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Jutsice Chandru committee (1) (1)

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

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The online gaming industry may be in for a rude shock as the Tamil Nadu government seems bent on banning any site offering online gaming with a stake. By stake it means money you pay to place a bet. The government, worried over reports of suicides due to debt problems of some addicted gamers, had appointed a committee headed by retired Justice Chandru of the Madras High Court to recommend what action to take.  The committee which submitted its report to Chief Minister MK Stalin on June 27, recommended that the government enforce a ban of not only gaming sites but also the advertisements that promote it which are often seen during the cricket telecasts. The problem is that a blanket ban will not care to distinguish between the legitimate e-gaming sites and the gambling sites, including many offshore sites that are operating freely in the internet environment as it exists. The three largest online skill games associations are already concerned over reports suggesting that the GST rates on online skill games are to go up from 18 % to 28 %. Banning by one state could be emulated by other states. Karnataka had been contemplating action on online gambling in which several sites are claiming revenues in excess of Rs 1,000 crore per annum.
Draupadi Murumu (4)

This Droupadi Is All Set To Preside Over Maha Bharat

When BJP announced the name of 64-year old Droupadi Murmu from Odisha as NDA’s Presidential candidate penny and jaws dropped. One of India’s best management minds Prof R Vaidyanathan said: “The choice of Droupadi Murmu is a massive tectonic shift in Indian polity. Mark my words, not many developed nations could have mustered the consensus for such a role model like Droupadi to adorn the Presidential chair”. Murmu, a capable administrator comes from the adivasi Santhals of Odisha with stints as a Minister and later, a Governor. A devoted Sanathana dharmi, the first thing Murmu did was to visit the Shiva temple. Undoubtedly, the polity and power shift is in favour of the OBC’s. The RSS, focusing on the importance of the Vanavasis, set up 600,000 vidyalayas in tribal areas to bring the tribals under the umbrella of education. So the choice of Murmu is a logical step for inclusion. Two significant irritants cast their shadow on the tribals of India –.the Naxalite threat and the Christian Missionary Conversion issue, parading under the euphemism, “Soul harvesting by planting the cross”.  With successive government’s tough stand, the Naxal threat spread over 185 districts has now come down to 25. Murmu is bound to face and preside over more such irritants and challenges as our nation moves up to pole position.
Collage Maker-28-Jun-2022-06

Fotocorp

Will Congress Replace Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot With Sachin Pilot To Quell Dissension?

Looks like the Congress high command may have to opt for leadership change in Rajasthan if it has to halt erosion in the party’s cadre ahead of 2023 assembly elections. Acharya Pramod Krishnam, a close aide of Priyanka Vadra, has openly called for elevating Pilot as CM and a central role for Gehlot. Party sources admit that a groundswell of sympathy is emerging in the state for Pilot, who as PCC chief led the Congress to victory in 2018, but was denied CM’s post. Sources said if Gehlot leads the party to assembly polls, then it’s likely that BJP may sweep the poll. It was felt if Pilot was made the CM, the Congress could somewhat reverse the damage. After all, even state BJP leaders call Pilot “Neelkanth” (swallower of poison). Significantly, Rahul Gandhi recently praised Pilot’s patience at Jantar Mantar. Rahul’s praise seems to have rattled Gehlot which is perhaps why he has begun attacking his former deputy chief minister for taking BJP’s help during his 2020 rebellion. On his part, Pilot continues to play cool about Gehlot’s taunt and takes it in his stride. “Earlier, also the CM had spoken about me saying nakara (useless), nikamma (jobless) and much more. Ashok Gehlot is an experienced, elderly and fatherly figure, if he speaks something I don’t take it otherwise,” he said.
Yashwanth-sinha

Telangana Today

Yashwant Sinha Seeks To Meet LK Advani, Staff Decline Appointment Stating Daughter Pratibha Down With Covid

Before filing his papers for President’s election, joint opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha reached out to BJP veteran L K Advani for a meeting with him and to seek his blessings. The staff of the BJP leader however told Sinha that since Advani’s daughter Pratibha was down with Covid, a meeting perhaps would not be possible now. Interestingly, before the papers were to be filed the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti pledged its support to Sinha. It was also announced that KCR’s son KT Rama Rao would be present. And he did. Prominent among those who joined him to submit his papers included Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel, Akhilesh Yadav, DMK leader A Raja and Tiruchi Shiva, and Farooq Abdullah. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot was also present. However, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha was not represented as Jharkhand’s ruling party is yet to decide on whom to support in the presidential polls. Also present was Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Leader Jairam Ramesh, TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee and Saugata Roy, CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Jayant Chaudhary, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Misa Bharti, Revolutionary Socialist Party’s N K Premchandran and Indian Union Muslim League’s Mohammed Bashir.
Simranjit Singh Mann

By-Election Setback For AAP, Punjab Elects A Khalistani Backer To Lok Sabha

Normally, in by-elections ruling parties tend to have an advantage. This was seen in the manner in which BJP clinched the two Samajwadi Party (SP) bastions of Azamgarh and Rampur in Lok Sabha by-polls in Uttar Pradesh (UP). However, what came as a surprise was that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lost Punjab’s Sangrur Lok Sabha seat — a parliamentary constituency, vacated by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, in less than four months after it swept to power in the state. While the two Lok Sabha seats in UP were previously held by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav (Azamgarh) and senior SP leader Azam Khan (Rampur), the Punjab seat considered a stronghold of Mann has gone to an avowed Khalistani supporter Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) candidate Simranjit Singh Mann. AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha, however downplayed the loss by pointing out that “AAP had retained its vote share with a meagre fall from 37% to 35% and all other parties INC, SAD (Akali Dal) and BJP lost deposits.” The BJP’s tally of Lok Sabha seats in UP has risen from 62 to 64, while the SP has been reduced to three seats. Though the BJP bagged the Rampur seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it lost the seat in 2019. Interestingly, Akhilesh Yadav had stayed out of campaign in Rampur while Azam Khan fielded a “weak” candidate.
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Didi Leaves Nothing To Chance, Hits Campaign Trail For 2023 Panchayat Polls

