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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.

‘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.

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.


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!

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 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.
Collage Maker-08-Aug-2022-12

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.

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.

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.
Collage Maker-05-Aug-2022-12

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.

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”.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.”


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.

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.
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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.

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?
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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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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.”


Poaching By BJP Worries Opposition In Maharashtra

Besides the Shiv Sena, its two allies, the Congress and the NCP, are feeling apprehensive since the BJP has turned its attention towards their influential leaders in different parts of the state. After debilitating the Sena by denting its legislative and parliamentary wings, the BJP feels it should not stop just there but try to weaken the opposition as much as possible. While a dozen Sena Lok Sabha members have already joined the faction of chief minister Eknath Shinde, it is whispered that two or three more are on their way out. If this happens, the faction led by Uddhav Thackeray will be left with only three LS MPs. Against this background, detractors of Thackeray point out that Uddhav did not find time to call on senior MP Gajanan Kirtikar, who has been recovering from a minor surgery at his Goregaon residence, which is just a few kilometres away from Matoshri. In stark contrast, Shinde made it a point to meet Kirtikar. Though the MP has not revealed his plans, his moves are monitored closely by both sides. BJP leaders have now turned their attention towards affluent pockets in western Maharashtra. On their radar are the sugar barons who are the mainstay of the Congress and the NCP in this belt.

Balasaheb Thackeray’s Daughter-In-Law Calls On Eknath Shinde, Kicks Up Political Storm

Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s daughter-in-law Smita Thackeray called on Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, kicking up a political storm. Smita is the estranged wife of Thackeray’s second son Jaidev, who has a legal dispute with his younger brother Uddhav over property. The ‘informal’ meeting assumed inevitable political overtones as it took place in Mumbai on the eve of Uddhav’s birthday on Wednesday (July 27). Smita herself has been in the news time and again for various reasons. She is a film producer and headed a film producers’ body some years ago. She met Jaidev around 1987 when she was working as a receptionist. They were married some time later. The nuptial bond developed cracks during the Sena-BJP alliance government regime. The development became hot news since Jaidev and Uddhav, too, have had serious differences. Smita was once considered very powerful politically. However, she faded away from the public glare after Uddhav took over the reins of the Sena from Balasaheb.  Since then, she has avoided any political activity. Even after meeting Shinde, she said there was nothing political, “I merely greeted Shinde, I have known him for years.” There was no comment from Shinde or other political parties.

BJP Has A Field Day In Odisha, Exposes BJD MP Achyuta Samanta Of Violating Environmental Norms

Odisha’s high profile educationist, media baron and BJD Lok Sabha MP Achyuta Samanta seems to be in the eye of the storm. His media rival OTV (Odisha Television Network) has flashed a story of Samanta’s KIIT University encroaching upon natural water bodies to build its computer science department.  And now local citizens are questioning the government as to how the sub-plot no 121 which is recorded as a water body has been allowed landfill by KIIT to undertake civil construction. Is the Patnaik’s government aware of the alleged encroachment but choosing to remain silent because Samanta is a BJD leader? Incidentally, OTV is owned by Jagi Mangat Panda, wife of ex BJD MP Baijayant (Jay) Panda who is now national VP of BJP.  It is not for the first time Samanta — founder of both KIIT (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology) and KISS (Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences –is in the news for wrong reasons. Way back in 2018 NGT had reportedly ruled that KIIT and KISS had in an unauthorised manner built a playground, houses and gardens without approval from the Forest & Environmental department. With pressures mounting on the state government to protect depleting water bodies post the directive of Odisha HC to bring in appropriate laws the Patnaik government will have to move fast lest BJP makes a political capital out of it.
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MTNL Surprises Margaret Alva With Prompt Response To Her Phone Woes Tweet

