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Your Daily Wrap: SC says all women entitled to legal abortion; Ashok Gehlot ‘out’ of Congress president poll race; and more

News from the Congress, where the crisis doesn’t seem to end. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today said he won’t contest the upcoming Congress president election.

(Clockwise) Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot with Sonia Gandhi; SC ruling on abortion; Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters); and Congress leader Ashok Chavan

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court today ruled the rights available to married women under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act,1971, to abort a foetus will also be available to unmarried ones. The court said the artificial distinction between married and unmarried women cannot be sustained and that women must have the autonomy to have free exercise of these rights.

News from the Congress, where the crisis doesn’t seem to end. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today said he won’t contest the upcoming Congress president election. Gehlot made his decision public after meeting party president Sonia Gandhi at the latter’s residence in New Delhi. With Gehlot bowing out of the poll race, the question of who will be the candidate with the blessings of the leadership – if not the official or establishment candidate – is now staring at the face of the party rank and file. The question of whether Gehlot will continue as Chief Minister is also open.

From Rajasthan to Maharashtra, where former chief minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan claimed that a Shiv Sena delegation, which included current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, had come to meet him at his Mumbai office with a proposal to form an alliance when the BJP-Sena government was in power in the state between 2014 and 2019. Shinde was then a minister in the government led by the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and Chavan was the Maharashtra Congress president. His remarks drew a sharp reaction from the Shinde camp and the BJP, with the latter saying that “certain things should be kept under wraps.”

Political Pulse

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Dandiya, Garba, and Bondla. These dance forms popular during Navratri are the unlikely setting for a political battle raging in the heart of Mumbai. The BJP, which is in power along with the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena, is using the Navratri platform for voter outreach as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections are likely to be held in the coming months. The party is holding celebrations in almost each of the 227 BMC wards, organising 300 Dandiya, Garba, and Bondla events across the city. The Shiv Sena, which was earlier almost synonymous with festival celebrations in the city where they have been in power for the last 25 years, has taken a backseat. Read Shubhangi Khapre’s report.

Express Explained

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin last week signalled to his country that efforts in the ongoing war with Ukraine would be intensified. The declaration was accompanied by claims that the West was using “nuclear blackmail” against Russia, where Putin referred to “the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia.” As a result, there has been heightened speculation over what Putin’s next move might be in terms of weaponry. The terms “tactical” and “strategic” nuclear weapons have been making the rounds in this context. We explain what these weapons are.

In Express Opinion today

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First published on: 29-09-2022 at 07:28:50 pm
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