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Eknath Uddhav

Sena Vs Sena: Which Faction Will Hold Dussehra Rally At Shivaji Park This Year?

The next bout of clash between the two Shiv Sena factions is expected to intensify next week over each side’s claim for the Shivaji Park ground reservation for the traditional Dussehra rally, to be held on October 24. The sprawling ground in the heart of Mumbai has had a symbiotic association with the Sena since Balasaheb Thackeray had announced the formation of the militant organisation from this venue in 1966. The Sena headquarters, Shiv Sena Bhavan, is just outside the ground. Last year, too, there was a tussle between the factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and chief minister Eknath Shinde for the ground reservation and the matter had reached the high court. The verdict came in favour of Thackeray and the Shinde faction held its Dussehra rally at BKC grounds in Bandra (East). As a precaution this time, both factions have submitted their applications for the ground reservation at the civic G-North municipal ward.  As the application received first is accorded priority and the ground is reserved in its name, suspense has been created about the timeline of the submission of the two applications. Thackeray’s activist Mahesh Sawant and Shinde’s supporter MLA, Sada Sarwankar, are the two applicants. However, civic officials have declared that the matter will be examined on Tuesday since Mumbai is under a 5-day holiday till Monday owing to Ganesh Immersion, Eid and Gandhi Jayanti.
Saurav ganuly


Sourav Ganguly Clears Air About His Political Ambitions

After being hounded by politicians and trolled on social media about his recent visit to Spain along with the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly said that his identity as an individual gets him invited by everybody. Speaking during the promotional event of former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan’s soon-to-be-released biopic in Kolkata, Sourav made it clear about his political neutrality. He stated that since he was neither an MP nor a MLA or a Corporator he was at liberty to attend any political parties function; hence was not answerable to anyone. But, what gave grist to the rumour mills is his official trip to Spain with Didi and her team to attract investments in business and sports sectors. Dada announced that a steel plant would be set up in Salboni, West Midnapore, which would be an extension of an existing sponge iron factory manufacturing TMT bars in which he holds a stake. Dada who has been endorsing numerous brands has been recently roped in as the brand ambassador of BJP-led Tripura Government’s Tourism Department. It may be recalled that just before the assembly elections in West Bengal in 2021, Union home minister Amit Shah had visited Dada’s residence. As of now Dada is very clear that he does not want to align with any political party, at least openly. But, everybody knows of his proximity to the former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI (M).
Siddharth cauvery

Siddharth’s ‘Siddha’, A Film With Message Hounded Out By Cauvery Protesters

Siddharth was addressing the press in Bengaluru, talking about his latest film Siddha, which deals with the incendiary theme of child sex abuse. Suddenly a team of Cauvery activists walked in and literally shooed him out. “Pack up your film promotion. Even as the two states are in headlong confrontation, your Tamil rhetoric is not welcome here“.  A cool Siddharth just thanked the media and walked out. This act of chicanery is shocking in a state run by Congress, best buddies and allies of the DMK, a party that is in total denial that the TN farmers are deeply agitated and frustrated by Karnataka refusing to open the Cauvery hatch. Siddha is a small budget film with a heart rending message in which Siddharth plays the role of a family man taking care of his deceased brother’s 8-year old daughter. How he gets into the vortex of alleged sexual abuse and what really happens to this child is a heart rending story. SU Arunkumar, director of low budget hits like Pannayarum Padminum , Sethupathi and Sindbadhas crafted a meaningful story. And a powerful social message. Shockingly, this political interference in artistic entertainment is condoned by leaders …shows how hollow political alliances and their fulsome social platitudes are, in reality. Who cares if more children are brutally assaulted?
Axar patel_001

Asian Cricket Council

Axar Patel's World Cup Woes!

One can only pity Axar Patel for missing his first World Cup bus because of a left quadriceps tear he suffered during the Super 4 round-robin league of the Asia Cup in Colombo. The left-hander was in the thick of action against Bangladesh with his thigh strapped. He was hit a couple of times in his left and right hand which necessitated treatment on the ground. As a result Washington Sundar made it to the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka in Colombo. On Thursday (Sep 28), the deadline day to effect changes to the 15-member team for the World Cup announced before, the BCCI got to know from Nitin Patel — the physiotherapist attached to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru — that Axar cannot be in action for three weeks at least and so the selectors chose off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in the official squad for the World Cup. Ashwin was always the front-runner, but once he took three wickets against Australia in Indore his selection became inevitable. The reason is that he is more experienced than Sundar who flew to China for the Asian Games and Ashwin flew to Guwahati for the warm-up games. Axar because of his all-round skills was in the original squad announced at Pallekele on September 5. Three weeks later Axar’s World Cup dreams lay shattered. He had played 54 ODIs, scored 481 runs, taken 59 wickets and was viewed as a solid utility player.

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

Politics makes strange bedfellows. The strangest of them may even come together after the big break up that occurred in Tamil Nadu where Dravidian major AIADMK severed its links with the BJP and NDA. It is learnt that long before the alliance was off, Edapaddi Palaniswami (EPS) was in touch with Mallikarjun Kharge about AIADMK seeking admission into the I.N.D.I.A bloc. Apparently, Sonia Gandhi was not for confusing the picture for their supporters and voters by allowing such an alliance. Yet EPS was told to first break free from the BJP and that any offer to join the alliance might be considered in a post-poll scenario. Keeping all his options, EPS is looking to first win a few seats that may be useful post the verdict and then play his cards accordingly. The break from the NDA is final, so far as EPS is concerned. The undisputed leader of AIADMK might even see his hold on the party challenged in the top court by O Panneerselvem who is now looking to confirm his entry into the NDA once he forms his own party that could be named Puratchi Thalaivi Amma DMK. Annoyed by the Big Brother attitude and BJP’s propensity to dictate who all from the former undivided AIADMK may be in the NDA, EPS walked out and created a stir in national politics.
Ajit Pawar_008

Ajit Pawar Taunted By BJP Activist, Gossip Resurfaces

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar is still not acceptable to some BJP workers and leaders, who take potshots at him and his faction of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The latest salvo has been fired by Mumbai-based BJP activist Mohit Kamboj against the deputy CM after one of Ajit’s followers urged Lord Ganesh to make his leader the state chief minister. This clip at the feet of Lalbaugcha Raja became viral and reactions began pouring in. One of them became a sensation as it was posted by Kamboj, who tweeted, “To become the CM, 145 MLAs are needed, not 45.” The reference was to Ajit Pawar’s presumed strength in the state assembly. While the matter of the Ajit faction recognition is still before the Election Commission, its leader Praful Patel has repeatedly claimed that the majority of the MLAs who were elected in 2019 are behind Ajit and not with his uncle Sharad Pawar, the NCP founder. Time and again, gossip surfaces that the BJP is bent upon clipping Ajit’s wings and will not permit him to aim for the top post in the state. On the other hand, Ajit has started holding meetings and touring the state extensively. His detractors claim that he is outshining chief minister Eknath Shinde, whose regime is dependent upon the BJP’s backing. Kamboj has not reacted after the sensation he has created.
naveen pandian

Patnaik Puts BJP, Congress Leaders On The Backfoot, Justifies Extensive Use Of Helicopter By His Private Secretary

