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Viju Cherian

Viju Cherian tries to understand the ever-changing nature of politics and find a method to this madness. He keenly follows politics, international and national.

Articles by Viju Cherian

Kaala ban: A Rajinikanth film is not just an entertainer, but has political undertones as well

However, banning Kaala in Karnataka could help Rajinikanth the politician in Tamil Nadu

Rajnikanth speaks during the music launch of Kaala, YMCA grounds, Chennai, May 9(PTI)
Updated on Jun 04, 2018 06:28 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Makkal Needhi Maiam: Kamal Haasan’s new release gets a grand opening, but will it maintain momentum?

Kamal Haasan at the mega launch of his party at Madurai failed to explain his vision for a better Tamil Nadu. Catchy tunes and punch dialogues are hardly enough to win the confidence of the electorate

Kamal Haasan launches his party in Madurai.(Picture courtesy: Makkal Needhi Maiam official Twitter account)
Updated on Feb 22, 2018 04:49 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Aadhaar-like tags for cows: Does govt’s intent match ground realities?

In a country where universal healthcare is yet to be achieved, can the government be accused of getting its priorities wrong in earmarking precious revenue for tagging cows? Also, does India have the infrastructure to tag and monitor the health and well-being of its 40 million dairy cattle and about 299 million bovine population across India?

A boy poses with his cow during Makar Sankranti to celebrate the harvest season at Kanakanpalya, Bengaluru, January 15, 2018(Arijit Sen/HT)
Updated on Feb 06, 2018 03:16 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Baasha or Baba: Which way will Rajinikanth’s political career turn?

There is a vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics that ‘Superstar’ Rajinikanth can capitalise on. But can his fan base really convert into a vote bank, or can this euphoria sustain till the polls?

Time will tell whether Rajinikanth entering politics will end up like Baasha, his biggest hit, or end up like Baba(PTI/Agencies)
Updated on Jan 19, 2018 04:01 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

The ‘long hug’ controversy exposes Kerala’s struggle with its hypocrisy

Kerala is struggling to co-exist in the modernity it aspires to achieve without letting go of the petty prudishness it prides itself for. The controversy is also a manifestation of a fundamental flaw that runs across the full literate state — hypocrisy

This “long hug” controversy is also a manifestation of a fundamental flaw that runs through the fully literate state — fake morality (Representative Photo)(Shutterstock)
Updated on Dec 20, 2017 06:42 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Poes Garden raid: The political landscape in Tamil Nadu is getting more murky

The raid at Poes Garden, when read with the raids last week targeting Sasikala, Narendra Modi’s meeting with Karunanidhi and other political developments, give a picture of political uncertainty in Tamil Nadu

Police and media persons out side the former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's residence at Poes Garden where an IT raid was conducted on Friday night(PTI)
Updated on Nov 18, 2017 10:22 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Kamal Haasan lacks the charisma to change Tamil Nadu politics

Kamal Haasan’s much-talked about entry into politics is a reflection of the vacuum in Tamil Nadu, especially after the demise of Jayalalithaa. The southern state has a tinsel town-politics connect, but neither Haasan nor Rajinikanth will make a difference in politics

There is nothing at the moment to suggest that either Kamal Haasan or Rajinikanth or any other actor is riding on a political wave that’ll make a difference in Tamil Nadu(HT)
Updated on Nov 08, 2017 03:15 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Mersal controversy: BJP is making political faux pas a habit in Tamil Nadu

The BJP has big ambitions for Tamil Nadu and rightly so. But it repeatedly misreading the cards: From Jallikattu, to Neduvasal to NEET, and now an unnecessary controversy on Vijay’s Mersal. The party must overhaul its approach to become a relevant force in the state

Vijay’s character in the Tamil movie Mersal, while criticising GST, gets his facts wrong. But was the demand for deleting the scene warranted?
Updated on Oct 24, 2017 11:19 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Regional cinema matters: Beyond Bollywood looks at rich history of south Indian cinema

There’s an asymmetric attention given to Bollywood over regional language cinema though Hindi cinema is ‘bland’ and often lacks the riches seen in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada films.

