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Adhir Ranjan chowdhury_003

Self-Goal By Didi, Cong Leader Adhir Ranjan May Join BJP?

After Mamata Banerjee dealt a body blow  to West Bengal PCC chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury by getting  him defeated in Berhampore Lok Sabha by fielding  cricketer Yusuf Pathan from Gujarat,  a whole lot of possibilities seems to have opened up for  the Congressman. Adhir is quite upset with the Congress leadership that did not pitch in any help during Bengal polls. In fact, post-defeat, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge called him up and urged him not to vacate his Lutyens’s bungalow and promised to find something for him. To media queries about his switch to the BJP, Adhir has neither confirmed nor denied it.  Yes, Modi-Shah are thinking of fielding Adhir as a Rajya Sabha candidate from Tripura in place of former CM Biplab Deb who has got elected to the Lok Sabha. The buzz is Adhir could be eventually inducted as a central minister and deployed to work in Bengal. Under Suvendu Adhikari’s leadership, the BJP in Bengal has been struggling. Apart from traditional leaders such as Dilip Ghosh who can take on Mamata, there are only a handful of leaders in the BJP who can take on the Trinamool. Of course, if Adhir joins the BJP he could prove to be a major irritant for Mamata. That means, for the TMC leader, getting Adhir defeated in Lok Sabha may not have been a wise move at all.
Naveen Patnaik_011

Not A Quitter, Former Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Gears Up For A New Role

With the BJP government firmly in place in Odisha, the key question in everybody’s mind: “Is it the end of Biju Janata Dal”?  “Not really…the political drama has just begun,” says a clued-in political analyst from Utkal University. Yes, BJD’s supremo Naveen Patnaik is not giving up the fight. Patnaik is aiming to be a formidable opposition force to BJP. He wants to stay relevant and aims to bounce back at the right time. Immediate plan of action is to keep the party united, regroup rank and file and prepare strategies for the future. Observers say, this makes sense as Naveen is still loved by four-crore plus Odias. He is likely to take over as leader of opposition in the Odisha Assembly. Rumours are BJD MLA Prasanna Acharya is now batting to be Naveen’s deputy in the Assembly. Naveen babu’s future success will depend on four factors, one, what “mantra ” he has which will enable him to keep his numbers intact, two, having ears to the ground addressing rank and file concerns, three, quickly creating second rung leaders and four grooming a successor. After being in power for over two decades, Naveen babu for the first time is an opposition leader. So how he converts this into a political opportunity will have to be seen. Right now he is playing cards close to his chest.
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BJP’s Shadow Play? Sasikala Back In The News, Determined To Control AIADMK

During the late J Jayalalithaa’s governance, Chennai’s Poes Garden was literally the epicentre of power. Nothing moved unless the diktat came from the iconic residence of the late CM, ably assisted by her confidante VK Sasikala Natarajan, a power centre in her own right. Sasikala, in near oblivion after her jail term has again surfaced and hit the headlines. She held a press meet at her imposing residence just across JJ’s home. Without much preamble, the lady announced “I have decided to get back my place and my party in electoral politics”. MGR and Jayalalithaa gave everything to build the AIADMK as the country’s third largest political party. But it has been sadly led into the worst setback by people with no vision, only greed and selfishness. She further added that she watched this debacle silently, and patiently like how “MGR taught me”. Both my leaders never used caste as the cornerstone…I too profess no caste. Making Edappadi CM when she was sent to jail was the beginning of the party’s downfall. She is determined to “free TN from the monstrous clutches of the DMK, unite AIADMK and bring back the glory. The rumbles and muttered exchanges are now growing louder. As also speculation was the message from the BJP high command to Sasikala to use her special talent to bring the broken bits together? For BJP her rise will be akin to killing two birds with a stone —EPS and DMK.
Priyanka gandhi_010

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: Will She Focus On The Party Or The Parliament?

When Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was announced Lok Sabha candidate from Wayanad in Kerala by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, replacing her brother Rahul there was a lot of speculation about the timing of the announcement. Why did the Congress pick a festival day for the Muslims — Bakri Eid — to make the announcement? Is it because Muslims constitute the majority of the voters in Wayanad? Party sources also confirmed that the Indian Union Muslim League was consulted about Priyanka entering the fray. Though Priyanka has worked in both Amethi and Rae Bareli since 1999, for some reason her brother Rahul was reluctant to let her enter the fray. In fact many Priyanka loyalists in the party were disappointed that she did not get an opportunity to contest from Uttar Pradesh. For some reason Rahul did not want to pit Priyanka against Smriti Irani in Amethi, though later he bragged that his sister could have easily defeated PM Modi in Varanasi.  It is being said because Rahul Gandhi wanted to take the credit of bringing down Modi’s numbers in UP. He was aware that he could do it only because of the unstinted support of the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav and the web of lies spread by the Congress. Congress sources insist that Priyanka would focus on the organisation and leave Parliament leadership to her brother. Of course, if she were to take an active role in the Lok Sabha, PM Modi and his team may find it hard to counter her. The BJP insisted that Priyanka should have been fielded from Rae Bareli if the Congress had to prove its resurgence, “instead of running away like a coward” tweeted BJP spokesperson Amit Malviya.
Arshdeep hardik

Photo : BCCI

Can Hardik Pandya And Arshdeep Singh Deliver In The Super 8 Stage?

  The real test for Hardik Pandya and Arshdeep Singh will come in the coming days in the Super 8 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, with all 12 matches to be played in the Caribbean Islands, but in the preliminary stage, these two have turned out to be top-notch performers with the ball. While Jasprit Bumrah took centre stage with incisive spells against Pakistan and the men in blue’s opening campaign against the USA, Pandya and Arshdeep did their business in a smart manner. The `drop-in surface’ at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium – that was transported from Adelaide was said to be dubious. Whatever, Pandya and Arshdeep had a ball. They vindicated the national selection committee and team management’s emphatic call to back them for the global competition seen as no less than the 50-over format played in India last year. Pandya and Arshdeep were picked because they had solid performances for the men in blue, and calls to pick a handful of successful bowlers in the Tata-IPL-17 were dismissed by people with a significant say in selection matters.  Pandya leads the bowling honours for India with seven scalps in three matches at 9.29, with a strike rate of 10.29, and the Sardar from Punjab has seven wickets at 10.71, with a strike rate of 10.29. Pandya missed the previous event in Australia in 2022 and was pilloried for not bowling much in the same event in Dubai in 2021. Pandya has 80 wickets for India in the format – third behind Yuzvendra Chahal (96) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (90), and Arshdeep has 69 wickets, sixth overall and behind Bumrah (79) and Ravichandran Ashwin (72).
Jaishankar bedi

Jaishankar Grieves For Journo In Between G-7 Meet

Everyone in Delhi media has been talking about EAM Dr S Jaishankar, particularly the way he grieved for the passing away of his batch mate,  Harpal Singh Bedi from JNU even as he was away on  G-7 summit in Apulia, Italy. Not only did he tweet the photo of their varsity days — describing them as the first batch of JNU students for International Studies — but the minister also made it a point to attend his friend’s funeral in Delhi the same day as soon as he returned from the summit. Many hailed the EAM for being so down to earth and remembering his friend in the midst of his hectic international engagement.  Many in the social media noted that the EAM was indeed a good friend to have. However, those who knew Bedi, working with news agency UNI, recall Jaishankar always kept a low profile and made it a point to catch up with Bedi whenever he had the time. Clearly, Team Modi 3.0 has ministers who take themselves lightly.
Ajit Chhagan

Ajit Pawar In A Spot Within Mahayuti, Bhujbal Joining Uddhav Sena Gains Currency?

