Here are the top 5 news updates of January 22, 2021:
1. Congress likely to have a new president by June this year; internal elections slated to be held after state polls
Congress might have a new president by June this year. Reportedly, after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) met today to purportedly discuss the modalities related to much-awaited organisational elections, which are likely to be held around the end of May. The grand old party's internal elections will also include the much-discussed post of the Congress Party President. In the CWC meet today, chaired by the party interim president Sonia Gandhi, the party reportedly held discussions on a slew of issues related to the elections.
According to sources cited by news agency ANI, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal read out to Sonia Gandhi the schedule sent by the party's Central Election Authority, in which it was proposed that the elections should be held in May after the conclusion of the assembly polls. Other party members, including the leaders who wrote a letter earlier to the party interim president urging for organisational elections, endorsed the proposal.
The Centre told the Supreme Court today that no extra chance will be given to civil service aspirants affected by COVID-19. A Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar was informed by Additional Solicitor General SV Raju that no extra attempt for Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will be given to students who had their last attempt in October and for those who could not appear due to COVID-19.
SV Raju said, "Yesterday night, I received information from the government that it is not agreeable. I would want to put this on affidavit." The Bench asked Centre to file an affidavit about the stand taken by it and posted the matter for hearing on Monday. Earlier, the Court was informed that the proposal to give extra change to civil service aspirants affected by the COVID-19 is under active consideration by Government and UPSC.
Top officials from fire wings of three Maharashtra government agencies today launched a probe to ascertain the cause of the blaze that killed five workers at Serum Institute of India's premises in Pune. Heads of fire departments of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) are part of the joint probe team.
Five contractual labourers had died in the fire which broke out in a five-storeyed under-construction building in the Serum Institute of India's Manjari premises on Thursday. The fire damaged the top two floors of the building located in 'SEZ 3' area of the premises of the vaccine major. Meanwhile, police have registered an accidental death and burning incident case with the Hadapsar police station, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 5) Namrata Patil.
At least eight people were killed in a massive explosion in Shivamogga, the home district of Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa late Thursday night. The blast took place around 10 km from the town centre when a truck, laden with explosives, was going to a quarrying site.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Police has arrested the quarry owner and the dynamite supplier in connection with the blast at the crusher site, state Home Minister said today. "At the outset, it seems a lot of quantity of dynamite has exploded there and there has been some negligence by the quarry owner and the operators. Police have already arrested the quarry owner and the dynamite supplier. The probe is on," he said. Besides, the Chief Minister has ordered a high-level probe into the cause of the blast.
In yet another jolt for the TMC dispensation, ahead of the assembly polls, West Bengal forest minister Rajib Banerjee today quit the Mamata Banerjee cabinet. Banerjee, in a letter to the chief minister, said he was tendering his resignation as a cabinet minister, but did not cite any reason.
"It has been a great honour and privilege to serve the people of West Bengal. I heartily convey my gratitude for getting this opportunity," he said in the letter. The Domjur MLA, who had been airing his grievances against a section of ruling party leaders over the past few weeks, joins the string of TMC leaders and legislators who recently quit the Mamata Banerjee camp. Most of them, including his former cabinet colleague Suvendu Adhikari, have switched over to the BJP.
(With input from agencies)