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Cong Keen To Have Mamata, Kejriwal At The Opposition Meet In Bengaluru


In the face of fierce attacks from the Opposition, particularly, the local Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, over the violence in during the West Bengal panchayat elections, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had initially planned to skip the Opposition unity meeting on July 17-18 in Bengaluru. She had cited her limb injury as a reason for not attending the meeting. However, a phone call from Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi to Didi has changed her mind. It is being said TMC supremo will travel to Bengaluru accompanied by her medical team. Sonia reportedly urged Mamata to attend the dinner event that she would be hosting on July 17. It is quite possible that the West Bengal CM with her limited mobility may just register her presence at the dinner event and possibly skip the main meeting on July 18. Confirming Mamata’s presence at Bengaluru, Congress sources however claimed that the Bengal leader had responded to party president Mallikarjun Kharge’s letter. What about Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal? Would he be there too? “We are hoping to hear from the AAP side too,” said a close Kharge aide. The 24-party Opposition meet, aiming for a united front against BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,will be meeting for the second time. This time it will be watched with interest for its outcome.
Ajit pawar_007


NCP's Swift Entry-N-Rise In Maharashtra Govt Rankles Ruling Allies

Ajit Pawar’s ability to swing the best portfolios for himself and his team of eight ministers, within 12 days of joining the Maharashtra government, has led to much heartburn among his own ruling allies, namely the Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena and even within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He managed to whisk a few ministries from the BJP itself after meeting up with union home minister Amit Shah. These include key portfolios like finance (held earlier by Devendra Fadnavis), cooperation (held by Atul Save), medical education (held by Girish Mahajan) and even women and child development (held by Mangal Prabhat Lodha). Other crucial portfolios like agriculture, food and drug administration were taken away from Shinde’s sainiks. The swiftness with which Pawar has managed to get his way in the government has led to much consternation especially when allies like Bacchu Kadu have been left hankering. The NCP ministers too, got their bungalow and office allotments, even before they got their portfolios. Earlier, a ministerial bungalow was opened by breaking the lock to make way for Ajit Pawar faction’ office. The NCP sure knows its way around a desperate BJP which is keen to win maximum Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra next year to retain Delhi.
Ajit Pawar_006


Ajit Pawar Ridicules Superstition But Rejects 'Inauspicious' Cabin

Although he has been taking oath of office ‘solemnly’ and not ‘in the name of God,’ all these years, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar has refused to accept Cabin 602, apparently for the stigma attached to it. He has been allotted an office on the seventh floor although the sixth floor of Mantralaya is considered the power centre of Maharashtra. Cabin 602 on the sixth floor of Mantralaya has been back in discussion after Ajit Pawar has declined to occupy it for the third time.  This cabin is considered inauspicious for its occupant, many people believe. In the past, then revenue minister Eknath Khadse lost his ministership soon after coming to power in 2014 and found himself surrounded by several serious allegations. Then agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar died due to sudden illness in 2018. Ajit Pawar had to resign once and then lose power in 2014 while he had his office in cabin 602. The much discussed cabin 602 is next to the CM office. It is spread over an area of 3000 sq ft but has no takers while every inch in the Mantralaya complex is considered most priceless. Ajit Pawar himself has ridiculed the superstition attached to the cabin while explaining that he decided to choose another cabin for the sake of convenience of his personnel and visitors.

Major League Cricket

Cricket Has Made A Solid Move From The Petrodollar To Richie Rich World!

Quite a few events have occurred over the last two days in the cricket world. For straightforward reasons, the news from Durban that the International Cricket Council (ICC) — in which the BCCI Secretary Jay Shah is a Director; he is also the Chairman of the ICC Finance and Commercial Affairs Committee — has resolved to introduce equal prize money structure for winning the title and matches in the ICC events like the World Cup, Twenty20 World Cup and the under 19 World Cup. While this is a happy tidings, the start of the Major League Cricket across the Atlantic is viewed as achieving a breakthrough in the American market. Almost three decades ago, Dr Ali Bacher, a former South Africa captain and marketing genius, had said that only a game of 25 or 20 overs lasting around three hours  — like baseball — could capture the imagination of the Americans. That’s exactly what has happened, albeit after quite a few attempts, and thanks to the considerable interest demonstrated by four IPL franchise teams and also the involvement of Cricket Victoria and Cricket New South Wales in the two other teams. Cricket has now genuinely moved from the petrodollar world to the Richie Rich world! With the blessings of Cricket USA and the ICC, the MLC is poised to become big, with professional cricket making its debut with a match between Texas Super Kings and Los Angeles Knight Riders.
Varun dhawan


Is Varun Dhawan Trying To Reinvent Himself?

Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor starrer Bawaal directed by Nitesh Tiwari of Dangal fame is a direct OTT release. The trade feels that producer Sajid Nadiadwala took a wise decision on this front as its trailer is unimpressive. But, Nadiadwala has defended his decision by saying that the film needs global reach and OTT is the best platform in today’s time. But nobody is buying it. Thirty-six year old Varun, son of the well-known director David Dhawan and one of the highest paid Bollywood stars (Rs 20 crore), has not had a big hit for quite some time now. His last two releases Jugjugg Jeeyo was an average film while Bhediya a disaster. Ironically, the star who had 11 consecutive box-office successes between 2012 and 2018 (Rajesh Khanna had seven) is finding it difficult to draw audiences to his movies of late. Clearly, Varun seems to be having a bad run. And he is trying to make up for it. He has signed up for Bhediya 2 and the Indian version of Citadel. Besides, he is also donning the producer’s hat and for that project he has roped in the renowned Tamil film director Atlee. It is rumoured that Janhvi may be paired opposite him. People in the trade feel that Varun should focus more on commercial cinema not on OTT platform.
ananta maharaj

BJP Picks An Influential Rajbanshi Leader For Rajya Sabha From West Bengal

Out of six Rajya Sabha seats in West Bengal, the victory of TMC on five and BJP on one seat is being considered confirmed. If Anant Rai Maharaj wins, this will be the first time that a BJP leader will be elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bengal! Anant Maharaj is an influential Rajbanshi leader. In Bengal, they come from the Scheduled Castes (SC). The community comprises about 30% of voters in North Bengal, which accounts for 54 assembly seats. They hold influence in Cooch Behar, Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal. Anant Maharaj is also the President of the Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association. He was being wooed by TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and BJP. Finally, Union Home Minister Amit Shah succeeded in tapping him with RS seat. The buzz is he may be inducted as minister and replace current MoS  Nisith Pramanik, who is Cooch Behar Lok Sabha MP and belongs to the Dalit community. Anant Maharaj is treated like Raja of Cooch Behar by the Adivasis.
Ajit Agarkar

Forced To Quit By The MCA In 2019, Ajit Agarkar Gets The BCCI Job!

Ajit Agarkar has taken charge as the new Chairman of the BCCI’s senior selection committee. His immediate predecessor, Chetan Sharma, had stirred a hornet’s nest by divulging matters related to players’ fitness, among other issues, during a sting operation by a TV channel. Very soon, in the middle of February this year — just some days into his second term as the Chief of the selection committee that came with a handsome annual salary — Sharma,  a lively fast bowling partner to the ‘Haryana Express’ Kapil Dev,  was shown the door and an exalted position in Indian cricket remained vacant for five months. Even as the media raised questions about the BCCI’s reluctance to fill the vacancy immediately, the former India all-rounder with 349 international wickets and who turned out to be the Adelaide Hero with a 6 for 41 in a Test match against Australia in December 2003 has been appointed Chairman; his colleagues being Shiv Sundar Das, Subroto Banerjee, Salil Ankola and S Sharath. With the Asia Cup and the ICC World Cup approaching, the BCCI, with Roger Binny and Jay Shah at the helm, completed a task by getting on board a cricketer of good standing. Four years ago, the Mumbai Cricket Association forced him to quit on flimsy grounds; Agarkar gave his heart and soul to Mumbai cricket, but a handful of administrators with bloated egos had their say.
SoniaGandhi 005

Sonia To Attend Bengaluru Opposition Meet: Is Cong Back At The Wheel?


