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Monday, January 25, 2021

Daily Briefing: Amit Shah slams Mamata as rebel TMC MLAs join BJP; Sonia Gandhi meets Cong leaders calling for reforms

From the anguish of Tablighi Jamaat members who faced public vilification and a long court trial in a foreign land, to the first blueprint of Ayodhya's modern mosque complex; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | December 20, 2020 8:37:46 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india latest news today, air india express crash, air india kozhikode crash, air india plane crash, india china border news, sushant singh rajput suicide cbi probe, bihar floods, ayodhya ram templeA look at the top news today, January 24, 2021.

Good morning, 

The Big Story

What happens when Kerala’s largest private sector employer brings a management style to panchayat democracy? More funds, villa housing, a subsidised market, stunning electoral success, and charges of veiled autocracy. Take a look at a unique initiative that is disrupting Kerala’s deeply entrenched politics — for good, and bad.

From the Front Page

36-9 was a new low for Indian cricket. But nothing worked for the team in its first Test against Australia in Adelaide on Saturday. It hurts, but then sports has a habit of reminding everyone that even the best can have the worst of days. This isn’t a time for self-loathing but self-examination.

Setting the tone for a bitter campaign ahead of the West Bengal elections, Union Home Minister Amit Shah welcomed Trinamool Congress deserters into the BJP and targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying “this is just the beginning” and “you will be alone” by the time the polls start.

The ice is broken but the chill is far from over. In a five-hour-long, “free-wheeling discussion” with her Congress colleagues, Sonia Gandhi said issues have to be resolved and the party has to be “one family”. Senior leaders, who said they were neither dissidents nor rebels, reiterated their demand for elections to posts at all levels, and the need to strengthen the party.

The scoreboard shows the fall of India’s wickets near the end of their second innings against Australia on the third day of their cricket test match at the Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/David Mairuz)

Only in Express

What happens next in the latest attempt to disinvest Air India? On January 5, the government will announce which expressions of interest have qualified and can proceed to make a financial bid. Here’s a look at the process, and the past attempts to sell the airline.

From Gulzar to Shashi Tharoor, this week’s Sunday EYE magazine has poets, politicians, sportsmen and theatre personalities look back at 2020 through the books they read. Here’s what they picked, and why.

“Demonetisation, the slowdown of the economy over 8 quarters, the pandemic, the loss of jobs, homes and livelihoods, the migration of millions and the recession have greatly impacted the nutritional status of our children… Where does the responsibility lie? The sign on the desk of President Harry Truman read, ‘The buck stops here’.” P Chidambaram writes.

Must Read

On the surface, the Tablighi Jamaat members appear content. But a gentle prodding brings forth the anguish, of spending nearly a year in a foreign land, while facing public vilification, accusations of spreading a pandemic, and a long court trial, before finally being exonerated. The Indian Express speaks to some of them.

The pandemic compelled viewers and visual-content creators to pause, think, rewire and transition from the big screen and physical theatres to the OTT (over-the-top content) platforms online. A host of actors, who have come to us earlier in small roles, owned the medium with powerful performances in unusual roles. Here are eight actors who lit up our screens in this dark year.

Telangana has sought from Maharashtra 10 (5 pairs) of the ‘Critically Endangered’ white-backed vultures for captive breeding. The Telangana forest department, which had sought approval for the same from the central government in November 2019, is implementing a vulture conservation project.


Former RSS spokesperson and editor of pro-RSS Marathi daily ‘Tarun Bharat’, M G Vaidya passed away in Nagpur due to age related complications. He was among the last surviving RSS ideologues to have witnessed the rise of the Sangh since the organisation’s inception in 1925.

The ED issued orders for provisional attachment of properties worth around Rs 12 crore belonging to former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah — including the house where he currently lives — in connection with the J&K Cricket Association (JKCA) money laundering case.

Announcing his resignation from three Lok Sabha committees, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) chief and NDA ally Hanuman Beniwal has said he will march towards Delhi on December 26 in protest against the Centre’s contentious new farm laws.

From being one of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s most enthusiastic lieutenants during the Nandigram movement to being her biggest nemesis today, TMC leaders recall the rise of rebel MLA Suvendu Adhikari as he formally joins the BJP.

The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust has unveiled the blueprint of the mosque along with other amenities that will be constructed on the five-acre land, allotted by the UP government in Ayodhya’s Dhannipur village. Here’s the first look.

And Finally…

Inside Track: As the stalemate between farmers and the government continues, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and his deputy Dushyant Chautala find themselves in a real Catch-22 situation. But, why? Well, since he is a Jat farm leader, Chautala has been fielded to defend the farm bills, and he has little choice but to agree. But he is in a precarious position — seven of his 10 JJP MLAs support the farmers’ protest and can bring down the government.

What happens when a human and a mosquito take matters to court? Well, chaos ensues of course. In a filmi courtroom drama setting, the case is presented — the issue of contention being yet another sleepless night, courtesy the undesired company of Shrimati Dengue.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Murali and Rahel Philipose

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