For Authentic Gossip
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
revanth reddy

Cong Worries Over Its Rythu Bandhu Politics In Telangana


The Congress in Telangana is hopelessly caught in a cleft stick on the ‘Rythu Bandhu’– a popular scheme of fund transfer to farmers managed by the BRS Government. The party is not sure if it had protested too much and stopped the scheme just ahead of polling on November 30. Would the farmers be angry with the Congress that it had stopped the disbursal of the funds on a silly pretext? After all, the incumbent government BRS government had secured permission from the ECI on November 24 to disburse funds under the scheme. With 10 rounds of ‘Rythu Bandhu’ already disbursed to 73 lakh farmers the current round would have been extended to all, beginning November 28.The ECI, which granted permission earlier rescinded its decision in just 48 hours apparently with a complaint lodged by Telangana PCC chief A Revanth Reddy. Congress sources now feel the basis for Reddy’s complaint to the ECI against stopping Rythu Bandhu was very frivolous. In fact, the Congress has even disputed the veracity of the complaint. “How can the statement of state finance minister T Harish Rao announcing the schedule of the disbursement be the basis of blocking the scheme? We feel the ECI has worked hand in glove with BRS only to give a stick to beat the Congress,” says a party manager. He says the Congress had made only one request to the ECI and that too in October. Which means Revanth Reddy will be the fall guy if he fails to clinch Telangana polls.


A Tale Of Deception For Cong In Rajasthan

Now that the votes have been cast in Rajasthan, Congress election managers are finally letting off their steam against one over-priced star campaigner, Imran Pratapgarhi, who not only called off half a dozen programmes at the last minute but had left the party hugely embarrassed because of his erratic ways. It is being said he played truant in Telangana too. Hugely popular for his shayari, Pratapgarhi has been quite elusive and is known to even charge the party for his efforts. It is precisely for his campaign work that he got elected to Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra in 2022 overlooking local claims, and was appointed to head the Minority Department of the AICC. Party sources said Pratapgarhi was taking everyone for granted because he had patronage of Priyanka Gandhi as he hailed from UP.  Well if the Congress cadres were putting up with the whims of a Pratapgarhi, they discovered getting Sachin Pilot into a campaign mode had become a logistic hazard. It was all because CM Ashok Gehlot decided not to make any arrangements for his rival. It was finally left to the AICC to make a last-minute arrangement for a chopper to ferry Sachin across constituencies. Even this wasn’t done not because Sachin was close to the Gandhis.  It is being said even the Gandhis  felt a bit tricked when they found  there were different names in Sachin’s candidates’ list  that was  given to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for the CEC meeting. Maybe Sachin was trying to get as many names of his candidates cleared.
Durga stalin_002

First Family Of Faith Contradictions Helps Temples In Tamil Nadu

The first family household of Tamil Nadu may be a bundle of contradictions with an atheist head, a super faithful Hindu better half, a son tending to atheism with a wife from another faith and a daughter who is apolitical. It must cope with various demands in an intensely political life under a spotlight, which is why chief minister MK Stalin is going all out to stress that his party DMK, an offshoot of the non-believing Justice Party, is not against Hindus. He took umbrage at the Union Finance Minister’s statement that the government and the party were stealing from temples by usurping their lands. While assigning party loyalists and functionaries as chairpersons to temples that are in great public demand like Tiruvannamalai, Rameswaram, Srirangam and Palani, the government has gone all out to help temples recover lands alienated decades ago. The HR&CE Minister PK Sekar Babu, who goes on every temple run with the first lady to ensure she is received with honours, put out a statistic saying that so far Stalin’s government had reclaimed lands worth Rs 5,500 crore in two years. The figures are not in dispute, but what is also relevant is Union Minister Murugan’s statement that while TN temple lands were recorded in 1986 to be 5.25 lakh acres, now there are only 4.78 lakh acres in their possession. There may be some way to go in enabling temples to repossess their property, but the Stalin government is at least trying and the faithful must accept things are better now.
Mamata ultimatum

Mamata Sabre-Rattles To Assert Her Position Within TMC

When Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee launched an all-out attack on the BJP this week warning that central agencies would target it after the 2024 general elections, it seemed more a bid to assert herself within the TMC rather than taking an aim at the national party. Yes, her warning that if central agencies arrest four of her party leaders, the West Bengal police would arrest eight state BJP leaders seemed plain bluff and bluster. TMC watchers pointed out that Mamata was compelled to do some sabre-rattling at a party event as she wanted to put her nephew and national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee in his place. It was on Didi’s orders that Abhishek’s posters had gone missing. It is being said Mamata had taken a tough view on Abhishek only to reassure old-time TMC backers. For some time now Abhishek has been asking Mamata to dump those TMC leaders who have fallen foul of the law. At least five high-profile TMC leaders, including four legislators of whom two were state ministers, are now in judicial custody after they were arrested by the ED and the CBI in multiple corruption cases. The jailed leaders are all die-hard Mamata loyalists. With Abhishek having handpicked all next generation TMC MLAs in 2021 polls, Mamata is feeling increasingly isolated in the party.
aparijita sarangi

BJP’s Odisha MP Aparajita Sarangi In Campaign Mode, Puts Poster Seeking One More Chance

Firebrand BJP MP from Odisha Aparajita Sarangi is in the news for two reasons. First, for her effort to protect netizens from loan sharks. Second, even though her party is yet to give her the Lok Sabha ticket officially, she has already swung into campaign mode by putting up posters in her constituency in Bhubaneswar which says “One more chance to Aparajita”. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s party Biju Janata Dal is yet to decide who will fight against Aparajita. Meanwhile, it is learnt that former Mumbai’s top cop Arup Patnaik who lost to Aparajita Sarangi in 2019 by a small margin has decided not to contest citing health issues. Her party sources say Aparajita is focussing on battle of ideas, how issues are interpreted, and how she can control the narrative to swing vote bank politics. For instance, she wrote to chief minister seeking his intervention to bring back peace and normalcy in group clash-hit Padmakesharipur village at Patia, Bhubaneswar and release 150 local residents from jail. Aparajita is also urging government actions against money lenders charging exorbitant 20% interest per month which led to the recent community unrest at Patia.

Uddhav Rejigs His Strategy, Keen To Teach Opponents A Lesson

With general elections few months away, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has rejigged his strategy that will see him increasing his public appearances. For now, he has declared that he will be visiting Palghar district outside Mumbai soon, admitting that he had not paid attention to the area which had elected his candidate to the Lok Sabha in 2019. Uddhav has been constantly criticised for not venturing out Matoshree, his family residence located in suburban Bandra. The criticism was sharp when he was the chief minister for over two years. “You have not visited Mantralaya even two and a half times,” his arch detractor Narayan Rane would say over and over again. Besides undertaking a few trips within the state and except for attending a couple of I.N.D.I.A meetings, Uddhav has stayed mostly in Mumbai and in Matoshree in particular. But it seems he will now become more active by appearing in public. Another possible reason for his aggressive posture could be the frequent media interactions his cousin Raj Thackeray has been enjoying, the latest regarding his victory on the issue of displaying Marathi boards in Mumbai by commercial establishments. Uddhav felt particularly aggrieved as some posters describing chief minister Eknath Shinde as “Hindu Hriday Samrat,” came up a couple of days ago. As the title was bestowed upon Balasaheb Thackeray Uddhav said, “The saboteurs will be taught a fitting lesson by the people in the coming election.”

Is It Gita Jayanti Celebration Or BJP’s Lok Sabha Poll Campaign Launch For West Bengal?

