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Gadar 2

Garam Dharam's Family Stars Shine On

There is no stopping this 66-year old Deol who has in a way created history at the box office for Bollywood. Sunny Deol is not stopping the promotion, and is city hopping post release of Gadar 2 which is only adding to the collection numbers. Gadar 2 has crossed the Rs 200-crore mark and is not stopping at that. Trade pundits are betting that it may surpass SRK’s Pathaan collections. Interestingly, the weekend in the metro cities also saw his father’s film Rocky aur Rani ki Prem Kahaani getting Housefull boards in the multiplexes. The legendary actor Dharmendra received maximum applause when he came on screen. The 87-year old actor has signed a couple of more films. Younger brother Bobby Deol, who could not carve a niche for himself on the big screen, is one of the most sought after OTT stars. Gadar 2 also saw the public appearance of Hema Malini daughters – Esha and Ahana — with the Deol brothers. The sisters and mother were not seen at the marriage of Sunny’s son Karan and an apologetic tweet by Dharmendra just confirmed it. Esha also is an OTT star. And the third generation of Deols are already here; Sunny’s eldest son Karan is two films old while younger one Rajveer is making his debut with Rajshri Productions.
hocky teams

Chennai Gives Boost To Hockey, Will Other States Follow?

Chennai has set an example by hosting the Hero Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) and enabling local fans to look at modern Indian hockey athletes in action. International hockey in India — and this includes two World Cups — was confined to Odisha, whose Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has walked the extra mile to embrace the sport by resolving to support hockey till 2033. But the sport demanded it to be advertised across the country. India’s men and women’s teams achieved a lot at the Tokyo Olympics, but the men’s and women’s team has to win the gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China to seal the berth for the Summer Olympics in Paris next year. Chennai, which has given a lot to Indian men’s hockey has taken the lead to promote the game in a big way and encourage other States to deploy money for a sport that India dominated playing on grass. The locals in the Southern city ought to have been thrilled at the home team winning the title after trailing 1-3 against Malaysia.  India did not lose a single match in the six-team tournament but must have got a fair idea of how to go about winning the Asian Games gold.  It’s time now for Maharashtra — which has excelled in the National Games and two Khelo India Youth Games —  to host a big event to revive hockey in Mumbai, home to many Olympians.
RNRavi_MKStalin flag

No Holds Barred Between Tamil Nadu Governor And Chief Minister

What Mantara and Shakuni wrought by diligently working on Kaikeyi and Duryodhana’s psyche in our epics is now quoted in Tamil Nadu. BJP leader K Annamalai’s faithfuls busy working overtime constantly citing the omissions and commissions of Governor RN Ravi. Even as the NEET bill assent is hanging in the balance of Raj Bhavan, the Governor hosted a tea meet to congratulate those who had passed the exam. The father of a student stood up to ask, “Sir, when are you signing this Bill?” Prompt came the response “If I had the authority, never.” On a recent tour of Thiruvannamalai, Governor Ravi went round the ultra holy Giri Valam path (lakhs circumambulate this hill on Poornimas) and said, non-veg food being served here must stop. Even as the Governor meets and greets the press, Annamalai has been quietly smouldering …there is talk that he has spoken about such matters to the top. Stories are doing the rounds that Annamalai is convinced that his walkathon has been seriously neutralised and marginalised by the Governor’s Raj Bhavan Durbar Hall. To add insult to injury, Stalin says let the Governor stay on till the Elections…he is our chief campaign mascot! An alternate Flag hoisting by Stalin at the Fort St, George, boycotting the Governor’s traditional ceremony clearly indicates that it is all out war in TN between the Governor and chief minister.

Rajini Reloaded: Jailer Sets Screen On Fire

Those who predicted another crash landing at the Box Office for superstar Rajini are now silently swallowing their dire forecast as Jailer has reportedly crossed the Rs 300 crore mark worldwide box office in the first five days of its release. Trade circles are predicting that it could overtake Kamal’s Vikram and Vijay’s Beast. Reportedly, Rajini has already worshipped at Badrinath temple — his Himalayan escape — a routine so familiar to him on the release of a new film. After the lukewarm response to his Darbar and Annathe, he must have vowed to make a serious course correction and reclaim his place as the superstar in the filmy firmament. What a course correction it turned out to be! SUN Pictures’ strategy of signing on brand each from Bollywood (Jackie Shroff), Mollywood (Mohanlal ) and Shiv Rajkumar from  Karnataka ensured that the legion of fans  from each region would watch Jailer for their chosen icon. Anirudh and his peppy music made magic out of Kaavallaa, a track that Tamannaah ensured would leave the audience gasping; an overdose of violence to elicit a cathartic release of anger and angst and a family-centered story where revenge overcomes all else. And not to forget the promo blitz and pre-release publicity barrage that super-hyped the star Rajini’s dialogue, “inimey pechu ille, veechu thaan” (no more talk, just hack). Love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore Thalaiva.

Will MVA Split As Congress Eyes Supriya Sule’s Baramati Constituency?

The Congress party in Maharashtra has started sending feelers that it could consider contesting the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency election with various possibilities as NCP chief Sharad Pawar — one of the architects of I.N.D.I.A — actions have left many questions unanswered. Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, considered close to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, has been indicating that a tacit understanding between Pawar and the BJP has been reached. The Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray, too, has urged Pawar to make his position clear amidst various intriguing developments. Although Pawar has reiterated that he will not go with the BJP and asked his followers not to follow ‘misleading’ media reports, there are few who take him at face value. To open a front against Pawar in case such an eventuality occurs, his detractors are making preparations to challenge his daughter Supriya Sule in Baramati LS constituency which has remained steadfastly loyal to the Pawar family. His nephew Ajit Pawar also had been elected to the Lok Sabha from Baramati for a truncated term three decades ago. Supriya, who had adopted a low profile after the NCP split in early July, has become active again. Last week, she spiritedly attacked the Modi government while speaking on the non-confidence motion against the Modi government. Her presence to welcome controversial former minister Nawab Malik after his release on bail resulted in several raised eyebrows. She has sent signals that she will be more visible henceforth. Therefore, the Congress party’s move will be watched keenly.
Devendra Fadnavis Sharad pawar

Guessing Game Intensifies As Pawar & Fadnavis To Share Dais Once Again

NCP leader Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis are scheduled to share dais on Sunday (Aug 13), once again giving rise to intense political speculation. Pawar’s latest proclamation that he will never align with the BJP is the reason for the guessing game as he is perceived to have acted differently than his public posture on many occasions. His fulsome praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 1 when the PM received the prestigious Lokmanya Tilak Award and the warm gesture of Modi towards his ‘old friend’ attracted intense political attention. This was remembered when the NCP’s both factions – Pawar and nephew Ajit – did not issue any whip for last week’s voting in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress and the Shiv Sena (Uddhav) keep on expressing their anguish at Pawar’s decisions but have refrained from issuing any ultimatum in view of Pawar’s stewardship of the Opposition I.N.D.I.A front. Pawar and Fadnavis will be present at Sangola in Solapur district for unveiling the statue of former minister Ganpatrao Deshmukh, who represented the constituency for five decades with only one defeat. Deshmukh was a member of Pawar’s first cabinet in 1978. Meanwhile, rumour mills are once again buzzing over chief minister Eknath Shinde’s future. Hence the scheduled presence of Pawar along with Fadnavis is indeed raising eyebrows.
Adhir Ranjan chowdhury

With His Suspension Adhir Ranjan Has Earned A Life Line In Bengal Congress, Thanks To PM