The Nationalist Congress Party led by Ajit Pawar is presently buffeted by successive jolts. The latest are the suspense surrounding senior OBC minister Chhagan Bhujbal and the demand by sections in the BJP and the Shiv Sena (Shinde) to distance the NCP(A) in view of the upcoming assembly elections in the state. Intricately linked with this development, Bhujbal’s next step will impact the state politics since he is the focus of the Maratha-OBC conflict over the demand for reservations for the dominant caste. Bhujbal has been under pressure by his supporters to take a ‘decisive step’ about staying on with the NDA. Feelers are circulating that he could stage a homecoming – by returning to the Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray. He had left the Sena in 1992 to join the Congress and later switched over to the NCP floated by Sharad Pawar in 1999. His decision to go behind Ajit Pawar had astounded even his close supporters. Bhujbal can command a substantial OBC vote bank. If this is not enough for the NCP(A), some elements in the BJP and the Sena (Shinde) have started complaining that the NDA candidates in their areas did not receive the expected support from Ajit’s party. The anger has been heightened due to Ajit’s decision to send his wife Sunetra to the Rajya Sabha despite her defeat in the Lok Sabha election. The next week will prove testing for the three-party ruling alliance for several other reasons, too.
Suvendu Dilip

Adhikari Vs Ghosh: Internal Conflict Intensifies In Bengal BJP After Poor Lok Sabha Results

The internal rift within the Bengal BJP is deepening as prominent leaders continue to point fingers at Opposition Leader Suvendu Adhikari for the party’s disappointing performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections. The political discord is escalating, with senior leader and former state president Dilip Ghosh indirectly accusing Adhikari of orchestrating the candidate selection process that led to the party’s downfall. Ghosh has suggested that his own transfer from the Medinipur constituency to the Bardhaman-Durgapur constituency was part of a deliberate strategy to undermine his chances. Under Ghosh’s leadership, the BJP achieved its best-ever results in Bengal, winning 18 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and securing 77 seats in the 2021 State Assembly polls, making the party the principal opposition force. In response to the criticisms, Adhikari has maintained that his role was limited to campaigning for the party and not interfering in organizational decisions. He has refrained from engaging in public debates about internal party issues. The unrest has spurred some party members to call for Ghosh’s reinstatement as state president, especially since the current president Sukanta Majumder has been made a minister at the Centre. Supporters of Adhikari argue that he remains a potent force against the Trinamool Congress (TMC), citing his significant victory over TMC leader Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram during the 2021 elections. Adhikari’s recent absence from a critical state party meeting on June 15, opting instead to be in Cooch Behar to support victims of post-election political violence, has added fuel to the internal controversies.
Ravindra Waikar

Prove EVM Can Be Hacked, Challenges Shiv Sena Winner Ravindra Waikar

The man at the centre of the EVM controversy, Shiv Sena (Shinde) Lok Sabha member Ravindra Waikar, has challenged the detractors of his victory to prove that the EVMs can be hacked. Had it been possible, the NDA could have won more than 400 seats, he said while reprimanding them. Waikar called on MNS leader Raj Thackeray on Tuesday to thank him for his support. About the crucial chain of events on 4 June, Waikar said his opponent, UBT Sena’s Amol Kirtikar, was declared ahead by a single vote at the end of the EVM vote counting. In the morning, when (postal) ballots were counted, he had obtained 1550 votes against Amol’s 1501. When both EVM and ballot votes were counted, there was a margin of 48 votes on his side, he maintained. Waikar claimed that at 5.51 pm that day, Amol was reported to have won by a margin of 2200 votes. At that time, over one lakh votes had remained to be counted. Hence he checked with election officials, who said it was not declared by them. “This means some more people, too, had mobile phones inside the counting centre,” he asserted. On the other hand, Amol has declared his resolve to challenge Waikar’s election in the Bombay high court. A purported statement by Elon Musk has provided gist to the opposition ammunition. However, Waikar has welcomed any challenge to his victory.
Tamilisai chandrababu

High Command Diktat Sees Tamilisai, Annamalai Smoke Peace Pipe

After the much talked about high voltage dressing down in public of BJP leader Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan by home minister Amit Shah during Chandrababu Naidu’s swearing-in ceremony, the whole clip going viral saw BJP doing damage control. Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai went to her residence to pay his respects and the media was peppered with the optics of this Akka-Thambi (sister-brother) closeness. Memes about the Tamil hit Shivaji Ganesan- Savitri film Pasa Malar flew thick and fast. Dr Soundararajan is from a staunch Congress family…father Kumari Ananthan and her late cousin Vijay Vasanth expressed their shock when she joined the BJP. But a patch up took place when she married Dr Soundararajan in the presence of the two tallest Dravidian leaders –MGR and Kalaignar, underscoring her debut as a young leader. Her unique hairstyle and bright sarees have been mocked sometimes cruelly after her defeat by suave and sophisticated Tamizhacchi Thangapandian. Many opposition leaders used to tease her Tamilisai “Parattai” (unkempt sloppy hairdo) they called her. Unfazed she would shoot back… I may be, but at least my hair is original, not a wig master, Ouch! Stalin. With over 25 years of public life, walking out of two Governorships, this 62-year old former TN BJP chief post is relevant in her own right. An election loss and the public exposure, however anti-party, all stemmed from stress. Will Congress welcome her after Amit Shah publicly ticked her off?  Tamilisai’s predicament is aptly described by the 17th century poet John Milton in Paradise Lost where he says “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
sonakshi zaheer

Photo : X

Sonakshi Sinha: A Rebel With Cause

Thirty-seven year old popular Bollywood star Sonakshi Sinha is being trolled for getting married to her Muslim boyfriend.  Reportedly, her family also does not seem very happy about her marriage to Zaheer Iqbal, an actor who was launched by Salman Khan but did not make it big in the tinsel world. Incidentally, Sonakshi was also launched by Salman Khan in Dabangg. Actually, her family’s reaction is surprising because the news she was dating Iqbal has been mentioned in the media off and on.. Be that as it may. But nothing will stop Sonakshi from marrying the man who she has been dating for seven years now. Media reports claim that her father Shatrughan Sinha and brothers were taken by surprise about the wedding date and they have blessed her through the media. But Sonakshi is not the first or the last actress to rebel against their parents.  In the past too stars have rebelled or eloped and got married. The Maine Pyaar Kiya girl Bhagyashree married Himalaya Dasani as her parents did not approve of him. Bhagyashree comes from a royal family and the family felt the status did not match. Aamir Khan and Reena Dutta had a quiet marriage as their families did not approve of the relationship. Gurmeet Chaudhary and Debina only had friends who attended their wedding and kept it under wraps for many years.  And not many know that Jennifer Kendall left her family to be with Shashi Kapoor and later had a traditional Hindu wedding.
Adhir Ranjan chowdhury_002

Congress Aimed To Please TMC, Relegated Adhir Ranjan Fails To Impress Mamta Didi?

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, former Member of Parliament from Berhampore in West Bengal since 1999, lost to outsider candidate –cricketer Yusuf Pathan — from Gujarat fielded by TMC Chief Mamata Banerjee and now stands politically relegated. Even in the run up to general elections, this former Naxalite leader had fallen out of favour with the Congress high command. Party president Mallikarjun Kharge campaigned extensively in West Bengal but gave a miss to Chowdhury’s electoral bastion in 2024. Surprisingly, after his shock loss to Yusuf Pathan, the firebrand Congress leader was left licking his political wounds sans an outreach from the Congress leadership, not even a cold commiserating phone call. According to a senior Congress leader, “The Congress bent over backwards to please Didi in its one-sided love affair, even abandoned its own party leader and left him by the political wayside overtly. However, Didi is not even impressed and deputed nephew Abhishek Banerjee last week, along with another TMC leader, to meet UBT Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai.” Didi’s gambit was aimed at weaning away INDIA bloc constituents with a strong showing in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls to forge an alternative political coalition of opposition formations allowing her to stake claim to post of Leader of Opposition (LoP) in parliament. Whether Thackeray, Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav and other constituents of the INDIA bloc cozy up to Didi’s political gambit remains to be seen?
MVA mahayuti

MVA Vs Mahayuti: Who will win the assembly tug of war?

Lok Sabha Win Sees Confident MVA In Campaign Mode, Sobered Down Mahayuti Getting Its Act Together

Maha Vikas Aghadi constituents gearing up for Maharashtra’s state assemblies come November 2024, are ecstatic by results of the general elections. Congress that fought 17 officially (backed one Sangli independent) is basking in affections of traditional Muslim, Dalit voters and wants alliance consensus over assembly seat sharing, unlike for Lok Sabha polls. Sharad Pawar, who strategically fought 10 winnable seats, being low on confidence, candidates for Lok Sabha, is enthused about his faction’s prospects. Shiv Sena (UBT) that unilaterally fought 23 parliamentary seats, bucked exit polls and now enjoys a newfound political alliance voter base, is roaring for elections. Shiv Sena CM Eknath Shinde elected seven MPs but preferred not to designate MP son Dr Shrikant as party’s second Union Minister over the latter’s reluctance, although offered by BJP. There are strong rumours that CM Shinde may be inducted into PM Narendra Modi’s cabinet after Maharashtra’s assembly elections. His deputy CM, Devendra Fadnavis has retracted efforts to be relieved of his post, launched into election mode even as the party high command put off any imminent reshuffle in Maharashtra for now. The BJP cadre hopes for a more accessible Fadnavis prior to state assemblies and more prudent choices for 36 Mumbai assembly constituencies. Mistakes like replacing sitting MP Manoj Kotak (north east parliamentary constituency), ostensibly offering a youthful candidate for Lok Sabha, boomeranged upon BJP in its traditional seat and are unlikely to be repeated before state polls. Ajit Dada wants more but may secure less than 80 to 90 assembly seats just like Shiv Sena as BJP feels the punishment from Muslim voters is only past precedent.
Rahul Gandhi_018

