|5 THINGS FIRST
President Murmu on a 3-day visit to Karnataka; Mathura court likely to hear Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi-Shahi Idgah case; Allahabad HC to hear plea against acquittal of 32 accused in Babri demolition case; Jupiter set to make its closest approach to Earth in 60 years; Nine-day Navratri festival starts from today
|1. In Rajasthan, turbulence brews in Pilot’s cockpit
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s loyalist MLAs were up in arms against the speculation that his successor could be Sachin Pilot, his one time deputy and bete noire who had rebelled against the top contender for the post of Congress party chief two years back along with 18 MLAs.
- All hell broke loose on Sunday after Gehlot hinted at passing the baton to Pilot, saying “that the new generation should get a chance.” The incumbent CM added that he had already conveyed “this to (the party) high command in August itself that the next election should be fought under a leadership so that the possibility of winning increases.”
- That set off a chain of events which saw Gehlot’s loyalists first gathering at the residence of Cabinet Minister Shanti Dhariwal on Sunday ahead of the legislature party’s meeting, asserting that the next CM, if the need arises, should be from among those MLAs who stood by Gehlot during the rebellion rather than from among those who rebelled.
- Later both Gehlot and Pilot loyalists trooped to the house of assembly Speaker C P Joshi and indulged in slogan shouting in favour of their respective leaders.
Why Pilot may not take off
- The fate of Pilot, or whoever else is chosen as Rajasthan’s CM, hinges on Gehlot winning the contest for the Congress party chief against Shashi Tharoor, the other Congress leader who’s also staking claim for leading the party. Should Gehlot lose, it remains to be seen if he will still give up his chief ministership.
- Pilot’s rebellion against Gehlot’s leadership in July 2020 had led to a month-long crisis in the state government that ended with Gehlot staying put as CM while Pilot was stripped of his posts as Deputy CM and the state PCC chief. Since then, the number of MLAs loyal to Pilot has remained more or less the same, with only Congress leaders from his constituency of Tonk speaking in his favour.
- The dilemma on who will Rajasthan’s next CM came about after Rahul Gandhi made it clear that anyone getting elected as party chief will have to follow the one-man-one post principle. Gehlot loyalists however are demanding that the one-man-one-post principle be done away with if Gehlot wins the contest to be the next party chief and let him continue as CM as well.
|2. A show of strength and a crucial meeting
In a major show of strength by the Opposition, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and other prominent opposition leaders on Sunday joined a mega rally held by the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and called for a new alliance that includes the Congress for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, stressing that a bipolar contest will ensure the BJP’s defeat.
Nitish meets Sonia
- Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and pitched for opposition unity. The meeting at 10 Janpath is considered very crucial as efforts are on to reconcile differences between the Congress and some regional parties that have been at loggerheads traditionally.
- This was Kumar’s first meeting with Gandhi since he severed ties with the BJP and joined hands with the RJD and the Congress to form the government in Bihar in August. This was also Lalu Prasad’s first active political engagement in a long time.
A mega Oppn rally
- Addressing the INLD rally in Fatehabad, Haryana, to mark former deputy prime minister Devi Lal’s birth anniversary, the Bihar CM and the JD(U) leader said there is “no question of a Third Front” and there should be one “main front” to trounce the BJP in the 2024 elections.
- The same sentiment was echoed by other leaders including Pawar, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant.
- INLD chief OP Chautala, Shiromani Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Singh Badal, Bihar deputy CM and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav were also present.
- The leaders attacked the BJP, accusing it of trying to create “Hindu-Muslim disturbances” to benefit politically and making false claims and promises.
- Pawar spoke at length on the plight of farmers who protested against the three farm laws and said the government has still not fulfilled their demand for minimum support price (MSP).
|3. PFI’s Gulf connections
- The Popular Front of India (PFI), which has been under the scanner for alleged terror links, has thousands of active members in the Gulf countries where it has allegedly raised substantial funds and sent them to India through hawala transactions, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has said.
- Not just donations: This is contrary to the claims made by PFI that most of the Rs 120 crore it had received came through petty cash donations in India, the anti-money laundering agency said.
- Modus operandi: The agency claims a newspaper acted as PFI’s mouthpiece both in India and the Gulf where the outfit had raised funds, misleading authorities back in India by creating fake donation receipts.
- Hawala route: The PFI office bearers, many of whom have been under detention, used a restaurant in Abu Dhabi as the den for all hawala transactions and their illegal transfer to India.
- The kingpin of all the major fund collections and alleged hawala dealings in the Gulf, is Ashraf MK, who was a member of the PFI Kerala state executive council and also served as the PFI president of Ernakulam, according to ED. Ashraf is also an accused in the Professor Joseph hand chopping case of 2010.
|4. After spat, Punjab governor and Mann kiss and make up
Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Sunday gave his consent to the state government headed by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to convene the assembly tomorrow, after earlier withdrawing his permission for a special session that was scheduled for September 22.
- Purohit’s consent comes a day after the state government relented and informed the governor about the details of the legislative business to be taken up during the session — which included issues like stubble-burning, goods and services tax and power supply.
- Earlier, the AAP government in the state had lambasted the governor for withholding his nod for the session, saying that the gubernatorial office could not make assent to holding an assembly session conditional on knowing the details of the legislative business first, especially after the council of ministers had decided to call for it.
What was the fight
- The governor had withdrawn permission for holding the earlier scheduled session after the government said it planned to have a special session to bring in a trust motion after alleging that the BJP was trying to poach its MLAs as part of “Operation Lotus”.