With NCP supremo Sharad Pawar setting his house in order after a split in his party and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar facing rumblings within the JD(U) over alliance with the RJD, looks like the task of fine-tuning Opposition unity ahead of 2024 election is going to be with the Congress. It is possible that former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi could once again be back at the helm of Opposition parties to provide a cohesive response to the BJP-led NDA. It is possible that Sonia has stepped in to steer the Opposition parties as most leaders are too preoccupied with their own issues. Sonia’s role became apparent as it was declared by Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivkumar that the former Congress President would be attending the next meeting of Opposition parties in Bengaluru on July 17-18. She was reportedly attending the meeting on Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s request. The first meeting of the Opposition was held in Bihar’s Patna on June 23.  It may be recalled how rebel NCP leader Praful Patel had mocked the level of Opposition leaders who had gathered to oppose PM Modi in Patna. He had said he felt like ‘laughing’ listening to the claims of leaders at the Opposition meeting. Parties with one or no MPs were claiming to bring about a change, he said. “There were 17 opposition parties, and seven of them have just one member in the Lok Sabha. There was a party with no MPs. And they claimed they would bring change,” he said.

Corporate India Classifies Dead Wood As “CSR Guys”

There was a time when growth was the focus of many enterprises. Soon enough, this has given way to a new mantra. The corporate honcho realised mere growth is of no use. The growth has to be accompanied by profitability. So, the emphasis turned to growth with profitability. As the focus shifts, so much has changed in the global business environment.  Not surprisingly, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a critical component of the corporate growth process. In fact, CSR has been made mandatory for corporations through a legal requirement. And, companies have to necessarily apportion a specified percentage of its profit process to activities related to CSR. That, perhaps, is the good thing that has happened. For, corporations have a larger responsibility towards society. Well, CSR has now come to occupy a new meaning, at least informally in the corporate world. And, the HR (human resources) team has now begun to identify a section of employees within an organisation for classification as CSR. There are dead wood. There are those about to retire. And, there are those who just come into an organisation through a quota system of recommendatory kind. These people are now termed as “CSR guys”. They are also there but don’t serve. Well, the CSR guys are a cost indeed for corporations!

L To R: Samik Bhatt acharya, Bharati Ghosh & Anirban Ganguly

Anti-Mamata Leaders May Get BJP Ticket To Rajya Sabha From West Bengal

With the Rajya Sabha Election to take place on July 24 at seven seats from Bengal, speculations are rife that this time it will be an anti-Mamata Banerjee BJP leader to find a spot in the upper house. The State BJP is yet to announce the name of its sole candidate at a time when the ruling Trinamool Congress has already released the list of its six confirmed candidates.  The party has renominated — Derek O’Brien, Dola Sen and Sukhendu Sekhar Ray and brought in three new faces — National spokesperson Saket Gokhale, Prakash Chik Baraik and Samirul Islam. In the case of BJP, names of former IPS-turned BJP leader Bharati Ghosh, Bengal observer Swapan Dasgupta, BJP State spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya, Anirban Ganguly and Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association head Anant Maharaj are doing the rounds. BJP sources claim that Ghosh’s chance is maximum since she was a prized catch by BJP during 2021 State Assembly election despite being one of closest IPS officers to Didi. This former IPS officer was given a special role during the G20 Summit. Besides her, Ganguly, who contested at Bolpur seat, but lost, is known to be close to Union Home Minister Amit Shah also stands a chance. It is learnt that BJP is thinking of nominating actor-turned-politician Mithun Chakraborty in place of Roopa Ganguly whose term is complete.
Stalin alagiri


Stalin And Alagiri Smoke Peace Pipe: Will It Last?

The arrest of V Senthil Balaji by the Enforcement Directorate seems to have shaken and stirred Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin. The aftershocks of the imbroglio are still rocking the DMK. The BJP’s “Raja tantra“ is moving heaven, earth and all between to bring Stalin to his knees. So it was not at all surprising when Stalin received his estranged brother MK Alagiri warmly at the Gopalapuram residence on their mother Dayalu Amma’s 90th birthday on July 9. Even when Stalin took oath as CM two years back, Alagiri chose to stay away from the ceremony. Was Stalin waiting for an opportunity to bring him back to the family fold given the political hardships he is facing? When a journalist asked Udhayanidhi, “So has your father and uncle made up”? To this he retorted, “When did they quarrel”? Stalin is aware that there are two potent power centers in the family besides his brother, it is his half-sister Kanimozhi.  The birthday of the grand old mother saw not only sibling rapprochement, even cousins cuddled up to cosy. Udhayanidhi, his cousins Arulnidhi and Durai Dayanidhi (Alagiri’s son) were seen joking and laughing. Stalin is on overdrive, juggling multiple confrontations. But for now, the family is smoking a peace pipe.
Indiana jones

At 80, Harrison Ford Dials Destiny -- A Brave Effort Or A Lost Cause?

The latest in the Indiana Jones franchise, Dial of Destiny is attracting droves of Harrison Ford admirers, just to relive their enduring fascination for Ford as the intrepid adventure archaeologist. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the creators of Indy Jones (which took on the Bond brand) ensure the 80-year old Ford looks and pulls punches like he is 45 in the action sequences. All the amped up action of the Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Temple of Doom and the Lost Crusade are served up in spades, even as he is transformed to his youth apt for the time Travel theme. Dial of Destiny too harks back to historical religious uprisings, holy symbols and royal treasures buried in the caves of time. This film digs, dives even deeper to discover the science behind what Archimedes created, a Cypher driven dial, Antikythera that enables time travel. In this fast paced gig, full of chases and chill thrill action that whirls you through Morocco, Greece, Sicily peppered with back to back surprises. Ford fans love his comeback…for those befuddled by the overwhelming action and unbelievable theme, an IMAX screen, the buttered popcorn and the sheer amazement of going back to the time of Archimedes promises a definite Eureka moment.

EPS Leaves OPS Far Behind In AIADMK War

The EPS-OPS battle for the AIADMK mantle may have been settled finally with the Election Commission formally recognising Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) as the General Secretary of the party. The entry was up on the ECI website leading to celebrations among the cadre owing allegiance to the EPS-controlled majority section of the party. This leaves the other former CM O Panneerselvam’s (OPS) political career out on a limb. He has lost the final battle for the party and has nowhere to go save to form his own party. There too he may have little support as even Sasikala, to whom he owed total allegiance despite her nephew riding roughshod over him when he was CM in Jaya’s place, has started spurning OPS. Additionally, his son has lost the fight in the Madras high court over his election to the Lok Sabha and will be appealing to the Supreme Court to hang on. It does appear as if time has turned sour on OPS, once the most powerful lieutenant of the Poes Garden dual power centre of Jaya and Sasikala. Long before EPS came on to the big stage in AIADMK and TN politics, OPS was ruling the roost with his Thevar connection keeping him relevant as Sasikala pulled the strings. That is all history now. The Salem strongman, EPS, has simply drawn away from his rival, taking the party with him.
Rikant pitti

