Ilicic: ‘Atalanta did well in first half’

first_imgJosip Ilicic felt Atalanta “did well in the first half” against Manchester City and the 5-1 result was harsh. “We have to look at the positives.” The Orobici had taken the lead at the Etihad, but capitulated to a Sergio Aguero brace and second half Raheem Sterling hat-trick. “I think we had done well in the first half against an extremely strong opponent with great quality,” Ilicic told Mediaset. “They made the most of every scoring opportunity. We have to look at the positives, because just coming to stadiums like this is a wonderful experience. “The Champions League is a very different tournament that we are not accustomed to.” When Atalanta took the lead with a penalty, it was Ruslan Malinovskyi who stepped up and not Ilicic. “The Coach decided on the order of the penalty takers.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

Line-ups: Napoli-Atalanta

first_imgNapoli rely on Hirving Lozano, Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Insigne in the face-off for third place with Atalanta, who have Josip Ilicic as a False 9. It kicks off at the Stadio San Paolo at 18.00 GMT. You can follow all the build-up and action as it happens from this evening’s SEVEN Serie A games on the LIVEBLOG. This is a head-to-head for position, as a victory would put Napoli level on 20 points with Atalanta in third place. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men are proving to be no mere flash in the pan, as after securing third last season and their first ever Champions League qualification, they are doing even better in Serie A this time around. They went into the midweek round just three points off leaders Juventus and have shattered records with 28 goals in the opening nine games, thanks also to last week’s 7-1 thrashing of Udinese. Napoli, meanwhile, have impressed in Europe, but already lost two Serie A games and missed an opportunity to close on the leaders when held by SPAL on Sunday. Kevin Malcuit suffered a season-ending knee injury, while Kostas Manolas, Elseid Hysaj and Faouzi Ghoulam are also still out, leaving a shortage of defenders. Nikola Maksimovic returns just in time, with Mario Rui not fully fit after his injury, so Sebastiano Luperto is moved over to left-back. Insigne and Jose Callejon take the traditional wide roles, with misfiring Hirving Lozano given another chance over Dries Mertens, the Mexican partnering Arkadiusz Milik up top. Atalanta are still without Duvan Zapata but, just as with Manchester City, Luis Muriel is not used from the start, preserved to make an impact off the bench. Instead, Ilicic becomes the False 9, supported by Papu Gomez and Mario Pasalic, while Jose Luis Palomino and Andrea Masiello return in defence. Only Manchester City (12) have won more away fixtures in the top five European leagues than Atalanta (10) in 2019. Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Luperto; Callejon, Allan, Fabian, Insigne; Milik, Lozano Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Pasalic, Gomez; Ilicic Ref: Giacomelli Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/last_img read more

Bend it like Bebo! B-Town babe to rock in FIFA video

first_imgKareena Kapoor is all set to add Bollywood glamour to the official FIFA World Cup music video. She will be seen in a special video for the event along with Hollywood stars such as Matt Damon, Jessica Alba and Kevin Spacey. And Bebo is the only Indian face in the song.Although the actress is yet to go on record about her big- ticket assignment, the buzz suggests her talks with FIFA officials are in the final stages.”Yes, Kareena is doing the FIFA video but it is too early to divulge details because things are still being finalised,” said a source close to the actress.The source added Kareena had already informed the producers of her current assignments that she would need a break for the video.Right now, she is busy wrapping up Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal 3 in Goa.She is also shooting for Karan Johar’s remake of Stepmom and Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra. One, after which she will start work on Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine. Reports suggest the video will be shot in the first week of June.Kareena is accordingly working out her dates and finalising the costumes she will wear.This is Kareena’s first shot at football, but her co- stars in the video, Jessica and Matt, have had their brush with sports.While Matt played a South African rugby star in Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, Jessica recently visited the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg as part of a promotional event for the upcoming World Cup.”Not only is this going to be a tournament to remember, but the lasting legacy of this World Cup will be education for all,” said Jessica, referring to efforts by 1GOAL, a group that campaigns for education for all.Kareena apart, Bollywood music composer duo Salim- Sulaiman will be composing an original song that they will perform at the opening and closing ceremonies of football’s biggest extravaganza. The World Cup will take place in South Africa from June 11 to July 11.Coming back to Kareena, she has decided not to sign any new film this year because she wants to focus on playing an actress in Bhandarkar’s Heroine . Right now, she is doing research for the role by studying closely the works of several famous actresses.Besides Hollywood greats such as Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, Kareena is also studying the films of Madhubala, Nutan and her mother Babita.Kareena wants to dedicate Heroine to the yesteryear Indian divas.Bhandarkar apparently wanted Kareena to put on weight for the role, but she has reportedly refused saying she is already voluptuous.Kareena’s next release will be Boney Kapoor’s long-in-the-making Milenge Milenge , in which she stars opposite ex- boyfriend Shahid Kapur.advertisementlast_img read more

