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Live: 24 women in Congress' fourth list of 61 candidates in Uttar Pradesh

Live news: Kerala is in lockdown today for slowing down Covid-19; IndusInd Bank's consolidated net profit jumps 50% to Rs 1,242 crore in the third quarter.

Image BS Web Team New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi | Photo: ANI

Live news updates: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will at 3pm chair an all-party meeting before Parliament meets Monday for its Budget session. Floor leaders of all political parties will attend the customary meeting.

At 5pm, Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu will hold a virtual meeting of House leaders. Opposition parties have said they would raise in Parliament the New York Times' report that the Indian government bought Pegasus spyware as part of a $2 billion defence deal with Israel in 2017. Opposition protests pressing the government to explain if it had used the spyware held up Parliament’s Winter Session last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on Mann Ki Baat, his monthly radio show addressing national issues. India must get rid of corruption "like termite", he said on the 85th edition of the show and the first this year.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1 will probably increase the Union Budget by about 14% year-on-year to 39.6 trillion rupees ($527 billion) in the fiscal year beginning April, according to the median of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Sitharaman is expected to leave tax rates largely unchanged, and instead rely on income from asset sales and a near-record borrowing of about 13 trillion rupees to partly fund the plan, the survey showed.

India reported 234,281 new cases of Covid-19 and 893 deaths from the disease in the last 24 hours, said the health ministry on Sunday. The positivity rate increased from 13.3 per cent % to 14.50 per cent on Saturday.

9:26 PM

Tamil Nadu adds 22,238 fresh infections, 38 deaths

Tamil Nadu on Sunday added 22,238 infections, including a returnee from the United Arab Emirates, pushing the tally to 33,25,940 while 38 more fatalities took the death toll to 37,544, the Health department said.
 
Recoveries outnumbered new cases with 26,624 people getting discharged in the last 24 hours, aggregating to 30,84,470 leaving 2,03,926 active infections, a medical bulletin said.
 
Chennai, among districts, accounted for the majority of new coronavirus infections with 3,998 fresh cases. The State capital was followed by Coimbatore with 2,865 cases, followed by Chengalpet 1,534, Tiruppur 1,497, Salem 1,181, Erode 1,127.
 
A total of 1,36,952 samples were tested in the last 24 hours, pushing the cumulative number of specimens examined to 6,16,24,216, the bulletin said.
8:24 PM

Mumbai reports 1,160 new Covid cases, 10 deaths in last 24 hrs

As many as 1,160 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Mumbai during the last 24 hours, said a health bulletin by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai on Sunday. With this, the total count of cases of the disease in Mumbai has gone up to 10,45,630.
 
In Mumbai, 160 patients were hospitalised during the last 24 hours. Currently, with 37,573 beds out of a total of 2,268 being occupied by the patients, the bed occupancy rate is 6.0 per cent.
 
According to the state health department, Mumbai currently has 10,797 active cases of COVID-19. Ten people lost their lives to the deadly virus during the last 24 hours. The current death toll in Mumbai due to the virus currently stands at 16,612.
8:05 PM

Congress to launch booklet highlighting rising prices under BJP govt

The Congress on Monday will highlight the issue of rising prices and will launch a 'BJP brought inflation' booklet in poll-bound states.
 
The Congress will organise a series of press conferences underlining the problems faced by the people due to inflation and hold the central government responsible for it.
 
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala will hold a press conference in Lucknow, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in Chandigarh and former Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan in Goa.
7:44 PM

Goa Polls: Amit Shah holds door-to-door campaign in Sanvordem town

Ahead of Goa Assembly Elections, Union Home Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah held a door-to-door campaign in the Sanvordem town. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, BJP State President Sadanand Shet Tanavade, and the BJP candidate Ganesh Gaonkarwas were also present with him.
 
Prior to this campaign, Shah who is on a day visit to poll-bound Goa today also addressed a public meeting in the Ponda city and offered prayers at Sai Baba temple in Borim town.
 
BJP has fielded its candidates on all 40 seats in the state assembly. Goa will go to the assembly polls on February 14. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.
7:37 PM

Kerala records 51,570 new Covid cases

COVID-19 cases in Kerala continued to rise with the southern state reporting 51,570 new infections on Sunday taking the total number of affected people to 59,83,515.
 
The state has reported 14 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours taking the death toll to 53,666, the state health department said.
 
The state has tested 1,03,366 samples in the last 24 hours, a release issued by the health department said.
 
