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Daily briefing: BJP wants Sachin Pilot to make first move in Rajasthan; Covid data shows lasting damage, says AIIMS director

From the infighting within the ruling Congress in Rajasthan to Indian manufacturers complaining of a reduced market share due to massive imports of Covid equipment, read the top stories from our print edition here.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 13, 2020 8:39:13 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india coronavirus latest updates, rajasthan government, ashok gehlot, rajasthan bjp, sachin pilot, india china border news July 13, 2020: A look at the top news today.

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The Big Story

So, the Congress government in Rajasthan is propped up by 124 MLAs — 107 from Congress, five from other parties, and 12 independents. The Ashok Gehlot camp claims it has the support of 109 MLAs, while the office of Sachin Pilot alleged it has been reduced to a minority after over 30 Congress and some independent legislators pledged support to Pilot. Well, clearly one of them got their arithmetic wrong. 

As the internal feud within the Rajasthan Congress spilled into the open, the BJP is waiting for an opening in the hope of stitching up an alternate arrangement. While BJP leaders are not averse to Sachin Pilot, now Deputy CM of Rajasthan, joining the party, the Congress leader has been maintaining that it’s not an option for him. When asked if he was joining the BJP, Pilot told The Indian Express, “I am not joining the BJP.” 

The Pilot episode might have the similarities of Jyotiradtiya Scindia’s revolt in Madhya Pradesh and his subsequent embrace of the BJP, but the two second-generation leaders differ in both political style and capital. Pilot has the backing of an influential caste (Gujjar) which Scindia lacked. He did not shy away from responsibility while Scindia was never keen to get his feet wet. This time, therefore, the battle lines are drawn harder than ever.

The Pandemic

Emerging data has shown that cell-mediated immunity, an immune response that does not involve antibodies, may also be protecting the body against Covid-19, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria told The Indian Express. However, the grim news is that Covid-19 is now a “systemic disease” that can affect not just the lungs, but the brain and kidneys as well.

Despite a demand for pulse oximeters amid a Covid surge, Indian manufacturers have complained that zero customs duty on medical devices to tackle the infection is leading to massive imports which is cutting into their market share. They have also raised questions about the dependence on China when it comes to components.

Beyond Covid-19

India is considering establishing an air bubble to the Maldives, which means limited flights to the archipelago even before airports open to regular international flights. Visas will be free, on arrival, and there will be no compulsory quarantine. 

Ahead of Eid ul-Adha, the Border Security Force (BSF) has accused the Border Guard Bangladesh of supporting the “inhuman, merciless and seditious” activity of cattle smuggling. Providing details of how the animals are smuggled, the BSF has said that on Eid, personally reared animals are supposed to be sacrificed, not those that have been smuggled and “tortured”.

Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who was to take over the chief of the Hurriyat Conference after its lifetime chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani quit the amalgam last month, was on Sunday taken into custody under the Public Safety Act by Jammu and Kashmir Police. “Yes, he has been booked under PSA,” Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar told The Indian Express.

ICYMI

  • Four months after 22 Congress legislators defected to the BJP and brought down the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh, one more Congress MLA joined the saffron party on Sunday.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir legislative Assembly will be formed only once the delimitation exercise is complete in the Union Territory, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has said. 
  • Son of a Gujarat minister and two of his friends were arrested in Surat on Sunday for violating lockdown norms and curfew rules imposed in the city. The trio were released later on bail.
  • BSP chief Mayawati on Sunday asked the Yogi Adityanath government not to do anything that would make Brahmins feel scared, terrorised or insecure.
  • The UP government has formed a single-member inquiry committee under a retired High Court judge to probe into all the incidents linked to gangster Vikas Dubey who was killed in an encounter last week.

And Finally…

With a lockdown outside and fears that Covid may strike home, Rohit Kumar is keen to at least save the bricks of his home in Bihar’s Bhagalpur. With the flood waters of river Kosi swirling around him amid the monsoons, he hopes to rebuild his house once the situation improves.

🎧 In our latest episode of podcast, journalist Snigdha Poonam, who has written extensively on TikTok, discusses what made the banned Chinese app different from other social media apps and how it affected the lives of young Indians.

 

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