Your Daily Wrap: Decoding Rajya Sabha poll results, US gun control bill; and more

◾ The elections for 16 vacant seats — 6 in Maharashtra, 4 each in Karnataka and Rajasthan and 2 in Haryana — were held yesterday. In nail-biting contests that went down to the wire, the BJP won a seat each in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Haryana above its strength in the Assemblies of these states, but faced a setback in Rajasthan. With Friday’s victories, the party’s MP count in the Rajya Sabha will go up to 95. Its strength can go higher again when the President nominates fresh members.

◾ The Congress’s failure to ensure a Rajya Sabha berth for its nominee Ajay Maken in Haryana has left the state as well as the central party leadership red-faced. Maken lost at the hands of the media baron and BJP-JJP backed Independent candidate, Kartikeya Sharma, in a night-long cliffhanger on account of two Congress MLAs, Kuldeep Bishnoi and Kiran Choudhry. While Bishnoi did not vote for the party’s candidate, Choudhry sank Maken by “wrongly casting her ballot paper”, according to party sources. In the evening, Congress president Sonia Gandhi expelled Bishnoi from all party positions.

◾ After the Rajya Sabha elections, all eyes are on the Presidential polls to be held on 18 July. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called a meeting of Opposition leaders on June 15 to discuss strategies keeping the election in mind. According to Trinamool Congress sources, Banerjee has shot off a letter to the major Opposition parties, including Left parties, and all non-BJP Chief Ministers of the country.

◾ A day after protests erupted in various parts of the country over derogatory references to the Prophet made by former BJP spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal, Mamata Banerjee said some political parties want to engineer riots and asked why the people should suffer for the BJP’s “sins”. Her remarks came after Howrah too witnessed clashes and police imposed Section 144 of CrPC in several areas of the district. Meanwhile, two people died of bullet injuries in Jharkhand’s Ranchi, where the police fired in the air to disperse a crowd pelting stones. The protests also turned violent in UP’s Prayagraj, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath warning of strictest action against those attempting to vitiate the atmosphere.

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◾ The Texas school shooting has once again raised questions about the gun laws in the US. In #ExpressResearch, a look at the Second Amendment and the long history of gun laws in the US.

◾ In world news today: The price of US gasoline averaged more than $5 a gallon for the first time on Saturday, extending a surge in fuel costs that is driving rising inflation.

Political Pulse

◾ The BJP in Karnataka bagged three of the four Rajya Sabha seats that were at stake in the elections on Friday after the Congress and its former ally Janata Dal (Secular) could not come to an understanding, leading to cross-voting by two JD(S) legislators. While S R Srinivas voted for Lahar Singh Siroya, ensuring his victory as the third BJP candidate, K Srinivasa Gowda reportedly voted for the Congress’s second candidate Mansoor Ali Khan, the son of former Congress Rajya Sabha member K Rahman Khan. Read Johnson TA’s report on the two JD(S) MLAs who did not follow their party’s strategy.

◾ Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) seems to have been marginalised by its senior partners, the BJP and the JD(U), in the ruling National Democratic Alliance in Bihar. After all three Vikassheel Insaan Party MLAs defected to the BJP in March, the HAM(S) also lost its bargaining power within the NDA. The HAM (S) accounts for four MLAs, including Manjhi, in the 243-member state Assembly. In the 2020 Assembly polls, the NDA had left seven seats for the party to contest. In the upcoming MLC polls, the BJP and the JD(U) have fielded two candidates each, leaving nothing for the HAM(S).

Express Explained

◾ Pop sensation Justin Bieber Friday revealed that a viral disease has temporarily paralysed one side of his face. Speaking about the reason behind the recent cancellations of his shows, Bieber said he has developed a rare condition called the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. What is the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, how is it diagnosed and treated? The Indian Express explains.

◾ The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation on June 7 released a new policy on air sports in India. Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the policy aims to “organise a previously unregulated sector” and could potentially generate annual revenue of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 crore in the near future. What does the National Air Sport Policy propose and what impact is the policy expected to have? Read here.

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