Lok Sabha Poll Results Please Rahul Gandhi, Seeing Modi On Political Crutches Meets His Goal

In an informal interaction with journalists in Delhi, his first since Lok Sabha elections, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi exuded a sense of satisfaction over the results. He seemed satisfied that he had been able to ensure reduced numbers of the treasury benches. Yes, he accepted that he had the satisfaction of seeing a once powerful PM Modi now handicapped, and is dependent on NDA allies like the TDP and the JDU to survive in office. Rahul who has made up his mind to retain Raebareli and give up Wayanad, is likely to field his sister Priyanka from the Kerala seat. Of course, some party sources suggested that the Congress may be tempted to field a local leader if Priyanka is reluctant. Rahul also indicated that he would continue to keep up his agitational politics against the government by undertaking a state-wide yatra. Party sources, however, are still not sure who will be the next Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Will Rahul wait until his sister gets elected or will it be one of his close aides? The only worry for the Gandhi scion is that the ED cases in National Herald case could continue with the same vigour.
ajit pawar_016

Ajit Pawar At Receiving End, Refuses To Respond To ‘Organiser’ Censure

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar is now at the receiving end for varying reasons. On the heels of the criticism published in the RSS mouthpiece ‘Organiser’ against the BJP’s decision to take him along, the NCP led by him decided to field his wife Sunetra for the lone Rajya Sabha vacancy from the state. As her’s is the only nomination, she will be elected unopposed. The disapproval of the decision emanates from the fact that Sunetra was defeated in the Lok Sabha election by Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule. Despite this, Ajit has prevailed upon his party leaders to grant the seat to her. The absence of chief minister Eknath Shinde and DCM Devendra Fadanvis at the time of filing of the nomination by Sunetra has added to the political speculation against Ajit. His clarification that he had not invited anyone for the filing, which was attended by only NCP(A) leaders, is seen as a lame defence. Ajit also did not respond to the ‘Organiser’ criticism, which had observed that the BJP had lessened its brand value by including Ajit in the state government. He said different people expressed their opinions after elections and they had a full right to do so. “I have concentrated on development. We have to face the coming assembly election with fresh vigour,” he said, declining to be drawn in a new controversy.
NIlesh

Photo : @punekarnews, Nilesh Lanke, Third From Right

Sharad Pawar’s MP Meets Pune Gangster, Claims Didn’t Know Him

Newly elected Lok Sabha member Nilesh Lanke will like the public to believe that he accepted felicitation and refreshments from an unknown individual without knowing that the person was a dreaded gangster. “I realised what had happened only the next morning,” was Lanke’s explanation after his pictures with recently released don Gajanan Marne in Pune became viral. The clarification is laced with scorn and suspense since it is difficult to accept that a MP can be stopped by any unfamiliar person anywhere along any road and that he responds to such an invite with his presence without asking any questions. Interestingly, Lanke was with the NCP of Ajit Pawar till the eve of the Lok Sabha election. He switched over to the NCP under Sharad Pawar at the last moment and was fielded promptly against Sujay Vikhe Patil, a scion of the powerful sugar baron family. The feud between Sharad Pawar and the Vikhe family is well-known. Lanke has been elected by a comfortable margin. His unplanned visit to Gajanan, known as Gaja, raises many eyebrows. Gaja leads a gang which has about two dozen serious offences registered against it. Only recently, he was in Yerawada jail. The suspense has been created since Ajit Pawar’s son Parth, too, had met Gaja last year and the resultant furore had seen Ajit disapproving this meeting. All eyes are now on what Sharad Pawar says about Lanke’s explanation.
annamalai_Tamilisai

Annamalai Springs A Surprise, Catches Up With Tamilisai

In a surprise move, Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai dropped by Chennai South candidate Tamilisai Soundarajan’s house in Chennai and briefly chatted up with her. The interaction follows furore in the social media over home minister Amit Shah publicly censuring her for her comments against lack of alliance between AIADMK and BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls; Tamilisai blamed Annamalai for severing ties with the AIADMK. Tamilisai, who belongs to the influential Nadar community, had resigned as Telangana Governor, as she was hoping to get elected as MP and become a central minister. She was aware of the effort made by Annamalai to build the BJP in the state and was hoping to capitalise on the goodwill created by him. She had polled as much as 2 lakh votes, which is sizable. However her remarks against Annamalai were not liked by the BJP top brass as it was the AIADMK which had walked out of the NDA fearing loss of minority votes in September 2023. It was Annamalai’s effort that had helped the BJP increase its vote share to 11.24 %. Meanwhile, Annamalai also hit back at DMK’s K Kanimozhi after she mocked him for not winning any seat in Tamil Nadu. The NDA, which comprised 7 parties besides the BJP, could not win any seat even though its vote share went up. Kanimozhi said Annamalai’s loss in Coimbatore showed that there was no place for the BJP in TN. She also said that Annamalai’s continuation as BJP’s Tamil Nadu chief was not good. Responding to Kanimozhi’s remarks, Annamalai said: “If my father was Karunanidhi, I too would have won all elections easily in Tamil Nadu. My father’s name is Kuppuswamy. He is a farmer and nobody in my family has got any smell of politics.”
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Photo : BCCI

Was It The Right Call Taken To Make Virat Kohli Open?

Even an in form batter – Virat Kohli- has been unable to find his feet in the ongoing ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup. The leading run-getter in the Twenty20 internationals before the start of the competition amassed 741 runs in 15 innings of the Tata-IPL_17, all as an opener, but in the three innings of the preliminary stage in New York, Kohli has been off-colour, making one run off five balls against Ireland, four off three balls against Pakistan and 0 off one ball against the USA. So he goes into the fourth match of the tournament – against Canada at Florida — facing a mere 10 balls and eager to get going before the start of the Super 8 stage phase of the World Cup in the West Indies. He has hit one boundary shot at the 34000-capacity Nassau County Stadium that’s dismantled after India’s third straight match there. The team’s think tank’s call to pair Rohit Sharma and Kohli as openers – to find balance in the playing XI — has not worked well so far. The champion batter has scored 405 runs as an opener (from 12 innings, including the three at Nassau) with one century and two fifties, but 3076 runs at No 3 with 32 fifties at No 3. He has also batted at numbers 4,5 and 6, but one-drop is his most productive position. His single-digit scores in the World Cup are the fourth in a row, dismissed as he was for 0 by Afghanistan in Bengaluru in January 2024. Kohli has disappointed New York, and the Pakistan captain Babar Azam has dislodged him from the top spot in the game’s shortest form.
Jiten Ram Manjhi

In An Era Of AI, Can MSME Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi Deliver?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing the entire environment upside down.  Globally, AI has created a big dent in sectors, especially involving people. The AI-led disruption is bound to have reverberations across the industrial canvass. Given this, the coalition government led by PM Narendra Modi has an onerous task on hand. The MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) is already at the edge in the wake of technological advancements caused by AI and the like. With the proverbial sword hanging over the heads of job-goers, a sense of uncertainty is fast spreading among the working class. Given this, the expectations are that the Modi government will give priority to MSMEs to boost jobs. Given the fast-evolving AI-led scene, a lop-sided focus on the service sector will do no good to the employment ecosystem in the country. Coming as it did against this backdrop, the allocation of the MSME portfolio Jitan Ram Manjhi, 79, has come as a big surprise. Top sources in MSMEs aren’t quite sure of the way ahead for them. What MSMEs require at the moment is a fresh mind, new vigour and right incentive to prevent them from slipping into the pages of history. An existential crisis of serious nature caused by metamorphosis in tech space is worrying the MSMEs. Is New Delhi listening?
abhishek banerjee_003

Abhishek Banerjee's Short Holiday Fuels Speculation Of Rift Within Trinamool Congress?

