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Praksh ambedkar_002

Raj And Uddhav Thackeray Likely To Join Hands With Modi, Says Prakash Ambedkar

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray’s presence at the dais graced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mumbai on May 17 has started generating political speculation. The most common inference is that MNS and the Shiv Sena led by chief minister Eknath Shinde will come together and the new entity will be headed by Raj, who will be called Shiv Sena chief, a title exclusively used for the late Balasaheb Thackeray. At the NDA rally at Shivaji Park, Raj praised Modi’s leadership and had presented five demands on behalf of Maharashtra. In response, Modi declared that all that was required for Mumbai would be done by him. However, the prominence given to Raj, who spoke just before Modi, has surprised even his supporters. Taking a cue from the social media posts, Republican leader Prakash Ambedkar, too, has predicted that Raj will head the Sena (Shinde). However, Ambedkar ridiculed both Raj and Uddhav Thackeray. He said it was likely that both cousins will go with Modi. The caustic criticism of the PM by Uddhav was just a charade, Ambedkar remarked. On the other hand, Uddhav has lashed out at Raj and called him ‘suparibaj’ in an interview. He said the NDA wanted a Thackeray on its stage and got one, like the hired crowd that had filled up the venue. Raj has maintained total silence though expected to give a reply in his trademark stinging fashion soon.
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Photo : X

Kejriwal's Aide Rained Blows And Kicked A Menstruating Swati Maliwal

Amidst allegations of assault by AAP Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal against Bibhav Kumar, personal aide of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on May 13 and registration of FIR against him, AAP has unleashed a full-scale war in social media to damage Swati. The party released video footage of what happened at Kejriwal’s residence on May 13 to battle allegations of Swati assault. The video recordings are not CCTV footage as CM’s drawing room is not fitted with cameras. It is a video by somebody inside. In unleashing personal attacks on Swati, AAP seems to have completely lost its logic. For a party that initially admitted Bibhav Kumar had assaulted her. Kejriwal deployed his minister Atishi Singh to dub Swati as a BJP stooge. It may be recalled that Kejriwal’s assault of Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash in 2018 had no video evidence because of lack of CCTV images in the drawing room. BJP sources said in her call PCR from CM’s residence, Swati had clearly mentioned that she had been attacked by Bibhav Kumar at the behest of CM (she referred to him in  third person). Oddly, she did not mention him in the FIR. As images of her walking with difficulty to AIIMS for medical check-up and trip to the magistrate to register her statement, it established beyond doubt that she had been assaulted by Kejriwal’s PA. That’s why senior ministers in the government like FM Nirmala Sitharaman and Assam CM Himanta Sarma came out rallying in her support. Delhi BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa pointed out that it was Sunita Kejriwal who had prompted Bibhav to attack Swati. That’s why Kejriwal has gone all out to protect Bibhav. In the FIR, Swati reportedly appealed to Bibhav not to hit her as she was menstruating and in pain. “I repeatedly told him that I am having my period and he should please let go of me as I am in unbearable pain.” It was only thereafter that she called the police.
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Shunned By I.N.D.I.A Bloc In North, DMK Mulling Alliance Options

DMK top brass led by Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin has been in a huddle at party headquarters mulling party’s options in the country’s polity with the kind of Lok Sabha results that 2024 would throw up on June 4. Two things are really worrying the DMK — one is the indication that Congress may not be in a position to form government at the Centre. Which means the party will have to explore post poll realignment. Probably explore the idea of having a good working relationship with the NDA. Besides, the regional party it is being said has also been very miffed with the way it did not get to play any national role in the I.N.D.I.A Bloc in North India. The DMK because of TN minister Udayanidhi Stalin’s utterances against sanatana dharma which is generally considered synonymous with Hinduism in rest of India became a sticking point even for secular parties like RJD and SP in the Hindi belt. So much stigma was attached to the DMK that the party was not even invited to big I.N.D.I.A events in Mumbai and Patna. Responding to Stalin’s worry about lack of role in the North, a senior AICC functionary described it as a “bahana, an excuse.” What Stalinji is trying to do is looking for an excuse like Mamata to get out of the I.N.D.I.A front. Just as TMC is talking about outside support now, so that it can join hands with Modi-led NDA if PM needs support, the DMK is also looking for an excuse.” Meanwhile TNCC chief K Selvaperunthagai who is an MLA has begun talking about strengthening the Congress independent of the support of Dravidian parties — taking a leaf out of state BJP leader K Annamalai. The buzz is Stalin wants to advance state polls and install his son as CM. Also sister Kanimozhi is keen to head the Parliamentary team.
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Didi Clarifies Stance, Signals Unity With I.N.D.I.A Bloc After 'Outside Support' Remark

The high-voltage Lok Sabha Election 2024 is witnessing several eye-catching claims, dialogues and then taking a complete u-turn from those. None other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has been making statement after statement saying that he has never used “muslim polarisation” as his crux of any poll speech. Now joining him is Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee back tracking from her statement of “outside support” to the I.N.D.I.A government if voted to power within 24 hours. Didi has made it clear that her statement has been misinterpreted since she’s the one who created the Bloc, hence there is no room for outside or inside support since she’s part of it. However, her statement explains that Mamata wants the attention of the Bloc, maybe an invitation to lead it, after giving it the cold shoulder for months. Congress choosing Left over her in Bengal left Didi miffed which led her to distancing from the Bloc. Further, she was also angry that Rahul Gandhi’s Nyay Yatra passed through Bengal without informing her.  However, Didi’s comments can be influenced by the state’s 2026 assembly election, with Congress and CPI-M becoming formidable opponents. She must prepare to tackle the anti-incumbency campaign and stop BJP’s 77 MLAs, and potential Left revival, which could increase their vote shares. Having said so, not to be forgotten that Mamata like many veteran politicians has an eye on the PM’s chair.
Bengal BJP

Trinamool Accuses BJP Of Fielding Dummy Candidates In Bengal

As South Bengal gears up for remaining phases of ongoing Lok Sabha elections, a new controversy has emerged with accusations that the BJP is fielding dummy candidates to upset the electoral calculations of Trinamool Congress. Reportedly, the BJP which has no muslim candidates in Bengal’s 42 constituencies, has indirectly fielded Mumtaz Ali, as a ‘dummy’ candidate in the high profile south Kolkata constituency which has dominant muslim votes. BJP’s own candidate is Debasree Chaudhuri. This is a prestige seat for the Trinamool as it is the home turf of the party supremo Mamata Banerjee. She used to contest from here; now it is being contested by her loyalist Mala Roy. Similarly, at the Jadavpur seat, three dummy candidates — Arun Sarkar, Shankar Mandal and Avanikumar Mandal have been fielded by BJP making room for its nominated candidate Anirban Gangopadhyay and dent vote share of TMC’s Saayoni Ghosh. In the same manner, the BJP candidate for Barasat Lok Sabha constituency, Swapan Majumdar, has fielded an experienced BJP worker, Sumay Hira as a dummy candidate against TMC’s veteran and Didi loyalist, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar. However, at Trinamool ‘strongholds’ like Basirhat, Mathurapur, Uluberia, Jayanagar seats names of independent candidates are not being announced by the BJP. BJP leader Abhijit Das (Bobby) who’s contesting against Trinamool scion Abhishek Banerjee at Diamond Harbor seat is not revealing the names of dummy candidates for the fear of he/she may be attacked.
arvind swati

Finally Swati Maliwal Gives Statement To Cops, Trouble Mounts For Kejriwal

In a significant development, Delhi Police recorded AAP Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal’s statement in connection with alleged assault on her on May 13 at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence. Her statement to the police comes four days after the incident when she had made two calls to PCR from CM’s residence. On the day of the incident, Swati had gone to the police station to file a complaint but had refrained from doing so and had remained incommunicado. In her initial complaint she had blamed Kejriwal’s aide Bibhav Kumar and another person for assaulting her. It is not clear if her police complaint followed efforts made by Delhi Police to reach her. Delhi’s Additional Commissioner of Police Special Cell and Additional DCP North   visited Swati’s residence. Swati’s complaint to cops is bound to spell trouble for Kejriwal perhaps cancellation of his bail. It is not clear what would be Swati’s fate after this fate — it is quite likely she would not be able to stay in the AAP. There is already talk of Punjab Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha having moved close to BJP.  Taking suo moto cognizance of media reports of Swati being assaulted by Bibhav, the NCW has summoned him to appear before it on May 17. It must be recalled that, two days after the assault, Kejriwal had sent Sanjay Singh to negotiate with Swati. Singh had accepted that Bibhav had attacked Swati. However, instead of keeping promise made to Swati, AAP supremo Kejriwal tried to brazen out the assault incident. He reached Lucknow for a media interaction with assaulter Bibhav Kumar. Sanjay Singh gave vague excuses like Manipur incidents and Prajwal Rewanna to justify non-action on Bibhav. The only silver lining was Congress leader Priyanka Vadra came out in support of Swati notwithstanding her party’s alliance with AAP.  
Eknath Rally