EaseMyTrip Spreads Its Wings, Enters UK, Europe Markets

EaseMyTrip, a leading online platform that offers “end to end” travel solutions is expanding its operations in the UK and Europe markets. Confirming this move is its young co-founder Rikant Pittie. Thirty-four year old Pittie is gearing up to serve the travel needs of high-street customers. is strategically planning to extend its presence beyond the UK market.  It is learnt that this online platform is eyeing the entire European markets. Pittie has also put in place a team to focus on this market, and make necessary preparations and forging partnerships to ensure a successful launch and operation in these new regions. Rikant’s primary objective is to offer highly competitive prices on flights, hotels, and package holidays for his customers in the UK. Additionally, he is also exploring opportunities to expand its offerings and include exclusive non-air products for his customers. The company will soon introduce distinctive products that meet their various requirements and preferences of its customers.
Parveen Rani Tushar

Now, Indian Origin Mother-Son Duo Make Their Mark In The UK’s Political World

Looks like the United Kingdom’s desi Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has set the trend and many are following his footsteps into the political world.  Two people of Indian origin making waves in the UK are the mother-son duo Parveen Rani and her 20-year old son Tushar Kumar. Both created history after winning the recent Council elections as Labour Party members breaking the traditional Conservative’s stronghold. Tushar has become the youngest Indian-origin councillor in the UK. Tushar’s victory in the local elections marks a significant shift in the political landscape of the UK. It reflects the changing demographics of the nation and highlights the importance of younger voices in politics. Tushar’s win, widely celebrated by the Indian diaspora, is viewed as a symbol of the growing influence and recognition of the Indians in the UK’s political arena. Tushar who moved to London at the age of 10 was passionate about politics and community work from a young age. A student of politics at the prestigious King’s College London, he teaches Hindi pro bono at the Hindi Shiksha Parishad UK.

Intense Politics To Mark Modi’s Pune Visit As He Will Share Dais With Opposition Leaders

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s felicitation in Pune on 1 August 2023 with the prestigious ”Tilak Award” promises to be a major event as various political shades in Maharashtra will share the dais, notwithstanding their differences. Chief minister Eknath Shinde, deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde, who is a trust member, will be among those present for the ceremony. This has been announced by Rohit Tilak, trustee of the Lokmanya Tilak Trust, which has been decorating achievers from different fields over the years. Modi’s acceptance to grace the 103rd death anniversary function of Lokmanya Tilak will be significant in many ways, most importantly owing to the BJP’s all out efforts to decimate the NCP’s faction loyal to Pawar and the Shiv Sena bloc with Uddhav Thackeray. Also, it will be for the first time that nephew Ajit Pawar will be meeting his powerful uncle who launched him in politics. The presence of Modi for a function of the Tilak family will have its repercussions within the BJP itself, too. In the recently held assembly byelection from Pune city, the family was sidelined by the party while selecting its candidate. The BJP lost the bypoll, mainly since a large section of the electorate felt aggrieved by the decision. Modi will try to mollify this sentiment in a bid to reestablish the party’s grip over Pune.
Bengal Violence

West Bengal Panchayat Poll Violence: Is It TMC Vs TMC?

With the increase in killing of more TMC workers in the panchayat election political analysts feel that it is the internal feud of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) which has led to the death of so many TMC supporters. In fact, the party does not require the Opposition party for its decimation. It is their own cadres who are fighting with each other and that results in their own killings in this panchayat election. According to the State Election Commission, around nine TMC workers were killed on Saturday (July 8). Sources say that TMC leadership has failed to address the internal feud of each and every district. They may have controlled the feud at the top level but not at the grassroot. According to political analyst Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, internal feud is one of the aspects leading to violence in many places during the panchayat poll; clashes took place between TMC and independent candidates who quit TMC as they did not get tickets. Besides, internal feud TMC also faced onslaught from the Left, BJP and Congress parties.  According to Imankalyan Lahiri, Professor of International Relations, Jadavpur University, feud within TMC has increased over the years and they do not need another party for their own destruction, they are causing their own self-destruction. 
Sharad Praful


Sharad Pawar Jolted More By Praful Patel's Exit Than Ajit Pawar's Rebellion


Nothing  jolted veteran NCP leader Sharad Pawar about the split in the party he founded in 1999 than the exit of his closest aide Praful Patel who also chose to head out and join the rebel NCP group headed by Ajit Pawar. In fact as Patel himself put it at a meeting of the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP “I always stayed with Sharad Pawar as his shadow”. He also promised to write a book. “I am a modest person so I speak less, I will also write a book. If I will not tell how Maharashtra will understand.” Apparently Pawar interacted with Patel post his exit and sought to know what persuaded him to walk-out of the party along with his nephew; after all he has no ambition of being a CM or a central minister. NCP sources said a tearful Patel reportedly conceded to Sharad Pawar that it was his problems with the ED that had forced him to seek a solution. The ED had attached prime property at Worli belonging to him in the Iqbal Mirchi case. It is not clear how cases against him would now get diluted. When Patel stated his ED issues, Sharad Pawar took a kinder view. “Yet what we cannot fathom is how someone like Dilip Walse Patil who was made a leader by Sharad Pawar from a support staff to an MLA walked out of the NCP?” asks a national leader.
Gita press

A Living Faith: Modi Speaks Up On Why Gandhi Prize For Gita

At the  closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of the historic Gita Press in Gorakhpur, when PM Narendra Modi released the Chitramaya Shiva Purana Granth in Hindi and Nepali he could not help going spiritual .“Gita Press is not just a printing press but a living faith”, Modi remarked. The office of Gita Press was no less than a shrine for crores of people, he said. “With Gita comes Krishna, with Krishna, there is compassion and ‘karma’”. Quoting the Gita, the PM said “Vasudeva Sarvam ie. Everything is, from and in Vasudev.” He emphasized that the spiritual light that lit up in the form of Gita Press in 1923 has become the guiding light of the entire humanity today. UP CM Yogi Adityanath, who spoke before him, recalled how there was a proposal to confer the prize in 2021 itself. Referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s emotional attachment to Gita Press, Modi informed that Gandhiji once used to write for Gita Press through Kalyan Patrika. He further added that it was Gandhiji who suggested that advertisements should not be published in the Kalyan Patrika and the suggestion is still being followed. In these 100 years, the Gita Press has published crores of books which are sold at a price less than the cost and delivered door-to-door. Modi underlined that an organization like Gita Press is not only associated with religion and work but also has a national character.
G Kishan reddy

Is BJP Committing Hara-Kiri In Telangana?


It appears the BJP is committing hara-kiri in Telangana. Rumours are rife of a big compromise having been struck between the central BJP leadership and KCR by which the BRS will play a supporting role to the national party and KCR is for this only to avoid his son and daughter from being pursued by the central investigating agencies. While the BRS playing second fiddle itself may be sufficient to put people off in choosing an alternative to the BRS in the BJP, it is obvious that the national party is playing into the hands of the Congress in India’s youngest state. The appointment of the soft-spoken G Krishen Reddy of the Union Cabinet as the Telangana party chief in place of Bandi Sanjay is seen as damaging to the party’s ambitions of capturing power in the state. It is being said freely that private surveys are showing the people are disinclined to vote for the BRS again thanks to KCR and his clannish administration and in looking for an alternative are now viewing the Congress as the ideal party to vote for. Spotting the shift in the people’s mood, droves of BRS leaders are joining the Congress and more are expected to cross over in the next couple of months before the poll by the end of the year.
Amish Tripathy

Celebrated Author Amish Tripathi Wins Special Award In London

In recognition of his role towards strengthening ties between the UK and India, celebrated author, diplomat Amish Tripathi was given a special award at the 5th UK India Award 2023. The work of Amish as a Director at the Nehru Centre, and Minister of Education & Culture at the High Commission of India’s office in London has greatly impacted the Indian diaspora. During the pandemic and post Covid, Amish and his team have kept the Centre busy by hosting on an average 28 events a month. On the writing front he has co-authored Moorti Puja with his elder sister Bhavana which will be launched soon. In addition, Amish and his newly wedded wife Shivani have begun exploring the possibility of bringing the varied spiritual works in the form of comic format for lighter reading to attract students and kids globally. In the UK during the promotion of his latest book War of Lanka, he met several children who are avid readers and his fans. Youth has been his biggest audience and now he desires to penetrate further among school children. Amish is also taking a shot at being producer-director for documentary films. His work Shiva Trilogy has been captured by Shekhar Kapur for the web series.
Leo vijay

Is Superstar Vijay Glorifying ‘Drinking’ With His Latest Song?