Looks like Trinamool Congress Supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is taking no chance as far as elections in her state are concerned. Panchayat polls are in 2023 but Didi is already in an election mode. She plans to visit every district in the state so as to establish direct contacts with TMC booth-level workers and voters. This early preparation by Didi is for several reasons. First, to take stock of the implementation of her government’s development schemes and glean whether local leaders and administration are working in tandem. Second, to nip factional feuds within TMC. Third, to weed out corruption from the grassroots level. Above all, Didi has recruited a special force from outside to give her reports without dilution of what’s happening within her party at all levels. Didi who kicked off her panchayat campaign visiting the Jangalmahal areas in the Jhargram district is likely to visit all 23 districts of the state. Her one message to her party workers is: ensure panchayat polls are peaceful unlike 2018, which was marred by violence and opposition not allowed to contest. That poll violence cost the TMC dearly in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections where it lost 16 seats – from 38 it was down to 22 seats. This worked to BJPs advantage, winning 18 seats. Didi cannot afford that mistake again.
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Didi Makes Efforts For Opposition Unity But Doesn't Get To Preside Over High Table

Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has had a tough time in forging Opposition initiatives to finalise a candidate for Presidential elections. Even as Yashwant Sinha quit TMC to please Left parties that found it difficult to back a candidate affiliated to a political party, Didi was quite stumped by her efforts to get NCP chief Sharad Pawar to be first a candidate and later to even attend the initial round of meeting she had called on June 15. Pawar’s presence was important for her to forge Opposition unity but for some reason the NCP chief was reluctant to take any lead. Didi had to persuade Supriya Sule and Praful Patel to ensure that the veteran leader was present at the event. Mamata even called on Pawar at his residence along with her nephew Abhishek on June 14. Yet in spite of her extra efforts, not all non-BJP parties turned up. Parties like AAP and TRS gave it a miss while the Left was critical that the meeting was held at short notice. Leaders of regional parties seemed more worried about their worth in 2024. At the meet Pawar surprised Mamata by ruling himself out of the contest right at the launch. This wasn’t how Mamata had planned. So finally on June 21 when Yashwant Sinha’s name was finalised at the Opposition meet, 2nd round, Mamata chose to skip it. 
OPS

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

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

MLC Polls: Defeat Of Dalit Leader Handore, Snub To Mallikarjun Kharge And Message To High Command, Feel Congressmen

The defeat of Congress’s first candidate in Maharashtra Legislative Council elections — Chandrakant Handore– and victory of second candidate Bhai Jagtap by eight votes reflects more poorly on vote management by senior ministers Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat, who is also PCC chief. Party sources feel defeat of Dalit leader Handore, who was to get first preference votes, was a shocker and, fear it would have implications in the Mumbai civic elections. Handore’s defeat also reflected the mood of MLAs who did not like the way party affairs were being managed. Sources said Handore’s defeat was a snub to Rajya Sabha Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge. Apparently, state leaders were irritated by the way Kharge got around to pushing for neo-Buddhist candidates in every election. Once it had even cost the party post of deputy chairman in the Legislative Council in 2018 as he insisted on the late Sharad Ranpise’s candidature. Many in the party feel the defeat of Handore is also a message of Maharashtra Congress to high command for imposing non-Maharshtrian candidates for Rajya Sabha in the past three consecutive elections — Rajiv Shukla, P Chidambaram and now Imran Pratapgarhi. Post Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde revolt, senior Congress leader Anant Gadgil feels Congress should have never joined the Government. “I had told Ahmed Patel in 2019, let us provide outside support to MVA,” recalls a vindicated Gadgil.
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Amidst ED Summons To Rahul Gandhi, Ashok Gehlot Emerges As Troubleshooter

Former Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda has been sulking ever since his arch rival and fellow Jat leader Randeep Surjewala got elected from Rajasthan as Rajya Sabha MP and he couldn’t get anyone elected from Haryana. So when Congress high command initially dialled him to make protests in Delhi and at Jantar Mantar over summoning of Rahul Gandhi by the ED a success, a miffed Hooda told them to take help of Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot who had ensured election of three Congress RS MPs. Hooda’s refusal made a desperate party leadership to send out a message to summon Rajasthan MLAs and party workers to reach Delhi to block streets on June 20 — Rahul’s fourth day at ED headquarters. But then it seems after initial reluctance, Hooda relented; his supporters not only made the protests a success in Delhi, Hooda himself turned up at Jantar Mantar. Meanwhile, party sources admit Gehlot had emerged as a troubleshooter in the Congress and he has been carrying messages on behalf of party president Sonia Gandhi. She wanted Ghulam Nabi Azad to handle the AICC Organisation — something he had managed in the 80s; Gehlot reached out to Azad who declined saying it must be given to younger people. He also pacified a miffed Tariq Anwar. Both Azad and Anwar were hoping to get a RS berth.
Retiring Indian High Commissioner UK, Gayatri Issar Kumar

L to R: Retired Indian HC Gayatri Issar Kumar, Lord Karan Billimoria, Bangladesh HC Muna Tasneem & Sujit Ghosh Acting Indian HC

London Calling Indian Business And Netas, UK Is New “Summer-Capital” Of India

Retired Indian High Commissioner to UK Gayatri Issar Kumar at her farewell hosted by the Indian Journalists Association there said in lighter vein that London looked like India’s new “summer capital”.  There is a ring of truth to what she said. Post Covid, no sooner were travel rules relaxed than there was a beeline of ministers, bureaucrats, businessmen air dashing to London. Union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Telangana’s IT Minister KT Rama Rao, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Salman Khurshid landed here in quick succession to engage with the Indian diaspora. Goyal’s frequent visits and systematic follow-ups were to generate investments through government bonds and expedite progress of FTA, slated to be concluded by Diwali this year.  Senior BJP leader and RSS ideologue Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who is set to visit London, is scheduled to address Indian groups and includes the Overseas Maharashtrians Professionals and Entrepreneurs Group. India’s growing soft power is the message. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also plans to visit London.  Sometime in July, the Chief Justice of India and law department secretaries have their scheduled visits and public engagements. And finally, the Commonwealth Games will likely see the entire sports lobby from India travelling to the West Midlands in the UK. Clearly, London is not just a summer capital. Indian business and politics seems to evolve and revolve around it.
EPS and OPS

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

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

INC.IN

Convalescing Cong Chief Sonia Gandhi To Miss June 23 Date, ED Will Just Have To Wait