West Bengal PCC chief and Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury enjoys the best of equations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. That was evident. As soon as Chowdhury began speaking on a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, the PM walked into the House to listen to him according him full status of Leader of the Opposition. However all that changed the minute Adhir slipped into name calling the PM. This saw the treasury side pushing for his suspension for his bizarre utterances – equating the PM to fugitive fraudster Nirav Modi. Sources close to Chowdhury say he is now filled with remorse and regret as he looks at all the perks he now has to forego. He has been telling all his close party aides that he had no intention to disrespect or humiliate the PM. But was facing pressure from Congress leadership to prove his loyalty to the party. Incidentally, the Congress top brass has been thinking of easing him out of one of the two posts that he now holds – LoP in the Lok Sabha and Bengal PCC Chief. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee has been gunning for Adhir’s exit from Bengal as he has been her severe critic. Against this backdrop, Modi-Shah action of suspending Adhir from Lok Sabha could prove to be a blessing in disguise. With Congress forced to battle for him in the Parliament, Gandhis may not be able to axe him from Bengal.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdray

Congress Upset Over Adhir’s Suspension From Lok Sabha, No Protests From TMC

At the debate in the Parliament over no-confidence motion, the Leader of the Opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury faced some uncomfortable moments when both the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah taunted him in their speeches. They called the West Bengal Pradesh Congress chief, a hapless leader “ignored by Congress high command” and also took a jibe saying he was not on the list of speakers as the Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee called Gandhis to keep him away from it. There was more when Modi-Shah claimed this Congress MP is under ‘CPM’s torture’. Interestingly, Modi referred to several Opposition leaders who spearheaded No Confidence Motion against ruling governments such as Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998, 2003 by Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi), himself (2018 by Mallikarjun Kharge). However, Adhir Ranjan did speak on the third day ahead of PM, but was suspended for comparing Modi with Mahabharata’s blind king Dhritrashtra, fugitive businessman Nirav Modi and for his repeated misconduct. In Rajya Sabha, Kharge raised the issue over Adhir’s suspension and in Kolkata demonstrations were held. Sonia Gandhi also called for an emergency meeting to discuss Adhir’ suspension. Meanwhile senior TMC leadership remained tight-lipped on the development, despite party insiders saying that there was nothing wrong in Adhir’s statement. It may be noted that Adhir’s extreme opposition to Mamata made Didi ask her party leaders not to speak on the issue.  Adhir will remain suspended till the privileges committee takes a decision.
modi no confidence

PM Modi’s Smart Line Up Of Speakers Smashes Opposition, Rahul Walks Out As Scindia Begins To Speak

Details are now emerging as to how it was PM Narendra Modi who had decided on the  line up of speakers from the BJP side to participate in the three day No-Confidence Motion against his government. From picking Godda MP Nishikant Dubey as opening speaker who regaled the House with a one-liner about how Sonia Gandhi’s perpetual interest lay in “settling her son and gifting her son-in-law” to strategically fielding Jyotiraditya Scindia on the final day. Scindia, who had switched over to the BJP from the Congress in March 2020, belongs to poll-bound Madhya Pradesh. Apparently, when Scindia started to speak Rahul Gandhi chose to walk out. It is being said Rahul simply could not bear to hear Scindia speak from across the aisle. Another politically important speaker was Telangana leader Bandi Sanjay Kumar who exposed the alcoholism of the BRS top brass in Telugu. Modi also got Rajyavardhan Rathore, a Vasundhara Raje favourite from Rajasthan to speak. So even as the PM wasn’t inside the House, he was tracking every speech. He had also decided on the content of the attack on the Opposition. He had also spent a lot of time interacting with the media. Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi in a media interaction protested about the expunging of his remarks by Lok Sabha Speaker. He repeated all that he said inside the House. While he demanded Army action in Manipur, he simply ducked when asked about IAF strafing Mizoram in 1966 — a point raised by PM Modi.
Rocky Rani

Karan Johar’s Movie Changes Bollywood’s Fortune In The Second Half Of 2023

Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani seems to be the game changer for Bollywood which has been a series of flops in the first half of 2023.  The film has crossed the Rs 100-crore mark at the box office and continues to rake in the moolahs. More good news. Akshay Kumar’s OMG 2 and Sunny Deol’s Gadar 2 are only looking at adding big business to the Bollywood’s box office. The trade pundits feel that good times are ahead for Hindi films and the month of August has franchisees that definitely promise a decent opening at the box office. The trade has also given thumbs up Dream Girl 2.If August has franchisees then SRK returns with Atlee’s Jawan in September which trade feels may have a bigger opening than his previous film Pathaan. And Salman Khan who has not had a great run in the recent past is strongly depending on Tiger 3 which has a strong recall value and will see Katrina and Salman Khan come together and mind you there is Pathaan in a special appearance which is going to be the highlight of the film. Ranbir Kapoor too returns with Animal, one of the most anticipated films of Sandeep Vanga Reddy followed by Vicky Kaushal’s Sam Bahadur. The month of December is expected to end on a high note with Merry Christmas that will see Katrina Kaif in a different role with Vijay Sethupathi.

BJP Raises Controversial Lord Jagannath Temple Audit Issue To Embarrass Patnaik Govt

Politics makes strange bedfellows. At the national level, the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government but in his own state, his party BJD and BJP are locked in a bitter battle every day. With the news that Patnaik government may hold an Assembly election by December 2023 instead of 2024, the local BJP unit has gone on overdrive and raised the controversial Lord Jagannath’s ‘Ratna Bhandar’ issue. It is asking why no audit has been done since 1985? BJP’s senior BJP leader Sameer Mohanty has moved the Odisha High Court seeking information for updated inventory of Lord Jagannath’s ‘Ratna Bhandar’ and also make public the Judicial Commission report of 2018 which probed the disappearance of the 12th-century treasury key. It is learnt that Srimandir Managing Committee has submitted sketchy details of jewellery inside the vault but full audited details are missing. Interestingly, the Archaeological Survey Of India controlled by the Centre has seen a change of guard. And the new head is pushing the temple officials vis a vis the state government for various information. Patnaik government knows that with the Assembly elections scheduled this year, the Lord Jagannath issue could cause political damage. Perhaps this is the reason why it has sought time till July 2024 from both the ASI and High Court to furnish all information. Smart move as by this time both the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections will be over.

ICC World Cup: Will India Play Yashasvi Jaiswal At No 4?

Rohit Sharma has hit the nail on its head by revealing that the No 4 spot in the batting order of the Indian team for the ICC World Cup is yet to be firmed up. The crucial position that is a fulcrum in the team’s batting order was virtually going Shreyas Iyer’s way, but a vulnerable back that has rendered him out of action for a few months, since the third Test against Australia in Indore, has upset the apple cart and made him a doubtful starter for the World Cup. Iyer, a busy bee in the middle, has scored 805 runs at No 4 (average 47.35) and 534 at No 3 (average 59.33), and the faithful can understand Sharma and the national selection committee’s worry. Iyer’s ODI scoring rate average is 5.79 — ranging from 5.73 at No 3, 5.66 at No 4 and 6.30 at No 5. Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been named captain for the short Twenty20 series in Ireland, but KL Rahul and Iyer are still in the process of fixing their respective body parts. Yuvraj Singh, as pointed out by Sharma made 3384 runs at No 4 with 6 x 100s and 17 x 50s. Suryakumar Yadav, a blockbuster batsman in Twenty20, has been found short in the longer white-ball format. The host nation is on the horns of a dilemma about the No4 position. Will India go for Yashasvi Jaiswal?
EPS Stalin

Do Smaller Political Parties In Tamil Nadu Have A Future?

