PM Modi to inaugurate PM Kisan Samman Sammelan 2022; Allahabad HC to hear petition challenging the Varanasi court ruling in Shringar Gauri-Gyanvapi complex case; In Supreme Court: order on TMC’s Manik Bhattacharya in teachers’ recruitment scam, Nalini Sriharan’s plea for early release in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case; International Solar Alliance‘s Fifth Assembly to be held from today in Delhi; Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut to be produced before Mumbai court in money laundering case
After a gap of around 22 years, the Congress is voting today to elect its president. This is only the sixth time in 137 years of its history that the Congress is voting for its president.
This is the first time in 25 years that there is no Gandhi family member in contention for the top party post. The votes will be counted on Wednesday.
Contenders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor crisscrossed state capitals to woo the over 9,300 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates, who comprise the electoral college.
Kharge Vs Tharoor
While Kharge is considered the favourite and the undeclared official candidate, with a large number of senior leaders backing him apparently at a cue from the Gandhis, Tharoor has pitched himself as the candidate of change. Tharoor, however, complained that the contest didn’t have an even playing ground.
Indications from the Congress are that Kharge is winning the contests but Tharoor is said to be giving him a tough challenge, with many delegates fervently hoping that the voters heed their ‘conscience’ while marking the ballots for the polling boxes.
A brief history
In 1997, Sitaram Kesri, ‘blessed’ by the Gandhis, won hands down bagging nearly 7,500 of the 8,000-plus votes, with Sharad Pawar getting around 890 and Rajesh Pilot securing some 350 votes.
Two years later, Sonia polled over 99% votes to trounce Jitendra Prasada in the Congress presidential election, a year after suffering a defeat to the BJP in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls.
Sonia led the Congress to power — after a gap of nine years — in the first parliamentary polls she faced after defeating Prasada in the party election. The next Congress president has a task to repeat the feat in 2024. More here
China’s ruling Communist Party on Sunday began its week-long key Congress, where President Xi Jinping presented a report card to roughly 2,300 delegates in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
The Congress is expected to approve a third term for Xi as the president, breaking a three-decade norm which saw communist leaders stepping down after a 10-year tenure in China.
Except for 69-year-old Xi, all top officials will be replaced during the week.
The Taiwan tension
Xi said, “Resolving the Taiwan issue is the Chinese people’s own business, and it up to the Chinese people to decide…We insist on striving for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and best efforts, but we will never promise to give up the use of force and reserve the option to take all necessary measures.”
China’s increasing assertiveness in the Taiwan Strait has drawn pointed criticism from Western governments.
Xi responded saying China has always “respected, cared for and benefited” Taiwan’s people.
Defending his Covid-19 policy, Xi said China had “protected people’s safety and health to the highest degree and achieved significant positive results in coordinating epidemic prevention and control and social and economic development”.
Xi’s critics have long held that his anti-corruption campaign has been used to curb internal dissent.
But Xi told delegates, “The fight against corruption has won an overwhelming victory and has been comprehensively consolidated, eliminating serious latent dangers within the party, the state and the military.”
Climate and Cold War
Xi said China will “actively participate in global governance on climate change”, promising to “strengthen the clean and efficient use of coal”.
He said China “resolutely opposes all forms of hegemony and power politics, opposes the Cold War mentality, opposes interfering in other countries’ domestic politics, opposes double standards”.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday released textbooks in Hindi of three subjects for MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) students as part of an ambitious project of the Madhya Pradesh government to impart medical education in the Hindi language.
Until now, medical education was imparted only in English.
MBBS in Hindi
The MBBS course in Hindi was launched as part of the National Education policy and soon it will be started in other languages also, Shah said. He said the work is on to start technical and medical education in eight other languages of the country.
Terming it as an important day in history, Shah said Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to start the MBBS course in Hindi.
A parliamentary panel recently recommended that the medium of instruction in technical and non-technical higher education institutes such as the IITs in Hindi-speaking states should be Hindi and in other parts of the country, the respective regional languages.