So now it is quite obvious that when Congress President Sonia Gandhi avoided the first ED summons in the National Herald case on June 8 citing COVID, it is clear she wasn’t suffering from it. A party statement  now has claimed she was  admitted to the Sir Gangaram Hospital on June 12 citing “profuse bleeding from the nose” where she  is currently being treated for a fungal infection detected in her lower respiratory tract, along with other post-COVID symptoms. That it is not COVID became clear by the manner in which Rahul and Priyanka were regularly visiting Sonia in the hospital. She underwent a related follow-up procedure on June 16 morning. “She continues to be under close observation and treatment.” It seemed very odd that a medical bulletin on Sonia’s health should be issued by the party, instead of the hospital. Of course, the statement was carefully worded, loaded with medical terminology to help Sonia avoid her June 23 date with ED. Towards this end new AICC media head Jairam Ramesh has done a thorough job. Yet, it is surprising why the hospital did not issue a health bulletin on Sonia? This is generally the practice most hospitals follow whenever well-known political leaders are admitted under their care.
kcr

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

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

Nadda Puts Bengal Bifurcation Plan On Hold, Don’t Press For WB Divide in Public For Now, BJP Leaders Are Told

BJP has woken up to the harsh reality of difficulty in dividing Bengal politically. This realisation saw BJP Chief JP Nadda telling partymen not to rake up the Bengal bifurcation issue in public. Some BJP leaders were pushing for a separate state/Union territory status for North Bengal from the state’s western plateau. This change of heart comes even as TMC postures on unity in political diversity making BJP top leader thinks it is inopportune time to be treading on the statehood landmine and getting perceived as dividers of Bengal. BJP’s MLA numbers are down owing to cross-overs to the TMC. Nine local BJP MLAs have written a letter to Nadda expressing displeasure over recent organisational changes in the state. More importantly, with the Presidential election in July, 2023 panchayat elections and 2024 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s top brass won’t risk slicing Bengal politically for the time being. BJP has also realised that there is no common cause among political parties in North Bengal. “The splitting of Bengal is far from being over, BJP has pressed the pause button for now”, analysts say. So, for now the party is focussed on consolidation fearing its anti-Mamata and divide Bengal politics may boomerang.
Sharad Pawar

NCP.org

Pawar's Play At Work, Change Of Guard In Maharashtra?

A lot of meaning is being read into the way NCP Chief Sharad Pawar praised BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis for winning all the 3 seats his party contested. Pawar praised Fadnavis for succeeding in working the “miracle” of weaning away independent MLAs from rival camps using “different means”. He said that there was nothing shocking in the election results, in which a Shiv Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar lost to BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik. “One has to accept the miracle in which BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis succeeded in weaning away independent MLAs and also those from smaller parties, who would have otherwise supported the MVA. He was successful in bringing people (independent MLAs) close to him by using different means,” said Pawar. Congress sources said the two AIMIM MLAs who extended support to the MVA Government didn’t vote for Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar but only Cong-NCP.  Sena MP Sanjay Raut, who scraped through the polls, however down played BJP’s accomplishment. Political buzz is that the NCP could soon stake its claim to lead the government in Maharashtra. It is being said Pawar would like to see his daughter Supriya Sule installed as the state CM. The MVA Government under Uddhav Thackeray has completed two and half years in office. Guess it must be NCP’s turn now at the top.
Imran Pratapgarhi

Imran Pratapgarhi, The Elusive Poet-Quawwal Who Acted Pricey With Maharashtra Congress Faithfully Voted To Rajya Sabha

Maharashtra Congressmen simply cannot get over the fact that they had to elect AICC minority cell head Imran Pratapgarhi to the Rajya Sabha. It was a tough call to elect an outsider for the single seat that fell vacant in the state. But then it was a whip from Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.  So all the 44 MLAs duly voted Pratapgarhi. Yet what is riling many party seniors is how Pratapgarhi, a well-known poet-qawwaali singer, had played hard to get during the 2019 assembly election campaign. State party managers recalled when asked to do some shows in Muslim-majority pockets in western Maharashtra, the snooty poet had quoted Rs 2 lakh per show. It was a price the state unit found too high to afford. Pratapgarhi had lost from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Today, Maharashtra has quietly sent him to Rajya Sabha, hoping he may not send a huge bill for the campaign again. In this context, old timers recall how when veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad was sent to the Rajya Sabha for one term in the 90s there was a howl of protest. That too after he had already been twice elected to Lok Sabha from Washim in Maharashtra.
Jagan Reddy with Narendra Modi sent via email

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

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

After Nupur-Jindal Loud Thinking Courts International Ire, BJP To Monitor Spokepersons, Mind Their Language

Post the embarrassment of fire-fighting utterances of the now sacked party voices Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, the BJP has come up with new guidelines for its spokespersons appearing on TV shows. As per the new guidelines, only the official spokespersons and panelists will now be allowed to appear on TV debates. The party’s media cell has been charged with assigning spokespersons for the talk shows on TV channels.  The party will once again go back to the old system when spokespersons were briefed by senior leaders or ministers such as the late Arun Jaitley or Sushma Swaraj. Looks like the media cell will once again be guided by senior party leaders or ministers.  For a while spokespersons have been operating autonomously, relying on their own understanding of the subject. The media cell has been sorely missing critical inputs of someone like Shrikant Sharma — now a minister in the Yogi Government — who used to give briefs to spokespersons before they went on air. Sharma used to ensure that no one crossed the line or made any controversial comment.  As per the new advisory, spokespersons have been advised to research on the topic of debate before they go on air and prepare themselves keeping in mind the party line.
tks Elangovan

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

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

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

Vajpayee’s Former Speech Writer Sudheendra Kulkarni’s New Political Tryst, This Time With Congress As Strategist?

Ever since election strategist Prashant Kishor walked out on the Congress, many tried filling into his shoes. Even his understudy turned rival, poll strategist Sunil Kanugolu has now become part of the Congress task force for the 2024 general elections. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi constantly seeks someone to give him an edge over PM Narendra Modi. It is in this light that a recent tweet by Sudheendra Kulkarni caught the attention of Congressmen in Karnataka. On May 22, Kulkarni tweeted that he had conducted a training camp for Congress karyakartas in Bengaluru in Sarvagnangar assembly constituency of party MLA KJ George. IIT-Bombay educated Kulkarni was a speechwriter for former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee. A native of north Karnataka, he also handled senior BJP leader LK Advani’s 2009 election campaign. He is credited for Advani’s praise of Jinnah’s speech in May 2005 during the Pak visit. Congress sources say Kulkarni is yet to join the party. Kulkarni was a student of Jairam Ramesh’s father at IIT, Bombay and it is possible Jairam may have introduced him to Rahul Gandhi. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, after BJP failed to win, Kulkarni exited the BJP.  Then, BJP leader Muktar Abbas Naqvi had said Kulkarni was never a member of the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi

RaGa Condoles Moose Wala Family, Visits Late Singer’s Home Town, Ignored Priyanka Vadra Supporters Frown

