cropped-short_post_logo.png
For Authentic Gossip
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
buddhadeb

Left Goes Hi-Tech In Bengal, Harnesses SRK's Influence And AI To Counter TMC & BJP

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

Photo : BCCI

Rinku Singh Is Plain Unlucky!

  Rinku Singh has awe-inspiring numbers in 15 Twenty20 internationals for the men in blue. The numbers are: 11 innings, seven times not out, 356 runs, balls faced 202, average of 89, highest score of 69 not out, 2 x 50s, scoring rate of 10.57 an over, 20 x 6s, 31x 4s and seven catches. He has not bowled a single over. He has featured in 11 wins against Ireland, Nepal, Bangladesh, Australia, South Africa and Afghanistan. In comparison, Shivam Dube — almost four years older than the Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata Knight Riders left-hander– has played 21 Twenty20 internationals, 14 innings, seven times not out, 276 runs from 190 balls, scoring rate 8.72, 15 x6s, 19x 4s, 11 catches and he has taken eight wickets bowling 36.3 overs. He has featured in 14 wins against Bangladesh, West Indies, New Zealand, Ireland, Nepal and Afghanistan. It has to be construed that skipper Rohit Sharma would have preferred Dube to Rinku because, as he revealed at a media interaction, he will use him as a bowler when necessary. Sharma and the selectors also preferred a second left-arm spinner, Axar Patel (an injury forced him out of the 50-over World Cup), because he has been India’s leading spinner, playing 37 matches since January 2022. He has taken 36 wickets at an economy rate of 7.54. He also scored 282 runs. It’s just that Sharma chose an additional left-arm finger spinner (in addition to Ravindra Jadeja) apart from two wrist spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Rinku – a travelling reserve now – was plain unlucky not to make the cut for the ICC event in the USA and West Indies.
thug life

A scene from ‘Thug Life’ which got leaked on social media

After An Interval, Ace Director Mani Ratnam Back To ‘Thug Life’

Now that the election Punch and Judy show is over in Tamil Nadu, south India’s biggest director Mani Ratnam is seriously back to shooting Thug Life. For those who may not recall why Mani Ratnam wants to get back to Thug Life, Raj Kamal Movies, Red Giant Movies and Madras Talkies announced their joint venture creation with a marquee star lineup. Kamal Haasan heads the cast, Trisha, Dulquer Salmaan, Jeyam Ravi, Aishwarya Lekshmi to name a few. The elections came as a speed breaker, with Kamal campaigning for the DMK. The shooting was also paused as Dulquer and Jeyam Ravi opted out as they could not accommodate the delayed call sheets. After much debate, Simbu was signed up for Dulquer’s role and Aravind Swamy in place of Jeyam Ravi. It is interesting to note that all these stars have worked with Mani Ratnam, a comfort level both share. Simbu had given the hit Cheka Sivanda Vaanam. Recently a schedule with Kamal, Simbu, Abirami and Nasser was shot in Delhi. Simbu coming on board was marked by glimpse video teasers, especially the one which shows a huge dust drift kicked up presumably by a car driven by him titled “A New Thug in Town “. Mani Ratnam and his iconic treatment of every storyline he films is pure cinematic genius. His muse could be a Thug, Saint or the Devil himself. The audience is waiting impatiently to watch his thuggery.
modi patnaik

Gloves Are Off, PM Modi Openly Attacks Naveen Patnaik

It’s now certain that the bonhomie situation between BJD-BJP is over at the highest level. It’s a war like situation between hopeful BJP and well entrenched BJD in Odisha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his electioneering visit to Odisha said “BJD’s expiry date is June 4, the day the Assembly election result will be announced”. Modi also invited Odisha netizens to the swearing-in ceremony of BJP CM on June 10, saying BJP will make Odisha No 1 in five years. Modi in his election speech compared BJD to the setting sun and Congress is already past, while BJP has come with the hope of a new dawn in Odisha” he said. Modi said, the BJP CM in Odisha will be someone who deeply understands and takes pride in Odia culture. Political watchers are asking a couple of questions: Is this Modi’s ploy to intimidate BJD, setting the election tone? Is Modi’s statement based on the feedback given by Odisha BJP leaders? Those who know Modi’s penchant for political spin, say this is Modi’s way for positive thinking just like his famous election promise of “achhe din“. After PM’s expiry day remark Patnaik’s protege VK Pandian said “Naveen Patnaik will take oath as Odisha CM for 6th time on June 9.” On his part, Patnaik said “It has been a long time BJP is daydreaming.” Former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh took a jibe at BJP Modi saying “Odisha has suffered gross neglect in the hands of Modi sarkar. He sighted CAG reports saying central transfers as percentage of revenue receipt has decreased from 57% in 2017-18 to 38% in 2021-2022.”
sengol_002

Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers: The Art Of Doing Business And Keeping Indian Culture & Tradition Alive

  It is a household name in Tamil Nadu. Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers (VBJ) hit the national headlines after the installation of Sengol (sceptre) near the Speaker’s seat in the new Parliament. Vummudis were traced to be the makers of the Sengol that the Adeenams in Tamil Nadu had gifted to Pandit Nehru to symbolise the transfer of power from the British. The Sengol installation in the new Parliament has indeed given VBJ not just national visibility but global focus as well. The VBJ is yet again in the limelight. This time around, it is for its association with the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. VBJ has presented an exquisite SriRamCharitManas, a sacred book to Ram Mandir, in all its golden glory.  It features 524 intricately designed gold pages. Each page narrates the timeless chronicles of Lord Ram with poetic eloquence. It is kept in the sanctum sanctorum of Ram Temple at Ayodhya. Prior to presenting it to Ram Mandir, VBJ allowed the public to experience the “precious epic” by keeping it for public view at its store in Anna Salai in the heart of Chennai. Historically, VBJ stands for trust in the gold jewellery trade. That is getting expressed in newer ways, it appears.
sambit patra