After listening to various charges levelled against his private secretary for months, the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik finally decided to give it back to the state BJP and Congress leaders during the monsoon session. The Opposition leaders have constantly been raising the issue of how come an IAS officer VK Pandian is using the state machinery – helicopter — to travel across the state to meet the general public and understand their grievances. This should be done by BJD’s elected leaders, they said. Patnaik, who generally maintains a low profile, finally spoke his mind in the House stating that Pandian was going across the state meeting people door-to-door as he headed the CM’s Grievance Cell. He said as per his direction, during the last six months officers from the CMO visited all the districts covering over 190 locations and in the process collected 57,442 petitions. Of this, 43,536 petitions have been resolved or disposed of. Naveen clarified “this is one of the biggest and most effective peoples’ grievances redressal exercise undertaken by any government in the country thereby justifying extensive use of helicopter service by Pandian and his men. It would have taken one and half years to do the same exercise by road. The Odisha chief minister further clarified that his government was paying the usual market rate Rs 1-1.5 crore a month for hiring helicopters.

Rajkot Setting An Example, Creating World Class Cricket Infrastructure

The Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) has created infrastructure in Rajkot that could be incomparable in India. Perhaps in the world too. The SCA has reason to be a little upset about not being given an ICC Cricket World Cup match — just like the Vidarbha Cricket Association and MPCA  —  and the cricket fan may wonder why Lucknow and Dharamsala are given preference by the BCCI. But what other centres cannot boast about with pride is the practice facilities created at the SCA Stadium at Khanderi on the Rajkot-Jamnagar Highway. The SCA secretary, Himanshu Shah revealed that apart from 26 practice pitches an additional 12 have been created behind the East Stand. The SCA president and former Ranji Trophy captain Jaydev Shah said with pride about a second full-fledged venue 10 km from the Khanderi venue at Sanosaraa and also at Porbandar. The new venue has two grounds and a clubhouse. The SCA will now be the proud owner of five grounds within 10 km of Rajkot and close to 50 practice pitches. All thanks to the senior most Shah, Niranjan who has shown the foresight to create a massive infrastructure for the local talent to use, and venues that can be hired by other countries and clubs to prepare teams. The SCA can look at improving things at the media centre though!

SICCI President Ar Rm Arun

Century Old Trade Body In Spotlight As It Sets Up Core Advisory Council

This is one of the oldest chambers in the country. This industry body is over 100 years old now. The Southern India Chamber of Commerce Industry (SICCI) is indeed an iconic association in Chennai. The SICCI was promoted ostensibly with the idea of serving the Indian business by protecting and promoting its interests at the regional, national and international levels. Indeed, SICCI was the founder-member of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). SICCI saw eminent industrialists from Chennai such as AC Muthiah, MA Alagappan, A Vellayan and like heading it at one point or the other. Ar Rm Arun, son-in-law of AC Muthiah, is now serving as its president. SICCI has chosen to change. This move put the spotlight on the century-old chamber. SICCI has decided to constitute a Core Advisory Council (CAC). More than its constitution, what has surprised many is the power vested with the CAC to oversee the induction/ replacement of the executive committee members. CAC is also sought to be vested with powers to recommend right candidates for top positions at SICCI, which has hitherto been the domain of the board members. Why CAC at all? With CAC in place, what will be the role of the executive committee? Surely, SICCI is set for interesting times ahead.

Actor-Lyricist Pushpa Verma Conferred Doctorate By An American University

She is an actor-lyricist-poet-producer who has deliberately kept a low profile for over two decades now. Meet Pushpa Verma who has contributed immensely to Hindi, Bhojpuri films and TV shows. And finally, the recognition of her outstanding talent did come. The Evaluation Board of the South Western American University has conferred on her with the Doctorate in Fine Arts (non-academic) degree for her creative contributions. It was not an easy rise in Bollywood; it was a hard won struggle. Often fighting against well-known lyricists and music directors as she refused to become a “ghost writer.” She shot into fame for her lyrics Tik tok tik tok darwaaza khulla chod aayi she wrote for Najayaz and the title track for multi-starrer Dharamsankat in which she played a cameo role too. She has played various character roles like mother, mother-in-law, and sister in movies starring Amitabh Bachchan, Nana Patekar, Govinda to name a few. Pushpa who has acted in over a 100 feature films, played the role of Sulochana in the most popular TV serial Ramayana. A regular at the Hindi Kavi Sammelans her poem collections- Khwabon ke Arzoo and Tumahare Liye have won her many accolades from discerning poets. Pushpa who hails from academically strong IPS and IAS family is media shy and prefers her work to speak for her. And it has.
jaynarayan mishra

Odisha Chief Minister & His Private Secretary May Face Jail Term If BJP Voted To Power, Says Mishra

Odisha’s Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra says if his party (BJP) is voted to power in the state then there is a chance that Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his secretary VK Pandian will face jail term. It is indeed a sweeping statement and a reckless one feel seasoned political observers. Patnaik’s track record has been impeccable and he has indeed transformed the state. But what is getting Opposition leaders’ goat is the unbridled power enjoyed by Patnaik’s private secretary Pandian, who many say rides roughshod. Mishra says, IAS Secretary Pandian who hails from a poor family from Tamil Nadu has amassed huge wealth in Odisha. He also charged him favouring Tamil Nadu contractors over the state’s local contractors. Mishra dropped a bombshell saying the killing of BJD’s minister Naba Das was a state sponsored murder. Going further, he even made a more provocative statement stating that “If BJP is voted to power in 2024 both chief minister Patnaik and his private secretary Pandian may face jail term.” Political watchers say given Naveen babu’s bonhomie with Modi these kinds of threats are kite flying, merely to boost the morale of local BJP cadres. Meanwhile, Patnaik is unfazed saying “double engine doesn’t matter, good governance wins” thereby justifying why Odias vote for his party BJD again and again.
Sai pallavi

Fake Marriage Photo Angers Actor Sai Pallavi

The film gossip conveyor belt is on turbo mode getting more ingenious in plating up fake news in authentic garb. This apparent “wedding” photo of popular actor Sai Pallavi is on frantic viewership. Sai Pallavi, the girl who shot to fame in her very first Malayalam movie Premam as Malar teacher is a busy actor in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movies. But she was in for a shock after the muhurat of her new film, SK 21 featuring Sivakarthiketan as hero and directed by Rajkumar Periyasamy (produced by Kamalhaasan). The group muhurat picture was creatively cropped and spread as “Sai Pallavi and Periasamy get married? A furious Sai is now hitting out at such cheap tricks by “publicity hounds”…a possible many who stand to gain. Marriages may be made in Heaven…but in filmdom, marrying off two people with no fear of a backlash is common. Recently, Anirudh , newsmaker musician and Keerthi Suresh were shown to be serious about hitching their stars. Keerthi’s father is busy denying. Trisha Krishnan at 40, single and blazing was also “married” to a Malayalam director. In the bigger scheme of films such publicity is secretly coveted.