BJP is set to prepare a centre stage at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Gita Jayanti Celebration on December 24. It is apparent that the programme is the initiative of various organizations of the Sangh Parivar, yet the official organiser is Akhil Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad. Several functionaries of the organisation including central committee member of Vishva Hindu Parishad, Swami Nirgunananda Maharaj met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 17, officially inviting him to attend the programme. Over lakhs of monks across several Sanatan Hindu organisations such as Bharat Sevashram Sangha and others will be chanting Gita Sotras to mark the occasion named ‘Laksh Kante Gitapath’ (Gita Chants by Lakh Voices). The organisers along with BJP Bengal president Sukanta Majumdar presented the PM with the official invite on a silver plaque with Devnagari script written in copper. Manas Bhattacharya, member of the organising committee says that the PM has expressed his desire to chant Gita Sotras along with the monks. Even the President Draupadi Murmu has confirmed her presence. Claiming it to be a non-political event, Bhattacharya informed that they will also invite West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as the chief guest and other MPs and MLAs of the state across political parties. It may seem a non-political event but BJP will not let lose the opportunity to use the platform to drive home its Hindutva agenda in Bengal ahead of 2024 general elections.

For A Telangana Win, Cong Pins Hopes On Muslims Like It Did In Karnataka

For the November 30 Telangana assembly elections, the Congress  seems to be focussed on garnering minority votes, virtually hoping it would be a repeat of its Karnataka win. No, it is not just relying on its Minority Declaration that has promised huge allowances of Rs 10,000-12,000 for Imams, Muezzins and Khadims, it is doing much more. Like relying heavily on an aggressive push by Karnataka Minority Affairs Minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan who has been sort of camping and canvassing in the poll-bound state. Following instructions of CM Siddaramaiah a few Karnataka Muslim Congress leaders too have been campaigning in Telangana. It may be recalled that minister Ahmed had stirred controversy by stating how Karnataka’s BJP MLAs were now forced to show respect to a Muslim Speaker UT Khader in the Karnataka Assembly. The Congress feels encouraged to tap Muslim votes as Asaduddin Owaisi’s party AIMIM would be contesting only nine seats. The AIMIM was contesting seven seats on which it had sitting MLAs and was fielding two extra seats. The Congress has fielded five Muslim candidates against AIMIM’s eight. Besides Minister Khan who has been working on the ground, nine more Karnataka ministers were deployed on election work. Deputy CM and KPCC chief DK Shivkumar also got 48 other senior leaders — mostly MLAs and MLCs — appointed as AICC cluster in-charges. A party manager conceded that post Diwali there were coordinators deployed across all the 119 constituencies.
thangam thennarasu

When Power Tripped At Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister’s Event

Tamil Nadu has historically been power deficit…not political power but energy wise. People still talk about a 1997 movie starring Prabhudeva and Kajol, Minsara Kanavu (Electric Dream). Chronic power cuts then made people mock, “For us, minsarame kanavu “electricity is just a dream “. Looks like alternate Dravidian Gaddi occupiers have not found a light at the end of the tunnel over the years. Electricity has consistently been the bug bear of both AIADMK and DMK. But slick talking ministers of the DMK government have a talent for turning adversity into opportunity. Some time back, TN’s Electricity Minister Thangam Thennarasu (stand in for V Senthil Balaji) was addressing a press meet in Tirunelveli when the lights went off and the venue turned dark. Immediately the media persons turned on their cell phone lights and bathed the stage in light. The minister had a unique way of acknowledging the timely light up , “I was wondering about what content I could talk about today. You guys have now found your content. You can headline your feed… Lights off when the electricity minister addresses the media…you have a powerful story “. Trust a politician to turn any crisis into an opportunity.


BJP Feels Social Media Heat, Bawankule At Receiving End

The BJP in Maharashtra is feeling the heat generated by the social media as its president Chandrashekhar Bawankule continues to be lashed by Shiv Sena (Uddhav) MP Sanjay Raut over the former’s family visit to a casino in Macau. Raut on Friday (Nov 24) released a new video clip entitled ‘An Evening in Macau……..’ with a veiled warning that ‘Picture abhi baki hai.’ This is taken as an indication since immediately thereafter, Raut declared that he has 27 photographs and five video clips in this connection. On top of it, Raut taunted the BJP by saying, “If I post this material, the BJP will have to close down its shop. But I will not do it. We are soldiers of Balasaheb Thackeray.” When the first video clip was uploaded by Raut a few days ago, Bawankule had claimed that in Hong Kong – Macau, when you go in any hotel and need to go to another area therein, you have to pass by a casino table.” Bawankule had lamented that he was facing such type of criticism after being in politics for 34 years. He said he had barely visited his home in the last 14 months. Therefore, his daughter and daughter-in-law had secured three days’ time from him for a family outing. As part of this planning, the family was in Macau, he clarified. Raut’s new revelation has rattled the BJP, which is expected to rebound soon.

Didi Claims Party Members Not-Guilty And Vows Revenge Against BJP

In several months after some of her prominent party leaders were arrested for their alleged involvement in scams, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee in her first public endorsement not only stood by them but made it categorical that she will also apply the same tactics of arrests against BJP leaders. Reinstating her faith in party’s Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra in the eye of the storm in the “cash-for-query” case, Didi stated that it is the ploy of BJP to “oust Mahua ” from the Parliament. According to her, this would end up boosting the popularity and electoral prospects of the TMC MP, one of the Adani group’s fiercest critics. Interestingly, Didi named four arrested TMC leaders — Partha Chatterjee, Manik Bhattacharya, Anubrata Mondal and Jyotipriyo Mallick – and said they were not-guilty of money laundering in teacher’s recruitment scam, cattle smuggling scam and ration distribution scam. Sending a warning to BJP, Didi vowed to make it a revenge game by arresting eight BJP leaders with cases of criminal offenses. As a much needed step amid increasing allegations of scam against party leaders, TMC’s meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium was to boost the morale of party members. BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Suvendu Adhikari threatened to lodge an FIR against the chief minister for her comments to arrest “eight BJP leaders” in an act of “tit-for-tat”.
ashok gehlot_sonia gandhi

Sonia Rushed To Jaipur To Pep Up Gehlot, After A Rub In With Rahul

When Congress leader Sonia Gandhi shifted to Jaipur as Delhi’s air pollution level spiked last week post Diwali there were a lot of concerns about her health. More than that, many in the party wondered about the real purpose of her visit. Did she really choose Jaipur to recover from horrible Delhi weather or there is more than that meets the eye? Sonia was apparently there to iron out differences between CM Ashok Gehlot and son Rahul. Party sources said it seemed only logical. That’s because whenever she is advised by her doctors to shift to a place where the air is not so polluted as in Delhi, she usually visits Goa; .Jaipur can’t be considered a health resort. Sonia rushed to Jaipur after Rahul had a head-on clash with CM Gehlot over ticket distribution. Party sources said Gehlot was heard asserting how he has been a two-term CM and has the experience to pick and endorse candidates on his list. Sonia decided to have a pep talk with Gehlot and make it easy for Rahul. Clearly, the CM was visibly upset with the way Congress leadership denied tickets to his close aide Mahesh Joshi from his Hawa Mahal constituency in Jaipur.  Last year, Joshi along with three other ministers — Shanti Dhariwal, Pratap Khachariyawas and Dharmendra Rathore were served show-cause notices for going against the party whip in 2022. While the high command decided to spare Dhariwal and Khachariyawas, axe fell on Joshi and Rathore.

Bhujbal Abandoned By Congress Leader On Maratha Reservation Issue

Firebrand OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal seems isolated over the Maratha reservation issue in Maharashtra, once again highlighting the fact that politicians can change their stand at the drop of a hat, without batting an eyelid. Bhujbal was supported by Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar over the OBCs’ determination that no curtailment would be permitted in their reservation quota to accommodate the Maratha reservation demand. Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, Wadettiwar attended the first OBC rally, which was organised to express unity among various OBC beneficiaries of reservations. Wadettiwar was present although the Congress party has not taken any stand over the sensitive issue. He has been under attack from within the Congress for his various statements and also for supporting Bhujbal, fearing a backlash from the Maratha caste in the coming elections. Sensing the threat to his own position, Wadettiwar has now declared that he will never share a dais with Bhujbal. Maintaining that those in power are expected to resolve problems of the populace, Wadettiwar said it is patently wrong to poison the relationship between two sections of society in this battle for reservations. “Who will be responsible if lives are lost?” he thundered. Expectedly, his new stand has been welcomed by Maratha leader Manoj Jarange Patil, who is proceeding towards Mumbai to precipitate the matter by exerting pressure on the rulers.