Election Officials In Nashik Check Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Bag, Finds Nothing

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde’s last Nasik visit had turned into a political slugfest since Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut had questioned why the CM needed large suitcases for such a brief visit. “What was in the bags,” he had asked, apparently to imply that they were stuffed with cash. When Shinde landed at Nashik on Thursday (May 16), his luggage was examined by election and police officials. They later declared that the baggage contained only some essentials, including medicines. Shinde then teased his opponents by saying, “Yes, today also I have come with bags.” The Nashik Lok Sabha seat is among prominent fights in the state as Shinde’s loyalist Hemant Godse finally secured the NDA nomination despite local BJP and NCP opposition. He is opposed by rival Shiv Sena’s Rajabhau Waje, picked by Uddhav to wrest the seat. Senior NCP (Ajit) leader Chhagan Bhujbal, too, had thrown his hat in the ring and his name was almost finalized though Godse was asked to go ahead at the last minute. Ever since, the holy town of Nashik has turned into a fierce battlefield, Shinde, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and other top leaders from both sides have been frequently visiting it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s May 15 rally has only highlighted the importance of the constituency.
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Ending Speculations, Ajit Pawar Says Will Attend PM’s Shivaji Park Rally

He was conspicuous by his absence. Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar was missing when PM Narendra Modi visited Maharashtra on May 15.  Ajit’s second disappearance has become a topic of political speculation though his aides have clarified that he is down with throat infection. This is Ajit’s second act of disappearance in as many years. The first disappearance was in April 2023 and it immediately became hot news against the backdrop of constant gossip that Maharashtra’s BJP leadership had been in touch with him. Ajit teamed up with the BJP in July 2023 as deputy chief minister and was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a public function by tapping him on the back. At that time, too, it was clarified that he was indisposed and hence unavailable. It was also remembered that he was not present when Modi filed his Varanasi nomination a couple of days ago. Ajit’s NCP was represented by senior leader Praful Patel. When Modi visited Kalyan on May 15 before reaching Mumbai, Ajit’s close confidant Sunil Tatkare honoured the PM. Now, it has been confirmed that Ajit Pawar will attend mega rally at Shivaji Park on Friday. The rally’s another highlight will be MNS chief Raj Thackeray, a severe critic of the unified NCP. Ajit was last seen publicly on 13 May at Baramati from where his wife Sunetra is pitted against cousin Supriya Sule. Taking a swipe at his nephew, veteran Sharad Pawar sarcastically quipped, “Ajit is really unwell at present.”
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Confirmed! Raj Thackeray To Be On Stage At Modi’s Friday Mumbai Rally

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on Friday (May 17) will have one more attraction. MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s presence at the crucial campaign meet is expected to benefit the ruling Mahayuti for the polling to be held on 20 May in Mumbai and around. Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule has confirmed the consent of Raj, after calling on him to thank the MNS for its help in Pune and Nashik election campaigning. The six Lok Sabha seats in Mumbai as well as those in Thane and Kalyan have become a prestige issue for both sides, the Mahayuti and the Maha Vikas Aghadi, as the political fates of chief minister Eknath Shinde and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray will depend upon the outcome. To ensure the saffron alliance’s victory, PM Modi was urged to give time for the Mumbai rally. His acceptance has boosted the spirits of the Yuti. Raj is expected to lambast cousin Uddhav’s decision to embrace the Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP, as well as his increasing affinity towards the minorities. CM Shinde and Raj jointly plan to breach the traditional strongholds of the Sena (UBT), especially in Mumbai. The partnership will apply to the legislative assembly election slated in October this year. Considering the potential of this cooperation, Raj has been wooed by the BJP and Shinde. He, too, has responded positively, signalling a long term camaraderie.
MOdi nomination

PM Modi's First Proposer For Nomination Is A Tamil

Astrology scholar Ganeshwar Shastri Dravid, a figure revered not only for his knowledge in astrology but also for his role in determining the auspicious moment for the foundation laying of the Ram Janambhumi and the consecration of Ram Lalla  were among the four people who proposed PM Narendra Modi’s nomination for  the Varanasi Lok Sabha  for the third time. Hailing originally from Tamil Nadu, Ganeshwar has made the Meerghat area of Kashi his home, residing at the Sangveda Vidyalaya in the ancient city. He is the second son of Rajeshwar Shastri, who was also a scholar of Vedas and Shastras. He lives along with his brother, Pandit Vishweshwar Shastri, who is also an equally esteemed scholar. When in Kashi, Ganeshwar teaches and primarily implements decisions provided by the Girvanavagvardhini Sabha at the Sangveda Vidyalaya. Additionally, he generously offers guidance on astrology, Ayurveda, and rituals to address people’s concerns. Ganeshwar operates his own Shastrarthshala, established by his great grandfather who had migrated from Tamil Nadu. Legend has it that when his grandfather arrived in Kashi, local Pandits rigorously examined him before granting him residence. According to reports, Ganeshwar’s ancestry can be traced to Thiruvisanallur, a small village near Kumbakonam in Thanjavur District of Tamil Nadu. Ganeshwar Shastri’s remarkable contributions include determining the auspicious timings for the consecration of Ramjanmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya. Particularly, he was the one who identified the special muhurtham of 84 seconds for the consecration of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya. For the Bhumi Pooja of Ram Mandir, he had allocated a precise 35 seconds as the auspicious time based on astronomical calculations. Other significant events like the consecration of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham and also its Bhumi Pujan were also marked by him. While 13th December had been deemed auspicious for the inauguration in Kashi, many scholars had opposed it, citing...
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All Eyes On Swati Maliwal, Was She Bullied By AAP To Quit Her Rajya Sabha Seat?

 A day after former DCW chief Swati Maliwal approached the Delhi police alleging assault inside Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s house, the Aam Aadmi Party admitted that the AAP chief’s aide had “misbehaved” with her. Maliwal, a senior AAP leader and a Rajya Sabha MP, went to the Civil Lines police station on May 13 morning and claimed she was assaulted by Arvind Kejriwal’s personal assistant, Bibhav Kumar. However, she didn’t lodge an official complaint. Curiously a day after the episode, AAP MP Sanjay Singh came forward to acknowledge that Kejriwal’s aide indeed had misbehaved with Maliwal when the latter was waiting to meet Kejriwal at his house. It is not clear why Kejriwal is in a damage control mode now. “A condemnable incident took place. Swati Maliwal had gone to Arvind Kejriwal’s residence to meet him. While she was waiting for him in the drawing room, Bibhav Kumar allegedly misbehaved with her. The CM has taken cognizance of the matter, and he will take appropriate action,” Sanjay Singh said. As per Delhi Police records Maliwal had called the PCR number at 9.34 am on May 13. AAP sources say Swati was most likely being pressured by Kejriwal to vacate her Rajya Sabha seat– a position that is being coveted by his lawyer who lost his RS seat in a draw of lots recently from a hill state. That is why no sooner than AAP leader Sanjay Singh came up with a false narrative of action against Bibhav Kumar, Swati’s ex-husband Naveen Jaihind asked him to stop acting. He also felt there could be a threat to Swati’s life. Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar has informally sought to know if Swati as RS member would be needing security cover.
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Photo : @ramkadam

Ghatkopar Tragedy Kingpin’s Pic With Uddhav Goes Viral, Faces Rape Charges

The alleged kingpin of the Ghatkopar hoarding collapse tragedy, Bhavesh Bhinde, is facing serious charges like attempt to rape and at least two dozen other cases are pending against him, according to his own declaration. The 51-year old had unsuccessfully contested an assembly election in 2009 from Mulund constituency. The absconding Bhinde’s picture along with Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has gone viral and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders have launched a tirade against their arch political foe. Though most of the cases against Bhinde pertain to erecting unauthorised hoardings, the one at Ghatkopar has opened Pandora Box after its collapse that claimed over 14 lives and left 74 injured. The controversial hoarding has been standing since 2022. Former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had filed complaints against it though no action was taken by the authorities. This has led to a political slugfest between the Sena (UBT) and the BJP. Sena MP Sanjay Raut has blamed the fact that there is no elected civic house and hence the administrator in Mumbai is responsible for the mishap. In a sharp retort, BJP MLA Nitesh Rane has said that Raut’s brother Sunil had taken Bhinde to Matoshri to meet Uddhav. While former minister Anil Parab has maintained that his party is not connected with Bhinde, top leaders of the Congress and the NCP headed by Sharad Pawar have maintained silence about the incident.
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Uddhav Sena’s Sushama Andhare Openly Attacks Raj Thackeray