Self Goal: Maharashtra BJP Chief Invites Media Ire, Party Embarrassed

Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule has once again put his foot in his mouth by exhorting party functionaries to ‘look after’ local media so that nothing adverse for the party is highlighted. After an expected furore, the former energy minister has tried to cover up by claiming that all he meant was to tell the party workers to understand the media, behave with it respectfully. However, nobody is buying his argument. Bawankule had told a party meeting in Ahmednagar on Sunday, “Take the local press people to the nearby dhaba. Serve tea to them. You must have realized what I mean by tea. In case some assistance is required, the local MP will be available to help.” The print and electronic media are infuriated with him. The BJP has launched the ‘Maha Vijay 2024’ campaign for the coming Lok Sabha election. Under the plan, one Super Warrior has been appointed to take care of four election booths. The campaign in Maharashtra has started from Ahmednagar South LS constituency. It is presently represented by Dr Sujay Vikhe, a scion of the powerful sugar baron family. The meeting was not open for the media but Bawankule’s priceless advice somehow found its way to the social media and provided ammunition to the opposition. The BJP leaders in the state were so embarrassed that it asked Bawankule to use the standard political excuse by saying that his statement has been misinterpreted.
purohit zutshi

Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Chitkala Zutshi

Malegaon Blast Case: Lt Col Purohit Must Pay Ex-Maharashtra Home Secretary Rs 10,000 To Cross Examine Her Again

The special court trying the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case (323 witnesses deposed, 34 turned hostile) recently asked accused Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit to pay Rs 10,000 to Maharashtra’s former Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Chitkala Zutshi. The directive came after Purohit’s (known for connections with pre-independence Chaphekar Brothers gang in Pune) counsel sought to re-examine Zutshi. The good judge cited her concluded cross examination and said, “Why call a senior citizen repeatedly? She has been here, given evidence. If you want to recall her then pay her Rs 10,000.” Zutshi was cross examined over two-and-a-half days over granting sanction to prosecute the accused in September and queried whether she blindly signed the sanction to prosecute? Fully read the case file? Zutshi also cancelled her return flight ticket on occasion when her cross examination lasted one-and-a-half days. When inquired Zutshi, who was literally hostage during the Pakistani terror attack at The Taj hotel in 2008, confirmed that she was yet to receive the Rs 10,000. Back on the night of November 26/27, 2008, Pakistani handlers got wind of her presence and directed the Fidayeen at the Taj terror site to “Take the home secretary hostage. We will be able to free (arrested terrorist) Ajmal Kasab”.Multi-tasker Zutshi informed Mumbai Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor of need for specialized forces, shared contact of erstwhile western command army head Arjun Menon and shepherded 46 international/Indian guests stuck in Sea Lounge restaurant with her, till evacuation early next morning.
Carry on jatta_Maujan

Punjab Film Industry Rejigs Its Strategy, Emulates South Indian Cinema Model

Impressed by the success of south films pan India, the Punjab film industry is thinking of emulating it and releasing all Punjabi films pan India. What has given them confidence to go mainstream is the super success of Carry On Jatta 3 which has grossed Rs 150-crore plus at the box office. Actor-producer Gippy Grewal is planning to release his next film Maujan Hi Maujan in over 150 screens in Mumbai circuit. Like the South industry which roped in north Indian producers and actors like Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt for Bahubali and RRR to gain entry into the Hindi belt, the Punjabis are planning to enlist the support of the Khans to draw the attention of the Hindi movie goers. Salman Khan was at the trailer launch of Maujan Hi Maujan has promised to work in Punjabi films. This cross pollination of stars across the country will give a big boost to the country’s film industry. Aamir Khan was seen at the trailer launch of Carry on Jatta 3. Of course Punjabi comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi had his film Mastney released in Mumbai and the reason was that the subject had a pan India appeal; they wanted the country to know about Punjab’s martyr’s story. Given these new dynamics, it will not be surprising to see SRK come out and support the next Punjabi film. Ironically, Punjabis who dominate Bollywood have not supported movies made in their own mother tongue.
EPS KAnnamalai

Why AIADMK Walked Out Of NDA In A Huff

The now on, now off relationship between BJP and AIADMK see-sawed for over 10 days when criticism and condemnation of the BJP by EPS and cohorts flew thick and fast. The main target is K Annamalai. How can our revered Annadurai whose name is the anchor for our party’s very existence be sullied like this or our beloved Amma insulted? The people of Tamil Nadu will never forgive us if we turn into ingrates thundered party chief EPS; all this after senior party leaders had camped in the capital to meet home minister Amit Shah but, they could not meet even BJP president JP Nadda. One of the reasons for AIADMK walking out of NDA is they asked Annamalai to be replaced. And BJP, impressed by his padayatra, is not ready to oblige. The other reason for breakup, according to a Vikatan source, TN for over 60 years acknowledges only two parties…the AIADMK and the DMK, an almost Pavlovian response to set cues of Dravidian ideology….promises, schisms and caste divides , blame all ills on the prosperous Brahmins. A third dimension, making an impact here has to neutralise this Dravidian rhetoric. But for Tamils, a north Indian power is poison ivy, Hindi allergy and Delhi Sultanate baggage. And most crucial, TN is dreading the post census delimitation which would definitely cut its Parliament numbers.  Also, EPS is rabidly opposing any back room bid by BJP to bring in OPS and Sasikala along with TTV Dinakaran. There lies the rub.
Rahul gandhi_014

Cong In Kerala Amused By CPI's Demand For Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad Exit

Congress leaders from Kerala are quite amused by the publicity and attention that the decision of Kerala unit of the CPI asking Rahul Gandhi not to contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha in 2024. It has triggered speculation whether Rahul would move out of Wayanad and pick a seat in Congress-ruled Karnataka or opt for a safe haven in DMK ruled Tamil Nadu. The CPI’s suggestion has amused the Congress leaders in Kerala who assert that Wayanad has traditionally voted for Congress-led UDF. “What is this peculiar case that the CPI is making? The CPI had contested in Wayanad in 2019 also when Rahul Gandhi had contested and won by a staggering margin of over 4.3 lakh votes. The CPI is free to contest in 2024 also. We want Rahulji to contest again from Wayanad, “said Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala. Party sources said it is important that Rahul contest from here again as he was unseated and it had been restored by the Supreme Court.  In all the three previous elections, the Congress candidate has won from the constituency. In 2019, Rahul’s entry into the Lok Sabha from Wayanad had helped the Congress sweep the polls in the state picking 19 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats from the state as it was widely believed that Rahul Gandhi would become the PM. This time round Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan wants to improve the tally of the Left Front in 2024. There is pressure on it to win 4 seats allotted to it. Rahul Gandhi is unlikely to exit Wayanad.