Did Kharge Target Shashi Tharoor For Contesting CWC Election Against Him?

Exactly three months after inducting him into the CWC, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge targeted Shashi Tharoor by removing him from the All India Professional Congress (AIPC) — an organisation that Tharoor had founded six years ago to draw professionals to the Grand Old Party. For some reason, Kharge thought it fit to replace Tharoor with Praveen Chakravarty, a former venture capitalist and investment banker, who had worked with the UPA programme on financial inclusion of the unbanked poor. Praveen is credited with designing NYAY or minimum income programme for 2019 polls. Nonetheless, party circles were surprised that Kharge should go in for the replacement in the midst of assembly elections. Tharoor was listed as a key campaigner in poll-bound Telangana. After the reshuffle, Tharoor opted out of the campaign. This brings up an interesting question. At a time, when Kharge has not been able to put in place his own AICC team, why was he singling out Tharoor? It was felt Tharoor was eased out of AIPC because he had dared to contest against Kharge for the post of Congress President. At the same time, it is being said Kharge is not being given a free hand to reshuffle AICC because of tussle between Rahul Gandhi and sister Priyanka over appointments. Significantly, Tharoor had exit thank you only for Rahul Gandhi.
nirmala 5

FM Nirmala Bails Out Tamil Nadu Fishermen From Lankan Navy Dragnet

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who was visiting Rameswaram over the weekend, had a surprise heartwarming interaction with local fishermen. Always open and accessible, a group of local fishermen frantically came over to meet her late evening to inform her about how a few fishermen had been arrested by the Lankan Navy just then. Keen to find an immediate solution, the Minister immediately called up the Indian Embassy in Colombo; after all she had only recently visited Sri Lanka. The phone call worked. In a matter of minutes, the Indian fishermen were let off at mid-sea itself. In the morning, as Sitharaman was on the way to a government programme, the fishermen came over to thank her for the prompt action. On her part, she merely told them how the Modi Government’s policies in the last 10 years have “secured the lives of fisherfolks in this region”.
Dr swamy interviet

Dr Swamy To Thanthi TV: Have Not Visited Ayodhya After Winning The Case

Once upon a time he was a great friend of Narendra Modi and rooted for him becoming a PM. But, now in the last seven years he is not in talking terms with PM Modi and has become a Modi-baiter. Dr Subramanian Swamy, the political enfant terrible, uses every fora to attack PM Modi and Amit Shah on China border issue, economy et al. So it was not surprising he vented his spleen when Thanthi TV’s popular anchor Ashokavarshini interviewed him. The 84-year old Dr Swamy, who enjoys Z Security cover, spoke in Tamil minced no words while attacking Modi. In the 38-minute free-wheeling interview Dr Swamy made quite a few revelations. He told the anchor “I want BJP to win the 2024 elections but without Modi.” When she asked “Is he angry because he was not made the finance minister”? His reply was “Good, I did not become a FM as I would have not listened to him. He does not understand economics.” From pooh-poohing IMF to driving home the point that mentored PV Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh, Dr Swamy says he has not visited Ayodhya after winning the case. He says that PM Modi asked him to take over as the chief of the New Development Bank of BRICS countries but he flatly declined. This perhaps could be one of the triggers for their relationship turning sour. Ultimately, the bank’s post, eyed by many including Yashwant Sinha, was taken over by KV Kamath.

Family Members Of Bangladesh Poet Seek Didi’s Intervention In AR Rahman’s ‘Pippa’ Song Controversy

Family members of Bangladesh revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam living in India and Bangladesh came together in Kolkata to condemn the “distorted” AR Rahman rendition of Nazrul’s patriotic song Karar Oi Louho Kopat in the war biopic Pippa. The song was written by Islam in 1922 as a rousing nationalist anthem against the British Raj. It is learnt, a section of the family including Kazi Arindam, the poet’s younger grandson, and Khilkhil Kazi, Nazrul’s Dhaka-based granddaughter are likely to move the court against another family member — poet’s eldest grandson Anirban Kazi. Both claimed that Anirban signed as a witness to the “supposed contract” for the song’s adaptation and recreation license forged between Kalyani Kazi, Nazrul’s daughter-in-law, and the producers of the film in September 2021 in exchange for Rs 2 lakhs. Incidentally, Kalyani passed away in May 2023. Moreover, the copyrights of Nazrul’s works, currently held by the poet’s legal heirs, would expire in 2036. Khilkhil Kazi, who flew from Dhaka is one of the trustees of Nazrul Board of Bangladesh which permits artists to use Nazrul Giti in productions. The protesting family members have demanded immediate removal of the song from the movie and all digital platforms. To avoid such recurrence, both Arindam and Khilkhil Kazi have sought intervention from the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. They have requested Didi to set up a Nazrul Board of West Bengal, which will be represented by Arindam Kazi on behalf of the poet’s family to look into these copyright matters.
jagannath temple 002

Pan Spitting Fine And Dress Code At Lord Jagannath Temple

Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is making news. SJTA will open the Rs 943 crore Shreemandira Parikrama heritage corridor around Shree Jagannatha Temple at Puri to the public on January 17 2024. The 75-meter corridor will provide expansive, unobstructed corridors around the Meghanada Pacheri giving an opportunity to devotees and pilgrims to have visual connect with the Temple, Neelchakra and Meghanada Pacheri. It is Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s dream project and his promise to the people of Odisha. Surely, it will stand his party BJD in good stead in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll. For SJTA this project is both a challenge and opportunity. While it will attract tourists from around the world and contribute to the state GDP, it also means softer hygiene issues are taken care of on a war footing. It is a common sight to see most walls splattered with pan stains. And people using banned plastic bags. For starters SJTA will do the clean-up of temple walls and surrounding areas before the D Day. Besides, it has decided to impose a Rs 1,000 fine on visitors if they are caught chewing paan, gutka or using plastic bags within the precincts of the Jagannath temple. It has already embarked on an educational campaign to sensitise visitors. According to SJTA administrator Ranjan Kumar Das, IAS, we are strengthening camera surveillance and also discouraging people coming in shorts, transparent dresses, torn jeans and other inappropriate costumes from January 1, 2024.

Tamil Nadu Governor Put In His Place?

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has been put in place. It took strictures from the Supreme Court to bring this staunch authoritarian around. Governors in independent India were never meant to ‘govern’ but this person proved to be the most confrontational of them all, putting the likes of Channa Reddy in the shade when it came to operating from the Raj Bhavan in Chennai. “He acted more like an opposition member”, was one of the milder charges made by the DMK supremo and CM Stalin against him. In putting on the shelf close to two dozen Bills, the Governor was acting way beyond his powers and, only after top court frowned upon the tactics of Governors in non-BJP states, did he wake up to reality, lest he be quartered and hung by a top court angered at the sight of Governors destroying the interpretations to the Constitution by floating the theory that, once a Governor withheld consent to a Bill, the legislation was dead. Besides his regular job at needling the government of the day, the Governor also fancies himself as an interpreter of the Constitution. Now that 10 of the Bills he refused to give assent to have been sent back to him on the same day they were reenacted in a special Assembly session he is duty-bound to sign them into law. Of course, he might view the constitutional provision on this differently. So combative is this Governor!
eknath ahit

CM Eknath Shinde’s Shrewd Gambit, To Tackle DCM Ajit Pawar’s Political Brinkmanship

An under-the-weather Maharashtra deputy chief minister (DCM), Ajit Pawar, worked out of home for a fortnight sparking speculation again over his imminent ascension as CM. The alternative political music piped down Friday after Pawar attended the cabinet meeting at the state secretariat — Mantralaya, however, refusing to die down since the Maratha strongman met up with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, adding further grist to rumour mills. The reality may be a mix of both narratives. Maharashtra’s finance minister Pawar may be miffed over his decisions needing to pass muster (ratification) from DCM Devendra Fadnavis’ office first, followed by the CMO thereafter. This is unlike his tenure in the erstwhile MVA government when he enjoyed free reign, even inviting accusations from then alliance partners for allegedly monopolising fund allocations to suit his (undivided NCP) party’s interests. A leadership change in the state may not be imminent unless the Apex Court decides the legal challenge seeking to disqualify 16 MLAs with CM Eknath Shinde. Pawar’s storm-in-a-teacup may have to do with extracting his pound of flesh including allocation of cabinet portfolios, state development corporations for his NCP faction that bolsters the current government. In his previous DCM avatar under Fadnavis as CM, lasting a mere 70 odd hours in November 2019, Pawar brought closure on 20 odd irrigation department cases registered against him. “Though 20 cases were wound up back then, around 100 more remain active that prompted PM Narendra Modi’s “Rs 70,000 crore corruption” comment against NCP,” a source reveals.

