennai have blown up into a massive controversy. The brave girls of the school, who had voiced their misgivings and complaints about at least four male teachers at the school of sexual harassment, came out in protest defying the school closure order given by the director Revathi Ramachandran. The State government was compelled to take note of the goings on as complaints aired over social media for months coalesced into a movement akin to the one against Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood that blew open the issue of inappropriate male behaviour. The school director, an appointee with political influence in New Delhi, was seen protecting the accused rather than take the side of the hundreds of girls with grievances against the male teaching staff. Only the lack of a specific complainant was holding up a police probe but after the issue came up in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, the hands of the State government have been forced to act. It may set up an independent probe soon under the aegis of the State Women’s Commission as the NWC tried to sweep the issue under the carpet after an inadequate internal probe. Only a powerful probe panel that can set up a safe channel to receive complaints can bring any justice to hundreds of affected girls.

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

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

Tamil Nadu Governor Duty-Bound To Sign Anti-Online Rummy Bill

The Tamil Nadu Governor sits on the horns of a dilemma. The Bill against online Rummy was brought to the Assembly again by the Chief Minister MK Stalin and will be with the Governor soon for signing into law. As per the Constitution, R N Ravi is duty bound to sign it even though he passed judgment on it by saying that the original law as passed the first time in the Assembly was against the Constitution. He had questioned the legislative competence of the Assembly to pass such a law when the Supreme Court had consistently ruled that rummy is a game of skill and not of chance. But, being a stickler for going by the Constitution, the Governor cannot refuse the Bill once it is passed by the Assembly a second time. However irritated the State government may be by the Governor’s reluctance to sign Bills passed by the Assembly, it is true that Governor Ravi has gone by the Constitution in dealing with legislation. While there are Governors who simply sit on Bills without saying yes or no for an interminable time, Governor Ravi at least makes his case against legislation he believes goes against the grain of the Constitution and returns it to the State Assembly. The big question now is whether the Governor will precipitate another crisis by not signing the Bill into law.

Annamalai Will Have To Simmer Down And Continue To Work With EPS and AIADMK

It is being stressed that the Tamil Nadu alliance of the AIADMK and the BJP is intact. The local BJP chief K Annamalai may not think so, but he has been told to lay off from spreading any disaffection in the ties and to be prepared to work with the Edappadi Palaniswami group into the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. This is a decision taken at the highest levels of BJP and is way beyond Annamalai’s status in the party to change anything unless the AIADMK feels it can risk dropping BJP. After defeats in 2019 and 2021, the AIADMK has been tending to blame its loss of vote share on its association with BJP, which doesn’t jell with the voters in Dravidian Tamil Nadu. And the recent bypoll to Erode East was further indication of where voter sentiment lies. Annamalai has been a proactive local chief who has given the party some presence on the ground where he has shown organising ability to gather forces for protests, etc. Yet, it is a far cry for the BJP to go independent in a land that will not openly recognise Hindutva or far-right views. Unless the top two in the BJP decide otherwise, Annamalai will have to buckle down and work with EPS regardless of his personal opinion on the prevalent cash-for-votes brand of politics.
N Srinivasan_ Dhoni

N Srinivasan: The South Indian Who Dared To Rule The Cricket World

A swanky new pavilion to complete the total renovation of the MA Chidambaram Stadium was his pet project. His dream has been fulfilled, but on the day of fruition, the progenitor of the project will remain a detached figure. N Srinivasan will be at the inaugural of the brilliant new pavilion structure, including one for the ancient Madras Cricket Club, but only after having given away the top post at the TNCA and asking his daughter also to resign so that the association may be handed over to a representative of the ruling DMK.  At a time when even the Prime Minister has a stadium named after him, the architect of Indian cricket administration in its most modern avatar will see the pavilion named after one of his close friends who was the patriarch of the DMK family, M Karunanidhi. Cricket lover that he was, the litterateur may deserve the honour. But suffice it to say that Srinivasan deserved the honour more. Maybe, one day, the MA Chidambaram Stadium will be renamed after N Srinivasan who ruled Indian and world cricket like a czar but fell to his own hubris, leaving space for him to be derided as a South Indian who dared to rule the national sport. No one could have used cricket’s riches to better serve the game and its players. Alas! today he resembles Ozymandias.

EPS All Set To Crown Himself General Secretary Of AIADMK

Edappadi Palaniswami is a man in a hurry. He would like to use his de facto position as chief opposition to the DMK government by getting himself elected as General Secretary of AIADMK, a post previously held by the likes of J Jayalalithaa and her super ambitious aide VK Sasikala. EPS would like to take advantage of all court rulings having come in his favour after fending off challenges from OPS, who was seeking to exert the influence of the Thevars.  To prepare the ground for his election as General Secretary, EPS has called a meeting of office-bearers at various levels on March 9 and 10.  After the passing away of Jayalalithaa in 2016, her close confidante Sasikala became the General Secretary by calling the general council that chose her to the top post though the party constitution framed by MGR clearly states that the General Secretary could be elected only by the primary members. Much of that is water under the bridge now as EPS pushes on to be recognised as the second biggest force in State politics after DMK’s MK Stalin. Having tried to steer a course midway between surrendering to the BJP and retaining some political independence, EPS would like to keep himself in a position strong enough to negotiate the terms on which the AIADMK-led alliance will be formed with the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Stalin 70 bday

