Here are the top 5 news of December 18, 2020:
1. Exodus in Mamata Banerjee's TMC: Three MLAs quit party in two days
A day after Trinamool Congress heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari resigned just hours before Jitendra Tiwari from the party, the trend continued today as another legislator from Mamata Banerjee's party from Barrackpore assembly constituency, Shilbhadra Dutta, too called it quits.
Dutta sent his resignation letter to Trinamool supremo. "I am tendering my resignation as a member of All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), as well as from all other positions held by me in the party and its associate organisations with immediate effect," he wrote in the letter.
The Barrackpore MLA was the third lawmaker to resign from the party in past 24 hours.
Dutta said that he is thankful for all the opportunities that have been afforded to him. "I will always value my time spent spent as member of the party. Thus I request you to accept my resignation and oblige," he said.
2. PM Modi bats for new farm laws, hits out at opposition
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the new farm laws brought by his government have not come overnight, but were long overdue and insisted that the existing regime of support price for farm produce will continue.
Political parties, agriculture experts and progressive farmers demanded such agri reforms for long, he said and attacked the opposition for misleading cultivators on the issue of MSP (minimum support price) and APMCs.
Opposition parties, when in power, sat over the Swaminathan committee report for years, but the BJP-led government implemented its recommendations in the interest of farmers, said the PM as the ongoing protests entered the 23rd day.
The new agriculture laws have not come overnight but political parties, agriculture experts and progressive farmers have demanded them for a long time, Modi said in a virtual address to the farmers of Madhya Pradesh.
3. Maharashtra's world-class sports university to start in 2021 in Pune
In a significant step, the Maharashtra government will set up its first world-class international sports university in Pune and it will be functional from the next academic year, 2021-2022, Maharashtra Sports Minister Sunil Kedar said today.
The university will bring together the faculties of various sports and games, besides research, training and development to produce national and international-level sportspersons in various disciplines, the minister said.
Kedar said that the sprawling Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex (SCSC) in Balewadi, Pune, would be upgraded to the status of a full-fledged university with initial funding of Rs.400-crore, as announced in the budget.
4. SC issues show-cause notices to Kunal Kamra, Rachita Taneja on pleas seeking contempt proceedings against them
The Supreme Court today issued show-cause notices to stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra and cartoonist Rachita Taneja for their alleged scandalous tweets against the apex court.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R S Reddy and M R Shah sought response from both in six weeks on the notices issued in two separate cases. It, however, exempted them from personal appearances in the cases.
Attorney General K K Venugopal had granted consent for initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against Kamra, saying the comedian's tweets were in "bad taste" and it was time that people understand that attacking the apex court brazenly would attract punishment.
The attorney general had also given consent to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against Taneja, stating that the caricatures posted by her on social media were intended to denigrate the Supreme Court and lower its authority in the eyes of the public.
5. Karan Johar replies to NCB notice on viral video, says 'no drug consumed at party'
Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar, in his response to the notice issued by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), has claimed that no drug was consumed during a party at his house last year, an official said today.
The anti-drugs agency had issued the notice to Johar over a viral video allegedly showing drugs being consumed at a party hosted at his residence, the official said.
Johar was asked to give details of the party. Accordingly, the NCB today received a reply from him to the notice," he said.
"In the reply, Johar maintained that no drug was consumed at the party," the official added.
Earlier, the NCB had received a complaint regarding the video of a party, which was attended by top Bollywood stars last year which included Vicky Kaushal, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Arjun Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Zoya Akhtar, Ayan Mukerji, Mira Rajput, and Shakun Batra, among others.
(With input from agencies)