Madhuri Dixit, Ujjwal Nikam Likely BJP Faces For Lok Sabha Election

The BJP is preparing to give a surprise gift in some Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. Thespian Madhuri Dixit, ace prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, former police boss Pratap Dighavkar and RSS strategist Sunil Deodhar are among the names reportedly discussed between Union home minister Amit Shah and Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis as likely BJP candidates for the coming Lok Sabha election. During their 30-minute tete a tete in Mumbai, the two leaders have discussed some urgent political matters, including the fate of the present Shinde-Fadnavis government in the state. Madhuri and BJP leaders enjoy a close association. Several top saffron functionaries have been meeting Madhuri over the years. Her name was considered for a Mumbai LS seat while Nikam, who successfully appeared for the government in the Mumbai attacks cases, was assessed for Jalgaon in north Maharashtra. A retired top cop, Dighavkar had consented to join the BJP on the condition that he would be fielded by the party from Dhule, adjacent to Jalgaon. Deodhar had structured a winning formula for the Tripura assembly election. In all probability, he will be tested for Pune. Shah was busy performing pooja at various famous Ganesh mandals during his Mumbai visit. After spending time with governor Ramesh Bais at Raj Bhavan and with chief minister Eknath Shinde at his official residence Varsha, he made it a point to bow before Lalbaugcha Raja.
Praful pawar

Pawar Reprimands Praful Patel, Their Picture Together Fuels Guess Work

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Rajya Sabha member Praful Patel has been reportedly reprimanded by his former mentor Sharad Pawar for uploading their picture together in Parliament two days ago. Patel had put the picture on his official X(Twitter earlier) account. The X post became viral as the two NCP factions are battling for recognition before the Election Commission (EC). Now that the EC has scheduled a hearing in the matter on October 6, speculations have intensified. Moreover, as both factions have denied that there is a rift in the party, guess work is in full swing. During the Rajya Sabha special session between 18 and 21 September, Pawar and Patel met in the precinct. The moment was captured on camera and has been used by Patel. It is not clear what response came from Patel when he was asked about the uploading by his former boss. Patel has maintained silence after the political sensation fuelled by him amidst reports that the NCP’s breakaway group’s leader Ajit Pawar has hardened his stand against his uncle, who introduced the nephew in politics way back in 1991. Also, the fact that Patel had been Pawar’s emissary for the past two decades has deepened the suspense about the NCP founder’s future moves. Although Pawar has been active in the I.N.D.I.A front deliberations, his followers are waiting with baited breath for the fallout of the EC’s verdict.
Rafiq kothari

Middle East Investor Picking Up Stake In Chennai-Based KICL?

This was one of the respected industrial houses in Tamil Nadu. Once upon a time, this group was at the forefront leading the State industrialisation. Brothers DC Kothari and HC Kothari were respected names in the Indian corporate world then. Post their demise, Kothari House was in the news for all wrong reasons. An internecine feud broke out between cousins Pradip Kothari (son of DC Kothari) and Shyam Kothari (son of HC Kothari) when Shyam (son-in-law of Dhirubhai Ambani) bought into Pradip-controlled KICL. The dispute between them took legal overtones. In the end, the case went in favour of Pradip. Several years have gone by since then. Today, KICL has changed quite a bit. A new management is in place under the leadership of J Rafiq Ahmed.  Ahmed is firmly in the saddle with his own set of professionals. He is now working hard to bring the yester-year glory back to KICL. As KICL breaks into new areas such as digital, drones, footwear et al, it is looking to attract overseas investors. A leading investor from an oil-rich nation appears to have been impressed by the initiatives of Rafiq Ahmed. A turning point in the annals of KICL appears on the cards! 
Senthil balaji

Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balaji Spends Over 100 Days In Jail, HIs Brother Still On The Run

Till Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji, Stalin’s points man, and serial party hopper hit the national headlines for his arrest on June 13 by the ED, he was only a regional mover and shaker. This talent gave him the heft to party hop. DMK was his fifth hop. TN chief minister MK Stalin honoured him with two critical portfolios — Electricity and cash cow TASMAC. But the laws of nature and physics inevitably bring such a luminary down. The ED’s arrest on charges of money laundering started a newsworthy saga of imprisonment. He had a heart attack, was taken from the Omandurar government hospital (where Stalin visited him) to a private Hospital, rumoured to have had a heart surgery, long and mysterious recovery there and later remanded to custody in Puzhal prison. Jail sources say he is withdrawn and morose. His brother Ashok Balaji still on the run despite ED’s relentless chase; was he a proxy to get his brother?  On September 20, the court denied him the bail and Balaji was remanded to further custody. TN has a tradition of celebrating 100 days run of a film… Balaji has also seen 100 days. Legal opinions aver that if a judge is fully convinced about not finding evidence of guilt in the sections that he is charged, bail is a natural step. Till then he will have to cool his heels.
New parliament_003

MPs Not Happy With New Parliament Complex: Dub It A Convention Centre

While Congress leader Rahul Gandhi may have extolled the virtues of the new Parliament building in the course of his speech on the Women’s Reservation Bill about how “it is quite a nice building, nice peacocks, nice peacock feathers on the ground, nice peacock feathers in the chair… it’s a nice tasteful building” and NCP MP Praful Patel tweeting a picture of himself with Sharad Pawar hailed it as a “marvel”, not many MPs are happy about the new Parliament complex. “It is more like a convention centre than a Parliament and the corridors are too narrow. Even those leading up to the ministers’ chambers are narrow. There is just one entry/ exit point to this building and it gets pretty crowded,” cribbed a healthy MP from Punjab. With long winding corridors leading to the chambers, it is proving to be a long trek for members. MPs are having a problem finding a way out to reach for their transport.  Some male MPs found even the swank toilets too small for use. As for the swish cafeteria that has been built to hold 80/ 90 people, it simply failed to supply even tea when the discussion on Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha was going on up to 11 pm. “The cafeteria is not like the Central Hall canteen that could cater to all 543 Lok Sabha MPs…This can at best be called Modi ka maqbara,” says a Congress leader. This means PM Modi’s favourite architect Bimal Patel could be receiving some flak.

Ash And Washy Get Into The Right-Hand Finger Spinner Fray

The ICC Cricket World is just a fortnight away and most of the teams are girding up its loins to compete hard in conditions that are most likely to show bias to the spinners. Surprisingly though India will be going into the multi-nation event with two finger spinners of the left arm variety and one of the Chinaman — leg spin and googly. A left quadriceps tear to the conventional left-arm spinner, Axar Patel may appear to have kept the door ajar for a right-hand finger spinner to find his way into the team that will be confirmed on September 28, a day after India plays its third and last one day international against Australia. The two contenders are Ravichandran Ashwin who has entered his 38th year but brings in a 113-match experience with 151 wickets at an economy rate of 4.94 an over. He played two matches of the 2011 World Cup that India won and eight matches of the 2015 World Cup. The veteran offy has played only two ODIs in the last six years, missing 122 matches. The second option is Washington Sundar who will be 24 in 13 days; he has played 17 ODIs and has taken 16 wickets. The final call may be taken by skipper Rohit Sharma. The three-match series against Australia will guide Sharma to make a choice should Patel be declared not fit for a competition that will be tough as it comes.