DMK Alliance Win Puts Spotlight On Stalin’s Role In National Politics

The DMK+ alliance won the bypoll to the Erode East with a whopping margin of 66,000 seats. Having played it safe by asking the senior Congress leader EVKS Elangovan to stand rather than let one of his sons do, the importance of winning had been anticipated by DMK. The verdict also settles the question of which is the Opposition party that can get the closest to the DMK and that is Edappadi K Palaniswami’s AIADMK. The result was a foregone conclusion but what it does is it adds to the stature of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin as a definitive national figure in any post-2024 Lok Sabha polls scenario. A man who can guarantee close to 40 seats for the combined opposition hoping to down the BJP on a national scale, the numbers assume great significance. And Stalin also presented the sanest view that it was more important to defeat the BJP than haggle over who can be Prime Minister in the unlikely but possible scenario of the combined opposition claiming the numbers. Given the sentiment of the occasion of Stalin’s 70th birthday, a gushing Farooq Abdullah tried to present Stalin as a PM candidate. Stalin brushed that aside while calling for unity in the Opposition ranks when just over a year remains for the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
EPS and supporters after SC verdict

EPS Emerges AIADMK Supremo, Erode Bypoll To Test His Popularity

Edappadi Palaniswami stays as the supremo of AIADMK as its (interim) General Secretary, a post created by J Jayalalithaa. Reduced to a rump presence is O Panneerselvam, his mentor VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran. It was always clear that EPS had the people’s mandate and he also asserted himself in the party by rallying an absolute majority of the leaders. It stood to reason that the Supreme Court would note that the essence of any party is where its majority lies or who its majority favours. The Thevar clan, who relied too much on their financial clout rather than the public support that Jaya had built, is well and truly out of it now. EPS would be least inclined to listen to pleas for greater unity in the party by bringing back the dangerous Mannargudi clan. EPS may have convinced the BJP already that this is the way the party will operate. Of course, its great test lies in how many votes the party can garner in the Erode East bypoll. The result itself may be a nearly foregone conclusion but the voting percentage would indicate how much of a clout EPS and his original AIADMK has among the people. Given the top court ruling, the BJP will be backing EPS fully now, regardless of how much personal rapport OPS had with the highest powers.

Stalin’s March 1 Birthday To Bring Opposition Leaders Together

As Stalin’s birthday falls on March 1 his ambition to play a bigger national role might be further fueled. Already, efforts are on to make the occasion grand with leaders of the Congress including its President Malikarjun Kharge and others likely to attend. Bringing all the Opposition together against the BJP is an ambition that Stalin has nursed for long, especially more so since 2019 when he backed Rahul Gandhi to be the face of the Congress and the united opposition’s prime ministerial candidate. However, Stalin is not for other efforts like those of the Telangana CM KCR’s idea of another front without the Congress and Mamata’s TMC in it. More of a traditional politician who has stood by old friends, Stalin is inclined to back the national party as the main binding force for gathering opposition to the ruling BJP. Towards this, he has also asked his DMK party to spare no effort to make victory in the Erode East bypoll a resounding win with a big margin so as to send out a message. Having allotted the seat as per convention to the party that had lost its MLA to death and to the father of the deceased in a poignant gesture, Stalin has put 12 ministers on the job, including his son Udhayanidhi to make victory big enough to matter.
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Thundering Silence From DMK Govt On Murder Of Soldier Shocks The Nation

There has been a thundering silence on the part of the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu about the murder of a soldier who was beaten brutally to death by a DMK Councillor and his goons in the western part of the State. The Chief Minister MK Stalin, who announces solatium for any kind of deaths, including in road mishaps and drownings, has also kept silent though he was visiting the very parts where the gruesome event took place. Had it been a case of lynching of a suspected cattle smuggler in the cow belt in India, the left and liberal media would have gone to town on how lawless the country has become. But here were two brothers who are both jawans in the Indian Army who were outnumbered and clobbered by goons, including by the sword carrying local leader of DMK. It might have been a petty quarrel over drinking water being used for washing clothes by the wife of the soldier in the village, but exploded into a gang fight thanks to a power-crazed local chieftain. However, not even the Defence Minister of the land or the Home Minister tried to get to the bottom of the event. The local government is hiding conveniently behind the cliched “Law will take its course” as the perpetrators had obviously to be arrested by the local police.