Book review: ‘Rajmata Gayatri Devi’ by Dharmendar Kanwar

first_imgNothing sells quite like royalty. Britain’s tabloid-fuelled obsession with “The Firm” may be way over the top but it does symbolise a universal truth: we are all suckers for the tiara-topped crowd. The classic fairytale about the beautiful princess, when played out in real life, is unbeatable for its box-office,Nothing sells quite like royalty. Britain’s tabloid-fuelled obsession with “The Firm” may be way over the top but it does symbolise a universal truth: we are all suckers for the tiara-topped crowd. The classic fairytale about the beautiful princess, when played out in real life, is unbeatable for its box-office value. But some decades before Lady Diana achieved crowning glory, there was another princess who dazzled the world with her grace and beauty: Gayatri Devi. Her celebrity presence on the world stage was before the advent of the paparazzi, which explains why she didn’t make the kind of waves Diana did some 40 years later.Despite that, much has been written about Gayatri Devi: her status as one of the most beautiful women in the world, her romance and marriage to Jaipur’s dashing maharaja, Sawai Man Singh, the classic “Golden Couple” and their lifestyle among the international jet set. Dharmendar Kanwar, however, comes from Rajasthan blue blood herself so her tribute to Gayatri Devi is an insider’s account of the life and times of one of India’s most charismatic and enduring royals.Though much of the book, heavily pictorial, retraces history, there are plenty of nuggets hidden in the hagiography to make for an interesting read. For instance, it is not generally known why her mother Maharani Indira Devi of Cooch Behar first named her Princess Ayesha. Growing up with a Muslim name called for much comment but the reason was commonplace: Indira Devi happened to be reading Rider Haggard’s classic novel She before Gayatri Devi was born and named her after the book’s heroine. It was only after their return to India from London that court astrologers decreed her name should start with the letter G.Among the St Moritz crowd, she continued to be known as Ayesha Jaipur. A fact that is often glossed over is that Gayatri Devi had to compete with two other women for Man Singh’s affections: she was his third wife and hence the junior most in the strict Jaipur hierarchy.The author offers a rare glimpse into the relationship between Gayatri Devi and Man Singh’s other wives, known formally as First Her Highness and Second Her Highness, how they remained in the background and, barring a few rocky moments, had a close rapport with Gayatri Devi and never contested her ascendancy.The most interesting part of the book concerns Gayatri Devi’s life in Jaipur as the new maharani and how the royals and subjects took to her unconventional ways. Those days no maharani wore slacks in public, drove car, sported bobbed hair, went horseback riding and played squash and tennis apart from polo and shikar.Much of Gayatri Devi’s lifestyle, her cordial relationship with the other wives and her eventual prominence was due to her husband, an enlightened ruler who was pretty unconventional himself in terms of attitude and protocol. This book is, in that sense, as much a tribute to him as it is to his glamorous and gorgeous wife. Ultimately it serves to remind us that Gayatri Devi was much more than a “glass doll”, as Indira Gandhi once called her.advertisementlast_img read more