BJP’s Sambit Patra Has An Edge In Puri As BJD Changes Candidate In Temple Town

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

Glaring Omission of Muslim Candidates In Maharashtra Stands Out, AIMIM To Contest Four Seats

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

Recruitment Scam Fallout: TMC, Opposition Face Electoral Backlash Over Job Cancellations

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

Amazon Prime Temporarily Pauses Shooting Of Soundarya Rajinikanth’s Web Series

Candidly speaking, it’s a hard to follow act for the children of cinematic Icons…especially if you are the progeny of global icon, superstar Rajinikanth. His daughters Aishwarya and Soundarya have been under the constant filmi microscope of public view. The sisters have lived through rocky lives –both personal and professional. Both have tried their hand at cinema production and direction. With a few films produced and directed by her, much was expected of Aishwarya’s recent film Lal Salaam with a bespoke cameo by Rajinikanth himself. Lal Salaam did not do well at the box office. Other sister Soundarya is still smarting with the huge financial loss of her films Kochadayan and Goa. For 10 years she stayed away from the filmi world. Then Amazon Prime’s web series, Gangs Kuruthi Punal came her way as producer, an opportunity she must have coveted. But midway through the shoot in Puducherry, things started going south, and it overshot the budget. Her director Nova came in for criticism and things turned sour with him being blamed for not having better control. With Sathyaraj and Nasser heading the series, the production could have succeeded but when the money flow was stopped, Soundarya was cornered once again. Then came the announcement by Amazon Prime that a course correction would be in order. Can Soundaraya salvage the series?
priyank kharge

Is Priyank Kharge “The New Power Centre” In Karnataka?

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

Rahul Agrees To Contest From Raebareli Too, Congress Cadres Upset As Priyanka Keeps Out Of The Fray

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

Raj Thackeray Expected To Jump Into Campaigning Soon

Now that all Lok Sabha candidates have been announced in Maharashtra by major parties, the ruling Mahayuti alliance is planning to add ace orator Raj Thackeray to the list of its star campaigners. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the party established by Raj, has already become active in select Lok Sabha constituencies though its rank and file is yet to be roped in across the state. But that will happen in a couple of days, it is expected. Raj has already declared his support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA. He himself will launch his state tour either from Mumbai, Pune or Nashik. Raj’s main attack will focus on cousin Uddhav Thackeray and the Shiv Sena faction led by him. Hence, Raj will be seen more in Mumbai, Thane and the Konkan region, which are all Uddhav’s strongholds. Veteran Narayan Rane, who is contesting from the Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri seat on a BJP ticket, will be among the first to organise a public rally for Raj. Similarly, chief minister Eknath Shinde’s son Shrikant (Kalyan) and his confidant Naresh Mhaske (Thane) are looking forward to holding meetings for Raj on whom they called in Mumbai. Similarly, BJP’s high profile candidate advocate Ujjwal Nikam had an hour-long meeting with Raj at the MNS chief’s residence. Raj has kept mum all these days and it is said that he is storing his ammunition for setting it afire at appropriate times.
MK_stalin_011

Hounded By Social Media, Stalin Cuts Short His Holidays

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

Photo : BCCI

Ajit Agarkar Says Picked Indian Team, Not IPL-2024!

Ajit Agarkar looks far from stressed when it comes to selecting Indian teams. The 46-year-old who took 349 wickets across formats for India as an attacking seamer, looks lean and mean and fit enough to compete even today with the red and white ball. The chairman of the BCCI’s senior national selection committee since July 2023, the former Mumbai and India all-rounder who fashioned India’s spectacular victory against Australia in the Adelaide Test of 2003 with an incisive spell of 6 for 41 in the second innings and who can brag about of Lord’s century against England in 2002 articulated at a press conference on Thursday (May 2) that his committee, more or less aligned itself with the needs of the captain Rohit Sharma for the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 in the USA and Caribbean Islands. Agarkar made it plain and simple that his committee picked a 15-member Indian team and not an IPL-2024-XV. Even the selection of Sanju Samson when juxtaposed against KL Rahul (for the second stumper’s slot) was based on the six hitting prowess of the Keralite, and the boundary shots he hit in the ongoing IPL only selection in his favour. Similarly, Shivam Dube’s unbeaten knocks of 60 and 63 in the last series against Afghanistan, followed by his long-lever hitting in the Tata-IPL-17 ensured his selection for the first-time bash under the American sky. Without having to say so by either Agarkar or the captain Rohit Sharma, the rest of the team has been picked on the runs and wickets when turning out for the men in blue team.
eknath ajit fadnavis

In Maharashtra Shinde Gains, Ajit Sacrifices And BJP Adjusts

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde is perceived as the main gainer in the Lok Sabha seat distribution among the three partners of the ruling Mahayuti alliance. While the BJP has the largest share of the seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) under deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has had to satisfy with just four the undivided NCP had won in 2019. Hence, Ajit’s political future is a matter of discussion now since his adversaries have started painting him as a loser. The Shiv Sena under Shinde has obtained 15 seats, leaving the remaining 28 for the BJP. The NCP (Ajit) will thus fight in Raigad, Dharashiv, Shirur and Baramati constituencies. On the other hand, Shinde has been able to secure Kalyan, Thane and Nashik LS seats, which will witness a close fight. Incidentally, the BJP was trying to obtain these three seats as it was under pressure from its local leaders. Sensing the possible criticism, Ajit had explained that the NCP (undivided) had won four seats in 2019 and would recontest them this time, too. Additionally, he wanted his party to get the prestigious Satara seat won by it the last time, but dropped its claim since a scion of the family of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was selected to stand there.  Ajit and Shinde have the assembly as the focus of their future politics. Hence, the present arrangement is viewed as an adjustment for the long term strategy to decimate the Congress and Sharad Pawar from the state political scene.
hardik pandya_003

Photo : IPL

Hardik Pandya's 'Runs And Wickets' For The Men In Blue Was The Clincher!