Days after popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala was murdered, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited his family in Mansa district on Tuesday, June 7, to offer his condolences. Sidhu Moose Wala had joined the Congress in December 2021 and unsuccessfully contested from the Mansa seat in the 2022 Punjab state assembly elections. Rahul’s visit to the singer’s family in their native village of Moosa was interesting in the backdrop of Moose Wala’s parents meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah on June 4 at Chandigarh airport. At the meeting, Moose Wala’s father Balkaur Singh had demanded a probe by central intelligence agencies into the brutal murder of his son in Mansa on May 29. Rahul Gandhi was abroad at the time and returned over the weekend. His sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also planned to visit the Moose Wala family. But it was finally decided that it would be Rahul. With a number of Congress leaders joining the BJP in Punjab, Rahul’s visit to the state assumes importance, party sources said. Rahul was accompanied by several Congress leaders including Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and LOP in the Punjab Assembly Partap Singh Bajwa. Yet some MLAs, apparently those close to Priyanka Vadra, like Suhkpal Singh Khaira felt miffed as they were not included in Rahul’s itinerary.
NAVEEN PATNAIK

Shock Therapy Or Winning Strategy: Naveen Patnaik’s New Cabinet Has Young Women Faces, Eyes On 2024 Polls

Playing a master stroke is a habit with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. But, the latest one caught his band of ministers by surprise. Emboldened by the recent bypoll win in Brajrajnagar and the Panchayat polls earlier, Patnaik did the apparently unthinkable –asking all his ministers to resign en masse on Saturday (June 4) and rejigged the 21-member new cabinet with new faces the next day. Non-performers were shown the door. Surprisingly, Governor Ganesh Lal approved the entire exercise without quibbles. In simpler words Modi’s dispensation did not throw any spanners in the works. Seasoned politicians from Odisha say no Odisha Chief Minister ever, including Naveen’s father Biju Patnaik, had the audacity to do what he did at such a short notice. His decision was with some purpose. Naveen babu clearly wants his party BJD to sweep the 2024 Lok Sabha election in Odisha. To ensure the win, he did away with deadwood, controversial ministers and sycophant advisors. While 20 ministers quit, Naveen gave cabinet berths to only nine. Five women and, seven people elected from western Odisha, considered a stronghold of BJP were also accommodated. Some political analysts are calling it a shock therapy while others are saying it’s Patnaik’s winning strategy. There is no denying that Patnaik remains an undisputable hero for some time to come.
Akhilesh Yadav

Samajwadi Party Proposes Then Disposes Better Halves Of Akhilesh Yadav And Azam Khan For LS & RS Polls Respectively

Array

It seems wives in the Samajwadi Party have lost out on party tickets, whether for the Rajya Sabha or, even for Lok Sabha by-elections. SP men simply aren’t willing to risk their better halves in UP under Yogi. First it was Dimple Yadav, wife of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav who couldn’t win a nomination to Rajya Sabha as the RS ticket went to RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary. No wonder when Akhilesh Yadav met senior leader Azam Khan in the hospital, after the latter’s release from jail, a clash ensued between the two over the question of fielding candidates for two upcoming Lok Sabha by-elections. Akhilesh wanted to field wife Dimple from Azamgarh, the Lok Sabha seat he vacated to retain his assembly seat of Karhal, even as Azam Khan was against it during their couple of hours long meeting. Finally, Akhilesh picked his first cousin Dharmendra Yadav to contest from Azamgarh. Similarly, Azam Khan initially proposed his wife Dr Tanzeem Fatima but, later opted for SP city president Asim Raza for the Rampur Lok Sabha by-polls. “Earlier it was Dr Tanzeen Fatima but Raza will be contesting now. He is one of the loyal workers we have,” Khan said in Rampur. The BJP has fieIded Dinesh Lal Yadav, who is asking for a vote for “your development”.
Ministry of External Affairs

BJP Suspends Nupur-Naveen After Gulf Heat, MEA Stands Up To OIC

A day after receiving flak for all out appeasement of Gulf countries and suspensions of BJP spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal, over controversial statements regarding a religious entity, India is standing its ground while dealing with the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC). The Ministry of External Affairs on June 6 cited an OIC statement asking it to stop pursuing a “communal approach and show due respect to all faiths and religions”. “The Government of India (GoI) categorically rejects the OIC Secretariat’s unwarranted and narrow-minded comments. The GoI accords the highest respect to all religions,” the MEA statement stated adding that “offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality were made by certain individuals. And that they do not, in any manner, reflect views of the GoI.”  The MEA had earlier referred to Sharma and Jindal as fringe elements on June 5. BJP sources say Nupur, an Arun Jaitley protégé and Naveen Jindal were too ambitious and not in sync with the official party line; while perpetually competing to impress party bosses. During TV debates Nupur flaunted her skills in shaming fellow panellists. Only this time, her one upmanship blemished efforts by the PM to improve India’s ties with Gulf nations. The ‘y’ category security accorded to Sharma, however, remains unchanged particularly in view of threats issued to her.
Sasikala

The Sasikala copycat gesture of Jaya from balcony

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

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

Apex Council Of MCA Upset With Pawar’s Counter Play To Appoint Ombudsman Dilip Bhosale

The Tata IPL-15 came as a welcome breather for quarrelling factions within the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) who shifted their focus to conducting the 21 league matches. The MCA was able to deploy its resources to run the games virtually incident-free. The association earned much praise from BCCI Secretary Jay Shah and Rs 12 plus crore for bailing out the BCCI in these pandemic times. However, an uneasy calm prevails now in MCA’s corridors of power over the matter of accepting Justice (Retd) Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale as its Ethics Officer and Ombudsman (EOO). Multiple sources caught in the vortex of the sensitive matter told shortpost.in that former MCA President Sharad Pawar, who still commands a lot of clout in matters of the association, is in favour of Justice Bhosale’s appointment. He is the son of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Babasaheb Bhosale and a former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.  The reason for rancour is that Justice Bhosale was appointed at an AGM, the present MCA Apex Council had actually called off, but still conducted by a fair number of members, who elected a chair and obtained post-facto validation from senior advocate Darius Khambata. Now, the Apex Council, due for elections in a few months, is showing the barndoor defence to all persuasions!
Arvind Kejariwal