At a time when Trinamool Congress is celebrating its second best Lok Sabha poll results there is a manifestation of simmering discontent within the party’s top leadership. The trigger seems to be a tweet by the party’s national general secretary and second-in-command Abhishek Banerjee about taking a short break from politics. The timing seems to have given grist to the rumour mills about the real reason for this break. Abhishek stated that he is going for medical reasons.  But, a section of party insiders say Abhishek is unhappy on several fronts. First, with the functioning of the state government as it fails to deliver the promises made by the party to the people. Second, he has expressed his displeasure over the names of the candidates nominated for the bypoll elections for four Assembly seats.  One of the high profile seats of Maniktala is going to be contested by the former state minister Sadhan Pandey’s widow Supti Pandey. Since this does not meet his approval, he is likely to keep away from canvassing for her.  Third, he seems miffed that his selected candidate Shahnawaz Ali Raihan, an Oxford scholar lost Malda south seat. He blames this loss on party workers not doing their best. Fourth, there is a continuous undercurrent between old vs new guard. For instance, Didi’s close aide Firhad Hakim has been sent to Siliguri to look into reasons for the poll defeat of North Bengal which was overseen by Abhishek. Finally, despite the fact young candidates selected by Abhishek won the elections, the party Supremo has once again reposed her faith in Sudip Banerjee and Kalyan Banerjee by making them chief whips of the party in the Parliament.
vijay sethupathi

Ordinary Looks, Extraordinary Talent Makes Vijay Sethupathi A Bankable Star In South

Forty-six year old Vijay Sethupathi, who predominantly works in Tamil cinema, is an actor who never fails his fans. This director’s delight, bankable hero has none of that “chikna charm” of a stereotype film hero — brawn, Greek God profile, towering personality and a deejay’s baritone. But he comes alive on screen as a wholesome, dependable artist who carries off the entire film with his performance. Those who have seen his debut movie Thenmerku Paruvakaatru in 2010 remember his goatherd character to this day. Sethupathi has crossed many milestones and is confident that his 50th movie, Maharaja will get acclaimed just like his earlier hits Vikram Vedha, Sundarapandian, Pizza, 96 to name a few. His calm and controlled nature rarely kicks up cinematic storms…though recently he refused to co-star with Krithi Shetty for DSP. Reason: “In an earlier movie Krithi acted as my daughter. I made her feel really secure…even told her to think I am your real father. So I am not going to act with her as my female lead,” he said. In the film 96, which was a hit, he was paired with Trisha and critics did talk about a winsome youthful Trisha teaming up with an overweight Sethupathi as a classmate. His Vikram Vedha with Madhavan and Naanum Rowdy Dhaan with the lady superstar Nayanthara zoomed up the charts. Sethupathi has none of that ham handed heaviness in his portrayals. Fifty films old Vijay Sethupathi is as genuine as American Apple pie or South Indian Filter Coffee …no glamour but guarantee.
jeffery amish

Amish Tripathi In Pact With The Best Selling Author, Lord Jeffrey Archer

Celebrated author-writer-filmmaker Amish Tripathi, Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddiqui and actor-producer-author Vani Tripathi Tikoo are meeting in London to participate at the Manoj Ladwa-led Indian Global Forum’s Pathways To A Limitless Future to be held between 24-28 June.  The 3rd Culture & Creativity Forum at IGF London will draw leading voices from film & TV, fashion, literature, sports, economy and more. What new pathways for growth can creative innovation unlock? How can culture help organizations diversify their reach? How can we revitalize the global creative economy are some of the topics the brightest minds converging in London will debate, discuss and deliberate. It is learnt that Amish Tripathi while in London will use this opportunity to announce his creative tie-up with Lord Jeffrey Archer, a successful novelist who has written scores of best-sellers like Kane And Abel, Only Time Will Tell, The Prodigal Daughter to name a few. Kane and Abel remains one of the best-selling books in the world, with an estimated 34 million copies sold worldwide. All his novels put together have sold more than 320 million copies worldwide. Tripathi’s best kept secret project with Lord Archer will be unveiled on June 24.
Amol Kale

Will Amol Kale’s Untimely Death See A Politician Return As MCA President?

The untimely passing away of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) President Amol Kale, 47, following a cardiac arrest — hours after he saw the India-Pakistan ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup clash at the Nassau County ground in New York – could see heavyweights across parties come into play in a big way. Kale, a family friend of the Maharashtra State Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, defeated the 1983 World Cup star Sandeep Patil by 25 votes to become the MCA President in 2022. Right from the time of Seshrao Wankhede — who is credited with MCA breaking the umbilical cord with the Cricket Club of India (CCI) and bringing up its own stadium at `D’ Road, Churchgate fifty years ago — politicians like Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, Congress’s Vilasrao Deshmukh and BJP’s Ashish Shelar have called the shots as MCA President. The trend of politicians occupying the top post was broken by Vijay Patil, whose father was aligned with the NCP, and Kale, a friend of Fadnavis from his younger days in Nagpur.  Kale would have completed two three-year terms as vice president and president next year, but his sudden demise has caused a vacancy to be filled for 15 months. Vice-President Sanjay Naik will fill in as chair at official meetings for 45 days, by which time the MCA members, as per their Constitution, will have to elect a new President. Two years ago, the State government successfully pushed for the election of Kale. The million-dollar question now is: Will the BJP-Shiv Sena take a plunge into the high-stakes election scene or hand it on a platter to UBT Shiv Sena’s Milind Narvekar — an Apex Council member now — who is said to have good equations with one and all.
Suresh Gopi

Suresh Gopi's Ideas For His Lok Sabha Seat Raises Hackles Within Kerala BJP

Ever since he was picked as Minister of State (MoS) by PM Narendra Modi to be in his team 3.0, Suresh Gopi the BJP’s first leader to be elected from Thrissur Lok Sabha, Kerala has been battling a series of denials. First it was speculated that he wanted to be relieved of his ministerial responsibilities. He was not too happy that he had been designated only as MoS and not given Cabinet rank. He was upset that he should be given the same rank as one bestowed on a party veteran — George Kurian who had served Kerala BJP for 4 decades.  Besides, as an actor, Gopi wanted to complete his film assignments. “My films are definitely one of my priorities. I think I will be given the space…My PM and Home Minister will find a method by which I will not ditch my passion,” he reiterated his commitment even as he took charge of the Ministry of Tourism.   A junior minister also in the Ministry of Petroleum, Gopi was caught giving heartburns to party workers in Thrissur. High on his victory when he won against CPI’s VS Sunil Kumar by a margin of 74,686 votes. Gopi had spoken about fielding female film stars for the state assembly elections from his Lok Sabha constituency. “If an MP starts speaking like this we will finish our party workers,” pointed out a worried BJP Kerala leader. Meanwhile, BJP veteran George Kurian who took charge as MoS in the Minority Affairs Ministry and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Ministry, may have felt rewarded for all the quiet work he put for Kerala BJP all these years.
kareen aishwarya deepika

Photos: Instagram

When Stars’ Real Life Romance Turns Sour They Refuse Reel Pairing With Their Ex

Did you know that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was supposed to play Mastani in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani but turned down the offer when she realised Salman Khan would play Bajirao. The reason she had turned the offer –the movie was a box office hit – was her real life romance had turned sour.  Salman Khan and Aishwarya who had fallen in love on the sets of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam split and the actress didn’t want to work with him anymore.  Bhansali’s next choice was Kareen Kapoor instead he approached Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. The rest is history. The duo who fell in love and got married became Bhansali’s favourite; they worked in three super hit films Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani and Padmavat. Somebody’s loss is somebody’s gain. Likewise Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor started dating while working on Jab We Met and they broke up by the time the film was completed. Reason: Kareena fell in love with Saif Ali Khan while shooting with him for Tashan. The two did not work until Udta Punjab in which they were cast opposite different actors, not each other. Ranbir Kapoor who was dating Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif finally married Alia Bhatt. Both he and Deepika conducted themselves in a very dignified and professional manner and did not let their personal relationship come in the way of promotion of Tamasha.  In the past Raveena Tandon and Shilpa Shetty were dating Akshay Kumar but post their split, they never worked in each other’s films.  Likewise Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit never worked with each other after Dutt went to jail.
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Annamalai Politely Refuses Cabinet Berth, Eyes 2026 Tamil Nadu Assembly Poll

