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Monday, January 24, 2022

Daily Briefing: High-profile exit dents BJP’s OBC push; Support pours in for family of Zomato delivery executive

On Saturday night, Tripathi was waiting to deliver a food order when a speeding SUV rammed into his bike, killing him at the spot.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 12, 2022 8:20:11 am
A look at the top news today, January 12, 2021.

Good morning,

Decision 2022

In a jolt to the incumbent BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, OBC leader and five-term MLA Swami Prasad Maurya resigned as minister and posed for a photograph with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav soon after. The high-profile exit has cast a shadow on a meeting held by the party’s top leadership on the Uttar Pradesh elections in Delhi. With Maurya claiming as many as 15 would follow him, this has upset BJP’s plans to finalise strategy and candidate names for the upcoming polls.  

Meanwhile, in Punjab, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that the Congress “should announce” its chief ministerial candidate and went on to say that he was a popular leader and people waved at him and broke barricades to meet him. This puts him in direct contention with Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also indicated that he should be declared the CM candidate. 

 An analysis by one of the empowered groups constituted by the Centre on Covid-19 revealed that most of the districts in three poll-bound states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur – have been found to “represent high vulnerability to emerging Covid pandemic due to Omicron variant”. The other two poll-bound states of Uttarakhand and Goa don’t have any district listed in the “vulnerable” categories.

Only in the Express 

Two years on since the first Covid outbreak, and in yet another huge surge fueled by its Omicron variant, where do we stand? What have we learnt about the virus? Are we better prepared to deal with the pandemic? Former UGC chairman Varinder S Chauhan, who is best known for his efforts towards developing a malaria vaccine, answers these questions. 

From the Front Page

The Government is set to become the largest shareholder in Vi, with the telecom operator accepting the option offered by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to convert interest on deferred spectrum auction payments and adjusted gross revenues (AGR) to equity. It owed the DoT more than Rs 58,000 crore in AGR dues. Vi would issue the shares to the Government at a par value of Rs 10 per share.

Must Read 

Special airport lanes, empty stadium, a stringent bubble — Maharashtra is going all out to ensure that the Asian Cup, which kicks off on January 20, is not derailed by the third wave. The 12-nation tournament, which is also a qualifier for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, will be played behind closed doors in Pune, Navi Mumbai and Mumbai. 

Help poured in from across the country for the family of Zomato delivery executive Salil Tripathi, who was run over, allegedly by a policeman’s vehicle, while at work. While filmmaker Manish Mundra transferred Rs 4 lakh to Tripathi’s wife’s bank account, his former colleague has said he is speaking with people from the hotel industry to start a fundraiser for his family. The family said they were “overwhelmed” by the support being offered by strangers.

Here’s some good news for Mumbai residents: The downward spiral  of Covid cases continued for the fourth day running,  with the city registering 11,647 cases on Tuesday. This corresponds with a dip in the daily positivity rates which fell from 23 per cent on Monday to 18.7 per cent on Tuesday, hinting towards a plateauing of the Omicron-fuelled third wave. But officials in the Maharashtra government say its too early to tell.

A continued push on capital expenditure and roll out of infra projects under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) will be central to the Union Budget 2022-23 as the Centre continues to focus on economic recovery. Projects in roads and railways sectors and the Nal se Jal scheme are also expected to receive a funding boost, government officials said. 

And Finally 

Amitabh Mattoo on what the Novak Djokovic saga reveals about the age of Covid: “Djokovic’s curious, complex and colourful worldview may make many of his fans squirm, but in his native Serbia and elsewhere, as recent events have testified, his popularity is unchallenged even as he has publicly voiced his scepticism about vaccines.”

Delhi Confidential: With many Parliament staff members testing positive for coronavirus, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla have directed the secretaries-general of both Houses to suggest effective measures at the earliest for the upcoming Budget Session.  

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we look at the logic behind India’s booster dose policy, how security operations in Jammu and Kashmir have expanded, and how four people from the transgender community were allegedly made to strip inside a police station.

Until tomorrow, 
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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