New Twist: BJP Ready To Patch Up With AIADMK

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

Luxury Cruise Service Between UAE And Kerala To Start From December 2023

At a time when Cruise services are turning popular in India, Kerala has found a new way to counter the exorbitant air fares to the Gulf. Come December 2023, Malayali expats can travel home in luxury cruises. The Kozhikode-based Malabar Development Council and Indian Association, Sharjah, have planned to ply private luxury cruises between UAE and Kerala. Each cruise will have a capacity of 1300 passengers and the three day trip will cost Rs 10,000 one-way. Each passenger will be allowed to carry baggage of 200 kg. The fare will be 50% lower than the present average airfare between UAE and Kerala. The associations behind the cruise project, have approached the Kerala Government and the Kerala Maritime Board with the proposal. Once the clearances come through, the promoters will approach the Central Government for a formal approval. The Kerala government had earmarked Rs 15 crore to resolve issues faced by expats travelling between UAE and Kerala. The promoters hope that this money could be used as seed money to start the operations. A vessel currently being constructed at the Cochin Shipyard could be diverted for the project. The Andaman and Nicobar Administration which placed the contract for the vessel has now backed out for unknown reasons.
Sachin begging box

Begging Bowl For Sachin Tendulkar, Amaravati MLAs Novel Protest

Firebrand independent MLA Bachchu Kadu from Maharashtra has organized a novel agitation against cricket icon and Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar for propagating an online gaming company through a TV advertisement. The politician’s organization, Prahar Sanghatana, has kept a collection box called “Bheek Peti” (begging bowl) outside its Ganesh Mandal and declared that the collection will be sent to Sachin in Mumbai. Kadu has repeatedly condemned Sachin’s appearance in a commercial that advertises the online gaming application. He had staged an agitation outside Sachin’s Bandra residence, too. According to Kadu, online gaming is a dangerous addiction, which has resulted in many suicides. It is not proper for Sachin, being a Bharat Ratna, to do such advertisements, the Amaravati MLA said. “We are proud of Sachin as a great cricketer but can’t accept such crass commercialization,” Kadu has emphasized. He declared that he would demand a ban on such commercials and meet the Maharashtra chief minister in this regard soon. Kadu’s agitation has received some support across the state. In Solapur district, he was invited to perform the Ganesh pooja at Akolekati village. After the ceremony, Kadu dropped a hundred rupee note in the bowl and asked his followers to install such bowls at their pandals, too. Kadu said the trend to play online games was increasing with alarming speed and the main victims were the young boys and girls from predominantly poor and lower middle class families.
Parliament meet_002

Law Minister Fact Checks Rahul On OBC Officers, Gandhis Skip The Passage Of Historic Women's Bill

The 128th Constitution Amendment Bill providing for women’s reservations was passed by the Lok Sabha with bipartisan support of 454 MPs. Yet oddly the Gandhis – both Sonia and Rahul — were missing from the House when the historic bill was passed with a thumping majority. Rahul in his speech made one of the weirdest points about OBC reservation and was duly fact checked by the law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal. He raked up the issue of near non-existence of OBCs among secretaries to the Government of India; he said there were only 3 OBCs among the 90 secretaries to GOI today. Rahul charged that “The moment the Opposition raises the issue of caste census, the BJP tries to create a new distraction, a new sudden event so that the OBC community and the people of India look the other way.”  Law Minister, a former Dalit IAS Officer, replied that OBC quota came in UPSC only post Mandal in 1992. Congress sources admitted that Rahul was clearly misguided by his advisors as it takes an officer nearly three decades to make the grade of GOI Secretary. As for the Bill, Meghwal made it clear that the bill had factored in implementation only post-delimitation in 2026 as the Government did not want the law to be “challenged” in courts. Sonia Gandhi in her speech said there should be OBC quota in the bill. Countering her, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey asked why the 1993 law providing for women quota in local bodies had not provided for OBC quota.
Nari Shakti modi

Modi's Counter To Caste Census & Freebie Politics -- Gender Quota By 2029

PM Narendra Modi chose auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi to usher in the Women’s Reservation Bill providing for 33% reservation in Lok Sabha and state assemblies. The bill, called the ‘Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam’ was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Special Session of Parliament that was held in the newly built Parliament complex. The law, when passed, will come into effect only after the next delimitation exercise, which will be conducted after the first census to be taken after 2026. This means that women’s quota will not come into effect by 2024 Lok Sabha elections or even by Delhi assembly polls which is due in Feb 2025. The bill will be effective only by 2029. Yet the bill is being viewed as a perfect counter to caste-based parties in the I.N.D.I.A front that have been pushing for caste census. It is also a perfect antidote to politics of wooing women voters with freebies. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh felt Modi’s move was yet another election jumla.”We have not yet conducted the 2021 decadal census…Will the Census and delimitation be done before the 2024 elections? This is nothing but EVM — Event Management.” He pointed how the Rao Government in 1993 had brought in one-third reservation for women in panchayats and nagarpalikas in April 1993 and because of that there are already 15 lakh elected women representatives in panchayats and nagarpalikas.
Nirmala sitharaman_002

Nirmala Sitharaman Shocks Chennai Media, Gives Tongue Lashing To Stalin Jr In Chaste Tamil

The Press asked for a few minutes when the finance minister was in Chennai. What they got was over 15 minutes of a Nirmala Sitharaman nobody had heard so far in sucker punch sound bites in chaste Tamil. She was taking on Stalin Jr over his comments on Sanatana Dharma. She expressed her angst and anger at this provocative violence in speech, intemperate and insensitive. Almost at the same time DMK MP, TR Baalu had openly chastised Udhayanidhi, even as his father chief minister MK Stalin was present at a DMK meet. Baalu made it clear that indiscretion and verbal bravado would soon bring about retaliation by party seniors. Discretion is the best part of valour, said Baalu. Sitharaman uber cool and calm even as she took on this brash talk by Udhayanidhi said, “Once you have taken an oath as a Minister, you must be extra cautious about verbal violence or instigation to violence. The ultimate punch…they will say let this Pappathi talk (pejorative term used for Brahmin women, contemptuously by the Dravidian parties). The media had a collective moment of total shock when Sitharaman admonished, “The media is quick to pounce on the dare of a UP Baba when he said that he would reward anyone who brought this agnostic’s head. Media, be just…take note of those who threaten others, likewise.”  In just about nine years the FM has learnt the art of neutralising Opposition bullies …using their own rhetoric.
Mamata ultimatum

Didi Gives Ultimatum To Congress, Decide Between TMC And CPI (M) In West Bengal

Following the Mumbai meeting of the I.N.D.I.A., Trinamool Congress has unofficially informed Congress High Command that it will have to decide its ‘friends’ in West Bengal. TMC sources said that the message to the Congress is quite clear that it must choose between the party with a possible 30 LS seats, and the Left with no seats. TMC sources added that it has been conveyed to Congress that if it decides to join hands with the Trinamool, two seats — Baharampur and Maldaha Dakshin would be left to them. At present these two seats are held by Congress with Bengal Congress Chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury winning from Baharampur and veteran leader Abhu Hasem Khan Chowdhury from Maldaha Dakshin. Moreover, TMC will not object if Congress wants to give one to the CPI(M). However, Pradesh Congress sources termed this as the arrogance of party supremo Mamata Banerjee. Incidentally, a senior leader of TMC stated that during the alliance meeting, Didi has made it categorical that specific terms should be followed in the states which do not have alliance. The seat sharing must be decided on the basis of last Lok Sabha seats won, the results of the last Vidhan Sabha polls, three, the results of the last Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls combined. Incidentally, there will be no hassle for 250 seats across the country, remaining seats will have to be decided among various I.N.D.I.A partners.

