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7-min read

News18 Daybreak | EC Sets up Panel to Examine PM Modi's 'Mission Shakti' Address and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For

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Updated:March 28, 2019, 9:28 AM IST

What to Watch Out For

PM Modi's surprise announcement: India becomes fourth nation with anti-satellite missile capability

In a surprise announcement yesterday, Prime Minister Modi confirmed that India had become the fourth nation (after the United States, Russia and China) to demonstrate anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a satellite.

Describing ‘Mission Shakti’ as a rare achievement he said, “In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today,"

Hours after the televised announcement, the Election Commission set up a panel to examine whether Modi’s address violated the Model Code, which is in force for the Lok Sabha polls,

In the dark: Anti-satellite missiles (ASAT) are the space defence mechanism and weapons that can target and destroy satellites that may be a threat to a nation’s defences.The ASAT deployed yesterday was a part of the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Mission Shakti.

In his announcement of Mission Shakti’s success, Modi said the action was not directed at any country and that the satellite was a pre-determined target orbiting at an altitude of 300 km.

The target, he said, was eliminated within three minutes.

The last time Modi had addressed the nation was November 8, 2016 when he announced the demonetisation of high value currency notes.

A possible violation: The timing of the test, conducted at 11.16am yesterday, and the announcement by PM Modi, an hour later, has come under question as it was done just a fortnight before the elections begin on April 11.

The EC set up a panel over Modi’s address after opposition party leaders claimed that it had violated the Code for its portrayal of the mission as a success of the government.

The panel, headed by Deputy Election Commissioner in charge of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) Division Sandeep Saxena, will go through the video and the transcript of the address.

He said she said: Modi’s speech yesterday set off a slugfest, as several opposition party leaders criticised the Prime Minister for using Mission Shakti for political mileage. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi congratulated DRDO on the achievement but took a hit at Modi by wishing him a "Happy Theatre Day".

Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also slammed Modi saying it was "yet another limitless drama" to "reap political benefits" ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

“Research, space management & development are a continuous process over the years. Modi, as usual, likes to take the credit for everything,” she tweeted.

A hark back: Meanwhile, several people have drawn parallels between PM Modi’s address and former PM Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s 1998 press briefing announcing the Pokhran nuclear missile tests.

Experts, however, believe that the test, while significant, was not on the same level as Pokhran – II, which was called Project Shakti.

“There is a difference between space weaponisation and space militarization. Space has been militarized for years, but not weaponised. This is not new,” said Air defence expert Air Vice Marshall.

Read more about it here.

What You May Have Missed

Govt’s electoral bonds scheme lets shell firms give black money to political parties, EC tells SC

The Election Commission yesterday stated in an affidavit that electoral bonds would affect transparency in political funding, thereby leading to "black money" in elections through "shell companies." The stand taken by the poll body in the top court yesterday came in opposition to the Centre’s view on the matter. Modi- led government had earlier told the court that electoral bonds will promote transparency and accountability in funding and donations received by political parties in India. However, the poll body told the apex court, which was hearing a petition filed by the Association of Democratic Reforms challenging the validity of the Electoral Bonds scheme, that it had informed the law ministry about flaws in the scheme in May 2017 itself.

Theresa May says she will step down as Prime Minister if Parliament backs her Brexit deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday she would quit if her twice-defeated EU divorce deal passes at the third attempt, making a last-ditch bid to persuade rebels in her Conservative party to back her. "I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won't stand in the way of that," May told a meeting of Conservative lawmakers. May's announcement is the latest dramatic turn in the United Kingdom's three-year Brexit crisis, but it still remains uncertain how, when or even if it will leave the European Union.

File photo of Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. (Reuters)

Hours after two MGP legislators switch over to BJP, Goa Chief Minister drops deputy

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday dropped deputy CM Sudin Dhavalikar after two MLAs of the latter's MGP broke away and joined the ruling BJP. Dhavalikar was the lone MGP MLA who did not break away from the party.

"I have dropped Sudin Dhavalikar from the cabinet. The decision on filling up the vacant seat will be taken very soon," Sawant said in a communication to Governor Mridula Sinha. Dhavalikar was allotted portfolios of Transport and Public Works which would be now looked after by Sawant.

News18 Election Tracker: TMC manifesto, Priyanka Gandhi’s likely nomination and Urmila Matondkar’s political foray

Trinamool Congress manifesto: Mamata Banerjee proposes high-level probe into demonetisation

The Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at the party’s manifesto release yesterday promised to launch a high-level judicial investigation into the government’s decision to ban high-value currency notes if the Opposition came to power at the Centre. Banerjee also made an appeal to Modi to engage in an open debate with opposition leaders. “The PM has never faced the press, never taken any direct questions from them. Let him sit for an open debate with an opposition leader, chosen by the opposition parties, before the elections,” she said.

The TMC manifesto promised a slew of measures to counter the policy moves (like demonetisation) made by the BJP-led central government in the past five years. These include reviewing the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and reviving the Planning Commission in a new avatar while doing away with the Niti Aayog.

Priyanka Gandhi says will contest Lok Sabha elections if Cong wants, no decision yet

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra yesterday said she was ready to contest the Lok Sabha elections if the party leadership wanted. She, however, said that no decision has been made yet, with the election just a fortnight away. “I haven’t decided on whether to contest elections or not, but if the party wants me to contest elections, I will,” she said at a media interaction in Lucknow. Priyanka Gandhi, who was on a two-day visit of Amethi and Rae Bareli to galvanise grassroots workers for the Lok Sabha elections, also spoke about ‘Mission UP’ at closed-door interactions with party workers.

Urmila Matondkar joins Congress after meeting Rahul Gandhi, maybe Mumbai North candidate

Actor Urmila Matondkar yesterday joined the Congress after meeting party chief Rahul Gandhi at his residence. Gandhi welcomed her in the party fold and wished her the best. "I am here because I believe in the ideology of Congress and what the party stands for. I have not joined the party for the sake of elections," she said at a press conference which was attended by the party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, Maharashtra Congress chief Milind Deora and his predecessor Sanjay Nirupam. The Bollywood actor is speculated to contest the Lok Sabha election from the Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency.

News18 Election Lab: Regulars at house debates, 1st in fund utilisation: Despite A+ performance, why 'margdarshaks' failed to make the cut

“Bhajpa ke teen dharohar: Atal, Advani aur Manohar” was a commonly heard slogan in the 1990s. The trio literally built the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the beginning, and once acted as party's building blocks. However, three decades later, two of these stalwarts, Advani and Joshi, find themselves bidding goodbye to their political journey after the saffron party denied them tickets for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The fall of curtains for the once-key cogs in the BJP machinery comes at a time when both of the leaders were at their political twilight. Read Swati Dey’s analysis here.

On Reel

On Wednesday, PM Modi said that India has become the fourth nation in the world to demonstrate anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a satellite. What are space weapons? What has India's stand been so far? News18.com explains.

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