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeay has become a latest target of the Shiv Sena (UBT) after he pledged his support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Nationalist Democratic Alliance (NDA). Now, Sena leader Sushama Andhare’s attack of Raj in choicest terms after the former had targeted her in a public rally a couple of days ago is repeatedly flashed by Marathi news channels. At the time, Raj had shown an old video clip of Andhare, who had criticised Balasaheb Thackeray about 27 years ago. ‘How could you accept such a person in your party?’ Raj had asked cousin Uddhav, in a bid to embarrass him. An enraged Andhare, who has emerged as a firebrand orator, said Raj is known for his pro-establishment stands taken from time to time. As he has no constructive agenda, he is filled with negativity, Andhare told news channels after the speech of Raj went viral. She said Raj should have respected Balasaheb’s memory by honouring the Sena chief’s appeal to take care of Uddhav and Aaditya, made before his demise. Andhare reminded Raj that his MNS was ridiculed by deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in the past. ‘Now you are campaigning for the BJP,’ she pointed out. Andhare also dug up the sensational Ramesh Kini murder case to hit out at Raj.
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In West Bengal, TMC and BJP Heavyweights In Neck-and-Neck Contest In Several Constituencies

As the voting process now enters into South Bengal beginning from the fourth phase, now it is a straight fight between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP.  Heavyweight candidates from BJP like Dilip Ghosh, SS Ahluwalia, Rajmata Amrita Roy are fighting TMC candidates Kirti Azad, Shatrughan Sinha and Mahua Moitra respectively. It may be noted that Ghosh was shifted from his Midnapore constituency to Bardhaman-Durgapur. The outgoing BJP MP Ahluwalia who is now contesting from Asansol against Shatrughan Sinha, managed to win by slender 3000 votes in 2019. It is likely to be a tough battle for Ghosh since post 2019 Lok Sabha loss TMC has won all assembly seats barring one in 2021. At Asansol seat, TMC MP’s candidate Shatrughan Sinha may have an edge even though it is the home ground of Ahluwalia. Incidentally, on polling day Rajmata’s body language was not that encouraging and she said that “politics is not her cup of tea”. Mahua Moitra is confident of winning by a lakh margin. It is a tough battle for former cricketer Yusuf Pathan fighting on a TMC ticket from Baharampur against Pradesh Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Meanwhile, all eyes are on Barrackpore, Hooghly, and Serampore Bongaon. Incumbent BJP MP former actor Locket Chatterjee from Hooghly faces her industry colleague Rachana Banerjee. TMC is keen to wrest back the seat. Similarly, both BJP and TMC are going all out to win the Matua community dominated seats of Bongaon and Barrackpore. Bongaon may be tough for TMC with incumbent BJP MP Shantanu Thakur, a representative of Matua Thakurbari, likely to win the Barrackpore seat. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has been tirelessly campaigning for Bongaon candidate Biswajit Das and Barrackpore’s Partha Bhowmick.
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Stalin Gives Up His Deputy PM Ambition, To Focus On Tamil Nadu But Play A Lead Role In I.N.D.I.A Bloc

Chief Minister Stalin who may play a leading role in I.N.D.I.A bloc negotiations in the event of a swing away from NDA in the polls is in his own comfort zone in Tamil Nadu. He gave up his Deputy PM ambitions long ago when even his father did not project him nationally in the UPA. He is content to be the regional satrap who can dictate terms with the largest chunk of seats to I.N.D.I.A after the Congress. An internal survey done by his party shows DMK+ can win up to 32 seats by big margins and 5-6 more in tight contests against AIADMK, which they believe was the closer rival and not the BJP in most of the 39 seats. The party believes it could lose one or two seats and might be just behind the 38-1 performance of 2019 as very high turnouts in a couple of seats has thrown up hints about others gaining a bit. No other regional leader can provide such a chunk of MPs to the I.N.D.I.A bloc. Stalin is aware he can use the clout of numbers to demand prime ministries if it comes to government formation and he might move his sister and cousin Dayanidhi Maran to the Centre and concentrate the party power at home while tending to his health. If the status quo prevails, Stalin would still be in his comfort zone in his State.
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Has AIADMK Chief “No Alliance” Strategy Paid Off?

On 12th May all roads in Tamil Nadu led to Salem. Naturally. It was the 70th birthday of AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami popularly known as EPS. The road to his lavish residence was thronged with well-wishers, birthday celebrators and other political peeping toms who had come to assess his strength. A hugely confident and commanding Palaniswami stood on his porch and accepted the garlands, fruits, gifts and adulation like a Roman emperor. This crowd, despite his request to stay off coming to Salem as the heat was overpowering. From 8 am to 12 noon he stood valiantly, but had to plead exhaustion and asked for a chair when the greeters line still extended. Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi, senior BJP leaders K Annamalai, Tamilisai Soundararajan , H Raja , Dr Krishnaswami, Tamil film hero Thala Vijay and a host of political who’s who greeted him. Even as Annamalai had predicted that OPS would wean back the AIADMK after the election tie-up with the BJP, even after erstwhile self-styled general secretary Sasikala Natarajan made several efforts to reclaim her “legacy”, even after TTV Dinakaran smugly postured that EPS’s go-it- alone strategy would fall and fail, Edappadi seems to have hit the best option – both for him and the party’s future. Even as the 70 kg cake was being cut, guests were drawn to the Lotus shaped candles that Edappadi lit, and blew. Who knows about the occult significance of the lotus shaped candles? But definitely the DMK could be unnerved by this rallying round Edappadi. 2026 is a big question mark. And the game of thrones goes on.
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Was Kejriwal’s PA Instigated To Assault AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal?

In a bizarre incident, Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal was reportedly assaulted at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence by his PA Bibhav Kumar. As per calls made to police PCR from CM’s residence, the police received two calls. At first, the woman didn’t reveal her name. But in the second call made around 9.54 am, the caller said her name was Swati Maliwal and she accused Bibhav Kumar of manhandling her. Oddly Swati, who had headed Delhi Commission of Women for 9 years (July 2015-Jan 2024) did not follow up the assault charge with a written complaint. It is being speculated that she initially took two names — police are not sure if she had directly named Kejriwal. Swati had gone to meet with Kejriwal; she was not in India when he was arrested. Bibhav was denying Swati access to meet Kejriwal. BJP leaders dubbed CM’s office as a “boxing ring”, recalling how Kejriwal had assaulted chief secretary Anshu Prakash (Feb 2018) by calling a meeting of his MLAs at midnight. Bansuri Swaraj, the BJP candidate from New Delhi, claimed it was most likely that it was Kejriwal who must have instigated the alleged assault on Swati. AAP sources said party circles including wife Sunita Kejriwal have resented phenomenal growth of Swati — particularly her nomination to Rajya Sabha in January 2024. She was not seen as a grassroot AAP worker. Within AAP, Swati was seen as someone who was always aloof as she had worked with Kejriwal’s NGO. It is possible with Sunita’s growing clout and say in AAP affairs, one could see more such skirmishes at Sheeshmahal!
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Rahul Gandhi Sets A Goal For Kejriwal, Ensure Kanhaiya Kumar Wins

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has reportedly made it clear to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal that he must ensure Kanhaiya Kumar, former JNU student leader and Congress candidate for Delhi’s North-East Lok Sabha seat wins. This is the only seat where the BJP has repeated its candidate, Manoj Tiwari, who is considered to be a popular candidate. With Rahul making the extra push and Kejriwal promising to deliver, BJP sources say the contest will get keen in this seat as well as in South Delhi where the party had changed candidates. In 2019, Rahul’s efforts to get Kanhaiya elected from Bihar did not get adequate support from the RJD (he lost to Union Minister Giriraj Singh). After being in jail for 50 days, Kejriwal, the AAP star campaigner, began his poll campaign .Twenty parliamentary seats in Delhi and Punjab – two states where the Kejriwal-led AAP is in power – will go to polls in the fifth and sixth phase on May 25 and June 1. In his first public interaction, he began with making a wild charge that there was no point in voting for PM Modi as he wouldn’t be around to fulfil his guarantee. He charged that since Modi would be turning 75 next year he would perhaps retire and hand over reins to HM Amit Shah. Responding to Modi’s “retirement”, Countering Kejriwal, both Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh clarified that PM Modi will not only complete his 3rd term till 2029 but will also lead the party for “next round of polls”.
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Has Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel Put In His Papers?

