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Daily Briefing: PM Modi targets Mamata at Kolkata rally; Second leg of budget session begins today

From the latest on the run up to the Assembly polls in four states and a Union Territory, to a new twist in the political controversy sparked by an illicit CD featuring former Karnataka minister Ramesh Jarkiholi; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 8, 2021 8:23:41 am
Here's the top news on March 8, 2021

Good morning, 

Big story

During his rally in Bengal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her nephew’s alleged corruption, her government’s policies, and her party’s slogans. The promise of development and of bringing back a “Sonar Bangla” (Bengal of gold) has remained a constant theme in Modi’s speeches from 2014 through 2019. He spoke of “asol poriborton” (real development) on Sunday as well.

Only in the Express

In an exclusive interview with The Indian Express, Union Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for the first time talks about the need to introduce the new guidelines, the case for regulation of big tech companies and what would happen if social media intermediaries do not follow the government laid norms in future.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder & CEO, Paytm, believes that the government’s new digital media laws will help check the monopoly of big firms, says the start-up ecosystem in India has come of age with more capital available, and admits the pandemic created acceptance for online payment services like Paytm. 

Modi rally Kolkata, bengal assembly polls, mamata banerjee BJP supporters at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade ground ahead of PM Modi’s rally on Sunday. (Express photo: Partha Paul)

From the Front Page

On the outskirts of Jammu city, family members of some of the 168 Rohingya men and women, detained after being found without valid documents during a police exercise, waited for their return. “When our parents did not return home yesterday, we cried and fell asleep without having food,” one of the kids said. 

Among the first tests of whether the latest thaw along the Line of Control (LoC) will lead to wider easing of tensions between India and Pakistan will be in another arena where the two remain bitter rivals: cricket. Official sources in India said that if there are no “incidents” that would upset or bring the ceasefire agreement at the LoC to an end, there are plans to open up cricket and other sporting ties between the two countries.

As New Delhi prepares to participate in the first ever meeting of the leaders of the Quadrilateral grouping likely on March 12, Beijing said that China and India should stop “undercutting” each other, shed mutual “suspicion” and create “enabling conditions” by expanding bilateral cooperation to resolve the border issue.

Must Read

Amid a high-voltage campaign for Assembly elections in four states and a Union Territory, the month-long second leg of the Budget session of Parliament is set to begin today. After the Congress called for discussions on price rise and the ongoing farmers’ protest, the government asserted that priority would be the passage of demands for grants for 2021-22 and the Finance Bill which carries several tax proposals.

A 49-year-old farmer from Haryana’s Hisar district allegedly hung himself from a tree a few kilometres away from the Tikri border protest site, making him the eighth person to have killed himself at the borders of the capital, demanding farm laws to be repealed.

The political controversy sparked by an illicit CD featuring former Karnataka minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and an unidentified young girl has a new twist — Dinesh Kalahalli, the social activist who filed the police complaint against the BJP leader has now sought to withdraw it as an FIR is yet to be taken up. 

Election Wrap

After a week-long deadlock in seat-sharing negotiations ahead of the elections, the DMK allotted 25 Assembly seats and the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency to the Congress.

During a one-day visit to Kerala ahead of the Assembly polls, Union Home Minister Amit Shah targeted Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, throwing questions at him on his alleged involvement in the gold and dollar smuggling cases.

The All India  United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which is led by MP Badruddin Ajmal, released its first list of 16 candidates for the upcoming Assam polls, while mentioning that in five seats it will be in “friendly” contest.

Popular Bengali actor Mithun Chakraborty joined the BJP ahead of  Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata.

And Finally 

Test, trace  and isolate is the strategy. There’s a 14-day quarantine, frequent thermal scanning too. But this time, it’s the outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) among horses in Europe that is the reason. And caught in the middle of it are Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian horseman Fouaad Mirza and his mare, Dajara 4.

Delhi Confidential: PM Modi is said to have given some tips to party leaders to help them appeal to voters in the runup to the Assembly polls. In West Bengal, a senior leader was allegedly asked to use his singing talent to capture the audience in election rallies. 

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at Haryana’s new quota law and how it could worsen the employment crisis. 

Until tomorrow, 

Shreya Baldwa and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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