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Maharashtra Backward Commission Chief Quits, Opposition Aggressive

The State Backward Class Commission’s chairman Anand Nirgude’s resignation soon after two of the members had quit has armed the Opposition in Maharashtra with a hefty stick to hit at the Shinde-Fadanvis-Ajit Pawar government. The timing of the resignation is significant since the Maratha caste’s deadline for the government to take a decision on its reservation demand expires on December 24. While it is alleged that the resignations have come on account of the ruling side’s interference in the working of the commission, Nirgude himself has clarified that he has put in his papers for personal reasons. Moreover, he has declared that he will not come before the media to speak about what has happened. Immediately after the news about Nigrude leaked out, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray demanded that the matter should be investigated through a Special Investigation Team. The two members who had resigned earlier, Balaji Killarkar and Lakshman Hake, had complained of governmental meddling. Uddhav said the names of the two MLAs who were pressurising the commission must come out. Legislative assembly’s leader of opposition Vijay Wadettiwar and Uddhav’s spokesman Sanjay Raut, too, came out strongly against the government. Senior minister Shambhuraje Desai said the reason for the resignation of Nirgude would be ascertained before making any comment.  But he has flatly denied that the government has in any manner tried any intrusion in the commission’s working.
Yadav bjp

Modi's MP Choice Shocks Party Cadres & Leaders, Shivraj Gets A Raw Deal

In a hurry to show “mamu” Shivraj Singh Chouhan the door, did PM Modi go for an unflattering pick in Madhya Pradesh? Well, that’s what came across when news of Mohan Yadav, an OBC leader and three-time BJP MLA, replaced a popular leader such as Shivraj, who has been CM for18 years. Party cadres and leaders were shell- shocked that no courtesies were shown to either Shivraj or seniors like Narendra Tomar, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Prahlad Patel who had contested the polls. While Tomar has been offered the Speaker’s post, Patel who belongs to the influential Lodh community was in the race for CM’s post. Was Modi making the same mistake in Madhya Pradesh that he did in Uttarakhand where he had tried a series of three CMs before settling for Pushkar Singh Dhami? Or is he trying to reduce MP to Gujarat, where only Modi Guarantee would matter. Yadav was apparently not aware that he was being picked for the top job. Party sources say that what went in Yadav’s favour was he was seen as a vocal Hindutva leader. As a higher education minister he had announced plans to make Hindu epic ‘Ramcharitmanas’ as an optional subject in colleges in 2021. But then he got embroiled in the controversy of alleged irregularities in the construction of Mahakal Lok corridor. Not many can forget that the 900-metre-long corridor had suffered damage in May due to a windstorm. The Congress had made it a poll issue in his election. Did Modi pick him only because he managed to defeat the Congress?
Dhiraj Sahu

Cash Haul Exposes Jharkhand MP's Clout In Cong

The I-T department has seized ‘unaccounted’ cash amounting to upwards of Rs 300 crore in multiple raids across Odisha and Jharkhand reportedly linked to Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, Dhiraj Prasad Sahu. Even while the department has apparently been still trying to get more counting machines to record its haul, the Congress has been battling to disown any connection with Sahu’s cash hoarding. In fact even before I-T put a final figure to Sahu’s cash stash, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh pontificated about how ”only the MP can and should explain” how the huge amounts of cash that “have been reportedly unearthed by the I-T authorities from his properties”. He clarified that the Congress had nothing to do with Sahu’s business. But then images of cash bundles stock-piled in Dhiraj’s home got BJP leader Amit Malviya to post a video linking Dhiraj with Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, dubbing it a journey to connect “the thieves of India”. Malviya captioned the video “Congress is CorruptionKiDukan”. “Nearly Rs 300 crore recovered from the premises of Congress Rajya Sabha MP Dhiraj Sahu in Jharkhand is a living proof of this.” Meanwhile, Sahu’s colleagues are surprised how he managed so many terms in the Parliament without substantially participating in the proceedings. “He hardly opened his mouth in the House. The raids now reveal his real clout in the party,” recalled an old timer.
Chennai flood

