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Monday, April 19, 2021

Daily Briefing: Maharashtra stares at lockdown as Covid-19 cases surge; Indian crew on Suez ship; all safe, says firm

From Maharashtra staring at lockdown as Covid-19 cases surge, to all Indian members of the container ship stuck in Suez Canal being safe; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
March 29, 2021 8:57:05 am
Daily Briefing: Amid Covid second wave, govt rethink on offline CBSE Board exam; 102 test positive at KumbhA look at the top news today, April 18, 2021.

The Big Story

With the L-word being used loosely more than ever before in Maharashtra, the state might, in fact, see a double L—limited lockdown. Senior state health officials have advised Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray a lockdown for at least 15 days to curb the rising Covid-19 cases. More than 1.13 lakh new infections have been recorded in the last three days alone.

Only in the Express 

 Like several Myanmarese policemen now on the Indian side, Joseph says he chose to defect rather than open fire on his own people protesting against the military rule. He crossed over along with his wife and nine-month-old son even though the border with Mizoram has been sealed since the Covid lockdown in March. The couple now worry how long the generosity of the Mizoram government will last. Joseph says he will be executed if he goes back now. 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was in Kerala to campaign for the NDA, speaks to The Indian Express on the BJP’s poll prospects in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, its failure to stitch a strong political combination, and the Sabarimala issue. 

Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, our guest at the Idea Exchange, says West Bengal elections are a fight between Mamata Banerjee and Narendra Modi and turncoats don’t matter, explains how BJP creates fear before a contest, and warns that if TMC loses Bengal, India will be headed for one nation, one party, with BJP controlling people’s lives.

From the Front Page 

There is an Indian connection to the containership holding up maritime traffic in the Suez Canal. All 25 members of the crew on board are Indians. A statement from the maritime solutions provider in charge of technical management of the vessel said the crew is safe and praised their hard work and professionalism. 

Must Read

 The fault lines in the Maharashtra coalition government are out in the open, again. Reports of a purported meeting over the weekend between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Ahmedabad has fueled speculation over the future of the NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress alliance. And Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut calling Anil Deshmukh an ‘accidental Home Minister’ in a strongly worded article in the party mouthpiece didn’t help.

Decision 2021

A week left to go for the Kerala Assembly elections, the BJP has wound up its campaign in Thalassery, including cancelling a rally to be held by Amit Shah on March 25. No candidate will be contesting on the BJP ticket this time even after seeing its votes jump more than three times between 2011 and 2016. 

A vote for Lotus is a vote for Two Leaves. The scores of volunteers campaigning for BJP candidate Annamalai, an ex-IPS officer contesting from Tamil Nadu’s Aravakurichi, underline this message during interactions with voters. Anamalai says he did not enter politics to win elections, but to make a difference. ” I thought this constituency deserves my attention… It is a big social experiment, whether the people can recognise the Lotus symbol,” he says.

And Finally 

Kobad Ghandy spent a decade in jails across the country and was released on bail from Surat jail in October 2019. Ten cases are still pending against him. Now, he came out with a memoir tracing his journey from leading a privileged life in Mumbai and London in the 70s to his life and work in some of the poorest slums of Maharashtra with wife Anuradha, until his arrest on charges of being a Politburo member of the banned CPI(Maoist).

Delhi confidential: IIT-DELHI director Ramgopal Rao is one of the few heads of centrally-run higher education institutions, who is pretty active on social media. Last week, Facebook blocked him from using his account for 48 hours on the grounds that he was spreading misinformation about Covid-19. Interestingly, the post which prompted this action had nothing to do with the pandemic or the virus.

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