Tamil Nadu’s minor parties are finding themselves without friends willing to take them into alliances and give them a fair number of seats. As the 2024 Lok Sabha polls are looming, there has been hectic political activity in the State dominated by the two Dravidian majors. But the caste party PMK and the last of the cinema hero centric party, DMDK, are finding negotiations are getting tough. While the VCK, another caste party, will not allow VCK into the DMK-alliance fold, DMDK reflects the virtual shadow of a man that its leader Vijayakanth has become. In an assertion of its perceived strength in a two-horse race, the AIADMK, under Palaniswami, is asserting itself, and is willing to offer only 10 (+ Puducherry where BJP ally Rangasami heads the government) seats to the BJP and is asking its national ally to accommodate smaller parties within that number. And it will not countenance the AMMK of TTV Dhinakaran nor his aunt Sasikala being in the alliance. Betting on its equations with the Delhi duo who control the party, AIADMK is unwilling to listen to Annamalai’s idea of a grand coalition including PMK, DMDK and AMMK. The DMK coalition is on a smoother wicket except that ally Congress is expecting half the 40 seats available in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
Amit Shah speech

Amit Shah’s Well Researched Speech In Lok Sabha Ensures Smooth Sail For PM Modi On Thursday

If there was one thing Union Home Minister Amit Shah ensured with his stellar intervention in the no-confidence motion debate in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday it was to see that PM Modi has a smooth run on Thursday when he replies at the end of the 3-day debate. Shah spoke on Manipur towards the end of his 2 hour long intervention; he spent much of his time attacking the Opposition for trying to tie-up discussion on Manipur with a statement from PM Modi. Recalling how in the 90s when then north-eastern states had seen more entrenched and protracted violence between the Nagas and Kukis, Shah said neither then PM PV Narasimha Rao nor his Home Minister SB Chavan had made any statement. “It was left entirely to the then Minister of State Rajesh Pilot to speak on the issue.” Shah felt an entire narrative of neglect of the N-E was now being built against Modi as he had visited the “region over 50 times”. Even the no-trust move had been brought only to mislead the people. What hurt the Centre was the record of the last six years had been shattered. “We didn’t have to impose a curfew in Manipur until May 3. Insurgent violence was almost over. Then, neighbouring Myanmar saw a military leadership that had a Kuki Democratic Front party coming into power. Due to no fencing at the Myanmar border, the Kuki brothers started coming in. What we have with Myanmar is like the open border that we have with Nepal.”
smriti raga

Rahul’s ‘Flying Kiss’ Gesture In Parliament Irks Women MPs

After much flip-flop over initiating debate on the no-confidence motion against the Modi government which his party had initiated, Rahul Gandhi did speak in the Lok Sabha on the second day of the discussion. However, his speech did not match expectations. The Congress leader did not seem to be firing on all cylinders. After all, he was the one who had made the spot visit to Manipur; he should have surely had “enough material” to put the Centre on the mat. What he lacked in substance, he made up with some outright abusive slogans against PM Modi. He even declared PM Modi was a “traitor” and not a “nationalist” as he “murdered India” in Manipur. If Rahul’s aggressive sloganeering was aimed at catching headlines, it did not receive much attention. Whatever the reason it wasn’t his speech that made headlines but his one mindless gesture of a flying kiss. The controversy over the flying kiss had got all 21 women MPs and several BJP ministers worked up. But for their protest over   Rahul’s unbecoming conduct in a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Wayanad MP’s first speech after his membership was restored would not have been noticed. Yes, Rahul’s speech would have been lost in the din. As Union Minister Smriti Irani, who spoke after Rahul, observed “Only a misogynist man can blow a flying kiss to parliament that seats women MPs”.
Rahul Dravid_003

The Buck Stops With The Captain But Rahul Dravid Faces Flak

Rahul Dravid is facing flak for India’s dismal results across all formats. Rohit Sharma is the captain of the team and he too was at the butt of criticism for poor decisions in the WTC final against Australia. Not only on the count of results but also on their choice of playing XIs and tactics, the captain and coach are praised or pilloried. Both assumed long-term roles after India’s disappointing work in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in the winter of 2021. Dravid’s report card is: Tests played 17, won 9, lost 5, drawn 3 for a 54% success rate. In ODIs, the numbers are: played 36, won 23, lost 11, NR 2 for a 63.89% success rate and in the Twenty20s it is: played 50, won 35, lost 13, NR and Tied one each for a 70% success rate. Dravid was not the coach in a few odd white ball matches. India flopped in three major events — the Asia Cup in the UAE, Twenty20 World Cup in Australia and the ICC WTC final at The Oval.  Usually, the buck stops with the captain, but Dravid is seen as a party to the collateral damage caused; in this case, he could not win the blue riband ICC events. Both Sharma and Dravid will look forward to a happier end in the home World Cup, come October-November.

Cracks In I.N.D.I.A In West Bengal As CPI(M) Backs Off

Ahead of the third meeting of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A) in Mumbai later this month, CPI(M) State Committee had made it clear to the Central Committee that the party will not allow the formula in Bengal, refusing to join alongside Trinamool Congress Supremo Mamata Banerjee. Despite being one of the principal members of I.N.D.I.A, the State Committee stated that it will field candidates against the TMC in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, even at a time when both the parties view BJP as a ‘common enemy’. During the recent three-day central committee meeting, strong interventions from Bengal leaders against an alliance with the TMC citing atrocities unleashed by the ruling party workers against Marxist cadres. A central committee member from Bengal has also pointed out that the Bengal unit has put forth that party general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s recent stage sharing with Didi and exchanging pleasantries with her made bad optics and demoralised party cadres in Bengal. Party insiders claimed that Yechury acceded to the wishes of the Bengal leaders and said that Bengal unit will be free to field candidates against the TMC in all constituencies. Sources said, State Committee Secretary Mohammad Salim has categorically mentioned that the CPI(M) has made its stand clear and now it is the Congress that will decide on Bengal. However, the communist party is still open to continuing with its alliance with Congress.
N Srinivasan

BCG Advises India Cements To Slash Production Cost By Rs 200/Tonne

Legacy issues seem to bother this one very much. Ageing plants are a constraint for it. In a cost-push kind of situation, this is not a happy position to be in. A combination of escalating input costs and age-induced restrictions in the efficiency of plants has hit India Cements hard. This has proved a huge disadvantage for this cement maker to boost production. Caught in a pincer-like situation, this Chennai-based cement major headed by N Srinivasan is trying hard to return to normal.  Making a detailed presentation, Boston Consulting Group has indicated that it is possible for India Cements to pare cost by Rs 200 a tonne. India Cements has already engaged FLSmidth and Krupp Polysius to suggest ways and means to refurbish its old plants. All these of course need funds. At the end of June 2023, it had a debt of Rs 2940 crore. At least Rs 400 crore is required for working capital needs and CapEx programme. Well, India Cements is looking to raise at least Rs 100 crore in the next couple of weeks. No doubt, it has a huge land bank. That is like a back-up cheque. The road ahead is long. Yet, there is a sense of optimism.

Speculation Afresh About Uddhav And Raj Meeting, Who Will Move First?