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In March 2024 Haryana chief minister Manoharlal Khattar resigned his post and now, Gujarat chief minister Bhupendra Patel is following suit. Khattar resigned after PM Narendra Modi asked him while honest Patel’s similar intent is owed to familial reasons. Patel communicated his indisposition to public service as he wants to dedicate himself to the full-time care of his ailing son, who underwent neuro-surgery with his medical status pegged at critical. “Unlike Congress culture of holding on to power, Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot being prime examples, BJP is endowed with the Sanghi culture of abstinence espoused by RSS Pracharaks like Khattar, former Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani. Fulltime Pracharaks live away from their families for years following a spiritual code of self-conduct prescribing, for instance, daily meals at party offices or homes of BJP workers,” a senior Sangh leader told shortpost.in. Khattar and Modi worked as Pracharaks in Punjab, Haryana for years together riding on the same scooter. “Modi similarly distributed the proceeds after auctioning gifts he received as Gujarat CM among staffers in the CMO before taking charge of PMO in 2014. Rupani eschewed his post when told to and now dons the role of Punjab’s Prabhari. The mantle of Gujarat’s CM will likely pass to another Patel or even Rajput candidate after recent disruptions in the latter community. Only Modi knows though. Khattar has donated his property worth one crore to the PMO in public interest but may have to take charge of Union Ministership next. Godspeed to Patel for his son’s recovery.
rahul priyanka sonia

MP Cong Leader Embarrasses Gandhis, Pitches Dole For Women As ‘Polygamy Allowance’

Both Priyanka Vadra and Rahul Gandhi are very proud of the Congress guarantees and how it has helped the party capture power in at least two southern states — Karnataka and Telangana and in Himachal. However if they were to hear the way senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria is pitching the Mahalakshmi guarantee for women — promised in the party manifesto — that guarantees woman Rs 1 lakh in her bank account — as an assured scheme for polygamy, the Gandhis would be surely shocked. Bhuria who is contesting the Ratlam Lok Sabha seat from Madhya Pradesh, stirred controversy when he said that women from each household would receive “Rs 1 lakh, and those with two wives would get Rs 2 lakh If Congress comes to power, as our manifesto states,” Bhuria said while addressing a poll rally in Ratlam. The Congress on April 5 released the manifesto ‘Nyay Patra’ for the Lok Sabha elections 2024 and has promised to introduce the ‘Mahalakshmi Scheme’ in the poll manifesto which will provide Rs 1 lakh annually or Rs 8, 500 per month to the poor to alleviate poverty. While the manifesto has made no mention of two wives, it is Bhuria at his imaginative best. Tearing into Bhuria, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala said Kantilal Bhuria has disclosed the “perverted variant of ‘jitni aabadi utna haq’ scheme/guarantee of Congress. It’s not about women samman but treating women like an object……disgusting.”
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Photo : @AamAadmiParty

Arvind Kejriwal Gets Bail, I.N.D.I.A Bloc Gets A Boost

In a boost to the I.N.D.I.A front, the Supreme Court granted interim bail to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on May 10 — three days after the Enforcement Directorate argued that politicians could not be treated differently from non-politicians in the PMLA case. Kejriwal has been granted bail till June 1 in connection with a money laundering case connected to the Delhi excise policy scam even as his counsel pleaded that his bail be extended till June 4 — that is the day of Lok Sabha results. The court has asked the AAP supremo to surrender on June 2. The interim bail has been granted in order to enable Kejriwal to campaign for the Lok Sabha elections 2024. Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Kejriwal, stated that interim bail was essential to ensure that Kejriwal had a level playing field in the upcoming elections as Delhi votes on May 25. The ED had arrested Kejriwal on March 21. There is a sense of jubilation over release of the AAP chief in the I.N.D.I.A front with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee welcoming it. Congress sources, however are not sure if Kejriwal would have polled more votes for the alliance from behind the bars in Tihar or now actively out campaigning across states. Opposing his bail solicitor general Tushar Mehta admitted that “only thing at stake was Kejriwal’s right to campaign for elections, which was not an absolute right to begin with”. Dismissing the objections, the bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna felt “There are extraordinary circumstances for interim bail. We are only examining if those circumstances were met here, in view of the upcoming elections.”
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BJD's Richest Candidate Santrupt Misra Sweeps Streets Of Cuttack To Win Votes

The visuals of Biju Janata Dal’s wealthiest candidate Santrupt Misra (former HR Director of Aditya Birla Group) sweeping the streets of Cuttack has gone viral. The Cuttack Lok Sabha seat is all set to witness a tough battle between six-time ex-BJD veteran MP Bhatruhari Mahtab who recently joined BJP and Misra (BJD) who for the first time is testing electoral politics. Why is Misra in the news? Not because he is the richest BJD candidate having assets of over Rs 461 crore plus investments worth Rs 308 crore and rumours of him investing in BJD? But locals are sitting up and taking notice of this corporate honcho going that extra length of picking the broom to win the Lok Sabha seat from Cuttack.  But, he faces a very formidable opponent in BJP’s Bhatruhari Mahatab who was co-founder of BJD. Are voters impressed by the optics of Misra sweeping the street? Not really! The general impression is that he is not doing it for free…he is merely doing it to win votes. But, the moot point is can Patnaik’s handpicked man defeat a veteran politician like Mahatab?  The general perception is that Mahatab has been six times MP, now it is time for change — a new face with new ideas and Misra fits that bill very well.
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Model Code Of Conduct Proves Irksome To Tamil Nadu Govt

Tamil Nadu was the first State to go to the polls for all 39 seats on the very first day of the Lok Sabha elections of 2024. While getting the polls out of the way seemed a good idea and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin could even go on a holiday to a hill station where he could take over a whole luxury resort for self, family and doctors, the fact that the model code of conduct is in place till June 4 is proving irksome. The Chief Minister was keen to make a splash with newspaper advertisements to mark his government’s third anniversary on May 7, but the Election Commission came down on it and stopped the ads. Steering clear of any controversy building up over any policy announcements by him, the CM left it to the IAS officers to make the announcements on small policy issues. He did, however, make a personal statement on his government’s achievements, with pride on the breakfast scheme in schools taking off and earning praise from India and abroad and the free bus scheme for women that has helped many domestic aides and casual workers to move around easily to their work spots while saving money. The CM would still like to make a public celebration of three years of running the government smoothly enough with media advertisements to come out on June 5 morning after the model code of conduct expires.
Mamata modi

In Bengal, All Eyes On Barrackpore As PM Modi And Didi Gear Up For A Showdown On May 12

Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat under North 24 Parganas has garnered much attention with both Trinamool Congress and BJP pressing their top leaders Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to campaign for their parties’ candidates. While BJP is fighting it out to retain the seat, TMC is desperate to gain it back since a major Assembly chunk under this LS seat belongs to TMC. The battle will be fought between TMC’s minister and Didi’s trusted lieutenant Partha Bhowmick and TMC turncoat Arjun Singh who jumped ship ahead of 2019 and 2024 Lok Sabha elections after being denied ticket by Didi. PM Modi will be holding his rally for Singh in Jagatdal at 11 am on Sunday ( May 12) Didi will hold hers at 2 pm at Shantinagar ground of Palta under Noapara Assembly, home turf of TMC. However, Mamata will be holding another rally on Monday (May 13) at Amdanga, another stronghold of TMC under Barrackpore Lok Sabha constituency. Incidentally, Amdanga Assembly seat belongs to TMC and has a majority of minority votes. Interestingly, this LS seat comprises seven Assembly seats of which six were won by TMC in 2021 Assembly polls. According to political analysts, Barrackpore which is a Hindi-speaking belt has an added advantage for Arjun Singh. On the other hand Bhowmick will have to rely majorly on the minority belts of Amdanga and part of Naihati, which he represents as an MLA. It may be noted that PM Modi campaigned for Singh during 2019 elections and latter enjoys a great rapport with Union home minister Amit Shah.
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Priyanka Vadra’s Intense Poll Drive Lifts The Spirit Of Cong Cadres In Uttar Pradesh

In a scorching campaign, Priyanka Vadra walks, talks and takes the BJP head on, holding her saree pallu in a spitting image of her Dadi, and the UP crowds roar in déjà vu approval. Why didn’t the Congress field both siblings from the family seats – Amethi and Raebareli? The glib explanation that if both stand, who will take care of the campaign? Behind the scenes murmur reveals a plausible gambit. Priyanka has to contend with her husband Robert Vadra’s claim for a seat, an ambition that could queer the pitch for Rahul. Sonia is now on mission mode, Rahul has to win from Raebareli. Priyanka has galvanised over 7000 Congress workers to visit every nook and corner of both the constituencies. Her latest plan is to camp in Raebareli and Amethi till May 18 and cover every stump group she can address. Wait and watch …Priyanka may yet outdo her Dadi…if she lands that slot.
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As PM Modi Questions Rahul's Deal With Ambani & Adani, Gandhi Scion Hits Back

In an unexpected twist, PM Modi picked on Rahul Gandhi’s accusation of crony capitalism by asking “why Shehzada had suddenly stopped talking of Ambani and Adani in this elections all of sudden? He wanted to know if he had been “compromised” into silence by the big business houses. Addressing an election rally in Telagnana’s Warangal, Modi shared how for years after he lost the Rafale battle in the courts, “Congress ke shehzade din raat ek mala japte the…’5 industrialists’, ‘Ambani’, ‘Adani’.., but since the elections are declared, they have stopped abusing Ambani, Adani…” He said, “I wish to ask the Shehzade of the Congress, how much black money have they received from Adani, Ambani? How much the Congress has ‘received’ from those industrialists for the elections?” PM Modi’s questions are interesting considering at least two former CMs — Ashok Gehlot for Amethi and Bhupesh Bhagel for Rae Bareli — have been deployed to manage the elections for the UP seats. The former CMs with resources have been deployed to “salvage” the prestige seat for Gandhis. Initially it was Priyanka Vadra who rushed to her brother’s defence while campaigning in Rae Bareli and attacked Modi for being nervous about his nexus with Adani and Ambani. Later, Rahul shared a video on X where he seemed very happy that PM Modi had for the first time named Adani and Ambani publicly. Taking a swipe at PM for suggesting that he may have cut deals with the top business honchos, Rahul wanted to know if Modi was speaking from his personal experience about transporting cash in tempos. He even suggested sending ED, CBI to the business groups..
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Cong Move To Undo Gains Of Ram Mandir?