Once the news broke out that Hardik Pandya was set to return to the Mumbai Indians for the ongoing Tata-IPL Season 17, he has been the hot topic of conversations.  The India all rounder has also been the butt of criticism for his dismal show in the league, but numbers — 197 runs at a high scoring rate of 11 an over and six wickets at 42.17 after 10 matches puts him among the top six all rounders in the league. The selectors were satisfied with his fitness after his recovery from an ankle injury of his landing foot, and the fact that he sent down 23 overs also could not be ignored, although they would have liked to see him more proactive with the ball. What the selectors considered it necessary to look at was his display with the bat (359 runs in 19 Twenty20 internationals) and ball (19 wickets at 21.11) after the last Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. Pandya’s overall record in Twenty20 internationals is 1348 runs and 73 wickets with a strike rate of 19.63. Moreover, he is a classy fielder and has led India in 16 matches with a success percentage 62.50. So it was his performance for the Men in Blue that gave weightage to his choice as a player and vice -captain for the Twenty20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies. Had he not gone down with the ankle injury in the World Cup match against Bangladesh last October, Pandya, a game-changer, would have probably been the team’s captain.
Ravindra yamini

Eknath Shinde Picks Two Mumbai Lok Sabha Candidates, Both Once Close To Uddhav And On ED’s Radar

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

JD (S) Aghast As Congress Makes Use Of Prajwal's Videos

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

What Went Wrong In The Sudha Kongara-Suriya Partnership?

Popular Tamil film hero Suriya’s career zoomed with Soorarai Pottru in 2022 and its ace director Sudha Kongara Prasad walked away with the Filmfare Award for best film, her second after Irudi Suttru in 2020. Soorarai Pottru traversed that thin line where a biography straddles a documentary and a gripping drama of a self-driven entrepreneur, Captain Gopinath who took wings with Deccan Airways.The film’s huge success in both cinemas and OTT was as much due to the inspired direction of Sudha Kongara as to Suriya’s compelling performance. The duo’s next film Puranaanooru naturally raised high expectations. Suddenly rumours flew thick and fast about differences between Sudha and Suriya, who was also producing this film under his home production 2 D films. First, there were speculations about Suriya’s dates’ availability; the film had to be shot extensively in colleges in south India during the vacation but because of election fever it was difficult to get a suitable venue. Set in the sixties Puranaanooru needed huge outlay — around Rs 60 crore to replicate that period. To scotch the rumours, a joint statement was issued by them which stated that the film is postponed. Meanwhile, it is learnt that Sudha has moved on to her next film with Dhruv Vikram in the lead. Who knows Suriya’s loss could be Dhruv’s gain!
amit odisha

Amit Shah Sets Cat Among Pigeons, Says Bureaucrat Pandian May Be Patnaik’s Eventual Successor

Union home minister Amit Shah who is on a whistle-stop tour across the country was in Odisha recently where both the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to boost the morale of his voters and win the confidence of the voters. He told the cadres and leaders, BJP will form the Odisha government in 2024. As for the electorate he told them that BJP will make Odisha No1 state in the country if given an opportunity. He dropped the succession plan bombshell of Biju Janata Dal. He publicly said that chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s confidant VK Pandian may be a possible successor. This statement seems to have unnerved seasoned BJD leaders. But, there is no denying the fact that just like Modi who is admired across the country, so too is Patnaik across the state. He is the undisputed king; nobody can ease him out of the throne in this lifetime. The general feeling is that Patnaik will be sworn in as the CM for the sixth consecutive time in 2024. Yes, what goes against Patnaik is his age (77-year) and health but not lack of development of the state per se.  Pandian emerging as eventual successor seems to have sown seeds of discord among senior BJD leaders. After Patnaik, they feel the party will disintegrate as nobody would want to be led by an outsider like Pandian. Against this backdrop, BJP seems to have the field wide open for it.
Jacqueline_002

photo : @Asli_Jacqueline

Will Bollywood Give Jacqueline Fernandez A Second Chance?

Thirty-eight year old Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandez has gone below the radar ever since her link to the conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar hit national headlines. She religiously avoids media, ducks from paparazzi and avoids socialising too. The conman link has cost her dearly — personally and professionally. Though she is fighting Sukesh in the court but because of his obsession with her, she prefers to keep quiet and work hard. What has damaged her reputation and put her on the backfoot is the intimate pictures released by Sukesh. Not surprisingly, the film industry and friends have not openly supported her in terms of sympathy or contracts but there are well wishers like Sonu Sood who signed her for Fateh which is ready for release. She does not have many projects but has two big films, Welcome to the Jungle with Firoz Nadiadwala and Housefull 5 which is yet to go on floors. Jacqueline does manage to get court permission to go abroad for shoots. Akshay Kumar, Sajid Nadiadwala and Salman Khan are her friends who still support her but not in the public. From a rank outsider, Jacqueline’s rise in Bollywood was meteoric. The Sri Lankan model-turned actor, who entered Bollywood in 2006, has acted in over 25 films already. In 15 years she has starred opposite top heroes. Her northbound career graph was halted when news of her involvement with conman Sukesh who was arrested for extortion and money laundering came out in open. She claims Sukesh lured her with Bollywood offers even as he showered her with costly gifts, even a high end car.
Mahua Moitra_004

Can Mahua Moitra Retain Her Krishnanagar Seat Against BJP's Onslaught?

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

photo : asianetnews.com

Superstition Or Lucky Charm: Why Stalin Is Holidaying In Kodaikanal

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

Why Cong Was Quick To Distance Itself From EVM Petition?