Thackeray brothers, Uddhav and Raj, could interact with each other in the near future if the feelers flying back and forth materialize in some actual contact between the estranged leaders. Uddhav is reported to have said that he could call Raj for some audio clips of Balasaheb Thackeray’s speeches which are in possession of the MNS founder. But Uddhav added a rider by saying, “Provided that Raj accepts my call.” The statement was in reference to a collection Uddhav is building up of Balasaheb’s audio and video clips. It was Raj who had published a beautiful photo-biography of Balasaheb Thackeray when he was alive and Raj was in the parent party. The gala function was graced by BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee. While gathering material for the book, Raj could obtain several audios of Balasaheb’s speeches between the years 1966 and 1990. Raj broke away from the main party and was rarely seen with Uddhav, once when the latter was hospitalized for a surgery and on another occasion when Sharad Pawar’s platinum jubilee was celebrated in an all-party function. Nonetheless, their acolytes have been lampooning each other. The same happened due to Uddhav’s remark as Raj’s close associate Sandip Deshpande hit back, “Raj Thackeray accepts anyone’s calls. Hence, Uddhav should not have any misgivings on this count. Why is this a matter of ego while saluting Balasaheb’s memory?” The outcome now will depend upon who makes the first move.
Annamalai padyatra

DMK Mocks Annamalai’s Padyatra After He Rushes To Delhi Midway

Just nine days into his much hyped Tamil Nadu padayatra from Rameswaram, BJP leader K Annamalai was summoned urgently to Delhi by party president JP Nadda. The DMK has been watching Annamalai’s yatra with some apprehension as the crowds buzzing around were significant. Old women hugged him, kids brought for show time, women complaining of inflation, gas cylinder prices and tomatoes squelching home budgets. From Gandhi’s Dandi March to Annamalai’s ‘En Mann, En Makkal’, such yatras have unfailingly drawn crowds for that curiosity factor. Any wonder that DMK chortled, “Pada Yatra is now Padi Yatra“(a half yatra in Tamil) as the protagonist had to rush to hear his master’s voice. BJP cadres are offering any number of reasons for the sudden summons from Delhi. Meanwhile, BJP’s alliance partner AIADMK’s Edapaddi K Palaniswami (EPS) has suddenly found his lost self-confidence after Modi gave him spotlight importance in Delhi. This has emboldened him to announce a protest march challenging DMK about the denial of Cauvery waters to save TN delta kuruvai crops. This may put Stalin on the back foot. What if EPS walks away with the kudos and bargaining power? It’s well known that Annamalai has a prickly equation with EPS. Maybe the BJP top brass want him to mend fences with EPS?
Sharad Pawar_ajit pawar

Sharad And Ajit Pawar Fox Polity, Spare Each Other

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar has once more foxed all political observers by denying before the Election Commission that his party has split. Moreover, he refused to issue a whip for his party’s Rajya Sabha members to oppose the Delhi Services Bill which was adopted by the Upper House late Monday night. Pawar’s nephew and breakaway group leader Ajit, in a reciprocal move, also did not issue any whip for the bill. On top of it, Ajit’s staunch supporter Praful Patel remained absent when voting took place on the bill. All this happened within a few days when Pawar heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Pune. As far as the Rajya Sabha suspense is concerned, had either group issued a whip, anti-defection law provisions could have been invoked. Union home minister Amit Shah’s welcome of Ajit in the Shinde-Fadnavis government again raised Shiv Sena (Uddhav) faction’s hackles. This, too, happened in Pune. Pawar’s next move will, therefore, be watched with considerable interest by both sides. Another interesting sidelight of this unfolding drama is the role played by Praful Patel. He is the only leader to have attended the first INDIA meeting of various Opposition parties as a Pawar emissary and the ruling NDA’s golden jubilee celebrations as Ajit’s advisor. It has been noted by political observers that both NCP factions have refrained from attacking each other publicly.

With Rahul's Return, Will The Parliament Logjam End?

Even after the Supreme Court reprieve in the defamation case against Rahul Gandhi, the Congress is still all worked up and worried whether his membership of Waynad Lok Sabha would be automatically restored. If so, it would happen before the House takes up No-Confidence motion against the Modi Government next week — on August 8. Congress Lok Sabha Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury made it clear that the party wanted Rahul to initiate discussion on the trust vote. He said he had rushed to meet with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla as soon as the SC gave its order on Rahul’s conviction. The Speaker apparently asked him to provide a copy of the SC order. Rahul’s senior legal counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi pointed out that he’s not surprised not by the way the Speaker had responded. Recalling how he had to approach the SC on behalf of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal, whose conviction was vacated by the Kerala HC way back in January this year. “We had waited for two months. Only when we moved the SC, the government approached us and Faisal’s membership of the LokSabha was restored,” says Singhvi. Congress sources admit that the party has been disrupting parliamentary proceedings during the Monsoon Session only to protest what happened to Rahul. Both Manipur and the no-trust vote were a bahana. With Rahul’s return will the Parliament logjam end? Not quite.

SC Gives Big Relief To Rahul Gandhi, But Are Alliance Partners Happy?

The Supreme Court, in major relief for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, has stayed his conviction in Modi surname defamation case saying that the trial court has not given reason for imposing a maximum sentence of two years that led to his disqualification from the Parliament. It is the second good news for the Congress party in recent times. It may be recalled that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar one of the architect of I.N.D.I.A suffered a big jolt after a split in his party. So too did Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. He faced rumblings within his own party the JD(U) over alliance with the RJD. With both Pawar and Kumar focusing on their backyard, the responsibility to lead the Opposition meet in Bengaluru fell on Congress party vis a vis Sonia Gandhi. In recent times Rahul was also a bit subdued over a political development; perhaps he was waiting for the Supreme Court order which has given him a new lease of life. Surely, he is bound to throw the hat in the ring and it could cause disgruntlement with alliance partners. Didi, going by her past remarks, will definitely not agree for Rahul to be PM’s face. Ditto: Nitish Kumar and Sharad Pawar. So the whole game changes and so in light of this will I.N.D.I.A. survive?

Is Hyderabad Cricket Association The Most Tainted In India?

The Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) is in the news again! No need to guess; for notorious reasons alone. A most respected judge has pointed out how over one-fourth of the HCA Membership has destroyed the edifice of the Association because of rampant instances of conflict of Interest. The judge has debarred 57 clubs of the 208 or thereabout from taking part in the next election of the HCA, pointing out flaws in the ownership of the clubs and how people have abused their position. The conflict of interest malaise that was (and is) palpable in cricket administration across the country was so eloquently presented by Justice RN Lodha (former Chief Justice of India) Committee seven years ago in the “Reforms in Cricket” report. And on this occasion, the 46-page final order by Justice L Nageswara Rao (former judge, Supreme Court and Single Member Committee appointed by the Apex Court to ensure free and proper election of the Apex Council of the HCA) has named virtually who’s who of HCA and debarred their clubs for three years. People say that more skeletons in the cupboard will fall should a report presented by a Committee of Administrators to the High Court in a sealed cover is made public. It’s been an unending saga of the alleged maladministration in the HCA that gave India such splendid cricketers as Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, ML Jaisimha, Abbas Ali Baig and VVS Laxman.
Sambhaji Protest

Sambhaji Bhide’s Statement Against Gandhi And Nehru Stokes Passions In Maharashtra

Staunch Hindutva votary Sambhaji Bhide has become the focal point of Maharashtra politics over the past few days because of his certain controversial statements regarding Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru. While Opposition parties in the state legislature have been demanding immediate arrest of the founder of the Shri Shiv Pratishthan Hindusthan Sanghatana, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has maintained that any action against Bhide will be in accordance with law. At the same time, Fadnavis has lashed out at the various statements derogatory of freedom fighters like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Bhide had made a shocking statement about the parentage of Gandhiji. Ever since, demonstrations against and in favour of him have been taking place in various parts of Maharashtra. The matter assumed gravity when Maharashtra’s former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and former minister Yashomati Thakur complained that they had received death threats after they spoke out against Bhide’s tirade. While announcing in the legislative assembly Fadanvis asserted that Bhide was not a member of the BJP and would not be spared if found guilty of any offence. The Opposition wanted the government to round up Bhide forthwith but failed to elicit any concrete assurance from the treasury benches and then walked out shouting slogans. Meanwhile, Bhide has said that he stands by his statements.

