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NATIONAL AFFAIRS - February 2021

Feb 2021

May 06, 2021

EC Postpones Bypolls to 3 Lok Sabha, 8 Assembly Seats

  • The Election Commission decided to defer proposed bypolls to three Lok Sabha and eight assembly seats in view of the prevailing coronavirus situation in the country.
  • The Commission said that vacancies have been notified in three parliamentary constituencies of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh) and Mandi (Himachal Pradesh).
  • Also, there are eight vacancies in state assemblies—Kalka and Ellenabad in Haryana; Vallabhnagar in Rajasthan; Sindgi in Karnataka; Rajabala and Mawryngkneng in Meghalaya, Fatehpur in Himachal Pradesh and Badvel in Andhra Pradesh.

May 05, 2021

UP Panchayat Polls

  • The BJP has won just eight out of the 40 zila panchayat seats in Ayodhya, a disappointment for the ruling party in the district on which the Centre and the state government have lavished much attention. The opposition Samajwadi Party claimed to have made major gains in the panchayat elections held last month, saying candidates it backed won 22 district level seats here. The Bahujan Samaj Party claimed its candidates won four zila panchayat seats in Ayodhya.

DMK Chief Stalin Elected as Legislature Party Leader

  • DMK president M K Stalin was unanimously elected as legislature party leader and he is to be sworn-in as Chief Minister on May 7.
  • The meet to elect him was held at headquarters 'Anna Arivalayam' and it witnessed participation of 133 DMK MLAs, which includes eight from alliance parties like the MDMK.
  • Stalin had already said that the ceremony shall be held in a simple manner in the Raj Bhavan premises here. The DMK top leader is expected to call on Governor Banwarilal Purohit and stake claim to form the government.

Modi, Johnson Hold Virtual Summit; UK PM Announces 1 bn Pound Trade Deal

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual summit with his British counterpart Boris Johnson with an aim to further bolster bilateral ties in a range of areas including healthcare and trade, as the UK Prime Minister announced GBP 1 billion worth of UK-India trade and investment.
  • According to a statement from Johnson's office, "more than 6,500 new jobs will be created around the UK thanks to the one billion pounds of new UK-India trade and investment announced by the Prime Minister."
  • The package contains over 533 million pounds of new Indian investment into the UK, which is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology, Downing Street said.

May 04, 2021

Central Vista Project: Construction of PM's Residence to be Completed by Dec. 2022

  • The construction of the Prime Minister's residence under the ambitious Central Vista project will be completed by December 2022, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has informed a government-appointed expert panel, which has given its nod to the project.
  • The CPWD, which is the project developer, informed the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) that the expansion of the Parliament building and the construction of a new Parliament building will be done by November 2022 and the prime minister's residence will be constructed by December 2022.
  • The Ministry of Environment has already granted the clearance for the expansion and renovation of the existing Parliament building, which is part of the Rs. 13,450 crore Central Vista Redevelopment Project.

In Assam, BJP Tasked with Striking Balance

  • Assam may have given the BJP a lot to cheer, but it is still facing a tricky challenge to strike the right balance of power between its two Assam strongmen — Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma.
  • While incumbent CM Sonowal is credited with helping the BJP retain Assam on account of his work, popularity and clean image, Sarma is seen as someone who helped the party gain strength ever since he joined in 2014. Speculation is rife over Sarma being shifted to the Centre and Sonowal being anointed the CM, or vice-versa.
  • Observers say much can be deciphered from the party's hesitancy in naming its Chief Minister's face in the run-up to 2021 Assembly polls.

Justice Prafulla Chandra Pant Appointed as the Acting Chairperson of the NHRC

  • The National Human Rights Commission appointed NHRC member Justice (retired) Prafulla Chandra Pant as the acting chairperson of the Commission.
  • A former Supreme Court judge, Justice Pant was appointed member of the NHRC in April 2019. The post of chairperson has been vacant since Justice H.L. Dattu, a former Chief Justice of India, completed his tenure on December 2, 2020.

Pinarayi Vijayan Submits Resignation to Kerala Governor

  • Pinarayi Vijayan who led the ruling CPI(M)-headed LDF in Kerala to a resounding victory in the April 6 Assembly polls, resigned from the post, ahead of the new ministry formation.
  • Vijayan submitted his resignation letter to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan.
  • Vijayan has been asked to continue as Chief Minister till the new government is sworn in.

India-UK Close to Signing Migration and Mobility Partnership

  • As per reports, India and the UK are close to signing a "migration and mobility partnership", which could see thousands more Indian students enrol at UK universities in exchange for illegal Indian migrants being sent back.
  • The partnership forms part of a wider set of agreements in the pipeline during the visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, invited by his UK counterpart Dominic Raab as a guest at the multilateral G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting this week.
  • A bilateral meeting between Raab and Jaishankar is scheduled for Thursday at Chevening in Kent, south-east England.

May 03, 2021

S. Jaishankar on Four-day Visit to London for G7 Foreign Ministers' Meet

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is on a four-day visit to London primarily to attend a meeting of Foreign Ministers of Group of Seven (G7) rich nations. The United Kingdom has invited India for an in-person G7 Foreign Ministers meeting, for which FMs of Australia, South Korea, South Africa, and the Chair and Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have also been invited.
  • External Affairs Minister will be visiting London from 3-6 May 2021 to participate in the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting, at which India has been invited as a guest country. He will thereafter undertake a bilateral visit to the UK.

Assembly Election 2021 Results

  • The official results for the high-stakes assembly elections held in four states and one Union Territory are almost out now for the majority of the constituencies and barring West Bengal, the predictions of exit polls remained more or less close to the actual results and trends in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
  • As per reports, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has retained power in West Bengal for the third consecutive time, whereas, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) headed by Pinarayi Vijayan has made the first re-election in 44 years. In Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin's Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has dethroned incumbent Edappadi K Palaniswami's All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), while the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliances (BJP) have won in Assam and Puducherry.
  • The LDF broke Kerala's record of voting out every incumbent government for the past four decades and made the first re-election in over 44 years.

May 01, 2021

UP CM Yogi Adityanath Replaces his Team-11 with Team-9

  • Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath replaced his "Team-11", a group of officials tasked with managing the crises, with a new nine-member set of ministers and bureaucrats.
  • Opposition parties have been slamming Adityanath and Team-11 for their alleged failure to control the pandemic in the country's most populous state.
  • The CM was also accused of relying too much on bureaucrats, an allegation levelled also by an MLA from the ruling BJP itself.
  • Unlike Team-11, the new group called "Team- 9" also has two ministers. The nine members head their own committees or departments involved in fighting the pandemic.
  • "The CM has constituted a new Team-9 for effective management of COVID-19 and related work. This team will directly report to the CM and carry out important work in different fields.

Karnataka Urban Local Body Polls Results 2021

  • The opposition Congress in Karnataka has trounced the ruling BJP by winning 120 out of the 263 wards in 10 local bodies across eight districts that went to the polls on April 27.
  • Surprisingly, even the Janata Dal (S) performed better than the BJP by winning 66 seats as against the saffron party`s 57 seats.
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