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Hooda

Sulking Hooda Stumps Cong, Seeks Surejwala’s Scalp For Backing Anti-Price Stir

The Congress announced it was putting off its anti-price rally due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation. “Mehangai Par Halla Bol” Rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi was rescheduled from Aug 28 to Sept 4. While growing Covid infection is the official reason, the real reason is Jat politics. The Congress leadership has been forced to drag its feet on the rally as Haryana leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda made it clear he will not support the rally as long as his bête noire Randeep Surjewala remains AICC General Secretary. Hooda has been upset ever since Surjewala got elected as Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan. Incidentally, Surjewala, once Hooda’s minister, is now a close Rahul aide. Hooda is one of the few mass leaders of the party and without his support Congress cannot hope to have any rally in Delhi. Only Hooda can mobilise crowds. Ideally, Hooda should not be sulking considering the entire state unit has been entrusted to him. Party sources say Surjewala, who is recuperating from health issues, could soon be relieved of his Karnataka charge. That is why when Congress leader Jairam Ramesh claims “The rally will send a powerful message to the insensitive Modi sarkar!” cynics in the Congress feel the rally would be called an anti-price rally no matter whenever it is held. That is even if the prices are going south.
Collage Maker-19-Aug-2022-05

Why Govt Was Forced To Contradict Its Own Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Over Rohingyas

PM Narendra Modi apparently took a dim view of his Housing & Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri comment on Rohingya refugee issues. In his tweet Puri seems to have relied more on his IFS background than on the BJP stand and had gone loquacious about a news item on shifting Rohingya refugees to EWS flats in Delhi. This had led to backlash in the social media against the BJP.  Currently not in India, the minister had commented about how the country always welcomed those who sought refuge in India. As soon as AAP attacked the Centre for trying to provide shelter to Rohingyas, the MHA came out contradicting Puri. In a letter to Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra charged that the decision to shift Rohingya Muslims from Madanpur Khadar to EWS flat in Bakkarwala was one-sided by the Delhi Government. Urging Sisodia to act against Rohingyas under Foreigners Act, 1946 of the GOI with immediate effect, Mishra pointed out how Delhi Chief Secretary had convened a meeting on July 29. At the meeting the MHA director and FRRO officials had clarified that the GOI was not a signatory to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees 1951 nor is it subordinate to the 1967 Protocol. The minister also made it clear that India does not accept the identity card of UNHCR.
NCP

10 NCP Leaders On ED Scanner, Files Of 5 Ready, Claims Maharashtra BJP MP

BJP MP Ranjitsingh Nimbalkar has revealed that 10 NCP leaders are already under ED’s scanner while files of five of them are ready for action. Though he did not mention any name, he amply indicated that the 10 leaders are in the top bracket of the NCP. Nimbalkar has been elected to the Lok Sabha from Madha in Solapur district in south Maharashtra. The constituency was earlier represented by NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The damning revelation has come amidst discussion that the ED’s action will not be too distant now. Nimbalkar is the third BJP functionary to have pushed the NCP in a corner. The first was former MP Kirit Somaiya. He was followed by Mohit Kamboj, who had said a few days ago that ED action against five NCP leaders was imminent. Nimbalkar touched upon the controversial Lavasa project developed near Pune. Pawar is alleged to have been associated with this huge project. The Mumbai high court has disposed of a petition filed against it by a farmer. Responding to such constant threatening utterances, NCP Maharashtra president and former minister Jayant Patil dared the government to go ahead with any action. Within 24 hours of this response, Nimbalkar has come out with a more serious statement against the NCP.
Collage Maker-19-Aug-2022-07

On Day Of CBI Raids On Sisodia, AAP Has To Fight Charge Of Paid News In NYT

On a day Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s home and 20 other locations across seven states were raided by the CBI over the Centre’s allegations of corruption in the Delhi liquor policy, his party colleagues from AAP like Saurabh Bharadwaj and Sanjay Singh were busy defending him on a different score — the  twin articles that appeared in praise of Sisodia in front pages of the New York Times and the Khaleej Times. “If NYT article is paid news, I challenge BJP to get something published in it by spending money,” said Bharadwaj. While BJP MP Parvesh Verma dubbed it as paid news, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said the CBI landed at Sisodia’s doorstep the “day on which the Delhi education model was praised and Manish Sisodia’s picture was printed on the front page of America’s largest newspaper NYT.” Delhi’s Lt Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena ordered a CBI probe, accusing AAP of bringing the Excise policy “with the sole aim” of benefiting private liquor barons for financial benefits to “individuals at the highest echelons of the government leading up to Manish Sisodia”.  On July 30, Sisodia announced a rollback of the policy, a waiver of Rs 144.36 crore was given to the liquor cartel on license fee tender citing the Covid pandemic as the reason. It has now been alleged that the cabinet was not kept in the loop when this one-time waiver was given.
EPS on warpath

EPS Declares War On OPS, Exposes His Past Misdeeds

Former Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami declared war in the AIADMK against O Panneerselvam. Declining his offer of an olive branch a day after the high court reined in EPS’ moves to get himself elected as General Secretary, EPS went on to demolish OPS’ character at a media conference, alluding even to his role of canvassing against J Jayalalithaa in the 1989 elections. He declared that OPS only seeks posts for himself and his son. He accused him of going to court to try and stop the GC meeting and, worse, getting into the party HQ on the day of the meeting and demolishing the place. Not only was the party office damaged and jewellery stolen but also key property files were taken away. EPS also rammed home the fact that had OPS commanded enough of a following in the party, he would have challenged him on the floor instead of staying away from the GC venue on July 11. He challenged the reporters to name one worthwhile scheme that OPS had initiated when he was CM several times in place of Jayalalithaa while she was fighting disproportionate assets cases against her. So outspoken was EPS in putting down OPS that a long legal battle is the only way forward now for the main Opposition party in Tami Nadu, which might just make way for the BJP to assume that role.
WhatsApp Image 2022-08-18 at 11

Odia Actor Turned Politician In The Dock As Marital Discord Turns Ugly, Dropped As BJD Spokesperson

The Odia actor Anubhav Mohanty who defeated BJP’s Baijayant (Jay) Panda in 2019 Lok Sabha polls standing on a BJD ticket now finds himself in the dock. Reason: marital discord. His wife Varsha Priyadarshini is also an Odia actress. It has turned ugly with both sides trading charges. Anubhav’s petition for divorce is in the Odisha High Court. The mutual allegations are endless which includes domestic violence and harassment justifying police complaint filing by Priyadarshini. Reportedly, BJD MP Mohanty to defend himself has opted to explain  his troubled relationship through a video broadcast to the netizens as to why he is seeking divorce from his wife alleging denial of conjugal rights while Varsha alleging Anubhav’s extra marital affairs as a reason for the discord. So far, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has maintained his usual stoic silence. But in a parallel development, Patnaik thought it prudent to reconstitute the list of BJD spokespersons in the process has dropped Anubhav Mohanty amongst others as national spokesperson. Besides, he has also not been included in Naveen’s apex state executive panel for decision making. Action speaks louder than the word, hope Mohanty sees the writing on the wall.
Shinde 1