In an usual move, Prof Ram Gopal Yadav, cousin of  Samajwadi Party founder, the late Mulayam Singh Yadav, courted controversy when he remarked that the Ayodhya Ram Mandir was ‘bekar’ (useless) and not built according to ‘Vastu’.  It may seem odd that the Yadav patriarch should make these comments on the day of polling for third phase — when at least three members of Yadav family including his son Akshay, Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple and Shivpal Yadav’s son Aditya were trying their luck from Firozabad, Mainpuri and Badaun Lok Sabha seats. It was felt SP leaders have always been anti Ram temple as they have been anxious about pandering to their Muslim vote bank. UP CM Yogi Adityanath said “These are the same people who opened fire on Kar Sevaks and even denied the existence of Lord Ram.”  However, what added a new dimension to the Ram Mandir debate was a disclosure by former Congress leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam that Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was in favour of revisiting the Ayodhya judgement of the Supreme Court– that is if the Congress were to come to power at the Centre. Rahul wished to overturn the mandir verdict of the apex court just as his father Rajiv Gandhi had nullified Shah Bano order in the 80s. The temple which has proven to be a boon for UP and rejuvenated the state is now being threatened with political action. PM Modi used Krishnam’s disclosures in his campaign to warn people about the SP and the Congress’ evil designs on Ram Mandir. So far the Congress has not contradicted the claim.
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Left Goes Hi-Tech In Bengal, Harnesses SRK's Influence And AI To Counter TMC & BJP

 Once known for its archaic outlook, CPI-M is going all out using an AI-generated video of ailing former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya to usage of AI-generated news anchor and whistleblowing Bollywood dialogues to revive the Left Front’s fortunes in West Bengal in this Lok Sabha Election. But, can it counter Trinamool Congress and BJP’s political binary in the state? CPI-M recently created buzz with a teaser post “aei bhabe-o phire asha jay” (this way can also be returned) before releasing Bhattacharjee’s message urging voters to vote for the Left and secular forces. The video shows the former CM addressing a spectrum of concerns spanning from Sandeshkhali to unemployment and accusations of corruption in West Bengal, criticising the ruling TMC. The video also scrutinised the BJP-led Centre on demonetization, electoral bonds, and inflation by saying “Who is Narendra Modi? Who is Mamata Banerjee? Don’t give them a chance to ruin our country, our state.” Incidentally, questions have been raised about missing star campaigners. Countering it, Srijan Bhattacharya from Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency has garnered significant attention with his inverse statement of the famous SRK dialogue from Jawan — Bete ko haath lagane se pehle baap se baat kar to Baap ko haat lagane se pehle bete se baat karna parega. It may be noted that CPI-M since 2019 Lok Sabha and 2021 State Assembly polls has failed to open any accounts. Though candidates such Bhattacharya, Saira Shah Halim from Kolkata South and Dipsita Dhar from Serampore are trying to revive the Left Front’s fortunes in Bengal. But, it certainly seems like an uphill task.
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Gloves Are Off, PM Modi Openly Attacks Naveen Patnaik

It’s now certain that the bonhomie situation between BJD-BJP is over at the highest level. It’s a war like situation between hopeful BJP and well entrenched BJD in Odisha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his electioneering visit to Odisha said “BJD’s expiry date is June 4, the day the Assembly election result will be announced”. Modi also invited Odisha netizens to the swearing-in ceremony of BJP CM on June 10, saying BJP will make Odisha No 1 in five years. Modi in his election speech compared BJD to the setting sun and Congress is already past, while BJP has come with the hope of a new dawn in Odisha” he said. Modi said, the BJP CM in Odisha will be someone who deeply understands and takes pride in Odia culture. Political watchers are asking a couple of questions: Is this Modi’s ploy to intimidate BJD, setting the election tone? Is Modi’s statement based on the feedback given by Odisha BJP leaders? Those who know Modi’s penchant for political spin, say this is Modi’s way for positive thinking just like his famous election promise of “achhe din“. After PM’s expiry day remark Patnaik’s protege VK Pandian said “Naveen Patnaik will take oath as Odisha CM for 6th time on June 9.” On his part, Patnaik said “It has been a long time BJP is daydreaming.” Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh took a jibe at BJP Modi saying “Odisha has suffered gross neglect in the hands of Modi sarkar. He sighted CAG reports saying central transfers as percentage of revenue receipt has decreased from 57% in 2017-18 to 38% in 2021-2022.”
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BJP’s Sambit Patra Has An Edge In Puri As BJD Changes Candidate In Temple Town

The contest is keen as it is set to take place between BJP’s Dr Sambit Patra and Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) Arup Patnaik with the regional party replacing its candidate and sitting MP Pinaki Misra. The wager this time round is that Dr Patra could have an edge as he narrowly lost the 2019 polls to Pinaki Misra by 11,714 votes. Legal eagle Misra who has contested and won from Puri a record six times since 1996 did not wish to contest again. The BJD replaced Misra with Arup Patnaik, a former Mumbai top cop. The buzz about Patnaik is that he is too aloof as a candidate; he apparently doesn’t even get off his vehicle to interact with voters. He merely asks people if they know who he is. Sources sympathetic to Patnaik say he has some health issues and is not strong on communication. Yet,  BJD sources insist that the key to winning Puri would depend on the kind of  candidates selected and deployed in the assembly seats as state polls are being held with Lok Sabha polls . That is why Arup Patnaik still could be home and dry, if the right candidates have been picked as MLAs. “It all depends on what Bobby Das, our BJD General Secretary, who is contesting Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat against Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, has planned for Puri,”says a BJD veteran. All indications are BJP’s Dr Patra is having it easy at the assembly level too. Meanwhile, the Congress refused to let its candidate Sucharita Mohanty drop out due to lack of support. Senior leader KC Venugopal said that the party was replacing Sucharita with another candidate. Polling in Puri will take place in the sixth phase on May 25, along with assembly polls. In 2019, the BJP won a total of 8 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha, BJD grabbed 12 and one seat went to Congress.
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Glaring Omission of Muslim Candidates In Maharashtra Stands Out, AIMIM To Contest Four Seats

On the last day of filing nominations on May 3, the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) surprised all by putting up a candidate in Mumbai North Central constituency to make up for failure of major political parties to nominate even a single Muslim candidate among the 48 seats in Maharashtra. AIMIM even invited Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan to join the party and contest on AIMIM ticket but he refused. The AIMIM,which has no tie-ups in state either with the INDI alliance group or with the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi(VBA) has now put up four candidates across the state including in Aurangabad, Osmanabad, Pune and Mumbai North Central. Currently, Maharashtra has only one Muslim Member of Parliament, AIMIM’S Imtiaz Jaleel out of the 48 seats and about 10 legislators out of the 288 MLA’s seats in the state. There is much anger expressed among the 11.56% Muslim population in Maharashtra against the Maha Vikas Aghadi particularly the Congress for their failure to nominate even a single candidate from its tally of 17 candidates from the 1.3 crore Muslim community in state. The party failed to act even when its own senior leader and aspirant, ex-cabinet minister Arif Nasim Khan resigned from key party posts after it failed to nominate him from the North Central constituency. The Samajwadi Party, which enjoys a support base among the Muslim community, is upset with the Congress for not allocating even two seats for it in the state. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge chose to blame it on three-party coalition compulsions.
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Recruitment Scam Fallout: TMC, Opposition Face Electoral Backlash Over Job Cancellations

The Calcutta High Court judgement of nullifying the appointments of 25,000 teachers in the Teachers’ Recruitment Scam seems to have impacted the fortunes of the political parties particularly the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. It has dealt a severe blow to the credibility of TMC supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led government.  Not only has it tarnished the image of the Trinamool government but raised questions about its commitment to transparency and meritocracy. The party is now grappling with the fallout from the scam. The cancellation of such a large number of teaching jobs has not only sparked outrage among the affected candidates but has also fueled discontent among voters in Bengal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his rallies in Bengal on May 3, reassured the youth of Bengal that those responsible for their distress would face severe consequences. He encouraged the BJP Bengal to set up both a legal cell and a social media platform to support the victims of the scam. Incidentally, several people blamed the CPI-M’s Rajya Sabha MP and senior leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya as well as BJP for the verdict as their main aim was to gain power and not think about common people. The verdict’s implications extend beyond the immediate loss of jobs for thousands of aspiring teachers; it has become a focal point in the broader political contest for power and legitimacy.
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Is Priyank Kharge “The New Power Centre” In Karnataka?

