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Was Didi’s Dharna Aimed At Projecting Herself As The Key Entity Of The Regional Party Front?

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee holding a 30-hour dharna in Bengal’s capital, Kolkata, sent out a clear message that she will not leave any stone unturned to keep her stake in Regional Party Front intact. In fact, training her guns against the BJP over non-disbursal of funds by the Centre, Didi called for “Ekbar Aur Dilli Chalo” programme aimed at uniting the Opposition parties ahead of General Elections in 2024. Since the conviction and disqualification of Congress scion Rahul Gandhi, Didi was prompt in supporting him contrary to her previous stance of calling Rahul as BJP’s TRP. She had also sent two TMC MPs to the recent Congress meeting called by its party’s president Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi. Significantly, Mamata met three non-BJP, non-Congress leaders earlier including her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav and former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy. TMC is also talking to ex-NDA partners like Akali Dal. Meanwhile, Didi’s nephew and second in command of the party, Abhishek Banerjee has also hinted that the party is mulling the idea of filing defamation cases against BJP leaders including Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari and PM Narendra Modi for catcalling “Didi, o Didi” during Bengal Assembly polls campaign in 2021.

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.

Ajit Pawar Shows Maturity, Livid At ‘Inhuman’ Statement By A Congress Leader

Top Nationalist Congress party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar has once again shown how a mature politician should behave and talk. Taking to task a Congress leader for his ‘inhuman’ utterances about selecting a candidate for the Pune Lok Sabha byelection, Pawar pulled up his own party colleague Jayant Patil for predicting the fall of the Shinde-Fadnavis government in Maharashtra. Pawar’s sharp response to media questions on both these sensitive issues was laced with outrage. He also admonished Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders not to vitiate the atmosphere in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, which is shaken by a communal incident in the night after Ramnavami. MVA has planned a public meeting there on Sunday (Apr 2) but it is doubtful if the administration will allow it in view of the tension in the area. Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar had stated that MVA will file a candidate in Pune seat, vacated owing to the demise of BJP MP Girish Bapat. When asked for his response, Pawar angrily said, “Have some humanity. It is just three days for the death of Bapat.”  About Jayant Patil’s prediction, he said, “I shall be meeting Patil on Sunday. Shall ask him what clue he has found to make such a statement.” Refusing to criticise the state government about the Sambhajinagar incident, Pawar quipped that the priority was to restore normalcy. MVA leaders should desist from making any controversial statements, he has advised.
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Hardik Pandya And NaMo Stadium Mix Could Attract Huge Footfall For Gujarat Titans

It will truly be the first home season for Gujarat Titans in the IPL Twenty20 competition. The Titans will play seven league matches at the massive edifice at Motera, starting with the opening bout against four time winner Chennai Super Kings. A new entrant to the league last year, the Titans led by crowd puller, Hardik Pandya stunned the discerning and layman by winning the title putting it across the inaugural season champion Rajasthan Royals at the Narendra Modi (NaMo) Stadium in Ahmedabad. This season the Titans will play most matches in the presence of a crowd around one lakh. The high footfall for almost all matches will be happy news for the franchise, CVC Capital Partners, Europe’s biggest Private Equity firm which has  bought the franchise for Rs 5166 crore. At least four franchise owners had reported revenues upwards of Rs 35 crore every season, except when the league was held in South Africa and in the Persian Gulf. The venues in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mohali, Lucknow and Jaipur and a few more have a capacity much less than at the NaMo and hence the sheer footfall numbers and the price range for tickets should see good revenue from the paying spectators for the Titans which boasts of a big star in Hardik Pandya who delivers the goods with the bat, ball and to boot as a leader!
Tanaji Sawant

Maharashtra Health Minister Tanaji Sawant Seeks New Political Post, Ignoring Covid Resurge

As the number of Covid cases resurge in Maharashtra with the state registering a 63% spike in daily cases and three deaths as on March 29, its health minister Tanaji Sawant seems preoccupied with completely different concerns. At a meeting in Pandharpur recently, Sawant admitted that the health ministry didn’t interest him and he had taken it up with much reluctance. He claimed that the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis government had given him positions that didn’t interest him, be it the health portfolio or even the guardian ministry of Parbhani and Dharashiv districts. Not one to mince words, Sawant had openly admitted that he was planning rebellion against Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for denying him a ministerial berth in 2019, by holding over 100-150 meetings with legislators, over a period of two years when the state was reeling under Covid. Now, when the State is witnessing resurgence of Covid, the man at the helm, Sawant seems to be on a personal overdrive boasting that he could pull crowds much more than the likes of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee or even Bal Thackeray. Sawant is now eyeing the guardian minister’s slot for Solapur and has openly appealed to the chief minister and his deputy, to do the needful.

Cong Bets On “Sympathy Factor” For Rahul Gandhi To Clinch Karnataka Elections

The Congress is betting big on an undercurrent of sympathy for Rahul Gandhi who was disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP in Karnataka assembly elections to help the party clinch a magical three- digit number. Party leaders are already talking of winning at least 130 seats. The Congress is hoping to project Rahul as a “victim” of BJP’s plot to unseat the Wayanad MP by a Surat trial court order in the defamation case regarding Modi surname. Interestingly, Rahul is launching his “Satyameva Jayate” campaign in Kolar on April 5, the same place where he made the contentious speech. Congress leaders are not willing to accept that Rahul was disqualified as MP on March 24, as per a Supreme Court ruling in 2013. Under the ruling, any MP or MLA stands to be disqualified automatically if convicted and sentenced to two years or more.  Party leaders feel it was under heat of Rahul’s case that the Lok Sabha Speaker had revoked Lakshadweep NCP’s MP Mohammed Faisal’s suspension made in January. “Rahulji’s suspension is one of criminal defamation and it cannot be equated with Faisal’s case who was convicted in a case of assault” argued a Congress leader. Interestingly, Faisal was restored as MP this week just ahead of his appeal in the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, for Faisal, the SC has questioned the stay of his conviction by the Kerala HC. That means Rahul will watch his route of appeal.
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Naveen Patnaik’s Direct International Flight Plans To Protect Global Investment

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is pulling out all stops to transform his state at double quick time. The latest news from the state is the commencement of direct international flights, three times a week, round trip Bhubaneswar-Dubai beginning in April. This move is part of Naveen’s larger plan to catch the huge swath of the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia and Japan markets to boost Odisha’s industrial growth, tourism and in the process create job opportunities. The immediate objective behind fast tracking direct international flights is to protect the Rs 21,000 cr investment proposals received from Dubai-Middle East and North African markets during the ‘Make in Odisha Investment Meet’ in Dubai last year. This explains why Patnaik government has agreed to invest Rs 100 cr towards Indigo Airlines viability funding including reduction of VAT in Aviation Turbine Fuel for direct international flights commencing from Bhubaneswar to Dubai. According to Prasanna Pradhan, Director, Bhubaneswar Airport the old Bhubaneswar airport is being refurbished to make it ready by end March 2023 and he expects ticket sales for Dubai to commence from April 1, 2023.  Eventually, Indigo has plans to operate direct flights between Bhubaneswar-Bangkok and Singapore.