Unique Constitutional Stalemate In Maharashtra, Solution Elusive

Array

A piquant situation has arisen in Maharashtra, the first such in parliamentary history of India, as the chief minister and the leader of the opposition in the state legislative council claim to belong to the same party. Nobody has a ready solution. Chief minister Eknath Shinde and his 50-odd supporters have continuously maintained that they have not left the Shiv Sena; in fact, we are the real representatives of the original Sena, they claim. On the other hand, former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s legislative wing had submitted to deputy council chairperson Neelam Gorhe that it was nominating Ambadas Danve as leader of the opposition in the upper house. Incidentally, Gorhe, too, is with Uddhav. Her decision to appoint Danve had generated intense speculation about its constitutional validity. This was viewed in the context of change of guard in the state. The situation became more intriguing as Uddhav had forwarded Danve’s name to Gorhe without consulting either the Congress or the Nationalist Congress party although they were partners of the earlier ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi. Both immediately expressed disapproval of this unilateral action by Uddhav.  As the power play is now before the Supreme Court through various petitions, it will be tricky for the authorities to take any decision either way. Hence, wait-and-watch seems the safe policy.
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Tamil Nadu FM Makes Light Of Chappal Hurled At Him, Says Cinderella Can Collect It Whenever

Hurling shoes at politicians is an art form born of courage.  And the targeted leaders make more news by responding with humour instead of rancour. Seems like the Tamil Nadu FM P Thiaga Rajan popularly known as PTR borrowed a leaf from the former U.S. President George Bush when women BJP workers hurled a ladies chappal at him at the Madurai airport. Immediately, PTR tweeted “If Cinderella wants her sandal back, my staff saved it for you”.  Shoe hurling is tame news; how many of us secretly yearn for such courage? It is the reaction and aftermath that spins even more news. Remember George W Bush on his farewell visit to Baghdad in 2008, when a seething Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Al Zaidi threw both his shoes at Bush! Cool Bush fielded one, said “it’s a size 10 “! Three women BJP workers have been identified and the police are booking them. PTR has harboured a degree of resentment at both the Centre and his own party, as he is seen as a Lone Ranger import, with a fancy education. This incident, when PTR had come to pay his respects to slain TN army personnel, Lakshmanan gave him the ideal opportunity to take on the BJP. He vowed, “By tonight I will teach a lesson to the BJP “. Presumably, the shrewd FM is busy stirring up a storm for K Annamalai and his flock.
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Ghulam Nabi Azad: Does Cong Want Him Out Now?

It is very difficult for anyone in the Congress to believe that senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad would not have been consulted before reconstituting the Jammu and Kashmir unit. The manner in which Azad refused to be part of it and resigned as Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Campaign Committee and a member of State Political Affairs Committee within hours after announcement shows he has blown a war horn. Congress sources say Azad was consulted four times and some of his suggestions were even accepted. If he had headed the Campaign Committee, when Saiffuddin Soz was PCC chief, why was he having a problem to be part of the team under Tariq Ahmed Karra now? Party sources say it is quite likely Azad may have been surprised by the final list as he may not have been apprised about its details. “It is quite possible that the Congress leadership didn’t want him to continue or else the AICC would have shared the list with him,” points out a leader. Officially, of course Azad has cited health reasons to decline responsibilities. However, the buzz is he could be launching his own political outfit to contest the J&K polls which are a year away. A prominent leader of the G 23 who wrote to Sonia Gandhi seeking better practices within the party, Azad was disappointed when the party did not nominate him to Rajya Sabha.
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BJP Empowers Women After Modi's I-Day Call, Also Reshuffles Parliamentary Board

Within two days of PM Narendra Modi’s making a pitch for women empowerment, the BJP appointed two women — BJP Mahila Morcha chief Vanathi Srinivasan and former Haryana MP Sudha Yadav — to the party’s 15-member Central Election Committee.  Both Vanathi, who is also a Tamil Nadu MLA and Yadav belong to the OBC. In another significant move veteran BJP leader BS Yediyuruppa, Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Sudha Yadav, Union Minister  Sarabananda Sonowal. OBC Morcha chief K Laxman, B L Santosh, Satyanarayan Jatiya and former chairman of Minorities Commission Iqbal Singh Lalpura have been appointed to the 11-member parliamentary board. It also includes party chief J P Nadda, PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The board significantly saw the exit of Nitin Gadkari, probably making way for Fadnavis and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan making way for former Union Minister Jatiya. While most of the members are common to both the parliamentary board and the CEC, the party has inducted a mix of young and experienced hands. While Fadnavis , Yediyuruppa, Sudha Yadav and B L Santosh are on both the panels , veteran party functionary Om Mathur has a place only on the CEC.
EPS OPS

EPS Suffers Big Setback As Madras HC Restores Status Quo In AIADMK, OPS Elated

Former CM Edappadi Palaniswami took a massive hit in the Madras high court which restored the status quo in the AIADMK party that existed before the contentious July 11 General Council meeting that he had convened and in which he was appointed as interim General Secretary. His colleague O Panneerselvam is now celebrating the restoration of the party to dual control after he had been expelled by EPS. The high court order is not the final word as it is bound to be challenged by EPS in the Supreme Court. OPS had not attended the GC meeting on July 11 but had gone for an earlier meeting. He had walked out when heckled and water bottles were thrown at him. The court order means the party is back to the status which had prevailed after the death of J Jayalalithaa and the imprisonment of her aide and confidante VK Sasikala in February 2017. After being together in his reign as CM of more than four years, EPS had manoeuvred his way to take over the party, his ambition being fulfilled as he had the clear majority of the party members. That majority is in question now as both he and OPS have to steer AIADMK through party polls and they are not even on talking terms.
Collage Maker-29-Jul-2022-12

Uddhav’s Shiv Sena Now In Attacking Mood, Warns Shinde Faction

Uddhav Thackeray’s mouthpiece Saamana has warned the rival faction over its plans to erect another ‘Shiv Sena Bhavan’ in the vicinity of the original one in Dadar area.  Ever since the Shinde faction revealed its strategy to checkmate the Sena in its Dadar stronghold, restlessness was palpable in Uddhav’s followers since no rejoinder was forthcoming from their boss. Now that the legislature session is beginning in Mumbai tomorrow (Aug 17), the stern warning has been published by Saamana, whose editor Sanjay Raut’s absence was felt as the language and tone of the editorials in the daily had sobered. With this warning, Uddhav has sent clear signals that his followers are now prepared to take on the breakaway group.  The Saamana editorial said, “Shiv Sena Bhavan has been standing tall despite various challenges and attacks. It has been built to exhibit the spirit of Marathi manoos. This is not just a building. It is the impenetrable shield of Maharashtra. Those turncoats who jump from one camp to another need to remember this.” Shinde’s camp is jubilant as the chief minister has been receiving warm welcomes around the state. He has been praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis unreservedly in his every speech. Despite murmurs of discontent from among the 50 MLAs who walked out with him, Shinde is confident of placating them.
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Stalin On A Goodwill Visit To Delhi, To Thank PM Modi For Giving Opportunity To Host Chess Olympiad

Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin is on a two-day visit to Delhi, primarily to pay a courtesy visit to PM Narendra Modi and thank him for giving him the opportunity to host the 44th Chess Olympiad (July 28-Aug 9) in  Chennai. In view of the Russia-Ukraine war, the Olympiad had decided against hosting it in Russia. Poland and Uzbekistan were keen to host the event, but it was PM Modi’s equation with Russian President Vladimir Putin which had helped in shifting the event to India. Though the Olympiad itself was inaugurated by Modi, Stalin never got the opportunity to come over to Delhi and invite him personally as he was hospitalised due to Covid. Tamil Nadu became the ideal venue as it is home to chess legends like Viswanathan Anand and young Indian grand master R Praggnanandhaa. The state also has a temple dedicated to chess and Lord Shiva – called Sathuranga Vallabhanathar in Thirupoovanur near Needamangalam, in Tiruvarur district.  Assigned to host the Olympiad, Tamil Nadu Government had worked hard for four months, creating the infrastructure for the event at the cost of Rs 92 crore. Stalin has also been advised by senior DMK leaders to call on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jadgeep Dhankar — both of whom the DMK had not backed during their elections. Stalin is scheduled to meet President Murmu, Vice-President Dhankar and PM Modi on August 17.
abhishek chatterji

Is Mamata Grooming Her Nephew Abhishek To Take Over The Party?