Two days after speaking to some friends in the BJP, Opposition candidate for the Vice Presidential election Margaret Alva announced that all calls to her mobile were being diverted and that she was unable to make or receive calls. Tagging BSNL and MTNL, she vowed, “If you restore the phone. I promise not to call any MP from the BJP, TMC or BJD any longer. When Alva made public a letter purportedly written by MTNL customer care person seeking her KYC and warning that her SIM would be suspended, the veteran expressed surprise that her KYC details were being sought afresh. Much to her surprise, the MTNL promptly responded to her phone woes on Twitter.  And made it clear that the PSU service provider never “Asks for the e-KYC on WhatsApp/SMS/Call.”  And requested her to avoid such type of e-KYC SMS/WhatsApp/Calls as it may lead to some kind of fraud.” Hence you are requested to ignore such e-KYC messages”. Interestingly, Alva had fumed about “Big Brother always watching and listening to all conversations between politicians across party lines in ‘new’ India.” She felt that was the reason MPs carried multiple phones, frequently changed numbers and talked in hushed whispers when they met. “Fear kills democracy”, she lamented. As part of her campaign Alva had reached out to leaders from across political parties including CMs of Karnataka and Assam.
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As A Recruitment Scam Tarnishes Brand TMC, Mamata Regrets Not Dropping Old Guard

When West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee declared she does not support corruption or any wrongdoings on the back of the arrest of her Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee by the ED following orders of Calcutta High Court, she knew she had no choice but to distance herself from him. Partha, who is also TMC general secretary, had made three calls to her at the time of his arrest. Mamata did not take his calls. Didi had no choice but to distance herself from Partha as unseemly visuals of the cash haul of Rs 21 crore recovered from Partha’s aide Arpita Mukherjee’s flat had exposed the underbelly of TMC style governance. It also exposed threadbare West Bengal School Service Commission recruitment irregularities that occurred when Partha was the state Education Minister. Mamata had moved him out of the ministry. However, now the scam has tarnished Brand TMC. “I don’t support corruption or any wrongdoing. If anyone is found guilty, he or she must be punished,” said Mamata.  Are her words enough to breathe credibility into TMC? Meanwhile, amidst push by nephew Abhishek Banerjee to rid the party of old guards, it is being said Mamata already regrets not having  dropped old guard like Partha and Firhad Hakim (Kolkata Mayor) from her team when she returned to power third time in 2021.

No Flowers For My Birthday, Give Me New Members, Urges Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray has urged his followers to gift him “not flowers, but new members” on Wednesday, 27 July. The former chief minister turns 62 two days from now. Uddhav’s emotional appeal has come in the face of a challenge to establish that the Shiv Sena he heads is the ‘true’ organization. The Election Commission is scheduled to consider his plea for recognizing his faction and reserve its election symbol, Bow & Arrow. The rival faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde has countered it. Both have been busy wooing the Sena workers to their side. Uddhav’s son Aaditya is on a whirlwind tour of the state to meet Sena workers face to face and ensure their backing. Shinde, too, has been meeting Sena workers from various parts of the state.  Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis were in New Delhi for two days, ostensibly to attend the swearing in ceremony of President Droupadi Murmu. The duo is expected to announce the expansion of its team any moment now as part of its strategy to wean away Uddhav’s supporters. The EC will need signed affidavits from the rank and file belonging to both factions so as to evaluate their claims for recognition and the party’s election symbol
Balasaheb Thorat and Ashok Chavan