KICL Puts Loss Making Fertiliser Unit On The Block

You bend to grow.  So goes an old adage. Wisdom lies in a practical approach. That is what this management is doing. Rather than clinging on to a continuously losing unit, it is wiser to let it go. Well, the bosses at Kothari Industrial Corporation Ltd (KICL) have now chosen to give up its SSP (single super phosphate)-making unit in Chennai. Well, they see a clear gain in giving this one up. Production of SSP at its Ennore unit was discontinued due to scarcity of imported quality raw materials. Also, working capital has proved a big issue. Given these, this facility was leased out to one of the manufacturers of fertilizers in Chennai. The lease is still on. A comprehensive review, however, has suggested that the company will be well served by getting rid of this unit. Well, it has now decided to sell the Ennore facility on a slump sale basis. The proposal has since got the approval of the shareholders. The business environment has turned topsy-turvy of late. Also, the debt burden of the company is mounting by the day due to assorted statutory and legal compulsions. Hopefully, the sale of SSP facility will ease the debt burden of KICL which is pining to return strongly in a new avatar under a fresh management.

With AIADMK Firmly Under His Control, EPS Trains His Eyes On Alliance Partners

With the Madras HC rejecting O Panneerselvam’s application, Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) was elected unopposed as General Secretary of the AIADMK, a party founded by MGR in 1974. After his death it was in the iron grip of J Jayalalithaa for 27 years till her death in December 2016 which saw both EPS and OPS pitted against each other for the control of the party.  With EPS firmly in the saddle, the scene at the party headquarters was upbeat with fire crackers bursting, a 50-kg laddoo on display and milk ‘abhishekam’ offered to the giant cut-out of EPS. Interestingly, EPS was coaxed to wear MGR’s signature cap and dark glasses. Not surprisingly, he obliged his party workers. His first announcement after the verdict was to add more muscle to the party with a membership drive. His second urgent strategy is to keep the current alliance partners intact especially PMK’s Dr Ramdas who is being wooed by DMK. But the real problem is Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai. Both don’t see eye-to-eye. Annamalai who wanted to walk out of the alliance, and go solo, has been stopped in his tracks by the party’s Delhi high command.  EPS is well aware of the serious hoops he has to jump. But, for now he is firmly in the saddle everybody will accept his leadership.

PM Modi Advises Partymen To Be Ready For Bitter Attack From The Opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unfazed by the sharp criticism mounted by the Opposition about the alleged role of the BJP leaders in the conviction of Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case and subsequent disqualification of his membership of the Lok Sabha. Modi’s response is that the BJP leaders should not fall prey to the barrage of “insinuating” attacks on him. His word to the party leaders is that they should go on the counter offensive and tell their constituents about the utterances of Rahul Gandhi on several matters including that on Veer Savarkar, which has already caused a split in the Maharashtra alliance. As far as Modi is concerned, the government has not interfered in any way either in the Lok Sabha Secretariat’s announcement. In 20 odd cases of disqualification of MPs and MLAs, the procedures adopted were the same. So why is BJP targeted? Modi thinks that the Opposition is nervous after the BJP’s impressive performance in the recent elections in the Northeast. They had a similar reaction after BJP’s Gujarat victory too. “The PM told us that the Opposition will attack us more as they are rattled by the repeated victories of the BJP. The more we win, the harsher the attack will be. Now they are worked up because of our wins in Gujarat and Northeast,” said an MP who was part of the meeting.
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Sharad Pawar’s New Masterstroke, Rahul To Stop Attacking Savarkar

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar has once again kept his supporters and opponents intrigued simultaneously, this time by preventing censure of Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.  He has done it by forcing the Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi to sheath their tirade against the Hindutva icon. At a meeting of various Opposition leaders at the residence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, the contentious issue was raised by Pawar, who warned that attacks against Savarkar would prove politically costly for all three partners of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) – the NCP, Congress and Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena – in and beyond Maharashtra. This stand was supported by various Congress leaders, making Rahul to yield. Pawar has shocked the polity time and again by his changing priorities. A close confidant of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP leader Pramod Mahajan,  he became a powerful minister under Manmohan Singh for 10 years. In 2014, he announced unilateral unasked support for the BJP in Maharashtra after the assembly elections. This announcement forced the BJP and the then Sena to form a coalition. In 2019, his nephew Ajit Pawar took oath along with Devendra Fadnavis but their regime survived barely 72 hours. Pawar’s masterstroke was installing Uddhav as Maharashtra chief minister. Once again, he has shown that he can give politics the direction he wishes. 
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BCCI To Benefit From ICC's $ 3 Bn Media Rights Deal With Disney Star

The news in the grapevine is that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is likely to get a humongous increase in its share of revenue from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the 2024-2027 cycle. All this because Disney Star has reportedly shelled out $ 3 bn for the ICC media rights for India (broadcast & digital) for the four year cycle. The ICC recently sold the UK media rights to Sky Sports for the 2024-2031 cycle. People privy to conversations among the high echelons of the full members in the ICC  say that the BCCI  has been urging the Cricket Boards (in the ICC)  to allot it a  higher share of money because it is the  Indian companies that are sponsoring much of ICC’s international events. Not long ago the ICC — with Shashank Manohar as the independent chairman — changed its financial and governance structure that was a little more considerate towards other full members (other than Australia and England) and the Associate Members. But with the new media rights agreements to be in place from 2024, the BCCI will receive more money from the World body from next year. The higher revenue from the ICC next year could result in higher receipts from the BCCI to its affiliated members which already are said to be receiving around Rs100 crore each year. More the better is the refrain among the BCCI members. And why not!

Bitter Divorce Battle May Derail Odia Actor Anubhav Mohanty’s Political Career, BJD Hunts For Names

For Odia actor and Biju Janata Dal Lok Sabha MP Anubhav Mohanty the divorce battle with his actress wife Varsha Priyadarshini which has been getting uglier by the day, has reasons to smile. The Odisha High Court has declined Varsha’s petition to restrain media from accepting Anubhav’s video targeting her. So Anubhav is going full steam to project his side of the story. But, this domestic battle could derail his political career. The Odia actor who defeated BJP’s Baijayant (Jay) Panda in 2019 from Kendrapada’s constituency standing may not get the 2024 BJD ticket, party insiders. They are looking at alternative names to replace Anubhav because of the negative publicity he has received over his divorce battle. Sources say Anubhav has been left out of BJD’s recently held state campaigner list and this clearly indicates BJD’s thinking. Some time back BJD’s Cuttack district unit head Debasish Samantaray said “Parliamentarians should not wash dirty linen in public …they need to keep their image intact”. Names that are doing the rounds to replace Anubhav are: Mission Shakti Head Sujata Kartikeyan; wife of 5T Secretary V K Pandian as a possibility; Odisha energy minister Pratap Keshari Deb and Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak could also be a possibility. Looks like Anubhav Mohanty may not get the Lok Sabha ticket and will now have to focus on his film career.

