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Daily Briefing: Second UP minister quits, eyes SP; ISRO gets new chief

ISRO has an ambitious goal for 2022: putting a man in orbit. And the agency has now named its next chief who will be responsible for carrying out this gargantuan task — top rocket scientist and director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Dr S Somanath.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 13, 2022 8:22:29 am
A look at the top news today, January 12, 2022.

Good morning, 

The Big Story

With Punjab voting on February 14, there was no love lost between the BJP and Congress on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach as chief ministers of BJP-ruled stated kept the issue simmering by accusing the Congress and its government in Punjab of a “pre-planned, well-orchestrated conspiracy”. At least two chief ministers, Himanta Biswa Sarma (Assam) and Biplab Kumar Deb (Tripura), alleged the involvement of “Khalistanis”, with Sarma even demanding the arrest of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for the “conspiracy to kill” the PM.

Only in the Express 

Pratap Bhanu Mehta remembers Indian classical singer Kumar Gandharva in this week’s column. “By the time he took his last breath, he had not only become one of the greatest musicians of all time, he had arguably become the highest point of Indian culture,” he writes.

From the Front Page 

The ‘double engine sarkar’ of the BJP was jolted for the second time in 24 hours after another Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister resigned and met SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, indicating that he too was headed there. There was relief, however, in the BJP camp when two MLAs and a former MLA joined the ruling party in New Delhi. 

As a series of defections by sitting MLAs rattles the BJP, the party is considering fielding Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who announced earlier that he would contest the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, from Ayodhya. The move is being seen in the party as one that would amplify the Hindutva message and galvanise the cadre. More so when the Ram temple project is well underway. It would also be the first time a sitting CM would contest Assembly polls in UP since Rajnath Singh did so in 2002.

The civilian unrest in Kazakhstan has grounded flights, leaving foreign nationals visiting the country, including Indians, stranded. Among them are Delhi-based travel firm owner Sumeet Nagpal, his wife and two daughters aged seven and eight. The family’s trip to the country to ring in the new year has turned into a nightmare experience. 

Must Read 

ISRO has an ambitious goal for 2022: putting a man in orbit. And the agency has now named its next chief who will be responsible for carrying out this gargantuan task — top rocket scientist and director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Dr S Somanath. Putting the human space flight programme back on track will be far from easy. But if Somanath’s impressive career is anything to go by, he is the man for the job. 

In an interview with The Indian Express, BSP National General Secretary S C Mishra insisted that his party was still a major contender in the upcoming UP polls, adding that one of the cornerstones of the BSP’s campaign was addressing “the issues of the Brahmin community”. “What have they got in the last five years, except being targeted and killed in shootouts?” He asked. “The BJP has been exposed. They see only one caste…The rest, like the Scheduled Castes, have been neglected.”

A team of US doctors made history this week when they transplanted a genetically modified pig’s heart into a patient in Maryland. But a controversial doctor in Assam has claimed that he performed the complicated surgery for the first time in 1997. Dr Dhani Ram Baruah courted controversy over two decades ago, when he managed to transplant a pig’s heart and lungs on a 32-year-old man. The patient survived for seven days, before dying of multiple infections.

On Wednesday, India recorded an alarming 2.3 lakh new cases of coronavirus, a big jump compared to the last few days, indicating that it was still premature to read much into the apparent recent slowdown in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi. Anything concerning trend: deaths outside of Kerala have almost doubled in just the last three days, crossing 170 on Wednesday. We take a look at why cases are rising, despite a declining growth rate. 

And Finally 

For young shuttlers Mithun Manjunath and Malvika Bansod, both in their early 20s, their objective is clear: eventually upending the established order by defeating Indian badminton’s present flag bearers, Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy. Considered Bangalore’s most elegant, young shuttler, Mithun was highly rated as a junior. Meanwhile, Bansod will need to prey on Nehwal’s dodgy fitness if she wants to stand a chance.

Delhi Confidential: Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee marked Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary on Wednesday by carrying out a unique drive in his Lok Sabha constituency Diamond Harbour – that of Covid tests. 

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we talk about OBC leader Swami Prasad Maurya’s exit from the BJP. We also discuss the Kerala sexual assault case and the Congress vs Governor tug of war in Chhattisgarh

Until tomorrow, 
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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