Internal Sabotage Within Maharashtra Congress In MLC Election Uncovered

Congress leader Mohan Prakash has reportedly conveyed to the party high command that the defeat of party candidate Chandrakant Handore in the recently held legislative council election could have been caused owing to internal sabotage. Due precautions were taken for the Presidential election voting. The party is relieved that there was no cross voting in this election. While Handore lost the election from the legislative assembly constituency, another Congress nominee, Bhai Jagtap, was elected with many more votes than the number allotted by the party. Alarmed by the debacle, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had rushed Mohan Prakash, who is in-charge of the Maharashtra Congress affairs, to Mumbai. Prakash met all important Congress leaders after ascertaining the voting done by party MLAs. He was told by many of them that though Hanore’s vote quota was much higher than that of Jagtap, the latter polled more votes than allotted. Following the defeat, Handore called on Sonia. He was accompanied by Maharashtra Congress committee president Nana Patole. The high command has taken cognisance of the complaints against Congress legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat and former chief minister Ashok Chavan, according to party circles. The defeat was more humiliating since top Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge himself had come down to Mumbai to finalise the vote quota for both, Handore and Jagtap.
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Is Mamata Banerjee Deliberately Projecting CPI(M) As Her Principal Opposition Instead Of BJP In West Bengal?

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee was at her usual self in launching a scathing attack on CPI(M) during her address at the Martyrs’ Day Rally in the heart of Kolkata on July 21. She not only referred to the alleged corruption during the Left Front regime but also threatened to rake up controversial files which would be a deviation from her slogan “Badla Noy Badol Chai” (No Revenge, But Change). Amid the row over irregularities in School Service Commission (SSC) appointments, Mamata slammed the CPI(M) by referring to the erstwhile government which always favoured and appointed the wives of CPI(M) party cadres as school teachers. She categorically named senior CPI(M) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who has been contesting the TMC government over irregularities in SSC appointments for some time now. Is Mamata’s reference to the CPI(M) and Left Front a clear attempt to project CPI(M) as her principal opposition? Political observers believe that Mamata is clear about her opponents which remain Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. She doesn’t even take names of state BJP leaders instead she’s in cordial terms with veterans of CPI(M).Will CPI(M) take a cue from Mamata’s attack to rejuvenate the party and set forth Bhattacharya as the new face of the party?

Is Mamata Mending Fences With Delhi By Abstaining From VP Poll?

The decision of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) which has 36 MPs — 23 Lok Sabha and 13 Rajya Sabha — to abstain from voting in the vice-presidential election on August 6 on the ground that the party was “not consulted” before Margaret Alva of the Congress was selected as the Opposition nominee seems like a very lame excuse for the Bengal party to move away from Opposition camp. Didi’s decision to boycott polls has upset 80-year old Alva who took the trouble to fight a losing election. The TMC cannot complain about lack of consultation though Sharad Pawar did mention efforts to reach Mamata had failed. But Congress President Sonia Gandhi did speak to Mamata canvassing for Alva. Yet it is not clear if Mamata has merely upped her ante over Alva because CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had a big role in it. Or has she taken a cue from regional parties like BJD and YSRCP? Is she also cosying up to the Centre like Naveen Patnaik and Jagan Mohan Reddy — both CMs of Odisha and Andhra — who back the BJP in Parliament and seem to be getting a lot of things done for their States. For a start, it is no coincidence that the Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai announced recently that the Centre has received West Bengal’s proposal to rename the state Bangla.

ED Action Against Praful Patel Makes Some Opposition Leaders Shiver

The ED’s attachment action against NCP leader Praful Patel’s property in Mumbai’s elite Worli area in an alleged money laundering case has led to apprehensions that similar steps can be initiated against some more opposition leaders.  The property in which Patel has a sprawling residence is charged to be linked with deceased underworld don Iqbal Mirchi. Earlier, too, Patel had been summoned by ED in connection with the same property. It is not just a coincidence that the action against Patel was taking place in Mumbai when Congress president Sonia Gandhi was facing ED in New Delhi, NCP circles point out. It is an open secret that several leaders of different political parties reside in palatial properties in Mumbai.  Fear is expressed that some of them could find themselves in the ED net sooner than later. Current political developments in Maharashtra have fuelled speculation that this is an attempt to pressurise them to align with the ruling dispensation or else face action. In the recent past, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, former BJP minister Eknath Khadse and many others have been summoned by ED for questioning. Two NCP bigwigs, Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, are in custody for a long time. Malik is also charged to be linked with underworld boss Dawood Ibrahim in a property deal in Mumbai.
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At The ED Office, Investigating Officers Show A Wary Sonia Their Vax Certificates