The uneasy question among the top leadership of Trinamool Congress is: who would take up the mantle from the party supremo Mamata Banerjee. Significantly, after a long time, Didi was accompanied by Abhishek Banerjee who holds the position of national general secretary during her recent visit to New Delhi. He was also present with Mamata when she took stock of her party’s activities in the monsoon session and endorsed the joint opposition moves in Parliament, especially those against the BJP’s use of central agencies to raid and arrest opposition leaders. Incidentally, a section of senior leaders including Kalyan Banerjee had been vocal about Abhishek’s prominence in the party. He was criticized for both the Goa election and Tripura bypoll debacle, and also for trying to replicate the Diamond Harbour model, his Lok Sabha constituency. However, the opposing faction including Kalyan babu praised Abhishek stating that the young leader gave space and a patient hearing to all senior MPs and leaders. But, the message is loud and clear; in the run-up to the party’s Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata, posters put up across the state featured just two leaders — Didi and her nephew Abhishek. Furthermore, it’s Abhishek who’s now expanding the party in Tripura, Goa, Assam, and Meghalaya. Clearly, Abhishek is being projected as the natural successor of Mamata Banerjee, but it has been the BJP that made him a leader by constantly attacking him.
amit and patnaik

Can BJP ‘Really’ Make Inroads Into Naveen Patnaik’s Odisha?

With Amit Shah exuding confidence in his recent trip to Odisha saying BJP will form the government in the state in 2024, questions are being raised if Biju Janata Dal supremo Naveen Patnaik is beatable by BJP in 2024? Political watchers dismiss Shah’s bravado saying “not possible during Naveen’s lifetime”. It’s difficult to defeat a leader like a performing chief minister like Naveen babu in 2024. He has never tasted defeat, as yet. Does BJP have one leader in the state who can match Patnaik’s stature? It is common knowledge that “Modi-Shah juggernaut isn’t all powerful enough to steamroll Patnaik’s huge popularity. This has been amply demonstrated by BJD in the panchayat and urban elections vis-a-vis BJP’s total washout in both instances. Here is the contradiction, while Modi-Patnaik politically are fighting each other at personal level they share a great equation.  Given this scenario, Amit Shah has to tread carefully to ensure BJP leaders don’t attack Patnaik personally and at the same give cadres enough ammo that keeps them charged and hopeful that BJP will be in the saddle one day.  For starters, the party has elevated Sunil Bansal to the National General Secretary position, in-charge of Odisha. He has been asked to replicate BJP’s UP victory in Odisha. Clearly, for BJP their task is cut out, to make a dent against a tall leader like Naveen babu whose popularity continues to be on the rise.
Sanjay Rathore

Sanjay Rathod Repulses Attack, Threatens To Prosecute Slanderers

In a dramatic turn of events, controversial minister Sanjay Rathod has threatened ‘anyone’ who makes derogatory statements against him in public. Rathod had to resign from the previous Uddhav Thackeray ministry in connection with allegations concerning the suicide of a female social media star, Pooja Chavan, in February last year. He is attacked for the same alleged misdeed. Rathod’s most spirited critic is BJP leader Chitra Wagh, who not only condemned his inclusion in the present ministry but also threatened to continue the battle against him, come what may. On the other hand, chief minister Eknath Shinde has said that Rathod had been given a clean chit by the earlier Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Rathod himself has said that there is no FIR against him nor has the judiciary entertained any charges against him. As allegations continued to be aired even after his clarification, Rathod has threatened to file defamation cases if any new damaging statements are made about him. Rathod said, “I have been elected repeatedly to the assembly from Digras in Yavatmal district. I have a family, parents. I know what I have gone through. Such slandering must stop.” Rathod was made to resign by Thackeray in February 2021 after his government was cornered over the suicide of Pooja in Pune where she had come from Beed to pursue a career
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TMC On The Backfoot As Party’s Strongman Anubrata Mandal Arrested

Nothing seems to be going well with the ruling Trinamool Congress after two of its prominent leaders Anubrata Mandal and Partha Chatterjee were arrested by the central agencies CBI and ED respectively. However, despite washing away hands from these two leaders, TMC has been prompt in protesting against Mandal’s arrest in a subtle way by organizing a two-day protest through youth and students wing. However, this was not the case for “Parthada”. “Kestoda” as Mandal is popularly called has held an unprecedented power for over a decade despite not holding any position in the government, not even as an elected legislative representative. His exceptional organizational skill of mobilising the masses to counter the Left in their erstwhile citadel of Birbhum helped Mandal to gain prominence in the TMC. Incidentally, Bahubali of Birbhum helped the party to win 11 out of 12 seats from Birbhum in the 2021 Assembly elections, and both Lok Sabha seats — Bolpur and Birbhum in 2019. Does Anubrata hold power beyond his district? Yes, he does. His influence spread over Purba and Paschim Bardhaman, which is why he was also made a part of the party’s national working committee. Kestoda, who is also a fundraiser for the party, has delivered on all fronts, party insiders. And this is why Mamata Banerjee has always defended him vehemently in public especially now by holding protest marches after his arrest.
eknath Shinde 1

Eknath Shinde Preparing To Deal One More Blow To Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief minister Eknath Shinde is preparing to deal one more blow to his nemesis Uddhav Thackeray in his stronghold, Dadar in central Mumbai. Shinde is reported to be looking for office premises for his faction, which he claims is the real Shiv Sena. His supporter and Dadar MLA Sada Sarwankar has revealed that Shinde is looking for space for a party office at a location convenient to people to visit. Shiv Sena Bhavan, the Sena’s headquarters near Shivaji Park in Dadar, has been like a place of pilgrimage for countless Sainiks. Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray and now Uddhav have been regular visitors to Sena Bhavan that has witnessed rise and downfall of various leaders over the decades. The most prominent former Sena leader, Raj Thackeray, has an office a stone’s throw’s away from Sena Bhavan and his residence, too, is close by. Thus, the area around Shivaji Park assumes political significance due to such happenings. Shinde has been feeling the need for a separate party office since the common public can’t easily meet him due to security reasons and the 24X7 police cordon at his Malabar Hill bungalow. If Shinde’s office comes up in Dadar, the after effects will be felt most by the Sena under Uddhav.
Collage Maker-12-Aug-2022-06

10 Janpath Back In The Reckoning As Tejashwi Yadav Decides To Pay Sonia A "Courtesy" Call

Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav’s meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi (Aug 12), three days after he took oath along with Nitish Kumar has come as a booster dose to the secular alliance. The Mahagatbandhan government will face a floor test on August 24. Bihar Congress leaders described Tejashwi’s visit as a courtesy call and said specifics of portfolios of Congress ministers would not be discussed. Congressmen are delighted with the Yadav scion’s visit, as 10 Janpath is back in the reckoning. After all it was Sonia who had played a crucial role in forming the Nitish-Tejashwi government. Reportedly, Nitish had reached out to Sonia when she was battling Covid in early June. While discussing her health, Nitish had shared with her how the BJP was trying to break his party. Sonia had asked him to contact Rahul Gandhi as well. Nitish had asked Tejashwi to get in touch with Rahul. Years ago, Rahul had taken out Tejashwi for lunch. But, Rahul will not be part of Sonia-Tejashwi meet. Even as all 19 Congress MLAs want to be ministers, a section of Bihar leaders are keen that the party does not join Nitish-Tejashwi and like the Left parties they should provide outside support. “Whenever we have shared power with RJD, Congress has lost. Whether in 2005 or in 2015, our tally has always gone down,” says AICC member Kishore Jha.
Arvind

Why Kejriwal Fears Review Of Freebies By The Supreme Court Ahead Of Gujarat, Himachal Polls

