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Daily briefing: Cabinet clears decks for district councils in J&K; Kerala plans tougher laws on online abuse

We are covering the amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar's exclusive interview to The Indian Express and how the campaigning for by-elections in Madhya Pradesh has descended to a new low.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 22, 2020 8:35:57 am
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Good morning,

We are covering the Centre’s plan to monetise idle parcels of land, what crime data of last 15 years tells us about Nitish Kumar’s governance and how the campaigning for by-elections in Madhya Pradesh has descended to a new low.

The Big Story

In what is being seen as a preemptive move to block the CBI from taking over the TRP manipulation case in Maharashtra, the Uddhav Thackeray administration withdrew “general consent” given to the agency to probe cases in the state. This comes a day after the CBI took over a similar case registered by UP Police.

From The Front Page

From “item” to “rakhail” to “bangles”, these are some of the derogatory terms that the BJP and Congress leaders have been using to target their opponents during the bypoll campaigning in Madhya Pradesh. While former chief minister Kamal Nath received a notice from the Election Commission, the state police booked a case against a BJP minister for the offensive remarks.

The Rail and Defence ministries, two of the biggest government land-owners in the country, will likely monetise their idle parcels for commercial development and infrastructure creation as part of a Centre’s plan. The resources generated to create infrastructure assets across the country, The Indian Express has learnt. 

The Union Cabinet has cleared the decks for setting up of District Development Councils, members of which will be directly elected by voters of the Union Territory. Announcing the Cabinet decisions, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said people elsewhere in the country had the right to elect local representatives, but in Jammu and Kashmir “that was not happening”.

Women Are Back: For the first time since the lockdown, all women, including those travelling for non-essential purposes, were allowed on Mumbai’s locals Wednesday.

Decision 2020

In 15 years of Nitish Kumar’s reign, crime data shows that cases of murder have fallen significantly and as have have kidnappings for ransom, equated with the RJD reign. However, incidents of attempt to murder have increased exponentially, even as the JD(U)-BJP government has failed to improve Bihar’s police-population ratio, which remains among the worst in the country.

In an interview with The Indian Express, CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar says Bihar elections are not going to be one-sided and there is much anger, especially against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. “In the political discourse, the entire attack is on Nitish Kumar,” he says. 

Must Read

To keep a check on the increasing abuse on social media, the Kerala government has decided to amend the Kerala Police Act to punish all those who create or send any information that is offensive or is intended to offend or threaten another person with an imprisonment of five years or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both.

The Bombay High Court Wednesday sought to know from Republic TV if asking viewers who should be arrested in a case in which a probe is going on, and infringing upon a person’s rights qualified as “investigative journalism”.

While pollution continues to worsen in the national capital and surrounding states due to stubble burning, a global study has found that more than 116,000 Indian infants did not survive their first month due to the presence of high particulate matter in the air.

An artist wearing a PPE kit helps his colleagues to get ready for the enactment of Ramlila in New Delhi on Wednesday.


  • NCW chief Rekha Sharma has lodged a complaint with Twitter India after a series of tweets against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and against the Gandhi family were posted from her handle. 
  • Former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse, who had been upset with the BJP since 2016 over allegations of corruption, resigned from the party on Wednesday.
  • Fugitive GJM leader Bimal Gurung on Thursday made a sudden public appearance and announced the party’s decision to sever ties with the BJP-led NDA
  • The team investigating the alleged contract killing of BJP leader Hiren Patel on September 27 in Jhalod of Dahod district is now looking at a possible political link in the case. 
  • Four days after a sedition case was registered against actor Kangana Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel, Mumbai Police have now summoned the sisters on Wednesday.

And Finally

On a lane off Bhandarkar Road in Pune, a bungalow — reminiscent of post-Independence architecture — is counting down to the day it will be reduced to rubble, and a swanky new condominium takes its place. On Sunday morning, a different group of artists decided to celebrate the house one last time through art

Delhi Confidential: There is a scramble to get police verification of all outsourced staff across Indian Railways, with a latest order stating that all personnel engaged by contractors, in whatever capacity, should be vetted by the police.

🎧 In today’s episode of Three Things Podcast, we discuss the reason why Imran Khan is facing a lot of opposition right now and why this political crisis has the Pakistan army worried.

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen

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