Chhagan Bhujbal Sparks Backlash From Maratha Caste, Centre Silent Spectator

Senior minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s attack against the Maratha caste reservation demand and his various utterances against the government of which he himself is a member have created a piquant situation in Maharashtra. His own party, the Nationalist Congress party (NCP), has disowned his stand against the Maratha caste to which the party leader Ajit Pawar belongs. On the other hand, various Maratha leaders have started demanding his removal from the Shinde-Fadnavis-Pawar ministry. In retaliation, OBC leaders irrespective of party affiliations have started uniting under Bhujbal’s stewardship. Both sides have hardened their respective stands. While the Maratha leaders are firm that their caste must be granted reservations, OBC leaders have made it clear that no slice from their quota to the Marathas would be permitted under any circumstances. Though Maharashtra’s prominent leaders take pride in describing the state as the most progressive in India, casteism was always present though not as articulated as now. Rallies by leaders of both sides have been evoking tremendous response, sending warning signals in view of the volatile situation. The approaching general election next year will be definitely affected by the reservation imbroglio. Curiously, the Centre has maintained silence over the burning issue, fearing that any stand taken by it would have repercussions in other states like Rajasthan and Haryana where similar demands have been pending for a long time. Hence, the developing situation in Maharashtra is watched keenly by the political stakeholders.
Senthil MKStalin

DMK Leader Senthil Balaji On The Hospital Carousel Again

By now DMK leader V Senthil Balaji is a pan India media figure for wrong reasons. His arrest on June 13 this year, his admission to the government-run Omandurar Hospital, even as he clutched his chest and fell, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin visiting him, then being shifted to Kauvery Hospital for a much bandied bypass and his continued stay there till he was taken to Puzhal prison. Both his bail pleas were rejected. Now, his bail plea will be heard in the Supreme Court on November 20. Once again, Balaji complained of unease in prison and was taken to the government-run Stanley Hospital under heavy police escort, and finally shifted to Omandurar Hospital. Why is Stalin still keeping him as minister without a portfolio? Maybe because he held two hefty power packed portfolios — electricity and TASMAC which are considered money spinners. His talents as back room go-to-man, who guarantees outcomes are much sought after. And this is why he played important roles in all parties. But, surely, he must be ruing the day he crossed over from AIADMK to TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK to finally land in the DMK. Now with two big elections looming large, it is learnt that DMK is pulling out all stops to face his bail plea in the SC. Balaji may have had a malefic Saturn stinging his heels to end up in Puzhal prison. So will his fortune turn after November 20?
dilip ghosh

Former BJP State President In WB Dilip Ghosh Sidelined By Party

In a recent turn of events, the once powerful former BJP state president and Kharagpur Sadar MP Dilip Ghosh finds himself totally sidelined by his party. Apparently, his room at the party’s headquarters and also the main auditorium were put under locks. A few days back when he visited the party headquarters, he found that AC from his room had been removed. However, state functionaries dismisses these incidents saying it could be because the state party office has been shifted to the Salt Lake Sector V and the IT cell is under renovation. However, Ghosh’s close associates claim that ‘Dilipda’ was never informed of such a change. Party sources say that the state unit was immensely displeased with Ghosh’s decision to hold ‘Vijaya Sammelan’ after Durga Puja without taking permission from the state functionaries. This resulted in the decision that the party office in central Kolkata would not be opened for anyone without the permission of state president Sukanta Majumder. This is the second time Ghosh faces action from the party high command. In July this year he was removed from the position of National Vice President. Ghosh’s sidelining started after his initial attempt to ‘be friends’ with Majumder was thwarted and their statewide tour was mysteriously cancelled. It further worsened due to his regular criticisms of top leaders in the state unit.
Uddhav Raj

Uddhav And Raj Thackeray Attack BJP In Unison, EC Under Fire

Uddhav and Raj Thackeray rarely sing the same tune. But Union home minister Amit Shah has now provided them the fodder and both have used it to lambast the BJP. In almost simultaneous media conferences, Uddhav came down heavily on a statement made by Shah. He was meeting the media in Mumbai. In next door Thane, cartoonist Raj lampooned Shah. An irate Uddhav wondered how the Election Commission had not taken any cognisance of Shah’s inducement to the voters in Madhya Pradesh. He said Shah had promised the MP voters free of cost visits to Ayodhya if the BJP returned to power in the state. Uddhav recalled his father Balasaheb Thackeray and some Shiv Sena leaders and legislators were barred by the EC for six years from even voting on charges that the Sena had resorted to Hindutva in the 1987 Vile Parle assembly byelection which the party had won. “Has the EC revised its rules? If so, let all parties know about it,” Uddhav taunted. He has written a complaint to the EC to demand an explanation. Raj, with tongue in cheek, advised the BJP to open a tour and travel agency. He also took the opportunity to attack NCP leader Sharad Pawar. The MNS chief reiterated that casteism in Maharashtra has proliferated ever since the NCP was founded in 1999 by Pawar.

Will Pro-OBC Rally Further Stoke Caste War In Maharashtra?

The first rally to demand protection to the OBC reservation in Maharashtra is scheduled on Friday (Nov 17) in Jalna district wherein the first protest for demanding the Maratha caste reservation was ignited. As indicated earlier, top OBC leader and state cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal will be the star speaker at the rally to be held at Dhait Nagar in Ambad taluka, where the sentiments on the issue are very strong on both sides. Bhujbal will be accompanied by another cabinet minister, Dhananjay Munde, elected from neighbouring Beed district. The supporters of OBC reservations had been holding their fire for a long time. Now that Diwali festivities are over, the atmosphere in the state is getting surcharged. The rally is being described by its organisers as a ‘Save Reservation Clarion Call Meet.’ While it is claimed that the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Vijay Wadettiwar (Congress), too, will be present to express his support of the OBCs, former minister Pankaja Munde, too, has been invited. The tagline of the rally is: ‘Jo Desh ke Hit kee Baat Karenga, Vo hi Desh pe Raj Karega.’ The second pro-OBC rally will be held at Hingoli, another political hotbed in Marathwada. On the other hand, Maratha reservation leaders have demanded fulfilment of their demand by December 24 this year. Otherwise, a statewide agitation would be launched, they have warned.

Has Greater Madhya Pradesh Decided Who To Vote For?