The World Now Respects India As A Partner Across Hi-Tech Verticals

The current push from both the Indian and UK governments to expand their engagement on defence, aerospace and homeland security has seen an intensity of engagement between the two countries that is unprecedented since Independence. A recent meeting with the UK’s national security advisor, on the sidelines of a meeting in London for cooperation in the defence industry, showed the ‘huge’ respect India now commands from the world. The delegation met three UK ministers including the minister for defence procurement, besides the national security advisor and many senior bureaucrats. Says a ‘happy and proud’ Shekhar Sardessai, Executive Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Goa-based Kineco Ltd and Kineco Kaman Composites, who was part of the delegation: “I have seen how we were treated 10 years back as an insignificant country. The same people are now keen to woo India as a partner. All credit to what our government has done in the past few years to build a formidable position for our country.” Other business leaders agree. “Great!” says Senator Dr PKC Bose, Vice Chairman & Managing Director of the Bengaluru-based Enercon Windenergy, a subsidiary of Germany’s Enercon Group. “It’s India’s time.”

The Other Side Of Vocalist Mahesh Kale You Don’t Know!

India’s renowned vocalist and national award winner Mahesh Kale is a globally respected artiste. But, there is more to him. Recently, the singer flew into the UK three days before his concerts leaving his organisers, fans and followers guessing. No, it was not to do a dry run but to travel the local tube in London, walk over 15000 steps in Central London, and explore the “vibe of the city.” Kale believes that weather is part of human life as nature has an inseparable bond with mankind. Kale is a tree hugger and also chooses to sit on a park bench and write a poem. He ensured that his disciples from Edinburgh accompanied him at both his concerts in the UK. Local travel in the city of performance helps him to understand a little more of the culture of that land, their liking for music. At his show in Manchester, a 6-month old baby Swananadi Kulkarni, overwhelmed by the audience and gathering, started crying. Kale walked up to her and whispered a song into her ears, and soon she stopped crying and started smiling. Kale is an avid traveler. This year he will be performing in the U.S., Germany and Switzerland. Kale is married and lives in the Bay area.

Are The Lines Between Bollywood And Kollywood Blurring?

Are the lines between the south Indian film industry and north Indian film industry (read Bollywood) blurring it? It seems so, as both the territories are very important for them. And incidentally, factoring these north-south audiences the film makers are doing casting that will appeal to both the worlds of cinema. Whether it is Oscar winner RRR or now Sriram Raghavan casting Vijay Sethupati in Merry Christmas with Katrina Kaif is certainly going to help both the industry. Now that’s just the operation part but we notice that the south is making that attempt of bridging the divide that was there in the earlier days. Now south stars have Pan India appeal but a few decades back actors like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Nagarjuna were not easily accepted. Today, satellite and dubbed films of south are being lapped in the north and the south’s overall business has grown by 20%. Perhaps Bahubali, KGF triggered this trend. Karan Johar was the distributor of Bahubali 1. One may not hear so much from Bollywood honchos but south actors have been vocal about calling it as one big industry. While talking to media Telugu star Nani said “Pathaan hamara hai aur Dasara (his film) aapka hai.” But all this conversation of one film industry started with KGF 2 when Yash fondly called Rocking Star said that we should stop talking about various industries and consider cinema in totality.  And celebration of the victory of RRR in the international world and by the whole country means we are now one.

Environmental Issues Dog Adani’s Navi Mumbai International Airport

Environmental issues continue to dog the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport being built by Adani Airports. As the project secures extension of Environmental Clearance to allow Adani to complete the project, green groups are up in arms against what they called misleading Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted by the company. The EIA quotes exhaustively the research report by the BNHS which called for protecting and conserving at least five major wetlands as migratory bird destinations. The State-government owned city planner CIDCO would take steps to implement these suggestions. Moreover, the controversial golf course planned by CIDCO filling two wetlands – NRI and TS Chanakya – was cancelled, the EIA said. But the ground reality is totally contradictory as the wetlands continue to be under attack, green groups Save Navi Mumbai Environment and NatConnect Foundation have complained to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Control. One wetland at Bhendkhal, has been completely buried, another one at Belpada majorly landfilled and a third – Panje – often goes dry as the intertidal water flow to it is blocked by “vested interests”, the greens said. The golf course plan is still alive as the project proponent has recently obtained Coastal Regulation Zone clearance. The tragic part is that CIDCO refuses to accept the existence of the wetlands identified by BNHS as well as the State Mangrove Cell, Nandakumar Pawar of NGO Sagar Shakti said.

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.

Patnaik’s Governance Style Of Empowering Bureaucrats Draws Flak From Ministers, Opposition Leaders

It is no secret that Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has successfully run the state with a clutch of hand-picked trusted bureaucrats. These bureaucrats are so well entrenched that senior ministers take instructions regarding line of action or policy decisions from them. That’s Naveen babu’s style of empowerment. The continuance of bureaucratic top down decision-making has come with a price, a few days ago thereby forging unity amongst Opposition parties. The issue pertains to Odisha Housing Minister Usha Devi who was clueless about immediate cabinet decisions pertaining to her own department where she said she will check with the Principal Secretary while addressing the Media. The minister’s self-confession brought in a barrage of criticism over Patnaik’s style of running Odisha wherein the Cabinet Ministers are clueless about their own ministries. BJP Leader of Opposition Jaynarayan Mishra said “It is pathetic to see senior ministers standing in front of bureaucrats with folded hands for a darshan only to be heard.” BJD says, here lies Naveen’s unique brand of managing politics converging the think tank mind of bureaucrats and the party leaders working together assuring Odisha’s growth and development. The government and the bureaucrats complement each other where the CM’s work performance speaks for itself.