Nets’ Dinwiddie wins skills challenge

first_imgHotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. The skills competition consisted of two players going head to head. They dribbled around pylons, passed the ball into a net, dribbled to the other end of the floor for a layup and then dribbled back to the other end to take a pull-up 3-pointer.Eight players started the competition, with Dinwiddie and Markkanen advancing to the final.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingMarkkanen struggled passing the ball into the net, giving Dinwiddie a big lead. Dinwiddie dribbled down the floor and missed his first 3, but drained the next one to win. SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais LATEST STORIES Self-proclaimed ‘icon’ Adam Rippon takes final Olympic skate Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 17: Spencer Dinwiddie #8 of the Brooklyn Nets accepts the trophy in the 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge at Staples Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images/AFPSpencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets won the skills challenge to kick off NBA All-Star Saturday.Dinwiddie, who played at Taft High in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, beat Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls in the final round.ADVERTISEMENT Judiciary Committee set to take over Trump impeachment probe Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View commentslast_img read more

UAAP volleyball: La Salle back on winning track, hammers UE

first_imgPH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais Cheng and reigning MVP Mary Joy Baron had 13 points apiece to lead the Lady Spikers while Aduke Ogunsanya added 12.Mary Ann Mendrez led UE with 12 points with Shaya Adorador pitching in 11.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Arum open to Pacquiao-Matthysse but not in April Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games La Salle had a comfortable 23-17 lead after UE committed two straight errors, but the Lady Warriors were able to trim the lead down to four, 23-19, after a miscue on the Lady Spikers’ side as Arianne Layug hit the net.Desiree Cheng eventually finished things off for the defending champions and scored the Lady Spikers’ two final points, an off-the-block kill and a crosscourt hit that landed on the bottom-right corner of UE’s side of the floor.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAlthough La Salle was able to trump UE in just three sets, head coach Ramil De Jesus wanted more from his team.“The result is important but as for the performance, I’m quite dissatisfied because I couldn’t see the aggressiveness on the court,” said De Jesus in Filipino. “When they saw that we had a bid lead and the win was within reach they became quite complacent.” View comments MOST READ Judiciary Committee set to take over Trump impeachment probe La Salle Lady Spikers vs UE Lady Warriors. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAfter having its winning run snapped, De La Salle vented its frustrations on woeful University of the East, 25-18,25-17, 25-20, in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.The Lady Spikers lost to National University in five sets last Sunday, but have returned to form to improve to 4-1 while the Lady Warriors are still seeking for their first win in five games.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusiveslast_img read more

When is Manny Pacquiao fighting?

first_imgManny Pacquiao. TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.netIf he’s indeed fighting on April 14, as offered by Bob Arum, shouldn’t Manny Pacquiao be back training by now, or hitting the road last week yet?Top Rank announced it has scheduled a Pacquiao bout for April, side-by-side with the WBO welterweight championship between title defender Jeff Horn of Australia and the unbeaten Terence Crawford from Nebraska.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte Judiciary Committee set to take over Trump impeachment probe PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives Pacquiao responded by saying he would be very delighted to clash with Argentine punching machine Lucas Matthysse, instead of the banged-up Mike Alvarado. Matthysse is reigning WBA welterweight champion.Bob Arum cried no way: Pacquiao-Matthysse could happen, but not anytime soon.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingSo what is Pacquiao doing?The other day, he was reported doing the political rounds, bringing help and hope to aggrieved countrymen. He also appeared deeply involved nursing and expanding the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), his newest sports baby. MOST READcenter_img If Pacquiao would agree to fight in April, time would be of the essence. March is around the corner, and before we know it, Pacquiao would be left with only a month to work and be fit for a stellar performance.Maybe he could afford to take it easy. In fact, Alvarado, a former world titlist who’s openly considered busted ring material, is being trumpeted as top prospect for Pacquiao’s first knockout victim since 2009.Pacquiao could just cram and instantly declare readiness to do battle and go for a KO?Fact is Bob Arum is himself uncertain about Pacquiao’s exact plan.The best the Top Rank CEO could do was announce Pacquiao could fight a truly big fight by November, either against Vasyl Lomachenko or Crawford.Of course, there are many experts and fans who wonder if Pacquiao has enough left in him to wage great battle.ADVERTISEMENT Elorde stakes WBO crown versus Thai Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais The respected boxing critic and scholar Paul Magno has surmised Pacquiao is now the boxing equivalent of the fat Elvis Presley in Las Vegas.“For all intents and purposes, Manny Pacquiao is now in the fat Elvis Presley period in Las Vegas. The question of whether Pacquiao is still among the elite welterweight in the world is up for debate. Instead, Team Pacquiao, guided by Bob Arum, has focused on Manny as a novelty icon—a draw to longtime loyalists and, if Arum gets his way, a piggyback ride for in-house up-and-coming-fighters,” Magno explains.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims LATEST STORIES View commentslast_img read more