Angry Chennaiites To Get Some Money From Helpless Govt

When people are angry, give them some money. That is what they did in 2015 when Chennai was overwhelmed, both from torrential rain from cyclone and poorly planned and desperate discharge from an overflowing lake. Jayalalithaa’s government gave Rs 5,000 per ration card in Chennai to try and assuage the anger people felt at the rulers for the apathy that led to a civic disaster in floods. Stalin’s government went one better in announcing Rs 6,000 per ration card. But that is no guarantee Chennaiites will vote for them when they turn up at the polling booth the next time. This is what happened to Jaya’s party when Chennai rejected almost all their candidates in the 2021 elections. The Tamil Nadu government is aware of that, but the bureaucracy and the rulers could not think of anything else to cool down the extreme anger displayed by the people whenever the leaders and officials came to visit them in their wet dwellings five days after the rain stopped on December 4. The disaster of 2023 was no less than that of 2015 with huge swathes of Chennai still under water while small pockets got back to normalcy quickly after the deluge. The State Chennai was in may have been made apparent to the defence minister who surveyed the disaster by helicopter. Nothing has changed in eight years except that the ration card holders of Chennai get Rs 1,000 more this time.
Samruddhi express

Maha Samruddhi, Pune Expressways Fail ITS Test, Lost Human Lives Post Car Accidents!

The Samruddhi Expressway connecting Nagpur and Mumbai witnessed over 1000 vehicular accidents in exactly one year claiming 142 lives. Bharat’s fatality rate is 1.5 lakh human beings annually in 5 lakh road accidents. Human error, tyre bursts, highway hypnosis caused a small percentile of accidents on national highways though more lives could have been saved were ITS (intelligent transport system) in place. An IAS source reveals to, “Fact-of-the-matter is though we laid optic fibre cables alongside Samruddhi Mahamarg, Mumbai-Pune expressway exploiting this resource to set up ITS was not accomplished. The golden hour of critical importance, on high-speed road routes, makes the difference between life and death after motor accidents but is non-existent. High manpower requirements may be the reason.” The Mumbai-Pune expressway was Gadkari’s first infrastructure accomplishment in the 1990s when Shiv Sena led the Maharashtra government with the BJP alliance. Gadkari inaugurated ITS on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway in Uttar Pradesh in 2021 and yet, Maharashtra doesn’t adhere to internationally prescribed road safety standards to ensure ambulances reach crash sites within 15 minutes. Common sense to check tyre pressure at the cold start of the day’s travel can avert tyre bursts due to faulty pressure checked on warmed up tyres just before entering highways. Meanwhile, Shiv Sangram Maratha leader Vinayak Mete (Pune expressway), Cyrus Mistry (Mumbai-Ahmedabad expressway) and thousands perished on Maharashtra’s high-speed expressways without ITS. Last heard, the Maha government was working on erecting fake boulders on Samruddhi corridor to break highway hypnosis. What about ITS lethargy?
Mahua Moitra_003

Mahua Moitra Expulsion Leaves West Bengal Cong-CPM In Dilemma

Having stood by expelled Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra has left both Pradesh Congress and CPI (M) in a dilemma. In Bengal the party workers from both Cong and CPI (M) have questioned the stand as Trinamool is their rival and feels that the State BJP would be encashing the move. Significantly, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that Mahua will again contest from Krishnanagar seat. According to Pradesh Congress sources, having supported Mahua, will any Opposition candidates have a chance of winning? Moreover, the anti-BJP and minority votes are expected to go in favor of Mahua. It is further added that the party workers are skeptical of how to establish “setting” theory between Trinamool and BJP as claimed by Pradesh Congress President Adhir Chowdhury and CPI (M) State Secretary Mohammad Salim. A section of Congress and CPI (M) leaders feel that this will be giving Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari an upper hand of establishing his claim of Congress-CPI(M) being the B-team of Trinamool. However, Adhir has made it clear that support to Mahua since the beginning was similar to that of Rahul Gandhi where both were targeted for voicing against Adani, which is no way connected to opposing a corrupt Trinamool government in Bengal. Similarly, Salim, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and State member Sujan Chakraborty said that protesting against Mahua’s expulsion was because it was arbitrary, however, the party to continue its protest against both BJP and TMC in Bengal
Praful Patel

