For Authentic Gossip
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
cpm cong

Will Bengal CPM And Congress Make Their Alliance Official For Lok Sabha 2024 Elections?

The Congress candidate winning the Sagardighi Assembly seat in West Bengal in alliance with CPM has put both the parties in a dilemma. The arch rivals are now thinking hard whether to forge an alliance officially in the run-up to the Lok Sabha Elections 2024. Interestingly, Berhampore MP and President of West Bengal Pradesh Congress Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has categorically stated that his party is keen to fight future elections in the state in an alliance with the Left to take on the Trinamool Congress and BJP. Moreover, with this result, Congress gets one representation at the Assembly. Chowdhury, who happens to be close to the Gandhi family, has made it clear that lower-level party cadres are keen on this alliance contrary to some top Left leaders thinking otherwise. The senior Congress leader said that he had requested CPM Politburo member Biman Bose and State Secretary Md Salim not to field any candidate for this seat. However, previous attempts at similar alliances backfired during State Assembly Elections in 2016 and 2021 and both were unable to even win a single seat. Insiders said that Chowdhury had expressed his concern to Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi to speak against TMC. Gandhi’s statement against TMC in Meghalaya campaign results from that request. Incidentally, both Rahul and his mother Sonia Gandhi enjoy an excellent relationship with Mamata Banerjee.
Biscuit king_002

Biopic On ‘Biscuit King’ Rajan Pillai Runs Into Rough Weather

Malayalam superstar Prithviraj Sukumaran, who was supposed to direct and act in the web series Biscuit King, a biopic on Rajan Pillai, seems to have put the project on the back burner. Yoodlee Films, a subsidiary of Saregama, had announced in December 2021 that it was backing the project on Rajan Pillai who died a gruesome death in Tihar jail in 1995. Recently, when Prithviraj and actor Suriya got together for a photo shoot it was speculated that the Tamil superstar was in discussion to act in the biopic. However, Prithviraj’s PR team has now clarified that there is no biopic project and that the director’s next two projects are Empyrean and Tyson. Suriya is now expected to do a cameo role in Empuraan or Prithviraj could star in the Tamil actor’s upcoming movie. It may be recalled that in 2021 when the web series Biscuit King was announced, Prithviraj had said, “This story has it all; ambition, success, a jet-setting lifestyle and then a hubris-induced fall. It will be very interesting to discover what made this charismatic personality tick and to relive his intriguing, complex life”. It now looks like the project has been dropped. The biopic since its announcement had his critics as it was not clear whose version it was — Rajan Pillai’s wife Nina, Nusli Wadi/Sunil Alag combine who dethroned him or Rajan’s brother Rajmohan Pillai.

Ashwin Muthiah To Pass The Baton To Eldest Daughter Devaki

Sustainability of any family business is a tough challenge. When family expands, it gets even tougher. More than anything else, the challenge lies in keeping the interest alive among the GenNext in the family. The story is different here, however. A member of the fourth generation, Devaki Ashwin Muthiah has just joined the board of AM International Holdings. She is the eldest of the two daughters of Ashwin  Muthiah, the son of indefatigable AC Muthiah. As a part of the leadership team, Devaki will drive the group’s strategic growth plans across Singapore, India and the UK to accelerate its future-readiness. She had earlier interned in global luxury firms such as Joseph and Chopard in the UK. She has been a mentor and university liaison for the GAIN (Girls are Investors) charity in the UK.  Devaki is already on the boards of Penn Globe Ltd and Notedome Ltd, subsidiaries of Manali Petrochemicals. Her induction into the holding company board sets the succession line clear. Her brief is clear: to prepare the group future-ready. For a group that traces its history to the launch of the country’s first motor scooter Lambretta by Automobile Products of India (a group company then) half-a-century ago, the entry of a fourth generation member invests this iconic traditional industrial family business group with a sense of freshness and energy to move forward.

EPS All Set To Crown Himself General Secretary Of AIADMK

Edappadi Palaniswami is a man in a hurry. He would like to use his de facto position as chief opposition to the DMK government by getting himself elected as General Secretary of AIADMK, a post previously held by the likes of J Jayalalithaa and her super ambitious aide VK Sasikala. EPS would like to take advantage of all court rulings having come in his favour after fending off challenges from OPS, who was seeking to exert the influence of the Thevars.  To prepare the ground for his election as General Secretary, EPS has called a meeting of office-bearers at various levels on March 9 and 10.  After the passing away of Jayalalithaa in 2016, her close confidante Sasikala became the General Secretary by calling the general council that chose her to the top post though the party constitution framed by MGR clearly states that the General Secretary could be elected only by the primary members. Much of that is water under the bridge now as EPS pushes on to be recognised as the second biggest force in State politics after DMK’s MK Stalin. Having tried to steer a course midway between surrendering to the BJP and retaining some political independence, EPS would like to keep himself in a position strong enough to negotiate the terms on which the AIADMK-led alliance will be formed with the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
UStalin free bus

DMK Govt Goes Back On Its Promise, Free Bus Rides For Women, Senior Citizens To End

At last, the DMK had to get realistic; even reckless election promises need money to be fulfilled. The pink coloured free buses for women, free rides for old, infirm, transgender, subsidised travel for students, monthly bus passes can no longer subsist on ideology. The DMK has announced a plan to allow private bus operators to own and run buses on MTC routes under a Gross Cost Contract (GCC), which would factor in adding 500 vehicles for 2023, and increase it by another 500 by 2025, on a per km rate revenue sharing  model. Is this a creative public-private partnership model? Or is it mandated by the World Bank funded C-SUSP (Sustainable Urban Service Program)? The announcement was not happily received by the MTC workers who see in it a diabolical plan to gradually hand over the bus transport to private operators. K Arumuga Nainar, General Secretary of the Federation of Transport Workers has opposed the move as do other CITU unions. Interestingly, the Indian Express carried a stout denial by the Transport Minister SS Sivasankar, claiming that the government had only undertaken a feasibility cum revenue study. “Private operators will likely be allowed to run buses only on routes that have high patronage.” MTC is the lifeline of Chennai which operates 3436 buses over 625 routes, and is used by 30 lakh people every day.

Why Blame Us For The "Poor Pitch" When The Fault Lies Elsewhere Ask BCCI Member Associations

Three Test matches have been played in the four-Test Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the pitches at all three venues have been damned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) Match Referees. Zimbabwe’s Andy Pycroft gave an “average” rating for the pitch at Nagpur’s Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium and New Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla, and England’s Chris Broad did not hesitate to give a “poor” rating to the Holkar Stadium pitch, Indore. The ratings were as good as anyone, from a fan to official, would have imagined after seeing the behaviour of the pitch right in all three Tests put together, but the moot point is which entity should take the blame for the quality of the pitches for international matches played in India. Officials of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) were peeved that it had to face the flak, when fingers should have been pointed at the BCCI pitch and ground committee representatives who supervise the pitch preparation. The team management would not admit, but the officials of the BCCI member associations have divulged that the pitches have been prepared at the behest of an influential support staff member in order to suit the team’s spinners. The Indore pitch has been given three demerit points and the MPCA is fuming because they are not at fault. What’s in store in Ahmedabad is anybody’s guess!
Collage Maker-27-Feb-2023-01

Are Bollywood Photographers Crossing The Laxman Rekha?