Ahead of Gujarat and Himachal polls, the Centre pleaded in the Supreme Court (SC) to set guidelines on freebies with dos and don’ts till the time legislature steps in as the country was heading towards a financial disaster. In its affidavit, the Centre offered to set up a committee of experts such as Union and state finance secretaries, finance commission chairman, a member from every national political parties, officials from the RBI, and ECI, and NITI Aayog, representatives from FICCI, CII and Discoms. The panel would examine all freebies. The AAP vociferously argued against the SC getting into the area of freebies and warned that the Apex Court should not heed Centre’s plea as it would lead to a political thicket. The SC remained unfazed and has endorsed the Centre’s move for an expert panel. Looks like AAP’s free power promise has the Centre worried with “many electricity generating companies and distribution companies most of which are government-owned being severely stressed. But having won Punjab on freebies, Kejriwal is just not bothered and is out there wooing Gujarati voters with 300 units of free power and Rs 3,000 dole to unemployed youth. Ironically, when Modi took over the state as CM two decades ago people had proudly told him — we don’t want free power, we want assured supply. Does Kejriwal hope to entice Gujjus with his Revdis (sops)?
Collage Maker-12-Aug-2022-11

Sena, NCP Distance From Congress In Maharashtra, Patole Stoking Fire

Distance between Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and the Congress party in Maharashtra is widening. The latest provocation is Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole’s assertion that the earlier ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) was not a ‘natural’ alliance. Sena’s unilateral decision to install its MLC Ambadas Danve as leader of the opposition in the state upper house has exposed older wounds in MVA. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has backed the Sena, isolating the Congress further. Former chief minister Ashok Chavan has attempted damage control by claiming that Patole’s statement was his ‘personal view’ though he concurred that Uddhav’s step was taken without consulting the Congress. On the other hand, NCP leader Ajit Pawar said the party with the largest number of MLCs can automatically become the main opposition party. Pawar is the opposition leader in the assembly. NCP also had ignored the Congress earlier when its senior leaders called on chief minister Eknath Shinde to greet him. At that time, the NCP had informed neither the Sena nor the Congress. This had angered both. During the MVA regime, the assembly’s speakership was with the Congress. But Nana Patole, who was the speaker then, had resigned and the post was vacant till the Shinde-Fadnavis alliance elected Colaba MLA Rahul Narvekar to it after coming to power.
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‘Marriage Party’ Raids In Jalna Yield Rs 400 Crore Booty

When members of a marriage party that had just arrived in Jalna (Maharashtra) started striding purposefully towards the premises of two famous steel manufacturers rather than to any nuptial venue, the onlookers were puzzled. Because rarely any weddings happen in monsoons. But the suspense did not last for long. It soon became evident that huge amounts of cash and gold were being unearthed. It was a series of simultaneous raids by the Income-tax officials, who had hired about a hundred private vehicles which displayed the announcement, “Rahul Weds Anjali” for the surprise visit. Nearly 250 of them swooped on the establishments on August 3 and continued their operation till August 8. The raids yielded cash of Rs 58 crore and over 30 kg of gold, besides precious stones. The cash was found in a farmhouse outside the town in Marathwada region of Maharashtra. The officials needed 13 hours and eight note counting machines to calculate the booty. After counting, the notes were sealed in stout gunny bags which were stashed one atop another. The resultant wall was eight feet in height. The raids were based on intelligence received by the I-T’s Nasik office. However, it was kept a secret till the last moment. The businessmen concerned deals in steel, real estate and textile. Moreover, documents leading to benami property deals worth Rs 100 crore are also said to be recovered.
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Nitish Forced To Rebut Claims He Wanted To Be V-P; BJP Worries About Its Bihar Initiatives

A day after BJP leader Sushil Modi claimed that the BJP and the JD (U) parted ways because Nitish Kumar was not made Vice-President, the Bihar CM rushed to deny it. Nitish’s rebuttal came on a day Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar took oath of office. The denial possibly came as the ambitious CM who wishes to be PM in 2024 doesn’t want to be seen as challenging a Jat V-P. “I have no such desire. Did they forget how much our party supported their President and Vice-President candidates?” he said, pointing to how he had announced his exit from the NDA only after polls were over. In Bihar BJP, no one is grieving over Nitish’s exit from the NDA. It is good riddance; their only worry is about the fate of their initiatives such as the mega textile park undertaken by industries minister Shahnawaz Hussain. State BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal says, “Nitish didn’t like our work on the textile park; we had brought land prices down. Whenever we raised issues of law and order, he did not like it. He didn’t like the NIA investigation into the PFI links case. I bet by Holi next year, Tejashwi who has support of 115 MLAs, will force Nitish out of CM’s office.”  BJP feels it was the arrest of Bhola Yadav, a key accused in the land-for-railway-job scam by the CBI last month that triggered Tejashwi to forgive Nitish for 2017 betrayal.
Collage Maker-11-Aug-2022-10

Of Black Shirt and Black Flag protests

When Colour Black Make PM, CM See Red

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken umbrage at the Congress party’s recent black clothes protest against price rise, saying that “Those who believe in black magic will never be able to earn the trust of the people. Some people are resorting to black magic as they are immersed in despair and negativity. We saw on August 5, that there was an attempt to propagate black magic. These people think that by wearing black clothes, their period of despair will end,” Modi said. What Modi does not know is that the all black protest first started in Kerala, albeit inadvertently. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has been at the receiving end with the opposition waving black flags at almost all his public functions and motorcade. Since the Kerala Police was at its wits end to stop this form of protest, an over-zealous officer issued an order banning not only black flags but also wearing black shirts to CM’s function. This blew up in the face of the cops with protesters across the state wearing black shirts not only at the CM’s functions but also during the assembly sessions. The CM is in a spot of bother these days as an ex-employee — Swapna Suresh —  of the UAE Consulate in Trivandrum revealed that gold was smuggled using the diplomatic channel by the CM’s office.
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Twitter

Did Tejashwi Yadav Prod Nitish Kumar To Walk Out Of NDA?

As Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav staked claim to form a new government of the mahagatbandhan in Bihar on August 9, it came as no surprise to the BJP. Bihar political circles point out that the RJD and the JD (U) came together after a bitter parting of ways in 2017 only to protect each other’s interest. In the last few months, Nitish was prodded to walk out of the NDA to protect Tejashwi’s interest; Tejashwi has temporarily put his CM ambition on hold to protect Nitish’s honour. Tejashwi who heads the single largest party RJD with 79 MLAs has decided to rally behind Nitish because he was too scared that the BJP with 77 MLAs would appoint Union Minister Nityanand Rai, a Yadav like him — as CM.  The BJP cadres were restive with Nitish as CM and Tejashwi felt if a BJP Yadav became CM that would be the end of his politics. As the Yadavs would have all flocked to the BJP. For Nitish, remaining CM seemed paramount more than his credibility; he no longer cared for his pet slogans like “Susashan” or good governance. Or else imagine the Yadav scion who is being probed by the CBI for land-for-railway job scam gets to endorse Nitish as the only capable PM pick for the Opposition for 2024!
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Maharashtra Cabinet Expansion: Shinde-Fadanvis Government Faces Flak On Opening Day