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.
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Now New Challenge For Congress: To Fight 2024 Polls Without Rahul Gandhi

In a surprise move, the Narendra Modi Government decided to go by the law and disqualified Rahul Gandhi following his conviction by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Surat in a criminal defamation case on March 23 for his remark on the “Modi surname” while addressing an election rally in Karnataka in 2019. The Wayanad MP will be the second member after Lakshadweep Lok Sabha member PP Mohammed Faizal, who was disqualified within two days after his conviction in an attempt-to-murder case on January 11. Interestingly, Faisal’s disqualification by the Speaker was not revoked even after he appealed to the Kerala HC for a stay on his conviction and sentence, which the HC suspended on January 25. Official sources said the government felt encouraged to move against Rahul after several legal experts including Kapil Sibal pointed out that he stands automatically disqualified as an MP and getting only the jail sentence suspended was not enough. Rahul could have continued as an MP only if his conviction was stayed. That’s why eyebrows were raised about his visit to Lok Sabha a day after his conviction. In being convicted by a court, Rahul joins his grandmother Indira Gandhi who was convicted of election fraud in 1975. While Rahul’s legal team is confident of overturning the Surat court’s verdict in higher courts, party circles have begun to think of facing 2024 polls without Rahul. But then is Priyanka Vadra ready to helm the party at this crucial juncture?

Aurangabad Renaming Opposed By Over A Lakh, Supporters Just 1300

While the Supreme Court has dismissed a petition over the renaming of Aurangabad saying it would be heard in the high court in Mumbai next week, over a lakh objections have been filed against the change though the number of supporting applications is less than 1300. The last date for filing objections or supporting applications in the Divisional Commissioner office is March 27. On March 23 alone, over 46000 objections were filed to oppose the rechristening. So far, around 115,000 applications against the renaming have been received. The total number of supporters was less than 1300 till last evening. Despite spirited speeches and demonstrations by the pro-renaming groups, those in favour of changing the name to Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar are much less as compared to the opponents. Some supporters have announced that 30,000 postcards to support the renaming will be sent to the authorities. A similar scenario is seen about the renaming of Osmanabad to Dharashiv. About 20,000 objections have been received but the number of supporting applications could not be ascertained. It is believed to be just a couple of hundred. The renaming issue is becoming political and the final court verdict will determine the direction in which it will be exploited by either side. The state government had attempted to rename Aurangabad in 1996 but the court had issued an order to maintain the status quo.

Are Karnataka Cong Leaders Giving Party President Kharge Sleepless Nights?

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge is a very worried man these days. He feels he doesn’t enjoy the heft of being party president even after his election was duly ratified at the AICC Plenary Session in Raipur in February this year. He is at the receiving end mainly from those who belong to his home state Karnataka. They give him a short shrift most of the time as they keep him waiting even after fixing appointments. Partymen from his home state who seek time to meet him in Delhi do not show up at the appointed hour and it is left to Kharge’s office to find out why they have not turned up. Another major worry for the new party chief is that he is not able to get his way even in reshuffling the AICC. Party sources said he has not been able to get either his favourites like R S Surjewala as general secretary (organisation) or give more responsibilities to Pawan Khera. He finds he is getting stymied by the elephant in the room — Rahul Gandhi — who is not allowing him to move out a K C Venugopal or a high profile Jairam Ramesh.
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Alarm Bells Of Sorts For India As ICC World Cup Looms Large

The ICC World Cup is only a little over six months away and the first alarm bells have been heard by India after Australia trounced the Rohit Sharma led home team 2-1 in the three match series. This was Australia’s sixth ODI series win in India’s backyard since 1984 when Kim Hughes led Australia beat India 3-0, with two matches ending in a no result show. It was also India’s first ODI series defeat in India in 48 months. A nervous top and middle order came a cropper to left arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc in Mumbai and Visakhapatnam, but the Hardik Pandya led side rallied to put it across the visitor in Mumbai. Pandya’s stock appears to have gone up after his bowling and batting display at Chennai’s Chepauk. Dropped from the Test team for the last two matches of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, KL Rahul topped the batting average with 116 runs in three matches, but others did not reach the three figure aggregate. Apart from its powerlessness to deal with Starc, India’s new ball operators could not stop Mitchell Marsh’s “go after the bowling” approach and his 194 runs. It’s going to be a long drawn out World Cup in the October heat and a bit of cooler weather in November, but it looks as though India would like to look at itself as the underdog, not the favourite!

Is Politics Straining Personal Relationships Of Leaders In Maharashtra?

The uncertainty in Maharashtra is straining personal relations among political relationships. Every cursory visit or comment is viewed with suspicion and tends to create much speculation about the future political direction of every political leader. Visits by chief minister Eknath Shinde to the deputy chairperson of legislative council Neelam Gorhe raised eyebrows forcing her to clarify her position stating that “Even earlier chief ministers would visit and confer with the presiding officers of the legislative council or assembly for official purposes. Be it our earlier chief ministers Uddhav Thackeray or Devendra Fadnavis who would confer with the then speaker Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar. Our earlier speaker Shivajirao Deshmukh also received chief ministers regularly over official matters. These are routine procedures and should not be viewed beyond that.” Gorhe has her loyalties with the Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena, whose 16 legislators are being wooed by the Eknath Shinde-led Sena that enjoys the support of over 40 legislators. Though Maharashtra has a history of political leaders maintaining civil relations beyond party lines, this political culture of civility is now clearly under strain in the new political atmosphere. Former chief ministers Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Devendra Fadnavis’ warm greeting when they happened to enter the assembly together by chance, also created much flutter.
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Will Surat Court’s Two-Year Jail Term Order Work In Rahul Gandhi’s Favour?

The Congress party launched a nationwide campaign over a Surat court order that sentenced Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail in a criminal defamation case for his remark on the “Modi surname” while addressing a poll rally in 2019 in Karnataka. Based on a complaint filed by Gujarat MLA Purnesh Modi, Congress leaders have begun to privately admit that the latest legal development could prove to be a blessing. Many party leaders feel the Surat order could at least help Rahul Gandhi win sympathy among people if he fails to secure any relief in the higher court. Party veterans feel the Surat case could help in boosting the Wayanad MP’s image. For a change he may appear like a victim and probably help his sagging career take off. “Just as Marxist veteran Jyoti Babu had helped in building up Mamata Banerjee by targeting her. Or for that matter the Congress had helped in building Narendra Modi’s image by attacking him, I guess PM Modi is also helping Rahulji via this Surat order,” said a Congress veteran from Bengal.  Apparently, BJP leaders are not happy with the latest legal twist. Aware that the Surat order could give the Congress leader an advantage, the BJP has mobilised support of the OBC “Teli” community against Rahul’s remark.


Didi Moots Regional Party Front Sans Cong To Fight BJP In 2024

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken the lead to create a new Regional Party front sans Congress to give a tough fight to BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Taking a cue from her previous slogan of “Khela Hobe” (There Will Be A Game), Didi has sounded 2024 poll bugle with her new slogan “Abar khela hobey (We Will Play Again). Recently, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav came calling to Kolkata and has expressed his party’s whole-hearted support to whatever Didi does for a BJP-mukt India. Taking the regional pact a step forward, Mamata visited Odisha to meet her counterpart Naveen Patnaik. She will host former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy at her residence.  It is learnt that the TMC supremo will be staging a sit-in dharna near Ambedkar Murti in Kolkata from March 29 till the night of March 30. This is against the pending dues of the state and excesses by the central agencies. According to political observers, instead of calling for a Third Front, Mamata has floated the idea of Regional Front as there are around 200-250 Lok Sabha seats where powerful regional parties are in direct contest with the BJP. TMC insiders say that Mamata is critical about Congress stating that “PM Modi cannot be dislodged if Rahul remains the leader of the Opposition because Rahul is Modi’s biggest TRP and the saffron camp uses the Congress scion for their own good”.

