Your Daily Wrap: Soorarai Pottru wins big at 68th National Film Awards, Lok Sabha passes the Indian Antarctic Bill; and more

A day after the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC (Trinamool Congress) announced its decision to abstain from voting in the Vice-Presidential poll, Opposition nominee Margaret Alva termed the party’s decision “disappointing”. “ This isn’t the time for ‘whataboutery’, ego or anger. This is the time for courage, leadership & unity,” Alva tweeted. On Thursday, the TMC said it will not vote for NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar but could not support Alva either, as the party had “not been consulted” on her candidature. The TMC’s decision has, however, created a flutter within the party. With both the CPI(M) and the Congress alleging that the TMC and the BJP have a tacit understanding regarding the presidential and vice-presidential polls, some TMC leaders are worried about the impact of the move on the party’s minority vote bank.

In Delhi, Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal hit out at the BJP after Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena called for a CBI probe into the AAP government’s Delhi Excise Policy. Saxena also Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia of procedural lapses. Accusing the LG of making “false allegations”, Kejriwal said, “you arrested Satyendra Jain, who was working in the health sector, and now want to put Sisodia, who is making careers and lives of lakhs of children in Delhi, in jail.” “I’ve known Sisodia for 22 years and I have never seen anyone as honest or as much of a deshbhakt as him,” Kejriwal added.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) announced results for Class 10 and Class 12 today. While the nationwide pass percentage in the Class 10 examinations is lower this year than the previous year, a greater number of students have scored over 90 per cent and 95 per cent. Even for Class 12, th epass percentage was lower compared to last year. With 100 marks in all five of her papers, Yuvakshi Vig from Noida achieved a perfect score of 500/500 in her Class 12 exams.

The  Lok Sabha today passed the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022, which seeks to extend the application of domestic laws to research stations set up by India in the Antarctic region. The Bill seeks to extend the application of domestic laws to research stations set up by India in the Antarctic region. India has two active research stations in the Antarctic — Maitri and Bharti — where scientists are involved in research. It also seeks to constitute a fund for the welfare of Antarctic research work and protection of the environment of the continent.

The winners of the 68th National Film Awards were announced today in New Delhi. Established in 1954, the prestigious awards are administered by the Government of India’s Directorate of Film Festivals. Because of Covid-19-related delays, this year’s ceremony honoured films from 2020, across several categories.   Tamil film Soorarai Pottru, and the big-screen Hindi period epic Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior won big. Here’s the full list of winners.

And now it’s time for Friday reviews. This week we reviewed Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera, Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Dhanush’s The Gray Man, Rajat Kapoor’s RK/RKAY, SonyLIV’s Dr Arora – Gupt Rog Visheshagya.

Political Pulse

In the movies, adversaries used to tremble and take to their heels when Sunny Deol unleashed his “dhai kilo ka haath”. But the actor-turned-BJP MP has pulled a vanishing act on his constituents in Punjab’s Gurdaspur for almost two years now and this has not gone down well with either his party or his political opponents. Deol has not visited Gurdaspur since September 2020 and the last time he tweeted about any political activity was on March 31. Party leaders “hope that Deol’s political career will end like his father Dharmendra’s and he will not return to claim a ticket in 2024.” Read Kamaldeep Singh Brar’s report.

A severe transportation crisis in Lakshadweep has spiralled into protests and mass arrests by the administration, feeding into existing resentment against the Union territory administration led by Praful Khodabhai Patel. On Thursday, following controversy over the arrests, the administration issued a statement saying these had primarily been carried out on account of violation of prohibitory orders, and to ensure peace. The protests stem from a gradual easing out of ships running between the islands and mainland over the past couple of years, leading to a fall in their number from seven to two.  Arun Janardhanan reports.

Express Explained

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed budget carrier Akasa Air will launch its maiden commercial flight on August 7. The airline will fly from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Kochi with two Boeing 737 Max aircraft to begin with, and is expected to add more routes as it inducts more capacity. What are Akasa Air’s offerings? What are its future plans? Read here.

Three quarters of a century ago on this day, July 22, in 1947, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the National Flag. It was a red-letter day in our history, and on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in “recall[ing] the monumental courage and efforts of all those who dreamt of a flag for free India when we were fighting colonial rule”. What happened in the Constituent Assembly on July 22, 1947? What did Nehru say in his speech while moving the Resolution? And what did he say about the Flag that India was about to adopt? We explain.

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