Tamil film superstar and aspiring politician Vijay’s 49th birthday on June 22 turned out to be a rambunctious, rocking event. It was the release of the first song of Leo which featured Vijay singing this peppy number himself sending his fans into rapture. The furious pace of the song, Naa Ready only amped up the boozy, inebriate kick of the lyrics, the double entendre lyrics and the sizzling music meant to be a clarion call to his huge fan did not sit well with conservatives. Amongst all those who protested stoutly via videos and media, a case filed by Rajeshwari Priya, founder chair of Anaithu Makkal Katchi, a breakaway from Dr Ramadoss’s PMK, managed to hog more optics…she went in person to meet Chennai DGP Shankar Jiwal to file her case. Later, Priya claimed that she had netted 70 lakh hits for her videos of the expose. Then started what she claims as the Vijay incited reprisal…filthy memes, Facebook threats and a host of ugly protests that sent her scurrying for cover. Though the police are wary about Priya’s vociferous protests which could well be for political gain, TN has  a number of conservative influencers who object to film stars morphing as political leaders .Why glorify addictions like drinking and smoking ? This kind of cheap entry strategy to build up political impact is not inspiring.
Garfield Sobers


The Indian Cricket Team Meets The Truly Great, Sir Garfield Sobers

India’s cricket faithful will miss the Caribbean flavour so joyfully presented by the cricketers of the bygone era in the ICC World Cup in India. Representing the beautiful islands and sporting the maroon cap, the West Indies have been knocked out in the ICC qualifiers in Zimbabwe. While its cricketers would return utterly gutted, the team would be soon engaged in a series across all formats against India, starting with a two-Test series. Meanwhile, the Indian team led by Rohit Sharma, during its preparation at Barbados, had the opportunity to meet one of the true greats of the game, Sir Garfield Sobers. The BCCI posted a video of the meeting between India’s cricketers and the West Indies legends, saying: “In Barbados & in the company of greatness. Team India meets one of the greatest of the game — Sir Garfield Sobers.”  Pleasant times indeed for India’s stars like Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin and other team members and the coach Rahul Dravid. All were glad to shake hands with the legend who did everything as a cricketer to excel — batting, bowling, fielding and leading! Now 88, Sobers captured the imagination of the cricket world for twenty years from 1954 to 1974, and the numbers he achieved as a Test cricketer says it all: 93 Tests, 8032 runs, 365 not out as the highest, 26 x 100s and 30 x 50s, 235 wickets and 109 catches. 
Brandon McCullum

Ashes Cricket On Fire

The cricket in the Ashes may have come closest to resembling the ‘Bodyline’ series even as tensions rise across the world in Britain and in Australia. Prime Ministers have been wading into the ‘stumping’ row involving wicket-keepers Alex Carey and Jonny Bairstow, with Rishi Sunak outright condemnatory of Aussie behaviour that he said is against the spirit of cricket while Antony Albanese saw the humour in it all, saying ‘Same old Aussies, winning all the time”. At the heart of the dispute is England’s Kiwi coach Brendon McCullum whose ‘Bazball’ philosophy is under attack like never before as Team England find themselves 2-0 down and needing to do only what the Australians of 1936-37 have ever done in winning a 5-Test series from the depths of 2-down. It appears McCullum himself had been the guilty party in twice running out batsmen who had left the crease only to celebrate a batting colleague reaching a landmark like a century or a 50. He did it once each to the Sri Lankans and the Zimbabweans though New Zealand were well on the way to victory in both Tests. Years after leaving the active game, McCullum is guilty of talking now of the spirit of cricket. There are no winners and losers in these arguments over controversial incidents – only poor losers damaging the image of the game.
sharad pawar meeting 2

Pawar Play: Why No Takers For This Maratha Family Drama


For all his bluff and bluster against BJP and Modi-Shah, NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar never misses to show off his equations with the PM. In fact, days before his nephew Ajit walked over to the NDA, Pawar had gone public with details about how he had got Rohit Tilak, a Congress functionary and member of the legendary Tilak family, an appointment with PM Modi. “Imagine Rohit Tilak didn’t think of approaching Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis to reach out to the PM.”  Tilak wanted to reach out to Modi to persuade him to accept the Lokmanya Tilak Award this year. PM Modi will be travelling to Pune to receive this award in August. It only showed the kind of equations Pawar shared with PM Modi. At the same time, Pawar loves to charge the BJP of destroying the Opposition parties. More evidence of Sharad Pawar’s perfidy surfaced when Chhagan Bhujbal disclosed how the veteran leader at an NCP internal meeting had claimed that PM Modi had an edge in 2024 Lok Sabha polls and was bound to get re-elected. It was amply clear that the octogenarian was aware of his limitations. State Congress leaders feel the party must now chart its own independent course with fresh faces such as Prithviraj Chavan and Anant Gadgil. Common people are fed up with the high drama of Sena-BJP and the NCP and are yearning for some new politics.
Natraja Temple

Is The DMK Govt Trying To Bring The 2000-Year Old Chidambaram Temple Under The HR & CE Act?

The 2000-year old Lord Nataraja temple in Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district which draws lakhs of devotees has a fatal attraction for the Dravidian parties for the scale of earnings; it is not under the purview of the HR & CE (Hindu Religious And Charitable Endowments)Act (. Chidambaram temple has been uniquely managed by a very close knit, denominated sect, the Dikshitars. Ergo, there are no money filled Hundis, no cacophony of shops selling bric-a-bac, no potential for siphoning the take by politicians or trustees. There have been several legal attempts to challenge the right of Dikshitars to run this heritage temple from 1951, matters reaching even the SC. An uneasy truce exists, the Dikshitars represented by legal eagles adept at separating the spiritual rights of the temple and its devotees, from the temporal diktats of the government in power. The most recent attempt was by the DMK minister Sekhar Babu during a significant holy festival when the Dikshitars put up a notice that worshippers were not allowed to climb up the narrow steps adjacent to the sacred sanctum. A few police officers were sent to establish the government’s right, slap a few more untenable charges on the management and bring the Kanakasabhai (an awe inspiring Golden Dome built of 21,600 gold sheets, and 72,000 golden nails representing the total Nadis, nerves in the human body) under the government order. The devotees are asking why are Hindu places of worship being targeted for audit and control?