On Saturday, Kerala had reported 50,812 cases. On January 25, Kerala had registered 55,475 cases, the highest ever single-day spike in the infection count since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.
7:31 PM

EC to review on Monday ban on physical rallies

The Election Commission will meet on Monday to assess the COVID-19 situation in the five poll-going states and decide on whether to continue the ban on physical rallies. The Commission may also decide on whether fresh relaxations can be extended to political parties and candidates in holding physical campaigning events.
 
Citing the rise in COVID-19 cases, the poll panel had imposed a ban on physical rallies and roadshows when it announced the poll schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur on January 8.
 
During its last meeting on January 22, it had extended the ban on physical rallies and roadshows till January 31 in the five states but had allowed public meetings with a maximum of 500 people in the constituencies going to polls in the first two phases and relaxed door-to-door campaign rules.
 
The Commission has been reviewing the situation regularly and has been granting relaxations to ensure that the virus does not spread and parties get an opportunity to hold physical campaigning in the restricted format.
7:20 PM

CM Channi in third Congress list for Punjab polls, to contest two seats

The Congress party on Sunday released its third list of eight candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab which revealed that sitting Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi will contest from two seats.

The party has fielded the Chief Minister from the Bhadaur constituency also.

Notably, Congress had earlier announced that Channi will be contesting from Chamkaur Sahib seat from where he is the sitting MLA and which he has been representing since 2007.

Manish Bansal is the son of Pawan Kumar Bansal, former Union Minister and senior Congress leader, who will contest from Barnala.

7:13 PM

Cash-strapped Pakistan looks to secure $3-billion loan from China

Cash-strapped Pakistan is looking to secure a $3-billion (PKR 529 billion) loan from China and investments in half a dozen sectors during Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to Beijing next week, according to a media report on Sunday.

Khan will visit the Chinese capital on February 3 to attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics and to also meet the top Chinese leadership on the sidelines for bilateral talks.

The Express Tribune reported quoting government sources that a final meeting to shape the agenda of the visit would take place on Tuesday.

A senior finance ministry official said the government was considering requesting China to approve another loan to the tune of USD 3 billion in China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange, known as SAFE deposits, so as to boost its foreign exchange reserves.

China has already placed around $11 billion (PKR 1.940 trillion) with Pakistan in the shape of commercial loans and foreign exchange reserves support initiatives, including $4 billion (PKR 705 billion) in SAFE deposits.

The Chinese money is part of the country's current official foreign exchange reserves recorded at $16.1 billion (PKR 2.8 trillion).

7:11 PM

Will move SC for early restoration of elected govt in J-K: NPP

Accusing the BJP-led government of deliberately delaying Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Panthers Party (NPP) on Sunday said it is contemplating filing a petition in the Supreme Court for early restoration of a democratically-elected government in the union territory.

NPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh said an inordinate delay in the restoration of a democratic government in Jammu and Kashmir was not only unconstitutional but it also amounted to contempt of the highest court of the county.

Referring to the judgments of the Supreme Court that mandated timely conduct of Assembly elections, Singh accused the central government and the Election Commission of India of defying the apex court's orders for vested interests.

The Supreme Court in its September 2018 judgment had ruled that the process of conducting Assembly elections in states, where the premature dissolution of the Lower House took place, needed to be completed within a period of six months from the date of dissolution of the House, he said.

Even in its recent judgment announced last week pertaining to the state of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court reiterated that there is a statutory obligation to fill Assembly seats within six months so as to ensure that the people are not deprived of due representation, Singh pointed out.

6:33 PM

Odisha: BJD, BJP, Cong seek votes in single poster as disputed Kotia goes to polls

Perhaps for the first time in the political history of Odisha, three rival parties - the BJD, Congress and the BJP - appeared in a single poster as they fielded consensus candidates in the three-tier panchayat elections in a border region disputed by Andhra Pradesh.

Such posters and banners bearing photographs of senior leaders of the three parties seeking votes for the consensus candidates are now seen in Kotia region of Koraput district where voting will be held on February 18.

The parties decided to select consensus candidates for sarpanch, samity member, and ward member posts in Kotia instead of going for elections in Kotia gram panchayat where AP held panchayat elections a year ago despite Odisha's objection citing a Supreme Court directive to maintain status quo in the disputed area.

The three parties have filed Mamata Jani as the candidate for Zilla Parishad member post of Zone-1 under Pottangi block. Apart from Kotia Gram Panchayat, the Zone-I also comprises GPs of Maliput, Pukali, Pottangi, Deopattangi, Gangrajpur, Nuaguda and Sunki. Jani is contesting as an independent candidate.

The troika has fielded consensus candidates in other posts of the region. Except the Zilla Parishad seats, candidates of other posts contest without party symbols.