Praful Patel Is Opposition Target, Sharad Pawar’s Silence Generates Speculation

Nationalist Congress Party founder Sharad Pawar’s silence over the political slugfest that is raging in the state is intriguing since his one-time right hand Praful Patel is now made the whipping boy to corner the three-party regime in Maharashtra by the Congress and the Shiv Sena (Uddhav) after former minister Nawab Malik’s arrival in the picture. Patel had been Pawar’s emissary in Delhi over the past two decades and had represented him for resolving various ticklish political crises. Very recently, Patel had played a significant role in establishing the Uddhav government by holding talks with then Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Now he has joined the NCP faction led by state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. As the BJP has publicly objected to Malik’s inclusion in Ajit’s party, the past of Praful Patel is dug up to embarrass the Shinde-Fadnavis-Ajit government. The Congress and the Sena (Uddhav) have reminded the rulers that Patel had been raided by ED some time ago and have alleged his connection with infamous fugitive Iqbal Mirchi. “If Nawab is not OK, how come Patel is OK?” the barbs from the two parties have asked. While so much has been happening in the state, Sharad Pawar’s total mum regarding his former Man Friday has given rise to fresh speculation. Ajit has added to the mystery by refusing to say a word about Malik, who as well has remained mute
Vishnu Deo Sai_ Raman

BJP Picks A Tribal Face In Chhattisgarh With Raman Singh's Blessings

In a much anticipated move, the BJP picked up a tribal leader and former Union Minister Vishnu Deo Sai as its new chief minister of Chhattisgarh. BJP leader and Union Minister Renuka Singh Saruta, who was in the race described Sai’s selection as “for the first time a party worker from the tribal community belonging to a farmer’s family has been elected”. She underscored the fact that Sai had won the recently concluded assembly polls from Kunkuri in north Chhattisgarh, a region that the BJP had swept picking up all the 14 seats in the region. It was in this region that the BJP managed to defeat the Congress including its deputy chief minister TS Singhdeo from Ambikapur by 94 votes. In the run up to the elections, home minister Amit Shah while addressing a meeting in Sai’s constituency had already indicated that he would get an important assignment if he was elected. Besides, Sai became a natural choice as he is considered close to former CM Raman Singh. Having been a prominent figure in the BJP, Sai has held various positions as he hails from the influential Sahu (Teli) community which has a sizable presence in the Durg, Raipur and Bilaspur divisions. He served as BJP State President from 2020 until 2022. And has also worked with PM Modi in his first cabinet. In fact after being appointed, all that Sai had to say was “I will work to fulfil ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’. Congress leaders conceded that they could never have a tribal CM in the state after late Ajit Jogi — the state’s first CM –got ruled out as an ST in 2019.
pankaja munde

OBC Politics Revives Pankaja Munde’s Fortune Within BJP

After being sidelined since her defeat at the hands of her own cousin Dhanajay Munde in 2019, Pankaja Munde’s political career is steering back into active mode within the BJP, thanks to a sharp consolidation of the OBC vote bank in Maharashtra. The ongoing Maratha agitation to demand reservation under the OBC category, has upset the OBC’s in the state, who have thrown their political weight behind the leadership of Chhagan Bhujbal. Though Bhujbal is currently with the Ajit Pawar faction of NCP, he is fighting the OBC agitation under his own outfit Samata Parishad. Pankaja, who hails from Vanjari caste, commands strong support from the OBC community especially in the Marathwada region, a legacy she inherits from her late father Gopinath Munde, who was responsible for getting the OBC votes for the BJP. Pankaja is now back in the reckoning within the BJP to woo the OBC votes. Her party had earlier refused to let her participate in the joint OBC rally called by Bhujbal at Nashik, deputing others instead. But, shifting equations in state caste politics led Devendra Fadnavis, who blamed her for downswing within BJP, to get the cousins — Pankaja and Dhananjay — to bury the hatchet and work together. A BJP internal survey showing slip in support for BJP among the OBC’s also worked in her favour. It is learnt that the BJP is considering fielding her for Lok Sabha and adjusting her MP sister Preetam Munde in state council.

