External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that G20 has arrived at a consensus on many important issues, that has been adopted as a Chairs Summary and Outcome document. Speaking on the failure to issue a joint communiqué, Mr. Jaishankar said, “There was a large number of issues where there was agreement: multilateralism, food and energy security, climate change, gender issues, global health, terrorism. There was a considerable meeting of minds. If we had a perfect meeting of minds, we could have had a collective statement, but divergences on Ukraine did come in the way of that. “Despite differences on Ukraine, we all were able to reach consensus on other issues.”
Assembly elections | BJP coalition retains Tripura, Nagaland, to back NPP in Meghalaya
As the BJP and its alliance partner Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) crossed the majority mark by winning 37 seats in Nagaland, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 2 thanked the people of the state. PM Modi said that the double-engine government will keep working for the state’s progress. In Tripura, the BJP won 32 seats along with coalition partner Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, which won one seat, in the 60-member Tripura assembly, securing its return to power in the state for the second time in a row. The BJP will support Conrad Sangma’s National People’s Party in Meghalaya, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Left Front supported Congress candidate Bayron Biswas sprang a surprise on March 2 by defeating Trinamool Congress nominee Debasish Banerjee in the by-election for Sagardighi Assembly constituency in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district by a margin of 22,986 votes. The bypoll results are significant not only because the Congress party will have a representative in the State Assembly but also because Trinamool Congress lost in a constituency where it had registered three consecutive victories since 2011.
Stating that people had recognised Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s government as he had fulfilled 80% of the DMK’s poll promises, Congress candidate E.V.K.S. Elangovan credited Mr. Stalin for his victory in the Erode (East) Assembly by-election. At the end of the sixth round of counting as of 3 p.m., Mr. Elangovan secured 46,072 votes, K. S. Thennarasu of the AIADMK 16,906 and Menaka Navaneethan of Naam Tamilar Katchi, 4,062. Polling for the constituency was held on February 27. Addressing media persons in Erode on Thursday, Mr. Elangovan said that the victory shows the love, affection and support that people of the State felt towards the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA), particularly Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
In a major upset for the ruling BJP, the Congress’ Ravindra Dhangekar — the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidate for the Kasba Peth Assembly segment — registered a thumping victory over the BJP’s Hemant Rasane on March 2. Mr. Dhangekar, a former five-time corporator, pulled off a thumping win in the BJP’s citadel of Kasba Peth, defeating Mr. Rasane by over 11,000 votes. Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar said Mr. Dhangekar’s victory sent out a message “if the three parties fight together and the seat sharing is done properly, then nothing can stop the MVA from gaining success in future elections in Maharashtra”.
BJP-backed AJSU candidate Sunita Choudhary defeated Congress candidate Bajrang Mahto in the Ramgarh seat bypoll in Jharkhand. The bypoll was necessitated after the disqualification of Congress legislator Mamta Devi, following her conviction in a criminal case. On the day of the bypoll, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had said that the people of Ramgarh were participating in the polls to strengthen democracy and defeat money power in the elections. AJSU Party Chief Sudesh Mahto had urged electors to cast their votes in the interest of the State.
A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on March 2 directed in a landmark judgment that Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President on the advice tendered by a committee of Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the leader of the single largest party in opposition and the Chief Justice of India. The court said “fierce independence, neutrality and honesty” envisaged in the institution of the Election Commission of India requires an end to government monopoly and “exclusive control” over appointments to the highest poll body.
The Supreme Court on March 2 formed a five-member expert committee headed by former apex court judge, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, to investigate the causal factors and existence, if any, of regulatory failure which led to investors losing crores due to the volatility in the securities market following Hindenburg Research’s report accusing the Adani Group of manipulation of share prices and account fraud. The committee includes former chairman of the State Bank of India O.P. Bhatt, retired Bombay High Court judge Justice J.P. Devadhar, former chief of the New Development Bank of BRIC countries K.V. Kamath, co-founder of Infosys Nandan Nilekani and securities expert and lawyer Somasekhar Sundaresan. The expert committee was requested to submit its report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover expeditiously within two months.
The Telangana Government has taken legal recourse for remedying its grievance against the inordinate delays in clearance of the important Bills passed by the two Houses of the State Legislature by the Governor. The government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court claiming that it is constrained to move before the court under its extraordinary jurisdiction conferred under Article 32 of the Constitution of India in view of “a very prequent constitutional impasse created on account of the refusal of the Governor to act on several bills passed by the State Legislature”. These Bills are pending since September 14, 2022 till date for the assent of the Governor”, the Government said in its petition for which the Governor has been made a respondent.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni who began a two-day visit to India to raise bilateral relations as part of the G20 Foreign Minister’s meeting in New Delhi on March 2. Welcoming Italy’s participation in the Indo-Pacific, Mr. Modi said, “It is a matter of great pleasure that Italy has decided to join the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative. This will enable us to identify concrete themes for enhancing our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. We have a people-to-people connect (sic) between India and Italy. We look forward to deepening and strengthening it more. We are in the talks for Mobility and Migration between the two nations. Once the mutual settlements come into being, it will usher in the new era of mutual cooperation in many fields, especially education”.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met briefly on March 2 at a meeting of top diplomats from the Group of 20 nations in the first high-level meeting in months between the two countries. U.S. officials said Mr. Blinken and Mr. Lavrov chatted for roughly 10 minutes on the sidelines of the G-20 conference in New Delhi. The short encounter came as relations between Washington and Moscow have plummeted while tensions over Russia’s war with Ukraine have soared.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on March 2, said that Russia has not received any serious proposal regarding the Ukraine conflict from the West since last year and that the western countries continue to demand sacrifice from the Ukrainians. Talking about U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Central Asian countries before reaching Delhi, Mr. Lavrov said that Russia has never opposed any country’s developing relationship. “We are trying to tell them (Central Asian countries), be on the winning side,” he said.
The British Navy seized anti-tank missiles and fins for ballistic missile assemblies during a raid on a small boat heading from Iran likely to Yemen, authorities said on March 2, the latest such seizure in the Gulf of Oman. The seizure by the Royal Navy comes after other seizures by French and U.S. forces in the region as Western powers increase their pressure on Iran, as it now enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels. It also comes as regional and international powers try to find an end to the years-long war gripping Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, and as Iran arms Russia in its war on Ukraine.
Nathan Lyon grabbed eight wickets as India were bundled for 163 in 60.3 overs in the second innings on day two of the third Test against Australia on March 2. The hosts are staring at a big defeat as Steve Smith’s side has been set a target of just 76 runs to win the Test and secure a place in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. Lyon spun a web around India batters, returning figures of 23.3-1-64-8. Cheteshwar Pujara batted resolutely but fell after making 59 runs. The veteran batter’s departure, with Smith taking a blinder of a catch at leg slip off the bowling of Lyon, virtually ended India’s resistance.