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Ajit pawar_007


NCP's Swift Entry-N-Rise In Maharashtra Govt Rankles Ruling Allies

Ajit Pawar’s ability to swing the best portfolios for himself and his team of eight ministers, within 12 days of joining the Maharashtra government, has led to much heartburn among his own ruling allies, namely the Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena and even within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He managed to whisk a few ministries from the BJP itself after meeting up with union home minister Amit Shah. These include key portfolios like finance (held earlier by Devendra Fadnavis), cooperation (held by Atul Save), medical education (held by Girish Mahajan) and even women and child development (held by Mangal Prabhat Lodha). Other crucial portfolios like agriculture, food and drug administration were taken away from Shinde’s sainiks. The swiftness with which Pawar has managed to get his way in the government has led to much consternation especially when allies like Bacchu Kadu have been left hankering. The NCP ministers too, got their bungalow and office allotments, even before they got their portfolios. Earlier, a ministerial bungalow was opened by breaking the lock to make way for Ajit Pawar faction’ office. The NCP sure knows its way around a desperate BJP which is keen to win maximum Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra next year to retain Delhi.
Ajit Pawar_006


Ajit Pawar Ridicules Superstition But Rejects 'Inauspicious' Cabin

Although he has been taking oath of office ‘solemnly’ and not ‘in the name of God,’ all these years, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has refused to accept Cabin 602, apparently for the stigma attached to it. He has been allotted an office on the seventh floor although the sixth floor of Mantralaya is considered the power centre of Maharashtra. Cabin 602 on the sixth floor of Mantralaya has been back in discussion after Ajit Pawar has declined to occupy it for the third time.  This cabin is considered inauspicious for its occupant, many people believe. In the past, then revenue minister Eknath Khadse lost his ministership soon after coming to power in 2014 and found himself surrounded by several serious allegations. Then agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar died due to sudden illness in 2018. Ajit Pawar had to resign once and then lose power in 2014 while he had his office in cabin 602. The much discussed cabin 602 is next to the CM office. It is spread over an area of 3000 sq ft but has no takers while every inch in the Mantralaya complex is considered most priceless. Ajit Pawar himself has ridiculed the superstition attached to the cabin while explaining that he decided to choose another cabin for the sake of convenience of his personnel and visitors.
ananta maharaj

BJP Picks An Influential Rajbanshi Leader For Rajya Sabha From West Bengal

Out of six Rajya Sabha seats in West Bengal, the victory of TMC on five and BJP on one seat is being considered confirmed. If Anant Rai Maharaj wins, this will be the first time that a BJP leader will be elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bengal! Anant Maharaj is an influential Rajbanshi leader. In Bengal, they come from the Scheduled Castes (SC). The community comprises about 30% of voters in North Bengal, which accounts for 54 assembly seats. They hold influence in Cooch Behar, Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal. Anant Maharaj is also the President of the Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association. He was being wooed by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and BJP. Finally, Union Home Minister Amit Shah succeeded in tapping him with RS seat. The buzz is he may be inducted as minister and replace current MoS  Nisith Pramanik, who is Cooch Behar Lok Sabha MP and belongs to the Dalit community. Anant Maharaj is treated like Raja of Cooch Behar by the Adivasis.
SoniaGandhi 005

Sonia To Attend Bengaluru Opposition Meet: Is Cong Back At The Wheel?


With NCP supremo Sharad Pawar setting his house in order after a split in his party and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar facing rumblings within the JD(U) over alliance with the RJD, looks like the task of fine-tuning Opposition unity ahead of 2024 election is going to be with the Congress. It is possible that former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi could once again be back at the helm of Opposition parties to provide a cohesive response to the BJP-led NDA. It is possible that Sonia has stepped in to steer the Opposition parties as most leaders are too preoccupied with their own issues. Sonia’s role became apparent as it was declared by Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivkumar that the former Congress President would be attending the next meeting of Opposition parties in Bengaluru on July 17-18. She was reportedly attending the meeting on Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s request. The first meeting of the Opposition was held in Bihar’s Patna on June 23.  It may be recalled how rebel NCP leader Praful Patel had mocked the level of Opposition leaders who had gathered to oppose PM Modi in Patna. He had said he felt like ‘laughing’ listening to the claims of leaders at the Opposition meeting. Parties with one or no MPs were claiming to bring about a change, he said. “There were 17 opposition parties, and seven of them have just one member in the Lok Sabha. There was a party with no MPs. And they claimed they would bring change,” he said.

L To R: Samik Bhatt acharya, Bharati Ghosh & Anirban Ganguly

Anti-Mamata Leaders May Get BJP Ticket To Rajya Sabha From West Bengal

With the Rajya Sabha Election to take place on July 24 at seven seats from Bengal, speculations are rife that this time it will be an anti-Mamata Banerjee BJP leader to find a spot in the upper house. The State BJP is yet to announce the name of its sole candidate at a time when the ruling Trinamool Congress has already released the list of its six confirmed candidates.  The party has renominated — Derek O’Brien, Dola Sen and Sukhendu Sekhar Ray and brought in three new faces — National spokesperson Saket Gokhale, Prakash Chik Baraik and Samirul Islam. In the case of BJP, names of former IPS-turned BJP leader Bharati Ghosh, Bengal observer Swapan Dasgupta, BJP State spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya, Anirban Ganguly and Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association head Anant Maharaj are doing the rounds. BJP sources claim that Ghosh’s chance is maximum since she was a prized catch by BJP during 2021 State Assembly election despite being one of closest IPS officers to Didi. This former IPS officer was given a special role during the G20 Summit. Besides her, Ganguly, who contested at Bolpur seat, but lost, is known to be close to Union Home Minister Amit Shah also stands a chance. It is learnt that BJP is thinking of nominating actor-turned-politician Mithun Chakraborty in place of Roopa Ganguly whose term is complete.
Stalin alagiri


Stalin And Alagiri Smoke Peace Pipe: Will It Last?

The arrest of V Senthil Balaji by the Enforcement Directorate seems to have shaken and stirred Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin. The aftershocks of the imbroglio are still rocking the DMK. The BJP’s “Raja tantra“ is moving heaven, earth and all between to bring Stalin to his knees. So it was not at all surprising when Stalin received his estranged brother MK Alagiri warmly at the Gopalapuram residence on their mother Dayalu Amma’s 90th birthday on July 9. Even when Stalin took oath as CM two years back, Alagiri chose to stay away from the ceremony. Was Stalin waiting for an opportunity to bring him back to the family fold given the political hardships he is facing? When a journalist asked Udhayanidhi, “So has your father and uncle made up”? To this he retorted, “When did they quarrel”? Stalin is aware that there are two potent power centers in the family besides his brother, it is his half-sister Kanimozhi.  The birthday of the grand old mother saw not only sibling rapprochement, even cousins cuddled up to cosy. Udhayanidhi, his cousins Arulnidhi and Durai Dayanidhi (Alagiri’s son) were seen joking and laughing. Stalin is on overdrive, juggling multiple confrontations. But for now, the family is smoking a peace pipe.

