Your Daily Wrap: BJP calls Delhi CM ‘kingpin’ of ‘liquor scam’; J&K admin issues clarification amid voter number row; and more

A day after the CBI’s raids at his residence, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is facing allegations of corruption in the rollout of a liquor policy recently withdrawn by the Delhi government, repeatedly hinted that he may get arrested in the coming days. He said he was not “scared” and claimed that the searches were not aimed at eliminating corruption but were meant to be a deterrent to the rise of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sisodia said the 2024 Lok Sabha elections will be a contest between Kejriwal and Modi.

After Sisodia’s press conference, Union Minister Anurag Thakur termed Kejriwal the “kingpin” of the “liquor scam”. “Corruption could be seen from Delhi to Punjab. This is the government of revdi (freebies) and bewde (drunkards). The country has seen the face of accused number one Sisodia ji and kingpin Kejriwal ji,” he said.

After political parties in Jammu and Kashmir expressed concern over the large number of new voters expected to be added to the electoral rolls after the summary revision that is currently underway, the administration Saturday issued a notification saying “media reports” of more than 25 lakh voters being added were a “misrepresentation of facts”. The notification went on to add that the special summary revision of J&K state in 2011 had put voters at 66,00,921, while the number of electors as on today (pre-roll revision) was 76,02,397. It was Chief Electoral Officer of J&K and Ladakh Hirdesh Kumar who, during a press meeting, said that they expected an addition of nearly 25 lakh voters in the ongoing special summary revision. The statement had led to an uproar among Kashmir-based political parties over “voters from outside J&K” exercising their franchise whenever elections were held in the UT.

The Mumbai Police Friday night received a threat message from a Pakistani number that gave a warning of a terrorist attack on the lines of the 26/11 Mumbai attack. The messages that were sent to Mumbai traffic police’s helpline number were sent from a Pakistani number, police said. Even though the Mumbai police have ruled out the potential threat of attack, they have now begun an investigation on the matter and are trying to trace the sender.

For the second time, a show by stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui has been cancelled in Bengaluru. The cancellation came after a Hindutva outfit petitioned city police commissioner C H Pratap Reddy alleging that Faruqui had hurt Hindu sentiments in his shows by making insulting remarks about Lord Ram and goddess Sita. Deputy commissioner of police (south) P Krishnakanth, however, said the show was cancelled at the last minute on Friday as the organisers had not sought permission. This was the second time in less than a year that Faruqui’s show had been cancelled in the Karnataka capital.

The Sports Ministry on Saturday informed the Gokulam Kerala FC to return from Uzbekistan as they won’t be able to participate in the AFC Women’s Club Championship due to AIFF’s suspension. The world football governing body FIFA had suspended India for “undue influence from third parties” and said the U-17 Women’s World Cup “cannot currently be held in India as planned”. The women’s team was scheduled to compete against a team from Iran on August 23 and one from the host nation on August 26 in Qarshi, while ATK Mohun Bagan is slated to play the AFC Cup 2022 (Inter-Zone semifinals) on September 7 in Bahrain.

Political Pulse

A passing remark that Karnataka Transport Minister B Sreeramulu made a couple of days ago, that he is not opposed to seeing Congress leader Siddaramaiah as chief minister of Karnataka, has resulted in some amount of hair-splitting over the political context and purpose of the statement. The statement has seen different interpretations in political circles, which are at an edge over the coming Assembly elections. Congress leaders argued that Sreeramulu was trying to regain prominence in the BJP, where he has lost clout since the 2018 state polls; others viewed it as a sign of the growing weakness of the BJP in Karnataka with no leader in control of the party. Johnson T A reports.

As the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar draws fire from the BJP over the induction of RJD MLC Kartik Kumar alias Kartikeya Singh as the law minister, who has been facing an arrest warrant in a 2014 kidnapping case, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav has said that the government “would go by what the court would say, not by the media perception”. Kartikeya Singh is, however, not the only minister of the new Bihar government against whom a criminal case has been pending. Among a slew of such ministers, a look at some of them who have been facing serious criminal charges.

Express Explained

Spurred by the decline in revenue collections, the Japanese government is inviting its youngsters to come up with ways to promote liquor consumption in the country. In a competition, ‘Sake Viva’, culminating in November, the National Tax Agency of Japan has invited people to submit business plans to promote Japanese alcoholic beverages such as sake, shochu, awamori, beer and more. While the initiative generated a buzz online, it also raised ethical questions about promoting an unhealthy habit. Why does Japan feel the need to promote alcohol, and what concerns has this raised? We explain.

India’s first electric double-decker bus was launched in Mumbai by BEST on August 18, marking the latest in the history of the iconic public transport vehicle that came to India about a century ago. Double-decker buses, some of which were painted red to resemble the kind that dots the landscape of London, were seen on the streets of many major Indian cities, but they eventually lost their shine. With their new avatar in Mumbai, we explain how the buses drove in and were eventually phased out in Kolkata, Vadodara and Ahmedabad.

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