QBullet: Encephalitis Toll 113; Om Birla NDA’s Speaker Nominee

1. Encephalitis Toll Hits 113, Nitish Kumar Faces Wrath of Kin

Simmering public anger over an outbreak of the Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar spilled over into the streets with protesters heckling chief minister Nitish Kumar outside a hospital as one of India’s poorest states struggled to fight the disease that killed 10 more children on Tuesday, taking the toll to 113.

Kumar, who has not visited the affected areas since the first death was reported on June 5, went to the Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur, where 91 children have died and 300 more are in treatment. But he was accosted by irate families who fumed that the chief minister allegedly found time to visit the hospital only after the toll crossed 100. Many shouted slogans of “Nitish go back” while others waved black flags.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: PIL Filed Against Nitish Kumar Following 109 Deaths in Muzaffarpur

2. Om Birla Is NDA’s Speaker Nominee: Grassroots Politician Who Rose Through Youth Ranks

Om Birla, 56, is a two-time Member of Parliament from Kota constituency in Rajasthan.

Two-term BJP MP from Rajasthan Om Birla was Tuesday named the NDA nominee for the Speaker’s post in Lok Sabha. Birla, 57, represents the Kota-Bundi constituency and was earlier elected to the Rajasthan assembly twice before he contested the LS polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is learnt to have proposed Birla’s name for the post. His election to the high office is certain given the commanding position of the ruling NDA in the House and the absence of any other candidate. Birla has the backing of not only NDA partners, including the AIADMK, but the YSR Congress Party and the Biju Janata Dal as well.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Who is Om Birla? Modi Loyalist, 2-Time Kota MP & Next LS Speaker

3. Jaish Militant Whose Van Was Used in Pulwama CRPF Convoy Attack Killed in Valley Gunbattle

Sajad Ahmad Bhat, owner of the Maruti Eeco used in the Pulwama terror attack, was killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Waghama area.

Security forces in the Valley notched a big success Tuesday when Jaish-e-Mohammad militant Sajad Maqbool Bhat, who owned the Maruti Eeco van that was used in the February 14 Pulwama attack which left 40 CRPF personnel dead, was killed along with another militant in an Anantnag village in South Kashmir.

An Army soldier also lost his life in the gunbattle which took place less than 24 hours after a Major and a militant were killed in a firefight in Anantnag district Monday.

Colonel Rajesh Kalia, Defence spokesman based in Srinagar, said: “Two terrorists eliminated today. One soldier martyred in the operation.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Grenade Hurled at Police Station in Pulwama, 7 Civilians Injured

4. Competitive Slogans Drown out Lok Sabha Oath-Taking

The second day of oath-taking by the newly elected members of the Lok Sabha saw heated exchanges and tit-for-tat slogan-shouting as some of the senior-most Opposition members, including Sonia Gandhi, Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav took oath, as MPs.

Shafiqur Rahman Barq, Samajwadi Party MP from Sambhal, objected to the Vande Mataram slogan and that immediately led to an uproar. Treasury Bench members demanded an apology from him.

When All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi came to take oath, he was greeted with chants of Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Vande Mataram.

Smiling at the ruling party MPs, the Hyderabad MP gestured for more chants as he walked up for his oath-taking. Ending his oath in Urdu, he chanted, “Jai Bheem, Jai Meem, Takbeer Allahu Akbar, Jai Hind.”

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Owaisi’s Allahu Akbar, TMC’s Jai Maa Kali: How MPs Replied to BJP

5. Many Opposition Leaders to Skip Modi’s ‘One Nation One Election’ Meeting

Leaders of many Opposition parties are likely to skip the meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss his “one nation, one election” proposal.

They include Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president MK Stalin, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar.

The issue was discussed at the first floor coordination meeting chaired by Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday evening.

Though Congress chief Rahul Gandhi attended the coordination meeting, he refused to answer whether he would take part in Modi’s meeting.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: One Nation One Poll: Mere Buzz or Solution to India’s Poll Frenzy?

6. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Is Congress’s Lok Sabha Leader

The Congress announced that senior lawmaker Adhir Chowdhury would be the party’s leader in Lok Sabha.

Former West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury will be the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha. His colleague K Suresh from Kerala will be designated as Chief Whip.

Though the Congress did not announce it officially, Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi was seen informing other Opposition leaders on the floor of the House, including Sudip Bandopadhyaya of the Trinamool.

The decision came after an early morning meeting of Congress MPs, at which president Rahul Gandhi was present. Though there were reports that Gandhi could lead the Congress in the Lok Sabha, he seemed to have turned down any such suggestion.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Congress Names Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as Its Leader in Lok Sabha 

7. 15 More Finance Ministry Officials Get Marching Orders Over Graft Charges

In another action aimed at cleaning up government service, President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday ordered the retirement of 15 senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.

This comes a week after the President ordered the retirement of 12 senior officials of the Finance Ministry for alleged corruption, extortion and sexual harassment.

While last week’s action was against officers of the Income Tax Department, Tuesday’s orders were against senior officers of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC).

(Source: The Hindu)

8. Monsoon Rainfall 43% Deficient, Likely to Pick up Pace This Week

Image used for representational purposes only.

There is a 43% deficiency in monsoon rainfall all over the country as of Monday, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD) scientists.

While this is partly because the monsoon arrived after a delay of seven days, on 8 June, severe cyclonic storm Vayu that started developing on 11 June disturbed the monsoon flow and affected its normal advancement, they said.

On Sunday, the monsoon had reached Mangaluru in Karnataka. But by now the monsoon should have progressed up to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and some parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, said K Sathi Devi, head of National Weather Forecasting Centre, Delhi.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: With No Monsoon Rains, Drought-Like Situation Grips Andhra Pradesh

9. Govt Rethink: Visas for Sportspersons From All Countries (Also Pakistan)

Clearing the way for sportspersons from Pakistan to compete in international events held in India, the government assured the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Tuesday that visas will be granted to participants from all countries “without prejudice”.

This allows the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to go ahead with its bids to host mega events, including the 2032 Olympics.

In February, India was on the verge of isolation after a three-member Pakistani team was refused visas for the shooting World Cup in Delhi.

(Source: The Indian Express)

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