Rahul Disappoints Karnataka MLAs; Siddaramaiah Happy After Meeting Modi

Karnataka Congress MLAs, who were as unhappy with the way ministers in Siddaramaiah government were functioning, were reportedly disappointed with the way their August 2 interaction with Rahul Gandhi went. He was more focused about his own goals of winning more Lok Sabha seats — it was as if he was going to be PM in 2024. The interaction which was primarily arranged to focus on grievances of some 11 MLAs who had written a letter about the functioning of some ministers in the two-month-old Congress government in Karnataka became an opportunity to discuss preparation for 2024 Lok Sabha. Rahul was more keen to tell ministers and the MLAs that the focus of the Congress must be about winning more Lok Sabha seats — he had set a target of achieving BJP’s record of 26 seats from Karnataka. Later Deputy CM DK Shivkumar said the Congress would aim to win 20 seats. In some sort of gag order, Rahul advised MLAs not to write letters but to take up their issues with the CM, AICC in charge Randeep Surjewala, KC Venugopal or Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge. Rahul also warned state ministers not to get embroiled in any controversy as the party had got a mandate against corruption of the BJP. Meanwhile, party sources said only CM Siddaramaiah seemed a happy man after his Delhi visit. That too after his first official interaction with PM Modi!
modi patnaik

Modi Govt Gets Backing Of BJD On Crucial Bill & How!

After days of disruption over Manipur, the Opposition finally allowed some government business. The introduction of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, a bill to replace the ordinance that the Centre had issued for appointment and control of executives of the Delhi government was introduced. The I.N.D.I.A. parties were seen opposing the bill at the introduction stage. It was against this bill that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had mobilised support of Opposition parties. The Congress, DMK and TMC did come out in support of Kejriwal. However the most crucial and effective support for the Modi government came from the Biju Janata Dal. BJD MP and senior advocate Pinaki Mishra wondered how MPs could question “the legislative competence” of the government to bring such a law. In a boost to the Modi government, he pointed out that the Supreme Court in its order on a plea filed by the State of Delhi against Union of India had said “if Parliament enacts a law granting executive power on any subject which is within the domain of NCTD, the executive power of the LG shall be modified to the extent as provided in that law”. “The Government has brought out a law now pursuant to the Supreme Court empowering it. So, how can you challenge legislative competence? I can understand you voting against it,” Mishra was heard saying, reading relevant paras of the SC order. Apparently, support of BJD and the YSRCP are enough to ensure that the bill will sail through Rajya Sabha. 
Indo_uk health

L to R : Alex Ellis, Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, Sir Prof Steve Powis, Prof Geeta Menon, Prof Simon Gregory, Prof-Dr Parag-Singhal

High Powered Delegation To Visit India To Forge Indo-UK Healthcare Alliance

Three times BJP MP from Bihar Dr Sanjay Jaiswal has been for quite some time convincing his party colleague Mansukh L Mandaviya, minister for health and family welfare to forge a strong Indo-UK health alliance. That’s yielding results. Now, it is learnt that a high-powered delegation from the UK’s Health sector comprising Prof Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, Prof Simon Gregory medical leader for healthcare education across the Midlands and East of England for HEE among others will be visiting India on August 4 to meet with their Indian counterparts from the health ministry. Health minister Mandaviya, Dr Jaiswal, a few MPs, and senior bureaucrats will meet at the residence of Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner in New Delhi to officially announce the Indo-UK HealthCare Alliance. According to London-based Dr Prof Parag Singhal, “The chief objective of the India UK Healthcare Alliance is to promote excellence in the Healthcare sector, and provide a platform for the healthcare institutions in two countries to create synergistic partnerships aimed at improving health outcomes.” The visiting delegation will also highlight the new interventions that are being designed by the BAPIO Training Academy UK.
Sarees ascot

First-Ever Saree Walkathon In London On Aug 6

Have you ever seen Indian women wearing a saree, bindi, and a Derby Hat at the Mahalaxmi Race Course? But in the UK last year several Indian women displayed the saree with swag and were seen at the reputed Ascot Racecourse in large numbers. Following this saree swag, a first-ever Saree Walkathon led by the British Women in Sarees Group will be held in London on August 6, 2023, to raise awareness about the handlooms of India. Women in London will walk a day before the ‘National Handloom Day’ in India on 7th August to voice solidarity with India’s Swadeshi movement. Around 500 women representing different states of India and draping different handloom weaves from their states are expected to walk past the iconic and historical London monuments, beginning from Trafalgar Square to the historic Parliament Square in Westminster, London via 10 Downing Street. The event is hosted by British Women In Sarees – a group under Dr Dipti Jain’s leadership with several Indian women’s organisations. The Kerala team is coordinated by Dr Deepa Hegde, Dr Hema Santhosh and Shirley Gibson with around 30 members. The Kerala team will be showcasing handloom settu mundu and sarees from Kuthumpully handloom, Chendamangalam kaithari, Balaramapuram kaithari, Kuthampully kaithari, Karimpuzha kaithari. They will also do a traditional Kerala dance at Parliament Square before finishing with a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

Why Is Odisha Chief Minister Betting Big On Semiconductor Industry

The Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik is now focusing on investments beyond steel, aluminium and mining sector. Being an election year, Patnaik is going all out to give a big push to the semiconductor chip business that represents the heartbeat of modern digital economy. Towards this Patnaik’s government has formulated a new policy to ensure that at least one semiconductor manufacturing unit and 100 fabless design companies will land in the state. This initiative is expected to create around 5,000 direct job opportunities and 20,000 indirect employment over a period of seven years. Government sources confirm that Odisha chief minister has already got on board the London-based SRAM & MRA Group to set up the semiconductor unit in Ganjam district with an investment outlay of Rs30,000 crore in Phase 1. The US-based Silicon Power Corporation has also agreed to invest Rs 1,000 crore over next 18-24 months. Meanwhile Odisha’s IT minister with his entourage are camping in the US to woo more investors into the state. Political observers say “with state elections round the corner Patnaik is moving the political needle in the right direction bringing in investment, employment and revenue”.  Looks like Patnaik is already in election mode.
SRK anirudh

New Music Sensation From The South, Anirudh Ravichander

Even as Rajini’s Jailer opening song, Kaavaalaa has set the internet and fans on fire, Anirudh Ravichander, the music director is going places in just 11 years. After his notable success in South films, his very first song Vanda Idam he has created for Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan, to be released on September 7 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu is expected to be a rage. The Hindi version of the song is titled “Zinda Banda“, apt for Anirudh whose music is now a rage in Kollywood, Bollywood. His infectious tunes are converted into visual treat videos that titillate and tease the senses. Tamannaah’s Kaavaalaa dance stoked collective frenzy. It helped that Tamanna and her Lust Stories 2 had already broken OTT records. Anirudh known as ‘single haddi’ when he came to films is fast turning into a music director of substance with successive hits. For added measure, this nephew of Rajinikanth is making more news in the industry. Director Shankar who journeyed with AR Rahman for over 20 years has now shifted his loyalty to Anirudh, signed him up for Indian 2.


Is Bumrah Ready To Link Up With The Men In Blue?