The spectacular success of the Baahubali movie franchise may have brought Telugu movie stars Prabhas Raju and Rana Daggubati international fame, but it’s a fact that asymmetric attention is given to Bollywood over regional language cinema.
Updated on Oct 12, 2017 08:31 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

EPS-OPS merger is not the finale to AIADMK’s Game of Thrones

Palaniswami and Panneerselvam might have found a way to work together, but the tenuous bond that hold this AIADMK combine will soon show. Dinakaran has a sizeable following, which cannot be discounted. Also waiting on the sides is the DMK, which alleges BJP’s hand in these developments

Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami (R) and O Panneerselvam greet supporters following merger of their factions, Chennai, August 21(PTI)
Updated on Aug 22, 2017 06:37 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

BJP vs CPM violence in Kerala: Left smells conspiracy to dislodge Pinarayi govt

In the current tension between the Pinarayi Vijayan government and the BJP government at the Centre the Left sees parallels to the situation in 1959 when the Centre dissolved the EMS government in Kerala

On Monday Vijayan met with the RSS and BJP leaders and to a certain extent tensions have been diffused. The Kerala government has decided to call an all-party meet on Sunday and also hold several district-level bilateral meetings between the CPI(M) and the BJP/RSS before Sunday (File Photo)(PTI)
Updated on Aug 01, 2017 10:58 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Flying ban: Don’t use parliamentary privilege to cover for bad behaviour

What happened in Rajya Sabha was the convenient use of the ‘parliamentary privilege’ card to defend abominable conduct by some of its members. The sense of entitlement shown by some leaders is the reason why such extreme steps are considered. It’s time they behaved like ordinary citizens

What happened in the Rajya Sabha was the convenient use of the ‘parliamentary privilege’ card to defend abominable conduct by some of its members — conduct that should have been unequivocally condemned (Representative Photo)(PTI)
Updated on Jul 24, 2017 05:53 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Karnataka flag: Hollow symbolism or bid to divert attention from govt failures?

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has showed why he is no pushover. He has played the regional card, much like the Shiv Sena/MNS’ ‘Marathi manoos’. With the state flag move, he has played the BJP and other regional parties in their own game

As long as the Karnataka government is not breaking the law, it is well within its right to think of a state flag (File Photo)(AFP)
Updated on Jul 20, 2017 04:11 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Modi’s Sri Lanka visit reflects growing ties, but issues like China, TN fishermen remain

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day Sri Lanka visit is a sign of the growing bilateral ties but closely watched will be whether Modi discusses with Sirisena or Wickremesinghe the issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen and China’s role in the region

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Right) with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe, Hyderabad House, New Delhi, April 26(PTI)
Updated on May 11, 2017 02:42 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

TN farmers drop urine-drinking plan on Delhi cops’ advice, to send it back home

Although the agitators had vowed to drink urine and eat faeces over the weekend if their demands were not met, they reconsidered their stomach-churning strategy after the Delhi Police intervened.

Tamil Nadu farmers preparing to drink urine collected in a bucket at Jantar Mantar on Saturday.(HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 30, 2017 08:59 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByA Mariyam Alavi and Viju Cherian

Merger talks a temporary balm as AIADMK struggles to stay afloat

Much of the turmoil within the AIADMK is because of the lack of vision by its leaders. Even if the party survives the current crisis, it will not be the same old party, but a pale shadow of its former self. The Mannargudi mafia is likely to be booted out by OPS and Edappadi Palaniswami, but they will not be able to galvanise a disillusioned party cadre. A dent in the AIADMK’s stature is likely to benefit the BJP

Today, the AIADMK is staring at an uncertain future. After a fierce battle, the O Panneerselvam camp is ready to mend fences with the main party but on the condition that the ‘Mannargudi mafia’ is kept out of the party(AFP)
Updated on Apr 29, 2017 07:29 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Syria happy with India’s ‘balanced’ stand on crisis: Riad Abbas, Syrian ambassador to India

Washington has accused the Bashar al-Assad government of carrying out the attacks. The Syrian government, and its allies Russia and Iran, have demanded that an independent investigation into the matter.

Washington has accused the Bashar al-Assad government of carrying out the attacks. The Syrian government, and its allies Russia and Iran, have demanded that an independent investigation into the matter.(PTI File Photo)
Updated on Apr 14, 2017 07:12 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Opening toilets in restaurants for public use is a welcome move

This move by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation , without doubt, is a shot in the arm for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat initiative

This move by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation , without doubt, is a shot in the arm for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat initiative(Shutterstock)
Updated on Mar 15, 2017 03:10 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Sasikala convicted: Panneerselvam’s troubles are far from over

The conviction of Sasikala has opened the floodgates of political ambition not only in the ruling AIADMK, but also among Opposition parties

O Panneerselvam being greeted by party supporters, Chennai. (File Photo)(PTI)
Updated on Feb 14, 2017 01:17 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

SWOT analysis: Panneerselvam has the strength to defeat Sasikala, but his weaknesses are many

It is not sure how this will end, but one thing is clear — OPS will emerge as the victor. He will have the last laugh no matter which way the wind blows. The best case scenario for him is to become CM and leader the AIADMK, the worst is to break the party, stop Sasikala and in the process become a political heavyweight in Tamil Nadu

Even if Sasikala wins this round, and is sworn in as CM, O Panneerselvam, with the backing of the people will ride on an anti-Sasikala wave, which could be in the form of protests or dissent within the party(PTI)
Updated on Feb 14, 2017 07:13 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

How Panneerselvam found his political spine in revolt against Sasikala

Over the past 24 hours, Tamil Nadu’s caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam has shattered the image of a docile, compliant man whose unflinching loyalty to his late predecessor and benefactor J Jayalalithaa made many suspect his political acumen.