EPS Leaves OPS Far Behind In AIADMK War

The EPS-OPS battle for the AIADMK mantle may have been settled finally with the Election Commission formally recognising Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) as the General Secretary of the party. The entry was up on the ECI website leading to celebrations among the cadre owing allegiance to the EPS-controlled majority section of the party. This leaves the other former CM O Panneerselvam’s (OPS) political career out on a limb. He has lost the final battle for the party and has nowhere to go save to form his own party. There too he may have little support as even Sasikala, to whom he owed total allegiance despite her nephew riding roughshod over him when he was CM in Jaya’s place, has started spurning OPS. Additionally, his son has lost the fight in the Madras high court over his election to the Lok Sabha and will be appealing to the Supreme Court to hang on. It does appear as if time has turned sour on OPS, once the most powerful lieutenant of the Poes Garden dual power centre of Jaya and Sasikala. Long before EPS came on to the big stage in AIADMK and TN politics, OPS was ruling the roost with his Thevar connection keeping him relevant as Sasikala pulled the strings. That is all history now. The Salem strongman, EPS, has simply drawn away from his rival, taking the party with him.
Parveen Rani Tushar

Now, Indian Origin Mother-Son Duo Make Their Mark In The UK’s Political World

Looks like the United Kingdom’s desi Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set the trend and many are following his footsteps into the political world.  Two people of Indian origin making waves in the UK are the mother-son duo Parveen Rani and her 20-year old son Tushar Kumar. Both created history after winning the recent Council elections as Labour Party members breaking the traditional Conservative’s stronghold. Tushar has become the youngest Indian-origin councillor in the UK. Tushar’s victory in the local elections marks a significant shift in the political landscape of the UK. It reflects the changing demographics of the nation and highlights the importance of younger voices in politics. Tushar’s win, widely celebrated by the Indian diaspora, is viewed as a symbol of the growing influence and recognition of the Indians in the UK’s political arena. Tushar who moved to London at the age of 10 was passionate about politics and community work from a young age. A student of politics at the prestigious King’s College London, he teaches Hindi pro bono at the Hindi Shiksha Parishad UK.

Intense Politics To Mark Modi’s Pune Visit As He Will Share Dais With Opposition Leaders

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s felicitation in Pune on 1 August 2023 with the prestigious ”Tilak Award” promises to be a major event as various political shades in Maharashtra will share the dais, notwithstanding their differences. Chief minister Eknath Shinde, deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde, who is a trust member, will be among those present for the ceremony. This has been announced by Rohit Tilak, trustee of the Lokmanya Tilak Trust, which has been decorating achievers from different fields over the years. Modi’s acceptance to grace the 103rd death anniversary function of Lokmanya Tilak will be significant in many ways, most importantly owing to the BJP’s all out efforts to decimate the NCP’s faction loyal to Pawar and the Shiv Sena bloc with Uddhav Thackeray. Also, it will be for the first time that nephew Ajit Pawar will be meeting his powerful uncle who launched him in politics. The presence of Modi for a function of the Tilak family will have its repercussions within the BJP itself, too. In the recently held assembly byelection from Pune city, the family was sidelined by the party while selecting its candidate. The BJP lost the bypoll, mainly since a large section of the electorate felt aggrieved by the decision. Modi will try to mollify this sentiment in a bid to reestablish the party’s grip over Pune.
Bengal Violence

West Bengal Panchayat Poll Violence: Is It TMC Vs TMC?

With the increase in killing of more TMC workers in the panchayat election political analysts feel that it is the internal feud of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) which has led to the death of so many TMC supporters. In fact, the party does not require the Opposition party for its decimation. It is their own cadres who are fighting with each other and that results in their own killings in this panchayat election. According to the State Election Commission, around nine TMC workers were killed on Saturday (July 8). Sources say that TMC leadership has failed to address the internal feud of each and every district. They may have controlled the feud at the top level but not at the grassroot. According to political analyst Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, internal feud is one of the aspects leading to violence in many places during the panchayat poll; clashes took place between TMC and independent candidates who quit TMC as they did not get tickets. Besides, internal feud TMC also faced onslaught from the Left, BJP and Congress parties.  According to Imankalyan Lahiri, Professor of International Relations, Jadavpur University, feud within TMC has increased over the years and they do not need another party for their own destruction, they are causing their own self-destruction. 
Sharad Praful


Sharad Pawar Jolted More By Praful Patel's Exit Than Ajit Pawar's Rebellion


Nothing  jolted veteran NCP leader Sharad Pawar about the split in the party he founded in 1999 than the exit of his closest aide Praful Patel who also chose to head out and join the rebel NCP group headed by Ajit Pawar. In fact as Patel himself put it at a meeting of the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP “I always stayed with Sharad Pawar as his shadow”. He also promised to write a book. “I am a modest person so I speak less, I will also write a book. If I will not tell how Maharashtra will understand.” Apparently Pawar interacted with Patel post his exit and sought to know what persuaded him to walk-out of the party along with his nephew; after all he has no ambition of being a CM or a central minister. NCP sources said a tearful Patel reportedly conceded to Sharad Pawar that it was his problems with the ED that had forced him to seek a solution. The ED had attached prime property at Worli belonging to him in the Iqbal Mirchi case. It is not clear how cases against him would now get diluted. When Patel stated his ED issues, Sharad Pawar took a kinder view. “Yet what we cannot fathom is how someone like Dilip Walse Patil who was made a leader by Sharad Pawar from a support staff to an MLA walked out of the NCP?” asks a national leader.
Gita press

A Living Faith: Modi Speaks Up On Why Gandhi Prize For Gita

At the  closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of the historic Gita Press in Gorakhpur, when PM Narendra Modi released the Chitramaya Shiva Purana Granth in Hindi and Nepali he could not help going spiritual .“Gita Press is not just a printing press but a living faith”, Modi remarked. The office of Gita Press was no less than a shrine for crores of people, he said. “With Gita comes Krishna, with Krishna, there is compassion and ‘karma’”. Quoting the Gita, the PM said “Vasudeva Sarvam ie. Everything is, from and in Vasudev.” He emphasized that the spiritual light that lit up in the form of Gita Press in 1923 has become the guiding light of the entire humanity today. UP CM Yogi Adityanath, who spoke before him, recalled how there was a proposal to confer the prize in 2021 itself. Referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s emotional attachment to Gita Press, Modi informed that Gandhiji once used to write for Gita Press through Kalyan Patrika. He further added that it was Gandhiji who suggested that advertisements should not be published in the Kalyan Patrika and the suggestion is still being followed. In these 100 years, the Gita Press has published crores of books which are sold at a price less than the cost and delivered door-to-door. Modi underlined that an organization like Gita Press is not only associated with religion and work but also has a national character.
G Kishan reddy

Is BJP Committing Hara-Kiri In Telangana?


It appears the BJP is committing hara-kiri in Telangana. Rumours are rife of a big compromise having been struck between the central BJP leadership and KCR by which the BRS will play a supporting role to the national party and KCR is for this only to avoid his son and daughter from being pursued by the central investigating agencies. While the BRS playing second fiddle itself may be sufficient to put people off in choosing an alternative to the BRS in the BJP, it is obvious that the national party is playing into the hands of the Congress in India’s youngest state. The appointment of the soft-spoken G Krishen Reddy of the Union Cabinet as the Telangana party chief in place of Bandi Sanjay is seen as damaging to the party’s ambitions of capturing power in the state. It is being said freely that private surveys are showing the people are disinclined to vote for the BRS again thanks to KCR and his clannish administration and in looking for an alternative are now viewing the Congress as the ideal party to vote for. Spotting the shift in the people’s mood, droves of BRS leaders are joining the Congress and more are expected to cross over in the next couple of months before the poll by the end of the year.
sharad pawar meeting 2

Pawar Play: Why No Takers For This Maratha Family Drama


For all his bluff and bluster against BJP and Modi-Shah, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar never misses to show off his equations with the PM. In fact, days before his nephew Ajit walked over to the NDA, Pawar had gone public with details about how he had got Rohit Tilak, a Congress functionary and member of the legendary Tilak family, an appointment with PM Modi. “Imagine Rohit Tilak didn’t think of approaching Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis to reach out to the PM.”  Tilak wanted to reach out to Modi to persuade him to accept the Lokmanya Tilak Award this year. PM Modi will be travelling to Pune to receive this award in August. It only showed the kind of equations Pawar shared with PM Modi. At the same time, Pawar loves to charge the BJP of destroying the Opposition parties. More evidence of Sharad Pawar’s perfidy surfaced when Chhagan Bhujbal disclosed how the veteran leader at an NCP internal meeting had claimed that PM Modi had an edge in 2024 Lok Sabha polls and was bound to get re-elected. It was amply clear that the octogenarian was aware of his limitations. State Congress leaders feel the party must now chart its own independent course with fresh faces such as Prithviraj Chavan and Anant Gadgil. Common people are fed up with the high drama of Sena-BJP and the NCP and are yearning for some new politics.
Natraja Temple

Is The DMK Govt Trying To Bring The 2000-Year Old Chidambaram Temple Under The HR & CE Act?