Now BJP, Cong Join Hands To Attack Odisha Chief Minister’s Trusted Bureaucrat Pandian

BJP MP Aparijita Sarangi, BJP President Manmohan Samal and Congress Campaign Committee Chairman Bijay Patnaik have been attacking Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s most trusted IAS officer V Kartikeyan Pandian. They have lodged a formal complaint saying Pandian has hijacked the entire governance system in Odisha by doing the work of politically elected legislature, violating service rules. Biju Janata Dal leaders say both BJP and Congress have plumbed to new depths with their attacks. Consequently the DoPT under the Union government has sent a notice to Odisha Chief Secretary urging an inquiry into the matter. BJP’s Manmohan Samal said “Pandian cannot do two jobs being 5T secretary and do politics as it cannot be delegated.” BJD in its defence says, “This is not delegation of power by the chief minister to Pandian, but delegation of work.”  Political analysts say DoPT letter to Chief Secretary is only a forwarding letter, if BJP was serious they would have summoned Pandian to Delhi. Those who are familiar with Patnaik will say he is a shrewd and discerning politician who knows the impact and implications when he is empowering bureaucrats. This apart, Naveen also knows how to show the door to persons whose time has come just as he did with Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.

Shriram Finance Ties Up With Paytm, TPG India Mulls Re-Entering The Group Via Housing Arm

The happenings in the Chennai-headquartered financial services group Shriram have been hitting the headlines ever since the mega restructuring of its ownership some time ago. Post the revamp, Shriram Finance has emerged as the country’s largest retail asset financing non-banking finance company. Shiram has hit the news yet again. It has announced a new partnership with One97 Communication Ltd, the owners of payment app Paytm.  Under the arrangement, Paytm will facilitate digital credit for merchant and consumer loans from Shriram Finance. The duo is expecting the partnership to herald a new and wholesome digital loan experience for merchants whose credit needs remain largely un-served.  The tie-up with Paytm comes even as Ajay Piramal’s company and TPG India Investments (a private equity player) cashed out of Shriram Finance by selling their holdings of 8.34% and 2.64% respectively, a few days ago. The Piramals may have to cash out its investment in the insurance business of the Shiram group in the wake of their acquiring Dewan Housing Finance Ltd, which too has an insurance arm. It is learnt that the Piramals have already been in discussion with the top leadership of the Shriram group to find an exit option for its insurance investment. In the midst of hectic happenings around the Shriram group, TPG, which has just exited Shriram Finance, is reportedly toying with the idea of investing in Shriram Housing. Well, Shriram appears to be an irresistible conglomerate!

Uneasy Truce Between Baghel-Deo In Chhattisgarh; Gehlot Not Ready For Such A Truce In Rajasthan

With the appointment of TS Singh Deo as the Deputy Chief Minister of the Chhattisgarh government ahead of state elections due by the year-end, has the Congress secured possibilities of winning back the state? Deo who had initially announced he would not contest the 2023 elections and had even given up panchayati raj portfolio was seen as sulking as he was not made CM as initially promised. Congress leadership naturally panicked. Deo had delivered all the 14 tribal dominated Sarguja region seats in the 2018 assembly elections. In June 2021, the rivalry between CM Bhupesh Baghel and Deo surfaced briefly after Baghel completed two-and-a-half years as CM. Congress sources give credit for bringing rapprochement between Baghel and Deo to new AICC in-charge Kumari Selja.  She apparently was not biased towards the CM unlike previous AICC managers like PL Punia and decided to work on getting Deo back on board. Baghel-Deo truce could be fragile as Baghel, a prominent OBC face, decided to push his own tribal face from Sarguja region– Nand Kumar Sai — a former BJP leader who had joined the party as recently as in May. Congressmen feel Sai at 77 is too old. Meanwhile, one hears Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot is literally dragging his feet to reach a compromise with his squabbling deputy Sachin Pilot. Summoned by party chief Kharge to reach Delhi for a meeting on July 3, Gehlot is feigning a foot sore. Looks like CMs are learning a lot from Mamata di about how to fake it!
Indo_Pak match

With Navratri And Wedding Season, India-Pakistan Clash Will Rake In Big Moola In Ahmedabad

Call it “rake the moola”;  that’s the name of the game in the hospitality industry in Ahmedabad,  the most favoured destination for the marquee matches of the ICC World Cup to be played in India from October 5 to November 19. After the World Cup schedule was announced on July 27 in Mumbai, the room tariffs across star hotels skyrocketed, with many travel agency apps displaying “sold out or not available” messages.  The biggest match of the 48 will take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium on  October 15 (the first day of Navaratri), when the arch-rivals India and Pakistan lock horns, which has a potential billing for around one lakh spectators plus.  Rough estimates have put the hospitality industry to run a turnover close to Rs 1000 crore, with Ahmedabad set to host the opening game (England v New Zealand ), the India v Pakistan match, Australia v England,  South Africa v Afghanistan and the final.  With spectators likely to travel from the USA and UK for the Navratri festival and the wedding season, the home town of India’s Prime Minister and Home Minister is all set for a gala time. The World Cup final of 2011 returned Rs 22 crore to the Mumbai Cricket Association from gate receipts; 12 years later, the Gujarat Cricket Association with a lakh-plus capacity will laugh its way to the Bank!

Tamil Nadu Governor Ravi Must Go

The Centre may have realised that the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi must be shifted out. He has exceeded his brief of taking on the DMK government with his ill-considered timing of dismissal of the minister accused of high graft – V Senthil Balaji. Having made several trips to New Delhi to consult lawyers on the Constitution, the Governor seems to have been carried away in his mission of putting down the MK Stalin government. In his actions, the Governor seems to have been guided by a one-point agenda of embarrassing a government that enjoys the confidence of the public, irrespective of an image of high corruption that is creeping in, thanks to the operations of fundraisers like Balaji with key portfolios. After having sought legal opinion, the Governor dismissed the minister without portfolio in haste and the Centre may have to pay the price in terms of the sympathy wave that is gaining ground in the State for the DMK seen to be suffering from the highhandedness of the Centre in its dealings through the Raj Bhavan. In creating this embarrassing situation in which the Home Ministry had to tell the Governor to seek the Attorney General’s opinion on the powers of a Governor to dismiss a minister, however obnoxious a personality, Ravi may have bitten off more than he can chew. Expect a transfer sometime soon.


All Out War: BJP To Target Thackeray, CM Shinde To Supplement

The BJP is said to have decided to target the Thackeray family in the days to come. The Shiv Sena under chief minister Eknath Shinde will supplement the onslaught. The first salvo will be fired by the Shinde-Fadnavis regime on 1 July, the day selected by Uddhav Thackeray supporters to take out a morcha to the civic headquarters. Alleging massive malpractices in the various contracts awarded by the administration, the Thackeray faction has started making preparations for the coming civic election, likely to be held after the monsoon this year. The morcha will be the first step in this campaign. To take out the shine from the protest march, the Shinde loyalists have announced that Aaditya Thackeray’s closest friend Rahul Kanal will join the Shiv Sena on that very day. Rahul has already left the posts he held under Aaditya and has also quit the WhatsApp group of that circle. Even a bigger surprise is in the waiting, Shinde’s followers have started whispering. Though Shinde himself has adopted a low profile, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has indicated that the Thackeray family will face some drastic action in the near future. In an interview to Republic TV, Fadnavis went all out against Uddhav and warned him that police officials are collecting evidence necessary to file a chargesheet. He also discounted any possibility of a patch up with Uddhav.
Kamal hassan_rahul_mani

Has Kamal Hasaan Mastered The Art Of Riding Two Horses?