Maharashtra’s two-party new cabinet is facing flak for various reasons, primarily aimed at the members of a faction belonging to chief minister Eknath Shinde, who himself is included in the attack. A Shiv Sena petition seeking disqualification of the original 16 ‘rebels’ is pending before the Supreme Court. Shinde’s name features prominently in the list. But the focus of the attack is against former ministers Sanjay Rathod and Abdul Sattar. While Rathod was sacked by the previous Uddhav Thackeray government when a female forest officer committed suicide by allegedly blaming him, Sattar’s two daughters are said to be connected with a questionable academic employment test. Sattar has refuted the allegations and shown readiness to face any probe. Rathod, on the other hand, has refused to respond to media questions on the issue. However, Shinde claimed that Rathod had been exonerated. Till yesterday, Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis were under fire for their inability to form their cabinet though a month had elapsed after their own swearing-in. Now that the team has been expanded, inclusion of Rathod and Sattar is adding fuel to the fire. The most hurting onslaught against Rathod’s entry was launched by BJP leader Chitra Wagh, who had campaigned for his expulsion as a minister. A former NCP leader, Wagh has emerged as a strident female voice in the party. Indications are that she will become more vocal now.
Jairam

Twitter

Jairam Ramesh Concedes Nitin Gadkari's Point On EVs By Buying One

For once the former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who fancies himself as a fierce critic of the Modi Government went on record concurring with the views of Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles by encouraging use of electrical vehicles. He even confirmed that he had bought a Tata Nexon EV after his exchange with Gadkari during the Budget Session. In a tweet on August 6, Jairam shared a link of his exchange with Gadkari during Question Hour on March 22 and disclosed how “I got myself a Tata Nexon EV. I firmly believe India should put an end to manufacturing of all types of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 at the very least, and massively bring down the cost of EVs.”  In this exchange Gadkari had refused to give a time-bound plan to phase out petrol/ diesel vehicles as he felt comfort of EVs would guide buyers and manufacturers. As for the Monsoon Session hurriedly ending on August 8, Ramesh pointed out that the government did not have much of a legislative agenda. “Obviously they were not in any urgency to pass any Bill. The Bills passed by Lok Sabha, such as the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill and the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, could easily have been passed by Rajya Sabha this August 10,” he pointed out.
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V Sabareesan: The Go To Man In Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin’s son-in-law V Sabareesan has been in the news ever since DMK came to power. He is the CM’s alter ego, go to man and a conscience-keeper. Recently he was on “mission yagna” to save, and keep the government in the saddle. His mission was against the backdrop of four temple chariots in Tamil Nadu toppling and killing 12 people. This is considered a bad omen for the ruler of a State. On hearing the news, Sabareesan’s best friend London Venkat spoke to a well-known astrologer Mahesh Iyer, who advised the duo to immediately perform certain rituals to ward off the evil and impending calamity to the CM. But to perform the rituals, Sabareesan had to get the go- ahead from the first family which they did. Finally, a yagna was performed at the Subramaniya Swamy Temple in Tiruchendur. Political wags were on overdrive about Stalin’s son-in-law performing the ritual as a proxy. Social media talked about the two-faced ideology of Stalin who is quick to claim his agnostic status tempered by the Dravidian ideology, even as wife Durga leads her life as a staunch Hindu devotee. People do not ignore such duplicity by self-serving leaders. The Dravidian ideology is conveniently jettisoned when it comes to saving his own Gaddi. Sabareesan wondershare safeeraser registration code is now seen as acronis disk director crack скачать Stalin’s one-man Delta лицензионный ключ 360 total security Force.
Mamta news

NITI Aayog Meet: Did Didi Deliberately Keep A Low Profile In Delhi?

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s recent visit to New Delhi remained a low-key affair despite meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi appraising him about the state dues. She has always remained vocal and the biggest critic of the Modi Government and the BJP. But this time, her New Delhi visit did cover several meetings, sans high octane protest and meeting the media. Mamata’s mellowed stance about her visit has led to several questions. A section of the Opposition chief ministers said that Mamata despite attending the NITI Aayog meeting after a long time was not herself that of being extremely vocal. One of the insiders said that during the meeting, Didi did not complain or oppose the government policies. Interestingly, the TMC supremo in her last letter to the Prime Minister complained about non-payment of dues of Rs 97,000 crore by the Centre. Incidentally, chief ministers of Odisha, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Punjab briefed the media about their demands and observations. But not TMC. Insiders say that the media cell of the TMC was asked not to share any information pertaining to her visit. The CPI(M) has pointed out that the visit was mainly to address the ED raids pertaining to the SSC-Teacher Recruitment Scam involving a senior cabinet minister of her government. Presumably, Didi maintained a low profile to avoid any attack on her government over corruption charges.
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Deja Vu 2015: Nitish Dials Sonia, Seeks Cong Help To Tie-Up RJD Support

Kicking off speculations about his future moves, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar reportedly phoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi on August 7 seeking an appointment with her. It is believed he wants support of 19 Bihar Congress MLAs and much more. Possibly, revival of Mahagatbandhan or secular alliance of 2015. The tell-tale signs are there for all to see. Nitish skipped NITI Aayog meeting of CMs citing COVID; he took action against his one-time close aide RCP Singh, a Kurmi like him, for moving close to the BJP. In dialing up Sonia, Congress sources say, Nitish was merely following from his copybook of launching the 2015 alliance. Then, Nitish first got in touch with Sonia and took her help to persuade RJD supremo Lalu Prasad to accept him as leader of the alliance. This time round Nitish hopes Sonia will persuade RJD to back him as CM. “With just 45 MLAs, Nitish can’t expect the RJD to back him. The RJD is the single largest party with 80 MLAs. Tejashwi Yadav will want to become CM,” points out a Bihar Congress leader. That means Nitish’s luck could be running out. Maybe it did ever since he was humbled during the 2020 assembly polls. On its part, the BJP is on wait and watch mode, though its 77 MLAs are restless propping up Nitish as CM.
Fadnavis (1)

Fadnavis Assuages Apprehensions Of MPs From Shinde Faction

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has declared that the BJP will spare no efforts in 2024 to ensure re-election of the dozen Lok Sabha members who have pledged their loyalty to chief minister Eknath Shinde. This assurance by Fadnavis is viewed as an attempt to assuage the disturbed Shinde faction, which was said to be apprehensive after the BJP’s announcement that it will concentrate on the LS constituencies lost by the party in 2019 with a narrow margin or which it has never won. They include the prestigious Baramati constituency, which has remained with the family of NCP president Sharad Pawar throughout. Extra attention is being provided towards Baramati, from where Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule has been elected. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is entrusted with the task to snatch it away. She is expected to visit the constituency in coming days. Unease in the Shinde faction was palpable as the CM’s son Shrikant’s Kalyan constituency came in the picture. Kalyan has remained a bone of contention between the BJP and the Sena. Similar scenarios were seen in Thane, Aurangabad and Kolhapur’s Hatkanangale constituencies after local BJP leaders started saying that these seats will be in the party’s kitty in 2024. The reassurance by Fadnavis is expected to calm the troubled waters even as the Supreme Court is taking up the various petitions concerning Maharashtra.
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PM Modi On Backslapping Terms With This Gandhi

There were many interesting asides when the PM Narendra Modi visited Chennai for inaugurating the 44th Chess Olympiad.  Post the event Modi went to Raj Bhavan for his night sojourn and also to meet numerous BJP functionaries. Even as the PM strode in, he headed straight to a simple man, waiting with the others, calling out “MRG” and shook him by the shoulders, with others watching this breach in protocol with amazement. Modi evidently has a very spontaneous warm side, his whole demeanour changed and he was visibly happy to meet Nagercoil (Tamil Nadu) BJP MLA MR Gandhi who shares a special relationship with Modi as both were from the RSS. The warmth of the greeting for this 77-year old man who wears no footwear, may have reminded many of the mythological meeting of Sudama and Lord Krishna at Dwarka. Gandhi was touched and honoured. This TN man had failed in earlier attempts to get elected to the Assembly but won in 2021. Incidentally, Gandhi too was the subject of some unsavoury press. Apparently, his aide Kannan’s son Amrish has political ambitions. His bike number plate is emblazoned “Grandson of the Nagercoil MLA”, a euphemism that he created for himself, using the MLA’s name.
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Arkady and Anand