The 2000-year old Lord Nataraja temple in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district which draws lakhs of devotees has a fatal attraction for the Dravidian parties for the scale of earnings; it is not under the purview of the HR & CE (Hindu Religious And Charitable Endowments)Act (. Chidambaram temple has been uniquely managed by a very close knit, denominated sect, the Dikshitars. Ergo, there are no money filled Hundis, no cacophony of shops selling bric-a-bac, no potential for siphoning the take by politicians or trustees. There have been several legal attempts to challenge the right of Dikshitars to run this heritage temple from 1951, matters reaching even the SC. An uneasy truce exists, the Dikshitars represented by legal eagles adept at separating the spiritual rights of the temple and its devotees, from the temporal diktats of the government in power. The most recent attempt was by the DMK minister Sekhar Babu during a significant holy festival when the Dikshitars put up a notice that worshippers were not allowed to climb up the narrow steps adjacent to the sacred sanctum. A few police officers were sent to establish the government’s right, slap a few more untenable charges on the management and bring the Kanakasabhai (an awe inspiring Golden Dome built of 21,600 gold sheets, and 72,000 golden nails representing the total Nadis, nerves in the human body) under the government order. The devotees are asking why are Hindu places of worship being targeted for audit and control?

Now BJP, Cong Join Hands To Attack Odisha Chief Minister’s Trusted Bureaucrat Pandian

BJP MP Aparijita Sarangi, BJP President Manmohan Samal and Congress Campaign Committee Chairman Bijay Patnaik have been attacking Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s most trusted IAS officer V Kartikeyan Pandian. They have lodged a formal complaint saying Pandian has hijacked the entire governance system in Odisha by doing the work of politically elected legislature, violating service rules. Biju Janata Dal leaders say both BJP and Congress have plumbed to new depths with their attacks. Consequently the DoPT under the Union government has sent a notice to Odisha Chief Secretary urging an inquiry into the matter. BJP’s Manmohan Samal said “Pandian cannot do two jobs being 5T secretary and do politics as it cannot be delegated.” BJD in its defence says, “This is not delegation of power by the chief minister to Pandian, but delegation of work.”  Political analysts say DoPT letter to Chief Secretary is only a forwarding letter, if BJP was serious they would have summoned Pandian to Delhi. Those who are familiar with Patnaik will say he is a shrewd and discerning politician who knows the impact and implications when he is empowering bureaucrats. This apart, Naveen also knows how to show the door to persons whose time has come just as he did with Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.

Uneasy Truce Between Baghel-Deo In Chhattisgarh; Gehlot Not Ready For Such A Truce In Rajasthan

With the appointment of TS Singh Deo as the Deputy Chief Minister of the Chhattisgarh government ahead of state elections due by the year-end, has the Congress secured possibilities of winning back the state? Deo who had initially announced he would not contest the 2023 elections and had even given up panchayati raj portfolio was seen as sulking as he was not made CM as initially promised. Congress leadership naturally panicked. Deo had delivered all the 14 tribal dominated Sarguja region seats in the 2018 assembly elections. In June 2021, the rivalry between CM Bhupesh Baghel and Deo surfaced briefly after Baghel completed two-and-a-half years as CM. Congress sources give credit for bringing rapprochement between Baghel and Deo to new AICC in-charge Kumari Selja.  She apparently was not biased towards the CM unlike previous AICC managers like PL Punia and decided to work on getting Deo back on board. Baghel-Deo truce could be fragile as Baghel, a prominent OBC face, decided to push his own tribal face from Sarguja region– Nand Kumar Sai — a former BJP leader who had joined the party as recently as in May. Congressmen feel Sai at 77 is too old. Meanwhile, one hears Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot is literally dragging his feet to reach a compromise with his squabbling deputy Sachin Pilot. Summoned by party chief Kharge to reach Delhi for a meeting on July 3, Gehlot is feigning a foot sore. Looks like CMs are learning a lot from Mamata di about how to fake it!

Tamil Nadu Governor Ravi Must Go

The Centre may have realised that the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi must be shifted out. He has exceeded his brief of taking on the DMK government with his ill-considered timing of dismissal of the minister accused of high graft – V Senthil Balaji. Having made several trips to New Delhi to consult lawyers on the Constitution, the Governor seems to have been carried away in his mission of putting down the MK Stalin government. In his actions, the Governor seems to have been guided by a one-point agenda of embarrassing a government that enjoys the confidence of the public, irrespective of an image of high corruption that is creeping in, thanks to the operations of fundraisers like Balaji with key portfolios. After having sought legal opinion, the Governor dismissed the minister without portfolio in haste and the Centre may have to pay the price in terms of the sympathy wave that is gaining ground in the State for the DMK seen to be suffering from the highhandedness of the Centre in its dealings through the Raj Bhavan. In creating this embarrassing situation in which the Home Ministry had to tell the Governor to seek the Attorney General’s opinion on the powers of a Governor to dismiss a minister, however obnoxious a personality, Ravi may have bitten off more than he can chew. Expect a transfer sometime soon.


All Out War: BJP To Target Thackeray, CM Shinde To Supplement

The BJP is said to have decided to target the Thackeray family in the days to come. The Shiv Sena under chief minister Eknath Shinde will supplement the onslaught. The first salvo will be fired by the Shinde-Fadnavis regime on 1 July, the day selected by Uddhav Thackeray supporters to take out a morcha to the civic headquarters. Alleging massive malpractices in the various contracts awarded by the administration, the Thackeray faction has started making preparations for the coming civic election, likely to be held after the monsoon this year. The morcha will be the first step in this campaign. To take out the shine from the protest march, the Shinde loyalists have announced that Aaditya Thackeray’s closest friend Rahul Kanal will join the Shiv Sena on that very day. Rahul has already left the posts he held under Aaditya and has also quit the WhatsApp group of that circle. Even a bigger surprise is in the waiting, Shinde’s followers have started whispering. Though Shinde himself has adopted a low profile, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has indicated that the Thackeray family will face some drastic action in the near future. In an interview to Republic TV, Fadnavis went all out against Uddhav and warned him that police officials are collecting evidence necessary to file a chargesheet. He also discounted any possibility of a patch up with Uddhav.
Civic officer slap

BMC Officials Get Caught In Internecine Sena Rift: IAS Officer Gets ED Raid, Another Gets Slapped

Government officials working in India’s wealthiest civic corporation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are facing the brunt of being caught in the crossfire of Shiv Sena’s internecine conflict. Having ruled the BMC for over 25 years without a break has meant that, both the Shiv Sena factions — Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde — have immense understanding about the nuances of how BMC works. With the result that they are adopting every trick in the book, to use the BMC to get back at the other. Amidst allegations of close aides bagging multi-crore Covid deals and Covid procurements done at inflated costs,  an IAS officer and former additional commissioner of BMC, was raided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and found having assets worth Rs 100 crore. Soon afterwards, demolition of a 40-year-old party office of the Uddhav Thackeray faction at Bandra East, led to party workers slapping a civic engineer. Officials now fear a spike in pressure tactics as the BMC elections inch closer. Uddhav is no stranger to this business of (mis) using the BMC official machinery for his political fights. He had similarly used the BMC’s offices to get back at opponents supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) like actress Kangana Ranaut or Navneet Rana or Mohit Kambhoj by initiating action for illegal alterations. Even Radio Jockey Mallishka wasn’t spared of BMC notices for poking fun at the potholed roads of Mumbai.