- Purohit however said the permission for the special session was withdrawn following a consultation with his legal advisors after the Congress and the BJP argued that as per rules, an assembly session could not be called only for a trust motion.
|6. North Korea ‘greets’ US Veep with a missile launch
- Just hours before US Vice President Kamala Harris’ plane touched down in Tokyo on Sunday — where she’s representing the US at the funeral of former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe — North Korea literally fired a warning shot by launching a ballistic missile off its east coast. Harris is also scheduled to visit Seoul later this week.
- The missile — the launch of which was not unexpected as South Korean media had reported that Pyongyang may launch a ballistic missile ahead of Harris’ visit — was a single, short range ballistic missile which was fired from near the Taechon area of North Pyongyan Province just before 7 am local time, according to the South Korean military. It flew 600 km at an altitude of 60 km at a speed of Mach 5, it added.
- According to the Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada, the missile reached maximum altitude at 50 km and may have flown on an irregular trajectory, falling outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. There were no reports of shipping or air traffic getting affected.
- The launch comes after the arrival of the nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in South Korea to participate in joint drills with South Korean forces for four days, starting today till September 29.
|7. Shivaji Park and Sena’s politics
When the Bombay High Court on Friday ruled that the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena can hold its Dussehra rally at the Shivaji Park ground in central Mumbai, Thackeray’s supporters erupted in joy. It was a symbolic victory for the Thackeray faction in the aftermath of Eknath Shinde’s (current CM) rebellion because the ground is closely associated with the party’s history.
Bal Thackeray’s legacy
- It was here that Sena founder Bal Thackeray held his first rally and addressed several Dussehra rallies thereafter.
- It was also the place where Bal Thackeray addressed his last rally virtually and urged his party workers to support his son Uddhav and grandson Aaditya, senior party leaders say. And when he died in November 2012, his cremation was held on the same ground.
The birth of a state
- The ground was first called Mahim Park. In 1927, the tercentenary year of iconic Maratha king Shivaji’s birth, it was renamed as Shivaji Park following popular demand.
- Since then, it has witnessed many landmark events in Maharashtra’s political history, including the Samyukta Maharashtra movement which led to the birth of the state in 1960.
- Sena workers call the ground `Shiva-tirtha’, a holy place, veteran Sena leader and MP Gajanan Kirtikar told PTI, noting that the memorial of freedom fighter and Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar too is located near the Park. Savarkar lived in a bungalow located in the same area.
First Sena CM
- When the Sena came to power in the state for the first time (in alliance with the BJP) in 1995, Manohar Joshi took oath as chief minister not at Raj Bhavan but at a grand ceremony at Shivaji Park.
- In 2019, Uddhav Thackeray was sworn in as chief minister at the same venue.
|8. Is a ‘cold war’ brewing between these two neighbours?
Days after the Taliban regime in Afghanistan rejected Pakistan’s claims about the presence of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar in the country, Islamabad has stopped short of calling its neighbour a terrorist hideout – this time at the United Nations.
Pak PM’s speech
- Addressing the UN General Assembly, Pakistan Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif expressed concerns over the presence of terrorist groups on Afghan soil.
- He highlighted the threat posed by the major terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan including ISIL-K, Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al-Qaeda among others. “They all need to be dealt with comprehensively, with the support and cooperation of the interim Afghan authorities,” Sharif was quoted as saying by Pakistani news portal Express Tribune.
Kabul hits back
- The Afghan foreign ministry issued a statement saying “these concerns are based on incorrect information and sources” and that the territory of Afghanistan will not be allowed to be used against any other country nor does any armed group currently have a presence in Afghanistan.
- It also said that Kabul will “directly share ground realities” with the global community if the country is given back its seat at the UN, which is yet to recognise the Taliban’s envoy to the world body.
- Pakistan has been blowing hot and cold about Afghanistan’s de facto rulers ever since their takeover last August. On one hand, Islamabad urges the global community to continue engaging with the Taliban, on the other it blames them for harbouring terrorists.
- Earlier this month, the Taliban foreign ministry, while rejecting Pakistan’s claim about JeM chief’s presence in the country, had said that such allegations can affect the relations between the two countries.
- It’s no secret that Pakistan is under pressure from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to take action against the UN-designated terrorists, including Azhar, in order to get out of its grey list.
|9. So, how much did the world’s second richest earn per day?
- Gautam Adani, whose net worth surpassed Jeff Bezos’ on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (BBI) to become the world’s second richest person, with a net worth of $142 billion, saw his wealth increase at the rate of Rs 1,612 crore everyday in 2021, according to the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2022.
- An unprecedented surge in Adani group stocks has seen Adani’s wealth shoot up by 116% in the last one year, which in absolute terms comes to over Rs 5.88 lakh crore. In fact, as per BBI, of Adani’s total net worth, almost 50% — $65.4 billion — of his wealth has been added this year itself, even though concerns abound that with Rs 1.88 lakh of gross debt, the group is deeply leveraged.
- This is the first time that Adani has topped the Hurun India Rich List, dethroning long term incumbent at the top spot, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, whose wealth increased by a relatively paltry 11% in the last one year. Ambani, who is currently placed 9th on the BBI, was worth six times Adani in 2012 and currently has a net worth of $85.2 billion, as per BBI.
|Answer to NEWS IN CLUES
Chandigarh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday that the city’s airport will be named after legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. The city, which serves as the capital of both Punjab and Haryana, was initially planned as the capital of Punjab and largely designed by Le Corbusier. Asia’s largest rose garden, the Zakir Hussain Rose Garden, spread over 30 acres, is also situated in this city.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Tejeesh Nippun Singh, Jayanta Kalita, Prabhash K Dutta
Research: Rajesh Sharma