Daily briefing: Security blanket for DDC polls in J&K; New rooms, tents with heating for troops on LAC as harsh winter sets in

From mainstream parties claiming that non-BJP candidates are not being allowed to campaign freely for DDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir to temporary accommodations for troops springing up just behind the LAC as the six-month-old military standoff in Ladakh enters winter, here are the top news today.

The Big Story 

With just nine days left for the District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu-Kashmir, mainstream parties are claiming that non-BJP candidates are not being allowed to campaign freely. Several candidates claimed they have been whisked away to “secure locations” soon after filing their nomination papers. 

The BJP and the National Conference may not see eye-to-eye in Kashmir, but the two parties don’t seem to be having any problem in sharing power in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil (LAHDCK). However, BJP claims the “Kashmir NC ” has nothing to do with that party’s unit in Kargil.

From the Front Page

Temporary accommodations for troops have sprung up just behind the Line of Actual Control as the six-month-old military standoff in Ladakh enters winter. They will be put up in heated tents and equipped with Extreme Climate Clothing and Equipment as temperatures in the region can dip to minus 30-40 degrees.

The Bansi Paharpur sandstone, coveted for its unique pink shade, was sourced as the exclusive material for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, where stockpiling began in 1989. With mining banned after 2016 and supply drying up due to seizures of illegally mined stones, the Rajasthan government has sought the Centre’s approval to resume mining.

A Delhi Police fact-finding committee formed to probe “negligence on part of local police” in connection with the violence inside Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on January 5, has given a clean chit to the force, it is learnt. At the time, questions were raised as to why police had remained outside the campus even as violence raged inside. 

Only in the Express

Rajiv Saxena, the key accused in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, floated a new company with his personal trainers, who he said were his close friends, as shareholders in an attempted cover-up after authorities opened a probe in the case. 

The Covid lockdown has set off sweeping economic distress in cities but its crucial dimension has remained untold: the silent, devastating toll on the working woman in the city suddenly out of work.

Must Read

During his telephone conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday night, US President-elect Joe Biden spoke about “strengthening democracy at home and abroad”, words that are being seen as referring implicitly to the current situation in India and in several other parts of the world.

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that Sudarshan TV’s Bindas Bol show breached the Programme Code, and that its episodes were “not in good taste, offensive and (had) a likelihood of promoting communal attitudes”. It added that the channel can air the remaining episodes subject to modifications.

ICYMI

The Bombay High Court allowed Telugu writer-poet Varavara Rao, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, to seek treatment at Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai for 15 days.

US pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced that their vaccine candidate indicates an efficacy rate of 95 per cent in volunteers without prior Covid-19 infection.

The deadlock between Punjab farmers and the Centre over the new farm laws continued on Wednesday, even after a five-hour meeting with state Cabinet ministers. 

THE ICMR has advised all state governments and health authorities to “avoid indiscriminate use” of plasma therapy considering that it is beneficial only in some specific cases.

A woman head constable has become the first Delhi Police personnel to get an ‘out-of-turn’ promotion for tracing more than 76 children in Delhi and other states.

And Finally…

Three 13th-century bronze idols —of Ram, Lakshman and Sita— will find their way back to a temple in Tamil Nadu after they were stolen more than 40 years ago. The idols recently repatriated from the UK to the Tamil Nadu government at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) headquarters in Delhi. 

Delhi confidential: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa’s short visit to the national capital on Wednesday seems to have almost finalised the imminent state Cabinet expansion and reshuffle. 

In today’s episode of the Three Things, we’re looking at what cases the Supreme Court hears, then the BJP’s push to grow in Tamil Nadu, and finally, Pfizer’s announcement on its COVID-19 vaccine.

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