Celebrities across the world have to put up with pesky paparazzis. Bollywood is no different. Recently, a freelance Paps clicked Aliya Bhatt sitting by the window in her house. It was not scandalous but Alia raised ‘the right to privacy’ stink and it became a headline. Interestingly, sometimes back when Alia told Paps to avoid taking photos of her daughter they readily agreed. But Anushka Sharma was not that lucky, her child’s photo went viral. And everybody knows Jaya Bachchan’s aversion for Paps. Do Bollywood stars have love-hate relations with paparazzis? In Bollywood there are two kinds of Paps: professional, organized ones and freelancers (mobile phone wielding ones). The organised ones are officially tipped by the PR guys about film stars’ schedules like visits to malls, theatres, restaurants or airports. But, freelancers are not part of this loop. Since they are paid only if they deliver. And their KRA is how far you can go to get those exclusive photos/videos. This sheer fight for survival to take money home sees them break barriers of decency; at times pass lewd remarks against female stars. Basically, they lack etiquettes and manners. In the last three years, especially after Covid-19 pandemic, some of these freelancers have crossed the Laxman-Rekha and have intruded into the star’s privacy. This has irked many female stars.
Cong win

In The Matrix Of Winning & Losing Elections, Cong Still Clueless

For reasons best known to it, the Congress decided to toast and celebrate its by-election wins even though it was decimated in the North East. Party leader Jairam Ramesh went on to emphasize how the Congress had wrested the Kasba Peth assembly seat in Pune after 33 years and managed to make a debut in West Bengal assembly by winning Sagardighi seat after 51 years. In the last West Bengal assembly elections, the Congress had drawn a blank. Congress sources, however point out that winning Kasba Peth was more due to inept handling by state BJP; the assembly seat was handed on a platter to the Congress. Pune MP Girish Bapat reportedly wanted the seat for his daughter-in- law but he had failed to get Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis’s backing. When the party leadership refused to oblige him, Bapat sulked and did not push for a BJP win. Even as PM Modi vowed to expose the CPM-Congress alliance in Kerala, Jairam explained how the tie-up proved to be a face-saver – it had helped the party get at least 5 seats, in 2018 it was zero. In Meghalaya, of course after its entire team of 21 MLAs led by Mukul Sangma joined TMC, the party had reasons to be happy that it had won 5 seats. But then the Congress doesn’t realise that exodus to the TMC wouldn’t have happened if it had not handed over the PCC to Lok Sabha MP Vincent Pala– he lost the assembly elections.

Are Adani Stocks On A Comeback Trail?

The Adani group and its shares have been under tremendous pressure over the last five weeks since the report from Hindenburg hit the markets. 2nd March was a great day — a big comeback of sorts for Adani. GQG Partners Emerging Markets Equity Fund invested Rs 15,500 cr approx. in four of Adani’s companies. These shares were bought from the Adani family. The price at which these shares were bought are Rs 1,408.25 for Adani Enterprises, Rs 504.60 for Adani Green Energy, Rs 596.20 for Adani Ports and SEZ, and Rs 668.40 for Adani Transmission. These prices at which the deal was done would become a benchmark for valuation going forward. In the near foreseeable future these prices would not break unless a new disaster hits the stock markets. On the same day, the Supreme Court appointed a six-member panel to look into the allegations against the group and submit a report in a sealed cover within two months. This would clear doubts raised by Hindenburg, the continuous disruption in Parliament would now stop and alleged cronyism, a charge raised by the Opposition would also be resolved. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and at the time of writing this article the share prices of three of the four stocks mentioned have gained between 11.13% to 11.32% (as they are subject to a 5% circuit filter) and the fourth has gained a staggering 29.8%.
Atmanirbhar_Pawan Anand

Taking Atmanirbhar A Step Further In India’s Defence Industry

The USI Atma Nirbhar Bharat Initiative (USI-ANBI) has given new meaning has been given to the work of the United Service Institution (USI) of India in furtherance of its avowed objective of “furtherance of knowledge in the art, science and literature in the interest of national security”. Such initiatives bring defence industry players in contact with the Services departments dealing with procurement and indigenisation. In July 2022, for example, it had a panel discussion (PD) with Aditya Birla Securities Ltd on the impact of the geopolitical situation on global and India’s financial markets, followed by one with Microsoft on cybersecurity, where the apex cybersecurity officials were brought in. Start-ups are allowed to register and asked to join when there is a round table discussion (RTD), seminar or closed-door meeting on the issue relevant to them. USI of India is a strategic think tank with a wealth of retired officials from Services, IAS, IPS and IFS, explains Major General Dr Pawan Anand, AVSM (Retd), Distinguished Fellow and Head of USI-ANBI. “It is a great brand!” he says. “We are now planning on foreign industry offerings too at our RTDs.” Obviously, India’s role on the global stage continues to grow in its presidency of the G-20 which it took over in December last year.

MNS Leader Attacked, Investigate Aaditya Thackeray And Sanjay Raut Says Party

Fatal attack by four unidentified assailants on MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande  in the busy Shivaji Park area has fuelled a bitter political war as his party colleagues have demanded arrest of Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut. The police are treading cautiously as any wrong action by any side can potentially blow up in a serious law and order problem. Known as a politically mature state once upon a time, increasing incidence of violence has become the norm in recent times. Beating up of government officials and assaults on police personnel was never heard of in older times but even that scenario is changing for worse. Alleged involvement by ministers like Jitendra Awhad or Bachchu Kadu in thrashing political opponents and conviction of some of them has been becoming frequent. The sad part is that the political parties concerned avoid taking any disciplinary action fearing electoral fallout. Deshpande, a vocal critic of the Thackeray family and a confidant of MNS chief Raj Thackeray, has been in the forefront of exposing the BMC corruption. He has vowed to continue his crusade.

Did Cong Plan Lokayukta Raid Against BJP MLA’s Son To Revive PayCM Campaign In Karnataka?

Emphatically returning to power on its own in Tripura in the face of the CPM and Congress alliance, there was a story waiting to spoil BJP’s party in Bengaluru. It all seemed well planned by the Congress and its cohorts of contracts. It was too much of a coincidence that the anti-corruption wing of Lokayukta should strike on March 2 evening. Prashanth Madal, a Karnataka Administrative Service officer and the son of BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa was caught receiving a bribe of Rs 40 lakh from a contractor who supplied raw materials for the factory. Lokayukta Police were surprised when they found over Rs 6 crore from Prashanth’s residence. Following the recoveries, his father Virupakshappa quit as chairman of Karnataka Soaps and Detergents, the manufacturer of Mysore Sandal Soap. Virupakshappa is a MLA from Channagiri in the Davanagere district. Prashanth is the chief accountant at Bangalore Water Supply & Sewerage Board. Predictably chief minister Basvaraj Bommai asserted that action against Prashant could be taken only because the BJP government had appointed Lokayukta. Politically, the Lokayukta action against the BJP in South was planned by the Congress; it was essentially to help the Congress once again revive its PayCM campaign against Bommai. The Lokayukta action was possibly scripted by contractors who are pro-Congress. Interestingly, reflecting on squabble within the Karnataka Congress, a video has gone viral where potential CM candidate Siddaramaiah is heard saying bringing people to rallies by paying Rs 500.

Ideas2IT Plays Good Samaritan, Provides Training For Laid-Off Tech Professionals

Sometime ago, this one did an out-of-the box innovation to reward long-time loyalist-employees. This Chennai-based high-end product engineering company distributed 100 Maruti cars to staffers who have served the company for over five years. Now, it has come out with yet another innovative idea. With tech giants such as Google, Zoom and the like dishing out pink slips, Ideas2IT has decided to play Good Samaritan.  It has now launched perhaps the country’s first proprietary up-skilling program. The idea is to help tech professionals bounce back from the adversity of recession and layoffs! “Pledge2Propel”, a career enhancement initiative, is primarily intended to help tech professionals affected by the economic slowdown and layoffs. This initiative aims to provide all the support they need to re-group and pursue new opportunities by means of up-skilling or venturing into entrepreneurship while prioritizing their mental health. To be sure, this initiative does not promise or guarantee a job. Along with IdeaRX, a HealthTech start-up, Ideas2IT hopes to help the laid-off professionals to navigate the psychological and professional challenges and guide them to reach a secure terrain. “With this association, we intend to transform the lives of many tech professionals through empathy, inspiration and empowerment,” says Gayathri, CEO of Ideas2IT.  This non-profit program is available for free to all affected tech professionals across the globe. A twice-blessed initiative, indeed.
Akshay Kumar_twi_003


Flop Pe Flop: Time For Akshay Kumar To Reinvent Himself?