AAP Says Security Withdrawal Just Temporary, Punjab HC Feels Move Unnecessary

Following singer Sidhu Moosewala’s broad daylight murder, the Punjab government has been directed by the High Court to restore the security cover of 424 people, which it had earlier withdrawn. During a hearing in the Punjab & Haryana High Court, the AAP government had claimed it had withdrawn the security of 424 people only for a few days. Responding to a PIL moved by a Congress leader OP Soni against his security down-grade, the government told the court that the security covers of the 424 VIPs would be restored after Ghallughara Diwas on June 6, which is observed as a day of protest against Operation Blue Star. Incidentally, a day before Moosewala’s murder, the AAP government had highlighted it as ‘crackdown on VIP culture’ on social media. But then the government got cornered only because of Moosewala’s death.  In a plea against his security downgrade, Congress leader Soni wanted to know how a report of security withdrawal with a list of VIPs came into the public domain. It is being said that Punjab police is being stretched beyond state borders to provide security cover to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal; also special cover for his key aide for Punjab area — Raghav Chadha.  Chadha, a Rajya Sabha MP almost functions like a de facto Punjab CM.
Aparajita Sarangi

BJP’s Odisha Core Committee, Without Spokesperson Aparajita Sarangi, Seeks Blueprint To Upstage BJD

BJP’s firebrand and outspoken Odisha MP Aparajita Sarangi, who is also BJP’s National Spokesperson, well known for her high decibel opposition pitch against BJD CM Naveen Patnaik missed out on a berth in the BJP’s newly constituted 17-member Odisha Core Committee. BJP President JP Nadda heads the committee. Only long serving senior BJP members with relevant experience apart from others the BJP thinks will add value and insight have been inducted. Some core committee members include: Baijayant Panda, Dr Sambit Patra, Jual Oram, Pratap Sarangi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Ashwini Vaishnaw, Biseswar Tudu, Suresh Pujari, Samir Mohanty and Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo. This Odisha Core committee has been formed to prepare for the 2024 general election. The purpose of this committee is to chalk out BJP’s blueprint for the state to win as many seats from Odisha in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The Committee will sit together, think together and work together taking stock of progress made on a monthly basis. Clearly, BJP has understood the need to reinvent itself since the agenda of criticizing Naveen Patnaik and his party Biju Janata Dal BJD did not cut much ice with the people or even taken them anywhere.
V

After Stalin’s Intemperate Speech, VP Naidu Does A BJP Breach, Eyeing Presidency From Opposition Perch?

On May 26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Chennai, where he launched Rs 31,000 crore worth of centrally-funded projects in Tamil Nadu despite which, Chief Minister MK Stalin tried to humiliate him. Two days later, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu went all out to praise late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi while unveiling his statue in Chennai. As soon as Naidu agreed to unveil the Dravidian stalwart’s statue, BJP cadre had opposed the move on social media. Naidu accepted the DMK invite as it seems the end of the road for him as his term ends in August. The DMK was elated. The party’s mouthpiece Murasoli, in its editorial showered encomiums on Naidu over his speech. The paper also dwelt on Karunanidhi’s long and strong association with Naidu. It said he had replied to the party’s critics during his speech. It recalled his comments when Karunanidhi was arrested in 2001 by the erstwhile AIADMK-led government. It was equally happy that Naidu had taken pot-shots at the step-motherly treatment that the BJP led government was meting out to the state governments led by Opposition parties. “If the States grow, the country grows,” he said.  What does Naidu gain by pandering to DMK? He will never be Modi’s candidate for Rashtrapati.  So, is he trying to position himself as the Opposition candidate for Raisina Road?
Nitish kumar

Why Nitish Kumar’s Caste Survey Doesn't Worry BJP

After an all-party meeting when Bihar CM Nitish Kumar announced a caste-based survey in the state, he appeared a bit triumphant. He could not conceal his happiness that he had driven a wedge between the state BJP and the Centre on the issue. The Centre had expressed its inability to conduct a caste census after the experience of socio-economic survey of 2011 census. He had the satisfaction that Bihar BJP leaders were fully backing the caste survey. Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal denied there was difference between the Centre and the state unit on the caste survey. “Let us get one thing clear: what the Bihar government is going to undertake is a caste survey, not a census. Census comes under the Seventh Schedule and that it falls within remit of the Centre. As for Caste survey, Bihar is not the only state to undertake such a survey. Telangana, Karnataka has already done it.” He pointed out that BJP’s support for the caste survey was incumbent on keeping out Rohingyas and Bangladeshi Muslims. Also keeping out certain Muslims from claiming OBC status. Politically, of course, it is seen that Nitish Kumar has pushed the caste survey idea because the Centre had introduced a quota for the economically weaker section. With the lines of social justice getting blurred among parties, the JDU has been desperately trying to push “contradictions” within the BJP and failing.
Savukku-Shankar

TN Whistleblower Savukku Shankar Makes News Splash, Police Files FIR Then, Backtracks Fearing Whiplash

It is amazing how Chennai-based Achimuthu Shankar has transformed himself from a social media journalist to a whistle blower folk hero. He gained both fame and notoriety as Savukku Shankar, choosing a self-styled sobriquet. Savukku in Tamil means whip. Shankar who started his vigilante career in the TN Directorate of Vigilance & Anti-Corruption, had extraordinary talent to sniff out corrupt deals. Naturally, this angered a vast array of bureaucrats and politicians in TN.  Savukku paid the price; he was jailed and tortured for two months. Currently he is once again in the news for the wrong reasons though. His name along with BJP leader Maridass appear in a hastily filed FIR by overzealous TN police against the 90-year-old media house, Ananda Vikatan and its sister publication Junior Vikatan. Junior Vikatan, a bi-weekly tabloid, exposed the phenomenally murky growth of a real estate conglomerate, G Square, alleged to be close to the first family, which turned sensational. The FIR indirectly warned “zealous “journos and vigilantes of certain Lakshman Rekhas they should not cross. This police action saw journalists across Chennai raising a storm of protest. These protests coincided around the time of the Prime Minister’s planned visit to the state. Top police officials, fearing journalists may greet the PM with black bands, quietly withdrew the FIR against Vikatan Press, Shankar and Maridass.
Rahul and Priyanka

Rahul- Priyanka Pick Rajya Sabha Candidates In Turns, Regional Congress Aspirants Left In The Lurch