BJP MLC Remarks Against Pawar Family Angers NCP Ranks

Controversial BJP legislator Gopichand Padalkar’s disparaging statement against the Pawar family has suddenly created another potential explosive situation in Maharashtra, within days of the conclusion of the Maratha caste’s demand for reservations and the resultant agitation. The current fuse for the political outburst is Padalkar’s unsavoury language against Sharad Pawar, his daughter Supriya Sule and nephew Ajit over the Dhangar (cattle shepherds) caste’s demand for reservations and Ajit’s assurance that he would try his best to secure it. Ridiculing this promise, Padalkar described the Pawar clan as wily wolves in an interview that went viral within minutes. Padalkar was once very close to Republican leader Prakash Ambedkar. He then changed his stance and joined the BJP, which has made him a member of the legislative council. An arch opponent of the Pawar family, he had contested one election unsuccessfully from Baramati, the fiefdom of Pawars for decades. Padalkar had also said that his caste did not have faith in Ajit nor did it respect him.  Taking strong exception to Padalkar’s hurtful words, Ajit’s opponents have warned the present ruling alliance that they will not care about their presence in the government if Padalkar was not reined in immediately by deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. “We will assault Padalkar in public, even if he apologizes. That day will come soon,” some of them have threatened.
Jayakumar aiadmk

AIADMK Drops A Bombshell, Says BJP Not In Its Alliance


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

Arjuna Ranatunga Questions Integrity In The Governance Of Cricket

In a leafy Colombo suburb on Friday morning an animated Arjuna Ranatunga dressed in a Sri Lankan-style sarong and Deklo Technology T-shirt talked about Sri Lankan cricket with zeal. The captain of the 1996 World Cup-winning Sri Lankan team — a courageous individual who backed Muthiah Muralitharan to the hilt and who never pulled his punches back on matters — did not have anything tolerable to say about the way the game is administered in his country, and by the International Cricket Council. “I have raised questions on sports, in particular about cricket, a hundred times in the parliament,” says Ranatunga, the 59-year-old who underwent corrective surgery to treat a troubling hernia and shed his heavyweight status. Ranatunga was a member of the parliament and a minister till 2019 and as he says at present he is in the vanguard of a national movement. The daredevil captain who named Aravinda de Silva as the all-time best cricketer, says he does not like the idea of consultants and advisors because they do not have any responsibility.  He is startled by the decision of the Asian Cricket Council to provide a reserve day for the India-Pakistan match and surprised by the silence of the other cricket boards in the ACC. He says it’s the responsibility of the ICC to protect cricket and that more cricketers should be involved in the governance of the sport.
Soumya ranjan patnaik letter

Naveen Patnaik Drops Media Baron From BJD’s Vice President Post, Creates Ripples In Odisha

The recent sacking of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, editor of Odisha’s largest daily Sambad from Biju Janata Dal’s vice president position by supremo Naveen Patnaik has sent a clear signal to party leaders — behave appropriately or face consequences. What does this mean in clear terms? Do not challenge BJD supremo’s decision with regard to governance mechanism or question his decision to bestow powers to his trusted bureaucrat VK Pandian with regards to holding state wide meetings. IAS officer Pandian’s rise has been severely questioned not only from his party members but also BJP’s MP Aparajita Sarangi. Reportedly, BJD MLA and media baron Soumya Ranjan Patnaik was extremely critical of the money spent by Pandian on his state wide tour; he equated the spent with that Chandrayaan-3’s budget. Calling spade a spade in journalistic parlance makes sense but not so in the political world. Media baron Patnaik’s future seems uncertain. He however seems well prepared since he has made the complete circuit Congress to BJP and now BJD. Will BJP welcome him back is the billion rupee question everybody is asking.
NCP flag

Pawar Vs Pawar: Whose Time It Will Be Anyway

Although NCP founder Sharad Pawar has once again adopted a dual stand over the ‘split’ in his party, his nephew Ajit has reiterated that the majority of the party workers and MLAs are with his faction, which is the ‘real’ NCP. Pawar has maintained before the Election Commission (EC) that there is no split in his party and that some of his party colleagues have adopted ‘a different stand.’ Disregarding this argument, EC has decided to begin a hearing over the rival claims from 6 October.  Ajit, now Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister, has claimed that 41 of the 52 NCP MLAs are behind him. On the other hand, Pawar told his supporters that henceforth, his faction will operate as part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi for future elections. His submission before the EC and his assurance to his followers have regenerated confusion about his exact posture. The EC, meanwhile, has informed both that it had concluded that there were two rival groups after considering the matter. The split came to the fore on 30 June when Ajit sought the EC’s recognition of his faction as the real NCP on 3 July, he was sworn in as DCM in the Shinde-Fadnavis government. Since the matter requires a ‘substantive determination’ under the rules, the EC has directed both sides to be present for a personal hearing on October 6.

Is CPI(M) Hesitant To Join The I.N.D.I.A Coordination Committee?

A tough road lies ahead of CPI(M) Politburo at its two-day meeting between September 16 and 17, where it will decide upon its representation at the I.N.D.I.A Coordination Committee. Out of a 14-member committee as decided by the Bloc, the 14th one remained vacant when the first meeting of the committee was held at NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar’s house in New Delhi on September 13 since CPI(M) is yet to give its representation. However, it is known that party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury met Pawar the day after the meeting and discussed the alliance. According to party insiders, the central committee of the CPI(M) held a meeting after the I.N.D.I.A Bloc’s Benguluru meeting, but no name was proposed for the coordination committee representation. Instead, there’s a divide of views where a section of senior leaders feel that the party should refrain from being a part of the committee, another section feels that it should take time to decide upon a name. However, central committee member Shamik Lahiri informed that the name will be finalised in the Politburo meeting itself. Interestingly, some of the leaders from the Bengal unit said that it is difficult for the Politburo to finalize the name by bypassing the Central Committee. In that case, a new debate may be created within the party, at a time when cadres are questioning the party’s decision to be a part of Trinamool Congress ally.
EPS amit shah_002

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

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

Loud Thinking: BJP Can Make Inroads Into Kerala If Sreedharan, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Anil Anthony Lead It

The talk among intelligentsia in Kerala is that BJP can come to power only if the party tweaks its leadership strategy. This new thinking comes close on the heels of Anil Anthony’s — son of veteran Congress leader AK Anthony — elevation as the national secretary and spokesperson of the BJP.  An analyst says Anthony should be assigned the role of introducing Artificial Intelligence (which he has studied and specialised from  a US university) in public services like weather departments, airlines’ air traffic control etc.  Additionally, Anthony along with Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and metro man E Sreedharan should be the core team to make this happen.  This formidable troika, a strong brand by themselves, can give a real run for CPM and Congress considering that Hindus roughly constitute 55%, Muslims 27% and Christians 18% of the total population. But, there is a catch; despite Hindus being a majority the eligible voters’ percentage are not sufficient to form a majority government. Hence BJP will need the support of Christian voters. So the induction of Anil Anthony is timely. He is the son of an honest and straightforward politician. His entry will surely swing significant vote share of Kerala Christians to BJP. The trinity Anthony, Rajeev and Sreedharan can create a significant impact for BJP in the next Assembly election.