Is Kamal Hasaan, a part time politician and full time film star or is it the other way round? Ever since he floated his party Makkal Needhi Mayyam in 2018 and cast himself as a significant political force, this question has been raised often. His party did not win a single seat in the Tamil Nadu Assembly election in 2021, little wonder he persisted in riding the elliptical of films and politics. Vikram’s success gave new life to a mothballed Indian 2 with ace director Shankar bent on repeating the success of the first Indian. Out of the blue, Kamal has been offered a meaty role in the prestigious director Nag Ashwin’s sci-fi Project 2 with Amitabh Bachchan, Prabhas, Deepika Padukone and Disha Patani. His rumoured remuneration for the film is Rs 20 crore. Recently, he gave a cheque to TN’s first woman bus driver Sharmila. Driving a private bus on the Coimbatore-Somanur route Sharmila was over the top when two women VIPs — Vanathi Srinivasan of the BJP and DMK MP Kanimozhi — travelled in her bus. But, the bus owner was unhappy with the publicity and Sharmila lost her job. Even as Kanimozhi, the DMK’s alter ego leader promised her a job, Kamal stepped in. Wags are now busy speculating that Kamal is already in election mode for 2024. Riding two horses simultaneously is a rare talent.
Civic officer slap

BMC Officials Get Caught In Internecine Sena Rift: IAS Officer Gets ED Raid, Another Gets Slapped

Government officials working in India’s wealthiest civic corporation, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are facing the brunt of being caught in the crossfire of Shiv Sena’s internecine conflict. Having ruled the BMC for over 25 years without a break has meant that, both the Shiv Sena factions — Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde — have immense understanding about the nuances of how BMC works. With the result that they are adopting every trick in the book, to use the BMC to get back at the other. Amidst allegations of close aides bagging multi-crore Covid deals and Covid procurements done at inflated costs,  an IAS officer and former additional commissioner of BMC, was raided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and found having assets worth Rs 100 crore. Soon afterwards, demolition of a 40-year-old party office of the Uddhav Thackeray faction at Bandra East, led to party workers slapping a civic engineer. Officials now fear a spike in pressure tactics as the BMC elections inch closer. Uddhav is no stranger to this business of (mis) using the BMC official machinery for his political fights. He had similarly used the BMC’s offices to get back at opponents supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) like actress Kangana Ranaut or Navneet Rana or Mohit Kambhoj by initiating action for illegal alterations. Even Radio Jockey Mallishka wasn’t spared of BMC notices for poking fun at the potholed roads of Mumbai.
shankar Mahadevan

Shankar Mahadevan Academy Forges Ties With Birmingham City University

Fifty-five year old accomplished singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan has been awarded a honorary doctorate by Birmingham City University (BCU) in recognition of his outstanding services to music and the arts at a special ceremony held at the University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He was also presented with a bespoke medal made by students at the University’s renowned School of Jewellery. A student ensemble who performed at the ceremony led by Dr Radhika Balakrishnan, a Carnatic classical vocalist and BCU’s first-ever Indian Council for Cultural Relations Chair in Indian Studies who is also a teacher at the Shankar Mahadevan Academy has helped Mahadevan to strengthen his ties with the University. Mahadevan has expressed a keen desire to join hands with BCU and form a tie-up between his Academy and the University. To support Mahadevan’s vision and mission none other than Ustad Zakir Hussain, renowned tabla player, composer, and percussionist, and John McLaughlin, legendary guitarist and a pioneer of jazz fusion joined him on stage and also participated in an impromptu jamming session with the University students to the delight of the audience. Professor Philip Plowden, Vice Chancellor at BCU said: “Shankar is also an educational innovator who believes in making the best tuition available to talented aspiring musicians. We are honored to have the opportunity to formally bring Shankar into our University community.”

KCR Jolts Maharashtra Politicians, Targets Solapur To Start With

Bharat Rashtra Samiti founder and Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s (KCR) decision to exploit the Solapur belt for expanding his party’s presence in Maharashtra has started impacting politics in the state. Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde has fired a salvo at KCR by taunting him that Rao should take care of his own party first and then dream of coming to Maharashtra for political activities. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole, too, has sniggered at Rao’s forays into the state. Undeterred, Rao zeroed in on Solapur because of the substantial Telugu-speaking population in this once famous textile town. The textile trade is controlled by this section. Several MPs and MLAs belonging to this section have dominated Solapur district’s politics for a long time. Telugus in the district have maintained ties with their places of origin in Telangana over the past two centuries. Of late, this section is feeling left out since the district’s politics has taken a pro-BJP turn. Looking for a viable option, some Telugu-speaking leaders have joined the BRS bandwagon. The Rao government has extended several sops to the weaving community in Telangana and is promising to do the same in Maharashtra.  Another sore issue is Solapur farmers’ complaint that their share of water is diverted to the more powerful districts like Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur. Rao is expected to hammer on this discontent, too, in future.

Modi Oozes Confidence Post-US Visit, Trashes Patna Meet Of Opposition As Conclave Of The Corrupt

It was vintage PM Narendra Modi all over again as he slammed the Opposition unity move in Patna while addressing BJP karyakartas from all over the country in Bhopal. Flush with the success of his Indo-US visit and a number of MoUs signed, Modi was oozing confidence; he did not seem worried about the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.  Karnataka poll rout  had been firmly put  in the back burner. He described the Patna Opposition move as coming together of leaders with a proven track record in corruption and reminded people of crores of funds lost to the exchequer because of them. Answering a question from a BJP worker, he said he never saw such agitation among the Opposition parties like this time. “You remember what happened in 2014 and 2019? The staunch opponents of BJP were not this much agitated either in 2014 or in 2019. Enemies have now come together. Leaders who used to abuse each other are now prostrating before each other. Don’t get angry at them, have pity,” Modi said. He used the occasion to launch his UCC agenda and reminded citizens that if triple talaq, now outlawed by the Supreme Court, had been a necessary tenet of Islam, then why Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh do not have it?
Mamata _Campaign

Why Is Didi Heavily Campaigning For The West Bengal Panchayat Poll?

Nearly after a decade, Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is heavily campaigning for the upcoming three-tier Panchayat Poll. Didi last campaigned in 2008, and that too sparingly. This time around Didi addressed a rally at Kakdwip of South 24 Parganas on June 16 during the concluding day of Trinamoole Nabo Jowar programme. It could be well categorised as TMC chairperson kickstarting Panchayat Poll campaign. Mamata has already held rallies in districts of North Bengal, where TMC is struggling to gain a foothold. On July 3, she will be campaigning at Birbhum, one of the strongest TMC-held districts besides the North and South 24 Parganas. Didi is leaving nothing to chance to ensure a win in the maximum number of gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads. Interestingly, Mamata has once again been vocal about corruption within her party and made it clear to her voters not to fall prey to ‘cut money and syndicate raj’. Political observers believe that Didi is aware of the fact that this rural body poll is crucial to cementing TMC’s position as the strongest anti-BJP party. It is learnt that Didi is keen that TMC contest 40 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. But, the moot point is whether the Opposition Party will agree to her demand when they meet in Shimla some time in July.
MKStalin NitishKumar

With Hindi Dominating The Opposition Meet In Patna, Stalin Finds Himself Tongue-Tied

At the mega Opposition parties meeting called by the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in Patna, the Tamil Nadu chief minister felt a little out of place; he could not comprehend the fast and furious Hindi exchange of all leaders. A language that he is vehemently opposed to. Had the PM called for such a meeting, Stalin would have boycotted it. Observers close to a few participants talk about how Stalin was trying hard to get the gist from T R Baalu who also seemed at sea. After nearly four hours of this meeting, Stalin made excuses to leave early, citing his flight schedule departure time so as to avoid facing the media in Patna. Instead called for a Press meet at the Chennai airport where he could address in Tamil. A senior analyst asks didn’t Stalin travel in a chartered flight and that has no departure time compulsions. It is learnt that for the second round of the meet at Shimla, Stalin may ask Baalu and Kanimozhi to represent him. One has to wait and watch whether this ‘Unite to Unseat the BJP in 2024’ is still strong enough to reach the third phase at Chennai.