Memes push it too far, Sunny Leone says ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkaar’

first_imgIf you are an online junkie, you know what ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’ memes are all about. Yes, BJP’s election slogan ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’ has taken the virtual world by storm.From nursery rhymes, to rock songs, comic book quotes to filmy dialogues, everything that ends with ‘AAR’ also ends with ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’.  After nursery rhymes, songs, comic book strips, movie dialogues, science formulas, sport events, TV series and ad punchlines, it is now adult star Sunny Leone’s turn to sing ‘Abki baar Modi Sarkaar’. Below are few other hilarious memes on Narendra Modi that will leave you in splits.last_img read more

Full list of portfolios of ministers in Modi government

first_imgArun Jaitley has turned out to be the most important person in thenew government after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with three heavyportfolios of finance, defence and corporate affairs, it was announcedTuesday.The Rashtrapati Bhavan released the portfolio allocationof 46 ministers, including 24 cabinet ministers, of the government sworn in Monday evening. Sushma Swaraj is the new foreign minister andRajnath Singh will head the home ministry.Modi has kept with him, like some of his predecessors, the portfolios of personnel, publicgrievances and pensions as well as the departments of atomic energy andspace besides any other department not allocated to any minister.He will, as the presidential communique states, be in charge of “all important policy issues”.Rajnath Singh, the BJP president who is likely to hand over the party baton tosomeone else, gets the important portfolio of home (interior) and Sushma Swaraj gets both external affairs and overseas Indian affairs.M. Venkaiah Naidu, a former BJP president, also gets a lot ofresponsibility with urban development, housing and urban povertyalleviation as well as parliamentary affairs.Nitin Gadkari,another former BJP president, takes charge of road transport andhighways as well as Shipping while D.V. Sadananda Gowda will the railway minister.V.K. Singh, a former army chief, is the minister ofstate for external affairs, overseas Indian affairs and development ofnorth eastern region (independent charge).Harsh Vardhan, theformer Delhi chief ministerial candidate, is the new health ministerwhile former TV star Smriti Irani gets the heavy portfolio of humanresources development.advertisementFollowing is the full list of cabinet ministers and ministers of state:PRIME MINISTER:Narendra Modi : Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of AtomicEnergy Department of Space, All important policy issues and all otherportfolios not allocated to any minister.CABINET MINISTERS:Rajnath Singh: Home AffairsSushma Swaraj: External Affairs, Overseas Indian AffairsArun Jaitley: Finance, Corporate Affairs, DefenceVenkaiah Naidu: Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Parliamentary AffairsNitin Gadkari: Road Transport and Highways, ShippingD.V. Sadananda Gowda : RailwaysUma Bharati: Water Resources, River Development and Ganga RejuvenationNajma Heptulla: Minority AffairsGopinath Munde: Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and SanitationRam Vilas Paswan: Consumer Affairs, Food and Public DistributionKalraj Mishra: Micro, Small and Medium EnterprisesManeka Sanjay Gandhi: Women and Child DevelopmentAnanth Kumar: Chemicals and FertilizersRavi Shankar Prasad: Communications and Information Technology, Law and JusticeAshok Gajapathi Raju: Civil AviationAnant Geete: Heavy Industries and Public EnterprisesHarsimrat Kaur Badal: Food Processing IndustriesNarendra Singh Tomar: Mines, Steel, Labour and EmploymentJual Oram: Tribal AffairsRadha Mohan Singh: AgricultureThawar Chand Gehlot: Social Justice and EmpowermentSmriti Irani: Human Resource DevelopmentDr. Harsh Vardhan: Health and Family WelfareMINISTERS OF STATE:Gen. VK Singh: Development of North Eastern Region (Independent Charge),External Affairs, Overseas Indian AffairsRao Inderjit Singh: Planning (Independent Charge), Statistics and Programme Implementation (Independent Charge), DefenceSantosh Kumar Gangwar: Textiles (Independent Charge), Parliamentary Affairs, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga RejuvenationShripad Naik: Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge)Dharmendra Pradhan: Petroleum and Natural Gas (Independent Charge)Sarbananda Sonowal: Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Youth Affairs and Sports (Independent Charge)Prakash Javadekar: Information and Broadcasting (Independent Charge), Environment, Forestand Climate Change (Independent Charge), Parliamentary AffairsPiyush Goyal: Power (Independent Charge), Coal (Independent Charge), New and Renewable Energy (Independent Charge)Dr. Jitendra Singh: Science and Technology (Independent Charge), Earth Sciences(Independent Charge), Prime Minister Office, Personnel, PublicGrievances and Pensions, Department of Atomic Energy, Department ofSpaceNirmala Sitharaman: Commerce and Industry (Independent Charge), Finance, Corporate AffairsGM Siddeshwara: Civil AviationManoj Sinha: RailwaysNihalchand: Chemicals and FertilizersUpendra Kushwaha: Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and SanitationPon Radhakrishnan: Heavy Industries and Public EnterprisesKiren Rijiju, Home AffairsKrishan Pal Gujjar: Road Transport and Highways, ShippingSanjiv Baliyan: Agriculture, Food Processing IndustriesMansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava: Tribal AffairsRaosaheb Dadarao Patil Danve: Consumer Affairs, Food and Public DistributionVishnu Deo Sai: Mines, Steel, Labour and EmploymentSudarshan Bhagat: Social Justice and Empowermentlast_img read more

