Daily Briefing: Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa resigns; NHAI back to build-operate-transfer model

In this edition: Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa resigns; NHAI back to build-operate-transfer model; what words are “unfit for use” in Parliament?

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🔴 Disgraced Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa finally resigned on Thursday, hours after he flew to Singapore from the Maldives. The situation in the island country was largely peaceful yesterday, with protesters withdrawing from government premises they had occupied. The “GotaGoGama” protesters, however, have said they will not give up until their demands are met.

🔴So, what next? The Parliament Speaker is expected to make a formal statement on Rajapaksa’s resignation today. A new full-time president is expected to be announced next week.

🔴 And, what happens to Rajapaksa now? While it is unsure whether his final destination will be Singapore, we know it’s where he would feel at home. Read more on his strong connection from him to the city-state.

🔴 Meanwhile, in an opinion column, Mani Shankar Aiyar argues why the Sri Lanka collapse carries lessons for all South Asian governments. “Sri Lanka’s excellent record on human development is being dismantled because Mahinda gave up his initial prioritisation of people’s power through democratic institutions of self-government. It is a lesson for all South Asian governments, including our own, to learn,” he writes.

Only in the Express

After a two-year break, the Kanwar Yatra began Thursday. The Delhi Police has issued a list of instructions to the district police, including disallowing blacksmiths on the route as they eat “non-vegetarian food and leave the bones behind”; close monitoring of the movement of Kanwariyas through mixed religion areas; and a strict check on fake social media posts which may be a provocation for violence since Kanwariyas carry “trishuls, talwars, lathis, rods, hockey sticks, baseball bats and iron chains”, The Indian Express has learned.

From the Front Page

🔴 Ripudaman Singh Malik, an accused acquitted in the Air India bombing in 1985 which killed over 329 people, was shot dead in Canada’s British Columbia on Thursday morning, Canadian outlets reported.

🔴 The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a petition seeking a CBI probe into the torture and extrajudicial killings by the Chattisgarh police and Central forces during anti-Maoist operations in Dantewada in 2009. The court also imposed a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on the petitioner.

🔴Class 12 marks will be considered as a tiebreaker formula in case students with the same Common University Entrance Test (CUET) are competing for the same seat during the admissions, Delhi University Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh said.

🔴 The Center sent a high-level multi-disciplinary team to Kerala, after India’s first Monkeypox case was detected in Kollam district. The infection was diagnosed in a 35-year-old man who returned from the UAE last week.

Must Read

Karachi-based journalist Nusrat Mirza is generally described by the media fraternity in Pakistan as a “name dropper” and “self-projector”. Earlier this month, the scribe stirred up a controversy across the border when he alleged that he had visited India multiple times between 2007 and 2010 and had shared secret information with the ISI. Mirza alleged that he came to India on an invitation from then Vice President Hamid Ansari — an allegation that the ex-VP has outright denied. In Pakistan, Mirza is best known for peddling conspiracy theories about the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and the 2011 tsunami in Japan.

What can’t you say in Parliament? Ahead of the Monsoon session, a major row erupted over a 50-page compilation of words deemed unfit for use in Parliament, released by the Lok Sabha secretariat. While the Opposition alleged that the list a “gag order” meant to shield the Modi government, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla clarified that “no words had been banned”. He said that the decision to expunge words is the prerogative of the Chair. How was the list prepared? What are the rules? We explain.

After funding highway projects through public money for a better part of the last decade, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to return to funding through private investments. To begin with, the NHAI plans to offer at least two highway upgradation projects to private players using the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model during the current quarter. “We have funded road projects during the Covid period through public money and will continue to do so if required,” said a senior official. “e plan to see whether the private sector has an appetite for road projects or not and we plan to offer two projects during this quarter.”

And Finally

For Saina Nehwal, her non-selection for the Commonwealth Games was not about desperation to play at the Games: she has two gold medals from 2010 and 2018 editions. “It’s about the amount of disrespect shown to a player. It’s about your own people treating you like s*#@,” raging fellow CWG gold medalist (2014), coach and husband, Parupalli Kashyap soon after Nehwal ousted Chinese He Bingjiao, to make quarters of the Singapore Open.

🤫 Delhi Confidential: Both the BJP and the Congress are set to announce their next deputy leaders in the Rajya Sabha. Among the frontrunners to succeed BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi are Bhupender Yadav and Dharmendra Pradhan. Meanwhile, the Congress is spoiled for choices as many of its senior leaders are in the Upper House. The question is will the party appoint a deputy leader or keep the post vacant.

🎧 In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcastwe take a look at the events leading up to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation, an upcoming IT Act, and a cricket association spending 35 lakhs on bananas.

until tomorrow,

Rahel Philipose and Varsha Sriram

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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