Thirty nine year old Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai proves yet again that he is an enigma, hard to decode and dogged in his efforts, untiring and unbeatable. Stepping into the BJP in 2019, and getting leadership in 2021, his mercurial rise within the party is astounding. Within four years he proved his mettle of building the BJP presence from around 4% to 11.26 % vote share in the just concluded Lok Sabha election. His detractors and rivals were happy when he was summoned to the swearing-in ceremony of PM Modi and his team. His defeat in Coimbatore must have been a big sting. Happy that he would be put to pasture in a cabinet berth and vacate TN’s hot seat as the leader. The three aspirants, Tamilisai Soundararajan, Vanathi Srinivasan and Nayinar Nagendran were already drumming up support to move into Annamalai’s post. Even as he sat in the last row when the PM gave his motivational sermon his strong opponents DMK and AIADMK leaders were trying to read his body language. Surprise and shock was writ large on his party colleagues, his antagonists and cadres when he flew back to TN thereby signalling that he had high command’s full backing. It was not surprising as Annamalai has single-handedly cobbled a BJP presence in TN, worked 24/7, walked padayatra, taken on the ruling party on many issues and remained politically significant. Above all, in a Dravidam state alternating between the DMK and AIADMK, he brought relevance to Hindutva and the BJP. He may have ruffled many feathers both within his party and opposition but he is here to stay for a long haul.
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Ajit Pawar To Be Humbled In Assembly Election In Baramati By Sharad Pawar

Veteran leader Sharad Pawar is now believed to be preparing a strategy to humble his nephew Ajit Pawar in the family home turf of Baramati by fielding Yugendra Pawar, his (Ajit’s) nephew, for the coming legislative assembly election. Ever since Ajit formed the breakaway faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) last year, Pawar has rarely spoken publicly against his erstwhile disciple. But his daughter Supriya has resoundingly defeated Sunetra, wife of Ajit in the Lok Sabha election. Even as Ajit has vowed to restart from scratch to win the coming election, Pawar has unsheathed his next move, it is felt. Defeating Ajit himself in Baramati will effectively end his political career, Pawar knows. Hence, his supporters have demanded that Yugendra should be the NCP(SP) candidate for the October assembly election from Baramati. Yugendra is the son of Pawar’s younger brother Shriniwas. He is an entrepreneur and treasurer of the Vidya Pratishthan, the academic gem in the Pawar fiefdom. Besides, he supervises the affairs of one of the sugar factories under the Pawar umbrella. Shriniwas and Yugendra actively campaigned for Supriya during the LS election. In his typical style, Pawar has asked his followers to wait and watch in response to their clamour for Yugendra. The cards will be opened step by step as the political scene in New Delhi develops, keeping all options open for Pawar.
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Stalin’s Dilemma: DMK Has Won But How To Make Tamil Nadu A Trillion Dollar Economy

It’s a peculiar position to be in. It is a resounding win, no doubt.  How to convert this into a gainful one for Tamil Nadu?  Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin must be pondering over this. The relationship between the DMK government and the BJP isn’t cordial to say the least. The big electoral victory of the DMK-led alliance in the recently-concluded Parliamentary elections is surely a big booster to the Stalin-led DMK. Yet, New Delhi has to be onboard to make Tamil Nadu a trillion dollar economy. Coming as it did against this backdrop, the elevation of Kanimozhi as the leader of the Parliamentary party of DMK appears to be an interesting strategic move by the Stalin party. For one, it sort of signals the transition – rather arrival – of GenNext in the party. For another, it is also speculated as a strategic initiative to build a long-term bridge with the political establishments across the canvass in New Delhi. She seems to have a good equation with Amit Shah. Also, Stalin has to be watchful of TDP’s Chandra Babu Naidu who is a pro-reformist. This time around, he is not so much angling for party representation in the Centre but financial packages and investments to his state. This is where Stalin must be missing the experienced senior Maran (Murasoli Maran), who played a perfect bridge between the party and the rulers in New Delhi. For Stalin who has won single-handedly elections for the government it is almost like running with the hare and hunting with hounds.
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Not Invited For Modi Swearing-In Ceremony, Raj Thackeray Upset

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has started mending fences immediately after the formation of the Union cabinet. His confidant Naresh Mhaske, the new Shiv Sena (Shinde) MP, has called on MNS leader Raj Thackeray ‘to thank and seek his blessings’ for the public meeting held by the latter in Thane in support of Shinde’s son Shrikant and Mhaske. The MNS is unhappy with the BJP bigwigs for not inviting Raj for the swearing-in ceremony of the Modi cabinet on 9 June. Senior BJP minister Sudhir Mungantiwar’s explanation that this may have happened due to some oversight on the part of the officials preparing the list has not gone down well.  Though thousands of invitees attended, how come the MNS chief was forgotten, his rank and file have started asking. Raj will express his feelings about this lapse at the party rally to be held in Mumbai on June 12. The CM’s close associate, health minister Tanaji Sawant, visited Raj’s Shivaji Park residence to assuage his feelings. Raj’s open support came handy for BJP’s Narayan Rane in Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg and for Mhaske in Thane. In fact, Shinde had made it a prestige issue to claim the Thane seat despite the BJP’s stiff resistance. Mhaske’s and Shrikant victory has augmented the Sena (Shinde) presence in the district.
Udhayanidhi kanimozhi

Stalin’s Balancing Act, Appoints Kanimozhi As Parliamentary Party Leader

Finally, the Tamil Nadu chief minister taking a leaf out of his father’s strategy decided to appoint his half-sister Kanimozhi, who was elected from the Thoothukudi Lok Sabha constituency, as the DMK’s parliamentary leader. She replaced the Sriperumbudur MP T R Baalu. For now she is happy. It may be known TR Baalu has been running this post for decades and was expecting another go. Even his son, finance minister TRB Rajaa in Stalin’s government, was keen to move to Delhi.  Meanwhile Stalin’s wife Durga has made it clear that son Udhayanidhi should be anointed Deputy CM and so that he can prove his mettle in controlling the party and the government in the run up to 2026 assembly elections. Strangely enough Kalaignar Karunanidhi faced the same family mutiny when the UPA was in power. His sons Alagiri and Stalin were at loggerheads over who would head the party and move into Kalaignar’s chair. Wily politician/ tactician that he was, he got Alagiri into the central cabinet of the UPA in 2009 as Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers, and eased Stalin’s claim to the TN Gaddi.  For now Stalin has bought peace on both fronts. Now for the anointment of his son as deputy CM post.
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Is Bengal CPI-M Losing Its Grip In The Politburo?

Post the poll debacle, West Bengal CPI-M is wary of its position in the Politburo. It is learnt that at the first Politburo meeting that was held on June 9, to analyse the poll performance of the CPI-M, there was no mention of the Bengal unit in the statement released after the meeting. Incidentally, top leaders from Bengal have expressed serious concerns over this stating that they are somewhat shocked at this and cannot recollect anything similar like this has happened in the past. Interestingly, CPI-M politburo mentioned in the meeting that while BJP has failed to match its tallies of 2014 and 2019, INDIA bloc has performed quite well to stop the BJP. It further stated that although Left parties have managed to improve their tally with eight MPs (CPI-M – 4, CPI -2, CPI-ML-2), it is disappointed with the performance of the Kerala unit. What has surprised the Bengal leaders is that there has been no mention of Bengal’s performance or an analysis of allying with the Congress in the state. Politburo member Nilotpal Basu said that the politburo knew Bengal’s situation was much more unfavorable than in Kerala. The Politburo congratulated Bengal for fighting against these difficult conditions. However, in Bengal speculations are rife that absence of mention of Bengal in the Politburo statement is a sign of loss of importance.” The Politburo has three members from Bengal — Mohammed Salim, Ramachandra Dom and Suryakanta Mishra. As Mishra’s term comes to an end owing to his age, the state CPM leaders fear that the ‘quota’ of Bengal in the Politburo may be reduced with no one replacing Mishra. Bengal CPI-M committee will hold its poll review meeting on June 19-20.
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DMK Heaves Sigh Of Relief As Annamalai Loses

The sigh of relief in the DMK may have been loud enough as the results in the Lok Sabha polls restored the national balance somewhat.  When opposing the BJP tooth and nail in the state and broadcasting their aversion to the party nationally in cutting speeches by CM Stalin and his son Udhayanidhi, the DMK understood that a BJP back in power and in full control of Parliament may have tried to play tricks. The unspoken fears were about the Centre beginning to needle the top brass of the party by using the federal investigating agencies further after their efforts to break Senthil Balaji as a key money maker and funds mover in both Dravidian parties (he was earlier with AIADMK) have not succeeded. DMK’s strategy to counter the BJP where it hurt was to ensure that the state chief K Annamalai was beaten. It can be revealed that the ruling party was unusually generous with purse strings to bring about a favourable result in Coimbatore. Had Annamalai succeeded he would have stood a good chance of being drafted into the Union ministry where, with a post in the Finance Ministry, he could have aimed for settling scores with the DMK brass. Of course, the mood may have altered slightly after the results, and it is unlikely that the top leaders will become subjects of interest to financial investigations any time soon.
ghirish suresh

Suresh Pujari, Girish Murmu Emerge As Strong Contenders For Odisha Chief Minister's Post