‘NTR has awakened the self-esteem of the Telugu people’

first_imgSitting erect at his medium-size desk in a room on the first floor of his own house at Troop Bazar in Hyderabad, he did not look like a matinee idol. It was 6.30 of a late April morning.He had been at his desk since 4, consulting with his close advisers,,Sitting erect at his medium-size desk in a room on the first floor of his own house at Troop Bazar in Hyderabad, he did not look like a matinee idol. It was 6.30 of a late April morning. He had been at his desk since 4, consulting with his close advisers, and receiving early morning callers. His square face framed by large cheek-bones gave him a granite look. The spacious forehead sported thin white strips of vibhuti. The round head, shaven 108 days before, now wore a thick thatch of deep black hair, trimmed at the neck. Under the forehead, his eyes glowed like burning charcoal. The deep ochre robes magnified his mystique. When he spoke, one could hear the language of India’s New Politics. “This is not the regime of NTR,” he pronounced with a stab of his husky voice. “This is a regime of the people.”Few were able to comprehend the meaning of the Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao phenomenon in January; few comprehend it now. “He is going too fast,” whispered a leading don of the sprawling University of Hyderabad, as if the walls of his living room concealed Telugu Desam ears. “He is making serious mistakes. He is rushing towards his own downfall.” “They don’t understand him,” replies a sympathetic biographer. “He is not from ‘Our India’. He is from the ‘Other India’. He speaks a language we do not understand.”In the Congress(I) and allied camps there is a belief, more of a hope perhaps, that NTR’s celluloid charisma will burn out like a midget meteor, that his ego and lack of intellectual and ideological conviction will rob him of political stamina or throw him into the arms of cynical, opportunistic advisers and sycophants.The few wise and good men who are still alive but politically not quite well in Hyderabad’s ‘Our India’, perceive NTR as a giant rising from the ruins of the Congress system.advertisementBrahmananda Reddy, the last chief minister of the state to be elected freely by members of the Congress legislature party and whom Mrs Gandhi dismissed in 1971, is convinced that 10 years of Congress misrule had driven the population to a desperate search for a crediable alternative; if it were not NTR, it would have been someone else.People’s Movement: This is a view with which the saffron Caesar of Andhra Pradesh largely agrees. “The Telugu Desam movement was already in the heart of the people,” he said in the course of an eloquent interview. “They were waiting for someone to concretise an emotional tide into a political movement. My task is to keep the new consciousness of the Telugu people alive and to use it to bring about a new social and economic order in Andhra Pradesh. Of course, there are many problems. Of course, I am new to politics, and so are most of my ministers. I am not afraid of making mistakes as long as I can correct them. I owe nothing to any caste or interests. I owe everything to the Telugu people.” It clear from NTR’s hybrid earthy vocabulary and according to his main decisions – 32 – in his first 100 days, that “people” means all who are not obscenely rich, all except the most ugly Indians. “We are building a left-of-centre party,” said Parvataneni Upendra, a suave, soft-spoken former railway official, who is now among NTR’s closest confidants.A large group of enthusiastic men and women are helping NTR build the wave of January into a cadre-based political party. Many of them were Lohia socialists; some have been close to either communist party. P. Vasudev, B. Mahendra Shastry and B.P. Narsing Rao.Rama Rao: ‘This is a regime of the people’the three men who are building the trade union front of the party, spoke with elliptical socialist accents. G. Narayana Rao, a successful advocate, and convener of the Hyderabad city committee of the TDP, flaunts a photograph of Lenin in his law office and does not conceal his Marxist persuasions, although he has never been a communist.Slab by slab, through an upward process of elections, NTR and his men have built up the TDP, which now claims an enrolled membership of 25 lakh, each member having paid Re 1 for enrolment.These members have elected 20,000 village committees; the village committees have elected constituency committees and the constituency committees district committees. The last, in