There is much disquiet within the Congress over its list for Rajya Sabha elections next month. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra have nixed senior Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, the torch bearers of the G-23 grouping, in their quest for a Rajya Sabha berth from Rajasthan and Haryana. Sharma, confident that friend Bhupinder Hooda would get him elected to RS finds himself stranded, as Rahul has thrust AICC in charge of Rajasthan Ajay Maken, who partly handled Punjab upon Hooda. Chattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel, who publicly pitched for Priyanka as a RS candidate was told to get Rajiv Shukla elected. Party sources say Baghel’s aversion to giving another term to retiring MP Chhaya Verma had prompted him to accept the Bihari candidate Ranjeet Ranjan. Of the 10 candidates, only P Chidambaram is contesting from home ground Tamil Nadu. Priyanka has imposed Imran Pratapgarhi, an AICC Minorities Cell chief, a young rabble-rouser from UP on Maharashtra Congressmen. Priyanka also sent another favourite from UP Pramod Tewari to Rajasthan. Rahul got fanboy Randeep Surjewala a RS berth from the same state. All this rush made Sanyam Lodha, an MLA in poll-bound Rajasthan to raise the son of soil bogey. AICC functionary Jitendra Baghel wants a break-up of candidates as the UP BJP list represents an array of castes.
Nitish Kumar

JDU Union Minister’s Proximity To Modi Gives Nitish Kumar Heartburn, Bihar CM Denies RCP Singh Third Rajya Sabha Term

Bihar politics is apparently on the cusp of an implosion with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar refusing to nominate to Rajya Sabha Union Steel Minister RCP Singh, his one-time number two in Janata Dal United (JDU). By denying Singh a third term in Rajya Sabha, Nitish has ensured that he will have no one from his party in Narendra Modi’s cabinet.  With RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav further getting embroiled in the IRCTC scam and the CBI registering FIR against Lalu Prasad Yadav his wife Rabri Devi, daughters Misa and Hema, for taking land from candidates in exchange for jobs in Railways between 2008-2009, Nitish Kumar’s option of walking out on the BJP to join hands with a tainted RJD also don’t exist. At present, his party with 44 MLAs is supported by BJP which has 77 MLAs. JDU sources said RCP Singh got into trouble because of his public praise of PM Modi. “Nitish wants slaves. If only RCP Singh had praised Nitish along with Modi, he would have remained a minister,” rued a JDU leader. Modi may use him in Bihar. Probably why Singh actually expressed his “gratitude” to Nitish after being denied a Rajya Sabha seat. “I am grateful to him. Whatever he has decided is in my interest.” Of the 44 JDU MLAs, Singh holds sway over a majority.
FTiUuataMAE2m11

Another Rajasthan Minister’s Revolt, Seeks Disempowerment From CM Ashok Gehlot, Has Nothing To Do With Sachin Pilot

Is Rajasthan too going Punjab way for the Congress ahead of the 2023 assembly polls? In a grim reminder to what used to be complaints against Capt Amarinder Singh for excessively relying on bureaucrats, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is facing similar complaints from one of his ministers who publicly offered to step down. In a tweet, Sports Minister Ashok Chandna said: “Honourable Chief Minister, I have a personal request to you, that by freeing me from this cruel ministerial post, the charge of all my departments should be given to Kuldeep Rankaji, because anyway he is the minister of all the departments. Thank you.” Chandna’s protest should worry Gehlot as it comes ahead of Rajya Sabha elections next month — he is the second MLA to raise a banner of revolt. The first dissenting note was struck by tribal leader and MLA Ganesh Ghogra who had a row with the state bureaucracy over land deed distribution. Ghogra resigned on May 18 saying that despite being an MLA of the ruling party, he is being ignored. Turbulence in the Congress is of course sweet music to the BJP. Yet it will be important to see how Gehlot survives this attack within. That too when it’s not coming from a usual suspect like Sachin Pilot.
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From Punjab CM Aspirant To Prison Clerk, Inmate Sidhu Will Be Served Rosemary Tea, High Fibre As Per Diet Chart

Former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment for a case of road rage that ended in death of a person, will now be working as a clerk at the Central Jail of Patiala. And believe it or not the test cricketer has to even undergo a training of three months for this job. He will be paid a daily wage of Rs 30-90 which will be credited to his bank account. He will essentially be taught how to brief lengthy court judgments to prison inmates and compile jail records. It might indeed seem quite an effort for a man who wanted to be Chief Minister of Punjab. Yet at the same time Sidhu has been spared the travails of having to eat jail food. That is because of his special medical condition. According to media reports, since Sidhu has been diagnosed with obesity and metabolic disorder such as pulmonary embolism and left-leg deep vein thrombosis, he has been advised to follow a diet chart. He has been advised a high fibre, low carbohydrate and low fat diet primarily comprising fruits and vegetables. Early in the morning, he will be given Rosemary tea, white gourd juice or coconut water, while for breakfast he will be served a cup of lactose-free milk with one tablespoon of flax, sunflower, melon and chia seeds mixture.
ps

Once Again Stalin Will Lay Claim To Sri Lanka’s Kachchatheevu, To Push PM Modi’s Hand On Island Reclamation Issue

India has extended more than just emergency aid, arranged for finance from the IMF, door delivered medicines, foodgrains and fuel to our trouble-torn neighbour, Sri Lanka. The scale of this spontaneous and timely humanitarian aid is now overshadowed by raising the issue of repossessing the Kachchatheevu island, a 285 sq km land area in the Palk Straits, a mere 17 km south of Rameshwaram. In 2013, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a Resolution about reclaiming Kachchatheevu, and now the DMK government headed by MK Stalin is pushing for it. Reason: Recurring skirmishes between the two nations, incidences of arrests of Indian fishermen. They are regularly detained and punished by the Sri Lankan Navy. Reportedly, the new Sri Lankan PM is planning to accede Kachchatheevu to India for a 99-year lease. India ceded Kachchatheevu in 1974, but has not succeeded in getting Sri Lanka to sign a mutually advantageous deal. As recently as March 5, 2022, when both countries held a virtual meeting of the 5th Working Group of Fisheries, India requested a humane approach to this issue. It is learnt that during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Tamil Nadu and Stalin may bring this vexatious issue up with him.  
Nitish Kumar

Caught Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea, Nitish Kumar May Lose Bihar For Courting Lalu Prasad Yadav!