Huge Role Looms For Viswanathan Anand In World Chess Admin

Grandmasters from close to 190 nations are battling it out on the boards for the blue ribbon of team events at the Olympiad near Chennai. But there is an even bigger war going on in Mamallapuram, also the venue where 200 countries will be voting on August 7 to decide who will run world chess for the next four years. In a highly political race between teams of politicians and Grandmasters for President and Deputy President of FIDE, the favourite duo is current President Arkady Dvorkovich, a Russian politician seeking re-election and whose right-hand man is India’s first world champion Viswanathan Anand. A clear favourite among four teams endorsed by more countries than the minimum required to contest, Dvorkovich may use Anand to reorganise world chess, including bringing fundamental changes to the world title match, which is getting boring according to reigning champion Magnus Carlsen. Opposing them fiercely is former Ukraine chess champion and U.S. resident Andrii Baryshpolets, who is convinced a Russian politician has no business heading FIDE and that the world must stand up to the aggressor against Ukraine. Whether the real war being fought in his home country has any effect on the election or not, a polarised world is reflected in the chess election too. There are two other tickets of four candidates but Dvorkovich and Baryshpolets may be the dominant players.
Alva

Dinner hosted by Kharge for Alva

A Day Ahead VP Polls, Venkaiah Naidu Tells Opposition That MPs Have No Privilege In A Criminal Case

With the Congress kicking up a row over summoning of Rajya Sabha LOP Mallikarjun Kharge by the ED in National Herald case on August 4 and also fussing over his questioning him for 7 hours at the Herald House even as he had hosted a dinner for Opposition leaders in honour of Margret Alva, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu went that extra mile to bust myths of privilege of MPs who have “a wrong notion that they have a privilege from action by agencies while the Parliament Session is on.” He said “Under Article 105 of the Constitution, MPs enjoy certain privileges so that they can perform their parliamentary duties without hindrance. One of the privileges is that a MP cannot be arrested in a civil case, 40 days before the commencement of the Session or Committee meeting and 40 days thereafter. However, in criminal matters, MPs are not on a different footing than a common citizen. It means they do not have any immunity, and can be arrested in a criminal case during session. Citing a 1966 ruling of Dr Zakir Hussain, Naidu emphasized that “no Member should avoid appearing before any investigating agency when she or he is called upon to do so by citing reason of House duty. As law makers, it is our bounden duty to respect the law and legal procedures”.
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@siddaramaiah

Will Davangere Bonhomie Help Cong Clinch Karnataka In 2023?

In what seemed like a show of unity, Karnataka Congress stalwart Siddaramaiah and PCC chief D K Shivkumar hugged each other as prodded by Rahul Gandhi at a humongous event held at Davangere to mark Siddaramaiah’s 75th birthday celebrations. The multi-crore bash was primarily aimed to display bonhomie between the popular and ambitious birthday boy who is Rahul Gandhi’s favourite to be CM and a patient Shivkumar who has been endlessly biding his time. Rahul Gandhi used the occasion to bury reports of intense competition between the two leaders as to who would be the CM if Congress wins the 2023 Assembly elections. It was feared the clash between the two leaders would spoil the Congress’s chances of getting the magic tally of 111 seats out of 224 seats. “Today, I am happy to see Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar hugging each other on the stage”, remarked a relieved Rahul Gandhi. “I and Shivakumar are together. There is no difference of opinion between us,” said a triumphant Siddaramaiah.”  Of course, the state Congress leaders are not sure about the truce. They still feel a Channi-Siddhu style street fight could still be in the offing. Meanwhile, one person most missed at Davangere was AICC General Secretary in-charge Randeep Surjewala. He has gone abroad for a medical treatment. But, since elected as MP from Rajasthan, he has barely attended Rajya Sabha.
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NIA Says Expense To Provide Documentation To 10 Accused In Antilia Bomb Case ‘Unaffordable’

The National Investigation Agency has submitted to a special court hearing the sensational Antilia Bomb Case that the expense of around Rs 40 lakh for providing the entire documentation to the 10 accused would be unaffordable for it. Moreover, given the volume of evidence, it would require 258 days to make enough prints, NIA’s submission has said. The case has been filed in connection with the explosives planted near Mukesh Ambani’s south Mumbai residence by some of the accused and the subsequent alleged murder of a businessman, Mansukh Hiren. The evidence gathered painstakingly by NIA includes vast amounts of digital record, which include videography conducted in Mumbai and Thane. This record has lakhs of such documents, according to the NIA. The NIA chargesheet runs into around 10,000 pages. It is accompanied by a list of nearly 200 witnesses out of which depositions of 164 persons have been recorded before the magistrate. NIA had urged the court for grant of extra days to submit the chargesheet. It filed it two days before the deadline.  The most controversial role in the affair was played by suspended police officer Sachin Vaze, who was re-inducted in the force and was very close to then home minister Anil Deshmukh. Another accused Pradeem Sharma, a former police officer, was a Shiv Sena candidate in the last assembly election.
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Rahul, Cong Play Victim Card On ED Action In National Herald Case, Link It To Price Rise Stir On Aug 5

With the Enforcement Directorate sealing the Young Indian Ltd (YIL) office on August 3 in National Herald case, Rahul Gandhi labelled ED’s probe as an ‘intimidation tactic’.  He vowed to be undeterred in his fight to ‘save the democracy and nation’. “If you are talking about the National Herald…they think they can put a little pressure on us and we will shut up. We will not be intimidated, we are not scared of Narendra Modi, they can do whatever they want, and it does not matter. My work is to protect the nation, save democracy, and maintain harmony. No one can stop me.” Rahul has been quizzed for over 54 hours spread over 5 days about transactions related to the YIL and his mother Sonia for over 6 hours. The Congress is determined to milk ED action more than ever and play the victim card. Giving political colour to its “fraud”, the party tried to link sealing of YIL office at the Herald House and raids at 11 other locations as a pre-meditated step to hamper price rise stir called on August 5. In Rajya Sabha, LOP Mallikarjun Kharge protested ED summons to him to join the probe by 12.30 pm on August 4 at YIL office to “preserve evidence” when Parliament was in session. The YIL office was temporarily sealed a day earlier only because Kharge was not available.
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Naveen Patnaik Once Again Pushes Modi Govt To Accord Special Status To Odisha

When Suman Bery, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog called upon Odisha chief minister Biju Patnaik he was not really surprised when Patnaik reminded him of Odisha’s long standing demand of being accorded a special category status. But, what was unique this time was Patnaik’s tone — it was non-pleading. Naveen babu believes it is Odisha’s right to be given special category status as the state has been devastated by repeated cyclones.  Ever since Biju Janata Dal split from BJP in 2009 Patnaik has been the lone crusader fighting for the special status without any success. What is new this time is Naveen’s request to the Centre for expanding railway infrastructure, extending banking facilities to rural pockets and providing telecommunication services in the remotest part of the state. Naveen knows that Odisha cannot qualify for a special category status which is presently restricted to North Eastern three hilly states by the Finance Commission. The message CM is trying to drive is asking the Centre to revisit/redefine special status criteria, so that less developed criteria suiting Odisha should be given special dispensation or the centre provides monetary equivalent of a special category status. Political observers say Patnaik has consistently supported Modi in all issues, and it is in Modi’s interest to reciprocate lest Patnaik joins chorus with the Opposition parties.
Collage Maker-02-Aug-2022-01

Clockwise L To R : Navneet, Swapna,Kangana,& Ketki

Sanjay Raut’s Utterances Against Kangana, Navneet, Swapna, Ketki Could Haunt Him In Future

Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut’s past utterances against various women are likely to haunt him in future now that he is pushed into a corner. One of the women, Swapna Patkar, has filed a police complaint against Raut for allegedly threatening her by using objectionable language. Patkar was a contributor to Saamana edited by Raut some years ago. Mumbai police has invoked IPC sections 504, 506 and 509 against Raut based on her complaint. These sections respectively mean insult with intent to breach peace, criminal threatening and insulting modesty of a woman. Actress Kangana Ranaut was another victim of Raut’s wrath. When a portion of her residence was demolished, the Sena mouthpiece Saamana had come out with a headline, “Ukhaad Diyaa” (Demolished). Kangana had countered that she would not take the Sena’s pressure tactics lying down. Independent MP Navneet Rana had alleged before the media that she had been threatened openly by Raut. She described him as a “goon-like MP.” Navneet and her MLA husband Ravi Rana were arrested in Mumbai for declaring that they would chant Hanuman Chalisa in front of then chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshri.’Cine artiste Ketki Chitale was arrested by the police for retweeting an old post critical of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Reacting to this, Raut had described her as an addict (Nashebaaj) and a despicable worm.
Collage Maker-03-Aug-2022-04

Opposition Boycott ‘Tiranga Bike Rally’; Rahul, Mehbooba Display Indian Flag On Their Social Media Profile

In what could be his last public engagement Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu along with Union ministers Pralhad Joshi and Piyush Goyal flagged off Tiranga Bike Rally for MPs from Red Fort to Vijay Chowk on August 3 morning to mark the Har Ghar Tiranga as part of 75 years of India’s Independence on August 15. However, the entire Opposition skipped the event. Union Minister Smriti Irani was seen on her scooty, while I&B minister Anurag Thakur was spotted giving a pillion ride to Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy. With PM Narendra Modi calling upon all citizens to turn the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign into a mass movement by hoisting or displaying the national flag at their homes and using the Tiranga DP on their social media accounts between August 2 and 15.  His call for Tiranga DP in social media profile got a response from the Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Mehbooba Mufti in their own way. Rahul opted to display a picture of Nehru holding the Tiranga while Mebhooba’s DP showed Tiranga and the state flag which has no relevance today after J&K being reduced to a Union Territory and scrapping of Article 370. She tweeted that the state flag “was irreversibly linked to the Indian flag”. The flags in her DP are shown with her late father Mufti Md Sayeed and Modi.
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Prez Murmu Gives Odisha Touch To Menu & Men In Rashtrapati Bhavan

Rashtrapati Bhavan is getting its dose of Odisha touch. With President Droupadi Murmu at the helm, it is not just flavour of traditional Odia food like pakhala along with Sajana Saga (drumstick leaves) and Aloo Bharta (mashed potatoes) that is making its way into the President’s House. President Murmu who wore a Santhali traditional saree for her swearing-in ceremony brought by her sister-in- law Sukri Tudu, is also choosing those who have worked with her in the past to work again with her; like her former private secretary Bijaya Nayak. She has got Nayak in her team to handle press and publicity. Nayak has been appointed as the Additional Secretary (Press). Currently posted as Officer on Special Duty in Odia University, Nayak was the Culture Director for the Government of Odisha before his retirement. He was the Private Secretary to Murmu when she was the Minister for Commerce & Transport and Fisheries & Animal Resources Development from 2000 to 2002.  As President Murmu is a vegetarian and relishes only Satvik food (without onion and garlic), a new menu has apparently been prepared keeping her choices in mind. In 2006, Murmu had turned vegetarian after she lost her two sons and husband. The Raj Bhavan in Ranchi too served only vegetarian food with a dash of Odisha cuisine when she was the Governor of Jharkhand.
Collage Maker-02-Aug-2022-04

It’s Business As Usual, Fireworks Returns To Parliament

Now that Parliament has resumed work, one gets to see a lot of political fireworks and sharp exchanges between the Opposition and the Treasury even during the routine Question Hour. Like what was witnessed on August 2 when a question by DMK North Chennai MP Dr V Kalanidhi to increase the credit limit of Kisan Credit Card to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 1.6 lakh for fishermen kicked up a political storm of sorts in the Lok Sabha. That is because Minister of State L Murugan who handles fisheries, took pot-shots at the DMK and its inability to fulfil poll promises like giving Rs 1,000 a month to women. Charging the DMK of now shifting the onus of fulfilling its poll pledge to fishermen to the Centre, Murugan pointed out that fishermen could always take a mudra loan — a loan without a collateral if they wanted a bigger amount. At this, the Congress and NCP MPs rallied behind the DMK and said how they had helped fishermen during UPA years. This got senior minister Parshottam Rupala’s goat who said, “You have done nothing. Kisan Credit Card has been extended for the first time to fishermen by PM Modi.” Even then Supriya Sule persisted with her query as to whether the KCC loans could be written off. It got Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to tell her “such loans are never written off”.
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No Crack In DMK-Cong Alliance Clarifies Stalin

The Tamil Nadu political scene will remain settled for a while at least after Chief Minister M K Stalin’s assertion that the DMK-led alliance is an ideological one and not only for polls. That should put an end to the noises that came from the local Congress honchos who were smarting under the usual grievance of not being given enough importance. The Prime Minister and Chief Minister meeting on a couple of occasions last week in Chennai and the warm vibes they shared had got the rumour mills going about cracks in the DMK-Congress alliance. The CM has set the record straight and the message has gone out to TNCC not to rock the boat. It is the principal opposition party AIADMK that is in a bit of a turmoil after the Edappadi Palaniswami coup on the plank of a pressing need for a single leader. That leaves another former CM, O Panneerselvam (OPS) out in the cold. So annoyed was he that even the EC refused to recognise his position that he sent his representative uninvited to the meeting to examine the Aadhaar-electoral roll linking proposal. The only alternative for OPS seems to be to join his old tormentors Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran in a parallel party they could well name as Jaya AIADMK. Any merger of forces nurtured by MGR and Jaya would have to wait for much longer.
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Sanjay Raut’s Efforts To Implicate Eknath Shinde In Cash Seizure Ridiculed

Why did Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut keep a cash amount allegedly given to him by then Sena minister Eknath Shinde for such a long time at his residence? This question is making rounds of political circles now that Raut has been remanded to ED custody for the next three days. It was claimed by the supporters of Raut soon after his arrest last night that the cash amount of Rs.11.50 lakh recovered by ED from his bungalow in north-east Mumbai’s Bhandup suburb was actually handed over to him by present chief minister Eknath Shinde in the past for the Ayodhya Ram Mandir construction. In fact, eyebrows were raised when seizure of such an insignificant amount was reported by ED. But the feeling soon turned into ridicule when Raut supporters tried to shift the ownership of the cash. Shinde faction’s vocal MLA Sanjay Shirsat fired a volley of questions. He said, “There is nothing to show that the amount was given to Raut by Shinde. But even if one assumes this claim to be true, why did Raut keep this cash with him for such a long time? Why was it not sent to Ayodhya? Why is this explanation coming only after the ED action?” Shinde merely retorted, “The loudspeaker that used to start every morning at 8 is silenced.”
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@MamataOfficial

Post Partha Debacle, Didi On The Path Of Image Correction

The three-time chief minister of West Bengal and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee who had over the years made a clean image of her trademark white cotton sari and rubber chappals is on a path of image correction after the recent recovery of Rs 50 crore allegedly accumulated by her senior cabinet minister Partha Chatterjee. Right now, despite sacking Parthda (as referred to by Didi), the TMC supremo needs to rebuild her image with the Opposition parties. After her thumping hat-trick win in Assembly Polls last year, Mamata was upbeat and confident of taking her brand national and becoming the fulcrum of the Opposition’s planned league against Prime Minister Modi for the 2024 general election. But the TMC chief still does not hold all the cards in the fight against BJP and needs to build bridges with the rest of the Opposition. Mamata will be in Delhi from August 4-8, says party source. Though the official reason for her visit is to boost the confidence of TMC MPs who have been at the forefront of protests against the Modi government. Also, her meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi remains unclear due to TMC’s strained relationship with Congress. It is also being said that the TMC chief is likely to make an appearance in the Central Hall of the Parliament.
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Modi-Stalin Vibes Send Confusing Signals To Cadres And Allies