The odds are that the undivided Madhya Pradesh in the form of MP and Chhattisgarh that are going to the polls will have voted overwhelmingly for the Congress. It may have been cocky for the son of the CM designate Kamal Nath has already fixed a date for his dad’s coronation, but the anticipation is he might have said so on the strength of various private polls that have been done in the two States. Senior BJP figures know that in these two states they have been fighting a losing battle, despite the divisions in MP between Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh. People have been openly saying that the Prime Minister who is canvassing hard in his criss-cross campaigns is wasting his time because these are Assembly polls and not for the Lok Sabha. The people of MP are angry that the verdict they delivered for the Congress last time out was twisted by defections and the regular ‘Operation Lotus’ that goes on to undermine the majority won by non-BJP governments in the States. Chhattisgarh has been a Congress stronghold for some time now and the closer contests anticipated in MP may not come about because of public anger. So, will MP be another big State that will go Congress way after Karnataka and Chhattisgarh keep faith?
Maratha agitation

Maharashtra Caste Differences Become Sharper, Post-Diwali Challenges Loom For Shinde Govt

Caste dissensions in Maharashtra are becoming sharper over the Maratha demand for reservations as two ministers in the state are under pressure to lead active protest demonstrations to oppose any curtailment in the OBC quota of reservations. Various political parties have adopted a cautious approach towards the thorny issue as taking any stand either way will prove costly in the coming elections, they fear. The conflict is likely to assume wider proportions after Diwali. Followers of senior ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Dhananjay Munde, both ardent proponents of the OBC cause, are planning to vent their opposition to the Maratha consolidation by holding a rally in Jalna soon. The present Maratha agitation for the reservations had begun in a village a little away from this town in Marathwada. The situation in the state is intriguing as the state’s Leader of the Opposition, Vijay Wadettiwar, has come out openly in support of the OBCs and articulated his staunch opposition to the Maratha quota demand. Surprisingly, the Congress party to which he belongs has not taken any stand on the social conflagration so far. Various top leaders of different shades have started saying that a Maratha reservation should be durable and pass the test of the Supreme Court judgments in this regard. As this position is contrary to the Maratha demand, the atmosphere in Maharashtra after Diwali will test the acumen of the leadership.
naveen millets

Odisha Govt To Invest Rs 2500 Crore To Support Millet Farmers

Taking cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik has embarked on Mission Millet. Towards this it hosted the International Convention on Millets at Bhubaneswar to commemorate the UN International Year of Millets. Besides, the state has marked November 10 as Mandia Divas (Millet Day) with the aim of boosting millet cultivation and consumption statewide. Patnaik’s drive of promoting millets has won him laurels from the international community. Patnaik is keen to make Odisha a centre of excellence in millet production and start-up entrepreneurship. It may be recalled that at the recent G20 event held in India millet food was served to international guests. FAO representative Takayuki Hagiwara said India and Odisha are the champions of millet which can transform the agricultural landscape in India. Union Agricultural Secretary Manoj Ahuja has gone on record saying that Odisha’s Millet Mission has created a buzz around the globe. Patnaik reiterated saying that his government will go all out to make Odisha a centre of excellence on health food millet. People in the know say that Odisha Millet Mission is zooming ahead with calibrated planning and speed. From a mere 17,000 quintals in 2018-2019, Odisha’s millet production has leapfrogged to 6 lakh quintals today. The seriousness of the government can be seen from the fact that it has earmarked Rs 2500 crore to support millet farmers by buying back millet at minimum support price to bolster income and livelihood generation.
Ajit Fadnavis shinde

‘Worker’ CM Shinde’s 500 Public Schemes, To Fulfil PM Modi’s Maha Lok Sabha Dreams!

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde extended service hours of the twin Metro lines (2A, 7) to 11 pm daily for Mumbai’s western suburban commuters’ convenience. Shinde was on perpetual poll mode since becoming CM in 2022, with an agenda to blunt political negativity over erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi, led by his former boss Uddhav Thackeray, being ejected from power. The current Maha boss had a clear brief to launch a blitzkrieg of project announcements, big and small, to launch 500 public welfare schemes before polls. After BJP severed political ties (for good) with Uddhav Thackeray, it leveraged Shinde’s grass roots work culture and recently, added NCP leader Ajit Pawar’s political dynamism to counter the groundswell of disenchantment among citizens. Shinde’s efforts are yielding political returns by carving a positive image for his (breakaway) government in Maharashtra where self-body elections to 27 municipalities were kept on hold to tide over negative public sentiment. A BJP leader tells, “Things are looking up now in the 48 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra. ‘Worker’ Shinde, backed by ‘Chanakya’ Fadnavis and ‘Dynamic’ (Ajit) Pawar are expected to ensure negative results turn positive in the forthcoming polls. BJP’s fail-safe to ensure Lok Sabha victory is projection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face under which elections will be fought in Maharashtra, just like in Rajasthan.” Understandably, the ‘Maha Chanakya’ from Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar, is leaving no stone unturned to counter BJP’s strategy of wait-and-watch by precipitating protests over ‘Maratha’ reservations to never-before-seen levels
Ajit Pawar_009

Will It Be A Change Of Guard In Maharashtra?

His resounding victory in the local body elections has brought Ajit Pawar to the centre stage of Maharashtra politics. Two days after Ajit Pawar announced that he would be inaccessible due to dengue, he flummoxed all by holding back to back meetings with Nationalist Congress Party founder Sharad Pawar in Pune and Union home minister Amit Shah at New Delhi the same day. The deputy CM, who has made no bones about his chief ministerial ambitions, is expected to claim his pound of flesh from the BJP having proved his electoral mettle after branching out independently from his uncle’s party. Speculations about change of guard in Maharashtra have also gained currency thanks to talk of Eknath Shinde government set to fall by December 31 as predicted by leaders like Uddhav Thackeray. That is the deadline set by the Supreme Court to decide on disqualification of legislators of the Ekanth Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction. Claims of independent legislator Ravi Rana that Ajit Pawar is trying to convince his uncle to throw in his weight behind the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has only muddied waters further. There had been much talk that the BJP had promised Ajit Pawar the CM’s chair only if he could get his uncle into the BJP alliance. The junior Pawar has been upset at his powers being clipped by the chief minister who reportedly has directed all finance department files to be sent to him. He was also upset at his supporters not being accommodated in ministerial berths and corporations.
Kamal Nath

MP Cong Leaders Nervous As Kamal Nath Resorts To Bluff & Bluster

Congress leaders are still wondering whether former PCC chief and ex-CM Kamal Nath is overplaying his confidence of winning Madhya Pradesh assembly elections. Or does he have something up his sleeve? His latest warning to state police and district administration officials, it was felt, betrayed more a sense of bluff and bluster, than real confidence. Imagine a person who was briefly CM saying “No one will be spared, six more days are left, do whatever you want to, but you also have to spend the next five years under a Congress regime.” Party sources conceded that such hollow threats by Nath were bound to be counterproductive in a close contest with the BJP. Attacking the Congress as “Dhamki ki Dukan”, the BJP feels the upcoming assembly election in 2023 for 230 seats is expected to witness largely a closely contested battle between the BJP and the Congress. In addition to these two major parties, the Samajwadi Party and AAP have also nominated their candidates for the polls. The BJP has pledged to offer free ration to the underprivileged for the upcoming five years and provide LPG cylinders to women at a cost of Rs 450. Additionally, the BJP is committed to establishing the Madhya Pradesh Institute of Technology and the Madhya Pradesh Institute of Medical Sciences if it secures victory in the state. Another key promise from the BJP is the provision of 100 units of electricity for Rs 100.
Sunak jaishankar

Playing Straight Bat Or Soft Power Diplomacy, Jaishankar Meets Rishi Sunak

External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar has opened his innings in London with soft power diplomacy presenting a signed bat by Virat Kohli to the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Jaishankar and his wife met the Sunak couple on the occasion of Diwali. Is Jaishankar playing with a straight bat? Or carrying some firecrackers under his sleeve?  There are several issues that need to be sorted out. Issues like attacks by the Khalistanis on the Indian High Commissioner and the High Commission office in London, pending status of the Free Trade Agreement, visa issue especially one offered to senior citizens (parents living in India) and setting up a consulate in the North of England among others. It is learnt that The High Commission of India has partnered with Wilton Park to organise conversation with Jaishankar at the Royal Over-Seas League. The conversation themed, “How a billion people see the world” will be moderated by eminent journalist and acclaimed commentator Lionel Barber. The underlying objective is to get India’s perspective on the current geopolitical landscape and how and why an enhanced engagement with the world is consequential to India’s national aspirations. Clearly, Jaishankar’s visit meets more than the eye. One dimension that seems evident is Jaishankar is trying to build a strong pro-government narrative in the run-up to 2024 General Elections.   
Mahua moitra