After Sonia Gandhi left the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office on July 20 at the end of three hours of questioning, the Congress went to town claiming that the investigating agency had nothing to ask her. The party claimed she had even offered to stay longer if needed but was sent away. It is another matter that Sonia has to make another trip to the ED office on July 25. Clearly, the Congress which unleashed violence and protests across the country to protest Sonia’s questioning in the National Herald case had become defensive by end of the day.That is because what the Congress did not disclose was that the ED officials had gone out of the way to be extremely courteous to Sonia; the agency also fulfilled some of her conditions.  Since she was recovering from Covid infection, she wanted an infection-free environment. Apparently officials questioning her displayed their vaccine certificates. Ironically, no one knows if any of the Gandhis have taken the vaccine shots — at least none of them have been seen publicly endorsing India made vaccines. Sonia also wanted her daughter Priyanka to be reachable in case she needed medicines; ED agreed to this request. Also, ED officials questioning her ensured Sonia was comfortable. Sources say her basic questioning pertaining to the National Herald case is over.
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Why Liz Truss Will Beat Rishi Sunak To UK PM’s Post

The basic conservatism of Britain may kick in when it comes to the final contest between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss for UK prime ministership. The PIO whose parents moved from East Africa to the UK was frontrunner for PM up to the moment Tory MPs were the electorate. Now that the polling moves on to 2 lakh primary members of the Tory Party, the odds shifted in favour of the Foreign Secretary to Boris Johnson who stood by her boss till the bitter end. Truss leapfrogged the Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt into the final head-to-head contest for PM. Even Rishi softened his approach to his rival in saying he respects his opponent as well as her proposals for tax cuts in his Op-Ed article in the Daily Telegraph of July 21. Rishi made it known that he is the successor to Margaret Thatcher and that he will bring the economy back to shape despite a 40-year inflation high beyond 9%. There are a dozen in-person hustings (debates) to be run before the votes are to be counted and the results declared on September 5. But the odds are that Liz Truss has already taken the lead among the party voters. Rishi’s background, his personal wealth and his rich wife’s non-domicile tax status may work against him in the final count.
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Only TMC Has The Spine To Take On BJP, Says Mamata At Martyrs’ Day Rally

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made a call to reject the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls. Addressing at the Shaheed Diwas (Martyrs’ Day) rally in the heart of Kolkata, Didi launched a scathing attack on the BJP stating that 2024 will not be a vote for election, but one for rejection of BJP for its monumental incompetence. Mamata made it clear that only her party has the spine to take on the BJP since her party is not afraid of ED, CBI and other Central agencies. Mamata said that in 2024, when the BJP fails to form a majority, the Opposition parties have to come together to set up the next government. According to political observers, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo had been trying to bring the Opposition parties together by organising a mega rally at Brigade Parade Ground but that attempt failed in 2019 general elections. Mamata stressed that in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, her party will win in West Bengal and other states such as Tripura, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh where it would be contesting. Significantly, the TMC chief remained tight-lipped about Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s questioning by the ED. However, party insiders say that Didi is focused on regaining the lost Lok Sabha seats, Opposition unity will therefore come later.
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Didi To Unveil TMC’s National Agenda At Martyrs Day Rally As More Cong, BJP Leaders Flock To Her Party