KCR Jolts Maharashtra Politicians, Targets Solapur To Start With

Bharat Rashtra Samiti founder and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s (KCR) decision to exploit the Solapur belt for expanding his party’s presence in Maharashtra has started impacting politics in the state. Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has fired a salvo at KCR by taunting him that Rao should take care of his own party first and then dream of coming to Maharashtra for political activities. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole, too, has sniggered at Rao’s forays into the state. Undeterred, Rao zeroed in on Solapur because of the substantial Telugu-speaking population in this once famous textile town. The textile trade is controlled by this section. Several MPs and MLAs belonging to this section have dominated Solapur district’s politics for a long time. Telugus in the district have maintained ties with their places of origin in Telangana over the past two centuries. Of late, this section is feeling left out since the district’s politics has taken a pro-BJP turn. Looking for a viable option, some Telugu-speaking leaders have joined the BRS bandwagon. The Rao government has extended several sops to the weaving community in Telangana and is promising to do the same in Maharashtra.  Another sore issue is Solapur farmers’ complaint that their share of water is diverted to the more powerful districts like Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur. Rao is expected to hammer on this discontent, too, in future.

Modi Oozes Confidence Post-US Visit, Trashes Patna Meet Of Opposition As Conclave Of The Corrupt

It was vintage PM Narendra Modi all over again as he slammed the Opposition unity move in Patna while addressing BJP karyakartas from all over the country in Bhopal. Flush with the success of his Indo-US visit and a number of MoUs signed, Modi was oozing confidence; he did not seem worried about the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.  Karnataka poll rout  had been firmly put  in the back burner. He described the Patna Opposition move as coming together of leaders with a proven track record in corruption and reminded people of crores of funds lost to the exchequer because of them. Answering a question from a BJP worker, he said he never saw such agitation among the Opposition parties like this time. “You remember what happened in 2014 and 2019? The staunch opponents of BJP were not this much agitated either in 2014 or in 2019. Enemies have now come together. Leaders who used to abuse each other are now prostrating before each other. Don’t get angry at them, have pity,” Modi said. He used the occasion to launch his UCC agenda and reminded citizens that if triple talaq, now outlawed by the Supreme Court, had been a necessary tenet of Islam, then why Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh do not have it?
Mamata _Campaign

Why Is Didi Heavily Campaigning For The West Bengal Panchayat Poll?

Nearly after a decade, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is heavily campaigning for the upcoming three-tier Panchayat Poll. Didi last campaigned in 2008, and that too sparingly. This time around Didi addressed a rally at Kakdwip of South 24 Parganas on June 16 during the concluding day of Trinamoole Nabo Jowar programme. It could be well categorised as TMC chairperson kickstarting Panchayat Poll campaign. Mamata has already held rallies in districts of North Bengal, where TMC is struggling to gain a foothold. On July 3, she will be campaigning at Birbhum, one of the strongest TMC-held districts besides the North and South 24 Parganas. Didi is leaving nothing to chance to ensure a win in the maximum number of gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads. Interestingly, Mamata has once again been vocal about corruption within her party and made it clear to her voters not to fall prey to ‘cut money and syndicate raj’. Political observers believe that Didi is aware of the fact that this rural body poll is crucial to cementing TMC’s position as the strongest anti-BJP party. It is learnt that Didi is keen that TMC contest 40 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. But, the moot point is whether the Opposition Party will agree to her demand when they meet in Shimla some time in July.
MKStalin NitishKumar

With Hindi Dominating The Opposition Meet In Patna, Stalin Finds Himself Tongue-Tied

At the mega Opposition parties meeting called by the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna, the Tamil Nadu chief minister felt a little out of place; he could not comprehend the fast and furious Hindi exchange of all leaders. A language that he is vehemently opposed to. Had the PM called for such a meeting, Stalin would have boycotted it. Observers close to a few participants talk about how Stalin was trying hard to get the gist from T R Baalu who also seemed at sea. After nearly four hours of this meeting, Stalin made excuses to leave early, citing his flight schedule departure time so as to avoid facing the media in Patna. Instead called for a Press meet at the Chennai airport where he could address in Tamil. A senior analyst asks didn’t Stalin travel in a chartered flight and that has no departure time compulsions. It is learnt that for the second round of the meet at Shimla, Stalin may ask Baalu and Kanimozhi to represent him. One has to wait and watch whether this ‘Unite to Unseat the BJP in 2024’ is still strong enough to reach the third phase at Chennai.
Nirmala sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman May Contest 2024 Lok Sabha Poll From Chennai South

No one can blame BJP for being a party that works 24×7 on elections. There is no predicting yet how 2024 may go but the ruling BJP is already busy planning its campaign to maximise its chances. The party may be a fledgling force in Tamil Nadu, but it has already initiated planning for the polls in terms of suitable constituencies and candidates who would fit into them. For instance, the party seems to have plumped for Nirmala Sitharaman, finance minister, to contest the South Madras seat where they feel she may get maximum support going by the profile of the constituency voters. Union minister L Murugan may have earmarked the Nilgiris as his place to contest. The party has also zoomed in on constituencies in western and southern Tamil Nadu as potentially most likely to be attracted by its ideology. The party’s bigwigs have been touring the state in the last couple of weeks to put in motion poll plans. Apparently, the AIADMK has agreed to apportion nine Lok Sabha seats plus Puducherry for BJP and the heads of the party have authorised its leaders to examine which nine constituencies would be best to lay early claims to putting up candidates there. The alliance may be far from sealed and seat sharing is even further away, but the BJP is already doing its pre-poll work thoroughly in the State.
Sharad pawar patna

Pawar Busy At National Level, NCP’s Maharashtra Unit In Turmoil

Whereas Nationalist Congress party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has been working towards Opposition unity at the national level, his own party’s Maharashtra unit is witnessing a cold war in which his nephew Ajit Pawar, senior leaders Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal have become the main players. Ajit has asked the party leadership for organizational responsibility. “I have remained the leader of the opposition in the legislature. Now I wish to work for the organization,” he has declared time and again. On the other hand, his principal rival Jayant Patil, too, is eager to play a larger role in the party’s affairs. Former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal has now added a new dimension to the cold war by demanding that a non-Maratha worker should be entrusted with some major role in the NCP. Bhujbal has told the party that the BJP and the Congress have given important positions to OBC leaders in the organization. The NCP, too, should emulate their example, Bhujbal has advised the leadership. At present, Sharad Pawar, his daughter Supriya and Ajit occupy most prominent posts in the party. Besides belonging to the Maratha caste, they are perceived as running a family undertaking. Pawar’s decision to keep Ajit away from any new responsibility has been interpreted variously. As a result, several BJP leaders have started extending open invitations to Ajit to join their fold. Pawar’s next move will decide which way the dice turns.
Opp meet