Mahua Gets Mamata's Nephew On Her Side To Earn TMC Reprieve

On the back of the Lok Sabha Ethics Panel adopting on November 9 the report recommending Mahua Moitra’s expulsion from the Lok Sabha in the ‘cash for query’ case, the TMC pulled a surprise on November 13 by  appointing Moitra as the district president of Krishnanagar, the constituency she represents in the Lok Sabha. How did this high profile MP who has always been on uneasy terms with her constituency secure party assignment? In fact TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had in the past warned Moitra to stay clear of constituency politics as she was hardly known to visit her Lok Sabha area and was forever traveling abroad.  Reportedly, Moitra caught hold of TMC leader and Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee, who was responding to ED related summons. Not only did she butter him up by organising his papers, improving English of the text of the submission and provided some legal aid, she also appealed to him to ensure that the TMC doesn’t abandon her at this stage.  Looks like her efforts to get into the good books of Mamata’s nephew worked. The TMC has now thrown a life-line to her and got a party shield. But there is no way she can be saved from expulsion from the Parliament. That is because the precedent for summary expulsion of 11 MPs for corrupt practice was set by none other than former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee following a sting operation in 2005. The Supreme Court had upheld the expulsion.  The transgressions of those MPs in the sting pales in comparison to Moitra caught in a shopping spree.
Sharad pawar_008

Sharad Pawar’s ‘OBC Status’ A Gameplan To Slander Him, NCP Insists He Is A Maratha

In a state where being a Maratha is a matter of prestige, top leader Sharad Pawar is facing slander which has gone viral wherein it is alleged that he has obtained a certificate which says that he belongs to the OBC category. Always described outside Maharashtra as a Maratha strongman, Pawar’s baby, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), also is dubbed as a party of the Marathas by his detractors. In the midst of the furore raised in the state over the Maratha caste demand for reservations, a purported school document which says that Pawar belongs to the OBCs went viral on social media within minutes. His daughter Supriya Sule, MP, ridiculed the attempt to defame Pawar. She pointed out that the so-called certificate is in English whereas during Pawar’s childhood nearly eight decades ago, no English medium schools were available in that area. Vikas Pasalkar, a Pawar acolyte, immediately circulated a school leaving certificate which clearly states that Pawar is a Maratha. Pasalkar implied that such a campaign against Pawar was being masterminded from Nagpur. Pawar’s grandson, Rohit Pawar, on the other hand, directly charged the BJP for the misinformation. The Maratha demand for reservations has roasted the caste leaders from both sides, asking them to clarify why they could not secure the reservation over the past 60 years even though they were in power. Pawar, too, is lampooned on this count.
Lalit _Pune

Pune Police Shielded Drug Kingpin Lalit Patil, Local MLA Alleges

Drug kingpin Lalit Patil’s arrest a few weeks ago is followed by sensational disclosures almost on a daily basis. The latest is pointing a finger at the role of Pune police in the sordid affair. At the centre of the controversy is Pune’s reputed Sassoon Hospital, where Patil had managed to stay for a long time claiming fake health issues. The hospital dean, Dr Sanjay Thakur, has been sacked as he was directly responsible for the treatment for the Nasik-based drug lord. Even as some more medical officials have been under the lens, Pune MLA Ravindra Dhangekar (Congress) has alleged that palms in the police commissioner office were greased by Patil to continue his operations. Its alleged drug lord Patil was alleged to have distributed Rs17 lakh every month to some Sassoon Hospital staff members to ensure his prolonged stay in the hospital. Dhangekar, who was elected to the legislative assembly only a few months ago, has been quite vocal about the purported cover-up. He said his demand to investigate those receiving the money from Patil has been overlooked by Pune police. Moreover, he feels that the state government is shielding Dr Thakur by just removing him. “I demand that Thakur must be slapped with MOCCA,” the MLA reiterated. Drug proliferation in Pune was alarming and the police were not arresting Thakur so as to divert attention from this situation, according to Dhangekar.

BJP Learns The Hard Way, PIcks Yediyurappa's Son Vijayendra To Head Karnataka Unit

In a bid to revive its fortunes ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has once again decided to fall back on  the charisma of its tall Linagyat stalwart BS Yediyurappa in Karnataka by appointing his son BY Vijayendra as the president of state’s BJP unit. Vijayendra, an MLA from the Shikaripur constituency replaces Nalin Kateel. The appointment comes six months after the Congress ousted the BJP government in the Karnataka Assembly polls with a landslide win. Vijayendra will be the 10th Karnataka’s BJP state chief. In the recent assembly elections, Vijayendra won as an MLA from Shikaripura constituency, once represented by his father. The BJP’s top leadership is yet to announce the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the southern state where it lost the mandate in the assembly elections. After quitting electoral politics, BS Yediyurappa had widely campaigned for the BJP across the state during the assembly election to help the saffron party to retain power. Interestingly, there were a lot of central BJP leaders vying to lead the state unit including Shobha Karanadlaje and CT Ravi. However, this time it was decided that the party should not risk ignoring Yediyurappa as it did during assembly polls. That too at a time when the ruling Congress is breaking up into various factions. There is already a talk that Congress minister Satish Jharkhioli has support of 65 MLAs rooting for him as CM.
priyanka kamalnath

Kamal Nath Gives Cold Reception To Rahul In MP

When Rahul Gandhi pushed off to Kedarnath on a three-day visit in the midst of elections in Hindi heartland states, it was widely believed that the temple visit was more to improve his Hindu credentials than for any spiritual significance. Party sources admitted that Rahul found he was not being welcomed to campaign in Madhya Pradesh as much as his sister Priyanka was in a state that goes to polls on November 17. PCC chief and CM aspirant Kamal Nath was seen trying to maintain a distance from Rahul; it was as if Nath was cold shouldering Rahul. While Kamal Nath was not seen accompanying or sharing the spotlight with the Gandhi scion, he was not even endorsing or referring to Rahul’s programmes in the state — in his X handle. He was only making references to public rallies addressed by Priyanka Vadra. In contrast, former CM Digvijay Singh made it a point to be part of Rahul’s rally in Ashok Nagar, Guna. Sources said it is possible Nath was uncomfortable with Rahul’s utterances about caste census and OBC politics. He probably did not want any controversy with Rahul around. It may be recalled Nath got I.N.D.I.A front to call off its Bhopal rally soon after Sanatan Dharam controversy. Several Congress leaders have also not been comfortable with Rahul’s neo OBC politics and wondered if it would yield desired results. Meanwhile, Rahul is yet to chart out his campaign plans for Rajasthan that goes to polls on November 25.

Pradeep Bhattacharya and Sujan Chakraborty

Mahua Moitra Gets Unexpected Support From CPI (M) And Congress

At a time when the Ethics Committee of the Parliament gave its stamp on the recommendation to dismiss Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Maitra from parliamentary position in the case of exchange of money, the parliamentarian has got support not only from the second in command of the party – TMC National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee, but also from the arch rivals the CPI(M) and Congress. However, BJP MLA and Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari is not satisfied with that and claims that Mahua has done anti-national work and must be jailed. Taking a dig at the TMC leader who represents Krishnanagar constituency, Adhikari was categorical in stating that her membership is only a matter of time and people want such fraudulent MPs to go to jail. However, for the first time since the issue sparked, Abhishek stood by Mahua stating that the firebrand leader is “competent enough to fight her own battles”. Interestingly, veteran Congress leader Pradeep Bhattacharya stood by Mahua saying that he is doubtful about the logic behind the decision by majority. He further suggested Mahua should approach the court if possible. Echoing similar views, CPI(M) State Committee member Sujan Chakraborty said, ‘It was not understood how a person could be expelled at the same time be investigated upon by CBI. The ethics committee takes a different role arbitrarily. This activity of the Ethics Committee was not seen after allegations were raised against BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri in the Lok Sabha.”
stalin ravi

Are Nagas Collateral Damage In Fight Between TN Governor And DMK?

The marathon skirmishes of the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi and the DMK government are a source of almost daily entertainment for the media. If made into an OTT series, it may run into several seasons. So political wags were in for a surprise when DMK baiting came from a totally different direction — Nagaland BJP Governor Ela Ganesan who hastened to take up the Naga cause even as Ravi had hauled DMK stalwart and former MP RS Bharathi over hot coals over his Nagas dog meat reference. In his eloquent Tamil oratory, Bharathi criticised Governor Ravi for unwarranted meddling. “We all know how he had to quit Nagaland in a hurry. The Nagas too were fed up with his meddlesome ways. Even dog meat eaters like the Nagas found his interference unwarranted. We Tamilians, eating salt of the earth, are incensed“. Ganesan, not wanting to be sidelined, joined the litany. “Nagas did not hound him out. They are peace loving and dignified. As for their food preferences, no one should comment on the culture and tradition of other demographics“.  One hopes the Nagas are sufficiently appeased and their national worth upheld by two Governors. Just shows one man’s meat is another’s political poison dart.