Bollywood’s most successful star Akshay Kumar is experiencing failures; all his releases in the last two years have bombed badly. His latest Selfiee collected just Rs 20 cr in the first four days of its release instead of earning at least Rs 20 cr per day. Selfiee made at a cost of Rs 150 cr and shot in 40 days could perhaps be Akshay’s biggest flop of his career. Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan in spite of controversy collected around Rs 70 cr per day to touch Rs 509 crore in 36 days.  Earlier, Kartik Aaryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa2 broke the Bollywood jinx by grossing over Rs 200 cr. In comparison Akshay’s figures are: Bachchhan Paandey Rs 52 cr, Samrat Prithviraj Rs 68cr, Bell Bottom Rs 32 cr and Raksha Bandhan Rs 48 cr. Says an industry insider, Akshay Kumar needs to reinvent himself. Most of his choices of subjects have been super flops. Basically, his fans are showing him the mirror. But is he looking at it? In spite of back-to-back flops, the 55-year old is not being written off by the producers. He has a couple of big projects in the pipeline — Hera Pheri 4 (promo shot), Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan with Tiger Shroff, Capsule Gill completed in the UK, a remake of Sorarai Pottaru (under production). Currently, he has taken a short break for a show in the USA with four glamorous stars. Reportedly, the New Jersey show has been cancelled.

India-Australia Series: Tinkering With The Pitch Backfires In Indore

Given the option, India chose one of the black soil varieties and got the two ends of pitch (in front of the batter) scoured to the extent it desired, and yet got the taste of its own medicine in the third Test at the Holkar Stadium, Indore. It appears that a pitch of the red soil make-up was the initial preferred choice of the home team, but people privy to what goes on between the team management and the State association said that a black soil that deters consistent bounce was ordered to be prepared four days before the start of the Test. It was on a pitch of like texture that India dictated terms in Nagpur and New Delhi, but the team that was vanquished there hit back and outplayed India in the end by nine wickets.  Pitches in India have always been tinkered with to suit its spin-strength with the ultimate aim of winning the home series. The last Test will be played at Motera in Ahmedabad, where the prime ministers of the two countries will be in attendance on March 9. The pattern of the black soil pitch is likely to be pursued for yet another time in the last Test. Two years ago England lost two Test matches in five days at Motera in Ahmedabad, but Australia turned out to be a tough customer in Indore and it will be tough to beat now in the series-ending match in Ahmedabad.
Stalin 70 bday

DMK Alliance Win Puts Spotlight On Stalin’s Role In National Politics

The DMK+ alliance won the bypoll to the Erode East with a whopping margin of 66,000 seats. Having played it safe by asking the senior Congress leader EVKS Elangovan to stand rather than let one of his sons do, the importance of winning had been anticipated by DMK. The verdict also settles the question of which is the Opposition party that can get the closest to the DMK and that is Edappadi K Palaniswami’s AIADMK. The result was a foregone conclusion but what it does is it adds to the stature of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin as a definitive national figure in any post-2024 Lok Sabha polls scenario. A man who can guarantee close to 40 seats for the combined opposition hoping to down the BJP on a national scale, the numbers assume great significance. And Stalin also presented the sanest view that it was more important to defeat the BJP than haggle over who can be Prime Minister in the unlikely but possible scenario of the combined opposition claiming the numbers. Given the sentiment of the occasion of Stalin’s 70th birthday, a gushing Farooq Abdullah tried to present Stalin as a PM candidate. Stalin brushed that aside while calling for unity in the Opposition ranks when just over a year remains for the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Political Parties Showered Erode Voters With As Many As 18 Gifts At The Recent Bypoll

Freebies have become synonymous with elections. Voters are really spoilt for choice. But, freebies during bypolls seems a bit unusual. That’s what happened at the recent bypolls held in Erode East, Tamil Nadu. According to a source, at least 18 gifts were given to each voter by various political parties. It was Diwali in February with smart watches, mini fans, pressure cookers and a host of consumer durables. Besides, liquor and biryani packs were distributed every day until the voting day. Attached ingeniously to the biryani packs were what is euphemistically called “sweet boxes” in TN; cash in disguise. The Erode voters felt wooed and wanted. Vikatan TV’s social media handle talked about Erode East’s “withdrawal symptoms” when the election campaigners packed up and left the constituency. A funny incident doing the rounds is one for the books. TTV Dinakaran who decided not to field his candidate in the final run up, had a huge stock of pressure cookers — his party’s symbol that was allotted to another. A DMK minister is said to have asked Dinakaran to sell the stash at 50% discount! His advice “the symbol itself is not yours. Salvage the cost of this huge consignment. Sell it at 50% to me.” Commerce is the one abiding force that moves both winners and losers.
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (82)

Cooperative Competition: Zomato, Swiggy’s New Business Model

Laissez-faire is a policy of minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society. This freedom is the fulcrum around the real competitive world. Yet, we have a Competitive Commission. This does not, however, prevent competitive cooperation in the business world. If proof was required, it is available in plenty in the Indian business world. Every December, car makers – one by one – come out with announcements of impending price hikes.  One can easily sense a collective design in their individual action. This kind of cooperative competition has now spread to new-age entities. Online food ordering and delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy are highly popular in India. No doubt, they are in a competing space. These new-age organizations often give a go by to the much acclaimed dictum `profitable growth’. Faced with the reality, Zomato and Swiggy appear to have struck an informal cooperation. So much so, you can now see a Zomato boy delivering an order placed with Swiggy! This kind of order diversion appears to be quite usual these days. None would like to lose out on business due to lack of network. Indeed, it is a sensible way to optimize each other’s network. Of course, they share their commission. Well, the survival instinct is at work indeed.

Finally, Supreme Court Draws The Line On High-Profile People Knocking Its Doors For Instant Relief

It is good to see that CJI DY Chandrachud defying expectations. From the manner in which Congress leader Pawan Khera had secured pre-arrest bail in a case of defamation filed by Assam Police against him for taking a jibe at PM Modi’s middle name, the Aam Aadmi Party was confident that it could also secure bail for its leader Manish Sisodia from the CBI in the liquor scam. AAP had engaged the same learned counsel who had represented Khera. But the express relief which the Apex Court granted Khera, simply did not come Sisodia’s way. CJI Chandrachud refused to entertain Delhi Dy CM Manish Sisodia’s plea against his arrest by the CBI and suggested he move the High Court as he felt it would open a floodgate of such pleas. “We will be asked to interfere in every such case…we cannot intervene in this at this stage,” he said.  The judges also felt just because an incident happens in Delhi, it does not mean the matter should come to the SC. Best part was when Sisodia’s counsel wanted the Apex Court to direct that the bail be decided expeditiously, the Solicitor General made it clear that further remand of the AAP leader would be sought.  After SC refused to provide any urgent relief, Sisodia resigned as minister from Delhi govt. So did another jailed minister Satyendra Jain. Now the AAP will have to move the Delhi HC. As more details of Sisodia’s efforts to secure his liquor policy surface — how he got a PR agency to send 4,000 emails to the Delhi government — it looks like it could get a bit tough for the AAP leader.