Kejriwal's Hurry To Have His Way Upsets Seniors At Opposition Meet, Cong Refuses To Get Browbeaten

The Opposition leaders’ first huddle in Patna to chalk out the strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections got off to a shaky start with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjiwal in a rush to push senior leaders, particularly Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi to accept his agenda on Delhi Ordinance. The ordinance had provided for setting up of National Capital Civil Service Authority under Delhi L-G for transfer and posting of officials. Kejriwal’s overdrive surprised the leaders. Congress sources said that the party leadership did not want to be seen being pushed around. After all, state units in Punjab and Delhi units were opposed to supporting the AAP in Parliament. Kejriwal did not expect the Congress to deal with the matter with caution and which is probably why he opted to skip the Press briefing at the end of the meeting. “Kejriwal’s churlish conduct upset senior leaders…It was suggested that a view on the ordinance would be taken at the next meeting in July in Shimla, ” rued a Congress source. Otherwise, there seemed to be a lot of light-heartedness at the meet as RJD leader Lalu Prasad openly suggested to Rahul Gandhi that he must get married – that too before the press. He also remarked how, “Lord Hanuman thrashed BJP with his mace in Karnataka, had made Rahul win.” Only Mamata Banerjee who is facing the brunt of education scam in her state spoke about the menace of ED.
Patnaik pandian

Odisha CM’s Over-Dependence On Bureaucrat Pandian Draws BJP Fire

Taking a dig at PM Narendra Modi, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik recently quipped “double engine government is not important, what’s important is good governance”.  Irked by this statement BJP’s bureaucrat-turned-MP Aparijita Sarangi shot back at Patnaik’s government by targeting CM’s right hand man and private secretary, V Karthikeyan Pandian who is also 5T Secretary (5T stands for Team work, Technology, Transparency, Transformation and Time limit). Patnaik who depends on bureaucrats to fulfil his commitment given to people has given IAS officer Pandian the carte blanche to clear strategic and administrative issues so much so that the elected leaders play a subservient role. Sarangi alleged how people’s mandate to govern Odisha has been hijacked by a 5T bureaucrat who takes all the decisions as a single window clearance, making elected BJD representatives helpless.  For Patnaik empowering bureaucrats to execute his vision is not new. He had done this earlier with late bureaucrat-turned-politician Pyarimohan Mohapatra who became so powerful as Patnaik’s advisor that he planned a coup to dethrone the CM. Now, Pandian seems to be enjoying CM’s confidence.
Senthil MKStalin

Will The Real Senthil Balaji Please Stand Up?

A fortnight back nobody had heard of DMK minister V Senthil Balaji outside of Tamil Nadu till ED arrested him on June 14. Drama thereafter of him being admitted to a hospital, chief minister MK Stalin visiting him and Opposition leaders across the country coming out in his support and castigating Modi government did surprise everybody. Who is really V Senthil Balaji? Basically he is a fund raiser who ensures that funds reach at the highest level without any seepages. His controversial political trapeze act of crossing from the AIADMK to the DMK and getting rewarded with two plum ministries — Electricity and Excise (the cash cow TASMAC chain) — unleashed much heartburn among the DMK old timers. He is Stalin’s go to man. The Tamil Nadu governor has been firing missiles about the rampant corruption in Tamil Nadu. Ditto: BJP’s one man demolition army, K Annamalai. Balaji who was shifted from the government-run Omandurar Hospital to the privately-run Kaveri Hospital underwent bypass surgery under the Madras HC order. The ED filed a plea in the SC wanting a team of AIIMS doctors to take charge of Balaji. As if this intriguing cat and mouse game was not challenging, out of the blue, Stalin’s brother-in-law, Dr Rajamurthi, Director of the KK Nagar ESI Hospital has protested that he has been drawn into a controversy about Balaji’s Kaveri Hospital choice.
Modi Biden gift

Looking Beyond Bilaterals: The Art Of Gifting By PM Modi, President Biden

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House for a private dinner he decided to carry gifts marking 80th birthday of President Biden — a milestone he had reached last November. Krishna Yajurveda’s Vaikhanas Grihya Sutram mentions that an individual becomes ‘Drishta Sahasrachandro’ or the one who has seen one thousand full moons when he completes the age of 80 years and eight months. An elaborate set of Vedic rituals are performed such as Vinayak Pooja — prayers to Lord Ganesha, culminating in Poornaahuti (oblation to the sacred fire) Satabhishekam and finally Sahasra Chandra Darshanam or gazing at the 1000th full Moon. During Sahasra Poorna Chandrodayam celebrations, there is a custom of Das Danam or donations of 10 different kinds. The gifts were carried in a special sandalwood box, handcrafted by a master craftsman from Jaipur. It contained the silver idol of Ganesha handcrafted by a family of fifth generation silversmiths of Kolkata. It also included a diya (oil lamp) .It also contained delicate silver boxes containing symbolic – Das Danams or the 10 donations, which signifies the donations made on this occasion.  Among the boxes was this 24K pure and hallmarked gold coin that is offered as Hiranyadaan (donation of gold).
Mamata banerjee_patna

Will Congress Agree To Didi’s ‘Pocket Of Influence’ Formula For 2024 General Elections?

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will be reaching Patna on June 22, a day before the Opposition meet on June 23. All eyes are on her since Mamata, who championed the need for the Opposition unity to take on BJP in 2024 polls had floated a formula that everyone should support the party in their pockets of influence, will be sitting with Congress leaders after a long time. It is important to note that several regional party leaders including JDU chief Nitish Kumar, RJD scion Tejaswi Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav met Didi at her residence to discuss Opposition unity and strategy. Also TMC chief shed her aversion to sitting with Congress despite the fact that Pradesh Congress has been aggressively canvassing against her in the state. Recently, at a public rally in Kakdwip of South 24 Parganas, Didi made it categorical that she’s ready to ally with Congress at the Centre, but not in the state as it has allied with the CPM. According to the political analysts, Didi is happy about the fact that her formula of support for the regional party at its bastion has been accepted and she’s ready to support Congress at its 200-odd Lok Sabha seats.

V Senthil Balaji: Key Fundraiser To Be Backed To The Hilt By DMK

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin is determined to milk the detention of V Senthil Balaji by the Enforcement Directorate to the hilt by keeping him on as minister without portfolio. There is political mileage to be had in demonstrating that the Centre is misusing the investigative agencies to pile on pressure against regional parties. The case of this politician is peculiar because he has been a key fundraiser for both the major Dravidian parties and has been known to handle key portfolios where the money flow is the highest like liquor and electricity. There are huge margins in both commodities, including electricity where the most funds flow not from generation and sale as much as purchase of electricity from other states to cover up shortfall in peak demand months. Senthil Balaji has been known to be a fair distributor of the money flow to Dravidian party seniors. He may prove a tough nut to crack as it is unlikely that he will involve anyone else in the troubles he is in because of which he could well become the Manish Sisodia of the south. His ‘show’ of ill health that facilitated a HC order to move him to a private hospital patronised most by DMK bigwigs has come to the notice of the Supreme Court too.