I.N.D.I.A Humbled In Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Polls, Losers Are Sharad Pawar And Uddhav Thackeray

The three-party coalition ruling in Maharashtra has humbled the NCP founder Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray in the just declared results for the Gram Panchayats in the state. The BJP has emerged as the single largest winner in the public mandate which was tested for the first time after the change of guard last year. Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and the two deputy chief ministers, Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, have welcomed the outcome with claims that the ruling alliance will win 45 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in the 2024 elections. Initial reports suggest that out of 2359 Gram Panchayat bodies, the ruling side has won 1354, with the BJP bagging over 743, Shinde’s Sena getting over 240 and Ajit Pawar’s faction 371.  On the other hand, the NCP under Sharad Pawar has been able to win 178 bodies while Uddhav’s Sena has come last with 102 victories. The overall perception that the electorate will reject those defecting from the main party has been belied, especially since Ajit’s faction has emerged invincible in Pune district’s politics, which was dominated for decades by his uncle Sharad Pawar. This performance will have a direct impact on the seat sharing between the two sides and since the so-called I.N.D.I.A front has fared poorly. 

Tollywood Gets New Genre Actor-Turned-Producers

The growing trend of Bengali Tollywood is that several actors turn producers in order to compete with the OTT creative works that have gained immense popularity post Covid pandemic. From superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, Jeet, Dev to parallel actors Parambrata Chattopadhyay, starlet duo Bonny Sengupta and Koushani Mukherjee and several others have started their own production houses. Majority of the actor-turned-producers have pointed out that their production ventures are mainly to explore themselves as actors in varied subjects and roles. According to Jeet, Grassroot Entertainment’ and Jeetz Filmworks focus mainly on commercial blockbusters with Jeet in the lead. It can be recalled that after establishing himself as a heartthrob of Bengali movies Dev set up his own production, Dev Entertainment Ventures which has produced Projapati, Tonic, Kishmish, Bagha Jatin and Durgo Rahasya. As Dev points out, it is important to do good content and establish oneself as an actor after having a good stint as a hero. However, Parambrata identifies that content is the only thing that matters to him the most. This cerebral actor established his first production house Workshop Productions in 2011 along with colleague actor Rudranil Ghosh but had to close it down. Now, with directors Aritra Sen and Supriyo Sen he has started Roadshow Films. Veteran Actor Prosenjit’s production house, NIDEAS Creations and Productions is giving opportunities to newcomers while Bonny and Koushani had to launch BK Entertainments only to break free from being typecast in romantic movies. 

DMK Succession Plan May Have Been Advanced

It was always a question of when and not if. But the DMK succession plan involving Udhayanidhi, son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, may just have been moved up due to pressures from within TN’s first family. It is learnt that Stalin’s wife Durga is keen that the succession be quickly defined so that her son does not undergo the long waiting period her husband suffered because the DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was unwilling to let go of the top party post lest they isolate him after such a long innings in public life.  Durga was known to criticise her father-in-law for delaying the nomination of his son as the CM candidate and so losing out in the 2016 election to J Jayalalithaa who retained power. Having spent 40 years as heir apparent, Stalin became party president only when his father was facing ill health in old age and allowed the promotion of the once deputy CM to party boss as well as CM candidate. The scion, now sports development and youth welfare minister, could well be deputy CM by December when the party will be holding a youth wing conference. Udhaya has also been the loudest voice of the party in taking on Governor RN Ravi on the Sanatana Dharma issue, gathering signatures against the medical entrance test NEET and drawing praise from his father and CM on his work. Udhaya is also convinced there is positive resonance in the public on the topics he is picking to take on the Centre and the Governor. 
Nirmala sitharaman_003

Photo : X

Nirmala Visits Jaffna, Her Special Puja At Local Temple Win Over People  

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai attended the “Naam 200 Commemoration” in Colombo, Sri Lanka, honouring the 200-year journey of Indian-origin Tamils who endured historical injustices, including loss of citizenship and harsh working conditions on tea plantations. During the “Naam 200 Commemoration” event, the FM reaffirmed India’s unwavering support for the Indian-origin Tamil community in Sri Lanka. However, what won hearts of the Tamils in the island was her visit to Nallur Kandaswamy temple in Jaffna. There when priests asked Nirmala to whom should the special puja at the temple be dedicated. She said it should be dedicated to the inseparable bond between the Indians and the Lankans. During her visit, Nirmala also highlighted the Tamil community’s remarkable resilience and commitment. As a part of this commitment, the FM, along with Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe, unveiled the Thondaman Vocational Training Centre, which was upgraded with Indian assistance and provided school supplies for 10,000 children in plantation areas. In addition to the event, India and Sri Lanka entered into a MoU on solar electrification of religious places in Sri Lanka. India will allocate Rs 82.40 crore as part of the Indian grant assistance of RS 107.47 crore earmarked for the promotion of Buddhist ties between the two nations. India will continue collaborating with Sri Lanka on debt treatment while the island nation attempts to emerge from last year’s grave economic crisis, the FM assured Sri Lankan leadership. 
Modi pawar

Modi Vs Pawar: Aggro Over Agri

Bharat’s Pradhan Sevak Narendra Modi recently cited NCP Chief Sharad Pawar for non-performance during UPA 1&2. Modi alleged Pawar was an ineffective Union Agriculture Minister for a decade. Pawar hit back saying Modi got his facts wrong and now, BJP has provided its data. UPA 1&2 saw production of 1,849 MT of wheat, rice and pulses while eight years under Modi’s watch witnessed total produce of 1,957 MT. Wheat stood at 824 MT, rice at 868 MT and pulses at 157 MT during UPA’s decade. Bharat saw 913 MT wheat stocks, 864 MT rice, 180 MT pulses between 2014 and 2022. A senior BJP leader reveals, “Wastage of rotting food grains in FCI storehouses was the rule under UPA when annually 20,000 MT was the average loss. Under Modi, this scaled down to 1,700 MT annual wastage as reported in 2021-2022. Modi emphasized the first in first out (FIFO) policy at FCI storehouses as against the last in first out (LIFO) policy under UPA. Official records indicate 20,000 MT waste food grain stocks were burnt annually. We now learn a large portion of alleged wastage stocks were clandestinely diverted to wine distilleries across India to manufacture alcohol besides lining the pockets of unscrupulous politicians.” Modi also hammered down India’s hunger index, during the Covid-19 pandemic, with 80 crore beneficiaries getting free food grains to this very day. No coincidence, the Union (international) Budget (2023-2024) says lots on enhancing India’s millet production to meet growing international demand
Ajit modi

Ajit Pawar Faces Dual Challenge From Cousin Supriya And BJP's Patil

Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has started facing a dual challenge in his stronghold, Pune city and district. His cousin Supriya Sule, MP, and BJP leader Chandrakant Patil have markedly activated their supporters in the affairs of the area. This is considered as a new challenge for Ajit, who has been holding the reins of the district and city for nearly two decades. Ajit controls almost all the important institutions, including the prestigious Pune District Central Cooperative Bank, which is the fountainhead of finances for various cooperatives like sugar factories. However, in the past two weeks, he has had to cancel his two appearances, one at the boiler firing ceremony at Malegaon Sugar Factory, which is his fiefdom. More conspicuous is his absence from the centrestage of the various discussions that have been taking place for the past fortnight over the Maratha reservation demand. Perhaps the most influential Maratha leader after his uncle Sharad Pawar, his explanation that he is down with dengue raised many eyebrows. While he was bedridden, Patil and Sule held a series of meetings with their supporters in Pune. Ajit’s supporters are awaiting a signal from him. There is no dearth of speculation. One which has gone viral is that Ajit’s wife Sunetra is likely to enter the Lok Sabha election arena to challenge Supriya, who has been elected repeatedly from Baramati constituency. Ajit’s next move is expected to be announced soon now that the Maratha agitation is withdrawn.  
Elvish yadav