Last week the BCCI threw the first hints of Jasprit Bumrah’s return to international cricket.  With the ICC World Cup set to start for India (against Australia) on October 9 in Chennai,  the medical team monitoring the fast bowler’s rehabilitation has been cautious, giving him the leeway to regain fitness and avoid a breakdown. Bumrah has been out of action since September 2022, with a nagging back-related ailment forcing him to go under the knife.  Easily Bumrah has been India’s successful fast bowler in the last seven and a half years — he has taken 319 wickets in 1893 overs across formats including 121 scalps in 72 ODI matches. The Indian team led by Rohit Sharma is now accustomed to taking the field without the speedster with an awkward action. Still, Sharma and his team would be the happiest should Bumrah be declared fit for any form of white ball cricket after the series in the West Indies. According to the BCCI, Bumrah is in the final stages of rehab and is bowling with full intensity in the nets at the National Cricket Academy. There is speculation that Bumrah may be chosen for the three-match Twenty20 series in Ireland in mid-August. Once he clears this Ireland hurdle without stress and anxiety, he may be picked for the three-match ODI series against Australia before the World Cup. In Ireland, he will have to bowl four overs in a match, in the World Cup it will be 10 overs.
MKStalin speech


Stalin Woos 30,000 DMK Cadres With 6000 Kg Mutton Biryani

It was a veritable gastronomic extravaganza where 30,000 DMK cadres gorged on mutton biryani and chicken served up in the training camp in Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu. Evidently the BJP‘s meticulous training and planning for elections served as the template for Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin’s motivational thunder and lavish hospitality at this election stump. The alchemy of super delicious biryani and powerful oration was meant to galvanise the booth committee overseers of 15 constituencies. Being the birthplace of the party founder Kalaignar, the stump speech was generously peppered with claims and confidence to catch boosters like “naarpadhum namade, naadum namadhe” (40 seats are ours, the land is ours). He did not miss out on hitting out at the AIADMK for a “sell out of our land to the BJP”. Stalin seems to have imbibed a new josh from his self-perceived status as the originator of the Opposition unity, and is doing everything to rabble rouse and rake in the electorate’s trust. TN Minister KN Nehru said “You must all feel proud that our leader is motivating the entire Opposition to unseat the BJP.” Surely the DMK’s omnibus passenger, the Congress could feel challenged. Stalin has inherited his father’s fluency of wrapping up Dravidam in chaste Tamil oratory. The 2024 general election promises no holds barred fight to oust the north Hindi domination of the BJP with a frontal south emotional Dravidam clarion call.
Naveen Patnaik_010

Is Odisha Chief Minister Planning To Dissolve Assembly And Hold Early Elections This Year?

For the last few months the rumours have been flying thick and fast that the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik may dissolve the state Assembly and go in for an early polls by end of this year instead of 2024. In fact, BJP minister and CM contender Dharmendra Pradhan seems to have got the whiff of it a few months back as he too was talking about it. Now, Patnaik’s party the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) seems to have confirmed it. “There may be an early Assembly polls in Odisha alongside other states,” said BJD’s vice president Devi Prasad Mishra. This explains why recently the Finance Department of Odisha has written a letter to all ministries to submit their budget by end July 2023 so as to be ready for an early election. Political watchers say, Naveen babu knows how to take the wind out of the Opposition sail from time to time. He is the master of the game and both Congress and BJP are nowhere near him at least in Odisha. Patnaik’s transformational drive has impressed and endeared himself to 4.8 crore people of Odisha. It is learnt that only deserving MLAs will be given tickets so as to arrest anti-incumbency factor. The moot point is will BJP be able to make inroads in Odisha this time?

Modi, Pawar And Shinde To Share Dais In Pune On August 1

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Pune visit on August 1 will prove a game changer as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar will be the chief guest for honouring his ‘old friend’ with the prestigious Lokmanya Tilak National Award. The PMO and Sharad Pawar have accepted the invitation, confirmed Rohit Tilak, the great-grandson of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak and vice president of Tilak Smarak Mandir Trust. Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde, both Dy CMs – Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar – as well as senior Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde will be among those present on the occasion. Shinde has been a member of the Trust for a long time. Faint murmurs of protests were heard from the Congress party in Pune for a couple of days after the award announcement. However, now there is total silence. The occasion will be significant for several reasons. Firstly, Sharad Pawar’s presence will raise eyebrows since he is a key figure in the opposition INDIA formation. Secondly, Pawar and his nephew Ajit will come face to face for the first time after the NCP split a few weeks ago. Thirdly, the Tilak family is stated to be unhappy as it was ignored by the Congress and the BJP while selecting candidates for the recent assembly byelection from Pune. Equally important is the perception that Modi has been visiting Pune often, considering its political clout in Maharashtra.


Brand Dhoni Brightens Prospects For Jio Cinema!

Words such as cartel, price fixing and the like are the creation of a bygone era. Today, they have yielded a new term. Cooperative competition is the fresh name of the game. This has embraced all fields. The next edition of the popular IPL (Indian Premier League) is a few months away. Yet, there is an intense debate. Will he or won’t he? As fans were speculating on whether Mahi will come back to play the next edition of IPL, MS Dhoni indicated that he would play IPL one more time for the sake of his adorable fans. CSK owners will want their skipper to stay put. Mumbai Indians (MI) owners, too, must be nursing the same wish for their own enlightened self-interest! Streaming IPL matches for the first time in several languages, Jio Cinema, belonging to MI owners, took the rival Disney Star (Star Sports) head on with zooming viewership during the last IPL season. Looks like Ambanis are wishing that Dhoni plays IPL 2024 edition. The IPL streaming saw Jio Cinema registering record viewership across languages when Dhoni played. Revenue and valuation improved significantly for Jio Cinema. All these augur well for Jio Cinema to get ready for an eventual public float. Co-operative competition appears to be a fair game. Well, it’s cricket after all.

Will The PM Choose To Stand From Rameswaram In 2024?

A rumour, or is it a news tip, refuses to go away. This has to do with Prime Minister Narendra Modi being close to fixing Rameswaram as the constituency from which he will stand for the Lok Sabha in the 2024 election. The BJP is paying a lot of attention to the district in south Tamil Nadu of which Rameswaram, a famous abode of Lord Shiva, is host to a temple that draws devotees in their millions. Rameswaram is also where PM Modi is to host a big meeting on August 18 with Tamil Nadu fishermen to apprise them of steps being taken by the government of India to ensure their safety and better treatment at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy if ever they stray past Indian territorial waters in search of better catch in more southern waters. The district is also from where the TN BJP chief K Annamalai will begin his padayatra after taking the blessings of BJP biggie Amit Shah on July 28. The party is laying much store by the padayatra its chief is planning during which he will also be releasing more of the DMK Files of the kind that shook up the ruling party in TN when it exposed audio clipping featuring the then Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan (PTR). Maybe, there is some heft to the news of Modi toying with the idea of moving south from Varanasi to another holy city.
Adhir Ranjan chowdhury

Will Cong Replace Its West Bengal Chief To Placate Didi?

With Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee carefully evading any mention of Congress during her party’s Shahid Diwas Rally last week, speculations are rife whether Congress high command will be replacing the present Pradesh Congress Chief and Baharampur MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Chowdhury has been extremely vocal about Didi and alleged atrocities by her party. He not only spearheaded the alliance with the CPI(M) during the last State Assembly Election 2021, but also maintained it even during this recently concluded Panchayat Election. Incidentally, Adhir had also written to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge requesting them to look into senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi’s representation of TMC in Supreme Court matters. It has been learnt that Congress leadership is not keen to upset Mamata, which might jeopardise its chances of bargaining for two existing Lok Sabha seats of Baharampur and Maldaha Dakshin. A section of the state committee said that outgoing Rajya Sabha Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharjee’s name is doing the rounds; he had the support of TMC during his nomination in 2017. Interestingly, Adhir joined the protest programme at Parliament — on Manipur Issue along with TMC and other parties.  Adhir enjoys the confidence of Gandhis, hence it will be interesting to see whether they will replace him.