turn, have elected a 300-member state committee. It is claimed that 50 per cent of all elected committee members belong to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, backward classes and minorities, a claim that cannot be verified because no social scientist in Hyderabad has cared to study the formation of the first grass roots state-level party in India in recent years.advertisementPleasant Transformation: In the Congress(I) and allied camps there is a belief, more of a hope, perhaps, that NTR’s celluloid charisma will burn out like a midget meteor, that his ego and lack of intellectual and ideological conviction will rob him of political stamina or throw him into the arms of cynical, opportunistic advisers and sycophants.NTR at his daily durbar outside his residence: Elaborate plansBut there is a growing legion of others who believe that his intentions have already begun to translate into action. The secretariat in Hyderabad, for instance, has been transformed in the brief space of the NTR administration.Indeed, a visit to the secretariat in Hyderabad is a pleasant experience. Perhaps no other secretariat in a state capital looks so clean. Admission is strictly controlled. Employees are served tea at their desks, and the cups and saucers are promptly cleared away. Senior officials have enough time to work in peace. No hush-hush transactions can take place between petty officials and seekers of licences or permits over cups of tea in the canteens. Several sources confirmed that in the Transport Department and in agencies dealing with licences and permits corruption has been stopped.New Diction: The man who has brought this about has never read a book other than Telugu film scripts and at 60 years takes a 16-hour day in his stride – and expects his ministers to do the same. A deeply religious man, he reads from Vivekananda every morning during his puja. Politics for him is no epistemic affair. In fact, talking with him one gets the exciting feeling of listening to a new political diction. It is as simple as his faith in his own destiny, in ‘his God who has set his destiny.Above all NTR has awakened the self-esteem – atma gauravam – of the Telugu people; his own English for it is “consciousness”. This is the staple of his political line. But he does not see it as chauvinism.When he says, “God has given me this role,” he doesn’t talk like the tin-pot dictator of a neighbouring country; what he means is that he couldn’t be cast in the role of chief minister of a major Indian state and leader of 53,600,000 people after 33 years in the film world if such were not God’s wish.The new role has made him a legend; people do not see him as a film hero any longer; the saffron Caesar is not the same person who has entertained them in 292 movies. “I have promised the Telugu people a clean and efficient government. There shall be no corruption and extravagance in my administration.” He has taken sanyas to symbolise these values.Andhra Pradesh is not strong in infrastructure; its rank is 10th among the states, and it lags behind its three southern sisters, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. It lags behind these states also in the quality of life. So, argues NTR, the poor need to be tended with some care; infrastructure can wait.advertisementHe is as good a capitalist as Indira Gandhi; the refreshing difference is that he doesn’t talk “socialism”, he hasn’t read the books. He would like private capital and enterprise to exploit the state’s rich natural resources and he is prepared to give them attractive incentives.Whether he can keep his promises or will falter and slip, time will tell. The signals so far are mixed. He has been trying to be true to his words. At the same time, he has betrayed despotic traits. Telugu society is fragmented by a maze of factions, castes and group interests.He has been trying to navigate the shoals with firmness of mind, and has shown his flair for boldness. He has brought about a new tone of austerity, simplicity and discipline into a wobbling administration suffering from acute hypothermia or low body temperature.At the same time, on the negative side, he has needlessly displeased large segments of people, has parted company with some of his better comrades, and sometimes he is tempted to talk, if not act, like an uncrowned king.One of his brightest achievements so far is communal peace in the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad, which have been so often wracked by communal riots. The one action that has, more than anything else, made