After a gap of two years, Trinamool Congress is holding its Martyrs’ Day Rally in Kolkata on July 21 with the party chairperson and chief minister Mamata Banerjee likely to raise her national pitch ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, and to lay out the big strategy of expanding TMC base outside West Bengal. This will be the first physical rally after Mamata’s historic hat-trick win in the State Assembly polls last year. Even though the senior party leaders including second-in-command of the party and Didi’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee remained tight-lipped, speculations are rife that some senior leaders from both BJP and Congress are likely to join the TMC. One-time aide of Mamata, Sovan Chatterjee and his associate Baishakhi Banerjee are likely to rejoin the party after a gap of almost four years. Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh who switched camps from TMC to BJP during 2019 Lok Sabha Polls was back in the party a couple of months ago. Now his son Pawan is likely to join the TMC. Besides them, three prominent Congress leaders of National ranks presumably from North South and North East States would also be present at the rally tomorrow. Interestingly, after catering to the northeast with the Tripura bypoll election and making public Mamata’s national ambition with the Goa election, large TV screens will be placed in Meghalaya and other north-eastern states for the audience to watch Mamata speak.
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Tough Battle Ahead For Both Uddhav Thackeray And Eknath Shinde

The Supreme Court’s decision to post the next hearing to 1 August concerning various petitions in regard to recent political developments in Maharashtra has shifted the focus to lawyers’ chambers from the floor of the legislative assembly. The apex court’s fiat has mounted a formidable legal challenge for both, Shiv Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray and state chief minister Eknath Shinde. As the court has asked them to furnish their claims supported by data, both sides are readying their defences. While the Sena’s legal team is led by Kapil Sibbal, eminent jurist Harish Salve is appearing for the Shinde faction. Although Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis are maintaining a brave face, it is obvious that they will not take any hasty steps concerning major decisions. Fadanvis has clarified that there is no bar on expanding the two-member state cabinet. However, he and Shinde will be treading cautiously, lest they will need to repent later. The Shinde camp is jubilant as it has dealt one shock after another to Uddhav. The fact that so far 12 Sena Lok Sabha members have switched sides and a couple more are expected to join the bandwagon has boosted its morale. It will get a further fillip if NDA Presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu bags around 200 votes from the state, as predicted by Shinde.
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Tamil Nadu Minister’s Penchant For SUVs Sees Him Import High-Priced Toyota Land Cruiser Even Before Its Launch

Tamil Nadu Public Works Minister KN Nehru apparently has a passion to collect SUVs. Do not know if it has anything to do with his previous stint as Transport Minister in the state government. It is in this light, an automobile publication described him as the Indian politician who had not only managed to import the all-new Toyota Land Cruiser before it was launched in the country but had customised it and even started using it too. All of Nehru’s previous cars have been the Land Cruisers. This was the same Toyota Land Cruiser spotted earlier this year in Coimbatore. Toyota Kirloskar will announce the official prices of the all-new Land Cruiser later this year around the festive season. However, Nehru seems to have jumped the queue by privately importing the SUV before the official launch. The price tag of Toyota Land Cruiser LC300 is likely to be around Rs 2 crore. The minister must have paid extra to privately import the SUV to India. Toyota Kirloskar will import a limited number of Land Cruiser LC300 in its ‘Sahara’ version to India. Toyota confirmed that there is a waiting period of four years for it because of the high demand and shortage of semiconductors. It is also because Toyota has ditched the massive V8 engine for the new fuel-efficient V6 engine with the new model.

Is Tamil Nadu BJP Head Annamalai Proving To Be A Thorn In The Flesh For Stalin Govt?

Tamil Nadu’s BJP President K Annamalai is making news for his energetic snoop, scoop and share. He figured as a juicy news break in the mainstream media last week. The DMK is now clearly wary of him, and his exposes. The latest is about the fake passport issue scandal in Madurai which has reached the desk of ADGP, David Asirvadam, no less. Annamalai constantly trains his guns at the dynastic rule of the DMK. RS Bharathi, long term DMK spokesperson brushes this aside and retorts “Annamalai talks nonsense “. He made headlines once again as he thundered at a Press meet like a modern day Nostradamus, “The Eknath Shinde of TN has already taken avatar. Wait and watch.” When everything is cornered by one family, rebellion erupts. Late Bal Thackeray and Kalaignar traversed identical paths, as did Aaditya and Udhayanidhi. It may be mentioned that Stalin has consistently been anti-Centre and anti-Modi with his subtle delimitation of Union and States powers. But the recent threat by A Raja to the Modi government that TN would secede if the state was not granted more autonomy in Stalin’s presence has provided more ammo to Annamalai.  He has promptly sent a petition to the Lok Sabha Speaker that A Raja cannot continue as MP after this secession rhetoric. A case has been filed too. Annamalai surely believes that the BJP’s ‘Telangana first, TN next’ strategy slogan has been fast forwarded significantly.