Maharashtra’s Legislative Council Equation Disturbed As More Sainiks Cross Over From Uddhav To Shinde Faction

Besides sending shock waves in political circles, Uddhav Thackeray’s ardent soldier Maneesha Kayande’s sudden entry into the Shiv Sena led by chief minister Eknath Shinde has once again revived the fight for the post of leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra legislative council. At present, the UIddhav group and the Nationalist Congress party (NCP) have nine MLCs each on their side. Uddhav’s loyalist Ambadas Danve is the LoP in the Upper House. However, due to MLC Kayande’s abrupt switch, the equation is disturbed. NCP leader Ajit Pawar has indicated that his party can consider claiming the post after the new arithmetic. While the post of chairman of the council has been vacant, Uddhav’s follower Neelam Gorhe has been handling the work in her capacity as deputy chairperson of the house. In all probability, the matter of changing sides by Kayande can be referred to her if the Uddhav group challenges her move. In that case, Gorhe will have to adjudicate if the defection is legal or otherwise. Kayande had been a frontline worker of the BJP for almost two decades. She left the party due to some unpleasant developments within that party and joined the Shiv Sena, then a single entity. She was sent to the council by Uddhav. Her term of the house ends next year. Kayande was welcomed into the party by Shinde amidst much fanfare on the eve of the Sena’s Foundation Day anniversary. 

Project Cheetah: Where Did It Go Wrong?

From Day One, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Project Cheetah aimed at re-introducing cheetahs in the country has come in for severe criticisms. First, the Opposition leaders castigated the Modi government for its fanfare of releasing cheetahs in Kuno National in Madhya Pradesh on his birthday. Now, with the death of six cheetahs there is more criticism directed at the PM. Taking cognizance of what’s happening Valmik Thapar, a wildlife expert who has studied Indian and African wildlife for nearly 50 years in a signed edit in The Economic Times makes startling revelations. He says cheetahs were never found in India but for centuries “maharajas, princes and the rich and famous were obsessed with importing this animal from its source population.” He raises two pertinent questions in the article “Why did the architects of this multimillion-dollar reintroduction plan ill-advise GoI? Did they not know that India’s 300-year history was full of the presence of captive cheetahs, which were clearly runaways that turned feral?” Second, why was Kuno-Palpur selected as a site for reintroduction? “Anyone who has observed wild cheetahs in Africa will realise that the Kuno region is not suitable because of a lack of prey, uneven ground, a high density of leopards and hyenas, and a thriving population of ferocious village dogs…” One wonders why the government of the day did not consult an expert like Thapar when it conceived Project Cheetah.

Power Outages In Bhubaneswar, Cuttack: Is Underground Cabling System The Solution?

The BJD-run government in Odisha headed by Naveen Patnaik has come in for harsh criticisms for frequent power outages in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack that too in peak summer. This ‘off-and-on blackout’ is happening even after the private sector Tata Power took over the management of power distribution in Odisha. It is learnt that the main reason for the power outage is because Odisha does not have an underground cabling system as is prevalent in most States. Here, the high tension cables are on a pole which snaps when there is a cyclone or heat wave. It would be hard to imagine, Patnaik who is trying to transform Odisha at a rapid pace is not able to fix such a basic problem. Incidentally, Bhubaneswar has the tag of smart city. Everybody is asking, if this is the plight of a smart city then one could well imagine the plight of other cities of the state. Well, as expected the Opposition parties led by the BJP have squarely blamed the BJD-run government stating that it has no control over Tata Power. However, power experts say blaming Tata Power is not a solution. Patnaik’s government needs to explore the expensive option of laying down underground electric cable.  It is understood that Odisha’s chief secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena is closely examining the viability of laying down underground cable in the smart city to start with.
Nehru museum

Congress Peeved As Teen Murti Loses Its Nehru Link, Renamed Prime Ministers Museum & Library Society

In a special meeting of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) Society, it was resolved to change the name to the Prime Ministers Museum & Library Society. The meeting was presided by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who is the Vice President of the Society. PM Narendra Modi had mooted the idea of setting up of a museum dedicated to all the PMs of India on Teen Murti Premises, New Delhi in 2016. The Executive Council, NMML had in its 162nd meeting held November 25, 2016 approved the construction of the Museum of all PMs in the Teen Murti Estate. The project was completed and the Pradhanmantri  Sangrahalaya was opened to the public on April 21 2022. The Executive Council subsequently felt that the name of the Institution should reflect the present activities which now also include a Sangrahalaya depicting the collective journey of democracy in Independent India and highlighting the contribution of each Prime Minister in nation-building. Nripendra Misra , who is chairman of the Executive Council,  explained the need for a change in name by emphasizing that the Prime Minister’s Museum expresses the nation’s deep commitment to democracy and so the name of the institution should reflect its new form. The Congress, which has not been enthusiastic about all PMs’ museums right from the start, lashed out at losing the nostalgic Teen Murti link with Nehru.
Jai inder Kaur

Extreme right: Jai Inder Kaur

Capt Amarinder's Daughter Stakes Claim To Patiala Lok Sabha Seat Via A BJP Rally

When Jai Inder Kaur, daughter of former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, organised a BJP rally in Patiala to celebrate 9 years of Modi government last week it became apparent that she would be staking claim to the Patiala Lok Sabha seat currently held by her mother Perneet Kaur. Congress sources conceded that the Patiala Lok Sabha seat was now up for grabs. “We had after all suspended Perneet Kaur in February on the charge of helping her husband and the BJP,” said a Congress leader. With the exit of the royal family from the Congress fold, the party may not have any serious candidate to take on Jai Inder Kaur. Significantly, Kaur’s father was conspicuous by his absence at the rally as he wanted to keep the focus on his daughter. After being dumped by the Congress as CM, Capt Amarinder had floated Punjab Lok Congress in 2021. He merged his party along with the BJP in 2022 and was subsequently inducted into the party’s national executive. The Patiala rally was attended by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya. Some of them who have worked with Capt Amarinder have reportedly sent feelers to the BJP. After the loss of Jalandhar Lok Sabha by -election, there is also talk of the BJP and the Akali Dal coming back together for 2024.

KCR Opens Party Office in Maharashtra, Two Former BJP MLAs Join BRS

Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) has opened its first Maharashtra office in Nagpur with a bang. Former BJP MLAs Charan Waghmare and Raju Todsam have joined the party, hailing the leadership of Telangana chief minister and BRS founder K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR). They have alleged that the BJP in Vidarbha region was more favourable to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) than to its own workers. Waghmare said he was expelled from the party because he was opposed to the BJP’s electoral alliance with the NCP. Both plan to contest the next assembly election on BRS tickets. Buoyed by the increasing response, BRS has announced that it will be opening its offices all over Maharashtra in the near future. Already, the BRS is gaining popularity in Marathwada region for Telangana’s decision to buy its onion, otherwise dumped by farmers by the roadside since the prices in that region had crashed and it was not possible to sell the produce. Former MLA Harshwardhan Jadhav, who joined the BRS about a month ago, took the initiative to finalise the deal between the growers and the market committees in Telangana. Another former MLA, Deepak Atram, has predicted that more and more political workers will enter the BRS after frustration with their present party leadership. KCR is now said to be concentrated more on Maharashtra than on Andhra Pradesh and is in search of influential leaders from other parties.
Violence bengal

Will Rampant Violence In The Run Up To Panchayat Polls Jeopardise Trinamool’s Chances?