LTTE Prabhakaran Is Alive, Crazy Claim By Pazha Nedumaran

Of all the crazy things heard in recent times this one must take the cake. Former Congressman and Indira Gandhi’s aide Pazha Nedumaran claimed that the long-dead Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran is alive, safe and in good health. He also claimed the LTTE chief would soon make a public appearance. This flies in the face of the internationally revealed event when Prabhkaran was captured in Sri Lanka. Reliable sources in Sri Lanka averred then that far from being treated as a prisoner of a civil war, Prabhakaran was treated as a terrorist who had to be shot. The then Sri Lankan army chief, after briefing the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the capture of the most wanted terrorist, flew down to the scene of Prabhkaran’s capture and is said to have personally pulled the trigger on him. His body was then dragged to a pond and shown to the world as having been killed in the battle against the LTTE. Not only was Prabhakaran eliminated thus, but also his minor son who was also disposed of as Colombo was said to have conveyed to the Army General that no DNA of the man who waged a decades-long war against Sri Lanka should survive. The story of Prabhkaran’s capture and shooting has been documented by those in the thick of events at the end of the civil war in 2009.


The Ball That Settled The Series

Long after the final ball will be bowled in this series, the one delivery that sealed the Australians fate will be remembered for long. Two of Australia’s finest batsmen of today were together and making a match of it when Ravindra Jadeja, on a comeback trail, gave that delivery a little more air. On the cusp of a landmark, Marnus Labuschagne could not resist the temptation, overbalanced in failing to connect his intended drive to the ball that turned teasingly past the bat and the debutant keeper grabbed the chance to whip the bails off in a flash. Jadeja is no Bishen Bedi but he is a clever bowler who knows that he is not a big spinner of the ball to bowl too much beyond the wicket to wicket line. He keeps it on the spot at a brisk pace and with variations like the straight ball and the arm ball together present quite a challenge for visiting batsmen in Indian conditions. He may have won the series for India already with that ball beating Labuschagne and then sealing it with the splendidly directed arm ball that went through Steve Smith’s gate. He dismantled the Aussie challenge in those two deliveries, but it was the first one that broke the camel’s back. If this series looks over already, it is all down to Jadeja’s cleverness. Give him credit for it.
LeBron breaks NBA all time record

LeBron James Breaks World Record, Climbs Mt Everest Of Basketball

In climbing the Mount Everest of professional basketball, LeBron James of the LA Lakers has recorded one of sport’s greatest achievements. Having overtaken Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s 38,387 points, the 38-year-old is now the pro sport’s highest ever scorer. While Jabbar had taken 1,560 games to build his career tally, LeBron made it in just over 1,400 appearances. Jabbar was on hand to celebrate the moment when the game between the LA Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder was stopped the moment the record was broken. “Breaking records is a benchmark of human progress”, Jabbar said graciously. Michael Jordan (32,292) holds the record for the most points (30.1) per game, LeBron is fifth on that all-time list. Marked for greatness early in his life, LeBron’s 38,390 could well go over 40,000 points before he calls it a day. He intends playing at least one game with his elder son Bronny before he hangs up his boots. LeBron has considerable achievements to his name in the books. He has won at least one NBA title for each of his three teams and been the NBA’s MVP four times. LeBron has received many accolades for his game skills and his leadership qualities. One of his teammates in Cavaliers captured it best when he said – “It’s not just his body. It’s not just his process. It’s not just his intention. It’s his brain.”
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AIADMK Thenarusu and Congress Elangovan

DMK Backed Cong Vs BJP Supported AIADMK: Who'll Win Erode Bypoll?

It’s the ‘Hand’ versus ‘Two Leaves’ in Erode East finally. The call given by the State BJP for a united fight against the ruling DMK to defeat the Congress candidate EVKS Elangovan was heeded, thus ending a protracted faction fight within the AIADMK. The OPS candidate withdrew, so too did TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK candidate. It is now a straight fight in the bypoll which may show how popular the DMK alliance is and whether the people have forgiven or forgotten the faction fight and are willing to support Edappadi Palaniswami’s ‘majority’ AIADMK candidate Thenarusu. Getting the party symbol of ‘Two Leaves’ was a big thing as none of the players who are opposing the ruling party DMK wanted the legal tangle to stretch so much as to make the ECI freeze the symbol. The ruling party’s front may be strong enough to win the seat with a good margin as those in power generally do. But it is important that for the sake of electoral democracy that a united opposition take on the government of the day. There may be no anti-incumbency feeling yet after a couple of years of Stalin rule and there are doubts about the intentions of the faction leaders who have all withdrawn their candidates but may still not get in the fray to support the common candidate. The challenge for EPS, who has majority support within his party, is now to prove he is the undisputed leader.
WhatsApp Image 2023-02-03 at 11.25

The Mystery Deepens, Who Killed 23 Russian Oligarchs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will BJP Move The Tamil Nadu Governor Out?

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

War On Against Governor Ravi But Stalin Plays It Cool

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

Stalin Slams Those Who Brand His Party As Anti-Religion

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

Reinvention Of Kamal Haasan As A Politician

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

Cancel Culture Catches Up With Sir Donald Bradman

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

Argentina Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez Triggers Football War

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

AIADMK-BJP Alliance At Breaking Point, All Eyes On DMK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KS Alagiri with MK Stalin

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

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

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

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

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

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


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

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

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.