Who Stole My Jewellery Asks Aishwarya Rajinikanth?

This filmi family is constantly in the news by design or by accident. Last month, Tamil star Dhanush was in the news for his newly built Rs 150 crore home in Poes Garden, close to his father-in-law Rajinikanth’s oft vaunted residence. The latest news is about Dhanush’s estranged wife, the feisty Aishwarya who lodged a complaint at the Teynampet police station in February about valuables –jewels, silver utensils, gem stones — missing from the locker. Apparently, it was discovered by her, four years after her sister Saundarya’s wedding when the jewels were worn. In her complaint Aishwarya mentioned that the valuables had moved lockers and locations three times as she had moved from their family home to her current apartment and frequent visits to parent’s home.  Naturally, suspicion for the theft pointed towards house maid Eashwari and driver Venkatesh. Both have been grilled by police, in the course of which some suspicious real estate deals and jewellery pledging trails have been unearthed. Reportedly, her maid has bought a plot worth Rs 95 lakhs at Sholinganallur with a bank loan. The police are investigating the money trail.  Meanwhile, Aishwarya is busy producing-directing Lal Salaam in which Daddy dear is doing a cameo, rumoured to be fast emerging as more substantial.
taparia tools

Taparia Tools: Highest Dividend-Yield Stock Quoting Dirt-Cheap On BSE!

Generally Rs 10 paid-up stock that carries a dividend of 1725% (Rs 172.50 per share) would have commanded a price of not less than Rs 2000. Taparia Tools, which earned more than Rs 200 per share from its operations and distributed Rs 172.50 as dividend for fiscal 2022, was quoted on March 20, 2023 at just Rs 10.50. At this price the dividend yield works out to 1643%! The company has now proposed a first interim dividend of 775% as against 700% first interim last year which indicates that in all probability current year’s yield may shoot up beyond 1700%! The Nasik-based Taparia Tools Ltd has been manufacturing hand tools in technical collaboration with a Swedish company since 1969.  Its financials have been very impressive with topline growing from Rs 475 cr in FY20 to Rs 670 cr in FY22. In FY23 it is expected to touch Rs 750 cr. Likewise net profit more than doubled from Rs 30 cr to Rs 65 cr during the same period and expected to exceed Rs 75 cr in FY23. Why is the stock quoting so low? It has a small equity base of Rs 3.04 cr with promoters holding 69.73%, directors & relatives 13.72%, two corporate bodies 10.56% and 229 shareholders 3.84%. In the last 21 years, TTL was traded only on 39 days. In the first three months of 2023, the stock has been traded for 5 days. By arrangement with
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After Collapse Of The U.S. Bank, ‘Hungamma’ On Adani Makes No Sense Admits A Section In Cong

Even as the Congress MPs are stalling the Parliament and pushing for a JPC into Hindenburg report on Adani companies, the Congress leadership itself is quite divided on the issue as it doesn’t seem to strike a chord with the general public. In fact, a section of leaders close to Rahul Gandhi is coming around to the view that only those in the stock market may be interested in the Adani issue and the rest of the public may not be concerned with stock price manipulations. It is also felt that after a series of developments following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the U.S., the Congress could be simply flogging a dead horse in India. Party sources  also point out that Rahul’s London trip was a big hit as huge crowds had turned up to hear him because of Bharat Jodo Yatra. Everyone wanted to watch and hear the new Gandhi.  At the same time what has foxed Congressmen, how did the government come to know of what exactly Rahul had spoken at Cambridge? Wasn’t it supposed to be in-camera? Congress leaders close to Rahul were flummoxed that the BJP was making such an issue of Rahul’s speech in the UK. Looks like TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee was perhaps right when she said the BJP was keen on making Rahul Gandhi a hero for PM Modi’s “TRP”. 
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Maharashtra Government Stands By Adani Group Over Dharavi Redevelopment Project

The embattled Adani Group has been provided with much-needed relief by the Maharashtra government, which has strongly defended its decision to entrust the Dharavi redevelopment project to the giant. Disregarding a demand to drive the conglomerate away in view of the clouds hovering over it due to the Hindenburg disclosures, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis made this clear in the state assembly. Dharavi’s Congress MLA and former minister Varsha Gaikwad had demanded that the project should be handed over to some other reputed firm by taking it away from Adani. Maintaining that the group had won the bid in open competition, Fadnavis said unless Adani Group fulfilled all the legal and financial formalities, the government would not issue it with a letter of intent (LoI). If financial institutions were satisfied with Adani’s status, they would extend the funding. In such a situation, there was no reason for the government to intervene. Former finance minister Jayant Patil reminded the government that Adani had recently withdrawn from a huge power project buyout in Central India and asked what was the timeline for completion of the project?. It will be completed within seven years, Fadnavis assured him.  The project was originally conceived nearly three decades ago. Redeveloped Dharavi will absorb the overflow into the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and add billions to the government’s coffer.
Mamata Tmc Meet

Bypoll Jolt Sees Didi Rejig TMC’s Minority Cell, And Fall Back On Old Guards

The Sagardighi bypoll results which went in Congress favour seems to have jolted the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. To keep anti-incumbency at bay during the General Elections in 2024, Didi quickly called for a meeting of senior party leaders and categorically told them that TMC lost Sagardighi seat not because of minority vote bank shift but because of the party’s “internal weakness”.  To keep the minority vote bank intact, Mamata has rejigged the party’s minority cell by appointing youth leader and MLA Mosaraf Hossain as the new president. The incumbent president MLA Haji Nurul Islam has been elevated as chairman. It may be recalled that Didi had formed a five-member committee headed by Bengali-speaking muslim leader and ex-president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind within the TMC and a legislator Siddiqullah Chowdhury to prepare a report on the bypoll loss. Now, Chowdhury has been given the responsibility of three minority-dominated districts — Malda, Murshidabad and South Dinajpur. Interestingly, Didi’s close aide and state cabinet minister Firhad Hakim, who is an Urdu-speaking muslim, seems to have been sidelined by taking away his responsibility for the districts of Murshidabad, Howrah and Hooghly. For the panchayat election TMC has aligned with Jamiat, a grassroot organization. Many senior leaders and state cabinet ministers have been given additional responsibilities thus bringing back Mamata’s old guard rule replacing her nephew and second in command of the party Abhishek’s youth policy.
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Have Rahul Gandhi's Utterances Become A Liability For The Congress?