Mayawati Names Nephew As Political Heir, Critics Say Only For Properties

BSP supremo Mayawati officially appointed nephew Akash Anand as her successor in the party. She will, however, continue to monitor Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In naming her UK educated nephew Akash as her political heir, Mayawati may not have disappointed those who have worked closely with her. Anand’s appointment comes days after the BSP drew blank in the recent round of assembly elections where Mayawati had made an effort to campaign Akash’s name. His name figured in the second place in the list of BSP’s star campaigners for the Himachal Pradesh assembly election. However, Akash’s steady rise in BSP has come with a cost as it has alienated all those who worked with Mayawati as a team. “All those who founded BSP have left. She has named a successor only to manage BSP properties.  The BSP which was a movement that we all long worked for is now virtually over,” pointed out a former BSP leader. He recalled how over the years the party has been steadily losing steam. “We came to power on our own in Uttar Pradesh in 2007 with 205 MLAs — that was a year after Kanshi Ram passed away. There was a huge sympathy wave in favour of the BSP. In 2012, our numbers went down to 80 MLAs. In 2017 our numbers was reduced to 19 and in 2022 only one BSP MLA won. In 2027, I can see we will be wiped out,” predicts Ambeth Rajan, who had once worked with Mayawati.
Chidambaram kharge

Karti Chidambaram Meets Kharge, Sets Off Buzz About TN PCC Post


Normally a Congress MP’s meeting with party president Mallikarjun Kharge should not be news. However Karti Chidambaram’s meeting with Kharge created a buzz that the Sivaganga MP could be in the reckoning to be the next PCC chief of Tamil Nadu. While Kharge may have no issue promoting a younger leader like Karti, it is not clear if Rahul Gandhi would accept him. For the past few days, Karti was seen toeing the party’s official line. Like he came out completely denouncing the move to expel Mahua Moitra for sharing her login password. Party sources said ahead of Lok Sabha 2024 polls, the Tamil Nadu unit has been looking for a new PCC chief. Incumbent party chief KS Alagiri is originally a P Chidambaram loyalist but he may now find he does not enjoy that sort of support within the state unit. Except perhaps from CWC member and Lok Sabha MP Manickam Tagore. As AICC functionary, Tagore has apparently been batting for extending Alagiri’s term till the Lok Sabha polls. Sources say Tagore is rooting for this as he is eyeing the post once the polls are over. Karur MP S Jothimani is known to be close to Rahul Gandhi. However, some of her initiatives such as landing up in Manipur uninvited when Rahul was there irked the leadership. She tried to recover the loss of face by launching baseless attacks on TN BJP chief K Annamalai. But nothing seems to be working for her.
Mahua moitra_002

Mahua Moitra Exits From Lok Sabha Unites I.N.D.I.A

TMC MP Mahua Moitra was expelled from the Lok Sabha on the cash-for-query case within hours of the Ethics Committee tabling its recommendations. Mahua was not allowed to speak in the House following a 2005 precedent set by former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee when 10 MPs and one Rajya Sabha MP were expelled from the Parliament following a sting operation by Cobra Post in a cash-for-query scam. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla largely relied on Chatterjee’s ruling to conduct the proceedings which went off quite smoothly. Both the Congress and the TMC insisted that Mahua should be given a chance to say her version. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahald Joshi made it clear that since in 2005 the MPs who were expelled did not get a chance to speak. Ethics Panel member Aparajita Sarangi pointed out how Mahua did not use the opportunity the panel gave her to put out her version; she had walked out mid-way. The BJP fielded a tribal MP from Maharashtra, Dr Heena Gavit, to explain the enormity of Moitra’s action — how it had brought disprute to class of MPs as such and this stigma had to be removed through harsh steps. After the House expelled her, Mahua read out from a prepared text outside the Lok Sabha, cheered by senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.   Perhaps the hiccups in the I.N.D. I.A.front post Congress rout in assembly polls also got a makeover. Mahua’s expulsion from Lok Sabha temporarily united the Opposition.

Centre’s Ban On Onion Exports And Sugarcane Use Unites Maharashtra’s Political Parties

Otherwise at each other’s throat, political parties in Maharashtra have shown a sense of unity after the Centre has imposed restrictions on onion exports and use of sugarcane for production of ethanol. As the state is the leading producer of onion and sugar, the Centre’s steps are bound to hit the growers of both. Already, they have been suffering due to unseasonal heavy rains which have damaged rabi crops in most parts of the state. The issue was raised in the state legislature by opposition parties, which charged that the BJP government at the Centre had been taking the decisions which were harming Maharashtra’s interests. Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who has been praising PM Narendra Modi over and over again, responded very cautiously to the criticism as the issue concerns the farming activity across the state. He informed the house that he has been in touch with Union ministers Piyush Goyal and Nitin Gadkari. “If necessary, we will go to Delhi to meet the Central leaders,” he assured the agitated legislators. The Union government has banned onion exports till 31 March next year to ensure its ample availability in the domestic market. Similarly, use of sugarcane juice or syrup would not be allowed for ethanol production by sugar mills. This restriction will cripple the sugarcane growers and cooperative sugar mills, according to leading political figures in Maharashtra.
Nawab Malik bail_2