IdeaForge Technology IPO: Unstable Past Performance, Unassuming Promoter Stake

The Navi Mumbai-registered ideaForge Technology Ltd (iFTL) is coming out with its maiden public issue valued at Rs 567 crore. The IPO consists of a fresh issue of Rs 240 crore from the company and an offer for sale of Rs 327 crore by one promoter, five individual shareholders and eight corporate shareholders of the company. The price band is Rs 638-672 for Rs 10 paid-up share. The 2007-registered iFTL was a loss-making company until fiscal 2021. The company could wipe out its accumulated deficit only in fiscal 2022. The company claims to be the pioneer and the pre-eminent market leader in the Indian unmanned aircraft systems market, with a market share of approximately 50% in fiscal 2022. It has one of the industry’s leading product portfolios targeted at civil and defence applications. It has a broad range of products with feature-based differentiation. Sixteen year-old company was not eligible for making an IPO on its own financial performance and has adopted a `technical route’ to float its maiden public issue. If the company’s prospects are promising, why are so many big shareholders offloading their stake and making their cost of residual holding negative? Unstable past performance, unassuming promoter stake and absurd issue pricing make the IPO a risky proposition. For detailed story click
Pritvi shaw sarfaraz khan

BCCI May Ask Prithvi Shaw And Sarfaraz Khan To Mend Ways

On and off the field, shenanigans are bandied about for overlooking the claims of Mumbai youngsters Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan in the national team for the format they are most suitable for. The chatter in the grapevine is that both will be summoned by the BCCI and told in no uncertain terms that they have to straighten up in order to be considered for red and white ball cricket. Had it not been for the supposed black marks against these talents, Khan would have probably played four Tests starting from the Delhi Test against Australia, leading to the ICC WTC final at The Oval in London, and Shaw could have been on the broader canvas for the Asia Cup and World Cup competitions. This column understands that the players’ home association — the Mumbai Cricket Association — is abreast of what’s going on as regards their non-selection in the Indian teams. According to an insider in the BCCI, people have immense respect for their skill and prolific run-scoring ability, but Shaw and Khan have to get the green signal from the BCCI for their names to be placed on the selection committee table. The insider stated that the game of cricket teaches suitable life lessons, and the BCCI would counsel Shaw and Khan, make them mend their ways and that they are, by their performances, very much on the radar of Indian team selection.
Nirmala sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman May Contest 2024 Lok Sabha Poll From Chennai South

No one can blame BJP for being a party that works 24×7 on elections. There is no predicting yet how 2024 may go but the ruling BJP is already busy planning its campaign to maximise its chances. The party may be a fledgling force in Tamil Nadu, but it has already initiated planning for the polls in terms of suitable constituencies and candidates who would fit into them. For instance, the party seems to have plumped for Nirmala Sitharaman, finance minister, to contest the South Madras seat where they feel she may get maximum support going by the profile of the constituency voters. Union minister L Murugan may have earmarked the Nilgiris as his place to contest. The party has also zoomed in on constituencies in western and southern Tamil Nadu as potentially most likely to be attracted by its ideology. The party’s bigwigs have been touring the state in the last couple of weeks to put in motion poll plans. Apparently, the AIADMK has agreed to apportion nine Lok Sabha seats plus Puducherry for BJP and the heads of the party have authorised its leaders to examine which nine constituencies would be best to lay early claims to putting up candidates there. The alliance may be far from sealed and seat sharing is even further away, but the BJP is already doing its pre-poll work thoroughly in the State.
Modi sundar

By Gifting US First Lady 7.5 Carat Precious Stone PM Modi Has Given A Big Boost To India’s Lab-Grown Diamond Industry

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted US First Lady Jill Biden a lab grown 7.5 carat green diamond during his recently concluded  3-day state visit  to the US . Questions were raised about the nature of the jewel. The diamond is eco-friendly, as eco-diversified resources like solar and wind power were used in its making. It reflects earth-mined diamonds’ chemical and optical properties. The Green Diamond is sculpted with precision and care using cutting edge technology. It emits only 0.028 grams of Carbon per carat and is certified by the Gemological lab, IGI.  A diamond maker from Surat described the lab grown green diamond as “an atma nirbhar step that is giving jobs to millions of people all around India.” PM Modi’s US visit seems to have offered some goodies to overseas Indians. In a major boost to software professionals, PM Modi announced that US consulates would be opened in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad. And an Indian consulate would be opened in Seattle. He also conveyed that people may not have to leave the US once their H1 B visa expires. He also had a personal interaction with Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc and Google. He invited Pichai to explore further avenues of collaboration in the domains of Artificial Intelligence; fintech; cybersecurity products & services; as well as mobile device manufacturing in India. PM and Pichai also discussed collaboration between Google and academic institutions in India to promote R&D and skill development.

Has ‘Bahubali’ Prabhas Disappointed His Fans In Adipurush Avataar?

Om Raut’s film Adipurush seems to have disappointed Bahubali Prabhas’ fans. There are conflicting reports about collections and footfalls in the theatres even as Prabhas tweeted “Adipurush continues its roaring success at the box office! With a mind boggling collection of Rs 375 crore (sic)”. But movie critic Taran Adarsh tweeted “Disappointing”. So how does the future look for the first pan India star Prabhas? Not bright, feel some trade analysts. They say it is his third flop after Saaho and Radhe Shyam. Adipurush ran into controversy from Day One when the trailer was released and for its poor dialogues after release. Son of a Telugu film producer, the 43-year old Prabhas entered the Telugu film industry in 2002 and all his seven films were hit. What changed his life and catapulted him into the big league –making him the highest paid star in the south — was the title role he bagged in SS Rajamouli’s Bahubali and its sequel grossing. The film was an all time hit and the rest is history. Prabhas has a couple of projects in the pipeline; one with Deepika Padukone and Big B. Also releasing this year is action thriller Salaar. Interestingly, like Salman Khan even Prabhas is the most eligible bachelor… and heart broken. Anushka Shetty turned down his marriage proposal and the latest grapevine he is dating Adipurush co-star Kriti Sanon.
Sarfaraz jaiswal

Sarfaraz(left) and Yashasvi

Sweet News For Yashasvi, A Bitter Pill For Sarfaraz

Yashasvi Jaiswal, the powerful southpaw batsman, has stolen the thunder from Sarfaraz Khan and crashed through the national team’s door. In as much as the ardent followers of the game in Mumbai would sympathise with Sarfaraz, the  ‘pocket dynamo’, for not being able to convince the national selection committee of his gifts, they would also congratulate Yashasvi for his rapid rise as a talented left-hand opener across all formats. Not long ago, Sarfaraz was ahead of another budding star from Mumbai, Arman Jaffer, in the India potential category, but the last year saw Yashasvi make a big noise with his bat. A fabulous Tata-IPL 16 and the 21-year-old — immediately after two good domestic seasons — won him a call as a standby for Pune and Maharashtra’s Ruturaj Gaikwad, whose wedding prevented him travelling to the UK for pre-match preparations for the WTC final at ‘The Oval’. So a perseverant and ambitious youth who gave a helping hand to his father sell savouries at a famous maidan in Mumbai caught the imagination of the cricketing fraternity with his blitzkrieg-like displays in the IPL. The Mumbai Cricket Association and Rajasthan Royals must get credit for shaping his fledgling career, but Sarfaraz ought to be disappointed in losing faith in the system. His non-selection for the West Indies tour has left the legendary Sunil Gavaskar fuming. At the end of it all, sweet news for Yashasvi and a bitter pill to swallow for Sarfaraz. Yet again!
Sharad pawar patna