Sena Appoints Whip In Legislative Council, Uddhav Cornered

Even as the SC hearing about the political developments in Maharashtra is underway, the Shiv Sena led by chief minister Eknath Shinde has created a sticky situation for Uddhav Thackeray. It has appointed a lone Sena member in the legislative council, Viplav Bajoria, as its whip in the upper house. Since Uddhav is a member of the council, any directive issued by Bajoria can create difficulties for him, legal experts feel. The Sena has sought council’s deputy chairperson Neelam Gorhe’s recognition for Bajoria’s appointment. Uddhav’s response to this challenge is awaited with bated breath. The Thackeray faction has 10 members in the council while Bajoria is the only one to have supported Shinde. The Sena has appointed Bharat Gogawle as its whip in the assembly. He has already issued a directive to all 55 ‘Sena’ members, which includes those supporting Uddhav. They have declared that no such whip can apply to them as the matter is before the Apex Court. Despite this, the Shinde faction has appointed Bajoria, a move aimed at cornering Uddhav. The Shinde faction earlier in the day flashed portraits of Shinde and his mentor Anand Dighe alongside that of Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray in the parliament complex party office, removing pictures of Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray. Both sides have declared that they will fight to the finish.
Collage Maker-28-Feb-2023-06

Who Will Be BCCI Senior Selector No 5?

The Chetan Sharma episode is done and dusted with the former India fast bowler turned national selector chucking away a handsome salary of well over Rs 1 crore. Into his second month of his third year as Chairman of the selection committee, Sharma spoke about confidential matters related to the national team and players to a private channel and got punished; he was compelled to quit. After the 2008 BCCI AGM the selectors have been paid and made more accountable. Former players began to covet the selector’s post because there were ample rewards. Sharma’s resignation has reduced the selection panel to four members and the BCCI has not started the process of filling up the fifth post. Three years ago the BCCi had to petition the Supreme Court to restore the composition of the selection committee to five from the three proposed by the Lodha Committee and endorsed by the Court. The selectors are appointed by the BCCI upon receiving recommendation from its Cricket Advisory Committee. The other selectors are Shiv Sundar Das, Sridharan Sharath, Subroto Banerjee and Salil Ankola.  There will be a number of aspirants from North Zone to fill the vacancy caused by Sharma’s exit. Recently the BCCI carried on with four selectors after Abey Kuruvilla ceased to be a selector because of the rules and regulations related to the term of office.
Stalin Jr

Succession Planning: Udhayanidhi Stalin In Delhi To Meet PM, Opposition Leaders

Udhayanidhi Stalin is on a two-day visit to Delhi to meet the prime minister and home minister. His life lessons have been mostly cinematic, cavorting with heroines and calculating box office takes of his Red Giant movie distribution venture. Ever since he was appointed as minister for Youth Welfare & Sports Development, Father Stalin is grooming him for the inevitable succession to the TN Gaddi, and is ensuring that Udhayanidhi gets to hear and see all the significant cues needed to take charge of the party and government. Being his first visit to Delhi, Stalin Jr has planned parallel agendas. Just in case the PM is unable to meet him, Udhayanidhi will attend a function at Banwari Lal Purohit’s home, meet the Sports Ministry bureaucrats for bringing better facilities, more funding, and equipment to TN. At a recent JNU scuffle, some TN students were injured by the so-called ABVP cadres, Udhayanidhi will meet them. But the main agenda is to deliver invitations to as many Opposition leaders and heavy weights to attend the mega public event — Chennai YMCA grounds on March 1 to celebrate Stalin’s 70th birthday. Udhayanidhi programmed to learn on the job, to coax, convince and cajole persons sitting on the fence to join the mega Opposition to take on the BJP juggernaut.

As CBI Gets 5-Day Custody Of Sisodia, AAP's Political Journey In Tatters

The arrest of Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia in the multi-crore excise scam was inevitable though it has sent shock waves in political circles. With the CBI getting his five-day custody, Sisodia’s detention and questioning in various aspects of the excise policy for 2021-22, which the probe agency found suffered from irregularities both in its formulation and implementation, is bound to embarrass the AAP leadership. The CBI had found that profit margins of liquor wholesalers were increased from 5% to 12% in the new excise policy on the insistence of the ‘South Lobby‘, a coterie of politicians and liquor businessmen who allegedly swung the policy in their favour. Ever since the CBI started its investigation, Sisodia, it is believed, systematically destroyed evidence by changing his phone — as many as 140 phones. Crucial to cracking the case has been the arrest of Butchibabu Gorantla, a former CA of K Kavitha, a BRS MLC and daughter of Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao. Babu had allegedly met several accused named in the FIR in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai and was one of the prime negotiators from the South Lobby, which wanted to swing policy in its favour. It is not just the BRS, even AAP and YSRCP leaders are involved in the scam. A close relative of Telangana PCC chief Revanth Reddy too is involved. In fact, Reddy has instructed his party leaders not to speak against Kavitha.
milind narvekar

Uddhav’s Closest Aide Milind Narvekar Presence In Maharashtra Legislature Central Hall Raises Eyebrows

Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray’s closest aide Milind Narvekar shot in the news after a gap of some months as his presence in the central hall of Maharashtra legislature became the most discussed political development on the opening day of the state’s budget session. Later, he said he had entered the hall owing to a misunderstanding. Narvekar had hit headlines in the past due to his close personal equations with various top leaders like Sharad Pawar, Devendra Fadnavis and Eknath Shinde. His perceived plans to jump into one camp or another are always a matter of curiosity as he has been associated with varied institutions, from the Tirupati Temple Trust to the Mumbai Cricket Association. Political speculation was rife when Narvekar was seen in the hallowed precincts. His clarification that he had sat in the hall, mistaking it for the viewers’ gallery, was considered thin. Narvekar’s act, ostensibly inadvertent, has raised many questions as he is not new to the legislature to commit such a blunder. His party leader Aaditya Thackeray, when quizzed said, “Ask Milind if he entered the hall due to a mistake or it was his wish.” To corner the Uddhav faction over the issue, Eknath Shinde’s trusted supporter Sanjay Shirsat said, “Narvekar is in touch with us and many more MLAs are also in contact.”
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (83)

AICC Plenary Session: From Missing Icon To Finding New One, Cong Hits Refresh Button In Raipur

Senior Congress leaders are downplaying the controversy over the party’s advertisement of the 85th plenary session in which a photo of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s — India’s first education minister and former Congress president– went missing. Congress sources said Azad’s picture was very much on display at the AICC plenary function in Raipur. “As for the advertisement, all I can say is that it was not released by the AICC. It was handled locally by the PCC,” said a CWC member. He said the only new inclusion was that of former PM PV Narasimha Rao.” This is the first time that Rao saab made a comeback to the AICC motif after he stepped down as Congress President in 1996.”It is ironic that Rao should find a place only when Sonia Gandhi bowed out after presiding over the Congress for 25 years. Sonia had not allowed Rao’s body to be brought to the AICC office or allowed his cremation in Delhi in 2004. It was left to PM Modi to build a memorial in his honour in 2015. Meanwhile, questions are being raised about the inclusion of Dr BR Ambedkar among the list of former Congress presidents. Sudheendhra Kulkarni tweeted, how Ambedkar, who was never with the Congress and was its bitter critic both before and after Independence could be included? Also Netaji Subhash C Bose, who was forced to step down as Congress President? Is it because Modi has begun bestowing Netaji with so much prestige and honour?

Adani Stocks: What’s The Further Downward Risk?