File photo AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa with O Panneerselvam during her swearing-in ceremony as chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 2015.(PTI File Photo)
Updated on Feb 14, 2017 07:13 AM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

What makes Sasikala so powerful and indispensable for the AIADMK

Rumoured to hold the party’s purse strings, the most recognisable face among leaders and good ties with regional groups and parties — all these factors work in Sasikala’s favour. However, Sasikala will have to earn her political legitimacy if she has to quell any form of dissent and doubt regarding her stature

VK Sasikala is the most recognisable face in the AIADMK, with, probably, O Panneerselvam as an exception(AFP)
Updated on Feb 14, 2017 07:14 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

The repeated neglect of Tamil identity is the rallying point for Jallikattu protests

The sentiments behind the protests in Tamil Nadu have moved beyond just the ban on Jallikattu, and have now become the manifestation of the many wrongs — perceived and real — meted out to the Tamil people by Delhi. To call the protests politically motivated or as an animal rights issue would be to water it down

Supporters say Jallikattu is Tamil culture, but critics say it’s cruel to animals.(PTI)
Updated on Jan 19, 2017 06:01 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Kamal Haasan to GV Prakash: Why Tamil actors support Jallikattu

Over the years, the event—which was primarily organised around the local temple—became violent with numerous instances of animals being abused. This led to the Supreme Court banning Jallikattu in May 2014.

Jallikattu was banned by the Supreme Court in May, 2014.
Updated on Jan 13, 2017 06:41 PM IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

In Tamil Nadu, the stars align in favour of MK Stalin

The appointment of MK Stalin as the working president of the DMK was expected. However, it gains significance because of the timing: The state has lost a powerful leader and Stalin could emerge as the political stalwart if he makes the right moves

MK Stalin, much like M Karunanidhi, is a leader who has worked his way up the DMK hierarchy(PTI)
Updated on Jan 05, 2017 07:07 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Gonchas in Kargil: The State must not dictate sartorial choices

The district administration of Kargil wants all district officials to attend office in traditional attire on Mondays and Saturdays. Since when has it become the prerogative of the State to decide — and in some cases dictate — the sartorial choices of the people?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wearing a traditional Ladakhi dress at a function in Leh. (Representative Photo)(HT File Photo)
Updated on Jan 04, 2017 03:52 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Is the Left in Kerala losing space to Right-wing groups?

The arrest of Kamal C Chavara is the latest example of how Right-wing and nationalist groups are carving a space for themselves in Kerala while the Left is becoming an overarching hollow shell over the state. It is a sign that the Left in India are losing the last of its major strongholds, and that of the BJP is increasing its presence in the southern state

Kamal C Chavara, a Malayalam writer and theatre personality. (Facebook)
Published on Dec 20, 2016 11:59 AM IST
Hindustan Times | By

The political opportunity for Rajinikanth has come and gone

Rajinikanth is still loved and adored by his fans and, without doubt, is a popular entertainer. But it is highly unlikely that he could encash that popularity in politics.

Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth (left) with then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, April 2014.(AFP)
Updated on Dec 12, 2016 06:15 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

Jaipur art show vandalised: There must be a message against moral policing

One of the main reasons why such groups, which see such high-handedness as the easiest way to gain fame, feel encouraged is because of police inaction or the lack of a strong message from the government’s side. Quick and stern action should be taken against these self-styled culture guardians

(Photo from the Facebook page of Jaipur Art Summit)
Updated on Dec 09, 2016 08:35 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By

J Jayalalithaa: A political icon like none

The crowds at Apollo hospital, at Poes Garden, at Rajaji Hall and at Marina Beach said it all — J Jayalalithaa was a people’s leader. She knew the pulse of the people, fine-tuned her schemes for the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu and cultivated her profile as a leader who lived and died by the Tamil slogan: “Udal Mannukku Uyir Thamizhukku” (loosely translated it means: Body for the land, soul for the Tamil cause/people).

Supporters pay tribute to late Tamil Ndau chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Madurai.(PTI Photo)
Updated on Dec 08, 2016 01:02 PM IST
Hindustan Times | By, Chennai
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