The Modi-Stalin bonhomie at the inaugural of the Chess Olympiad would not have gone unnoticed. The DMK and BJP may be daggers drawn in Tamil Nadu but the top brass of both parties are such pals in public that the signals can be confusing to the cadres. The good vibes between the leaders, despite the crosscurrents of Tamil pride versus Indian nationalism, may however lead to changes in political alignments. The DMK-Congress ties are already strained in the State. The local Congress honcho put out a statement criticising the police for selective action with regard to sticking of PM Narendra Modi’s images on images by the BJP on the hoardings and billboards promoting the chess event and the blackening of those images by DMK men. Knowing full well that Stalin is in charge of the Home Department and the police come directly under him, the Congress statement seems deliberate. The theory that the AIADMK is cosying up to Congress in Tamil Nadu in order to woo the minority voters in the next Assembly polls may be outlandish. The fact is anything is possible in politics, even in Tamil Nadu where DMK has been with the Congress much longer than in its ties with the NDA and BJP in occasional trysts for a share of capital power.
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Modi-Stalin Banter At Chess Olympiad Leads To Talk Of BJP-DMK Tie-Up

Post the launch of Chess Olympiad in Chennai by PM Narendra Modi, a new kind of dynamics seems to be working out between the ruling DMK and the BJP, sparking a buzz that the two parties could come together. For the first time, state BJP president K Annamalai who had emerged as the main challenger to the DMK, came out lauding Tamil Chief Minister MK Stalin for a “great opening ceremony”. It is not clear if Annamalai’s praise had anything to do with the friendly banter Modi and Stalin were seen having on the dais. Briefing reporters after meeting Modi, Annamalai said he had lauded the state government for “showing the rich, glorious and spiritual Tamil land of 5000 years that long existed pre 1967 (thousands of years prior to that).” Speculation is rife that the TN BJP could have softened towards the DMK as Stalin had been cordial; it was in stark contrast to the speech he had made on May 26 when PM Modi had visited TN to  launch infrastructure projects. Steering clear of any political reference, Stalin talked about holding the Global Tiger Summit in cooperation with the Centre. It seemed Stalin was happy with Delhi as it had cleared his foreign trip for medical treatment. Looks like Stalin’s immediate worries are to find nominees to run the party and the government; his son Udhayanidhi and wife Durga are in the reckoning.
Collage Maker-29-Jul-2022-12

Sena Vs Sena: ‘Copyright’ Debate Rages In Maharashtra Politics

Former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s warning to the faction led by Eknath Shinde not to use Balasaheb Thackeray’s image has evoked sharp reactions from Shinde followers and the Bharatiya Janata party. “Is Balasaheb your copyright?” Uddhav has been asked. At interactions with Sena rank and file, Uddhav has been exhorting them to stay firmly with him so that the organization is rebuilt after the recent revolt. On his birthday on July 27, he told his detractors, “Don’t use Balasaheb’s image. I challenge you to get elected without using it.” The Shinde faction has taken strong exception to this provocation as its claim of being the ‘true’ Sena will be heard by the Supreme Court next week, beginning a long-drawn legal battle. The Shinde followers are countering by asking Uddhav, “Would Balasaheb have approved your decision to go with the Congress and the NCP? What moral right do you have to claim his legacy?” BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said Uddhav had perhaps forgotten that his candidates in the last election had used Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s portrait on their hoardings along with that of Balasaheb. “If that was all right, what right does Uddhav have to tell others not to use Balasaheb’s image now?” he demanded to know. Mungantiwar retorted that without Modi’s image, the Sena then would not have won any seats.
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The 163-km Sambalpur-Rourkela highway

A Major Embarrassment For Odisha CM, Engineering Giant L&T Seizes Govt’s Property Over Non-Payment Of Dues

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has time and again affirmed his commitment to improve ease of doing business in the state. But, a recent expose in the Assembly by the Opposition parties, BJP and Congress proved to be otherwise; it was a major embarrassment for his government. Apparently, engineering giant L&T was forced to seize government property for non-payment of their dues towards building a 163-km road between Sambalpur–Rourkela at a cost of Rs 1200 crore. Reason: the state government did not see the urgency to settle the full payment to L&T, despite High Court and Supreme Court’s rulings in favour of L&T. Instead, it filed a review petition in the Supreme Court. The opposition alleged that the state government did not give importance and urgency to settle L&T’s dues. They pointed out that a Rs 20 crore outstanding to L&T was allowed to bloat up to Rs 120 crore which included interest component. A well-known Odisha-based businessman pointed out that the problems faced by private sector companies are payment delays, disputes in payments as a result of which the company loses time and money. With issues being highlighted in the Assembly will the Patnaik government fix these kinds of problems and send a positive signal to the industry?
Collage Maker-28-Jul-2022-05

Modi Govt Unleashes Girl Power To Battle Infringement Of Prez Murmu's Honour & Dignity

The Modi Government unleashed its girl power — deploying Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Women & Child Development Minister Smriti Irani — to take on the Congress in the Parliament for inappropriate reference to President Droupadi Murmu as “Rashtrapatni”. Till the very end Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary  tried to pass it  off as “slip off the tongue”; he had uttered it while speaking to TV reporters. However, pressed for an apology, he charged that a “section of the media was making a mountain out of a molehill.” Compounding Adhir’s offence, Congress President Sonia Gandhi jumped in to defend him saying he had already “apologised”. An irate Sitharaman charged the Congress chief of “misleading the country” and demanded she apologise to the nation. “First Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claims there is no need to apologise, then Smt Sonia Gandhi says he has already apologised. The Congress has been attempting to undermine a tribal self-made, successful leader. We, from the BJP demand, the Congress apologise to the nation,” she said. Smriti Irani recalled how ever since Murmu was announced as presidential candidate, she had been targeted maliciously by the Congress. “Congressmen had called her a puppet; they had called a symbol of evil. Their attacks do not seem to stop against Murmuji even after she has been elected to the highest constitutional office of the country”.
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File Photo

Smriti-Sonia Face-Off: Has ED Grilling Made Sonia Lose Her Cool Inside Lok Sabha?

It was a day of high drama in the Lok Sabha following Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury referring to President Droupadi Murmu as “Rashtrapatni” in a TV interview. Union Minister Smriti Irani raised the issue in the House and sought an apology from Chowdhury for referring to President Murmu as ‘Rashtrapatni’, which he said was done by mistake during an interview with Aaj Tak channel on July 27. The House witnessed uproarious scenes, with BJP MPs accusing the Congress of being anti-adivasi and anti-women. The House was adjourned within a few minutes after it met at 11 am. The moment the House adjourned Sonia got up to leave even as BJP women MPs were shouting “Sonia Gandhi maafi mango”. Hearing this, Sonia went up to talk to Rama Devi, a senior BJP MP and one of the presiding officers for the Lok Sabha. Apparently, Sonia asked Rama Devi why her name was being dragged into the controversy. Seeing Sonia walking to the treasury bench, Smriti Irani intervened. BJP women MPs who were standing around Irani started shouting slogans “maafi mango”. Sonia reportedly told off Irani saying it had nothing to do with her. A miffed Irani was then heard asking, “How can you talk to me like this. Clearly she (Sonia Gandhi) is intimidating us.”

TRENDS & VIEWS

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

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