It also demanded that Hindi should be one of the official languages of the United Nations.
The MP government is also developing books for engineering and technical studies.
The DMK youth wing and students wing held a state-wide agitation in Tamil Nadu protesting against what they called “Hindi imposition” in the wake of recommendations made by a parliamentary committee.
In Telangana, TRS leader KT Rama Rao last week had slammed the parliamentary panel for recommending Hindi as the medium of instruction in technical and non-technical higher education institutes.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, currently visiting the US, has said that the rupee has not weakened but it is the dollar that has strengthened as she attempted defending the eight per cent slide in the value of Indian currency against the greenback this year.
Speaking to reporters in Washington DC after attending the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, Sitharaman also asserted that the fundamentals of the Indian economy were strong and that inflation was low compared to other parts of the world.
The Indian rupee has performed much better than many other emerging market currencies, she said.
Attack at home
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), however, on Sunday described as “absurd” Sitharaman’s remark, saying she must focus on her ministry instead of making efforts for the BJP’s win in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
The NCP spokesperson Cylde Crasto said, “Making such statements will not hide the failure of her government in taking care of our country’s economy.”
Sitharaman had recently spent three days in Baramati as part of the BJP’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls. Baramati is the home turf of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, and the Lok Sabha seat is currently represented by Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule.
Crasto said Sitharaman must refrain from making such statements that lead to mockery. “She must concentrate more on looking after her ministry and focus less on trying to win Lok Sabha constituencies for the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2024. She must not forget that she is the finance minister and her duty is to safeguard the economy of India first.”
At the core
The rupee settled at 82.35 against the US dollar on Friday, having touched another record low of 82.68 on Monday.
Clue 1: The Soulbury constitution ushered in dominion status for the country, with independence proclaimed on Feb. 4, 1948. Clue 2: In 1960, the country elected the world’s first female Prime Minister. Clue 3: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is its legislative capital.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has asked Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia to appear before it today in the alleged excise policy corruption case. .
‘To be arrested’
AAP’s Saurabh Bhardwaj said, “The CBI has summoned Manish Sisodia and will arrest him tomorrow [Monday]. A huge scam of Rs 10,000 crore was alleged and for that CBI and ED have raided at least 500 places.”
A Gujarat link
Bhardwaj said, “This is directly linked with the Gujarat election as AAP competes with the BJP there, and hence, the BJP is scared…The rise in the number of arrests will raise our graph in Gujarat, the increase in BJP’s oppression will make our graph rise.”
“A CBI raid was conducted at my house for 14 hours, nothing came out. Searched my bank locker, nothing came out in it. They did not find anything in my village. Now they have called me to CBI Headquarters at 11 am tomorrow. I will go and give my full cooperation. Satyameva Jayate.”
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia targeted Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal over the AAP’s claims, saying, “Arvind Kejriwal these days compares himself to god and his ministers with freedom fighters. Kejriwal should be ashamed of doing this as his corrupt ministers are filling his coffers while Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for the country.”
The story so far
The CBI had registered an FIR in August against Sisodia and 14 others for alleged corruption in the now withdrawn excise policy after Lieutenant governor VK Saxena recommended a probe into the matter.
The CBI has questioned a number of people, and arrested AAP member and former CEO of Only Much Louder Vijay Nair, and Hyderabad-based businessman Abhishek Boinpally.
Angry demonstrators took to streets across Iran despite internet cuts, as the protest movement sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death in custody entered a fifth week.
The 22-year-old died on September 16, three days after falling into a coma following her arrest by Iran’s police for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
Women versus Mullahs
Young women have been at the forefront of the biggest wave of street protests seen in the country for years.
“Guns, tanks, fireworks; the mullahs must get lost,” women without hijabs chanted at a gathering at Tehran’s Shariati Technical and Vocational College, in a video widely shared online.
Scores of jeering and whistling protesters hurled projectiles at security forces near a landmark roundabout in Hamedan city, west of Tehran.
