Rajini's party, at last
Two years after announcing his entry into politics, south superstar Rajinikanth and his followers are working overtime to launch their political party ahead of the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. He has been conducting back-to-back meetings with his fans' associations in Chennai and working towards an April launch. A local report says that a survey, conducted by a private consultancy, has come as a shot in the arm for the 69-year-old actor. Analysing the strengths of Rajinikanth, who is pitted head-on against Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M K Stalin for chief ministership, it said the actor's influence among the rural and urban population was four times that of Stalin. This has enthused his would-be party workers, who are hoping Rajinikanth would reconsider his earlier decision to not take up chief ministership if his party came to power.
3 seats, many contenders
The last date for filing nominations for three Rajya Sabha seats from Madhya Pradesh is March 13. Yet neither the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), nor the Congress has been able to finalise the list of candidates. The BJP has sent 22 names, including national general secretaries Ram Madhav and Kailash Vijayvargiya, to the party’s central poll panel. The names of Satyanarayan Jatiya and Prabhat Jha, both sitting RS members from the state, also figure. For the Congress Digvijaya Singh (sitting Rajya Sabha member) and Jyotiraditya Scindia are the main contenders, but there are reports that Chief Minister Kamal Nath might send Deepak Saxena to the Rajya Sabha. Saxena, a Nath loyalist, vacated the Chhindwara Assembly seat for Nath, who sees this as pay-back time. Singh holds the third seat falling vacant. Going by the numbers, the BJP and the Congress will win one seat each. The tussle is for the third one.
Ballard Estate turnaround
Thanks to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Mumbai’s sleepy Ballard Estate area has suddenly sprung to life. The south Mumbai office area, close to the docks, was a prime real estate market until a couple of decades ago. But after the swanky Bandra Kurla Complex and central Mumbai’s textile companies set up multi-storey office spaces, many top companies moved uptown. The British era buildings and the areas around them are largely used for shooting period movies these days. But the sharp rise in the number of top Mumbai industrialists being questioned in the ED’s Ballard Estate office almost every day has meant brisk business for local restaurants and even smaller food joints, with journalists and photographers staking out the area in large numbers.