From a peak of Rs 24.33 tn (Rs 2,433,000 cr) last year Adani group’s market capitalization has already nose-dived more than 70% to Rs 7.16 tn (Rs 716,000 cr). Is this the end of the slide, or is it going to fall further? A close study of the Adani group stocks reveals that, in the first decade during which the group had just one listed company, Adani’s P/E multiples were in single digit which was far below the market average. In the second decade, when the group started unlocking the value of its closely-held companies, the discounting vastly improved.  In the third decade, when the count of the group’s listed entities increased from 3 to 10, the P/E multiples shot up to three digits which were many times more than the market average. The current slide has corrected the group’s P/E from 147X to 43X. However, this is still far higher than the current market composite P/E of 25X. At the current market composite P/E, the Adani group’s market cap should be about Rs 4.2 tn (Rs 420,000 cr). In other words, the group’s market cap may possibly contract another 40% (about Rs 300,000 cr) under the present circumstances. By arrangement with

With Eye On Election, Shinde-Fadnavis Government To Adopt Aggressive Hindutva Line

The Maharashtra government under Eknath Shinde and Devendra Fadnavis has decided to adopt the path of aggressive Hindutva in the days to come after the Centre’s nod to rename Aurangabad and Osmanabad in Marathwada. Following the favourable decision, there are demands rising that Ahmednagar, the largest district in the state, should be renamed as Ahilyanagar to perpetuate the memory of Ahilyabai Holkar, the 17th century ruler of Indore. Similar demands have been made to rename Islampur as Ishwarpur or Alibaug as Shribaug but have not enjoyed much traction as earlier regimes didn’t respond to them. As a step in this direction, the state government has announced a grand tribute to Hindutva icon Veer Savarkar on February 26 at Bhagur, his birthplace near Nashik. More such celebrations are in the offing across the state.
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (78)

India’s Top Vocalists Mahesh Kale, Kaushiki Chakraborty To Regale UK Audiences

Indian classical music aficionados are in for a treat in the UK. The recent opening of the South Asian Gallery – one of its kind in the UK — at the Manchester Museum has loaned an original pair of tabla of Ustad Allah Rakha from the British Museum. Allah Rakha’s tabla gathers a lot of interest and attention as one can hear the original clip of his playing on earphones. More. Come March, Mahesh Kale India’s renowned vocalist and national award winner will enthrall his fans in the UK’s two UK cities. Kale’s “Sur Niragas Ho – UK Tour” will be Live in Harrow (Mar 11) followed by the city of Manchester (Mar 12) at the iconic Royal Northern College of Music. Disciple of the late Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, Kale came to prominence after he won the 63rd National Film Award as the Best Playback Singer, for a classical piece in the Marathi film Katyar Kaljat Ghusli.  A fortnight after Kale’s performance the UK audience will be regaled by another classical music artiste Kaushiki Chakraborty from Patiala gharana. Her popularity can be gauged from the fact that tickets for her concert have already been sold out.

Several Opposition Leaders In Our Contact, Claims Sanjay Raut

After Delhi and Punjab chief ministers met Shiv Sena (U) leader Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai, party MP Sanjay Raut claimed that many top Opposition leaders were in contact with their party. However, no names were disclosed by him. AAP leaders Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann called on Uddhav at his residence Matoshree, Bandra. They later attacked the Union government and the BJP for misusing various Central agencies for political purposes. Kejriwal felt that Maharashtra was behind Uddhav. But he averted a direct reply when asked if he would form an alliance with Uddhav. Nonetheless, he indicated that the association among Opposition parties would be strengthened rather than fighting with each other. Uddhav had earlier announced that he would liaise with major opposition parties to mount a joint front against the BJP. His supporters had hinted that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, too, could come to Mumbai to further the process. But she has yet to make any such plans known. Sena (U) detractors remember Raut’s prediction at the time of Uddhav swearing-in as chief minister in 2019 that he (Uddhav) would be a prospective PM choice by the non-BJP opposition in 2024. Though Uddhav himself has never been heard to have made any such intention public, he has neither discounted the possibility. Political activity in Maharashtra will warm up after the two Pune assembly byelections results are out next week.
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (81)

AICC Plenary Session: Gandhis Arrive In Raipur As Cong Decides To Vest Powers With Kharge For Key Appointments

Former Congress Presidents Sonia and Rahul Gandhi arrived in Raipur, Chhattisgarh for the 85th AICC Plenary Session only after the Steering Committee meeting decided that incumbent party president Mallikarjun Kharge should be given the power of selecting CWC members. It was as if the Gandhis did not want to be seen as the “invisible hand” behind the move. In fact, the Congress made it seem as if there was no way the Gandhis could have even communicated their view via phone. “Every member tabled their opinion and with everyone’s consent the Select Committee decided that the party president should pick CWC members,” said Congress leader Jairam Ramesh. He asserted that all the 45 members were present and there was no zoom meeting. The consensus was to go for appointments, though some had batted for elections as the party was going for affirmative action; there were going to be 16 amendments to the party constitution. Party sources said the AICC delegates list itself was highly doctored as it did not have adequate representation from the states. Not having elections is a bit odd and could go against Kharge as at least under two non-Gandhi Congress Presidents such as PV Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri, there were CWC elections. Rahul had encouraged elections to the party president’s post but Gandhis were not happy when Shashi Tharoor entered the fray last October. Kerala PCC is still recovering from the impact of Tharoor’s contest.
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (80)

Congress Puzzled As PM Modi Shuns Political Rhetoric In His Election Speech At Nagaland, Meghalaya

It was amazing how Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept the focus of his poll campaign in both Nagaland and Meghalaya on the development he delivered in the last eight years and simply did not focus on the Congress attacks on him. In Dimapur he highlighted how the Congress always ran the Nagaland government on remote control from Delhi and indulged in familial politics and pointed out how he was developing a railway network to connect Kohima. In Shillong too, PM Modi kept the focus of his attack on development issues. Zeroing in on a Congress barb about ‘Modi teri qabar khudegi‘, he said “Some people who have been rejected by the country are immersed in sadness as the people of the country are saying “Modi tera kamal khilega“. In contrast, both Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi who campaigned in Nagaland and Meghalaya made contradictory points on Opposition unity. It was as if they belonged to different parties. Both Kharge and Rahul were not in sync. While Kharge pitched for Opposition unity led by the Congress in Nagaland, there was Rahul Gandhi puncturing the Congress’s 2024 story by attacking Trinamool Congress in Shillong. “Why should we be attacking TMC at this stage? In contrast, post-Adani controversy, PM Modi has been pitching himself as a statesman focusing only on development issues. He is shunning political rhetoric,” observed a party veteran.
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (7)

Pune Bypoll Campaign Steeped In Communal Blizzard, Pawar Defends Controversial Statement

Electioneering for the Kasba and Pimpri-Chinchwad assembly byelections has been caught in a communal blizzard in its last moments as NCP president Sharad Pawar has defended a controversial appeal to the voters by former Congress Pune corporator Usman Hiroli. Addressing an NCP meeting, Hiroli had said, “Bring all those back from Dubai or Saudi on February 26. Even those should be made to vote who are no more.” When quizzed by the media, Pawar said there was nothing wrong to call back those who may have gone to Dubai or Kathmandu. It would have been proper to object had Hiroli asked non-voters to vote, Pawar observed. In the speech, Hiroli is heard saying, “We can win this war, defeat Modi and the RSS, only when we vote, not just 99% but 100%.” Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has condemned the appeal, saying that this bypoll is a battle between the supporters and opponents of the removal of Article 370 to liberate Kashmir. It is an attempt to polarise society on religious lines, he alleged. In a bid to clarify his statement, Hiroli said that about 1500 young boys and girls from Kasba constituency are in Saudi, Dubai and Kuwait. “All I meant was that they should be called for voting as they frequently come here,” he explained.
1500x500 (1)

The Million Dollar Question: Will KL Rahul Play In Indore?