It is really interesting that on a day the Supreme Court dismissed petitions that called for comprehensive cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), the Congress  asserted  that  its “political campaign on the greater use of VVPATs to increase the public trust in the electoral process” would continue. This even after Congress leader Jairam Ramesh wrote on X that “Congress was not a party, directly or indirectly, to the petition on VVPATs rejected by the Supreme Court”. So what is the Congress compulsion to continue its campaign against EVMs, something that it introduced while it was in power? Well, the answer lies in its 2024 manifesto where under the heading “Defending the Constitution” the party speaks about a promise to restore the voters’ trust in the election process. “We will amend the election laws to combine the efficiency of the EVM and the transparency of the ballot paper. Voting will be through the EVM but the voter will be able to hold and deposit the machine-generated voting slip into the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) unit. The electronic vote tally will be matched against the VVPAT slip tally.”  Of course such a promise goes against the latest SC verdict. That’s why even if one accepts the Congress position that it had nothing to do with the petition before the SC, PM Modi  may not be surely off the mark when he dubbed the apex court  verdict as a jolt “to those who wanted to loot ballot boxes “. The court had clearly said the era of ballot papers shall not return.
Pushpa 2

Pushpa 2 which releases on Aug 15 is expected to create a new box office record

Are South Stars Bailing Out Bollywood?

Historically, the Hindi film industry has been dominated by north Indian heroes and south Indian heroines. Now, a new trend is emerging. In the last three-four years it seems to be the hegemony of south films. Witness this, in the first four months of 2024, the traditional north Indian heroes Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn seem to have come a cropper going by the box office collections. Reportedly, total collection is less than Rs 800 crore. To make matters worse, Khans are conspicuous by their absence. Salman Khan’s ritual — Eid release was missing this season. Given this scenario, one is seeing the south stars coming to the rescue of Bollywood big time. For instance, Allu Arjun’s film Pushpa 2 is learnt to have got a commitment of Rs 1,000 crore before its release on August 15. It is expected to break all kinds of records. Then there is multi-starrer Kalki showing Amitabh Bachchan in a teaser promo. This movie which is a perfect example of cross-pollination of stars is speculated to garner Rs 100 crore on Day One of its release. Trade Analyst Girish Wankhede says, “The line up of South Indian films is a mix of class and mass. It has its focus on larger than life entertainment which works for celluloid. They are not spoilt for OTT choices and are more inclined to make mass entertainment.” The momentum in this year was started with Hanuman which scored big on the box office followed by Manjummel Boys and The Goat Life winning great critical acclaim. The upcoming slate looks super impressive with Kamal Haasan’s Indian 2 and Rajnikanths’s Vettaiyan. Besides, Devara, the movies in the pipelines are: Kanguva, Thangalaan and Mr Bachchan.
sunita kalpana

Wives' Of Jailed CMs Look For A Large Role In Party Affairs

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

Career Boost For Nupur Sharma, May Get Rajya Sabha Berth

Array

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

Photo : @IPL

Why IPL Was Not Moved Out Of India This Election Season

India is witnessing two mega events this summer. As the people of the country are making a beeline for polling booths to elect a new Parliament, a cricket fever of an exciting kind has also gripped the masses with yet another edition of the popular Indian Premier League (IPL) truly under way. Is it possible to co-run national elections and the IPL? Why not? That seems to be the view of the political masters in New Delhi. This view is entirely opposite to the one held by Congress-led the UPA government earlier.  Several seasons ago, the annual IPL was moved to South Africa since the then regime did not want that to clash with the national elections. With the Modi Government making a strong pitch for Make-in-India, shifting IPL out of the country could not even be considered by the political masters in New Delhi, lest it should send wrong — rather negative — signals to people at large. Moreover, the IPL has, over the years, become a money spinner with a huge multiplier effect on the national economy. They can’t afford to lose huge revenue by shifting IPL out of India during the national election. Well, the people aren’t complaining about the double dhamaka!
Modi pawar

Voters Shocked As Maharashtra Electioneering Dominated By Allegations, Abusive Language

 The flurry of allegations and counter-allegations has reached another level in Maharashtra this election season. Day in and day out, various leaders slander their opponents, at times using abusive language. Now, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut has made a serious allegation against deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, and his boss, Uddhav Thackeray, has endorsed it. Fadnavis has reiterated his charge that the Thackeray’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government had tried all options to arrest him but failed since it did not find anything incriminating. Even a police commissioner of Mumbai was roped in but in vain, he added. Responding to the charge, Raut said that Fadnavis had ordered phone tapping when he was the chief minister. When the MVA government began investigating the matter, Fadnavis got worried and engineered the fall of the Thackeray government. Though Uddhav who so far had maintained silence about the issue he endorsed what Raut said. Uddhav also questioned the exoneration of various prominent leaders from charges of corruption. He was hinting at the clean chit issued by the Mumbai police to Sunetra Pawar in an alleged fraud case. Uddhav said such questions had been uppermost in people’s minds. Even if no answers are forthcoming, the voters will not forget them, he warned. Only a few days ago, Uddhav’s son Aaditya had used derogatory terms against CM Eknath Shinde. There is no sign of the combat of verbal invectives subsiding.
Rohit virat_002

Photo : BCCI

Indian Cricket's "Beau Geste" To Rohit Sharma And Virat Kohli

Indian cricket, nay the BCCI’s selection committee, will do a Beau Geste (beautiful gesture) to both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli by picking them for the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 in the USA and Caribbean. Perhaps Ravindra Jadeja, too.  While the two batters are the top two run-getters in the Twenty20 format in the world, their appearance for India since India’s last World Twenty20 match against England in Adelaide on November 10, 2022, has been a little something; after a gap of 14 months, Sharma played the three-match series against Afghanistan (0,0, 121), and Kohli played two against Afghanistan (29,0). Jadeja has played in two matches since August 2022, missing many because of injury. With Hardik Pandya going down in the home 50-over World Cup last year, the selectors returned to the old war horses Sharma and Kohli. With Hardik being made the India Twenty20 captain in January 2022, Sharma and Kohli did not fit into the Twenty20 scheme of things. But the ankle-related injury to Hardik in the World Cup match against Bangladesh in Pune paved the way for Sharma and Kohli’s recall. After the semi-final exit in 2022, India has played 28 Twenty20 internationals and the leading batters have been Suryakumar Yadav (857 runs),  Yashasvi Jaiswal (502), Ruturaj Gaikwad (365), Rinku Singh (356), Shubman Gill (339), Tilak Varma (336), Ishan Kishan (253) and Hardik (231). The leading wicket-takers have been Arshdeep Singh (33 wickets), Ravi Bishnoi (20), Axar Patel (15), Kuldeep Yadav (15), Mukesh Kumar (12), Hardik and Yuzvendra Chahal (11 each). In a few days, the India squad will be announced for the World Twenty20, and we will know whether performance in the IPL counts!
Uddhav_Eknath

