With many developments on various fronts, newspapers choose different leads this morning.
Hindustan Times is the only paper to remind readers that Parliament will begin today, and makes it the lead on Page 1. In ‘Key bills back as 17th Lok Sabha set to open’, it writes how PM Modi has asked, “for consensus among all political parties to push crucial legislation, including a bill that seeks to criminalise the practice of instant divorce among Muslims.”
While “the BJP has not yet announced the name of its candidate for the Speaker’s post”, HT says there is speculation it could be Virendra Kumar. “Among other names that the party is understood to have considered are former Union Ministers Radha Mohan Singh and SS Ahluwalia, Lok Sabha MPs from Bihar and West Bengal respectively. Another name doing the rounds is that of former Union minister Maneka Gandhi,” it informs.
“There was no word on whether the government will table the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,” it writes.
The Times of India concentrates on the “all-party meet to discuss simultaneous polls”, to be conducted by the PM on 19 June. “Modi’s invite extends to presidents of all parties with presence in the Parliament,” it informs.
The Indian Express makes that its second lead and writes in its ‘Explained’ box how “elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies were initially held simultaneously but got delinked”. PM Modi has relentlessly pushed for simultaneous elections “citing costs and the time spent on a continuous cycle of polls. But it remains to be seen if other parties are receptive to the idea.”
HT, in its column space article, is sceptical of it and calls the bid for simultaneous polls “an issue that has lacked political consensus in the past and prompted consultations among experts”.
India beats Pakistan at World Cup : Express leads with a good news story: in ‘No Match’ it begins by asking, “What’s the best way to crack open a tight situation and win a high-pressure World Cup game against Pakistan?”, and offers spinner Kuldeep Yadav’s “simple plan” as the answer: “produce two magical deliveries to take out their (Pakistan’s) big-match batsmen, Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman”.
India’s facile victory over Pakistan on Sunday, at the World Cup gets second billing in other papers. “Pakistan’s attack hardly made an impact as Kohli’s men prospered” declares The Hindu. In ‘Bragging rights intact as India make it 7-0 vs Pak,’ HT writes that “the only thing that went Pakistan’s way in the one-sided clash was the toss and even a divine intervention in the form of two rain-induced interruptions could only delay the inevitable.”
TOI credits Rohit Sharma for the win, and writes on Page 1: ‘Rohit rains runs, washes away Pak’.
Doctors’ strike: Striking doctors made it to Page 1 this Monday. The Hindu says in ‘Doctors’ safety: IMA calls for nationwide agitation today’ that “only emergency and casualty services will be offered” in hospitals.
The protests are being held in solidarity with the doctors in Kolkata where the “Stand-off continues” (HT) and doctors say that meeting with Mamata Banerjee must be “taped”. The doctors have said that Banerjee can choose the venue as long as it can accommodate “journalists and representatives of all 14 medical colleges in West Bengal, where health care services are in a shambles due to the ongoing agitation”.
TOI, however, informs that “AIIMS doctors” are to “stay away from nationwide strike today” but doesn’t explain why. As it happens, Monday saw AIIMS doctors join the strike.
Others: The Hindu leads with an exclusive: ‘Bhutan PM says China must maintain status quo on Doklam’. It interviews Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, who said “boundary talks between the two sides has made good progress” and that “as long as status quo was maintained, there will be peace and tranquillity in the region”.
Express reports on ‘Online payment of bills: Four fold surge in rural and semi-urban India’. It observes how electricity bill payments and insurance renewals are “some of the fastest growing non-banking services across rural and semi-urban India over the last five years”.
Meanwhile, TOI carries a photograph of the “Miss India World 2019” and how a “Rajasthan girl (has been) crowned Miss India”. The coverage of its own Colors Femina Miss World contest continues on page 12, with a headline that betrays a lack of gender sensitivity: “Maidens bowls jury over with beauty & brains’’ and has lines in the report like, “In an evening full of fine legs of another kind…’’
HT: In ‘Consensus will be a challenge’, it says that the 17th Lok Sabha, beginning today, will be “unique in India’s parliamentary history” – for the first time a non-Congress government has been re-elected with a majority of its own. With its own speakers and deputy speakers in both houses, and a majority in the Rajya Sabha by 2021, the ruling party will enjoy unusual “dominance” after a very long time.