Wll KL Rahul get captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahil Dravid’s nod for the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, set to start in Indore on March 1? This is a million dollar question that is weighing in the minds of the cricket faithful with the four Test series going through a lull because of a long break after India closed out the second Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla inside three days. Rahul has opened for India in 75 innings, scored 2551 runs for an average of 34.95, but the numbers had dipped to 17.13 in 2021 and further declined to 12.67 in two Tests against Australia this year. The poor numbers over a span of six Tests had set off strong opinions against his inclusion for the last two Tests. But the team management is looking at his 2021 average which is a high 46.10 with two centuries. Sharma and Dravid believe in giving proven and new players a good run to be judged, and that Rahul has been included for the Tests at Indore and Ahmedabad is an indication of the team management’s faith in the out-of-form opener. Rahul could also be part of the team should India qualify for the ICC Test Championship final to be played in the UK where he scored 149 at The Oval and 129 at Lord’s in the 2021 series.
EPS and supporters after SC verdict

EPS Emerges AIADMK Supremo, Erode Bypoll To Test His Popularity

Edappadi Palaniswami stays as the supremo of AIADMK as its (interim) General Secretary, a post created by J Jayalalithaa. Reduced to a rump presence is O Panneerselvam, his mentor VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran. It was always clear that EPS had the people’s mandate and he also asserted himself in the party by rallying an absolute majority of the leaders. It stood to reason that the Supreme Court would note that the essence of any party is where its majority lies or who its majority favours. The Thevar clan, who relied too much on their financial clout rather than the public support that Jaya had built, is well and truly out of it now. EPS would be least inclined to listen to pleas for greater unity in the party by bringing back the dangerous Mannargudi clan. EPS may have convinced the BJP already that this is the way the party will operate. Of course, its great test lies in how many votes the party can garner in the Erode East bypoll. The result itself may be a nearly foregone conclusion but the voting percentage would indicate how much of a clout EPS and his original AIADMK has among the people. Given the top court ruling, the BJP will be backing EPS fully now, regardless of how much personal rapport OPS had with the highest powers.

Pawan Khera Pays For His Word-Play, Needlessly Dragging Modi's Father Costs Cong Leader

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera who attempted a word-play on PM Narendra Modi’s middle name was arrested on his way to Raipur at Delhi Airport. The Delhi Police asked him to de-board and detained him upon receiving complaints from Assam Police. He was released on interim bail by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud. “We have protected you but there has to be some level of discourse,” said Justice Chandrachud hearing the Congress petition against cases registered in Uttar Pradesh and Assam. The main nub of the Congress plea was that many FIRs had been registered against Khera in Assam and UP for insulting the PM in his Press Conference on February 17 in Mumbai. A complaint was lodged in Lucknow which was converted into an FIR. Another FIR was registered at Varanasi. While his lawyer wanted clubbing of the FIRs across states and did not plead for its quashing at this stage, the government counsel submitted that the expression used by Khera was not “unintentional and was deliberate”. She submitted that the “derogatory remark was made to incite disaffection against the PM. After all he is the duly elected Prime Minister of the country.” In a mischievous word-play on PM Modi’s name while demanding a JPC probe into the Adani-Hindenburg row, Khera said, “If Atal Bihari Vajpayee could form a JPC, then what problem does Narendra Gautam Das…sorry Damodardas…Modi have?” appearing to confirm the middle name with a colleague. He had apologised shortly thereafter.
kesavan resignation

Kesavan's Exit From Cong Is More About His Failure To Get A Rajya Sabha Berth Than Party Politics

Congress leader CR Kesavan, great grandson of India’s first Governor-General, C Rajagopalachari, resigned from the party on the eve of the AICC session beginning at Raipur. In a letter addressed to party president Mallikarjun Kharge, Kesavan stated that he no longer sees “any vestiges of the values” that made him join the Congress after leaving a successful career abroad and working for two decades with the party. Tamil Nadu Congress leaders viewed Kesavan exit as more about himself than the Congress; it was his disappointment over not getting a Rajya Sabha nomination as P Chidambaram was elected with support of the DMK. “I can no longer in good conscience say that I concur with what the party presently stands for..This is why I had recently declined an organisational responsibility at the national level and also refrained from participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra.” He acknowledged it was time “for him to chart a new path”.  At the same time, his utterances post exit leave very little doubt where he could be headed. “The values which I worked for have changed. When Droupadi Murmu ji’s nomination was announced, a senior working committee member of the party said she represents an evil philosophy, another party member said no country should get a President like this. It is disheartening I felt. I didn’t belong here anymore.”
supriya sule

Flex Board Mystery Deepens, Now Supriya Sule’s Name Surfaces As First Woman CM Of Maharashtra

Even as various disclosures are rocking the polity in Maharashtra, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is haunted by some unidentified elements which are projecting one party leader after another as the next possible chief minister of the state. Fearing an avoidable sticky situation, NCP MP Supriya Sule, only child of party supremo Sharad Pawar, was livid as her image was flashed on a flex board outside the NCP office in south Mumbai. It was hastily removed but only adding to the mystery shrouding the identity of the ‘well-wisher’. Supriya demanded immediate action against the mystery man by the police. First, it was NCP Maharashtra president Jayant Patil and he was followed by Ajit Pawar on flex boards. The flex on her said, “Supriya Sule, first woman CM of Maharashtra.” She demanded that the identity of the flex displayer should be established. When the flex about Patil as the next CM was put up, it was brushed aside as a misplaced birthday wish. However, within days, Ajit’s name was flashed. Even before the party had recovered, Supriya’s name has been propagated. In a bid to quell the sensation, Ajit had reiterated that there was no competition between Supriya and him. But she has taken the matter gravely, indicating that she will pursue it.
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (77)

Gayathri in shawl, extreme right K Annamalai

Mission Revenge: Gayathri Raguramm Quits BJP, Openly Takes On TN Party Chief Annamalai

Gayathri Raguramm, who was suspended by Tamil Nadu BJP Chief K Annamalai for defying party discipline in the now infamous TiruchI Siva /Daisy scandal is on a mission revenge even as she quit the primary membership of the BJP. Who is Gayathri Raguramm, you may ask as she is not as well bespoke as Khushboo, who is now firmly embedded in BJP after her carousel stays in other parties. Gayathri, a middling success as actor and dance director, quickly made a name and profile for herself in the party hierarchy. She was made the BJP coordinator for Indian diaspora. Articulate and aggressive, she found Annamalai, the rock of challenge, alleging that he hurt her by defaming her character after her tirade in the Tiruchi Siva incident. She called on VCK Thirumavalavan on February 21, saying she found him fair and gracious in his political stance, and that he did not prejudge her quitting the BJP under controversy. Thiruma is known as a prickly critic of the BJP. Gayathri will also meet the other enfant terrible of TN’s tinder box politics, actor-director-orator-feared political baiter — NaamThamizhar Katchi Chief, Seeman. Gayathri is busy in her plans to make Annamalai see red. ”Better to have an enemy who slaps you in the face than a friend who stabs you in the back”. Clearly, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Amazon’s India Focused Fund To Invest $104 Mn In FreshToHome

The Bengaluru-based FreshToHome now has the financial backing of Amazon. Through its India-focused Smbhav Venture Fund, Amazon has made $104 mn series D funding.  The 2015 incubated FreshToHome sells fresh fish and meat to consumers in South Asia and Middle East. FreshToHome would be a right fit for Amazon, which of late has expanded to the grocery and fresh category leveraging on its logistics infrastructure in South Asia. During its first phase of funding two years back, FreshToHome, raised $121 mn from Investment of Corporation of Dubai, IronPillar, Ascent Capital and US Government’s DFC. FreshToHome is one of the largest players in the $ 100 billion Indian fish and meat market. The size of the market indicates that India is not just a vegetarian country. FreshToHome plans to change the existing market set-up, run on age-old systems. The company proposes to bring in better efficiency by first streamlining the sourcing infrastructure of meat and fish. This will be backed by improved quality of produce and delivery time by using its own processing plants and vast supply chain network. “Customers ordering fish from Delhi to Dubai on a Monday, get their purchases delivered the latest by the next day,” says Shan Kadavil, co-founder and CEO of FreshToHome.  The company today serves over 4,000 fishers and farmers and millions of customers in over 160 cities in India and UAE.

