Guyana President Mohamed Irfaan Ali has sought the participation of India's public and private enterprises and skilled manpower in his country's developmental efforts, especially in the booming oil and gas sector. Since 2015, Guyana has discovered significant oil and gas reserves with potential volumes of nearly 11 billion barrels. There have been 31 oil discoveries in the South American country's Stabroek block alone.
Addressing a massive rally in Hyderabad, Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu predicted that India would become an economic superpower in 2047 with Telugu people leading global institutions. He highlighted his government's initiatives in the 1990s, such as power sector reforms, airways and telecommunications, and the establishment of Hi-tech city, Genome Valley, and Indian School of Business. Naidu also spoke of his plans for Amaravati, now destroyed by the YSR Congress party, and called upon intellectuals and youth to take politics seriously and encourage good and efficient leaders.
Congress aims to win Karnataka assembly elections by focusing on corruption allegations against BJP and its own promises. The party announced its first list of candidates on March 25, with former CM Siddaramaiah contesting from Varuna and DK Shivakumar from Kanakapura. Congress also promised stipends for unemployed youth, ?2,000 payments for women heads of families, 200 units of free electricity, and ten kilograms of rice to the poor. It will also attempt to capitalise on BJP's hastily announced reservation rejig.
JD(S) is banking on farmers issues and their 99-day Pancharatna Yatra to rally support in Karnataka's upcoming elections. They have announced economic assistance schemes for farmers, loan waivers, and medical assistance. BJP's visits have had little impact in the JD(S)'s traditional stronghold. Political analysts believe Deve Gowda's emotional appeal may add a few seats, but people may opt for a party that can provide a stable government.
BJP leaders are confident that welfare schemes, development focus and PM Modi's popularity will help them retain power in Karnataka, with the recent rejig in reservation and sub-categorisation of quotas for SC, ST and OBCs expected to give them an edge. The party plans to use its tried and tested social engineering model to consolidate Hindu votes, while the Congress hopes to gain from Muslim votes. The party is also expecting leaders from other parties to switch sides and may consider fielding fresh faces.
DK Shivakumar, Karnataka Congress chief, has caused controversy after being caught on camera throwing currency notes to a crowd during a roadshow. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai accused him of misusing powers and treating people like beggars. Bommai also alleged that Shivakumar has been luring BJP MLAs by offering them tickets in constituencies yet to announce candidates. Shivakumar is campaigning in Mandya, a stronghold of the JD(S).
Amid protests from the Banjara community, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai reassured that they will continue to remain on the SC list. He blamed Congress for orchestrating the violence, while opposition leaders accused BJP of handiwork. The internal reservation breakup recommended by the state cabinet has caused fear among the Banjaras as their share of reservation is limited to 4.5%.
CEC Rajiv Kumar said the ECI is in no hurry to hold a bypoll in Wayanad, Kerala, after Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from Lok Sabha. Gandhi has 30 days to appeal his conviction of criminal defamation and the ECI will take a call after that. If term is less than a year, no election will be held.
The Lok Sabha passed amendments to the competition law which will empower the antitrust regulator to impose penalties on global turnovers of erring firms, expand the scope of penalties to entities collaborating in cartelisation, and regulate mergers and acquisitions based on the value of transactions with Rs 2,000 crore threshold. The Bill proposes harsher punishments on entities like Big Tech firms, and introduces intention to actively participate in assessing hub and spoke cartels.
MP Mohammad Faizal of Lakshadweep was restored his membership of Lok Sabha on the basis of a Kerala high court order, but Supreme Court decided to examine the correctness of the stay order. The MP was earlier sentenced to 10 years in jail in a 2009 attempt to murder case. The top court bench questioned if rules should be different between common people and lawmakers. NCP MP Supriya Sule and Faizal later met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.
Supreme Court laments State's "impotence" in tackling hate speeches, which has caused "cracks in fraternity" and "intellectual depravement". It observed that mixing politics and religion has been the major problem, and that citizens should take a pledge to not vilify anyone. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that instances of hate speech against Hindus are being selectively brought up before the court. The matter has been listed for April 20.
Rajasthan high court acquitted all 4 accused in 2008 Jaipur serial blast case, citing lack of evidence and "shoddy investigation" by ATS. 71 people were killed and 185 injured in the 9 ammonium nitrate bombs strapped to bicycles. The court directed DGP to take action against guilty officials and asked the chief secretary to monitor.
At the US-led Summit for Democracy, PM Modi described democracy as a spirit and not just a structure. India, despite global challenges, is the fastest growing major economy due to its democratic framework and guiding philosophy of 'Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas'. He also highlighted India's initiatives such as 'Vaccine Maitri' and its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The US has said it is watching the case of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was disqualified as a Parliamentarian.
Lok Sabha on Wednesday decided to forward the controversial Forest Conservation Amendment Bill, 2023, to a select committee instead of the parliamentary standing committee headed by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh, prompting a protest. The bill seeks to clarify what constitutes a forest, with environmentalists fearing it will dilute the impact of a 1996 Supreme Court order. It also exempts certain forest land from obtaining prior forest clearance permission.
Radical pro-Khalistan preacher Amritpal Singh issued a video message calling for sweeping protests led by Sikhism's highest priest, 11 days after a manhunt for him was launched. He suggested that the police were not just looking to arrest him, and appealed to Sikhs abroad to contribute to the Sarbat Khalsa. Hours later, Punjab's leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa said the video has debunked the government's claims that the police were close to apprehending him.
A cheetah translocated from Namibia last September gave birth to four cubs in the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh, the first of the big cats to be born in India in decades. Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav tweeted pictures of the cubs and lauded PM Narendra Modi's leadership. The birth of the cubs is a positive sign for the intercontinental translocation of cheetahs and a special team is taking care of them. Another female cheetah, Asha, may also be pregnant.