Photo : X

Nawab Malik Focal Point Of Maharashtra Politics, Ajit Pawar’s Next Move Awaited

Former Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik continues to be the focal point of Maharashtra politics. Released by court on bail while facing charges like indulging in anti-national activities, Malik’s arrival in Nagpur where the state legislature is in session has kicked off a virtual storm. Unfazed, he spent some time in the legislative assembly for the second consecutive day. The BJP’s opposition to his inclusion in the NCP’s Ajit Pawar faction has been backed by chief minister Eknath Shinde. Thereafter, top NCP leader Praful Patel joined the flurry of activity as the issue continued to reverberate in the second capital of Maharashtra. Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has demanded that Malik should not be accepted by the Ajit faction in view of the serious charges against him. Ajit’s close associate Dilip Walse Patil has expressed his party’s unhappiness over the Fadnavis letter reaching the media. To douse the heat, Patel met Fadnavis and made it clear that no political talks have been held with Malik. On the other hand, Malik called on Ajit. Firebrand leader Chhagan Bhujbal, too, joined the discussion. Ajit had announced that he will decide his stand on this issue only after meeting Malik. Hence, attention is now focused on Ajit’s next step as it will determine the direction of the state polity, which is buffeted by caste-based demands for reservations over the past month.

Congress Divided On The Use Of EVMs

Looks like the Congress has still not come to terms with the results of the Hindi heartland with a section of the party blaming it squarely on the EVMs. In fact the party seemed so split on the issue that former MP Digvijay Singh claimed that “any machine with a chip” could be hacked; he even ignored the fact that the Congress had won Telangana and Karnataka through EVMs. Kamal Nath complained that some candidates did not even get 50 votes in their villages. It is not clear if the Congress leaders actually started believing in the media hype they were winning the four state assembly polls. In contrast, Karti Chidambaram, Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu, came out completely endorsing the EVMs. Digvijay Singh admitted that he had been opposing EVMs ever since they were introduced in the 2003 assembly elections under the Supreme Court orders. The EVMs were first used in 2004 Lok Sabha polls which had brought UPA-1 to power. With the BJP winning 163 seats in the 230-member assembly in MP, Singh appealed to SC and EC to save “democracy”. Of course, if he had only seen the kind of work and effort BJP leadership had put in his state — 40 lakh karyakartas working through the year reaching out to   64,000 polling booths to reach 51 % vote share as part of Amit Shah’s strategy.

Modi Warns Against Divisive Agenda, Stalin Gets DMK MP To Apologise For His "Gomutra" Jibe

An unusual tweet from PM Modi’s handle caught everyone’s one eye. It was the use of emojis in the post that had gone viral. Modi took a sharp dig at the “anti-BJP forces” after the Congress’s dismal performance in the Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in recently held polls. What had redeemed the Congress prestige was its win in Telangana. Endorsing a TV Today anchor’s clip “Melt down e Azam” that chided the Opposition for building a new narrative of North-South divide  to explain why voters in the North and the South voted differently, Modi suggested that “May they be happy with their arrogance, lies, pessimism and ignorance”.  At the same time, the PM warned about their alleged “divisive agenda”, saying “an old habit of 70 years can’t go away so easily.  For some reason DMK MP Senthil Kumar picked up this narrative and mocked BJP victory in the North by saying it can only win in Gomutra states. “They can’t come to South India.” Even as his comments were expunged by the Chair, the MP remained defiant as he went on live on TV channels. It is being said it was a livid Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin who got Dr Senthil Kumar. S to apologise via a tweet as he did not want it to be a mega controversy like his son’s Udhayanidhi’s remarks on sanatan dharma.
modi mp