Is BJP Trying To Push TMC To Divide West Bengal On Ethnic Lines?

On February 20 this year, the West Bengal State Assembly passed the resolution against the attempts to divide Bengal by voice vote. This move clearly indicates that the ruling Trinamool Congress government has found itself trapped in the mire of separate statehood demands by the Tribals of North Bengal and citizenship status for the Hindu refugees of South Bengal. At a time when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is countering BJP’s move of implementing Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Bengal, she is also hounded by the demands of separate statehoods out of North Bengal such as Greater Cooch Behar for Rajbanshis and Gorkhaland for the Gorkhas. While, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha president Bimal Gurung constituted Bharatiya Gorkhaland Sangharsha Samiti committee to lead their demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, Rajbanshis leader Ananta Maharaj, head of the Greater Cooch Behar Peoples’ Association, has also demanded a separate state of Cooch Behar. Interestingly, Matuas, lower caste Hindu refugees living in districts of North and South 24 Parganas and Nadia are hopeful about their citizenship through the implementation of CAA. Moreover, State BJP leadership had assured the Matua community that the Centre is committed to implementing the CAA and also luring the Rajbanshis and Koch, with the assurance of converting North Bengal into a Union Territory.

Mystery Solved: NCP Formed Government With BJP In 2019 To End President’s Rule, Admits Pawar

NCP president Sharad Pawar’s suggestive response to a query about the swearing-in of an alliance of BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and his nephew Ajit Pawar in the morning of 23 November 2019 is indirectly endorsed by former Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. The mystery is becoming murkier as Ajit’s resolve to maintain silence over the sensational development is disregarded by Pawar. “Where is the need for Ajit to speak? Would the President’s Rule have been lifted if there were no swearing-in?” Pawar said obliquely on Wednesday (Feb 22) in Pune. Fadnavis had revealed a few days ago that the two-party government was formed with Pawar’s blessings and knowledge. Last month, NCP leader Jayant Patil, too, had remarked that the alliance was formed so that President’s Rule could end in Maharashtra. Patil had hurriedly retracted the statement but Fadnavis had reiterated it a few days ago, reopening the debate. In spite of the provocation, Ajit has been declining to discuss ‘a long past’ incident. However, his uncle has decided to give credence to whispers that all this planning was hatched for making Uddhav Thackeray the chief minister by showing that an elected government could be formed in Maharashtra. Koshyari said in an interview in Dehradun while backing this supposition, “Leaders of both parties came to me, showed me signatures of the supporting MLAs. I administered the oath to both.”  

Tamil Cinema Top Star Dhanush Makes A Status Statement

The startling bouffant hairstyle, bushy beard and the unmistakable blaring blue Kurta, are enough to make several statements. But Kollywood top star Dhanush is unabashed even as he shows off his huge mansion at Poes Garden, a stone’s throw away from father-in-law Superstar Rajinikanth’s opulent residence. The gruhapravesam was minus his estranged wife, Aishwarya, who had joined hands for the Bhoomi Pooja of this rumoured Rs 150 crore residence. Dhanush had his parents and close family on display on this auspicious day. Memories also dredge up the wedding scene on November 18, 2004 with Thalaiva busy introducing Dhanush to his guests at his residence, the ceremony venue, attended by late JJ and a host of cinema luminaries. Dhanush has come a long way. To his credit one must acknowledge his cinematic success and how he has shaped his career as a bankable star. The crossover from masala movies, his last outings, Thiruchittrambalam, Karnan and Asuran have all made his mark as an actor, spontaneous and serious. His latest release Vathi (Teacher) on February 17 is doing well at box office, collecting Rs 21 crore in the first three days. Brother Selvaraghavan, a top director, released his Bhagasuran on the same day in which he is in the lead. But, it grossed just Rs 3 crore. Sibling rivalry is not the point here…just that Dhanush has arrived in more ways than one, despite his average looks.

Modi Gives Jaishankar Carte Blanche To Counter Soros Narrative

In an apparent move to effectively counter the narrative of Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros and his ilk, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed to be getting his ministers to do all the talking. Doing all the heavy lifting was foreign minister S Jaishankar who was speaking on a range of issues — from army deployment in the LAC to land occupied by China since October 1962; he was exposing the Congress in a detailed interview to ANI. He was the second minister after Union Minister Smriti Irani to be deployed after Soros attacked Modi. Jaishankar who was Foreign Secretary between January 2015 and January 2018 and had joined Tata Sons post retirement revealed how he was surprised when PM Modi called him in 2019 to be part of his government. He said his father K Subrahmanyam, who passed away in 2011, was one of India’s most prominent national security strategists.” He became, at that time, probably the youngest Secretary in the Janata government in 1979. In 1980, he was Secretary, Defence Production. In 1980 when Indira Gandhi was re-elected, he was the first Secretary that she removed. And he was the most knowledgeable person everybody would say on defence.” Jaishankar said his father was also a very upright person, “Maybe that caused the problem, I don’t know”. And after that, he never became a Secretary again. He was superseded during the Rajiv Gandhi period for somebody junior to him who became a cabinet secretary. It was something he felt…we rarely spoke about it. So he was very, very proud when my elder brother became secretary.”
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (75)

Sanjay Raut Says CM’s Son Has Given ‘Supari’ To Attack Him

Uddhav faction Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has stunned the political circles in Maharashtra by alleging that notorious gangster Raja Thakur has been given a contract (Supari) to attack him by chief minister Eknath Shinde’s son Shrikant, also MP. In a letter written to deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, Raut said that Thakur is an ill-famed goon from Thane. While Shinde’s career began from Thane, Shrikant was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kalyan in Thane district. Thakur is a history sheeter from Thane, presently out on bail. Raut’s grave charge has come a couple of days after former chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan has complained to the police that he has been followed by certain elements and expressed apprehensions about his own safety. Raut says in his letter, released to the media, that incidence of threatening elected representatives and attacking them has been on the increase though it is not Maharashtra’s culture. A copy of the complaint is sent to Thane’s commissioner of police as well. Raut’s complaint needs serious attention, according to his party leader Aaditya Thackeray. However, it has been trashed by senior minister Shambhuraj Desai, who said, “Raut levels false allegations without producing any evidence. This is a design to defame Shrikant Shinde.”
Untitled (900 × 900 px) (76)

Preoccupation With Adani Issue Robs Cong Session Of Any Focus, Agenda

For all the hype about celebrating Bharat Jodo Yatra somehow there is no enthusiasm for the upcoming 85th AICC plenary session at Raipur among Congress leaders. No, it has nothing to do with the ED raids on Chhattisgarh Congress leaders. It is because party leaders feel the Congress is not able to set a strong political narrative and is forever getting bogged down in responding to the agenda set by PM Narendra Modi. Party sources feel there are so many issues affecting the common man but the Congress got trapped into focussing on just one issue – the Adani Group. It was perhaps just as Modi wanted.  “We have wasted an entire Parliament session on Adani. Our AICC session will also be lost in the haze of the Hindenburg report. It is possible that there will be no substantial message from the plenary for the cadres,” observed a Congress leader from South. Besides, there is no clarity if elections would be held for 50% of positions in the Congress Working Committee – that is for 12 positions in the policy making body. “It will all depend on what is decided at the steering committee meeting on February 24,”says a party leader. Predominance of the Adani issue has also hit the drafting of AICC resolutions. That is, subjects committees for various resolutions did not even meet once to finalise resolutions.