The run-up to the Panchayat election in West Bengal to be held on July 8 is witnessing violence right from the first day (June 9) of filing nomination papers. Incidentally, the Opposition parties moved the Calcutta High Court after new State Election Commissioner Rajiva Sinha announced that the filing of nominations will be from June 9 to June 15 and June 20 will be the last date of withdrawal. Incidents of sporadic violence have been reported from South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas,  Murshidabad, Birbhum, East Midnapore, East Burdwan, Cooch Behar where BJP, CPM and Congress have accused the ruling TMC of preventing their candidates from filing nominations. According to TMC senior leadership, it is still facing the repercussions of Panchayat polls 2018, where TMC won more than 95% of gram panchayats, of which 34% of the seats were uncontested, a record in the history of Bengal Panchayat polls. Further, TMC is grappling with rampant infighting in its own bastion of South Bengal which turned violent. Incidentally, the appeal by the party’s general secretary Abhishek Banerjee to keep Panchayat poll violence-free seems to have fallen on deaf ears. What needs to be seen is whether Didi and the Election Commission will comply with the Calcutta High Court’s ruling and deploy central force at the super sensitive booths across the state during the panchayat poll.

BJP’s CM Face In Odisha: Dharmendra Pradhan Or Aparajita Sarangi?

With the 2024 election not far away, the chorus to name chief minister aspirant for BJP in Odisha is growing. Also, there is a concern what will be the role of BJP Minister Dharmendra Pradhan come 2024 Odisha election. So far, Pradhan has exhibited indecisiveness where he wants to be — State or the Centre. He has chosen to keep all options open. This is because he knows there is little chance of his dislodging Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in the Odisha 2024 state election. Sources say, Pradhan who is currently a Rajya Sabha member from MP is most likely to file for Lok Sabha seat in Odisha from Dhenkanal or Sambalpur area. Factoring the possibility of BJP faring well in Odisha, Dharmendra is toying with the idea of fielding his wife Mridula in the Assembly election either from Pallahara or Talcher in Odisha, offering him another opportunity for power play in Odisha. Now coming to the question, who will be the CM face of BJP in Odisha in the 2024 election? Two names are doing the rounds – one is that of Pradhan and the other one is Modi’s favourite vocal ex-IAS officer Aparijita Sarangi, a BJP MP from Bhubaneswar. Aparajita remains unstoppable though there was an earlier attempt to restrict her movement to her constituency Bhubaneswar. Today she remains unbridled holding meetings and campaigns beyond her assigned territories covering Bhadrakh, Nilagiri, Kendrapada and others.
RamJanmabhoomi temple

Three Auspicious Dates Suggested For The Grand Opening Of Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple

The progress of the ground floor in Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya was reviewed recently by the senior members of the Trust including Chairman Construction Committee headed by Nripendra Misra. Even as details of the temple were shared in a release by Misra, it was disclosed that the construction work on infrastructure buildings was in full swing and it was likely to be completed by October 2023. The dome size of the five mandaps are 34 ft wide and 32 ft. The height of the courtyard varies from 69 feet to 111 feet. The Temple is 380 feet in length, 250 feet wide and 161 feet high from the courtyard. The three-storey Temple has five mandaps and one main Shikar. The size of Sanctum Sanctorum is 20 feet x 20 feet in length and width with a total area of 403.34 sq. ft. There will be 46 numbers of teakwood doors. The door of Sanctum Sanctorum will be ornated with gold. There are 392 pillars which have been structurally provided taking into consideration the load factor and other climatic challenges. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has sent an invitation letter to PM Modi for the grand opening of the Ram temple in Ayodhya while suggesting three “auspicious dates” for the ceremony. They are between January 17 and 24.  It may be recalled that the temple’s foundation was laid in a ceremony presided over by Modi on August 5, 2020.
MOdi shinde article

Newspaper Ads Highlight Shadow Boxing Between Ruling Allies SS-BJP In Maharashtra

A front-page newspaper advertisement issued by the chief minister Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena tom-tomming a survey that rated Shinde ahead of his deputy Devendra Fadnavis for CM’s post, has highlighted the shadow boxing between the ruling allies in Maharashtra. Interestingly, the advertisement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo comes in the wake of the discontentment brewing in the Shinde camp following tactics adopted by the BJP. The friction between the Shinde’s Sena and the BJP was also evident in reports that the national party had asked Shinde to sack five of his party ministers on grounds of unsatisfactory performance. This had upset the Shinde camp since all five ministers on the chopping board were Shinde strongmen, who played key roles in his government formation that helped him get the CM’s chair. The BJP strategy to expand in Maharashtra — not by making inroads into Opposition spaces but by inching into strongholds held by its own ally, the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena — has clearly upset the CM and his party of supporters. His supporters fear being denied tickets in their own backyards. Not surprisingly, firebrand Shiv Sena Parliamentarian Sanjay Raut commented that the BJP would make Shinde’s men to scramble for every seat. Amit Shah has announced a target to win 45 of the total 48 seats in the state during his recent rally at Nanded.

All Eyes On Ajit Pawar As Sunil Tatkare Appointed National Treasurer Of NCP

Nationalist Congress party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has sprung one more surprise as part of his reshuffle of party top functionaries. NCP’s Raigad MP Sunil Tatkare has been appointed national treasurer. Various interpretations are coming forward since Tatkare is viewed as a staunch supporter of Pawar though considered close to Ajit Pawar as well. Nonetheless, the appointment of Tatkare is termed as a blow for Ajit, whose position within the party is becoming shaky by the day, his detractors whisper. On the other hand, keeping Ajit away from all top party posts is described as a masterstroke by Pawar’s loyalists. In a tricky situation, Ajit can build bridges with the BJP if the Congress or the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray decide to sideline the NCP in the coming elections, especially the Mumbai municipal contest. Already, some leaders of the two parties have started indicating that they will not accept the NCP as the main force in the Maha Vikas Aghadi that ruled the state for two and a half years. In the fluid situation, the reticence of the BJP is felt to be fraught with a hidden agenda since except for Devendra Fadnavis, none of the party leaders have reacted to the developments within the NCP. In stark contrast, Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut has not lost a single opportunity to needle Ajit Pawar, whose next move will decide the shape of things in Maharashtra.  
Naidu_Amit shah

Why BJP Is Not Keen To Forge Ties With TDP

There is not much excitement in the BJP circles about TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s brief meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda early this month. The possibility of an electoral alliance between the two parties ahead of the Telangana assembly election later this year and general elections next year are being ruled out as it would not suit BJP. TDP was a part of the NDA in 2014 but quit the ruling alliance in March 2018 before the 2019 elections on the issue of special status to Andhra Pradesh. However, both parties came together after the recent municipal elections in Port Blair. BJP sources said TDP is not much liked in Telangana as it had opposed creation of a separate state of Telangana. “It is precisely for this reason that the Congress-TDP alliance has not clicked in the new state. Congress is a stronger party but gets pulled down by the TDP,” pointed out a BJP functionary. It is precisely for this reason that the BJP which is trying to make some inroads in Telangana would shun a tie-up with the TDP. As for Andhra, a party source admitted that the BJP was already in alliance with Pawan Kalyan’s party Jana Sena and may tie-up with TDP. Significantly, PM Modi remembered NT Rama Rao, TDP founder and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on his birth anniversary in his radio program Mann Ki Baat last month.
Sharad supriya

Pawar’s Masterstroke: Reading Between The Lines

Eighty-two year old Sharad Pawar has always been considered heavyweight in the Indian political firmament. His influence cuts across party lines — Congress, BJP, CPM, TMC, AAP etc. Nobody dares to cross swords with him.  In fact, be it Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narendra Modi or regional party leaders, they have held Pawar in high esteem and given a lot of weightage to his suggestions and ideas. So, when the supremo of Nationalist Congress Party stepped down from the party’s president’s post a few days ago and then on the party’s Foundation Day named two working presidents — Praful Patel and daughter Supriya Sule – it did put cat among the pigeons. The big question everybody is asking what happens to the ambitious nephew Ajit Pawar? Historically, Ajit was not interested in national politics; his eyes were on the CM’s gaddi. But, now with cousin Supriya made in charge of Maharashtra does it signal that his wings are being clipped? Nobody is sticking their neck out. But by making the suave, articulate Praful Patel also a working president, Pawar Sr has again displayed why he is unpredictable. Patel, a smart businessman and seasoned politician, is currently under the glare of the Enforcement Directorate in the Iqbal Mirchi case. The ED has attached his property – four floors in Ceejay House in Worli, Mumbai. According to a political analyst, if ED is hot on Patel’s case and should he resign from NCP’s working president post then the entire mantle of leadership falls on Sule. Post that the road is clear for her. It is mere conjecture though anything can happen in politics, says the political analyst.