Shinde Warns Uddhav, Behave Or Shall Expose Your London & Lucknow Property Details

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has threatened his arch enemy Uddhav Thackeray that various documents concerning properties from London to Lucknow and khoka to container are in his possession and if his predecessor does not observe limits of decency, everything will be made public and then he (Uddhav) will not be able to move around openly. In an interview to Marathi news channel ABP Majha, Shinde castigated Aaditya Thackeray for using intemperate language against him and others.  In an oblique reference to London, the CM said there was no reason for somebody to become restless when relaxing in the British capital was mentioned. “Observe limits, or else all will come out. We have documents about London and 200 acres in Lucknow,” Shinde warned Aaditya. He reiterated that the then Thackeray government had planned to jail top BJP leaders like Devendra Fadnavis, Ashish Shelar, Pravin Darekar or Prasad Lad. He recalled how Union minister Narayan Rane, MP Navneet Rana, journalists like Arnab Goswami were jailed during the Uddhav regime. He alleged that Uddhav was trying to weaken the BJP on one hand and strengthen Maha Vikas Aghadi on the other by using governmental machinery. Praising MNS leader Raj Thackeray, he said Raj was a broad minded person unlike Uddhav. He expressed confidence that the Mahayuti will sweep the polls in Maharashtra.
EPS_005

Post Poll Feedback: AIADMK Chief Livid After He Discovers Cadres Did Not Reach Out To Voters

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

(left) Left Radhakrishna Doddamani and Dr CN Manjunath

Karnataka Witnesses Prestige Battle Of Two Famous Damads

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

(left) Sunil Tatkare and Anant Geete

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

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

Ranas Vs Adsuls: Fight At Amravati Is Far From Over

It’s the husband-wife team of Navneet-Ravi Rana vs the father-son team of Anandrao- Abhijit Adsul playing out in Amravati. Both the Ranas and Adsuls have one leg in the state and Centre. While Ravi Raja represented Badnera assembly constituency for three terms from 2009 onwards, his wife Navneet is the sitting MP from Amravati. A similar arrangement had been worked out between the Adsuls — father Anantrao Adsul was the MP from Amravati from 1996 to 2014 while son captain Abhijeet Adsul was an MLA from Daryapur constituency from 2009.Things changed when Naveet Rana defeated the five-term MP Adsul in 2019. The equations changed further in 2024 when both of them found themselves vying for the same Amravati seat from the same Mahayuti alliance with Ranas pitching from the BJP and Adsuls from the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena. Ravi Rana famously quipped in a rally that not only will he get a ticket from Amravati but he will also get the Adsul’s to campaign for his wife. Thanks to their clout, Navneet Rana did manage to get the ticket from Mahayuti with the state BJP welcoming her at midnight. However, the arrogance of Rana’s is such that Navneet’s nomination from the BJP was opposed by BJP’s own cadres, as also from the independent parties like Bachchu Kadu of Prahar Party, who put up a candidate against her. To cool things down, the husband-wife duo visited Adsul’s residence. But, senior Adsul seems adamant on opposing Rana. Looks like the Amravati feud promises to hold more surprises.
smriti irani_002

Smriti Irani Mocks Cong For Not Revealing Amethi Card

Rahul Gandhi’s plans of announcing his intention to contest Amethi after Wayanad elections on April 26 took a hit with Union Minister Smriti Irani going to town about why and how the Congress has not yet declared a candidate for the seat. Neither jija Robert Vadra, who has been openly declaring his interest in Amethi, has been declared nor has Rahul Gandhi, who lost to Irani in 2019. Irani claimed she had ensured more work in the constituency in the last five years than Rahul did representing the Lok Sabha seat for three terms. Amethi goes to polls on May 20. “Jijaji ki nazar hai, saale sahab kya karenge. (brother-in-law is eyeing the seat, what will he (Rahul do?) There was a time when people travelling in buses would leave their handkerchief to mark their seat so that no one sits on it. Rahul Gandhi will also come to mark his seat with a handkerchief because his brother-in-law is eyeing this seat,” she told a gathering in Amethi.”Just 27 days left for election, but Congress has not announced its candidate,” Irani said. Rahul had evaded committing to contesting from Amethi by suggesting he “will do whatever the party orders me.” As for Vadra flaunting his interest in Amethi, Congress sources say he is a non-serious player. “He has been declaring his open interest in Amethi only because he doesn’t want his wife Priyanka to enter the fray at this juncture,” said a source. The Gandhi siblings do not value his opinion. After the clean chit he has got for his Haryana dealings, Vadra wants to be seen on the right side of the government.
annamalai_00

Is Coimbatore The Hottest Battleground In This Election?

Probably, no candidate, no constituency and no state has made this kind of a news in previous elections as has  Coimbatore in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections . With reams of reviews and bundles of money wagered and spent, Coimbatore has stood out like a starburst in the very first phase. The moment meteor Malai, Annamalai was named as BJP’s candidate, all six assembly segments went into a tizzy. Sulur, Palladam, Kavundanpalayam are seen as pocket boroughs of the DMK and its alter ego, the AIADMK. Singanallur, Coimbatore North and CBE South are distinct urban strongholds, with overriding corporates and educated elite, and these three segments worked non-stop for Annamalai — 28,000 volunteers, vetted and conscripted worked for him. DMK, on its part, convinced its ally CPM to move over, and allow its candidate Ganapati Rajkumar to contest against Annamalai.  Despite all the hype, the ground reality was that the BJP had very few booth level managers/workers, they had to “import” rank outsiders. Interestingly, all opinion polls and surveys seem to be specially focussed on Annamalai’s Coimbatore constituency and the entire state. And most of them indicate Annamalai has an edge but there is no gain saying the fact that he has emerged as a dominant force in Tamil Nadu politics. This David has age on his side so can vanquish the aging Goliaths to eventually emerge the victor.
Mamata_026