PM Modi Faces State Assemblies With Aplomb, Readies For Lok Sabha Polls Faceoff

PM Narendra Modi’s political gambit to field himself as BJP’s face in just concluded state assemblies in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana was a success except in Telangana. This was deliberately done to the detriment of (Rani) Vasundhara Raje, (Mamaji) Shivraj Singh Chouhan, (Chawalwala Baba) Raman Singh in the first three states, initiated long ago. Post results, benevolent Modi may even prefer Jyotiraditya Scindia. The Congress’ political intransigence to encourage new blood into the party stream cost them growth, national acceptability and now, regional acceptance as national party of choice. Modi became PM of India in April 2014 and immediately elevated veteran party leaders from Maharashtra including Nitin Gadkari, Gopinath Munde as Union Ministers clearing the field for young Turks in BJP to take over. The fresh blood leadership potential being emphasized included Devendra Fadnavis, Ashish Shelar, Vinod Tawde, Sudhir Mungantiwaar in Maharashtra. Fadnavis subsequently made the cut for CM ship after the November 2014 state assemblies. MP CM Mamaji followed Modi to Delhi subsequently. Congress on the other hand, failed to similarly empower Jyotiraditya Scindia (in MP) or Sachin Pilot (in Rajasthan) after capturing power, cowing down to veteran politicians Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot. With Scindia going saffron consequently and Pilot’s failed teacup storm of rebellion curtailed by the Zadugar of Rajasthan, the political future in both states appears bleak for the Congress party. The I.N.D.I.A front led by the only other national political party in Bharat will face an acid test come April 2024.
Ajit pawar_010

Sharad Pawar’s Patronizing Cold Play Matches Ajit Pawar’s Political Ambitions

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar wants four Lok Sabha seats, including Shirur, Satara, Raigad, Baramati won by NCP in 2019 and hopes to get some more. Pawar wants to field son Parth from Shirur, believing he holds sway over his political karmabhoomi of western Maharashtra. Uncle Sharad Pawar issued patronising sound-bites over his nephew’s political plans seeking to undermine him. In 2014 and 2019, the BJP and Shiv Sena fought general elections in alliance but now, will battle each other even as CM Shinde’s Sena and Ajit Pawar’s NCP seek to adversely impact votes accruing to the (undivided) Shiv Sena and NCP respectively. In 2024, BJP, Shinde led Sena and Ajit Pawar’s NCP will square up against Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar and Congress (that has held its flock together). BJP suggested Shinde field new candidates, since only two/three of his Sena MPs may get re-elected, citing internal surveys. Shinde emphasized his responsibility to secure the political future of his MPs and may, on the brink of elections, even ask them to contest as BJP candidates to still keep his word. Uddhav Thackeray may re-launch political touring soon. Few political pundits credited him for political acumen, making stark comparisons with Balasaheb Thackeray, though the former chief minister of Maharashtra got 63 Shiv Sena MLAs elected in 2014 after BJP severed political ties. His late father had publicly lamented his party’s inability to cross the 60 MLAs benchmark in Maharashtra.
prabhakaran family

Games Politicians Play: Perpetuating Prabhakaran Myth

Believing in the myth of the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran being alive is a kind of business in Tamil Nadu. Perpetuating the myth of the slain separatist who waged war against the Sri Lankan State on behalf of the Tamils is the MDMK leader Vaiko and a few others who were close to the Tiger chief when he was alive and even took breaks in Tamil Nadu to meet top political leaders, including MGR. As his anniversary comes around, the myth is narrated by Vaiko and even picked up by the media. This year, there was additional grist to this mill with a fake video surfacing purportedly showing Prabhakaran’s daughter Duwraka speaking. Truth is Sri Lanka’s top military brass reported to the political boss Mahinda Rajapaksa that the LTTE chief had been captured on May 17, 2009. The President was said to have then sent the army chief to get rid of the rebel leader and all his family as the State did not want his DNA to survive. This is why Prabhakaran was eliminated, so too his wife Mathivathani Erambu, daughter Duvaraga and son Balachandran. As his clan was seen as enemies who waged war against the State, the murder of his entire family was not seen as a human rights violation. Keeping him alive is the job of semi-retired politicians like Vaiko, who made a big business out of supporting the Eelam cause, Pazha Nedumaran and Kashi Anandan.
Stalin podcast