Suspense is building up who will be BJP’s Odisha chief minister after strong contenders like Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram’s induction into Modi 3.0 Cabinet. The party high command seems to be unsure who should be its CM pick. To zero in on the right candidate the high command has deputed two senior party leaders Rajnath Singh and Bhupender Yadav to Odisha as central observers. Meanwhile, more names are doing the rounds. Sixty-four year old Suresh Pujari, former MP who won the Brajrajnagar assembly seat in 2024 is emerging as one of the serious contenders along with BJP state unit President Manmohan Samal, KV Singh Deo, Mohan Majhi and others. There seems to be some thinking that the high command may opt for the formula of one CM and two deputy chief ministers to maintain checks and balances. The dark horse in this race for the CM’s post could well be the retired IAS officer Girish Chandra Murmu who hails from Betnoti, Mayurbhanj district in Odisha. Sixty-four year old Murmu was the former Comptroller General of India and ex-J&K Lieutenant Governor. He was Principal Secretary to Modi during his CM days in Gujarat and also worked closely with home secretary as joint secretary. But, Modi is always known to spring surprises like he did with India’s first tribal President Droupadi Murmu who hails from Mayurbhanj, Odisha.
saurabh netravalkar

Good Fortune For Saurabh Netravalkar: Born In India, Playing For USA

As an ambitious Saurabh Netravalkar, who did the star turn (2 for 18 in four overs) for the USA against Pakistan in the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 in Dallas, did the hard yards in the maidans located in Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City; until a point in time in his fledgling career that did not take off! Subsequently, the left-arm fast bowler found his moorings with an Ivy League label at Cornell in New York in the USA.  As a tyro, he had big scalps like KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, and Parthiv Patel in India’s domestic cricket. He played for India under-19 in the ICC World Cup, but the temptation to be part of the Ivy League was too overwhelming. As luck would have it, the game of cricket, which the Americans would wonder what it is all about, has put him on centre stage some 10 years after relocating to the USA. The speedster played his part in the World Twenty20 qualifier in Bulawayo in July 2022, but the USA did not advance to the main event in Australia. Two years later, USA was a co-host, and with it came the automatic entry for the main show. He has now taken 102 wickets for the USA in ODI (73) and Twenty20 (29) internationals – the first USA cricketer to go past the 100-wicket mark — and walked into serendipity. After a lovely spell against Pakistan, comes the intriguing test against India’s Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli on June 12.
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Odisha MP Bhartruhari Mahtab Tipped To Be The Next Lok Sabha Speaker?

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On hindsight it may seem it was perhaps only well that BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik did not encourage his senior party MP Bhartruhari Mahtab from Cuttack who was well versed with Lok Sabha proceedings to become Deputy Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha. The buzz now is the Odisha MP who switched to the BJP and is a 7-term MP could be the BJP’s choice for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker. Mahtab, son of former Odisha chief minister Hare Krushna Mahtab, has the experience, temperament and intellectual gravitas needed for the job. Mahtabh, who is among the 19 BJP MPs who won, had defeated corporate honcho Santrupt Misra, who had declared assets worth Rs 450 crore. Asked to comment on his electoral battle, Mahtab likened it to the electoral battle fought between late BJP leader Ananth Kumar and Infosys founder Nandan Nilekani in 2014 in Bangalore South (Lok Sabha) seat.  “Corporate people come with different ideas,” he pointed out. His victory against huge money was a clear indication of the Modi wave in Odisha. But then Nilekani, the techie who gave us Aadhar, had lost the polls in 2014 also because of the first Modi wave that year.
chennai metro

Chennai Metro Rail's Mega Plans, To Invests Rs 63000-Crore To Build 119 Stations In One Go

This one is a giant project. It is not just in terms of the capital cost. From the angle of its coverage too it is a mega one. Perhaps it is the first of the gargantuan size projects undertaken at one stretch in India. The Chennai Metro Rail is currently implementing a over Rs 63,000-crore phase II project to lay 116.1 km rail line with 119 stations in one stretch. Once fully functional, this will see the Chennai landscape change for the better and look completely different. Developing public transport of this kind — with underground and overground stations -– poses challenges of assorted kinds ranging from technical to environmental and logistics. Yet, the biggest challenge lies in making it an earning proposition for the Chennai Metro Rail, a joint venture between the Centre and the Tamil Nadu Government. Not surprisingly, Chennai Metro has hit upon an innovative way to explore non-fare revenue. It has joined hands with the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation to float a joint venture. This JV will develop commercial properties around metro rail stations, on the lines of those done in some cities around the globe. If there is a will, there is a way. Well, Chennai Metro Rail appears to be on the right track!
Karnataka bjp

Huge Resentment Among BJP Cadres Across The Country For Party Losing Ayodhya Seat

There is so much anger in Karnataka BJP over party candidate Lallu Singh for losing the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat under which falls Ayodhya; the seat has been won by Samajwadi Party which fielded a Dalit candidate mocking the Ram Mandir movement. BJP workers from the southern state have been trying to reach Lallu and attempted to give him an earful. He was a two-term MP and had remained inaccessible to his constituency. If one listens to the viral video (https://youtu.be/MOdV377sA3k?si=hiVLX020RMIa4MqM), one will get the sense of how arrogant a BJP leader can be when he is speaking to his own party workers. The workers launch a blistering attack on him for losing Ayodhya. “You should not have contested. After all Yogiji opposed you as a candidate, “Lallu can be heard defending his rout by saying — he wasn’t the only one to lose. Why did Kalyan Singh’s son Rajveer — who contested from Etah lose?” he asks. He is also heard asking the southern party workers about who was Yogi to cancel his ticket.  Sources close to Yogi conceded that the UP CM had no role in picking candidates. In fact he had even stayed away from campaigning for most of the candidates As a result some of Shah’s loyalists like Smriti  Irani had to bite dust. Ever since the CM was objecting to renomination of most sitting MPs, the BJP fellas were all getting around Yogi’s nod   endorsed by home minister Amit Shah. BJP sources said the elephant in the room was subtle competition between Shah and Yogi. In fact at the NDA meeting on June 7, PM Modi sent out a loud message of endorsement of Yogi’s leadership by warmly patting his back at the Central Hall of Parliament.
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Raj Thackeray’s Silence Intriguing After Lok Sabha Results, Offers Face-Saver To BJP

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray’s total silence about the NDA’s rout in the state in Lok Sabha elections was found to be intriguing by those who know him well. The mystery has deepened owing to his decision to withdraw his party’s candidate from the Konkan Graduate Constituency election for one vacancy in the state legislative council. The decision to withdraw Raj’s ardent follower Abhijit Panse, who had entered the fray last week. His candidature had perplexed the NDA partners since it was a unilateral decision. More so because the seat has been with BJP’s Niranjan Davkhare, who is seeking re-election. MNS leader Nitin Sardesai announced that his party decided to withdraw Panse at the express request made by Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to Raj. Some strain had been created due to Panse’s decision to contest and the stoic silence maintained by Raj had only heightened the suspense. All said and done, the withdrawal by Panse has come as a great relief for the BJP, which is still recovering from the LS drubbing. Had there been a triangular fight, the risk of the INDIA candidate benefiting at the cost of the BJP would have loomed large. Fadanvis and Raj have saved the situation but have posed more questions.
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Once Again Didi Stops BJP In The Track; Party Reshuffle On Cards?