Legendary Film Producer Who Launched Mega Stars Like Rajini, Kamal, Sridevi Dies A Pauper

A mere 14 people (that too his relatives) participated in the last rites of legendary film producer SA Rajkannu who was celebrated and feted sky high when 16 Vayadinule produced by him in 1977 under the banner Sri Amman Films was a super hit.  Kamal Haasan as the protagonist, chapani (the village idiot) is now Ulaga Nayakan. The late Sridevi as Mayilu (just 14 then) sizzled and skyrocketed to stardom post that film. And who can forget Rajnikanth’s Parattai, the negative role ruffian who confronts Kamal in this Tamil hit directed by Bharathiraja! The late MR Radha’s daughter, Radhika is even today known as Rail Radhika, a throwback to her debut film Kizhakke Pogum Rail. The multi-faceted artist Bhagyaraj was Rajkannu’s hero in Kanniparuvathile. But all these super marquee names of Kollywood forgot this man who gave them their debuts. Rajkannu spent the fag end of his life in a rented house, and died an unsung producer. His close family were hoping that these celebrities would at least turn up to pay their salaams on his final journey.  However, stars were content to tweet their sorrow. Clearly, filmdom and politics celebrate only success and status. Reminds one of Rajesh Khanna immortal dialogue, “Yeh duniya badi kuthi cheez hai. “
Ajit pawar_modi

Intense Speculation, Vehement Denials Over Ajit Pawar Elevation As Maharashtra CM

A plethora of forecasts about installing NCP’s rebel leader Ajit Pawar as Maharashtra chief minister has stirred the state politics, more so because former CM Prithviraj Chavan has even announced the tentative date of the changeover. Ever since Ajit Pawar left the party founded by his uncle Sharad Pawar and joined the Shinde-Fadnavis government, his supporters have launched a campaign to project him as the next CM. Whereas the Shiv Sena (Uddhav) has been harping from day one that making Ajit a DCM is the gameplan of the BJP which will soon replace present incumbent Eknath Shinde, the statement by Prithviraj has surprised many. Prithviraj once belonged to the Group 23. Though not a mass leader, his equation with Sonia Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge has been quite good. Prithviraj said he had received the indication about the replacement of Shinde from Delhi but declined to divulge more details. He said the change can occur around August 10. The speculation about Shinde’s future has renewed after he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week along with his family. This was described as a farewell call by some Opposition leaders. Shinde himself has maintained silence about the developments but Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis has declared in no uncertain terms that Shinde will continue to remain the CM. “This is made clear to Ajit,” he said.

As ED Raids Another Tamil Nadu Minister, Is CM Shaken?

After Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji, the Enforcement Directorate trained its guns on DMK education minister K Ponmudi.  Raids on his residence and business locations have yielded a number of clues to financial irregularities including recovery of over Rs 80 lakh haul of British currency. This raid too was related to a 2012 case of illegal sand mining from quarries in TN amounting to Rs 28 crores loss to the State. His son Gautham Sigamani is alleged to have invested such earnings in UAE’s Universal Business Ventures. Earnings of Rs 7 crore were not declared. Besides, significant earnings of Rs 100 crore from share transactions in Indonesia in 2022 have been unearthed by ED leaving Ponmudi red faced. Reportedly, he cried on MK Stalin’s shoulder saying, “At 72 how can I withstand such raids? My sons are managing all affairs “. Tamil media sources claim that a Jakarta-based Tamilian business tycoon is the go to man for Ponmudi’s sons, and now the ED is busy digging up this shadow compatriot’s TN based businesses to trace the origins of the money trail . Obviously, the advantages of having investigating agencies like the ED are heightened in an election year. A so-called list of 9 “culpable probables”and mug shots are doing the rounds of the media!

BCCI Should Withdraw Harmanpreet Kaur From Asian Games For Bad Behaviour


Harmanpreet Kaur’s rash behaviour upon her dismissal and at the prize distribution function after the third one-day international against Bangladesh in Mirpur has been widely condemned by the cricketing fraternity. The severity of her deportment warrants a precedent — setting response from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). A slap on the wrist from the BCCI would be tantamount to allowing the India captain to go scot-free. She has been named the captain for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and the BCCI should look to withdraw her name from the squad. The BCCI has done its best to promote women’s cricket, and recently, the ICC took a laudable decision to bring parity in prize money for the events staged by it. Harmanpreet, according to a broad section of the commentators, needs to face disciplinary action. There is Smriti Mandhana to step in as captain. Apart from a few former Indian umpires (Harmanpreet had targeted the Bangladesh umpires), former India all-rounder and 1983 World Cup star Madan Lal has called her behaviour pathetic and one that has tarnished the image of Indian cricket. The ICC has not yet announced its decision on the unsavoury episode by India’s captain; it is speculated, though, that she may be banned for the following two internationals. The BCCI must be seen to be protecting the spirit of the game at all costs.
Modi NDA meet

PM’s One-On-One Meet Boosts Morale Of NDA Leaders

The Opposition parties haven’t simply got over the fact that the BJP managed to convene a meeting of NDA parties in New Delhi on the same day, (July 18) when they had met in Bengaluru for a second time to pick a name for their alliance and even managed to dominate the media. It was just that the NDA seemed more organised. Even as there was not much agreement over I.N.D.I.A — the repackaged UPA 3, PM Modi went all gun-blazing at the Opposition. He had made it a point to connect with every one of the leaders of the 38 parties who attended the NDA meeting on a one-to-one basis even if it was for a few minutes. Party sources said at the dinner meeting where most leaders were seated across 12 tables, PM Modi made it a point to move from table to table to engage with the guests. Almost all leaders sort of got personal attention from Modi and managed to have a private word with him. Maharashtra contingent of leaders – CM Eknath Shinde, Dy CM Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel — had a special equation with Modi as the PM spoke to them in Marathi. Edappadi K Palaniswami  also got to  hear very encouraging words from PM Modi as he told the former TN CM that he was “leader of the NDA” in the state.
Mamata India

At TMC’s Martyr's Day Rally, Didi Vows To Oust BJP In 2024

At the Trinamool Congress Martyr’s Day Rally, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said that the newly formed alliance of the 26 Opposition parties – I.N.D.I.A — will oust the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government in the 2024 General Elections. Didi said that the BJP which coined ‘Beti Bachao’ slogan will be shown the doors by “Durgas” — women of the country. Didi attacked the BJP on women’s issues — ongoing violence in Manipur, Bilkis Bano and wrestlers’ sexual harassment cases. Interestingly, Didi avoided mentioning Congress during her 42-minute speech at the annual event of her party. Besides, she was careful in her address of the Left parties; she addressed them as “CPI(M) er Bandhura” (CPIM friends), over their constant allegations of rampant violence and vote loot by her party in the recently concluded panchayat polls. Voicing the slogan “Jeetaga Bharat”, Didi told the party cadres that they would be informed about the protest programmes against the Centre to be taken out under the banner of the Opposition alliance. Interestingly, after Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar making it clear that they have no interest in the Prime Minister’s seat, Didi too did likewise, saying that she has no ambition for any chair but is just keen to dethrone BJP from the centre.
Sharad pawar _Rahul

Did Ajit Pawar Fail To Convince Uncle Sharad Pawar To Attend NDA Meet?