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections have turned into a battle of survival for India’s regional parties, with centralisation of political power emphasized by the only two national political formations – BJP and Congress. The centralisation of power has also witnessed a new phenomenon: Remote controlled state governance from Delhi. While BJP was known to have done so in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka (erstwhile government), Congress has also unofficially appointed president Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank, known for his strident anti-Hindutva, as Karnataka’s de-facto CM after placating CM Siddaramaiah, Deputy CM DK Shivakumar through an equitable state control. Meanwhile, regional fault-lines have erupted replacing coalition dharma across India that hitherto accommodated regional concerns of allies. The NDA witnessed soft murmurs of protest among regional partners over inadequate representation for general elections although things did not come to a head. The I.N.D.I.A front, however, witnessed sharp differences and varied responses from regional players apparently taking the Congress head on despite the alliance. CPI in Kerala pitted Annie Raja’s candidature against Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad. Similarly, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav quickly announced his daughter’s candidature to contest against Pappu Yadav (Rajesh Ranjan), a day after the latter merged his standalone Jan Adhikar Party with Congress for general elections 2024. Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party/Congress bonhomie evaporated after Congress’ manifesto reiterated reservations not only for caste but also minorities (read Muslims). Akhilesh Yadav has taken note of the Congress outreach to the minority vote-bank and now additionally worries about outsider AIMIM party’s full-fledged foray into UP that threatens to upstage his own Lok Sabha fortunes.
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Rahul Agrees To Contest From Raebareli Too, Congress Cadres Upset As Priyanka Keeps Out Of The Fray

Nothing has disappointed Congressmen across the country more so in Uttar Pradesh than the fact that Priyanka Vadra did not figure as a candidate either from Raebareli or Amethi. Instead, her brother Rahul filed his papers from Raebareli, a seat their mother Sonia vacated, moving to a Rajya Sabha seat from Rajasthan. The Amethi seat which Rahul unsuccessfully contested in 2019 and lost to Smriti Irani was given to an old party hand, KL Sharma. Party sources said for some reason Rahul was not keen that his sister, who has shaped up as a key campaigner, should enter the fray. Maybe he will let her contest the Lok Sabha seat, say Wayanad, in the event he wins. With UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s goal of securing all the 80 Lok Sabha seats and Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan also setting similar goals, Rahul may perhaps not get the privilege of making such a choice . That’s why Congress leaders insist keeping Priyanka out of the electoral fray at this stage isn’t a great idea and has impacted at least 25 seats. “Priyanka’s entry would have galvanised the Congress cadre. In fact, the Samajwadi Party was insisting that at least one of the Gandhis should enter the fray from UP. Rahul was not keen on fighting for a second seat. He had to be persuaded,” says an AICC functionary.  It is rather odd that Rahul didn’t want to share family turf with his sister. This at a time when party cadre feels more inspired by her.  With Women’s Quota becoming an Act, a reality that would be rolled out from 2029, Rahul should know he can have little choice.
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Raj Thackeray Expected To Jump Into Campaigning Soon

Now that all Lok Sabha candidates have been announced in Maharashtra by major parties, the ruling Mahayuti alliance is planning to add ace orator Raj Thackeray to the list of its star campaigners. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the party established by Raj, has already become active in select Lok Sabha constituencies though its rank and file is yet to be roped in across the state. But that will happen in a couple of days, it is expected. Raj has already declared his support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA. He himself will launch his state tour either from Mumbai, Pune or Nashik. Raj’s main attack will focus on cousin Uddhav Thackeray and the Shiv Sena faction led by him. Hence, Raj will be seen more in Mumbai, Thane and the Konkan region, which are all Uddhav’s strongholds. Veteran Narayan Rane, who is contesting from the Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri seat on a BJP ticket, will be among the first to organise a public rally for Raj. Similarly, chief minister Eknath Shinde’s son Shrikant (Kalyan) and his confidant Naresh Mhaske (Thane) are looking forward to holding meetings for Raj on whom they called in Mumbai. Similarly, BJP’s high profile candidate advocate Ujjwal Nikam had an hour-long meeting with Raj at the MNS chief’s residence. Raj has kept mum all these days and it is said that he is storing his ammunition for setting it afire at appropriate times.
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Hounded By Social Media, Stalin Cuts Short His Holidays

Hounded by social media critics, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin dashed back to Chennai on cutting short his stay in Kodaikanal by at least two days. Mocked for staying in salubrious hill station weather while the rest of the state was being roasted in extraordinary conditions of high heat and worse humidity, Stalin called for a chartered flight to take him back from Madurai on May 2. He had gone on a break to one of Tamil Nadu’s two best known summer resorts, with sentiment guiding him to the more southern queen of hill stations as it had proved lucky for him after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in which his DMK+ alliance that he led won 38 of 39 seats. He called for an emergency meeting in the state capital on May 3 to take stock of the harsh summer conditions and what the state could do to mitigate the plight of the people. Tamil Nadu has a history of CMs going to hill stations with J Jayalaalithaa known to camp for months in her favourite tea estate in Kodanad in the Nilgiris. But she had to withstand much mockery then even though she was running the administration from there at a camp office. With Stalin trying his hand at putting on the Kodaikanal Golf Club’s greens, the noise on social media became louder, forcing him to take a call on the summer blues of the people.
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In Maharashtra Shinde Gains, Ajit Sacrifices And BJP Adjusts

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde is perceived as the main gainer in the Lok Sabha seat distribution among the three partners of the ruling Mahayuti alliance. While the BJP has the largest share of the seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) under deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has had to satisfy with just four the undivided NCP had won in 2019. Hence, Ajit’s political future is a matter of discussion now since his adversaries have started painting him as a loser. The Shiv Sena under Shinde has obtained 15 seats, leaving the remaining 28 for the BJP. The NCP (Ajit) will thus fight in Raigad, Dharashiv, Shirur and Baramati constituencies. On the other hand, Shinde has been able to secure Kalyan, Thane and Nashik LS seats, which will witness a close fight. Incidentally, the BJP was trying to obtain these three seats as it was under pressure from its local leaders. Sensing the possible criticism, Ajit had explained that the NCP (undivided) had won four seats in 2019 and would recontest them this time, too. Additionally, he wanted his party to get the prestigious Satara seat won by it the last time, but dropped its claim since a scion of the family of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was selected to stand there.  Ajit and Shinde have the assembly as the focus of their future politics. Hence, the present arrangement is viewed as an adjustment for the long term strategy to decimate the Congress and Sharad Pawar from the state political scene.
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Eknath Shinde Picks Two Mumbai Lok Sabha Candidates, Both Once Close To Uddhav And On ED’s Radar

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has selected two Lok Sabha candidates from Mumbai. According to the much-awaited announcement, MLAs Yamini Jadhav for Mumbai South and Ravindra Waikar for Mumbai North-West will take on Uddhav Thackeray’s confidants Arvind Sawant and Amol Kirtikar, respectively. Jadhav and Waikar, both close to Uddhav once, were also on the ED’s radar. Sawant has been elected twice from the constituency which houses all important government offices, including Mantralaya, the Reserve Bank and the Mumbai Stock Market, besides various international financial corporations. Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has explained that the Shiv Sena led by Shinde was allotted three of the six seats from Mumbai and accordingly, Jadhav and Waikar are in the fray. Till last month, Waikar was with the Uddhav faction but changed sides recently to join the Sena under Shinde. He will be opposing Amol Kirtikar, whose father Gajanan has been representing the Western suburban constituency for a decade. The third Sena (Shinde) candidate is sitting MP Rahul Shewale, from Mumbai South Central, considered the stronghold of the Sena (Uddhav). His opponent is top Sena functionary Anil Desai, who is considered among the closest to Uddhav. The BJP has fielded ace lawyer Ujjwal Nikam (Mumbai North Central), Union minister Piyush Goyal (Mumbai North) and Mihir Kotecha (Mumbai North East). All fights in Mumbai, thus, will witness a keen tussle.
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JD (S) Aghast As Congress Makes Use Of Prajwal's Videos