Stalin’s March 1 Birthday To Bring Opposition Leaders Together

As Stalin’s birthday falls on March 1 his ambition to play a bigger national role might be further fueled. Already, efforts are on to make the occasion grand with leaders of the Congress including its President Malikarjun Kharge and others likely to attend. Bringing all the Opposition together against the BJP is an ambition that Stalin has nursed for long, especially more so since 2019 when he backed Rahul Gandhi to be the face of the Congress and the united opposition’s prime ministerial candidate. However, Stalin is not for other efforts like those of the Telangana CM KCR’s idea of another front without the Congress and Mamata’s TMC in it. More of a traditional politician who has stood by old friends, Stalin is inclined to back the national party as the main binding force for gathering opposition to the ruling BJP. Towards this, he has also asked his DMK party to spare no effort to make victory in the Erode East bypoll a resounding win with a big margin so as to send out a message. Having allotted the seat as per convention to the party that had lost its MLA to death and to the father of the deceased in a poignant gesture, Stalin has put 12 ministers on the job, including his son Udhayanidhi to make victory big enough to matter.
Collage Maker-20-Feb-2023-12

The Fall, Rise And Fall Of Hindi Movies

It is a big setback for the bankable star of Bollywood Kartik Aaryan. His latest release Shehzada has bombed at the box office and this has raised concerns in the film trade whether Shah Rukh Khan’s movie Pathaan was an aberration. Its collection has crossed the Rs 500-crore mark. The weekend collection for Shehzada was around Rs 20 crore and the reason for poor footfall is that film music has not appealed to his fans. Also, last minute postponement of its release also affected the collections. Surprisingly, there were takers for Pathaan’s marketing strategy; it reduced ticket price to Rs200 but when Shehzada offered one ticket free on buying one ticket the audience did not lap it up. A worried Bollywood fraternity is hoping that Akshay Kumar’s Selfiee does well. Though the early numbers is around Rs 5 crore. The trade feels it is going to be difficult for Akshay who has had a series of flops to get a good opening even though the old song ‘Tu anari mein khiladi’ has gone viral. Now all eyes are on Ranbir Kapoor’s Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, Ajay Devgn’s Bholaa. But, of course, the biggest expectations will be from Salman Khan’s Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan that will be released on Eid day. That will be a real acid test.

ED Raids In Chhattisgarh Ahead Of AICC Meet Worry Congress Party

Clearly upset by ED raids on its leaders in Chhattisgarh in connection with the mining and coal levy scam ahead of AICC plenary that is going to be held between February 25-26 in Raipur, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said “The raid on our Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh by the Modi government by misusing the ED shows the cowardice of the BJP before the Congress convention in Raipur”. The Chhattisgarh government has been a great source of financial back-up for the party. Kharge felt the raids were being carried out because of the success of Bharat Jodo Yatra. “We will firmly face this attempt to crush democracy”. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh claimed the ED raids were the result of his posing three questions every day for 14 consecutive days. “We have asked questions of the PM directly on how he has helped Gautam Adani perpetrate this giant fraud. The raids happened at 5 am on PM Modi’s instructions. This is clearly the politics of vendetta, politics of harassment and this is supposed to be a curtain raiser for the 85th Plenary of the Indian National Congress.” Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman dismissed the charges and said “Any agency first collects data and only then action is taken. No action is executed with a sense of revenge.” She also said that Congress should learn to listen while sitting in the Parliament.
Collage Maker-20-Feb-2023-06

Testing Tuesday For Eknath Shinde And Uddhav Thackeray

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray are bracing to face Tuesday for a number of reasons, the most important being a Supreme Court view on the status of the ‘Shiv Sena’ MLAs and MLCs. Owing to the Election Commission decision to declare the Shinde faction as the official Shiv Sena party, several thorny issues are likely to erupt. As the SC is scheduled to take up various matters relating to the developments in Maharashtra on Tuesday, Uddhav has announced that he will not abide by the EC’s verdict as his side has challenged it and is awaiting the Apex Court’s fiat. On the other hand, Shiv Sena party has made it clear that the whips issued by it will be binding on everyone elected on the Sena symbol of bow and arrow. As this could apply to himself and his faction, Uddhav will be in a quandary if any SC judgment proves inconvenient for his side. At the same time, Shinde supporters are now looking forward to a meeting of the Shiv Sena national executive, to be held on Tuesday (Feb 21) after they possessed the Sena office in the Maharashtra legislature complex on Monday (Feb 20). The executive will meet tomorrow at Hotel Taj President in south Mumbai. The future course of action will be charted out at this conclave. 


Hats Off to Jaydev Unadkat For Not Taking Eye Off The Ball

Jaydev Unadkat led by example for Saurashtra to win the coveted Ranji Trophy for the second time in three seasons. It’s a fitting tribute to his unyielding attitude — in addition to the skillsets he has acquired as a seamer, and leadership qualities too — that saw him play the pivotal role in the final played against Bengal at the Eden Gardens. The BCCI released him from the India squad after the Nagpur Test against Australia and Unadkat responded in a remarkable manner taking nine wickets in the title match; virtually cleaning up the Bengal batting line up on the fourth day with a spectacular 6 for 85. Ignored for long after he made his Test debut against South Africa at the Centurion in December 2010, Unadkat toiled for the next 12 years in the domestic circuit; and he could no longer be overlooked after he bagged 122 wickets in season 2018-19 and 2019-20. And this season he has taken 43 wickets in the Ranji Trophy to take his overall first class tally to 382 wickets. Truly, it has been a Herculean effort by the left arm seamer. Recently he staged a Test comeback after 12 years, against Bangladesh at Mirpur. As expected, 31-year old Unadkat is back in the Indian team for the third and fourth Tests against Australia. Unadkat has shown that commitment and effort will not go unrewarded. Hats off to him!
Sena Bhavan 1jpg

Sena Bhavan Will Remain With Uddhav, Next Battleground

The Election Commission’s decision to allot the name and symbol of the Shiv Sena to the faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde will not affect the ownership of ‘Shiv Sena Bhavan,’ the headquarters of the party for decades. The imposing edifice at Dadar in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park locality is associated with the memory of Balasaheb Thackeray. Legally, the structure is owned by a trust and hence is not likely to be covered under the EC verdict. Sena (U) leaders have maintained that all the Shakhas (units) of their party will continue to occupy the offices from which they have been operating for a long time. The issue of Shiv Sena Bhavan’s ownership was a topic for discussion for a while after the Shinde faction formed government in the state. However, it went into oblivion as the CM’s followers announced that they would be finding a separate office for their entity, but in the same vicinity. The search for a suitable office space is now expected to resume. The issue was raised again after the EC’s Friday (Feb 17) decision but the Sena (U) has firmly ruled out any change in the status of Shiv Sena Bhavan, saying it is part of the emotional life of every party worker. Uddhav Thackeray has already made it clear that he will continue to fight. His battle will be conducted from the Sena Bhavan.


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

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

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.