Following Modi’s Footsteps, Stalin’s Podcast Speaking For India

No one can fault Stalin for not trying to be the inventive anchor and persistent planner for giving voice to the I.N.D.I.A front. So like PM Modi he too started podcasts, Speaking For India every month from September this year. He even mobilised the support of Didi and Kejriwal to appear in cameo roles in podcasts. Suddenly the December edition was postponed, with DMK cadres speculating on why! Pat came the justification. This podcast coincidentally was about the TN Governor and his hostile stance…Stalin cleverly justified that as the SC and CJI had rapped the governor, including the new development would make it more relevant. Those close to him also talk about the visit of Akhilesh Yadav for unveiling of the former Prime Minister VP Singh’s statue — a creative revival of the Mandal Kamandal clarion call. Stalin requested UP’s stormy petrel to make a serious effort to patch up with the Congress. Akhilesh, it is learnt, told Stalin that the Congress has no standing in UP, does not have even suitable candidates, so why should our party kowtow to Congress? To this spurred Stalin baiters asked, “DMK and Congress are in the alliance in TN. Yet you could not ask the Congress to get Kaveri water for TN. What kind of doublespeak is this? Stalin’s aims to make his brand of Mann ki Baat …Sammaan ki Baat.

Patnaik’s AMA Bank Logo Irks Opposition Leaders In Odisha

Nobody knows the power of branding more than the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik. With elections round the corner Patnaik’s government has launched AMA Bank with an investment of Rs 500 crore to provide banking to the unbanked. To reach out to 4,373 gram panchayats it has entered into collaboration with six public sector banks like SBI, PNB, UBI, UCO Bank, BOI and BOB. So far so good. But, the Opposition leaders in Odisha are not happy. They feel that the nationalised banks have compromised their independent entity. Odisha BJP says the AMA Bank logo looks like Conch shell which resembles the Biju Janata Dal party symbol. It is a clear violation and has complained to the Election Commission of India. BJP leader Aparajita Sarangi said “use of party symbols in government advertisements is highly condemnable”. Jaynarayan Mishra, leader of Opposition fears that 50% of the budget for setting up AMA infrastructure and promotion may be misutilised. Patnaik has justified his stand saying it promoted AMA Bank involving nationalised Banks as about 65% of the total 6,798 gram panchayats in Odisha do not have a brick and mortar bank. Patnaik says, “AMA Bank model is the first-of-its-kind in the country and will be a role model for other states.” Be it Ghare Ghare Sankha meaning every home covered by BJD conch shell or Navin Odisha (new Odisha campaign) and now AMA Bank has a logo that looks like BJD symbol and this is what seems to irk the Opposition leaders.

Jayalalithaa’s Seventh Death Anniversary Churns Up Hostilities Among Splintered AIADMK Factions

The seventh death anniversary of Tamil Nadu’s chief minister J Jayalalithaa may prove to be a daunting task for Chennai police as her acolytes and the splintered party factions are planning to pay tributes at the Marina beach Memorial in a show of strength. Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), the legitimate AIADMK chief has already sent the fiat to all 15 of his district functionaries….I want a deluge of party workers for the homage. His rival O Panneerselvam (OPS) struggling to get legitimacy for his faction and stay relevant has corralled his ragtag following to come in large numbers. TTV Dinakaran has set a target of 1000 persons to be brought by each party functionary. But wait, the icing on the cake…the dowager Queen Sasikala who still clings on to her title of General Secretary is planning a power packed presence …remember her first performance when she hit JJ’s monument with her fists after being convicted? Each faction has sent letters to the police asking for different time slots for paying “respects” to Amma. The police Intelligence wing is now fearing and processing a possible law and order issue which has its roots in the Thevar Poojai. On October 30, when the Thevar Guru Poojai mammoth gathering was held, EPS attended to convey his loyalty to the Mukkulathur community. But his motorcade was hit by chappals and stones, an incident that left the AIADMK seething. AIADMK blamed the OPS and TTV factions for this. A poignant memorial meet is now giving nightmares to the police.

Bawankule’s Prophecy, Silence Of Fadanvis More Eloquent

The fabulous victory in the assembly elections in three northern states has expectedly heightened the confidence of the rank and file of the BJP. Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule has lobbed the first volley on behalf of such workers with his own prophecy. “Our leader Devendra Fadnavis will be sworn in as our next chief minister in 2024,” the irrepressible Bawankule declared in a party workers’ meet in Bhandara and made all those present to repeat the oath after him. While Fadnavis himself has repeatedly avoided any direct response to such questions from the media, the state party chief has no such compunction. So far, Fadnavis has not reacted to the incident while the opposition has kept mum, perhaps needing time to recover from the electoral drubbing suffered by the I.N.D.I.A front. On his part, Fadnavis has time and again ensured that no conflict is created within the three-party government in the state. Just a couple of days ago, unconfirmed reports became viral that the BJP will contest 26 out of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra. Sensing that such baseless talk could generate avoidable tensions, Fadnavis immediately clarified that there was no such decision. This dampened any further speculation. Hence, several party workers feel Bawankule needs to learn the art of politics from Fadnavis and pray that such a day will come soon.
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Cong Insulates Gandhis From Rout In Hindi Heartland