In Bengal, Didi Is Busy Trying To Get The ‘Muslim Math’ Right

In the run up to the Lok Sabha Election, Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s absence from the major meeting of I.N.D.I.A. bloc is seen as her desperate attempt to continue consolidating her grip over the minority section that hold a chunk of her vote bank. The “Muslim math” continues to remain one of the significant vote shares eyed not only by ruling TMC but also Congress and CPI-M who are jointly opposing both TMC and BJP in Bengal. Sources within TMC admitted that with decline of political hold of Congress and CPI-M, Didi is now attempting to seize the bulk of minority vote share. Experts believe that one of the main reasons is that Mamata and her nephew Abhishek, are avoiding the large national gatherings of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc is because of their focus on the Muslim vote bank. Out of 42 Lok Sabha seats, 14 to 15 seats have more than 30% Muslim population. Both CPI-M and TMC have a history of securing sizable Muslim votes. So too Congress which has always dominated Muslims belt like Murshidabad, Malda, and parts of Birbhum districts. Didi seems to be looking at the combination of an absolute consolidation of Muslim votes and an extra 10-12% of “anti-BJP” votes to win majority seats. Hence, for Didi, publicly shaking hands with the Congress may run the risk of confusing her supporters and hurting her party’s chances of winning.
sharad pawar_015

Sharad Pawar Leverages Family Rifts In Various Seats To Take On BJP

Sharad Pawar may be bearing the brunt of his powerful family torn apart over politics, but he too is not averse to exploiting familial relationships for electoral gains in Lok Sabha 2024 polls.  The most prominent example is that of Kolhapur’s Shrimant Shahu Chhatrapati Maharaj. When the politically ambitious Yuvraj Sambhaji Raje Chhatrapati was all geared up to fire for Lok Sabha polls through his Swarajya Sanghatana, Pawar played a masterstroke. He met and convinced his father Shahu Maharaj to contest from Kolhapur, forcing the son to retreat thus eclipsing himself completely out of the state poll scene. Similarly, at Madha constituency, he thoroughly exploited the rift between the BJP’s Ranjitsinh Naik-Nimbalkar with his politically influential uncle Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, which got the senior Nimbalkar to demand a change of candidate from the BJP. When the party refused, Pawar got key aspirant Dhairyashil Mohite-Patil to quit the BJP and gave him a NCP ticket for Madha constituency. Ajit Pawar’s chief aide Sunil Tatkare, who also took on senior Pawar along with Ajit, found his brother Anil Tatkare in Sharad Pawar’s faction of NCP as state vice-president. Ajit himself has been complaining that the entire Pawar clan has stepped out to campaign against him including those who never step out for it.  At 83, Senior Pawar is putting all his skills to play to put his opponents on the backfoot.
ford

Ford To Re-enter India For The Third Time

Global auto giant, Ford Motor Company is planning its third entry into India. According to Autocar India, “Barely two years since Ford shuttered its Indian operations, the U.S. car maker is plotting a comeback and is evaluating multiple options.” Kay Hart, the head of Ford Motor Company’s International Market Group visited India in March to “assess its entry plans”.  Interestingly, it will be the third time the U.S. auto giant will be entering India. It had set up shop in 1926 as a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company of Canada. But, the Indian company had to be liquidated in May 1953 as a result of severe import restrictions. Then post liberalisation, it entered India for the second time in 1995 as a 50:50 partner with Mahindra & Mahindra and set up a plant in Tamil Nadu. But this JV did not work so the U.S. company hiked its stake to 72% and renamed the company to Ford India Pvt Ltd. Over a period of time Mahindras exited the JV. But somehow it was not able to make inroads into the Indian passenger car market the way Hyundai did with Santro. So nearly after 25 years, Ford once again chose to exit the Indian market in 2021 as it failed to keep up with the competition vis a vis the whole operations was proving to be unviable. Fortunately, the company which had put its TN plant on block at the last moment decided against it. Now, this plant will be cranked up to produce both ICE and EV products. Ford officials have already met the Tamil Nadu government officials with their detailed plans.
uddhav sena

Uddhav Sena Dares Election Commission Directive Over Use Of Hindu & Jai Bhawani

The Election Commission’s directive to the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray not to use ‘Hindu’ and ‘Jai Bhawani’ in its campaign song has provided an unexpected boost to the party’s morale. Uddhav has already challenged the order, saying he is prepared to fight a legal battle over the intended ban. Burdened by the role as the largest partner in the Maha Vikas Aghadi, Uddhav Sena has been finding itself cornered due to various sensational disclosures against Uddhav and his two-year rule. Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar have been in the forefront in this regard. In this atmosphere, the EC’s fiat has come as a shot in the arm as the words – Hindu and Jai Bhawani – possess magical effect on the Marathi psyche, irrespective of any party ideology. Sensing this, Uddhav has declared his resolve to oppose the order. But deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and some other leaders have attacked Uddhav by reminding him that he had left the Hindutva long back when he decided to go with the Congress and other such forces. Uddhav has argued that PM Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah continue to invoke Lord Ram and Bajrang Bali in their speeches. Take action against them first, he has challenged the EC, which is yet to respond to the Sena’s communication opposing the ban.
govinda_003

Why Hero No 1 Is Finding It Tough To Get A Second Chance

  Sixty-one year old yesteryear’s superstar Govinda is back in the news, well not for signing a big budget film but for re-entering politics by joining Shiv Sena led by the Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde. Govinda has made it clear that he will not be contesting any elections. It may be recalled that he won the 2004 Lok Sabha election on a Congress ticket. Then, what’s his compulsion to re-enter politics? Does he feel that if he is part of a political party, then movies will come his way? Not really. A seasoned insider says that Govinda has been trying to make a comeback to films since 2015 but strangely, this exceptionally talented and accomplished star has not been able to win the faith of the producers to bet on him, once again. His past seems to have caught up with him; not reporting to the set on time has got the goat of producers, directors and co-stars. Says another source, lack of work for Govinda is not because the industry has lost faith in him but he has developed a trust deficit with them. His superstitious nature has made filmmakers uncomfortable. Both David Dhawan and Salman Khan did give Govinda a second chance. But, Govinda has this feeling that the world is against him. Recently, he overreacted to a comment by Vashu Bhagnani on his late coming on the sets of his films. Govinda who has acted in more than 165 Hindi and language films can become the favourite of producers and directors once again only if he reinvents himself.
mushtaq

