The Big Story
The BJP’s pledge to provide Bihar voters with free Covid-19 vaccination has drawn intense criticism from Opposition parties, with the Congress and RJD leading the charge that it was “appalling” that a vaccine to fight the pandemic was turned into a poll issue. However, the Election Commission is unlikely to object to the poll promise and at least two other states followed up the announcement with similar promises.
From The Front Page
Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s meeting with Indian R&AW chief Samant Kumar Goel has upset three of his predecessors Prime Minister and his own party leaders, who demanded him to provide details of the meeting that lasted more than two hours. The visit comes at a time when the two neighbours are trying to repair ties following escalation of a boundary dispute.
Hyderabad-based drug maker Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which will conduct human trials for a covid-19 vaccine developed in Russia, said it was forced to isolate its data centre services after detecting a cyber attack. This also forced the firm to temporarily shut down operations at its major manufacturing facilities across the world.
All foreigners, except tourists, will be allowed entry into India as part of the latest relaxations to the visa restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Only a certain category of OCI card holders and foreigners were allowed into the country until now.
For a state that has had a predominantly young electorate for at least the last two election cycles, higher education in Bihar remains neglected. For every hundred youngsters in the age group of 18 to 23 years, only 13 are pursuing higher education, much lower than the national average. The low enrolment stems from another problem — too few higher education institutions in the state.
An RSS worker for the past 37 years, Rajendra Singh is this time contesting on an LJP ticket — the biggest among the eight BJP leaders doing so. His campaign message is a variation of the BJP’s poll line in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal last year, where its silent surge had taken the ruling Trinamool Congress by surprise — “Chup chaap bungla chhaap (quietly, vote for the hut, the LJP symbol).”
To avoid any further discrimination, more than 230 people in the NCR region said they had embraced Buddhism in the presence the great grandnephew of Dr B R Ambedkar earlier this week. Now, the UP Police have filed an FIR against “unknown persons” for allegedly “spreading false rumours about religious conversion”.
The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council has asserted that there is no change in the Church’s stand on same-sex and that “reports that the Pope had justified the same-sex marriage are baseless and misleading”.
At Pal village in Goa’s Sattari taluka, a family is distraught. The pandemic and its aftereffects — reduced earnings, an uncertain future — had already put them through great hardship. A broken mobile phone was seemingly the last straw. On October 15, their 16-year-old son was found hanging in the house.
- A Delhi court has sent back the criminal defamation case filed by former Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar against journalist Priya Ramani to a court that has been hearing the matter for two years.
- The Rajasthan High Court has stayed proceedings by a CBI court against former Union minister Arun Shourie and others in a case pertaining to the sale of a hotel in Udaipur in 2002.
- Amid the ongoing tussle between Delhi University Vice-Chancellor (V-C) Yogesh Tyagi and Pro V-C P C Joshi, the Centre snubbed Tyagi on Thursday, declaring his contentious appointments to the Registrar’s post as invalid.
- Leaders of the seven-party People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration in Jammu and Kashmir are working to give the group a formal structure ahead of their “constitutional battle”.
- After 52 years of feeding India’s lawmakers, the Indian Railways is set to exit the canteens and kitchens of Parliament complex by next month to make way for a new agency.
Every year, during the festive season, Ramnagar in Varanasi breaks from the present and steps back 200 years. Led by the erstwhile ‘maharaja’ of Banaras, the town hosts a 31-day Ramnagar ki Ramlila, in which the entire epic plays out. Not even in 1962, when India and China were at war, was the Ramlila stopped. Until this year, when a virus came along.
Delhi Confidential: Former Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey had caused a flutter a month ago with his decision to leave the IPS and join the JD(U) just before the Assembly elections. Although he did not get a ticket to contest elections, the Election Commission is learnt to have taken note of the development.
Leela Prasad and Liu Chuen Chen
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