6:30 PM

AP adds over 10,000 new Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths

Andhra Pradesh registered 10,310 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Sunday.

In 24 hours ending 9 AM on Sunday, 9,692 infected people had recovered while 12 more succumbed in the state, according to the latest bulletin.

The state Covid-19 chart now showed a total of 22,70,491 positives, 21,39,854 recoveries and 14,606 deaths till date.

The active caseload is now 1,16,031, the bulletin said.

Only four districts reported new coronavirus cases in excess of 1,000 each, with the highest being 1,697 in Kadapa. Eight districts registered fresh cases in three digits each while the remaining one added 99, the lowest in the state.

Kadapa and Visakhapatnam districts reported three more Covid-19 deaths each, followed by SPS Nellore (two), Chittoor, Guntur, Prakasam and Srikakulam one each in a day.

5:49 PM

Former minister U T Khader named Cong deputy leader in Karnataka Assembly

The Congress on Sunday appointed party MLA and former Minister U T Khader as the Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislature Party in the state legislative Assembly.

He currently represents the Mangalore Assembly constituency in Dakshina Kannada district.

"Hon'ble Congress President has appointed Shri U T Khader, MLA as Deputy leader of Congress Legislative Party in Karnataka Legislative Assembly, with immediate effect," an AICC release signed by party General Secretary K C Venugopal said.

Khader said it is his utmost privilege and honour to be appointed as Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislature Party in the legislative assembly.

5:32 PM

UK mulls more troops for NATO amid Russia-Ukraine crisis

Embattled British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is yet to receive a crucial report into alleged COVID lockdown breaches under his leadership, on Sunday tried to focus attention on the crisis with Russian troop build-up on the Ukrainian border.

Downing Street said the UK government is expected to bolster its offer to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) with a major military deployment to strengthen Europe's borders in the face of rising Russian aggression.

UK officials will be deployed to Brussels to finalise the details of the offer with NATO next week, and ministers will discuss the military options on Monday.

"This package would send a clear message to the Kremlin we will not tolerate their destabilising activity, and we will always stand with our NATO allies in the face Russian hostility, said Johnson.

"If President Putin chooses a path of bloodshed and destruction, it will be a tragedy for Europe. Ukraine must be free to choose its own future. I have ordered our Armed Forces to prepare to deploy across Europe next week, ensuring we are able to support our NATO allies on land, at sea and in the air, he said.

5:31 PM

Rakesh Tikait slams govt, says farmers to observe 'Betrayal Day' on Monday

Alleging betrayal by the Centre, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Sunday announced a country-wide observance of "Betrayal Day" on Monday over farm issues.

The national spokesperson of the influential north Indian farmers' union claimed the over-a-year-long protest at Delhi's borders was withdrawn on the basis of a letter of promises by the government on December 9 but those remain unfulfilled.

"A nation-wide 'Betrayal Day' will be observed on January 31 because of government's betrayal to farmers. The movement was suspended on the basis of a letter given by the government on December 9 but those promises have not been fulfilled, Tikait, whose BKU is a part of the SKM, said in a tweet in Hindi.

The protest on Delhi's borders had started under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, a farmers' collective, in November 2020 over the main demands of withdrawal of three contentious farm laws that were introduced by the BJP-led Centre.

The farmers, who occupied key border points of Singhu , Tikri and Ghazipur for over a year, also demanded a legal guarantee for minimum support price (MSP) of crops.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in November 2021 announced that the contentious farm laws would be rolled back, leading to the protestors eventually vacating Delhi borders in December.

5:27 PM

Vistara cancels, reschedules several Feb flights; passengers complain

Vistara has cancelled and rescheduled a significant number of its February flights during the last few days, aviation industry sources said on Sunday.

Moreover, during the last few days, a considerable number of affected passengers have stated on social media that they have been facing difficulties in contacting Vistara's customer care.

Vistara spokesperson, however, told PTI that the airline is adjusting "capacity to demand" in view of the "volatility" in the Indian aviation market due to the current COVID-19 wave and resultant restrictions imposed by the state governments.

ISRO Scientist Shibasish Prusty tweeted on Sunday that his Delhi-Bhubaneswar flight for February 5 has been cancelled and Vistara's customer care number is a "cheap gimmick" as it has been busy for the last 48 hours.

Another passenger Arpit Singh Khurana said on Saturday on Twitter that his Delhi-Kolkata flight for February 12 has been cancelled by Vistara and his calls to the customer service number are going unattended.

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First Published: Jan 30 2022 | 6:36 AM IST

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