Taking Indian Cuisine To Feed The Vikings

India, says Sarita Sehjpal, has given what is probably one of the most important ingredients to the world, crystallised sugar. It was back in the year 290 BC that Greek ambassador Megasthenes reported that people in the India Valley eat honey made by men and not by honeybees, the India-born entrepreneur writes in her new book in Norwegian, Saritas Indiske Kjokken. In those days, they made sugar out of sugarcane, which is native to Papua New Guinea.  Describing her well-researched book as “not only a recipe book but also a history of Indian food, tracing its journey from pre-historical times till today”. Having grown up in Norway she is fluent in the local language, besides Hindi and Punjabi, which were spoken at home, and decided to introduce Indian food to the Scandinavian region. Beginning with selling home-made, ready-to-eat Indian meals in grocery stores in her city of Kristiansand, she built her own brand, SaritaS. Along the way, the minority immigrant has blossomed into a distinguished name in Norwegian society, whose life story is taught as an inspirational biography in an English textbook in Norwegian schools, Step by Step. Her first book, Sarita’s India, was sold widely across Norway and was even nominated for a literature prize. Today, having made SaritaS the biggest Indian brand in Norway, with a portfolio of chilled Indian ready-to-eat meals, Indian sauces, chutneys and the like.
Shekhar sardessai

Goan Entrepreneur Over The Moon As His Company Kineco Goes To Space On Chandrayaan-3

The defining moment started for Shekhar Sardessai, CMD, of the 28-year old Goa-based Kineco Ltd, when the rocket carrying India’s moon lander Chandrayaan-3 took off on 23 August 2023. The next 23 days were very anxious for all 50 people involved in the project.  Having had a long relationship with ISRO, Sardessai and his team should have been more blasé about their latest project, but it was a bag of mixed emotions. Sardessai always had an ambition to be in aerospace and space since 2002, and his first big moment was when we won the bid for supplying 10 antennae for India’s space programme in 2012-13. This project has established the Kineco group’s credentials, rocketing its reputation from being a company that was “too small for this game” to a situation where it is rubbing shoulders with international giants. The opportunities now available to Kineco and other Indian companies are “huge”. This is a very interesting era, in which the next generation of entrepreneurs can give their dreams the power to take them anywhere they want to go.
Modi Mohammed

Saudi Crown Prince Visit Rings Alarm Bells In Konkan, Refinery Project To Revive

Even as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the conclusion of the G-20 Summit, alarm bells have started ringing in Maharashtra’s Konkan region. The reason was the concern over the logical outcome, which signalled the resumption of the plan to set up a mega oil refinery project on the ‘west coast of India’ which in other words could mean the verdant Konkan region. Though the first steps for developing the $ 50 bn refinery project there were taken in 2015, it has been stalled for mainly political considerations. The obstacle was the then Shiv Sena’s changing stance despite its presence in the government. Now that the major fraction of the Sena is sharing power with the BJP in the state, the double-engine push is expected to accelerate the project once more. Wise after the previous experience, the Centre has agreed to set up a joint task force to help in identifying and channelisng the $ 100 bn investments. Both countries have also decided to establish a monitoring committee for tracking the progress of the project. Due to this development, villagers at the Barsu sight in Ratnagiri district have started voicing their opposition to the project. However, no major political party has as yet come forward to support them. 

Why King Khan Will Continue To Rule The Roost

Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan is creating records at the box office. The audience has connected with the film as it has raised all the relevant points that the Opposition parties have been asking the Modi government. A WhatsApp message has gone viral saying how the movie is a campaign for the Congress party. Jawan was released at a time when the whole world was busy with the G20 Summit. To avoid any backlash like Pathaan, SRK played it smart by congratulating PM Modi for the success of G20 Summit. Those in the trade feel it is too late for politicians to do anything now as Jawan has turned out to be a tsunami at the box office. The Badshah of Bollywood has made a big comeback and is not going anywhere for the next 10 years. The kind of subject he has chosen gives him ample scope like Rajnikanth who continues to rule the roost at 72. On a personal level, SRK is a hurt man after what happened to his son Aryan Khan in the drug case and the way the media hounded him. Post that he has kept the media at arm’s length. Of late, he prefers to connect with his audience through appearances at Mannat and social media. In the case of Jawan his move to get an accomplished South director, Atlee has enabled him to create an impact in the South.
AR Rahman


No Symphony: AR Rahman’s Concert In Chennai Turns Into A Nightmare Stampede

AR Rahman, the slumdog millionaire and Oscar holder dreamt of a grand music concert, planning to belt out his immortal songs in Tamil to delight a mammoth crowd. Passionately he named the concert Marakkuma Nenjam(will this heart forget). Sure enough the 50,000 odd crowd that pushed into the venue which could accommodate just 20,000 ticket holders swear they would never forget the stampede, women and kids screaming in alarm, people pushing their way through and genuine ticket holders of Rs 5000 left high and dry, unable to get to their assigned seats. The blame game is in full swing…most blame the organisers ACTC events who seemed to have only focused on raking in the money at any cost. The sound system was so poor that even those near the stage could not hear much. People in the know are putting the onus squarely on the maestro himself for trusting an event organiser like ACTC. Incidentally, the maestro himself was grounded in the traffic grid near the venue. The negative publicity saw Rahman tweeting, “Dearest Chennai Makkale, those of you who purchased tickets and weren’t able to enter owing to unfortunate circumstances, please do share a copy of your ticket purchase to along with your grievances. Our team will respond asap.” Will this tweet be music to the ears of Rahman’s fans? Not really.

TVS Settlement Model: A Successful Template For Other Business Families To Follow

Tamil Nadu is known for its iconic business families. TVS, Murugappa, Amalgamations, Rane, Spic et al –  the list can go on and on. They are to a large extent responsible for the early industrialisation of the state. The foresight of the elders of these industrial houses has pushed Tamil Nadu into the national forefront. Of course, many multi-nationals have come into the state since then. But these traditional industrial houses have to tackle a problem of an unusual kind. When families expand, fissures creep in. How best are these handled? That is indeed a big challenge. In the not so distant past, the Murugappas have put an end to the internecine quarrel with a female member by penning a peace accord. Some months ago, the four branches of the illustrious TVS group legally went their own ways in an extraordinary arrangement. The Murugappas perhaps are likely to follow the TVS template. What is this TVS model about? According to grapevine, the key to the TVS model is the generosity of big members (in terms of their market capitalisation) who chose to adequately compensate others who were managing businesses that had inherent growth limitations. The early apportionment of businesses among different branches allowed some to get high growth fields and others not-so-high growth businesses. The appreciation to erase the initial disadvantage is the stand-out feature of the TVS model.
Abhishek Kant