HT foresees the government achieving consensus on certain issues – Women’s Reservation Bill, climate change and pollution – while the economy requires all parties to go beyond “election rhetoric”. However, NRC, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and the Ayodhya verdict are more contentious and could see a “push for polarization” that would be politically rewarding but may have “serious consequences for social harmony and cohesion”, it says.
The Hindu: In ‘Missing remedies’, it says that the ongoing strike by doctors has caused acute public distress. It also says that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has exacerbated the problem by taking a “hard line” against the striking doctors without “giving negotiations a fair change” – now she must “restore normality”.
The nationwide agitation also points to a deepening crisis in the public health sector. Unaffordable treatment in the predominantly commercial system and the high cost of medical education cry out for structural changes. The Centre’s National Health Policy must boost infrastructure and capabilities of government hospitals too, says The Hindu.
Sunday: ‘The mother of all matches on Father’s Day’, as Tiranga called it, was scheduled for the afternoon and the news channels reflected the sportive mood by devoting most of the day to pre and post match analysis of the India versus Pakistan World Cup match at Old Trafford in Manchester.
The doctors’ strike in various cities did receive attention on NDTV 24×7 and the Republic and the death of more than 93 people due to encephalitis alarmed Times Now. But cricket took over as soon as India won the game.
Times Now called the match #EkAurBaarPakistanKiHaar. Anchor Madhavdas Gopalakrisnan said India reigned supreme as they stretched the winning streak by 7-0.
Former cricketer Atul Wassan said it was India’s game after Rohit’s excellent performance. “For me the momentum shifted when Rohit stood there and then Virat showed exceptional display,” he said.
Wassan also mentioned Kohli’s latest achievement – the fastest to reach 11,000 runs in ODIs. “When Sachin was retiring, everyone thought who could replace him but there came this Delhi boy who smashes records and gets the team home,” he added.
India Today fielded Sachin Tendulkar before and after the game in conversation with Boria Majumdar, the channel’s consulting editor. “Hardik also played well and it is important that the team has big strikers for the death overs, which Pakistan lacks”, observed Tendulkar.
Majumdar was all praise for the “Little Master”. Even before Bhuvi (Bhuvneswar Kumar) left the ground, Tendulkar said the bowler had “pulled a hamstring.”
“When he delivered that ball, his body language said he had pulled the hamstring and it was smart of him to not continue,” explained Tendulkar.
Aaj Tak brought in former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin who said that Pakistan made elementary mistakes in all three areas – “batting, bowling and fielding”.
Former cricketer Madan Lal agreed with him and appreciated the Indian team’s “outstanding performance”.
Later, the channel went “live” to Manchester with Tendulkar who said that Pakistan’s bowlers lacked planning or were unable to execute what they had planned.
India TV spoke to fans in Mumbai who were bursting crackers on the streets in celebration. “This is Father’s Day gift for us,” said a fan.
“For us this was the world cup final,” said another, adding, “Aaj Pakistan se jeete hai kal cup bhi jeetenge (Today we beat Pakistan, tomorrow we will win the world cup).
In the studio, former fast bowler Chetan Sharma saw the victory as “a power pack performance”.
News 24 called in former cricketer Yograj Singh who was quite happy with the spirit in which the match was played. He said there was no question of “bezatti” to anyone. “It should be treated as just another game,” he added.
India News spoke to Indian captain Virat Kohli’s coach, Raj Kumar, who said that he had been confident of a victory but sounded almost disappointed that there was no “competition” in the match. “It was a one-sided game…Pakistan was never in the game,” the coach commented.
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(With inputs from Shailaja Bajpai, Triya Gulati and Harshit Mansukhani)