the poor identify with the NTR regime is the provision to supply 25 kg of rice each month at the rate of Rs 2 a kg to families with an annual income of Rs 7,000 or less.Andhra Pradesh is the second state in India, after Kerala, to bring the rural poor within the reach of the public distribution system. Another major step NTR has taken for the benefit of the poor is to build 10,000 houses in 1983-84 in each district for the weaker sections of the population.These houses are to be constructed by the beneficiaries themselves. He has also promised to provide each of the 4,350 ‘problem villages’ of Andhra Pradesh with at least one source of potable drinking water. He means to keep the promise.He seems to have worked out in his vigorous mind a line that divides the social elements he wants to carry with himself from those whom he may have to fight down or isolate as political opponents.In the former category are clustered all peasants. NTR has no intention of taxing the income of rich farmers, women, urban and rural poor, the poorer middle classes, industrial workers and the youth. In this massive, mixed constituency, he has a distinct bias towards the rural people.His targets are the “mean Mughals of Delhi” and their cohorts in Andhra Pradesh: politicians as a class, corrupt contractors and businessmen, and corrupt bureaucrats and highbrow intellectuals – elements that have cut off big slices of the nation’s resource cake, leaving very little for the largest number who live below the poverty line.Strong Measures: The controversial decisions he has taken are to be seen in the context of the ‘polarisation’ NTR has worked out in his mind. He has reduced the number of public corporations by two-thirds, from 48 to 16, thereby dislodging a tribe of inefficient, corrupt politicians from their peaks of patronage, power and wealth. The suspension of only a handful of corrupt officials including three IAS men has been enough to drive a grim warning to the vast army of 7 lakh government employees. He stunned the entire south by directing the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam to deposit its surplus funds, amounting to between Rs 31 crore and Rs 46 crore, in a government treasury instead of nationalised banks.It was a shrewd move which protected the income of the Devasthanam, which runs 37 temples and 20 educational institutions in the south and the north and, at the same time, significantly enhanced the Government’s credit rating with the commercial banks.Once again, the action divided the elite, and angered a powerful interest group, but rallied majority support to NTR in the Devasthanam itself. He has banned the long-practised evil of capitation fees in professional colleges and private practice by doctors in government hospitals and denied government houses to those who have built one or more house of their own anywhere in the state.Not only has he deprived former legislators of their pensions, he has strictly forbidden present ones to interfere in the working of the administration. Indeed, NTR has taken away from them their self-serving tools of patronage and power; they can neither ‘recommend’ candidates for jobs, nor clients for licences and permits, nor can they manipulate postings or transfers of administrative officials.Educating Legislators: The cutting deprivation has angered all or most opposition MLA’s, particularly those belonging to the Congress(I) ; it has created discontent and grumblings among TDP legislators too.NTR deliberately refuses to allow his legislators to feel important until they have proven their worth by obeying his instruction to live in their respective constituencies when the legislature is not in session, study the problems of each constituency and its people and act as a living link between government and people. His actions and attitudes may spark rebellion in the ranks of party MLA’s, especially those who had to finance their own election campaigns hoping to more than make up the investment with the sweet spoils of office.NTR himself is free from such fear. He has drawn up elaborate plans for the education of his MLA’s in the art and science of administration and democratic government. In any case, so supreme is his position in the party that he can smother dissent and opposition with the firmness that awes his admirers and critics alike. But therein also lies the danger to his own future.The libertarian Caesar must take his own lessons in the nimble arts of democracy, in dealing with people in his own camp as well as his opponents. He can’t afford