Delhi Declaration: Sherpa Amitabh Overshadows MEA, EAM Jaishankar Makes Amends

India’s sherpa for G-20 Amitabh Kant seems to have got into trouble for trying to project the G-20 Delhi Declaration as a personal achievement, nearly overshadowing the role of the MEA and the external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Of course, he did attribute the role of four key MEA officials who worked with him on the draft declaration and had helped him negotiate with other countries, but eventually he ended up claiming MEA’s effort as all his own. At least from the way he was seen making his point in the media — how he was awake till 4 am to finalise the draft, it may seem he was the only man on the job. It first started off with a tweet that Kant put out on September 9, the day the G-20 Delhi Declaration was accepted crediting the IFS officers who worked with him. Kant was all over the media and in the social media space, much to the surprise of the MEA too. The Congress, which was disappointed by the success of G-20 Delhi Declaration, decided to focus on sherpa Kant rather than the political leadership of both PM Modi and Jaishankar. Singling out Kant for praise, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor noted “Looks like the IFS lost an ace diplomat when you opted for the IAS!” but generously acknowledged that it was “A proud moment for India at G20!” With things getting uneasy with the MEA, Kant clarified a day later to Tharoor how it was “not about IAS or IFS. It is about working as a Team for the country.” Now to bring MEA’s perspective about its role in G-20, Jaishankar is back again making his points.
poll finger

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

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


Rahul, Virat And Kuldeep Rock & Roll Against Pakistan

There was so much joy in the end after the rock and roll display by Virat Kohli and KL Rahul and thereafter by the Chinaman practitioner Kuldeep Yadav with the ball that cut Pakistan to size in the Asia Cup match at Colombo on Monday (Sept 11). India trounced Pakistan by 228 runs. India’s 27th win against Pakistan by runs. It was also India’s fourth win against Pakistan starting from the Asia Cup in Dubai five years ago. The big win at the rain-hit Premadasa Stadium helped Rohit Sharma to maintain a clean slate against Pakistan: 3 wins out of 3. It was not merely the emphatic victory, it was the way India’s batters went about repelling the rival team’s pace pack that had troubled India in Twenty20 internationals in recent times. Left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi had become sort of a bête noire, but for two days in a row, India’s top 4 sent him packing with Sharma flicking him for a first over 6.  Aspersions were cast on Rahul’s selection of Rahul for the Asia Cup and the ICC Cricket World Cup after he had gone down in an IPL match on May 1 and his thigh needed to be set right. An eleventh-hour inclusion after Shreyas Iyer complained of a back spasm, Rahul deployed his multi-faceted skills with the bat to stage a comeback with a bang, as they say; with a score of 111 not out!
Shinde fadnavis pawar

Maharashtra Government To Outsource Staff Recruitment, Protests Likely

The Maharashtra government has decided to expand the scope of its scheme to recruit employees at various levels through private agencies to supply skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled workers. The decision has come in the midst of an agitation that has been going on for the Maratha caste’s demand for reservations. The government had awarded a similar tender to two agencies way back in 2014 for three years. The decision has the backdrop of the swelling expenditure on government establishment by outsourcing as much staff as possible so as to divert funding toward developmental purposes. Presently, the burden of staff salaries and pension payments is approaching alarming levels. Hence, now nine agencies have been authorised to supply a wide range of workers. They will include personnel like project coordinator, engineer, teacher, content writer, clerk, librarian, telephone operator, driver, carpenter, gardener, lift operator, sweeper and peon, to name a few. The government will have to face stiff opposition owing to this decision as no reservation will be provided for in the outsourcing. Moreover, some of the nine firms selected for the purpose are ‘outsiders,’ another reason for a potential protest. The government has stated that salary for each post has been determined and the agency concerned will be permitted 15% commission for each such recruitment. The decision will apply to all the establishments under the state government as well as to local self-governments and its corporations.
Jagan arrest

Chandrababu Naidu’s Arrest: A Game Changer In Andhra Pradesh Power Balance?

Much as the ruling party, Jagan Mohan’s YSR Congress wanted to make former Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s crack of dawn arrest look like a logical move to punish him for corruption in the Skill Development case, the TDP leaders and political analysts are convinced that this whole thing was planned and executed to coincide with AP chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s sojourn in the US. Even as he was remanded to 14-day judicial custody, Andhra erupted into angry protests by TDP cadres who also called for bandh. Actress Roja the firebrand YSR Congress distributed sweets celebrating Babu’s arrest. Not that Naidu has the image of an unsullied political saint ….after his election loss, he has been fighting a running battle with YSR, trying to cadge favours from the BJP, and simultaneously trying his luck for Congress support — classic case of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Is Jagan’s intent to make him an untouchable for the BJP? The I.N.D.I.A bloc has immediately condemned the arrest and professed their sympathy. Telugu star and JanaSena Party founder Pawan Kalyan showing his solidarity to Naidu protested by sleeping on the road as he was denied entry into Andhra. AP is on high alert as TDP cadres are baying for blood, it could turn violent. The moot point is will BJP align with Naidu’s party after such negative publicity?
Manoj Jarange

Maratha Reservation Demand Stir Roasts Its Caste Leaders

The agitation for effecting reservations for the powerful Marathi caste in Maharashtra has started roasting senior leaders belonging to the caste. The latest target was former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, who had to face angry protests at Dharmabad in his home district, Nanded. Over the past few days, the agitation has been spreading to different towns in the state. On the other hand, the state government is witnessing another powerful group, of the OBCs, which has warned it that the existing reservation quota of the OBCs must not be affected in any manner in a bid to accommodate the Maratha caste’s demand for reservations. Several rounds of talks have taken place between the government and the protests led by Manoj Jarange in a Jalna district village. The protestors have been livid since the very leaders who enjoyed power for the past several decades but could not grant the reservations are now trying to grab the headlines by expressing their support for the Maratha demand at this juncture. Meanwhile, former home minister Anil Deshmukh, a NCP leader, has expressed opposition to the suggestion that the Maratha demand for the reservations should be adjusted from the OBC reservations, prevalent for a long time. His stance is said to be reciprocatory of the BJP’s OBC Cell’s similar demand. The reservation for the Marathas, as and when granted in whatever form, is bound to be challenged in court, many organisations have declared.  

G20 Summit: Culture Corridor At Bharat Mandapam

Coming just a day ahead of the G-20 summit, PM Narendra Modi tweeted about India’s leap in financial inclusion, powered by Digital Public Infrastructure! “A G20 document prepared by the World Bank shared a very interesting point on India’s growth. India has achieved financial inclusion targets in just 6 years which would otherwise have taken at least 47 long years. Compliments to our robust digital payment infrastructure and the spirit of our people. It is equally a testament to rapid progress and innovation.” Interestingly various exhibitions at Bharat Mandapam, the venue of the G-20 summit to showcase India’s technological prowess and innovation will offer a multitude of unique experiences to showcase a unique international project — ‘Culture Corridor – G20 Digital Museum’. The Culture Corridor will celebrate the shared heritage of G20 members and 9 invitee countries. The Digital India Experience Zone will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the power of technology being implemented by India first-hand. The Zone will provide key insights into the crucial initiatives of Digital India such as Aadhaar, DigiLocker and UPI. The RBI will display cutting-edge financial technologies at the G20 Summit, showcasing their potential to revolutionise the financial landscape. UPI One World is UPI designed for inbound foreign travellers who do not have bank accounts in India. Foreign nationals can open a Prepaid Payment Instrument linked to UPI to experience hassle-free and secure payments during their stay in India. Delegates will be boarded on UPI One World. Their wallets will be pre-funded with Rs 2000 which they can utilise as they desire. 


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.