No sooner did the assembly results indicated that the BJP was winning the three states in the Hindi heartland — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, a Congress spokesperson was alert enough to embark on her next important political task. That of insulating both Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka from any blame of losing these polls. She promptly told a national TV, “Can we blame our CMs and our PCC chiefs who were given full freedom, for failing to deliver the states?” She was referring to the leeway and free hand given to outgoing CMs Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, and Kamal Nath as PCC chief in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress high command had not interfered at all in election work in these three states, but Gandhis did offer Karnataka-like guarantees. Yet people seem to have opted for PM Modi’s assurance of delivery on governance. The much awaited reality of Ram Mandir being open to people from January 2024 also seems to have worked on the voters. If anything came as a surprise, Congress sources admitted that it was losing Chhattisgarh from its fold. As Congress leader Acharya Pramod Krishnam tersely put it, the party had been sunk by the curse of “sanatan dharma”. As for winning Telangana, the Congress feels it has only the BJP to thank for. If the BJP had not removed Bandi Sanjay Kumar as state chief “We wouldn’t have been voted in.  Everyone was sick and tired of KCR and his family,” says a Congress leader.
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Udhaya Crowning May Be Just Days Away

The DMK succession plan is gathering pace. The young gun Udhaynidhi Stalin, son of Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin, will be crowned as the Deputy CM to coincide with the DMK conference to be held on December 17 in Salem. The first family thought it through and with a bit of pressure coming from the home front, Stalin is inclined not to repeat the mistake his father did in not promoting him as the party boss though he was 92 during the 2016 elections. The CM was involved in making his son’s birthday on November 27 a bigger occasion with the Udhayanidhi-inspired cycle rally made part of the party’s poll campaign. The youth heard at the rally that a bigger role in the 2024 poll campaign for their young leader was on the cards after his successful appearances in the 2019 and 2021 polls that made an impact. As the young lion, Udhaya was able to speak up boldly against AIADMK as well as the NDA front the party was a part of. How the party views his promotion as Dy CM may depend on the mood of the elders, but there is none in the party today to question the chief on these matters as it happened in the case of Kalaignar Karunanidhi. And, as one politician ally said it, Udhayanidhi Stalin’s horoscope is a good one.
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Cong Worries Over Its Rythu Bandhu Politics In Telangana


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


A Tale Of Deception For Cong In Rajasthan

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

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

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

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

Uddhav Rejigs His Strategy, Keen To Teach Opponents A Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

When Power Tripped At Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister’s Event

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


BJP Feels Social Media Heat, Bawankule At Receiving End

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

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

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

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

Bhujbal Abandoned By Congress Leader On Maratha Reservation Issue

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

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

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

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who was visiting Rameswaram over the weekend, had a surprise heartwarming interaction with local fishermen. Always open and accessible, a group of local fishermen frantically came over to meet her late evening to inform her about how a few fishermen had been arrested by the Lankan Navy just then. Keen to find an immediate solution, the Minister immediately called up the Indian Embassy in Colombo; after all she had only recently visited Sri Lanka. The phone call worked. In a matter of minutes, the Indian fishermen were let off at mid-sea itself. In the morning, as Sitharaman was on the way to a government programme, the fishermen came over to thank her for the prompt action. On her part, she merely told them how the Modi Government’s policies in the last 10 years have “secured the lives of fisherfolks in this region”.
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Dr Swamy To Thanthi TV: Have Not Visited Ayodhya After Winning The Case

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

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

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

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

Tamil Nadu Governor Put In His Place?

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

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

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

Chhagan Bhujbal Sparks Backlash From Maratha Caste, Centre Silent Spectator

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

DMK Leader Senthil Balaji On The Hospital Carousel Again

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

Former BJP State President In WB Dilip Ghosh Sidelined By Party

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

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

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

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

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

Has Greater Madhya Pradesh Decided Who To Vote For?

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


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

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