BJP leaders are quite perplexed by Congress efforts to drag PM Narendra Modi into outright sexual misconduct of JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna, just because he campaigned for the Hassan candidate.  Clearly upset with the BJP-JD(S) alliance that is having an edge in the LS polls, it is being said deputy chief minister DK Shiv Kumar(DKS) had reportedly zeroed in on Prajwal’s shortcomings just to undermine the alliance and had unleashed a digital campaign to dent the JD(S) image days before the April 26 voting. DKS, worried about the fate of his own brother DK Suresh losing to former PM HD Devegowda’s son-in-law Dr Manjunath that he resurrected an old video and circulated it in the constituency. BJP sources are surprised that the Congress which was too scared to speak up for women of Sandeshkhali, was now speaking for “exploited” women of Hassan. Home Minister Amit Shah shut-up the Congress by saying it was now up to Karnataka to probe the matter. As for Prajwal, he has been suspended from the JD(S).The video clips, allegedly involving Prajwal surfaced on social media a day after his constituency went to polls. On reports of Prajwal leaving the country pending a probe, Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara has asserted that Prajwal will be asked to return to India by the SIT. BJP Leader Devaraje Gowda said he had written to then BJP state president BY Vijayendra in December 2023, flagging “grave allegations” against the HD Deve Gowda family, including Prajwal Revanna. He claimed that he had received a pen drive containing 2,976 explicit videos of women which were then being used to blackmail them into continuing to engage in sexual activities. Meanwhile, the buzz is JD(S) Chief HD Kumaraswamy feels when his son Nikhil lost Ramanagara Assembly it had a lot to do with elder brother HD Revanna sabotaging it.
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Amit Shah Sets Cat Among Pigeons, Says Bureaucrat Pandian May Be Patnaik’s Eventual Successor

Union home minister Amit Shah who is on a whistle-stop tour across the country was in Odisha recently where both the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to boost the morale of his voters and win the confidence of the voters. He told the cadres and leaders, BJP will form the Odisha government in 2024. As for the electorate he told them that BJP will make Odisha No1 state in the country if given an opportunity. He dropped the succession plan bombshell of Biju Janata Dal. He publicly said that chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s confidant VK Pandian may be a possible successor. This statement seems to have unnerved seasoned BJD leaders. But, there is no denying the fact that just like Modi who is admired across the country, so too is Patnaik across the state. He is the undisputed king; nobody can ease him out of the throne in this lifetime. The general feeling is that Patnaik will be sworn in as the CM for the sixth consecutive time in 2024. Yes, what goes against Patnaik is his age (77-year) and health but not lack of development of the state per se.  Pandian emerging as eventual successor seems to have sown seeds of discord among senior BJD leaders. After Patnaik, they feel the party will disintegrate as nobody would want to be led by an outsider like Pandian. Against this backdrop, BJP seems to have the field wide open for it.
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Can Mahua Moitra Retain Her Krishnanagar Seat Against BJP's Onslaught?

BJP, it seems, is leaving no stones unturned to ensure that the Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra who was expelled from the Parliament in a cash-for-query case loses her Krishnanagar Lok Sabha seat. According to BJP sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold a rally at Krishnanagar on May 3 in favour of BJP candidate Amrita Roy, daughter-in-law from Krishnanagar Royal Family. Mahua Moitra who came into public glare for her fiery speeches and strong political stance has been a strong critic of the BJP-led Central government.  She has been going hammer and tongs over the Adani issue. When she was expelled from the Parliament, her future seemed a question mark but TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee went all out to back her by renominating her. Before Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah was scheduled to address a gathering in Krishnanagar on April 30 but the meeting got canceled at the last moment. Interestingly, this constituency has several religious places like Shantipur, Nabadwip and Mayapur and it is easy for BJP to mobilise Hindu voters for public gathering. Besides, BJP is banking on the Matua and Namasudra community votes. Local BJP leaders admitted that there is a panic in these areas over NRC and if the PM can clear the doubts on this front in his speech it will help. Modi’s decision to personally campaign for the BJP candidate in Krishnanagar underscores the party’s determination to clinch victory and also an opportunity to embarrass Mahua vis a vis Didi. If Mahua wins and returns to Parliament then it could be a face loss for BJP. But June 4 will decide which way the wind is blowing.
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photo : asianetnews.com

Superstition Or Lucky Charm: Why Stalin Is Holidaying In Kodaikanal

Post April 19, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin had an onerous task of getting voting feedback from every constituency, in keeping with his clarion call — 40 on 40 for DMK and its allies. Satisfied about the outcome, Stalin then set off on April 29 with wife Durga and family to cool off in Kodaikanal, the hill resort de rigueur for the angrez. But this powerful and wealthy family could have chosen any ritzy global getaway, so why Kodai? Wags and watchers are busy with superstition theories. Post 2021 Assembly polls, Stalin sought this same hill station even as the DMK supremacy news wafted in. Whatever the rationalist ideology, agnostic posture, superstition is rife among most Indians — especially politicians who reach out to vaastu experts, numerologists and astrologers surreptitiously. It is recalled that family pointsman son-in-law V Sabareesan predicted a huge victory margin in 2021. This election, his ministers have concerns of a different kind; Stalin has warned that any plunge in vote share would directly hit the minister in charge of that constituency. So they are speculating that the CM could be planning axing some names, after feedback from the oracles. Stalin is busy assuring his coterie that no such exigency may arise as he expects DMK to sweep the polls this time too. So where does this leave the BJP? Psephologists have different stories to say. The day of reckoning is June 4.
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Why Cong Was Quick To Distance Itself From EVM Petition?

It is really interesting that on a day the Supreme Court dismissed petitions that called for comprehensive cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), the Congress  asserted  that  its “political campaign on the greater use of VVPATs to increase the public trust in the electoral process” would continue. This even after Congress leader Jairam Ramesh wrote on X that “Congress was not a party, directly or indirectly, to the petition on VVPATs rejected by the Supreme Court”. So what is the Congress compulsion to continue its campaign against EVMs, something that it introduced while it was in power? Well, the answer lies in its 2024 manifesto where under the heading “Defending the Constitution” the party speaks about a promise to restore the voters’ trust in the election process. “We will amend the election laws to combine the efficiency of the EVM and the transparency of the ballot paper. Voting will be through the EVM but the voter will be able to hold and deposit the machine-generated voting slip into the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) unit. The electronic vote tally will be matched against the VVPAT slip tally.”  Of course such a promise goes against the latest SC verdict. That’s why even if one accepts the Congress position that it had nothing to do with the petition before the SC, PM Modi  may not be surely off the mark when he dubbed the apex court  verdict as a jolt “to those who wanted to loot ballot boxes “. The court had clearly said the era of ballot papers shall not return.
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Wives' Of Jailed CMs Look For A Large Role In Party Affairs

Ever since Sunita Kejriwal and Kalpana Soren –wives of jailed chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren — took part in the Opposition I.N.D.I.A rally on April 21 in Ranchi, their role in party politics seem to be getting firmer. AAP leadership now wants Sunita Kejriwal to campaign for its three Lok Sabha candidates in Delhi from April 27.  Sunita’s campaign will be to protest her husband’s arrest, explained Delhi minister Atishi Singh. Sunita Kejriwal will apparently hold a roadshow in East Delhi Lok Sabha on April 27, follow it up with another roadshow in the West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency the following day. She is also expected to visit Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat.  AAP sources hope people of “Delhi, Punjab, and the entire country will vote in favour of Arvind Kejriwal”. The party has also launched a Lok Sabha campaign focussing on Kejriwal’s arrest by the ED. Titled Jail Ka Jawab Vote Se is a song written and sung by AAP MLA Dilip Pandey.  Meanwhile, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has declared Kalpana Soren, wife of jailed former chief minister Hemant Soren, as candidate for by-election to Gandey assembly seat. Bypoll in Gandey, which fell vacant following the resignation of JMM MLA Sarfaraz Ahmad, is scheduled on May 20 along with Lok Sabha polls in the state. Kalpana, a homemaker with MTech and MBA qualifications, is contesting from a general seat as she is a non-tribal and hails from Odisha. She was previously considered a frontrunner for the position of CM after Hemant Soren’s resignation but faced opposition from Sita Soren, the elder daughter-in-law of Shibu Soren.
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Career Boost For Nupur Sharma, May Get Rajya Sabha Berth