Allegations that the real purpose of the breakaway NCP group meeting Sharad Pawar twice in two days was to persuade him to attend the NDA meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi have been creating ripples in Maharashtra. Pawar attended the INDIA meet of 26 Opposition parties despite such efforts, the faction loyal to him has maintained. Breakaway group MLAs, led by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, have remained silent while the BJP, too, has not reacted to the insinuations. Before the NDA meet, Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel called on Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah. For the meeting, BJP president JP Nadda and Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde were selected to welcome Modi. Shinde’s and Ajit Pawar’s presence on the dais was conspicuous. Even as doubts about Sharad Pawar’s exact gameplan keep on surfacing, his supporters have disclosed that the breakaway group had reached Pawar’s south Mumbai office complex without any prior intimation and called on him after his arrival. But Pawar’s detractors point out that Pawar could be caught unawares once, not twice and not the very next day. The Congress party in Maharashtra is already upset due to the two meetings and has questioned the true intent of this. However, the party high command decided to ignore this discontent and Pawar was invited for the INDIA meet.
Zak Crawley

Selection Foibles Are Not Team India’s Monopoly

The Australians take the cake for selection blunders. They not only make them look foolish but also endangers their lead in the Ashes series, which they could well lose 3-2. They had not gone into a Test match for 10 years without a spinner as Nathan Lyon played 100 Tests, but his breakdown seems to have confused them so much that they went in with four seamers into a dry Old Trafford pitch. A run riot of 384 off just 72 overs is the result even if they came on the back of an extraordinarily attacking innings by Zak Crawley. Sent on a leather hunt from which there may be no recovery because the Aussies wasted the gift of batting first as Team England boldly inserted them at a venue where no team has won after opting to bowl, the Ashes may well be going out of Australia. So, it is not only Team India that made blunders in England where the conditions this summer have been confusing, to say the least. Cloud cover and a greenish tinge to the pitch saw Rohit Sharma insert Australia in the WTC final after omitting India’s best spinner Ravi Ashwin. Todd Murphy may be a poor imitation, but he deserves to play to give the attack some balance from a monotony of pace.
Opposition meet bengaluru

Opposition Unity Gets A Name, I.N.D.I.A

On the second day of the Opposition meeting in Bengaluru, the challengers revealed the new name for their alliance — Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that an 11-member coordination panel will be formed which will meet in Mumbai and decide the next date of meeting too. The alliance will have a secretariat that will function from Delhi. Clearly, the two-day meeting in Bengaluru was far more productive than the Patna meet. As Rahul Gandhi who addressed the media put it, “The discussions we had today were very productive and took place smoothly.” A number of leaders were significantly found missing from media interaction. Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin. Veteran NCP leader Sharad Pawar was present but did not speak. Incidentally, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and  CPI top leader D Raja were present but also did not interact. “People are coming forward against dictatorship…Hum hai na“, said Uddhav Thackeray. “The character of our republic is being severely assaulted in a systematic manner by the BJP. We are at a most crucial juncture in our nation’s history,” the Opposition alliance said in a collective pledge. Mamata Banerjee dared the NDA asking “Can you challenge I. N. D.I.A?”. Incidentally, she addressed the Left leaders by their first names for the first time. Curious why is the TMC going soft on the Left?
Neeraj Akhoury

After India Cements, CMA Inks Wage Pact With Trade Unions

Change is the only constant, it is often said. The change, however, gives a clue or two to the inner dynamics. How else could one view this? Well, the Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) has welcomed a new president in Neeraj Akhoury, who is the Managing director of Shree Cements. Just before his ascension to the top slot, the CMA has managed to ink a wage pact with the unions. The industry has seen eight such national cement wage settlements in the past. A fresh pact was due in April this year when the earlier wage agreement expired. It took a long while to strike a new wage agreement since the unions were insisting that the issue of temporary workers be resolved first before deliberating on a fresh wage pact. Only 18% of the workforce in the cement industry is permanent employees. Obviously, the unions were worried over this increasing trend in the industry. Similar pay for similar jobs is what the unions were demanding irrespective of the permanent or temporary tag attached to a workman. Hopefully, the recent wage accord did manage to find a way out to this thorny issue. The latest industry wage agreement comes months after India Cements went on its own to strike an independent agreement with the unions.  Some churning is happening around the industry, it appears.

Dada Meeting Saheb Twice In Two Days Rattles Cong And Uddhav Sena

Nationalist Congress party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar’s decision to receive two delegations of the breakaway group led by nephew Ajit ‘Dada’ Pawar over the past two days has once again rattled the Congress party in Maharashtra. However, the NCP’s both factions have adopted an aggressive attitude, claiming that it is a matter within the family. Pawar first met the nine ministers who took oath just a week ago under the leadership of Ajit Pawar. On July 17, Saheb met various NCP MLAs who had walked out with Ajit. While spokesmen from both sides have maintained that Pawar gave them a patient hearing but did not make any remark, the explanation has raised fresh misgivings. The Congress was in an upbeat mood after the NCP’s split, followed by the Shiv Sena’s division last year, since their decimation had created the possibility of going to the Leader of Opposition post in both houses to the Congress. Worried by the prospects of a patch-up within the NCP, several Congress leaders have questioned Pawar’s consent to meet the defectors. The disquiet was accentuated as the MLAs loyal to Pawar remained away from a collective protest demonstration held by the legislators belonging to the Congress and the Shiv Sena under Uddhav Thackeray. The close friendship between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pawar has remained an enigma for a long time. It is in discussion again.
K annamalai 010

Can BJP Sway Dravidian Voters In TN With Annamalai’s Yatra?

In just three years, the stormy petrel of the BJP, K Annamalai has talked incessantly against Tamil Nadu Dravidian parties, in particular the DMK and what he consistently claims are its dark underbelly and unbridled corruption. This has brought him to the forefront of the BJP’s frontal attempt to carve itself a perch as a third alternative to the two parties that have held TN in their vice-like grip for over 60years. Annamalai now plans to walk the length and breadth of TN. His padayatra, to be flagged off by Amit Shah, will start on July 28 from Ramanathapuram which is already in the news that PM may contest 2024 Lok Sabha election from this revered pilgrim centre. Annamalai’s Yatra is to extend over 168 days, covering over 225 stops in all the TN constituencies, culminating on January 11 in Chennai with talk about the PM participating in this event in Chennai. Despite Annamalai’s penchant for taking on foes, fringe elements and even friends (he has had a few spats with Governor RN Ravi, BJP’s Vanathi Srinivasan, and local BJP functionaries) analysts are amazed at how his stocks have risen with the top brass. Reportedly, he may be nominated to Rajya Sabha. But, the litmus test of his relevance and political acumen — how many seats BJP will win in TN — will be known in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.  

At 72, Can Thalaiva Set The Silver Screen On Fire?

Diehard fans of Thalaiva can’t wait for August 10 – the release date of Jailer. Every time Rajinikanth’s big budget film is released, claims of it being Superstar’s swan song whet the voracious appetite of his fans to storm the cinema halls to rejoice and drumbeat for the one and only Rajini. At 72, will he be able to set the screen on fire? Politicians and film stars seem loath to retire, and ride off into the sunset. Why would they, when our country of over a billion are raring to dance to these pipers? As long as the audience and political party ATM’s jingle, big boss heroes are ready to canter through unreal capers.  After the tepid response to his last two films, Darbar and Annathe, Rajini, his director Nelson Dilipkumar, music composer Anirudh and bank rolling Sun Pictures have pulled out all stops to ensure Jailer locks up the audience for repeat views. The song, Kaavaalaa belted out by Shilpa Rao with Tamannaah Bhatia gyrating tantalisingly, is already a hit. To add more oomph, Kaavaalaa promos made with AI starring Samantha, Katrina Kaif, Kiara Advani and other marquee names have set the net on fire. The promo, featuring Superstar’s dialogue in his trademark gravel tone, is bound to click with the audience. “I am the King, what I set is law, my whims can change the rules.  Anyone dare? You shall be cut to pieces. This is my Hukam“.


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.