Morning Digest | Cloud over Republic Day visit of Central Asian leaders due to COVID-19 surge; EC extends ban on rallies, roadshows till January 22; and more

The Election Commission on Saturday banned rallies and roadshows in the five election-going States, but allowed political parties to hold indoor meetings of up to 300 people or 50% of the venue’s capacity.

With COVID-19 cases still on the rise 10 days ahead of the Republic Day, the government is considering putting off plans to invite the leaders of five Central Asian nations as the chief guests to the parade, and holding a summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually in Delhi this month.

Reacting to a series of reports and public statements in Nepal criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on expansion of the road to Lipulekh, the Indian embassy in Kathmandu said it has conveyed India’s “unambiguous” position to the Nepali government.

The Union Power Ministry on Saturday released revised guidelines for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles to enable faster adoption by ensuring safe, reliable and affordable infrastructure. Among other things, the guidelines allow an individual or an entity to set up charging stations without the requirement of a licence provided they meet the technical, safetyand performance standards.

Talks for an alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Azad Samaj Party headed by Dalit leader Chandra Shekhar Azad in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh election have apparently failed. Mr. Azad on Saturday said his outfit would not get into an alliance with the SP, accusing its president Akhilesh Yadav of insulting the “bahujan samaj”.

Also read: BJP names 107 candidates, fields Adityanath from Gorakhpur

India recorded 2,62,938 COVID-19 cases and 305 deaths on January 15.The country has so far reported 3,68,52,416 cases and 4,85,807 deaths. The active cases stand at 14.19 lakh.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Saturday held talks with Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa virtually and reviewed an imminent Indian credit facility of $1.5 billion to help Sri Lanka import food, medicines, and fuel amid an unprecedented economic meltdown.

Cautiously negotiating the fractious terrain, the Congress, in its first list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab has only replaced four sitting MLAs. The party has decided to repeat Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib and State Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar East.

Dev Raturi has not stepped out of his apartment for eight days. He could not do so even if he wished to — a white tape has been stuck outside his door to seal him inside, along with his wife and two young children. As of Saturday evening, he hasn’t been told when he can leave.

A day after the Additional District and Sessions Court I in Kottayam acquitted bishop Franco Mulakkal, former head of the Latin Catholic diocese of Jalandhar, of all charges in connection with a rape complaint filed by a nun, the prosecution has decided to move an appeal against the verdict in the High Court.

‘All communities, irrespective of caste, creed, gender, religion will vote for Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh who is wonderfully giving shape to PM Modi’s vision for India’

Union Minister Bhupender Yadav and economist Ila Patnaik discuss their book The Rise of the BJP in an email interview with Nistula Hebbar

The signs were there. Virat Kohli was becoming extremely frustrated with captaincy. The manner in which he kicked the air and blew up after Dean Elgar won a review on day three of the decider here indicated he was running out of patience.

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