QBullet: UP Goes to the Polls, TN Waits for SC Verdict and More

The Quint brings you a collection of the most important news stories from the previous day. 

6 min read
 (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

1. UP Assembly Elections 2017: Battle for Heartland Begins in West that May Hold the Key

With 73 constituencies and the possibility of triggering a wave that may just affect elections across Uttar Pradesh, an estimated 2.6 crore people in its western region will cast the first votes in the state Saturday.

Ground zero for the 2013 violence that killed at least 65 and rendered thousands homeless and an alleged Hindu exodus, the region accounts for the most sensitive polling booths – at least 600 – where video cameras will be installed to maintain law and order.

The region has witnessed hectic campaigning over the last two weeks as parties fielded star campaigners in a last-minute rush to garner support. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UP Chief Minister and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and several cabinet ministers have addressed public meetings.

(Source: The Indian Express)

2. Theatre Shifts to TN Resort

A WhatsApp joke on them did the rounds, the high court wanted to know if they were being held against their wishes and a chosen few were paraded in front of the media to send the message that there were "no restrictions" on them.

The 120-odd AIADMK legislators who have been kept in a beach resort by the VK Sasikala camp took centre-stage in the unfolding political drama in Tamil Nadu on Friday, a day after two of the legislators whose support the chief minister-elect has claimed switched to the group of deposed Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.

Late on Friday, the Raj Bhavan denied reports that Governor Vidyasagar Rao had informed the Centre that he would wait for the Supreme Court verdict in the wealth case before considering Sasikala's claim to form the government.

(Source: The Telegraph)

3. After PM Narendra Modi’s

Raincoat Jibe, Shiv Sena Praises Past Congress PMs

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s raincoat jibe at his predecessor Manmohan Singh, the Shiv Sena defended the Congress leadership and claimed that the country has attained its stature in the world because of the previous Congress-led governments’ work.

“Indira Gandhi sacrificed herself for the country,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said. “There may be differences in evaluating Rajiv Gandhi, but he was committed to bringing in transparency in governance. He may have been tainted with Bofors scam, but he ushered in the computer age and laid the foundation of telecom revolution in the country. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh successfully steered this country from economic anarchy. If these people had not done what they did in the last 60 years, then Modi would have had nothing in his hands but dust.”

4. Post-Demonetisation, Shell Companies Laundered At Least Rs 3,900 Crore

At least Rs 3,900 crore was laundered through shell companies between November-December after the ban on high-value banknotes, investigations by a central agency have found.

The probe by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has also identified at least 54 people who helped 559 beneficiaries with laundering the illicit cash, sources said.

The government recalled 500 and 1,000-rupee notes on 8 November in a move it said was aimed at sucking out illicit cash from the system. Since then, various financial crime investigating agencies are tracking movement of high volumes of cash.

The sources said the people involved in laundering the money through 49 shell companies have been identified and could face stringent action.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

5. Note Ban was Reason Raghuram Rajan Left the RBI, Claims Chidambaram

Former finance minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday said that a five-page letter speaking against demonetisation was submitted to the Centre by “someone in the Reserve Bank of India” on the day Raghuram Rajan stepped down from the post of Governor of the apex bank.

Chidambaram dared the government to make the letter public. He made this comment at an event organised to launch a book written by him – ‘Fearless in Opposition, Power and Accountability’.

“If the government is transparent, it should make that note (letter) public. The note was written on behalf of RBI. It was about demonetisation arguing why it should not be implemented,” Chidambaram.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

6. Alliance Backs Zeliang

The three-day deadline for Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang to resign over holding of civic polls ended on Friday night, but he seems to be holding his own in a standoff that has left his government paralysed since 30 January.

After the two groups spearheading the movement for Zeliang's resignation for holding urban local body polls on 1 February with 33 per cent reservation for women decided to enforce a "total bandh" from Monday if he does not quit, a meeting of the legislature party of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) on Friday night threw its weight behind him.

It also asserted the poll issue was over since it was formally declared null and void.

(Source: The Telegraph)

7. J&K: In a First, State Govt Employee Amongst Two Arrested for Not Standing During National Anthem

In the first such case in Jammu and Kashmir, police said two persons, including a state government employee, have been arrested for not standing during the national anthem at a cinema hall here.

The incident took place at a cinema hall in Wave Mall in Narwal area on Thursday night. The men have been identified as Javed Ahmed, 34, of Anantnag and Mudassar Ahmed, 30, of Handwara. Police said Javed is a consultant with the J&K Institute of Management, Public Administration and Rural Development in Jammu, and Mudassar is an employee of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank in Srinagar.

(Source: The Indian Express)

8. From 2018, Single Exam for Engineering and Architecture Across India

Representational image of exam stress. (Photo: iStockPhoto)
Representational image of exam stress. (Photo: iStockPhoto)

Admission to all engineering colleges in the country will be done through a single entrance examination from next year, the government said on Friday, doing away with multiple tests conducted by central agencies, state governments and private institutions.

A single test for engineering, as well as architecture courses, will be on lines of the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET), a single, all-India test for entry to medical and dental colleges launched in 2016.

However, students seeking admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will have to clear the JEE-Advanced after taking the engineering entrance exam.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

9. Law Ministry Clears Five Judges for Supreme Court

Supreme Court. (Photo: Reuters)
Supreme Court. (Photo: Reuters)

The Law Ministry has cleared the files for appointment of five Supreme Court judges and forwarded them to the Prime Minister's Office which will shortly take the President's assent before they are notified, likely to be done within the next week.

The SC currently has 23 judges. With the fresh appointments recommended by the SC collegium, the apex court will have 28 judges, still three short of the sanctioned strength of 31.

The law ministry has also cleared the SC collegium's recommendations for appointment of eight chief justices for various high courts and forwarded the files to the PMO.

(Source: Times of India)

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