Antulay’s Son-In-Law Joins Ajit Faction NCP, Brightens Tatkare’s Winning Chances

The Congress in Maharashtra has lost another influential leader as former chief minister AR Antulay’s son-in-law Mushtaq Antulay has joined the NCP led by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. The development will impact the political calculations in Raigad, Antulay’s home district. State NCP president Sunil Tatkare is seeking a second Lok Sabha term from the constituency associated with the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was Antulay who as CM had renamed Kulaba district as Raigad in 1980. In his budding years at the time, Tatkare was a loyal soldier of Antulay but later switched over to the NCP set up by Sharad Pawar in 1999. Since then, Antulay and Tatkare became political foes. After Antulay’s exit, Mushtaq was sidelined by the Congress party for a long time. Ending this acrimony, Mushtaq has joined the NCP and supplemented Tatkare’s campaign against the Maha Vikas Aghadi, which has fielded former Union energy minister Anant Geete, who was trounced by Tatkare in 2019. Due to Antulay’s seminal developmental initiatives, he had a large following irrespective of party or caste considerations. Shrivardhan, Dapoli and Mahad assembly segments in the Lok Sabha jurisdiction were known to be loyal to him. Mushtaq, however, could not capitalise on this goodwill. Now in the NCP, he has an opportunity to resurrect his political career during the upcoming assembly polls.
ishan yashasvi

Sharma-Kishan Or Sharma-Jaiswal As Openers, Not Sharma-Kohli For ICC World Twenty20

If the BCCI’s national selection committee apply the performance in the Tata-IPL-17 as the yardstick, then Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan should be the top choice opening pair for the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup in the USA and Caribbean starting in June. Sharma and Kishan have made 332 runs in eight matches with one century, and the three 50-plus stands for the first wicket partnership, the best by miles by an Indian opening pair in the ongoing IPL. Mumbai Indians are going through a rough ride in the league this season, but Sharma and Kishan have given roaring starts in the first six over power play. Sharma and KL Rahul are India’s best, with 1412 runs in 34 matches, and Sharma and Kishan have opened in six games. Kohli has scored 3076 of his 4037 at No 3 with 32 x 50 plus knocks, and hence, India should look at him at the one drop position. Kohli, Sharma, Shubman Gill, Rahul, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Kishan are some openers who have been in good nick in the IPL. Sharma with Kishan (also a wicketkeeper) and Jaiswal fit nicely as a right-left combination. Moreover, Jaiswal has played 16 Twenty20 internationals and scored 502 runs with one century and four half-centuries.  And so it should be either Jaiswal or Kishan with Sharma as the opening pair and not Sharma and Kohli. Numbers do not support Kohli to be picked as an opener.
supriya sunetra

Ajit Pawar’s Nomination Rejected, Wife Sunetra Takes On Supriya Sule In Baramati

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s nomination has been rejected by the returning officer on technical grounds for the prestigious Baramati Lok Sabha constituency. However, this decision will not impact the fierce electioneering or the outcome. Ajit had filed papers as a precaution in case his wife Sunetra’s nomination was rejected. Now, her paper has been found in order like that of her sister-in-law Supriya Sule, her main challenger. Citing a rule which stipulates that if a political party candidate’s nomination form received first is found valid, the other forms on behalf of the same party are rejected. Due to this provision, Ajit’s form has been unaccepted. Applying the same rule, the nomination form of Sachin Dodake was rejected since he had filed as a dummy for Supriya. However, Sachin’s nomination as an independent has been accepted. Interestingly, one Sharad (Ram) Pawar has also entered the Baramati arena. His nomination as an independent has been found valid. He belongs to a local autorickshaw union. His presence will only be a token. The real fight will be between two titans – NCP founder Sharad Pawar and nephew Ajit Pawar — through Sunetra Pawar and Supriya Sule. Baramati will go to the polls in the third phase, on 7 May. The constituency has remained loyal to the Pawar family since 1967. This is the first time that two factions of the family are taking on each other.
tesla

Will Tesla Set Up Its EV Plant In Maharashtra?

Array

Maharashtra is hyperventilating over Elon Musk’s plans to invest US $2 to $3 billion, in the state, probable announcement during his visit to India. According to informed sources, “Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri (Konkan belt) or Vidarbha region (in north) may find precedence over Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) that boasts an automobile cluster near Pune city. Tesla’s plan to manufacture electric vehicles by itself is not news as much as the resultant disruption in the new technology for batteries these EVs will use. Already, Tata Motors enjoys first mover advantage in this specialized automobile sector within the conventional technology batteries, with its Exon and Punch EV models enjoying advantage of competitive pricing also.” Additionally, recent discoveries of lignite deposits by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation NLC, a private limited company of the Union Government of India, may also synergise with the forward foray in India’s EV segment. There is also a sharp political inclination to house the Tesla EV project within Maharashtra that recently lost out to Gujarat on the mega Vedanta-Foxconn semiconductors investment. A BJP source insists, “The then MVA government under Uddhav Thackeray had set a pre-condition of government primacy over appointing contractors related to the project that soured the deal. Subsequently, after heading into Gujarat Foxconn parted ways with Vedanta but the project moved towards financial closure.” The BJP leader says that with state assembly elections scheduled in Maharashtra in November 2024, the entry of Tesla in the state, would help to enthuse industrial growth and progress while dissipating any residual bad aftertaste over the Vedanta exit two years ago.
actor vote

