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Daily Briefing: Third minister quits UP govt; India’s U-19 stars have one eye on World Cup, one on IPL

Having centred the party’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh around women empowerment, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has announced names of 50 women in the party’s first list of 125 candidates.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 14, 2022 7:43:09 am
A look at the top news today, January 14, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story 

Amid the flurry of resignations from the Uttar Pradesh BJP, a minister and two MLAs resigned from the party on Thursday, saying the government had not worked for the marginalised communities in the last five years. Dharam Singh Saini, Minister for Ayush and MLA from Nakur constituency in Saharanpur, Mukesh Verma, MLA from Shikohabad in Firozabad, and Awasthi Bala Prasad, MLA from Dhaurahra in Lakhimpur, were the three BJP MLAs who resigned. 

Having centred the party’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh around women empowerment, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra announced names of 50 women in the party’s first list of 125 candidates. Among the women were the mother of the Unnao rape survivor, an ASHA worker who was roughed up by police, a former SP leader who was attacked during the panchayat elections and a social activist and Congress leader who was jailed during the anti-CAA protests.  

Only in the Express

Explaining how the hate crimes today have been cultivating in our country for around a century, Satish Deshpande writes: “Since it began in the 1920s, the larger Hindutva project of the Sangh Parivar founded on hatred for Muslims (and others) had only been battery-powered, so to speak, requiring the dedicated labour of anonymous activists to keep the batteries charged. The Modi-Shah regime has plugged this project into the power of the state.” 

From the Front Page 

In Dumka district, an audit of 869 work sites found 774 people at work although 7,712 were listed on the rolls. In Dhanbad, 7,859 people were on the rolls for 1,348 schemes that were audited but only 421 workers — a mere 5% — were found at the spot. These are the key discrepancies found by the Social Audit Unit of the Rural Development Department of Jharkhand in its latest concurrent audit of work under the MGNREGA. The Indian Express has accessed the report to track down illustrative examples of irregularity.   

It is being called the ‘Diamond Harbour Model’. In West Bengal, currently grappling with a Covid rise (1.16 lakh active cases), low testing (65,000-odd per day since start of the year), high positivity (nearly 31% as of January 12) and a Kumbh-scale Gangasagar Mela for which pilgrims started arriving Wednesday, this suburb of Kolkata certainly stands apart: for a “country-wide record” in daily testing for a constituency on January 12 (53,203), for low positivity (2.5%), and for banning any gathering.  

Must Read

Seventy-four years after the border split the two Punjabs, leaving Sikka Khan on one side and his elder brother Sadiq Khan in the Pakistani part – never to be together again – all it took for the search to end was a video shared on social media. Sikka, now a frail man in his 70s, was finally reunited with his elder brother this Monday at Kartarpur Gurdwara. Now, every day of being apart is tough.

From organising massive women-only marathons, to doling out freebies — in Uttar Pradesh, a state where caste and religion usually blur all other considerations during polls, this season, political parties are tripping over each other to get women voters behind them. Among reasons: Rise in number of women voters, polling percentages, and social changes. 

The environment ministry’s latest India State of Forest Report (ISFR) showed a continuing increase in forest cover across the country, but experts flagged some of its other aspects as causes for concern, such as a decline in forest cover in the Northeast, and a degradation of natural forests. We break down the findings of the biennial report. 

The son of former defence minister and three-time Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, Utpal has staked his claim to a BJP ticket for the elections from Goa’s capital Panaji — the constituency from where his late father was elected five times since 1995. For the ruling BJP, conceding Utpal’s demand will be a tough call given the claims of other formidable party aspirants for the Panaji seat. BJP’s Goa in-charge Devendra Fadnavis said that the BJP does not give election tickets to candidates just because they are party leaders’ children.

And Finally 

The stakes are high for the young India cricketers embarking on the Under-19 World Cup campaign, with the IPL auction slated to take place just a few days after the final in February. How do these teens, with the awareness that performances in one tournament can open the pathway to another, handle the pressure of quick fame and potential big money? The newly-appointed Punjab captain Abhishek Sharma recalls a piece of advice offered by Rahul Dravid: He told them to decide what is more important — playing for India at present or the IPL. 

Delhi Confidential: Unsatisfied with the biennial India State of the Forest Report, Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav has decided that he will now set up an internal study group in the ministry. This group will not only analyse the findings of the report more comprehensively, but will also formulate plans on how community participation in forest conservation can be enhanced.

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we look at why you shouldn’t take the current Covid-19 wave lightly, and the consequences of doing so.

Until tomorrow, 
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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