In this election season, has Rahul Gandhi’s utterances during the UK tour become a liability for the Congress? Well, the speeches delivered by him at a number of events in London have been a flashpoint between the BJP and the Congress and have led to the stalling of the Parliament for the 7th day in a row during the Budget Session. Rahul may have asserted that criticizing PM Modi or his government is not an “attack on India”, but party sources admit that his Cambridge speech where he spoke about “democracy in India” is under attack has not been liked by people at large. In fact, Congress leaders say at a time when the party is in a good position to win the Karnataka assembly elections, Rahul should not be “visible” during the election campaign. “The more Rahul Gandhi campaigns, Congress will stand to lose,” points out a party strategist. There was poor public response to his first rally in Belagavi on March 20 where he announced a series of sops such as Rs 3,000 to every unemployed graduate every month for two years as is done in Chhattisgarh. In contrast to the kind of reception PM Modi recently received in Belagavi, the crowds were simply not enthusiastic about Rahul.  Besides, many in the Congress felt the Chhattisgarh model of unemployment dole cannot hold well in a progressive state like Karnataka where more educated jobless youths will be found.


Vulnerable Backs Of Bumrah And Iyer Push India Back To The Wall!

The back ailment to fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and middle order bat Shreyas Iyer has affected India’s groundwork for the ICC World Test Championship final to be played at The Oval, London from June 7 to 11. Bumrah has played nine Tests in England and has taken 37 wickets at 26.27, but a surgery in New Zealand to alleviate his nagging back has virtually ruled him out of action for an unspecified period of time. He has not played a Test match and ODI for India since last July and a T20 since last September. Bumrah will not be seen in action in the IPL-16. India is now accustomed to going into a match without Bumrah and everyone is keeping his fingers crossed of his availability for the ICC World Cup in India this October- November. Without him, India’s pace department will only be at half its strength. Iyer’s back problem is much more than a niggle; India’s captain Rohit Sharma pitied Iyer’s plight after the Ahmedabad Test, saying: “Poor guy. It just was such an unfortunate incident.” Iyer had established himself as a key batsman in the middle order and it looked as though he would be in rehab for a long period of time. Insiders say Mumbai’s Sarfaraz Khan will finally make the India squad for the WTC final and for the series in the West Indies.

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.

Udayshivakumar Infra: Promoter’s 24-Year Old Daughter Gets Rs 6 Crore Salary Package

There is nothing wrong with newcomers and start-ups tapping the capital market. Take the case of the Davangere-based Udayshivakumar Infra Ltd which has filed a Red Herring Prospectus. It has evolved from a proprietorship firm in August 2002 to a public limited company in September 2022. But, according to the official website of the company (, Udayshivakumar Infra Ltd was incorporated in the year 1995! The prospectus says Udayshivakumar was appointed as the MD of the company for a period of five years with effect from January 1, 2020 but did not draw any remuneration for the fiscals 2021 and 2022. Pursuant to a resolution passed by the board of directors and approved by the shareholders at the AGM held on September 19, 2022, the new terms of remuneration for the MD would certainly raise many eyebrows. The company, whose average annual employee cost was around Rs 3.5 cr during the last three fiscals, has proposed a basic salary of up to Rs 50 lakh per month (Rs 6 cr per annum) with an annual increment of Rs 10 lakh for its promoter-MD besides other perks. But, what’s more baffling is that his 24-year-old daughter Manjushree with experience of just two years as manager with the company, has been promoted as executive director and offered the same level of remuneration as her 53-year old father. Clearly it raises the question of corporate governance. By arrangement with

Why Did Superstar Rajini Visit Thackeray’s Home

The buzz around why Superstar Rajinikanth called on the Thackeray family at Matoshree is as audible as crickets chirping in a forest as night falls. It is well-known that intense activity, public profiling, media mentions, are all activated before a Rajini film release, and the legion of crazy (though now disillusioned ) fans lap up every bit and byte. Yes, his upcoming film Jailor’s publicity machine is on overdrive currently with news of mega stars joining the Jailor bandwagon. After all, the focus is that Jailor should overtake Kamal’s Vikram’s box office success, and so every appearance helps. Even a hint that yet another go at politics could set off clanging fan bells. So is Rajini’s alter Shivaji Rao Gaekwad creating more impact by calling on a bruised Uddhav? How easily this could be interpreted as a Marathi Manoos assuring Thackeray of his support! Did Uddhav take the lead? In politics, resurrections and relevance come in many packages. Uddhav needs a big jolt of support. So was the meeting for mutual advantage? Tamil Nadu whispers point to another direction. Rajini, the superstar, is a canny businessman, practical and political. It is well known that much of his huge net worth is invested in Karnataka and Maharashtra real estate and a token invested in TN.  Is he buying insurance to protect his properties because of the sudden clash between Kannadigas and Maharashtrians over the age-old border issue?

Weak Maharashtra Opposition Fails To Put BJP On The Mat For Bookie Daughter Scandal

The recent scandal linking a designer-bookie’s daughter Aniksha Jaisinghani with Amruta Fadnavis, wife of Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, was viewed as an opportunity lost by the Opposition party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA). Leaders of MVA regret that they have been unable to put the ruling dispensation on the mat or demand their resignations. “Had the BJP got such a chance, they would have raised a ruckus enough to get the entire government to resign on this. Our ministers have had to put in their papers for much smaller errors. Vilasrao Deshmukh lost his chief ministership over film director Ram Gopal Varma’s visit to Hotel Taj post the 26/11 attack, while Union minister Shivraj Patil was made to resign for changing his clothes multiple times during serial blasts in Delhi,” said a former MVA minister. Referring to a stricture passed by the High Court against chief minister Eknath Shinde for reversing his deputy cooperatives minister’s decision, Opposition leader Ajit Pawar had said such HC strictures would have been enough reason for a minister to resign earlier, but not anymore. Not surprisingly, the ruling Fadnavis-Shinde government ministers seem quite lackadaisical skipping legislative discussions over catching up at the lobby instead. The Opposition had to tell the CM to instruct his ministers to attend the house so that they could hear Opposition leaders’ various demands including that of holding civic polls in the state immediately.