Despite what online monitor NetBlocks called a “major disruption to internet traffic”, protesters were also seen pouring onto the streets of the northwestern city of Ardabil, in videos shared on Twitter.
Strike in Kurdistan
Shopkeepers went on strike in Amini’s hometown Saqez, in Kurdistan province, and Mahabad in West Azerbaijan, said the 1500tasvir social media channel that monitors protests and police violations.
They were responding to an appeal for a huge turnout for protests on Saturday. “We have to be present in the squares, because the best VPN these days is the street,” activists declared, referring to virtual private networks used to skirt restrictions.
And a response
In response to the protests, one of Iran’s main revolutionary bodies, the Islamic Development Coordination Council, has urged people to “express their revolutionary anger against sedition and rioters” after prayers on Saturday evening.
A call also went out this week for “retirees” of the Revolutionary Guards to meet on Saturday given “the current sensitive situation”. Details here
British Prime Minister Liz Truss, just over a month into the job, is already seen as increasingly unlikely to ride out the turbulence within her own Conservative Party and the financial markets.
Her former leadership rival Rishi Sunak is now odds-on favourite to make a comeback for 10 Downing Street.
He said it…
It was a tumultuous week in British politics which saw Truss sack her close friend Kwasi Kwarteng who was enforcing her own economic policies as Chancellor.
The mutinous voices within the governing Conservatives continue to flag how Sunak had warned against much of the financial meltdown that would follow his rival’s unfunded tax-cutting policies.
What’s he up to?
As the Oddschecker bookies’ odds aggregator showed Sunak racing ahead as the favourite to replace Truss, his team is said to be eyeing what would be one of the most remarkable political comebacks in British politics.
According to insiders, the UK-born Indian-origin politician, who lost to Truss in the Tory membership vote after being the clear frontrunner among his parliamentary colleagues, is steering well clear of any accusations of plotting against Truss as he spends time in his constituency of Richmond in Yorkshire.
Sunak is not seen as an all-out favourite within the party because the fierce loyalists from former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s camp, who still blame his resignation as Chancellor for their leader’s exit in the wake of the partygate scandal, are unlikely to rally behind him. More details here.
The kin of people killed in attacks by bulls and nilgai will now get Rs 4 lakh compensation as the Uttar Pradesh government has included such instances in its list of disaster incidents.
So far, deaths caused due to unseasonal excessive rain, lightning, storm, heatwave, boat accident, snakebite, cleaning of sewer, falling into a borewell, man-animal conflict and drowning are included in the list.
The decision assumes significance as problems posed by stray cattle had given enough ammunition to the opposition to attack the BJP government in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections earlier this year.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had frequently raised the problem to attack the BJP government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had promised that the problem will be resolved after the new government is formed.
What about cows?
According to a 2019 data of the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Uttar Pradesh has 11,84,494 stray cattle, the highest in the country.
Besides posing a threat to commuters on roads, these roaming animals also damage crops.
In July this year, UP’s animal husbandry minister had said the state has 6,222 cow shelters, which had around 8.55 lakh cattle.
“Livestock is considered above any other possession in Indian heritage. Even among livestock, cows come before any other animal or even gold or property. We are working to provide safety and respect that ‘gaumata’ deserves,” the minister had said then.
Sri Lanka. Namibia caused a massive upset on the opening day of the T20 World Cup with a 55-run win over 2014 champions and reigning Asia Cup winners Sri Lanka in a group A match in Geelong, Australia on Sunday. Namibia, who had impressed in the previous edition 12 months ago as well, recovered from 93 for six in the 15th over to post a challenging 163 for seven in 20 overs. Jan Frylinck (44 off 28) and JJ Smit (31 not out off 16) did the damage in the death overs, sharing a whirlwind 69-run stand off 33 balls. The Namibian pacers, led by Ben Shikongo, wrecked the Sri Lanka top- order before bowling them out for 108 in 19 overs for a memorable win. More details here.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta Research: Rajesh Sharma