to make enemies needlessly and at random.Awakening: Above all, NTR has awakened the self-esteem – atma gauravam – of the Telugu people; his own English for it is “consciousness”. This is the staple of his political line. But he doesn’t see it as chauvinism; in fact, he doesn’t comprehend the meaning of the word. It was not India, nor the north, which had crushed Telugu consciousness. It was Indira Gandhi. Her electoral defeat acted as the great catharsis. As Ramoji Rao, editor of Eenadu, explained: “With Indira Gandhi’s defeat, the Telugu people have asserted their self-esteem. They are now satiated. It is over.”Andhra Pradesh is the most northern of the southern states; almost everyone in Hyderabad speaks Hindi. “The south as a geopolitical or even emotional concept doesn’t exist in Andhra Pradesh,” affirmed Ramoji Rao, “as it does in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.”The chief minister himself dismisses all talk about disintegration of India as the “brainchild of journalists, intellectuals and Congress(I) people”. For him a strong, prosperous ‘Telugu Nadu’ means a stronger, more developed India; what he vehemently rejects is the right of Delhi (not India) to fatten itself at the expense of the Telugu and other peoples.In that sense, NTR is a more ardent advocate of a more equal relationship between the Centre and the states than the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.He will use the Centre-state issue to mobilise popular support for his government. The Telugu Desam, he said, would put up its own candidates for the next parliamentary election: “We must have our own people in Parliament to project the causes of the Telugu people.” It is most unlikely that he will forge an alliance with the Congress(I), trading in Lok Sabha seats with Mrs Gandhi for an enduring TDP regime in Andhra Pradesh.Southern Idea: He has high hopes of cooperation among the southern states not ruled by Congress(I). Though the concept of a council of chief ministers in the south came from Karnataka Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, NTR is probably now its most enthusiastic and systematic champion.He is very proud of the agreement he has concluded with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran, to use the bountiful waters of the Krishna – or the Telugu Ganga – to quench the thirst of Madras city as well as the Rayalaseema and Nellore regions of Andhra Pradesh.”In six or seven years, Rayalaseema will be a granary of the south,” he said, his deep-black eyes burning with hope and pride. “There should be an all-India council of chief ministers,” said he, raising his voice. “There are many issues that can be resolved by chief ministers but are complicated by the Centre.”He expects the council of southern chief ministers to set the pace of events by following up the Krishna waters accord with several others relating to borders, rivers, electricity sharing and meeting one another’s urgent foodgrain requirements. Above all, he expects the four southern states to act together to wrest from the big jaws of the Centre larger slices of finance to fuel the currently slow-motion engine of development.Historic Process: I f the politically disparate southern states can cooperate to resolve regional problems and quicken the south’s development, this will provide precedents that might help the opposition elements to learn more effectively the gentle and subtle arts of coalition. In any case, southern regional cooperation, NTR believes, will act as a catalyst for the next phase of Indian politics. He has already decided to open Telugu Desam “windows” in Delhi and Bombay, in the Hindi belt as well as in Calcutta.The south is coming to the north in a big way for the first time in India, reversing a historical process. But neither NTR nor his men see this as a north-south polarisation in Indian politics. On the contrary, they see this as a new catalyst for stronger and deeper national integration – both vertically and horizontally.Meanwhile, N.T. Rama Rao is thoroughly enjoying the new role in which destiny has cast him. For once he is the producer, director, script-writer and hero of a real-life film; he has the studio floor entirely under his command.The saffron Caesar tries to fathom the turns and twists of theatre to which he is new. He must rewrite the script, improvise the lines, find actors who are adequate for the numerous new roles that come up from nowhere. Shooting has just begun. The director-actor has no idea where it will end, or when or how.last_img read more