Sangrur MP Simranjit Singh Mann, Now Swears By Constitution, Cong Mocks Him For Doing It Secretly

Sangrur MP and pro-Khalistan leader Simranjit Singh Mann reposed faith in the Constitution as he took oath of office as member of the Lok Sabha for the third time .For some strange reason, Mann did not take oath in the House along with other three-newly elected MPs on July 18; he preferred privacy of the Speaker’s chamber to take his oath. He met Speaker Om Birla in his chamber and took oath in his office. Congress MPs from Punjab wanted to know why Mann did not take oath in the House. “Mann saab came to the House; he was moving around in Central Hall too. He was perhaps too embarrassed to swear by the Constitution in full public view,” pointed out Congress MP Jasbir Singh Gill. Taking oath in Punjabi, Mann had said, “I affirm faith in the Indian constitution.” If Mann returned to reaffirm his faith in the Constitution, it should not surprise anyone — after all he was an IPS officer who had quit service following Operation Bluestar in 1984. Mann also promised to work for the betterment of Sangrur.  A three-time MP, Mann represented Sangrur in 1999 too. A vocal supporter of Khalistan, Mann had won from Tarn Taran by a margin of over 4.6 lakh votes. He had then refused to enter Parliament without the kirpan. Time has really mellowed the man now.
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NCP In Maharashtra Cosies Up With Shinde-Fadanvis, Disregards Congress And Uddhav

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra appears to have adopted a conciliatory stance towards the saffron alliance regime headed by Shiv Sena’s breakaway group leader Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis. Disregarding its earlier association with the Shiv Sena and the Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition in Maharashtra, NCP leaders headed by former deputy CM Ajit Pawar called on Shinde and Fadanvis to greet them for their new responsibility. They urged Shinde not to stall various development projects for political reasons. Pawar said Shinde and Fadanvis assured them that only those works sanctioned for political expediency will be reviewed. Neither the Congress nor Uddhav were consulted by the NCP before trooping to Shinde and Fadanvis. Significantly, several NCP MLAs from different states have openly voted for NDA’s Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu. On the other hand, Shinde has declared that about 200 MLA votes from the state will have gone for Murmu. The saffron alliance was supported in the trust vote by 165 MLAs. Hence a pall of suspicion hangs against indications that cross voting has occurred in Maharashtra, too. Meanwhile, many MPs from the Uddhav camp are said to be on their way to join the Shinde group. Their announcement is expected any moment.
School buses burn

Class 10 Girl’s Mysterious Death: Tamil Nadu Cops Caught Napping

Tamil Nadu cops of Chinnasalem in the central district of Kallakurichi were caught napping on a Sunday morning when protesters gathered in force around a school in which a Class 10 girl died in mysterious circumstances. Police were hopelessly outnumbered when they woke up to the protesters having scaled the walls of the school property. When they tried to gather in force, they were told by protesters not to come near until their vandalism of the school was complete. School Infrastructure, including buses to ferry students, worth around Rs 10 crore may have been damaged beyond redemption by the time the cops were engaged by the protesters in a stone throwing contest. Police had to fire in the air and use tear gas freely to try and rein in the protesters. The police were heard giving the lame excuse that the mob had used social media to gather in numbers. The truth may be closer to the fact that a Sunday morning was a quiet time for the law enforcers. The high court passed strictures against the police while ordering a CBCID probe and a SIT to deal with those who were seen destroying school property in several videos that were shot on the scene. The TN police force may pride itself on being one of the smarter ones in the country but this time they had slipped up.


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!