With a win of 29 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, party supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee has once again proved that she is a very tough opponent to crack. Beleaguered by the Sandeshkhali controversy, Teachers Recruitment scam, arrest of senior TMC ministers and leaders put Didi on the backfoot. But, her astuteness came to the fore in choosing candidates to stop what seemed a BJP’s juggernaut. She not only chose surprise faces such as former cricketers Kirti Azad and Yusuf Pathan, actress Rachana Banerjee, she even put forward her trusted lieutenants and cabinet ministers such as Partha Bhowmick, Biplab Mitra to contest the seats.  Her decision to increase the expenditure for the Lakshmir Bhandar initiative touched the women voters across the state. Sources say that Didi is scheduled to meet her newly elected MPs on June 8 and one could expect a major ‘shuffle’ in the organisation based on the results of the Lok Sabha polls — where the party failed and where the margin dropped. Not only in the party but also at the panchayat and municipal levels, there may be several reshuffles. Sources also said, the evaluation work is going on at all three levels of the Panchayat by the poll strategy body IPAC. Close-aide of Didi have confirmed that the meeting has made it categorical to her nephew Abhishek Banerjee that the party should start preparing for the 2026 assembly polls. Interestingly, 2024 marks Mamata’s 40 years in politics, this covers her journey as a mercurial leader to a Mamata Magic, from unseating CPI(M)’s veteran, late Somnath Chatterjee to joining and leaving hastily both Manmohan Singh and Vajpayee governments to routing CPI(M) citadel in 2011 after 34 years of rule.
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Lok Sabha Wins See INDIA Bloc Partners In Maharashtra Speak In Different Voices

Feeling confident of electoral victories hereafter, prominent partners in the INDIA bloc in Maharashtra have started staking their claims in different ways. For instance, state Congress president Nana Patole has been projected as a future chief minister by some of his supporters. Since the Congress party has won the largest number of seats in the state for INDIA, Patole has described it as ‘elder brother’ in the state polity. Reminding the others that the Congress is a national party, he has remarked that the younger brothers should behave accordingly. The small groups which stayed with his party have now grown into political parties, Patole retorted. However, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut has not taken lightly to the statement. “There is no elder or younger brother in the state. The Congress has had its symbol and the organisation, whereas we have developed our party by taking various challenges head on and facing many difficulties,” Raut growled. He was referring to the split in the Sena a couple of years ago. The elder position or otherwise will be determined by the number of seats won by respective parties, Raut said, obviously indicating at the seat sharing formula for the coming legislative assembly election later this year. With speculation galore about potential defections across the state’s political spectrum, the tussle even before the match is announced promises to be more and more interesting.
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Enthused By BJP’s Poor Lok Sabha Show, Jarange Patil Now Threatens To Put Up Candidates Across The State During Assembly Polls

Maratha leader Manoj Jarange Patil managed to show his political clout in the 18th Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra without putting up even a single candidate in the fray. The impact of the Maratha vote bank led to the almost wipe out of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Mahayuti alliance particularly from the Marathwada region, where it lost seven of the total eight seats. The Jarange Patil factor is also directly blamed for the defeat of Pankaja Munde, who hails from the Other Backward Class (OBC) community, due to polarisation of the caste factor. Munde’s convoy had to face black flags and even faced entry blockades from various villages due to the Maratha agitation. Bajrang Sonawane, from Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) who defeated Pankaja Munde, rushed to pay his respects to Jarange soon after his victory. Buoyed up by his role, Jarange has now announced that his party will now put up candidates from all communities in all the 288 constituencies in the forthcoming Maharashtra assembly polls if the government fails to expand reservation benefits for the Maratha community. He has also threatened to sit on an indefinite fast and rake up heat on the Maratha issue from June 8 onwards in preparation for the forthcoming crucial state polls. The re-emergence of Jarange Patil now threatens to affect the chances of the BJP across the state at a time when it is already facing a drastic slash down in the state from 23 seats to 9 Lok Sabha seats.
malayalam movies

Are Cute And Quirky Malayalam Movies New Flavour Of Entertainment?

The just released Malayalam comedy movie Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil’ has raked in Rs 50 crore in one week and Rs 85 crore in just 18 days. Of this, it raked Rs 43 crore in Kerala alone. A big percentage of Kerala’s population of nearly 3.46 crore work in the Middle East. For them a movie with Mammootty, Mohanlal and Prithviraj Sukumaran is the best treat. The Kerala film industry has done very well albeit with dramatic transformation from “art film, realism and simplistic presentation” Malayalam movies have emerged as entertainment winners. Simultaneously, stars too have hit the sweet spot of success. Prithiviraj Sukumaran, almost super star, producer, script writer and even singer is at the peak of success. In Guruvayoor Ambala Nadayil’ as a comic lead which is a totally divergent role from his recent cult classic Aadujeevitham that garnered Rs 160 crore. Prithvi fans are on a high, but the star himself is careful not to make ripples in the star ecosystem where Mammootty and Mohanlal reign supreme.  Prithviraj fell in love with the famed BBC journalist Supriya Menon Aren Mumbai and married her. The couple run a very profitable partnership. Not that he has no challenges in his starscape…Fahad Fasil, Joju George and others are fast catching up. The recent mega hit Manjummel Boys, Falimy (a quirky spell), Padmini and Bro Daddy succeeded though the prevailing crime and police films that dominated for quite some time. OTT has brought realism to the home viewer. Malayalam cinema is the new flavour of entertainment.
Patnaik pandian

Was Naveen Patnaik’s “Missing” Protégé VK Pandian The Reason For BJD’s Downfall?

Biju Janata Dal Supremo Naveen Patnaik who was once considered invincible seems to have bitten the dust. BJD’s rank and file are angrily pointing fingers towards Patnaik’s Man Friday, VK Pandian for such humiliating defeat for BJD both in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. This “outsider” bureaucrat-turned-politician seems to have rubbed the people on the wrong side not only within his party but state’s Opposition leaders too. It is said, he used to micro-manage, stonewall people from meeting Patnaik and keep crucial information from reaching Patnaik. BJP played the “outsider” card smartly to dethrone Patnaik and his party. Sources say, BJP tom-tommed that Patnaik was a puppet in the hands of Pandian. This apart, the Ratna Bhandar controversy added fuel to the fire as well. Pandian, an IAS officer who hailed from Tamil Nadu, started his journey in 2011 when he joined the CM’s office as Naveen’s private secretary. He impressed CM Naveen with his efficiency and quickly rose to become a key figure in all decision making. He devised electoral strategies for the BJD both in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Essentially he was ‘go to man’ for all BJD leaders. So cocky was he about winning both the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections that he announced he “will quit politics if BJD does not get three-fourth majority”. Now, far from resigning he suddenly seems to have gone missing and rumours are that a look out notice has been put but BJD has clarified he has been sent to Delhi for official work. Patnaik, after a very long time, ‘went alone’ to hand over his resignation to the Governor. For Patnaik who had a glorious rule the end was unceremonious. Perhaps he trusted the wrong guy.
EPS jaya

Is EPS Responsible For Running AIADMK Aground?

In Tamil Nadu, AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) is seen as leading the most routed party that MGR had built as an iconic political behemoth which was lovingly sustained by J Jayalalithaa till her untimely death. His adamant stance to go it alone and not have an alliance with the BJP saw his party AIADMK being nearly wiped out in the Lok Sabha polls. Edappadi claims that he had the 2026 Assembly elections as his pole star and did not want to give up the party’s unique identity. In a tear jerking letter to his cadres he said, “I am addressing this to you all my dear friends …I don’t know how to express my gratitude to you all for working so hard for the election. Our party is a historic institution built by MGR…a temporary eclipse has been cast on us.” He says that the subversion of power, money and fake promises by the winning side is the sole reason why his party lost. In a first, his party’s candidates lost deposits in seven seats. Looking at AIADMK’s vote share of 20.46% vs the DMK’s 26.93%, it seems Edappadi has not lost his way to end up in political oblivion. But with BJP’s surprise showing at 11.24%, it is logical to think that if EPS and BJP had fought the elections together it could have been a win-win situation for both. The ‘wise analysts’ say it’s better for him to mend fences with the old faithful’s of Jayalalithaa –Sasikala, OPS and TTV —  and then the scattered factions can rise like the Phoenix. Does Edappadi have the diplomatic elan and charm offensive of the late MGR? Not quite.
Mamata abhishek

After Big Lok Sabha Win, Didi Paving The Way For Nephew Abhishek?

Trinamool Congress once again managed to derail BJP by winning 29 Lok Sabha seats against BJP’s mere 12 against 18 in 2019.  With such good tidings, the party supremo Mamata Banerjee seems to indirectly indicate that her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who made this big win possible, will succeed her. Didi’s magic and Abhishek’s poll strategies made sure that TMC’s win.  As for his own win, Abhishek won by a record seven lakh plus votes. Didi announced at the press conference that Abhishek will be her representative at the I.N.D.I.A. front meetings and decision making processes. It was Abhishek’s strategy to give the impression that the BJP intended to halt benefit initiatives by Mamata’s government, if BJP comes to power. Earlier, he had undertaken several protest programmes including a dharna at New Delhi to protest against the Modi government for not releasing MNREGA funds.  Despite the youth-senior conflict within TMC, the Opposition’s jabs at ‘corruption’ and ‘nepotism’, Abhishek’s strategy appealed to Bengali voters. He also played an important role in the campaign plan, selection of slogans, and holding meetings with party leadership across the state. According to Trinamool sources, the main slogan of the party in the Lok Sabha elections is the brainchild of Abhishek. Mamata’s remarks at a press conference following the election fuelled further speculations. She said, praising Abhishek’s efforts demonstrated amazing leadership and determination. Although she did not formally designate him as her successor, the endorsement was interpreted that eventually he will step into her shoes.
Nitish Kumar