Bihar is undergoing political sickness, with the BJP and JDU drifting apart. The alliance came apart due to Nitish Kumar’s newfound love for Lalu Prasad Yadav. CBI raids followed and recovered hard evidence against the Yadav family, in the land-for-railway-jobs scam. The CBI, sources point out, may arrest multiple family members among Laloo’s big family. Tejaswi Yadav was in London with RaGa when the raids occurred. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has felled many birds with one stone, cutting Nitish Kumar down to size for breaking ranks and for sleeping with the enemy is nothing new for him. The CBI actions have cut off political options Kumar planned with the RJD due to the railway scam where job aspirants parted with 5 to 10 bighas of land for government jobs. Clearly, Nitish Kumar finds himself between the devil and the deep blue sea. No Congress option to go to, since Bihar’s Congress party will likely switch over to the BJP with his own party facing an imminent collapse. Shah has underlined his remote control over the Bihar government from New Delhi and emphasized plans by BJP to take over Bihar’s political administration, sooner than later. And the Congress is silent for the moment.
Kapil Sibbal

Twitter

Congress Legal Eagle Sibal To Nest Separately In Rajya Sabha, Finds Independent Support From Samajwadi Party

In a major setback to the Congress, senior leader Kapil Sibal quit the party and filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha as an independent candidate backed by the Samajwadi Party. SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav was present when he filed his papers. Sibal said he now wishes to be an independent voice in Parliament and added that he resigned from the Congress on May 16, a day after the Udaipur Navsankalp Shivir concluded. Sibal is the third Congress leader to quit after Sunil Jakhar and Hardik Patel. Interestingly, Sibal’s move to quit came a day after Congress President Sonia Gandhi accommodated most of the G-23 leaders in two panels she set-up as a follow-up on the Udaipur declaration. Sibal, who was the main brain trust behind the G-23 leaders’ move to demand accountability and transparency of Congress leadership two years ago, had skipped the Udaipur meet. It is being said Sibal was actually spoiled for choice as far as Rajya Sabha seat goes — RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and JMM chief Hemant Soren were both keen to field him. Sonia Gandhi was not keen to sponsor Sibal as party candidate in the wake of his recent public averment on the leadership of the party. Gandhis are presumably upset with Sibal because of the reverses they have suffered in the National Herald case.
Vijayendra

BJP Adheres To One Ticket Per Family Norm, Denies MLC Ticket To Yediyurappa's Son Vijayendra

In a bold move, the BJP national leadership has decided not to accommodate BY Vijayendra, second son of former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, to the Karnataka Legislative Council for the upcoming June 3 Legislative Council elections. The BJP can win four of the seven seats of the Legislative Council for which MLAs will elect the members. The party has picked up former Deputy CM Laxman Savadi, secretary of the BJP state unit Hemalatha Nayak, president of BJP SC Morcha Chalavadi Narayanaswamy and S Keshavaprasad. Interestingly, Vijayendra’s name was recommended by the state BJP core committee. But central leaders decided against it. With one son BY Raghvendra, already a Lok Sabha MP, Yediyurappa himself a MLA, the BJP was not keen to give ticket to one more family member. It was felt Yediyurappa’s every wish had been accommodated – including his close aide Shobha Karandlaje being made a Union Minister. Of course the reason for denying MLC ticket to Vijayendra is because he had been exploring the possibility of setting up a breakaway political group – revisiting Karnataka Janata Paksha set up by his father during 2013 assembly polls. Reports of his meetings with Congress leader Siddaramiah have also emerged. With this action, the BJP has sought to grow out of Yediyurappa narrative. The party is betting on Bommai’s governance and Modi’s leadership.
K C Chandrashekhar rao

@TelanganaCMO

KCR Doles Out Lakhs To Punjab-Haryana Farmer Families, Eyes National Politics During Visit To Delhi

At first it just seemed ambitious Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR, was taking a leaf out of the play book of his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin. Just as Stalin had visited Delhi in April, met with AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal and visited a Delhi Government school to learn about “innovation in education” KCR followed a similar schedule. Except that the Telangana leader added an extra dimension to the Delhi visit — reaching out to farmers. He made pay-outs to families of farmers who died during the course of the agitation against the now-repealed central farm laws. He travelled with Kejriwal to Chandigarh to hand over cheques worth Rs 3 lakh to 24 farmer families from Punjab and five from Haryana. The two CMs were joined by Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann. Would these pay-outs help Telangana farmers? Of course, not. Rao lauded Punjab farmers for fighting the farm laws that were rolled back “If farmers want, they can change government. It is not a big thing. From where the power comes, it comes from us,” he said. Ironically, farmers in Punjab are now up in arms against the AAP Government for a whole range of issues including a bonus on wheat, MSP for maize and waiving of loans.
Semmalai of Salem

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

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

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

Changing names of roads, landmarks is the favourite pastime of Indian politicians. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin is no different. He plans to rename the famous East Coast Road leading to Mahabalipuram to Kalaignar Karunanidhi Road. Questions abound whether Stalin is emulating the BJP that rampantly changed names of places and cities, as Allahabad was renamed Prayagraj, notwithstanding expected protests.  Stalin won’t stop at roads alone, it seems and is striking at the very roots of devotion and the Saivite culture. Thiruvarur Ther is a revered car festival that gained in grandeur and devotion over the ages from the Chola kings’ time, with the chariot of Thiruvarur Thiagaraja Swamy being Asia’s biggest temple chariot at 96 ft height and 300 tonne weight. Stalin plans to change the name of the temple car street from Thiruvarur Ther Veedhi to Kalaignar Veedhi. Thiruvarur is the birthplace of the Carnatic Music triumvirate –Thiyagaraya, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syma Sastri. Thirukkuvalai, in the hinterland of Thiruvarur is the birthplace of the Late Kalaignar. This name change prompted a massive protest rally by the BJP. Seeing the huge round of protest the DMK government decided to dial down for now has put the name change plan on hold. Seeing BJP’s protest a wag commented, sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. True That.
saci4

Centre's Curb On Tanker Operators Drawing Well Water Hits Mumbai's Infra Projects

The recent strike by the 1800-odd water tankers operators in Mumbai (May 9-13) showed how Mumbai city gets its way despite contrary stipulations. The operators had stalled supply of non-potable water to the city following restrictions introduced by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), effective from April 1, 2022.  The new stipulations cap ground water extraction by commercial water tankers to 15 tankers full water per well. Tankers must also fill water within a 200 metres radius of a borewell, set up a digital water flow meter with telemetry and get no-objection certification for water extraction. The water tanker lobby also provides non-potable water for various critical projects in the city like the Coastal Road project (300 tankers of water daily@ 10,000 litres per tanker), Mumbai Trans Harbour project (80 tankers), railways (150 tankers). They also supply water to various building construction sites and hospitals and even residential societies. Not surprisingly, Mumbai was badly hit and the state government intervened assuring them of taking up the issue with the Centre. While CGWB introduced the regulations, it does not even have an office in Mumbai and the penal/ legal action is to be executed by local Collectors, under state government jurisdiction. So, while the regulations stay on paper as of now, the tankers are back on the streets where life goes on as usual.
Priyanka Gandhi

Karnataka Congress Chief DK’s Proposal Catches Priyanka’s Fancy, To Emulate Grandma Indira Gandhi And Rajya Sabha Entry?