Promise Vs Performance: Has Modi Govt Delivered In The Last 9 Years?

No government has been under a giant microscope as the present dispensation headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Anything he does or says gets two extreme views. This is why the article in the Indian Express by Distinguished Professor Ashok Gulati and Research Associate Purvi Thangaraj, both from ICRIER, makes for an interesting reading. The duo have evaluated the performance of UPA and NDA on three parameters.  They have chosen GDP growth, inflation numbers and impact of social welfare schemes for two periods. The UPA government –2004-05 to 2013-14 — headed by Manmohan Singh. And the NDA government — 2014-15 to 2022-23 — headed by Modi. The average annual GDP growth during Modi’s regime stood at 5.7% compared with 6.8% clocked during Singh’s 10-year period. “But in terms of taming CPI inflation, the Modi government has surely done a much better job by holding the inflation rate at 5.1% vis-a-vis Manmohan Singh’s period when it averaged at 8.1%.  On the social welfare scheme front, the writers say the Modi government appears to have surpassed the achievements of the Singh government. In sum, they say, “Overall, while the Modi government’s performance in terms of GDP growth has been somewhat subdued, it has succeeded in taming inflation, keeping agri-growth respectable and doing a much better job on welfare schemes than UPA.”

CoWin Data: Who Leaked It?

The twitter world went on overdrive over a tweet by Trinamool Congress national spokesperson Saket Gokhale over the CoWin data leak. He tweeted: “a major data breach of Modi Govt where personal details of all vaccinated Indians including their mobile nos., Aadhaar numbers, Passport numbers, voters ID have been leaked and are freely available.” Some of the people whose data were leaked are: Dy Chairman Rajya Sabha Haribansh Narayan Singh; TMC leaders Derek O’ Brien, Sushmita Dev; Congress leaders P Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, Ahishek Manu Singhvi KC Venugopal and couple of TV journalists. So where does the blame lie? Clearly, during Pandemic anybody who travelled had to give a vaccine certificate. Besides, self-attested copies of Aadhaar/Passport/Pan cards are given by all of us for various purposes – banks, insurance companies, CAs etc. So the leak can be from anywhere. From the government side, union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar immediately tweeted: “With ref to some Alleged Cowin data breaches reported on social media, @IndianCERT has immdtly responded n reviewed this (sic). A Telegram Bot was throwing up Cowin app details upon entry of phone numbers. The data being accessed by bot from a threat actor data, which seems to hv been populated wth previously stolen data in the past. It does not appear that Cowin app or database has been directly breached.“

Not A Big Fat Wedding: FM’s Daughter Marries OSD In PMO In A Low Key Event

In a country which celebrates weddings in unbelievable opulence and obscene lavishness, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman daughter‘s wedding was a low-key affair. So it was not surprising that the news that Sitharaman’s daughter Parakala Vangamayi married Pratik Doshi, OSD of Joint Secretary rank in the PMO, spread like a wildfire. It became talk of the town for being a low key affair. This quiet almost secret wedding held in Sitharaman’s Jayanagar home in Bengaluru was blessed by the Seers of Udipi’s Adamaru Mutt in the presence of close relatives; no fanfare or trumpeting, no glitterati or paparazzi. Naturally speculations were doing the rounds why it was such a low key affair, what did the bride and groom wear, and most importantly who is the groom was flying thick and fast. The bride, a journalist, wore a traditional pink silk saree, and Sitharaman, a Molekalmani saree. The groom Pratik Doshi is a Gujarati who worked as Research Assistant at Modi’s CM’s office after his graduation from Singapore’s Management School. Doshi’s transition to national level as OSD in the PM’s office with his portfolio of Research and Strategy was seamless and smooth as silk. Doshi, people in the know aver, is the eyes and ears of the PM. The same curious network is busy now, feverishly connecting the dots...Chanakyan intrigue, political chutzpah, or plain and simple falling in love?

What Ails AIADMK Chief Edappadi Palanisami?

Is the AIADMK General Secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) ill and advised to rest? Seems plausible, as he has not been sighted in public for the past two weeks, communicating only through his staff. He had announced anti-DMK protest marches throughout Tamil Nadu but was not seen participating in any, even the one in Salem, his pocket borough, something quite out of character for a politician who thrives on being seen and heard with his hearty smile and presence. The party cadres are on chat and chatter mode, flying speculations in every which way. Some said he was having severe joint pain after the hectic birthday celebrations, early May, and has been advised to rest. Others are concerned about bone health issues. EPS has shouldered many burdens since the Assembly elections when the DMK wrested power from his party. Then he had to take on the rivalry and bitter power struggles with O Panneerselvan, his party heavyweight which brought on a number of legal battles. The speculations about his health took on a new dimension when he visited the temple, after a visit to Coimbatore to consult doctors about “bone problems”. Was he advised surgery, even a visit abroad for treatment? For now, his party cadres are joining in the prayers at the Lord Murugan temple, and wishing him a speedy recovery so that he can return to his busy schedule.

Post Balasore Triple Train Tragedy, Railway Minister Orders Pan India Rail Safety Audit

With the Opposition parties gunning for Ashwin Vaishnaw’s scalp over Balasore’s triple train tragedy, the Railway Minister has now ordered a high level safety audit inquiry for the entire railway network across the country. The objective is to ensure that the rail network is tamper proof beyond the reach of unauthorized human elements. Those who have served senior positions in the Indian Railways say that the suave Railway minister known to deliver on his commitments wants to let the public at large know that the Railways work culture will be much better than they are today. Vaishnaw in his own inimitable style is firing on all cylinders to address the railway safety issues. His immediate meeting with the Railway Board after returning from Odisha spelling out his work expectations has set the ball rolling across the rank and file of railway employees across the country. The Railway Board chairman held a meeting with all general managers and divisional railway managers communicating what needs to be done on a range of activities which will prevent such big accidents.


Is Communal Cauldron In Maharashtra Deliberately Kept On Boil?

Communal cauldron in Maharashtra is deliberately kept on the boil in view of the forthcoming elections in the state, charges Opposition leaders. Communal disturbances broke out simultaneously in Kolhapur, Dhule and Ahmednagar on June 7 following protests called by pro-Hindu organisations protesting against glorification of Aurangzeb on social media and his pics being flanked openly in rallies. Nationalist Congress Party supremo (NCP) Sharad Pawar alleges that the ruling alliance had failed to act strongly against communal forces. NCP leader Jitendra Avhad says that if assembly elections were held in Maharashtra today the Opposition alliance party Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) would win more than 200 seats and hence these disturbances were being engineered. The tensions have been simmering in the state for some time now ever since the BJP-Shiv Sena returned to power in the state with Eknath Shinde as chief minister. The tensions rise in the backdrop of anti- love jihad rallies organised at various districts.  Anil Parab, leader from the Uddhav Thackeray group said that such tensions would deter investors away from the state. Meanwhile, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis warned that the spurt in glorification of Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan would not be tolerated.


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.