BJP Pampers Nitish Kumar To Get Him To Visit Delhi

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU) has shared a cryptic post on X in which he has talked about both Nyay and Vikas — two ideas that are close to the Congress and the BJP. He is all set to play a kingmaker’s role after Lok Sabha 2024 results, it is interesting that he has used both the terms. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar’s JDU performed better than NDA allies as it contested along with the BJP. In fact, he walked out of the RJD tie-up under pressure of MPs and sided with the BJP. His party is leading in 14 and BJP in 11. There are speculations that Nitish Kumar, who has a history of switching sides at key moments, is keeping both options open. Many social media users earlier speculated that the Bihar CM could change sides again and join the I.N.D.I.A bloc if he is offered the PM’s post. In fact there were reports that Nitish initially resisted meeting the Bihar BJP chief. When such reports reached Delhi, BJP’s top leadership had a special emissary sent to him to ensure that he reaches Delhi to attend the NDA meeting on June 5. At least one state CM and I.N.D.I.A leader– Mamata Banerjee– is not very happy about the importance that PM Modi is bestowing on Nitish Kumar. She is getting quite upset about the talk of the deputy PM’s post being offered to him. She had reportedly brushed off performance claims about JDU, considering the TMC has also done well. After all both Nitish and she have been rail ministers in the Vajpayee government. Both the leaders are not known to get along.
modi mace

Ram Mandir Loses Out To Rumours On Dalit Quota Curbs In Uttar Pradesh, Hits BJP’s Overall Tally

One of the biggest surprises of the 2024 Lok Sabha results was that the I.N.D.I.A bloc gave a tough fight to the BJP-led NDA in Uttar Pradesh. While everyone has been lauding Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav for repackaging his party and making a spectacular comeback, BJP sources said the I.N.D.I.A front gained mainly by manufacturing a lie about reservation and how Modi in his third term would do away with it. It was this lie that saw the BJP falling short of a majority on its own in the 543-member parliament. The SP and the Congress deliberately spread panic among dalits and managed to win 42 seats. This means Modi will have a lot of trouble in his third term as he will have to depend on allies to form the government. It will introduce some uncertainty in policy-making as Modi has ruled with a free hand in the last decade. The party has so far won 239 seats compared to the 303 seats it had won in 2019. Besides in UP alone, it appears Ram Mandir has not yielded the party any special dividend. In fact, before the temple was built in 2019, the BJP had bagged 62 of 80 seats in UP, but in the post Ram Mandir era the BJP has been restricted to 38 seats, bringing down the overall BJP tally and weakening PM Modi’s third term. Party sources conceded that the conspiracy theories floated by the Congress and SP weakened Modi’s mandate. Congress leaders twisted the call for a 400 paar mandate as a ploy to undo reservations for the Dalits. “There are 17 reserved seats in UP. Because of this damaging campaign by Congress we have been restricted to three or four reserved seats this time. As a result this time our tally from UP has been hit,”points out a BJP Dalit leader.
ajinkya_rahane_002

Ranji Champs Mumbai To Play With A Theme -- Home Of The Champions!

The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) began the fresh season 2024-2025 with a bang at the MCA’s Indoor Cricket facility at Bandra-Kurla Complex. And it pleased Milind Rege — whose heart and soul has been with Mumbai cricket for six decades as player, administrator, selector and advisor — no end. Sitting alongside the brilliant Mumbai stalwarts in Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawal Kulkarni, Shardul Thakur, Abhishek Nayar and Sarfaraz Khan, the former Mumbai all-rounder and captain Rege said the past is history and that he is looking forward to another bright and successful season during which the dressing rooms of different MCA teams — men and women and juniors and seniors — will have the running theme of “Home of the Champions”. Mumbai won the 42nd Ranji title three months ago, a performance that reflected teamwork of all concerned. Rege and Rahane thanked the MCA administration for its wholehearted support, in particular its President Amol Kale and the hands-on Secretary Ajinkya Naik. The season opener assembly — held three months in advance — enabled the cricketers to tell the 400 odd off season campers the importance of maintaining fitness in order to face challenges during the six month long season. The meeting was meant to happily convey to the boys and girls that MCA means serious business about its cricket, but with a great deal of passion. Soon the MCA will celebrate its golden jubilee of the Wankhede Stadium and what it can mull over is putting in place a museum which doesn’t seem to be taking off at all!
temple

Modi's 3.0 Temple Administration Run, Handover To Hindus

The results of the Lok Sabha elections have disappointed the rank and file in the BJP but, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already commenced his third term work to flesh out his 100-day plan for India, including flagship policy amendment for handing over administration of temples across India to the Hindu community. This strategy, even while Modi continues in election mode targeting forthcoming state assembly elections in five states of the Indian union. A closed-door meeting between expected incumbent PM Modi and erstwhile Union Home Minister Amit Shah decided to prioritise the first council of Union Ministers comprising public representatives from states facing imminent assembly polls. Maharashtra’s citizens will elect 288 Members to its state legislative assembly by November 2024 just like Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir. Delhi and Bihar follow suit in 2025 while Tamil Nadu, Assam, Puducherry, Kerala, West Bengal state assemblies are scheduled in 2026. PM Modi’s 3.0 political regime will likely include Shivraj Singh Chauhan who relinquished Union Ministership to deliver Madhya Pradesh state assembly to BJP. Maharashtra’s Lok Sabha outcome has dampened and shocked everybody in the BJP coming in the wake of the double sympathy wave attracted by Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar. Pawar has silenced critics who foretold the end of his political career. There is going to be serious introspection and there may be reshuffle in Maharashtra according to sources. So, parliament ushers in the amendment allowing Hindus to administer their own temples (take it away from respective state governments) bringing the community on par with Muslim and Christian religious trusts.
Ajit_Pawar_002

Ajit Pawar Breaks Silence, Defends His MLA Who Visited Police Station Immediately After Porsche Accident

Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar finally broke his near-silence over the Pune Porsche accident tragedy. His refusal to make any statement immediately after the horrific incident had provided his opponents enough fodder to attack him. Ajit Pawar, president of the Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday (June 1) supported his party MLA Sunil Tingre’s action of rushing to the Yerawada police station following calls from the accused minor’s father, Vishal Agrawal within minutes after the car hit that killed two techies. Defending the MLA, Ajit said it is common for elected representatives to visit after some major incident takes place in their constituency. However, he insisted that the police had done their duty by the book. Ajit listed the actions taken by the police, by the public health department against the two Sassoon Hospital doctors and by the state excise department after the mishap. He pointed out that the four members of the Agrawal family had been arrested. Hence, there was no question of shielding anyone, he thundered. Ajit has been facing criticism from various quarters, he being the guardian minister of Pune district in which the tragedy occurred on 19 May. Pune police commissioner Amitesh Kumar, too, has maintained that Tingre did come to the police station though the police had acted as per rules and regulations. Ajit has already accepted social activist Anjali Damania’s challenge to undergo a narco test in regard to the whole episode.
ChhaganBhujbal_005

Is Chhagan Bhujbal Deliberately Embarrassing His Party Leader Ajit Pawar?

Nationalist Congress Party (Ajit) is experiencing some unease at present over the perceived adverse line adopted by its senior leader Chhagan Bhujbal. The latest cause is Bhujbal’s defence of rival NCP (Sharad) leader Jitendera Awhad, who is facing flak for tearing a picture of Dr BR Ambedkar during a protest action. The BJP and NCP (Ajit) have held protest demonstrations to condemn his lapse. Rather than following the Mahayuti line, Bhujbal has supported Awhad by saying that the error happened when he was protesting against Manusmritii. “We will not allow backdoor entry of this retrograde social code,” Bhujbal declared, annoying his own party. When a huge hoarding collapsed in Ghatkopar, Mumbai a couple of weeks ago, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray was attacked by some Mahayuti leaders in connection with the permission granted for erecting the massive billboard. At that time, too, Bhujbal had termed the criticism of Thackeray as wrong. Earlier Bhujbal had been refused the Lok Sabha Nashik candidacy, despite his efforts to obtain blessings from Delhi. During electioneering, he had stated that the response to the rallies of Sharad Pawar and Uddhav was overwhelming. Being a powerful OBC leader, it will be difficult for the NCP (Ajit) to touch Bhujbal. On the other hand, his choices to return to his earlier parties seem limited owing to his various caustic attacks against Sharad Pawar and Uddhav. The lid on the mystery will be lifted soon after the Lok Sabha results are out on 4 June, it is felt.

TRENDS & VIEWS

Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.