Mumbai Cricket Fans Deserve Pat On The Back

The Mumbai cricket fan deserves a pat on his back for thronging the Wankhede Stadium at Churchgate for the India-Australia one day international on Friday (Mar 17). The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) must be thrilled seeing a near full house, all having a gala time for seven hours; the mischief mongers tried to spoil MCA’s party by posting fake pictures of shabby seats at a popular stand. The MCA Secretary Ajinkya Naik said officials visited the stand and found everything spic and span. The spectators got their money’s worth too, seeing the ebb and flow of fortunes before KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja got involved in a rescue act initially, steering their team out of troubled waters and then finally giving the finishing touch in the 40th over. But there was so much excitement packed after India chose to bowl winning the toss, all started by the bang-bang going Mitchell Marsh. Then Shane Warne’s ‘Rockstar’ Jadeja rose to the occasion with the white Kookaburra. The match appeared to have swung in Australia’s favour when classy left arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc removed three in his opening burst before Rahul and Jadeja responded with barndoor defence and attractive stroke play. The spectators could not have had a better fill. Looks like the MCA went out of the way to roll out a super pitch that afforded the batters and bowlers a chance to shine.
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Bribery Trap: Fadnavis Disclosure Could Affect Many Politicians And Top Cops In Maharashtra

A tacit message by Maharashtra Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that he has in his possession the names of some top politicians and police officials in connection with an attempt to implicate his wife Amruta in a bribery trap has cast a pallor of apprehension since many heavyweights would face trouble, if his threat becomes a reality. The disclosure by Amruta that a designer, Aniksha, had tried to offer her a bribe of a crore of rupees in return for protecting her father Anil Jaisinghani who is a bookie, shook the political circles in the state. Immediately, guesswork began about the different angles of the serious matter. Fadnavis himself explained later that there was truth in the complaint and many prominent names could tumble out during the investigation. Aniksha  has been arrested and sent to police custody till March 21. In the special court, Mumbai Police said that they have added charges of extortion against Aniksha, for demanding Rs 10 crore from Amruta. While most political leaders desisted from commenting upon the shocking development, Uddhav Thackeray’s follower Priyanka Chaturvedi, a Rajya Sabha member, was engaged in a Twitter war with Amruta. She wondered how Aniksha could obtain access to such an important household. In retaliation, Amruta has castigated Priyanka for doubting her honesty.
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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.

Will The Teacher Recruitment Scam Pull Trinamool Down In Panchayat Poll?

With the Enforcement Directorate telling the Calcutta High Court that the volume of the school recruitment scam in West Bengal may reach up to Rs 350 crore, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) has gone all guns out to find out those from the Opposition involved in the scam. Several TMC leaders including former second-in-command of the party Partha Chatterjee have been arrested in connection with the scam. TMC for the first time expelled two youth leaders who had been arrested by ED for their involvement in the scam. Earlier, it had suspended senior leader Partha Chatterjee and legislator Manik Bhattacharya, but did not expel them from the party.  TMC has alleged that Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari was directly involved and demanded his custodial investigation in the case. Recently, the court dismissed the appointment of over 800 candidates out of which 55 people were recommended by Adhikari, claimed TMC. The series of dismissals from the job of candidates have left Didi worried since the Panchayat Election is knocking at the door. She has even made a fervent appeal to the court to punish ‘culprits’ in the recruitment scam but reinstated “legally” those who are losing their jobs. Political observers believe in the light of the recruitment scam TMC may lose a few districts in the Panchayat Poll to be held in May. If that happens it will give an impetus to BJP in West Bengal.

In Midst Of Chaos, Rajya Sabha Chairman Dhankar Ensures A Lively Tribute To Oscar Winners

Must give it to Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar for bringing lighter moments to house proceedings while recording praise for Oscar winners. He even acknowledged that had he not become a lawyer he could have become an actor. He got the House to appreciate India’s mega double-win at the Oscars with MPs across the political spectrum praising the achievement. While Union Minister Piyush Goyal lauded the role of women in ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, LoP in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said “This award is given to Naatu Naatu and The Elephant Whisperers. Both mostly come from South India. It is a great pride for us.” His only worry was the Centre should not take “credit” for directing the film. His quip left the House in splits with senior ministers S Jaishankar and Piyush Goyal enjoying it. Goyal was quick to point out that V Vijayendra Prasad, “RRR” scriptwriter, was a President’s nominee to the House from July 2022. Danseuse Sonal Mansingh reminded about the genesis of the word “Naatu Naatu (Dance,Dance) and said it gets its roots from Nataraj. The entire world is singing to the tunes of the song. Secondly, the award won by the documentary, ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, we are devoted to Ganesha, he is Prathamesh and the elephant is extremely auspicious for us.”  The MPs may get to see the Oscar winning films as I&B minister Anurag Thakur assured the House to arrange for their screening.
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PM Modi's Speech In Karnataka Sets Agenda For Parliament

For the second consecutive day both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned soon after they met as the heated exchange between the BJP and Congress over Rahul Gandhi’s remarks. It was quite clear that the Parliament was following the agenda set by PM Narendra Modi who took on Rahul for his remarks on India. Speaking in Karnataka, Modi had warned people to be wary of those “who raise questions about Indian democracy”. At a London event Rahul said India’s institutions are under attack and a large chunk of Indian democracy has “come undone” and are not likely to end any time soon. The BJP has demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi. The Congress has trashed the ruling party’s allegations and said “those crushing democracy are talking of saving it”. The party also dubbed it as an attempt to divert attention from its demand of a JPC into the Hindenburg report on Adani. “A member of the House goes to foreign country and talks against the democracy of India. I am shocked that some parties are also backing him. I appeal to all parties to criticise how a senior MP tried to defame Parliament on foreign land,” said Rajya Sabha Leader Piyush Goyal. Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil has filed a breach of privilege notice against Goyal for criticising a Lok Sabha member “without truth and was intentionally going on with derogatory remarks”.

Rohit Sharma Deflects 'Sick Story' About Virat Kohli With Aplomb!

Rohit Sharma — as he would do to a wayward delivery around his pads — deflected a sensitive question related to Virat Kohli being sick while he scored his Test century No 28 at the Narendra Modi Stadium on March 12. Sharma said “It’s funny what people talk about on social media. For us, we don’t really respond or look into what’s happening (in social media). I don’t think he’s sick, he was just coughing a little bit. He’s not that bad health-wise.” He also went on to say that the splendid century Kohli scored (after more than three years) in Test match cricket did not in any way was like getting the monkey off his back. Kohli himself was thrilled to play a big part in India outsmarting Australia in the first inning of the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Sharma endorsed Kohli’s classy eight and a half dig saying: “He’s just enjoying his cricket at the moment. Obviously, he wants to put up big performances for the team which he has done in the past so many years. He just wants to do that every time he plays for India.” The question raised at the post match media interaction was a reference to Kohli’s wife Anushka Sharma’s social media post that stated: “Playing through sickness with his composure, inspiring me always.” All that can be said about the drawn Test is that Kohli gave a solid masterclass on slow and drab pitch.