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The BJP that was seriously considering the rehabilitation of its former spokesperson Nupur Sharma, relegated to political silence in the wake of her controversial comments over the Gyanvapi temple issue, may likely elevate her to parliament through the Rajya Sabha. Sources close to the development told shortpost.in, “Sharma’s rehabilitation was under active consideration for over two months now. Originally, BJP intended to field her from one of the seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi. However, issues of security, with a fatwa of sur-tun-se-juda (decapitation threat) issued against her by Islamic fundamentalists, resulted in her candidature not being confirmed as it would lead to security challenges as she would have to publicly canvas for the general elections.” The source added that the BJP is still to finalize her exact mode of political elevation with the Raebareli and Amethi Lok Sabha seats also being considered as options if Rahul Gandhi’s second parliamentary candidature or Priyanka Vadra’s nomination respectively are announced from either of the two seats. “The BJP is keen to serve out a double drubbing to the Gandhi family from their traditional parliamentary bastions in Uttar Pradesh. On Hanuman Jayanti, which was celebrated on April 23, Nupur Sharma was seen distributing food to people. Coincidentally, Lord Bajrangbali’s birthday and Sharma’s fell on the same day.” Nupur, who insists that her comments were in response to pejorative statements against Lord Shiva’s Jyotirlinga at Gyanvapi, being referred to as a mere water fountain by Muslim panelists on the televised show, may thus benefit from divine intervention to kickstart her political career once again.
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Voters Shocked As Maharashtra Electioneering Dominated By Allegations, Abusive Language

 The flurry of allegations and counter-allegations has reached another level in Maharashtra this election season. Day in and day out, various leaders slander their opponents, at times using abusive language. Now, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut has made a serious allegation against deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, and his boss, Uddhav Thackeray, has endorsed it. Fadnavis has reiterated his charge that the Thackeray’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government had tried all options to arrest him but failed since it did not find anything incriminating. Even a police commissioner of Mumbai was roped in but in vain, he added. Responding to the charge, Raut said that Fadnavis had ordered phone tapping when he was the chief minister. When the MVA government began investigating the matter, Fadnavis got worried and engineered the fall of the Thackeray government. Though Uddhav who so far had maintained silence about the issue he endorsed what Raut said. Uddhav also questioned the exoneration of various prominent leaders from charges of corruption. He was hinting at the clean chit issued by the Mumbai police to Sunetra Pawar in an alleged fraud case. Uddhav said such questions had been uppermost in people’s minds. Even if no answers are forthcoming, the voters will not forget them, he warned. Only a few days ago, Uddhav’s son Aaditya had used derogatory terms against CM Eknath Shinde. There is no sign of the combat of verbal invectives subsiding.
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Shinde Warns Uddhav, Behave Or Shall Expose Your London & Lucknow Property Details

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has threatened his arch enemy Uddhav Thackeray that various documents concerning properties from London to Lucknow and khoka to container are in his possession and if his predecessor does not observe limits of decency, everything will be made public and then he (Uddhav) will not be able to move around openly. In an interview to Marathi news channel ABP Majha, Shinde castigated Aaditya Thackeray for using intemperate language against him and others.  In an oblique reference to London, the CM said there was no reason for somebody to become restless when relaxing in the British capital was mentioned. “Observe limits, or else all will come out. We have documents about London and 200 acres in Lucknow,” Shinde warned Aaditya. He reiterated that the then Thackeray government had planned to jail top BJP leaders like Devendra Fadnavis, Ashish Shelar, Pravin Darekar or Prasad Lad. He recalled how Union minister Narayan Rane, MP Navneet Rana, journalists like Arnab Goswami were jailed during the Uddhav regime. He alleged that Uddhav was trying to weaken the BJP on one hand and strengthen Maha Vikas Aghadi on the other by using governmental machinery. Praising MNS leader Raj Thackeray, he said Raj was a broad minded person unlike Uddhav. He expressed confidence that the Mahayuti will sweep the polls in Maharashtra.
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Post Poll Feedback: AIADMK Chief Livid After He Discovers Cadres Did Not Reach Out To Voters

Polling in Tamil Nadu, held in the first phase, has apparently left AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) very disturbed, particularly after he discovered that the party cadre did not even bother to reach out to voters. Soon after the voting was over, a livid Palanisami held a review meeting and gave the cadre a dressing down. Apparently, the AIADMK cadre was not happy about going alone, snapping ties with the BJP. With a potential ally like the PMK preferring to tie up with the BJP rather than the AIADMK, Palaniswami feels his party could draw a blank in the Lok Sabha polls. His rival O Panneerselvam has stood as an independent in Ramanathapuram backed by the BJP. Some AIADMK leaders wonder if snapping ties with the BJP was dictated by Palaniswami’s animosity towards TN BJP chief K Annamalai. EPS was so determined to defeat Annamalai that he had even deployed two or three of his close aides in Coimbatore.  As for breaking ties with the BJP, EPS had expressed concern over getting minority votes from southern districts. Post polling, doubts remain if any minority votes came AIADMK way.
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(left) Left Radhakrishna Doddamani and Dr CN Manjunath

Karnataka Witnesses Prestige Battle Of Two Famous Damads

At least two Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka –Gulbarga and Bangalore (Rural) — will witness two prestige battles of sorts of the sons-in- law. Gulbarga Lok Sabha will witness Radhakrishna Doddamani, son-law of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge taking on incumbent BJP MP Dr Umesh Jadhav, while Dr CN Manjunath, son-in-law of former PM HD Devegowda will be locked in a battle as BJP-JD(U) candidate  to oust DK Suresh, sitting  Congress MP and brother of Karnataka Deputy CM  DK Shivkumar. The most interesting part of the poll campaign is that 81-year-old Kharge tried to strike an emotional chord with the people of his home district of Kalaburagi.  He appealed to voters to at least attend his funeral if they thought he worked for them if they did not wish to vote for the Congress candidate. Kharge had lost in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Congress sources said Kharge is not confident of reclaiming Gulbarga seat via his relative. In contrast, Dr Manjunath, engaged in the prestige battle in the Vokkaliga stronghold of Bangalore Rural seat, is quite aware that he is up against the might of Congress’s DK brothers. Yet, what is giving him confidence is the BJP-JD(S) alliance and a certain “gratitude factor” as he is a cardiologist to work in his favour. Manjunathwho has done much clinical work says there are at least 10-15 cardiac patients that have been treated by his healthcare institute not only in Bangalore Rural but in every village. He adds that the gratitude factor among these patients has added momentum to his electoral campaign.  Of course, he is not relying on gratitude alone. “Narendra Modi’s charisma is there,” he has been quoted as saying.
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(left) Sunil Tatkare and Anant Geete

Confusing Raigad Voters: Two Tatkare and Three Geete Contest From The Same Constituency

The battle between Mahayuti candidate Sunil Dattatray Tatkare and Maha Vikas Aghadi’s Anant Gangaram Geete in Raigad Lok Sabha constituency is likely to end in a suspense since namesakes of both candidates have filed nominations. Tatkare, the sitting MP, has been fielded by the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP while Geete is contesting on behalf of the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray. Geete,  a former Union Industries minister, has been elected repeatedly from the constituency. Interestingly, there are two more independent candidates with the same name Anant Geete. They are Anant Padma Geete and Anant Baloji Geete. Similarly, there is a Sunil Dattaram Tatkare, who is not known locally at all. The three pose a risk of splitting the votes. In 2014 a similar thing had happened in Raigad. Tatkare and Geete were in a close fight but the seat was ultimately won by Geete by a slim margin of around 2000 votes while the “other” Tatkare had polled over 9,000 votes resulting in politician Takare losing. In 1991, top PWP leader Datta Patil had to suffer when a similar tactic was used against him. In fact, the Raigad constituency is known for such independent candidates, who can derail real candidates’ winning chances. It is said that Tatkare is using the same strategy this time, played by the Sena 10 years ago to defeat him.
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Ranas Vs Adsuls: Fight At Amravati Is Far From Over

It’s the husband-wife team of Navneet-Ravi Rana vs the father-son team of Anandrao- Abhijit Adsul playing out in Amravati. Both the Ranas and Adsuls have one leg in the state and Centre. While Ravi Raja represented Badnera assembly constituency for three terms from 2009 onwards, his wife Navneet is the sitting MP from Amravati. A similar arrangement had been worked out between the Adsuls — father Anantrao Adsul was the MP from Amravati from 1996 to 2014 while son captain Abhijeet Adsul was an MLA from Daryapur constituency from 2009.Things changed when Naveet Rana defeated the five-term MP Adsul in 2019. The equations changed further in 2024 when both of them found themselves vying for the same Amravati seat from the same Mahayuti alliance with Ranas pitching from the BJP and Adsuls from the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena. Ravi Rana famously quipped in a rally that not only will he get a ticket from Amravati but he will also get the Adsul’s to campaign for his wife. Thanks to their clout, Navneet Rana did manage to get the ticket from Mahayuti with the state BJP welcoming her at midnight. However, the arrogance of Rana’s is such that Navneet’s nomination from the BJP was opposed by BJP’s own cadres, as also from the independent parties like Bachchu Kadu of Prahar Party, who put up a candidate against her. To cool things down, the husband-wife duo visited Adsul’s residence. But, senior Adsul seems adamant on opposing Rana. Looks like the Amravati feud promises to hold more surprises.

TRENDS & VIEWS

Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

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