Congress leaders from Karnataka are vying with each other to field Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as a Rajya Sabha candidate from the state. While it is unclear whether Priyanka has decided yet, her attendance at the birthday bash of Karnataka PCC president DK Shivakumar at Udaipur, on the last day of Nav Sankalp Shivir on May 15, was an indication. She even cut the cake and handed Shivakumar a slice. Karnataka Congressmen who witnessed the event are certain Priyanka will accept their Rajya Sabha proposal. They want Priyanka’s entry into their state’s politics to boost electoral prospects in the 2023 state assembly polls. “We have enough MLAs to elect an MP,” a senior Karnataka Congress leader said. The BJP declared candidates for all four seats from Karnataka. Priyanka’s baby steps into parliamentary politics in Rajya Sabha would see her emulate grand-mother Indira Gandhi, who became a Rajya Sabha MP, in the initial years of her politics. It is quite another matter that Indira Gandhi represented Uttar Pradesh (between Aug 1964 and Feb 1967) in the Rajya Sabha, served as I & B minister before ascending to the PM’s post.  With Congress winning two assembly seats and registering a mere 2.3% vote share in the UP 2022 polls, Priyanka may feel inclined to venture into electoral polls as an MP in 2024.
Rahul Gandhi.

Miffed RaGa Flays SC Ruling, May Snap Ties With DMK For Felicitating Father's Convict Perarivalan

Rahul Gandhi is apparently upset over the DMK Government’s handling of the AG Perarivalan case. One of the convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, Perarivalan, served 31 years of his jail term before being released by the Supreme Court on May 18. The verdict may pave the way for the release of six other convicts in the case. An upset Rahul asked close aide Randeep Surjewala to issue a statement against the judgement even as he was traveling to the UK to speak at the “Ideas for India” conference and “India @75” at the Cambridge University. Tamil Nadu Congressmen are questioning Surjwewala’s attack on the Modi Government over the case, not DMK.  “At least Delhi delayed it out of respect for Rajiv Gandhi. It is the DMK which has not cared for assassination of Rajiv Gandhi,” said an anguished Congress leader. Congressmen were particularly upset with the manner in which Chief Minister MK Stalin immediately felicitated Perarivalan and his mother in his office. “What was the rush? Does the life of a PM have no value in this country?  If we had any self-respect, we should have snapped ties with the DMK. Why should we cling to them for the sake of a Rajya Sabha seat?” asked a partyman.
Siddhu and Jakhar

For Punjab Congress It’s A Double Whammy, Sidhu Goes To Jail While Jakhar Joins The BJP

It was a double whammy for the Punjab Congress.  First, former Punjab PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu got sentenced to a one year jail term by the Supreme Court in a 34- year old road rage case, after leading the Congress in the state with disastrous results in the assembly polls two months ago, paving the way for AAP’s rule. In an equally interesting development former PCC chief Sunil Jakhar enrolled with the BJP. In a massive setback, Sidhu was forced to surrender before court to serve out his year-long “rigorous imprisonment”. “Will submit to the majesty of law…,” he tweeted. The apex court was responding to an appeal against its own order of 2018 which set aside Punjab & Haryana High Court order saying there was no evidence the man could have died of a single blow. But it held the cricketer-politician guilty of causing hurt to a senior citizen. In 2006, the Punjab and Haryana High court had convicted Sidhu of culpable homicide and sentenced him to three years in jail. In 2018, Sidhu approached the Supreme Court, which set aside the order. Meanwhile, with Jakhar joining BJP, Punjab Congress leaders say others are set to leave the party as well. PCC chief Amrinder Singh Warring is being blamed for the exits.
Congress

Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram Eye Rajasthan For Rajya Sabha Entry As Kapil Sibal Takes Jharkhand route?

Filing nominations for 57 Rajya Sabha vacancies spread across 15 states will begin next week and continue till May 31.  Yet, in the Congress informally, there is a sense that opportunities will be far and few and spread in a way no one feels they have got a raw deal. The buzz so far is that prominent G-23 leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is keen on a Rajya Sabha seat, will be accommodated from Rajasthan. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is willing to accommodate Azad from the first two regular vacancies. For the third seat, the party has advised beleaguered leader P Chidambaram to go for it. This third seat will require support from independent MLAs, who are already backing the Government. It is being said that Kapil Sibal could be moving from UP to Jharkhand. Vivek Tankha could move from Madhya Pradesh to the lone vacancy in Chattisgarh. Even then there is no clarity on who would come from Maharashtra, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. While it is still possible, Mukul Wasnik could clinch the Maharashtra seat, even as Rahul Gandhi may try to push for his close aide Praveen Chakravarty from Tamil Nadu. In Haryana, Bhupinder Hooda has refused to accept Randeep Surjewala as a RS candidate. There could be a dark horse like the old party hand Janardhan Dwivedi.
Arivu with Stalin

Perarivalan hugging Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin

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

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

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

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

NavSankalp Chintan Shivir: Kerala Cong Leader’s 5 Minutes Fame, Resigns From Fishermen’s Body And Plays Political Game

When news of Thrissur MP TN Prathapan’s resignation as National Chairman of the All India Fishermen Congress came in, everyone felt an idea of NavSankalp Chintan Shivir — about fixed tenure of 5 years — had kicked in. But then senior Congress leaders were quite surprised. Was Prathapan jumping the gun? After all, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had announced a compact Task Force that would be set up to drive the process of internal reforms that “are essential and that has been discussed in different groups at Udaipur.”  The task force was to cover all aspects of reforms with focus on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls including appointments to party posts. The composition of the Task Force was to be notified in the next ttwo-three days. Prathapan’s colleagues felt he was probably trying to grab some five minutes of fame. “Don’t take Prathapan seriously — this is just his antics. The task force will take a call on all aspects of what Soniaji has said,” said a senior Kerala leader. Incidentally it was AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik who had proposed a 5-year tenure freeze for party posts. Wasnik feels everyone must get a chance at the top.  “I have put in 24 years — held various positions; I have been a general secretary for 20 years. I held it even as a Union Minister in the UPA Government.”

TRENDS & VIEWS

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

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