The Hindu Morning Digest, March 17, 2024

 Union Ministers and BJP leaders Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and party national president JP Nadda

Union Ministers and BJP leaders Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and party national president JP Nadda
| Photo Credit: ANI

Standing on cusp of history, PM Modi says NDA ready for polls

The schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha election was announced by the Election Commission on Saturday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a third term in office, declaring that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by him was fully prepared for the election. He framed the polls as a contest between the NDA that ushered in “a glorious turnaround” and an Opposition that was “rudderless and issueless”.

Election Commission always in favour of transparency, but must also protect donor privacy: CEC on electoral bonds scheme

Amid the storm over the scrapping of the electoral bonds scheme and its donor data being made public, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said that the Election Commission of India has always been in favour of transparency, but added that there was a need to ensure that the donors’ privacy is protected.

On the final day of Nyay Yatra, Rahul criticises Gautam Adani, PM Modi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi continued his tirade against billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani during his visit to Dharavi, one of the largest slum clusters in the world. He underscored the significance of Dharavi’s residents, affirming, “Desh dalal nahiDharavi ke log banate hai [the nation is shaped by the people of Dharavi, not by brokers].”

Lok Sabha election 2024 date updates | Voting to be held from April 19 in 7 phases, results to be announced on June 4

India will go to the polls from April 19 to June 1, in a marathon seven-phase exercise to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha, the Election Commission announced. Assembly elections will be held simultaneously in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. The dates of polling for the Lok Sabha are April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25, and June 1. In Bihar, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh, voting will take place in all seven phases. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

BJP MP C.M. Ramesh’s company bought ₹45-crore poll bonds soon after bagging contract to build Sunni Dam

A company founded by BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh, C.M. Ramesh, purchased electoral bonds worth ₹5 crore weeks after it bagged the ₹1,098-crore Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the Sunni hydroelectric project in Himachal Pradesh. This tranche was purchased just ahead of the Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland. Two months later, the company again purchased bonds worth ₹40 crore.

INDIA bloc says it is geared up to face the BJP

The Opposition parties in the INDIA bloc welcomed the Lok Sabha election dates and said they were prepared to take on the BJP and unseat it from power. The Congress said it would fight for “nyay” (justice) to the country and its people, while the Left parties said their primary objective was to remove the BJP from power. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) appealed to voters to vote against dictatorship and hooliganism.

Sikkim to vote for Lok Sabha, Assembly in simultaneous polls on April 19

Sikkim will vote in the Lok Sabha polls and the Assembly elections, being held simultaneously, on April 19, the Election Commission announced on March 17. The Himalayan state has only one Lok Sabha seat and a 32-member assembly. The notification for the elections will be issued on March 20, following which the process for filing nominations will begin. The last date for submitting nomination papers is March 27, while those will be scrutinised on March 28. The last date for the withdrawal of nominations is March 30, the EC said.

Assembly bypoll in Himachal is set to be a critical test for the ruling Congress

With byelections for the six Assembly constituencies — that fell vacant after six rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified from the Himachal Pradesh Assembly — to be held simultaneously with the parliamentary elections on June 1, the ruling Congress government in the State will be facing a critical test.

UN agency laments plight of children in northern Gaza

One in three children under the age of two in northern Gaza is now acutely malnourished and famine is looming, the main UN agency operating in the Palestinian enclave said on Saturday. “Children’s malnutrition is spreading fast and reaching unprecedented levels in Gaza,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said.

‘Bloody’ Ramzan Friday as Gaza strike kills 36 relatives

Displaced by Israeli bombardment, the Tabatibi family gathered in central Gaza to eat together during the first Friday night of Ramzan, a scene that soon turned into a bloodbath. An air strike hit the building where they were staying as women prepared the pre-fasting meal, killing 36 members of the family, survivors said on Saturday. The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza blamed Israel for the strike in Nuseirat.

Ukrainian strikes rock Russia as vote cements Putin’s grip on power

Ukrainian bombardments killed two persons and set an oil facility ablaze in Russia on March 16, officials said, on the second day of elections guaranteed to cement President Vladimir Putin’s rule. Presidential polls opened this week but voting has been marred by an uptick in fatal Ukrainian aerial attacks and a series of incursions into Russian territory by pro-Ukrainian sabotage groups.

Ashwin has moved the craft of spin bowling forward, says Dravid

Indian cricketer R. Ashwin was felicitated by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association in a glittering ceremony at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday for his feats of becoming the first Tamil Nadu cricketer to play 100 Tests and only the second Indian to go past 500 wickets in Test cricket.

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