Morning Digest | Election Commissioner Arun Goel resigns ahead of polls; PM to inaugurate projects worth over ₹42,000 crore in U.P., and more

Here is a select list of stories to start the day

March 10, 2024 06:51 am | Updated 06:51 am IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the Kashi Vishwanath temple, in Varanasi, on March 9, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the Kashi Vishwanath temple, in Varanasi, on March 9, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Election Commissioner Arun Goel resigns as Lok Sabha polls approach

Days ahead of the announcement of the schedule for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Election Commissioner Arun Goel resigned on March 9. Mr. Goel’s tenure was till 2027. With his resignation, the Election Commission has been rendered with just one member — Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. His resignation comes at a crucial time just days ahead of the expected announcement of schedule for the Lok Sabha election.

PM Modi arrives in Varanasi, takes out roadshow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a rousing welcome in his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, with thousands of BJP leaders and supporters flooding the roads of the town. Mr. Modi is slated to participate in a public programme on March 10 in Azamgarh where he will inaugurate and lay foundation stones for multiple development projects worth over ₹42,000 crore in Uttar Pradesh. He will disburse the first instalment under the Mahatari Vandana Yojana in Chhattisgarh via video conferencing from Varanasi.

Krystyna Pyszkova from Czech Republic crowned Miss World 2024

Czech Republic’s Krystyna Pyszkova won the coveted Miss World 2024 title at a grand event in Mumbai. Pyszkova is the second Miss World from Czech Republic after 2006 pageant winner Tatana Kucharova. Mumbai-born Shetty, who was crowned Femina Miss India World in 2022, was unable to make it to the top 4 of the contest. The 71st Miss World pageant, which witnessed participation of contestants from 112 countries of the world, was held at the Jio World Convention Centre in BKC.

Congress compromised border security: PM Modi in Arunachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 9 slammed the Congress for ignoring the border villages in Arunachal Pradesh for six decades because it did not find the frontier State worth investing in. Ahead of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the State, he said the grand old party allegedly indulged in corruption and compromising on the country’s border security for 60 years.

Centre to take all measures to contain food prices: Goyal

The Centre will pull all stops to ensure prices of essential food items from onion to tomatoes to pulses do not spike particularly during the elections, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said as he cited the Modi government's track record of controlling rates within days of any temporary hike. He highlighted that the government has spent in the last few years about ₹28,000 crore to the price stabilisation fund to support the effort to fight against food inflation.

Fire power demonstration ‘Bharat Shakti’ to showcase indigenous weapon systems, ‘jointness’

A fire power demonstration ‘Exercise Bharat Shakti’ will be held on March 12 at the Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan to demonstrate the “prowess” of indigenously manufactured defence equipment of the three Services, the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, with particular focus on “jointness” and synergy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to witness the demonstration.

Electoral bonds | SBI plea seeking time till June 30 is condemnable: P Chidambaram

Senior Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday, March 9, 2024, strongly condemned State Bank of India’s plea seeking time till June 30 to comply with a Supreme Court direction, to make public, the details of electoral bonds purchased since April 2019. These details, Mr. Chidambaram said, could be compiled in a day. The Central government does not want the details to come out before the elections, he alleged.

Kerala CM orders CBI probe into Sidharthan’s death after meeting his family

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry into the suspected death by suicide of J.S. Sidharthan, a second-year student of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Husbandry University at Pookode in Wayanad in mid-February. The student’s death had rocked State politics with Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, the Congress and also the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleging that the Student Federation of India (SFI) activists in the college had tortured, shamed and put Sidharthan on public trial for some perceived campus demeanor, and left him to starve in his room for days before fellow hostelers found the student dead in a shared shower room in the college’s boarding house.

BJP discusses seat sharing pact for Maharashtra with Sena, NCP

Union Home Minister Amit Shah held discussions for seat sharing in Maharashtra for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with coalition partners Shiv Sena chief Eknath Shinde and NCP. Mr. Shinde and Mr. Pawar — Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra — held talks with Mr. Shah in New Delhi late Friday. Senior BJP leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was also present in the meeting. Mr. Shinde-led Shiv Sena, Mr. Pawar-led NCP and the BJP will contest the Lok Sabha elections in alliance in Maharashtra which sends 48 members to the lower house of Parliament.

Children fall to hunger in Gaza as Israeli siege cuts off supplies

Officials have been warning for months that Israel’s siege and offensive were pushing the Palestinian territory into famine. Hunger is most acute in northern Gaza, which has been isolated by Israeli forces and has suffered long cutoffs of food supplies. At least 20 people have died from malnutrition and dehydration at the north’s Kamal Adwan and Shifa hospitals, according to the Health Ministry. Most of the dead are children. Particularly vulnerable children are also beginning to succumb in the south, where access to aid is more regular.

Former Union Minister Suresh Pachouri, other M.P. Congress leaders quit to join BJP

Former Union Minister Suresh Pachouri, along with other Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh, switched loyalties to the BJP on Saturday, dealing the Congress a major blow ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Those who quit the Congress and joined the BJP include: Gajendra Singh Rajukhedi, the former Lok Sabha MP from Dhar; former MLAs Sanjay Shukla of Indore-1; Vishal Patel of Indore’s Depalpur; and Arjun Paliya of Narmadapuram’s Pipariya constituency.  The development comes at a time when the Congress is deliberating on its candidate selection for the Lok Sabha election.

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