Youtuber Elvish Yadav Performing Ganesh Aarti At Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Residence Goes Viral

Public figures are frequently made to face embarrassment as their pictures with controversial individuals standing next to them are later published. Their defence that they can’t know everybody in a crowd coming near them is valid, though mostly unbelieved by the general public. The latest such leader is embattled Maharashtra’s chief minister Eknath Shinde, who has been finding himself in a tight spot for the presence of infamous youtuber Elvish Yadav at his official residence during the 10-day Ganesh festival along with other celebrities. Barely recovering from the aftermath of an agitation to demand reservations for the Maratha caste, Shinde will be required to come out with his response to the tirade launched against him by the Opposition over Yadav’s presence at his house. Several videos of Yadav performing aarti at the CM’s home on September 25 have been made viral by leaders of the Opposition the moment the news of Yadav’s arrest landed on social media. Leader of Opposition in the assembly, Vijay Wadettiwar of the Congress, led the attack and was supported by Shiv Sena (Uddhav)  and NCP (Sharad Pawar) functionaries. Sena’s Sushma Andhare mounted an offensive by demanding to know how someone accused of making drugs from snake venom had reached the CM’s bungalow. Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, too, had to face some unpleasant moments when his picture with a questionable Nagpur politician was circulated by his detractors.
maneka gandhi

Maneka Gandhi Falls Backs On Wildlife Issues To Prop Up Herself, Call For Action On Youtuber Yadav Only A ‘Bahana’

For a person whose own political future is bleak, BJP MP Maneka Gandhi seems to have once again thrown herself head long into her old passion – wildlife protection issues. She got her NGO to file a complaint against YouTuber Elvish Yadav for using snake venom at rave parties in Noida, UP. Attacking Yadav for being on the run, Maneka wanted to know why the famous influencer was on the run. “This is a grade 1 crime, seven years in jail, a wildlife crime. King cobras die when their venom is taken out. Their venom is for digesting food. Without the venom, they can’t eat anything and thus they die. There are very few cobras and pythons in the country. It is a crime to own them, catch them or use them,” Maneka was heard telling TV channels. Demanding Yadav’s immediate arrest, Maneka Gandhi said her NGO was keeping a watch on Yadav for a long time as he used snakes in his YouTube videos. Then they found out that they sell snake venom. In a statement, a shocked Elvis Yadav dismissed Maneka’s charges as baseless and fake. According to the complaint filed by People For Animals, the NGO, contacted Elvish and asked him to organise a rave party and get Cobra venom. “Elvish gave us the name of one Rahul whom we contacted. He said he could organise the venom wherever we want. He then came to Sector 51 Banquet hall with the venom. The Noida police then came to the venue along with the DFO and arrested the organisers,” the complaint said.
JP nadda amit

Will Shah-Nadda Personally Oversee Bengal In 2024 General Elections?

In an attempt to make a dent in West Bengal ahead of 2024 General Elections speculations are rife that the Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP National President Jagat Prakash Nadda are likely to take joint charge of the organisation of Bengal. According to sources, the state BJP has already been informed by the central leadership about the proposed arrangement. Moreover, during Shah’s recent visit to inaugurate Durga Puja Pandal of Santosh Mitra Square, he had categorically said, “I will come to Bengal regularly and will also talk about politics.” Echoing Shah, Nadda stated the same, mentioning that the BJP will ensure a corruption free Bengal. However, sources mentioned that continued internal feud in the Bengal BJP unit has resulted in these statements. There have been agitations, riots, clashes outside the party’s head office in Kolkata protesting the role of state leadership. Cadres tore district leaders and state president Sukanta Majumder’s posters. In separate incidents, two BJP MPs from Bengal face protests in their home turf. While Malda Uttar MP Khagen Murmu faced protests from villagers displaced by erosion, Union Minister of State Subhas Sarkar was locked at the party office by BJP supporters protesting his interference in appointments. Recently, old guards of state BJP have floated BJP Bachao Manch, and have taken to the path of agitation expressing their strong distrust of the role of the current state leadership. These incidents have left the central leadership extremely displeased with the state unit.
Eknath fadnavis pawar

Political Parties In Maharashtra Alarmed By Violence Over Maratha Reservation Issue

Alarmed by the spreading violence over the Maratha reservation demand, various political parties in Maharashtra have found it prudent to jointly issue an appeal to the general public to maintain law and order. In their joint statement, they condemned the acts of arson and rasta roko that have been taking place in some parts of the state. A meeting convened by chief minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday (Nov 1) was attended by veteran leader Sharad Pawar, the Shiv Sena (Uddhav) faction and various political party leaders. The agitation over the reservation demand has taken an ugly turn since Beed MLA Sandeep Kshirsagar’s house was set afire even when several family members were inside. Deputy chief minister (DCM) Ajit Pawar’s staunch supporter Prakash Solanke’s house too was attacked by an unruly mob. In several villages, politicians of all shades have been banned entry. In view of the developing situation, the state government has made preparations to deploy police bandobast outside the residences of prominent OBC leaders since the community is opposed to granting any Maratha reservation from its quota. Those supporting Maratha reservation have alleged that the ruling coalition is trying to drive a wedge between the two sections by taking such a step. The police have filed several criminal cases against the arsonists and violence-spreaders. At least half a dozen cases will be under IPC Section 307, attempt to murder, according to DCM Devendra Fadnavis.
Kejriwal letter

Kejriwal Picks A Few Tricks From Soren On Tackling ED

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal seems to have taken a lesson from Jharkhand CM Shibhu Soren who skipped five summons of ED in the land scam case and instead moved the Supreme Court challenging it. Soren didn’t get much relief from SC as it asked him to approach the high court. Making an identical legal point, Kejriwal in his letter to the ED made the big point about how the summons came in the way of political work — mainly election work. He skipped the ED summons, landed with Punjab CM Bhagwant Singh Mann in Madhya Pradesh for an election campaign.  It was surprising that Kejriwal remained oblivious to the fact that the SC had already passed the ED on its back for establishing a money trail of Rs 338 crore while denying bail to Delhi’s deputy CM Manish Sisodia in the liquor scam early this week. Maybe it is this money trail that must have alerted the wily CM. That is why in a closely guarded move, Kejriwal seems to have changed his mind of appearing before the ED at the   last minute. The ED issued the summons notice to Kejriwal on October 30 asking him to be present at its headquarters at 11 am on November 2. Shooting off a scathing letter to the agency, Kejriwal said “The summon notice is illegal and politically motivated. The notice was sent at the behest of the BJP. Notice was sent to ensure that I am unable to go for election campaigning in four states. ED should withdraw the notice immediately.”
Eknath shinde_003

Maharashtra CM’s Two Loyalist MPs Resign, Bowing To Maratha Demand

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde’s two loyalist MPs have resigned over the Maratha reservation demand that has engulfed the state in an orgy of violence. Shiv Sena (Shinde) Lok Sabha members from Nashik and Hingoli, Hemant Godse and Hemant Patil, have thus supported the long-pending reservation demand proactively. While Patil submitted his resignation to the Lok Sabha secretariat in New Delhi on Monday (Oct 30), Godse has sent his resignation letter to Shinde. Patil drafted his resignation letter on the spot and handed it over to the agitators when he was accosted by Maratha agitators in Yavatmal, challenging him to state his stand on the reservation demand. Soon after the news became viral, Patil was belittled by many of his detractors, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter and fellow MP Supriya Sule. She termed Patil’s resignation as a mere stunt. In retort, Patil said, “I am not born in a family whose two or even three generations are in power.” He regretted that although several leaders from the Maratha community became Maharashtra chief ministers, the caste didn’t get anything. Likewise, Godse drafted his resignation letter in Nashik when Maratha demonstrators asked him to clarify his stand on the burning issue. Patil was recently in the news when he had forced the dean of the government hospital in Nanded to clean toilets after the MP visited it following 24 deaths in 24 hours.


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.