Tamil Film Heroes Dressed In White Cast Their Votes

Tamil Nadu is probably the most star and film crazy state. Here, films and politics mesh and meld.  Even on polling day, watching these superheroes and the media feeding frenzy they generated was evident at the polling booths. TN is probably one of the best organised states in terms of election logistics and arrangements, meticulously planned and executed for hassle-free voting. But such well-oiled execution often gets overshadowed, even unacknowledged, by the entry of stars, with the media in droves praising the star for casting his vote. Stella Maris College and Eldams Road polling stations garnered much attention as the two superstars descended to cast their votes. Action, camera and buzz levels rose, though it must be said that these two took their turns in the line to get their fingers inked and ballot papers verified. Apart from Kamal and Rajini, Karthik, Vijay, Ajit, Vijay Sethupathi, Vikram, Suriya Trisha and a host of stars made a splash today by turning up early in the day. Surprisingly, most of them were dressed in white? Except Kamal who came in a white and teal green T or Vijay Sethupathi. The penny dropped when a media smart said, “They wanted to avoid speculations about party affiliations. So white was the best option”. The terrible heat and overwhelming humidity could well have been the reason for cool white. Does it matter what the stars wore..it was not a fashion ramp …just your neighbourhood polling booth.
sunil gavaskar_002

Another "Jeevan Puraskar" For Sunil Gavaskar In San Jose, California

Sunil Gavaskar is a big draw wherever he goes in India and abroad; thanks to his splendid deeds with bat right from the debut series against the West Indies in 1971, he has a massive fan following across the cricketing world and beyond. In recognition of his yeoman service to cricket and other walks of life for half a century and more, the Bruhan Maharashtra Mandal (BMM) in the USA has chosen him for the Jeevan Puraskar, an award that will be conferred upon him at a four-day function in San Jose, California from June 27 to 30. The BMM represents 54 marathi organisations in North America. Apart from his achievements in the cricket field, he has been the face of Indian cricket via the media expert route. He is quietly doing charity work for a number of NGOs and other organisations especially for the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital. The BMM’s biennial event in California is likely to be attended by other personalities from India and people from Maharashtra who have settled in the USA. During the four-day social gathering Gavaskar will get a chance to interact with the local milieu, and the champion orator that he is, Gavaskar will regale the audience with his terrific wit in Marathi and English. Of course Gavaskar is likely to be in the USA for cricket’s major show there; for the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup in New York and Florida — the two cities the Indian team will play in the group stage matches.
Congress bjp flags

In Maharashtra Angry Cadres Fail To Turn Up For Coalition Candidates Campaign In Many Constituencies

Coalition politics has come under major strain in this election, with party workers either boycotting or refusing to campaign for candidates of coalition partners. The most prominent example is clearly Sangli, where Congress workers are clearly out in support of rebel candidate VIshal Patil and Uddhav Thackeray had to urge his coalition partner to urge the Congress rebels to withdraw, and workers to campaign for his official candidate, Chandrahar Patil. Congress workers were also initially missing in action from Mumbai South Central constituency, where Congress city president Varsha Gaikwad was keen to contest but Uddhav Thackeray got the seat for his aide Anil Desai. This trend isn’t restricted to any particular party and is evident across many constituencies. Chief minister’s son Shrikant Shinde, too has been struggling to get workers of his coalition partners, the BJP, to campaign for him in his Kalyan constituency. Reportedly, Ajit Pawar’s workers were missing even during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden campaign rally at Chandrapur.  Ajit Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party fresh inductee and candidate from Dharashiv, Archana Patil, whose husband is a BJP legislator, wondered why she had to work for the growth of the NCP over that of her parent party, the BJP, where her husband Rana Jagjitsinh Patil continues to be legislator.  She was made to change her party from BJP to NCP to accommodate seat sharing adjustments. An uproar later, Ajit Pawar’s face and symbol was on her campaign posters. These poll results could well be a determiner about the way coalition politics could play out in the future.
naveen _Patnaik

What’s Naveen Patnaik's Compulsion To Contest From Two Assembly Constituencies?

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to contest Assembly election from two constituencies — Kantabanji which falls under Bolangir Parliamentary constituency in Western Odisha and Hinjili in Ganjam, has set the tongues wagging. Everyone is asking what’s HIS compulsion? Well-placed sources say Patnaik’s objective in one word is to stymie both BJP and Congress hold in Western Odisha. In a way, he is not only signalling his commitment to develop western Odisha but also challenging BJP in five Lok Sabha and eight Assembly constituencies besides wiping out Congress in Bolangir.  Congress sources say Naveen babu is rattled that Congress is supporting the creation of a separate State of “Koshal”. And this is why he has decided to contest from Bolangir District. Be that as it may, Patnaik seems to be serious about nursing western Odisha Kantabanji and may finally opt for this constituency in his sixth term, instead of Hinjili which he has represented five times. Sources say he may opt to give away Hinjili constituency to his eventual successor. Odisha goes to poll in four phases starting May 13 to June 1. Most opinion polls predict that BJP could win nearly 14 Lok Sabha seats out of 21 and this victory could impact BJD in Assembly elections.
rishi akshata

Akshata Murty To Get Rs 109 Crore Dividend From Infosys

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty is to be handed another 10.5 million pounds as dividend for her 0.94% stake in the tech outsourcer Infosys her father NR Narayana Murthy founded. That translates to about Rs 109 crore while the total dividends she has enjoyed so far amount to around 50 million pounds. The joke going around the UK now is that Akshata has enough money to buy her hubby 1.16 lakh pairs of Adidas Sambas to which sneakers Sunak had given a bad name for wearing the trendy shoe while being such an unpopular PM of the UK that his party is set to face a total disaster at the general elections whenever he chooses to hold them this year. The news will not go down well with the British public who are disowning the Tories at the rate of tens of thousands a day as the Conservative government seems set to go down after ruling for 14 years since winning the 2010 elections. Akshata is paying her taxes now in the UK after discarding her domicile status. Even so, the envy at the PM’s wife’s inherited riches is hurting the public who are facing tough times in the UK.

TRENDS & VIEWS

Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

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