Pawar Busy At National Level, NCP’s Maharashtra Unit In Turmoil

Whereas Nationalist Congress party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has been working towards Opposition unity at the national level, his own party’s Maharashtra unit is witnessing a cold war in which his nephew Ajit Pawar, senior leaders Jayant Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal have become the main players. Ajit has asked the party leadership for organizational responsibility. “I have remained the leader of the opposition in the legislature. Now I wish to work for the organization,” he has declared time and again. On the other hand, his principal rival Jayant Patil, too, is eager to play a larger role in the party’s affairs. Former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal has now added a new dimension to the cold war by demanding that a non-Maratha worker should be entrusted with some major role in the NCP. Bhujbal has told the party that the BJP and the Congress have given important positions to OBC leaders in the organization. The NCP, too, should emulate their example, Bhujbal has advised the leadership. At present, Sharad Pawar, his daughter Supriya and Ajit occupy most prominent posts in the party. Besides belonging to the Maratha caste, they are perceived as running a family undertaking. Pawar’s decision to keep Ajit away from any new responsibility has been interpreted variously. As a result, several BJP leaders have started extending open invitations to Ajit to join their fold. Pawar’s next move will decide which way the dice turns.
Opp meet

Kejriwal's Hurry To Have His Way Upsets Seniors At Opposition Meet, Cong Refuses To Get Browbeaten

The Opposition leaders’ first huddle in Patna to chalk out the strategy for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections got off to a shaky start with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjiwal in a rush to push senior leaders, particularly Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi to accept his agenda on Delhi Ordinance. The ordinance had provided for setting up of National Capital Civil Service Authority under Delhi L-G for transfer and posting of officials. Kejriwal’s overdrive surprised the leaders. Congress sources said that the party leadership did not want to be seen being pushed around. After all, state units in Punjab and Delhi units were opposed to supporting the AAP in Parliament. Kejriwal did not expect the Congress to deal with the matter with caution and which is probably why he opted to skip the Press briefing at the end of the meeting. “Kejriwal’s churlish conduct upset senior leaders…It was suggested that a view on the ordinance would be taken at the next meeting in July in Shimla, ” rued a Congress source. Otherwise, there seemed to be a lot of light-heartedness at the meet as RJD leader Lalu Prasad openly suggested to Rahul Gandhi that he must get married – that too before the press. He also remarked how, “Lord Hanuman thrashed BJP with his mace in Karnataka, had made Rahul win.” Only Mamata Banerjee who is facing the brunt of education scam in her state spoke about the menace of ED.
Patnaik pandian

Odisha CM’s Over-Dependence On Bureaucrat Pandian Draws BJP Fire

Taking a dig at PM Narendra Modi, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik recently quipped “double engine government is not important, what’s important is good governance”.  Irked by this statement BJP’s bureaucrat-turned-MP Aparijita Sarangi shot back at Patnaik’s government by targeting CM’s right hand man and private secretary, V Karthikeyan Pandian who is also 5T Secretary (5T stands for Team work, Technology, Transparency, Transformation and Time limit). Patnaik who depends on bureaucrats to fulfil his commitment given to people has given IAS officer Pandian the carte blanche to clear strategic and administrative issues so much so that the elected leaders play a subservient role. Sarangi alleged how people’s mandate to govern Odisha has been hijacked by a 5T bureaucrat who takes all the decisions as a single window clearance, making elected BJD representatives helpless.  For Patnaik empowering bureaucrats to execute his vision is not new. He had done this earlier with late bureaucrat-turned-politician Pyarimohan Mohapatra who became so powerful as Patnaik’s advisor that he planned a coup to dethrone the CM. Now, Pandian seems to be enjoying CM’s confidence.
Senthil MKStalin

Will The Real Senthil Balaji Please Stand Up?

A fortnight back nobody had heard of DMK minister V Senthil Balaji outside of Tamil Nadu till ED arrested him on June 14. Drama thereafter of him being admitted to a hospital, chief minister MK Stalin visiting him and Opposition leaders across the country coming out in his support and castigating Modi government did surprise everybody. Who is really V Senthil Balaji? Basically he is a fund raiser who ensures that funds reach at the highest level without any seepages. His controversial political trapeze act of crossing from the AIADMK to the DMK and getting rewarded with two plum ministries — Electricity and Excise (the cash cow TASMAC chain) — unleashed much heartburn among the DMK old timers. He is Stalin’s go to man. The Tamil Nadu governor has been firing missiles about the rampant corruption in Tamil Nadu. Ditto: BJP’s one man demolition army, K Annamalai. Balaji who was shifted from the government-run Omandurar Hospital to the privately-run Kaveri Hospital underwent bypass surgery under the Madras HC order. The ED filed a plea in the SC wanting a team of AIIMS doctors to take charge of Balaji. As if this intriguing cat and mouse game was not challenging, out of the blue, Stalin’s brother-in-law, Dr Rajamurthi, Director of the KK Nagar ESI Hospital has protested that he has been drawn into a controversy about Balaji’s Kaveri Hospital choice.

Ajay Piramal: A Case Of Win Some, Lose Some

He came. He stayed. And, he is leaving now. Piramal Enterprises of Ajay Piramal has decided to quit Shriram Finance by selling its entire holding. Whichever way one looks at his original wisdom to get into the Chennai-based Shriram group, it is clear that his game plan has gone horribly wrong somewhere along. Surely, he would have gotten a handsome return on his investment in the Shriram. That need not necessarily crown this businessman as a wiser strategist. He must have seen in Shriram an opportunity to propel his dream of making it to the big league in the field of non-banking finance. Perhaps, he did not bargain for the deep cultural mismatch with the Shriram group. The Shriram group has remained an enigma for many outsiders. Piramal the investor perhaps discovered this only after getting into it. Maybe, he was in a hurry to overhaul Shriram. Luckily, Ajay Piramal’s group company managed to acquire Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code route in September 2021. Post-Dewan, Shriram is no attraction for Piramal. One thing is clear, however. The cleaning of the shareholding cobweb at Shriram was in no small measure due to Piramal pressure. For the man who has been successful in the pharma space with spate of takeovers his calculations in the case of Shriram seems to have gone wrong. You win some, you lose some.
Modi Biden gift

Looking Beyond Bilaterals: The Art Of Gifting By PM Modi, President Biden

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at the White House for a private dinner he decided to carry gifts marking 80th birthday of President Biden — a milestone he had reached last November. Krishna Yajurveda’s Vaikhanas Grihya Sutram mentions that an individual becomes ‘Drishta Sahasrachandro’ or the one who has seen one thousand full moons when he completes the age of 80 years and eight months. An elaborate set of Vedic rituals are performed such as Vinayak Pooja — prayers to Lord Ganesha, culminating in Poornaahuti (oblation to the sacred fire) Satabhishekam and finally Sahasra Chandra Darshanam or gazing at the 1000th full Moon. During Sahasra Poorna Chandrodayam celebrations, there is a custom of Das Danam or donations of 10 different kinds. The gifts were carried in a special sandalwood box, handcrafted by a master craftsman from Jaipur. It contained the silver idol of Ganesha handcrafted by a family of fifth generation silversmiths of Kolkata. It also included a diya (oil lamp) .It also contained delicate silver boxes containing symbolic – Das Danams or the 10 donations, which signifies the donations made on this occasion.  Among the boxes was this 24K pure and hallmarked gold coin that is offered as Hiranyadaan (donation of gold).


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.