Political Clash Likely In Maharashtra Over Bhushan Desai Joining Eknath Shinde

Former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s right hand Subhash Desai’s son Bhushan’s entry into the Shiv Sena is likely to create a political clash between the two parties running the Maharashtra government. The BJP’s Goregaon unit leader Sandeep Jadhav has strongly objected to the development. In his letter to CM Eknath Shinde, he says, “Bhushan is afraid of getting implicated in some economic transaction and hence has joined the Sena to protect himself. Entry to such a tainted person can adversely affect the BJP’s alliance with the Sena.”  Desai’s political career of over four decades shaped in Goregaon, is now the BJP’s stronghold. Although Desai has politically disowned his son, the local BJP’s anger against Bhushan can’t be overlooked by the party, it is felt. As Shinde himself welcomed Bhushan into the Sena fold on Sunday (Mar 12), all eyes are now on deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who will have to douse the sparks which threaten to erupt any moment in an inferno. Uddhav’s spokesman Sanjay Raut recalled that industry minister Uday Samant, earlier with Uddhav, had levelled serious allegations against Bhushan in the past. “The CM has cleansed him through his washing machine,” said Raut. Explaining his decision, Bhushan has said that he decided to support Shinde who was following the path laid down by Balasaheb Thackeray.

Ajit Pawar Alleges Shinde-Fadnavis Govt Using Fund Allocations To Arm Twist MLAs Supporting Uddhav Thackeray

Opposition leader Ajit Pawar has hinted that Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde misused the state financial allocations to pressurise legislators from the Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena to quit their party. Pointing out that only 52% of last 2022-23 budgetary allocations had been utilised, Pawar stated that soon after assuming power, the Shinde government had stalled funding for developmental works in constituencies of the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi legislators. While a few legislators from the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress did manage to get their way subsequently after meeting up with Shinde, those supporting the Uddhav Thackeray faction, had it really bad. Pawar alleged that the Uddhav’s MLAs were told that disbursal of funds for their projects was simply subject to their decision (to shift their allegiance). Pawar also pointed out that the state had failed to utilise 67% of the Rs 13,290 crore allocated by his government district development works. Pawar, who had presented over 9 budgets in the state, termed the 2023-24 Devendra Fadnavis’ maiden budget as finance minister as an election-oriented one lacking vision and peppered with unrealistic promises.

How Kangana Ranaut Has Seamlessly Integrated Her Reel And Real Life

Bollywood queen Kangana Ranaut has the art of staying in the news. Recently when the Khalistan movement played up in Punjab she took to social media to say she had predicted this problem two years ago. A hardcore Modi supporter, she has been nursing political ambitions and reportedly made it known that she was not averse to standing for elections from her home state, Himachal Pradesh. Her outspokenness cost the 35-year old actor dearly when the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government headed by Uddhav Thackeray gave orders to demolish her house. Even her reel life role has been reflecting her political ambition, the kind of role she cherry picks or produces. She has played the role of modern leaders like Indira Gandhi and Jayalalithaa. Besides, she has also donned the role of legendary and religious characters in movies like Manikarnika 2, Sita: The Incarnation. Kangana is now busy shooting for Chandramukhi 2, a sequel to Rajnikanth’s horror comedy directed by P Vasu. Of late, she is more focused towards the south film industry. In Bollywood where she is known for not mincing words, she gets along with people who are right-winger like Anupam Kher; but one was surprised to see her making fun of Selfiee which had Akshay Kumar. And another surprising factor was her support for Nawazuddin Siddiqui and it may be because she is working with him. After fighting courting too many battles including a defamation suit filed by Javed Akhtar, Kangana, according to industrywallahs is now careful and measured in her talks and social media message. Is it?

How Has The Promoter Of Styrenix Become A `Public’ Investor?

The Vadodara-based Styrenix Performance Materials Ltd is a strange company in many ways. In the last three decades, the company has changed its name as many as seven times. Its original promoter sold the company on the eve of its Silver Jubilee and bought it back on the eve of its Golden Jubilee. Surprisingly, MNC INEOS Styrolution sold its stake to the Indian promoter at a time when the company had achieved its best performance. What’s more, the MNC sold its stake at less than one-third of the peak price. Just before the MNC sold its stake, the company, for the first time, came out with bumper special and interim dividends aggregating to Rs 297 per share which benefited the MNC to the tune of Rs 253 cr. The acquirer, whose net worth was less than Rs 60 cr, committed to buy the MNC’s stake for a consideration of more than Rs 600 cr.  The transaction between the MNC and the Indian promoter triggered a mandatory tender offer to the non-promoter shareholders. The quarterly disclosure filed by Styrenix on January 18, 2023 presented SPML’s holding of 62.73% as promoter’s stake. But on February 9, 2023, the company made a revised filing which lists SPML’s stake under the `Public’ category! How has the promoter become a `public’ investor? The company is yet to reply to the e-mail sent in this regard. By arrangement with
Cong opposition

Why Congress Is In No Hurry To Play Opposition Unity Number

Ever wondered why the Congress stayed out of the Opposition’s open letter written on March 5 to PM Narendra Modi, alleging “blatant misuse of central agencies”, citing the CBI arrest of Delhi’s former deputy CM Manish Sisodia? The missive, believed to be the brainchild of Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao was signed by AAP supremo Kejriwal, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) head Uddhav Thackeray. While the Congress itself was sending out mixed signals on action against Sisodia, Delhi Congress leaders are happy that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge took a firm stand against AAP. Congress leaders feel now is the time to put AAP in its place and regain lost ground in the national capital. Besides, the letter made no reference to the National Herald case which had badly hit the Congress. Interestingly, most signatories seemed like affected parties — that is either they had been investigated or their kin have been under ED/CBI scanner. Congress sources said the party was in somewhat august company as JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar too did not sign. As for the Left parties, Kejriwal flaunted a letter from Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan expressing concern for Sisodia.

In Spite Of Bail, Political Options For "Corrupt" Karnataka BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa Run Out

BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa, whose son V Prashanth Madal was arrested by the Lokayukta police for taking a bribe of Rs 40 lakh, may have secured conditional anticipatory bail from the Karnataka High Court. But, his political future remains under a cloud, notwithstanding his proximity to veteran BJP leader B S Yediyurappa. It was his mentor who urged him to surrender to law. It is more likely that the BJP may not retain him. Party sources say, even before Rs 8 crore cash were recovered by Lokayukta police from his son last week, Virupakshappa had made it known that he would not contest this year’s assembly election. The high court has asked the MLA to surrender before the Investigation Officer within 48 hours after receipt of the anticipatory order. The judge also told him not to tamper with evidence and not to enter the office of Karnataka Soaps and Detergent Ltd Virupakshappa, an MLA from Channagiri in the Davanagere district, was booked in a bribery case in which his son was caught red-handed while receiving a bribe of Rs 40 lakh. Lokayukta then registered an FIR in the bribery case and named Virupakshappa as the number one accused.


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.