The Shiv SenaBJP government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde won the floor test today, ending two weeks of political turmoil in Maharashtra. In the 288-member House, 164 MLAs voted for the motion of confidence, while 99 voted against it. After the trust vote, Shinde said development and Hindutva are on the new regime’s agenda. Speaking in the Assembly, Shinde broke down remembering the period after the 2019 state elections, and said he was very disturbed at the way he was treated during the polls. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis hit back at the Opposition over its charge that the BJP used the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against its political adversaries. “It is true the new government is formed by ED, which stands for Eknath and Devendra,” he remarked.

At least two Congress workers were arrested for releasing black balloons near the Vijayawada international airport today morning when the chopper carrying Prime Minister Narendra Modi took off, in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. The PM had flown down from Hyderabad to Vijayawada airport at Gannavaram, from where he flew to Bhimavaram where he unveiled the statue of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju. Home Minister Amit Shah had named Alluri Sitarama Raju as one of the prominent leaders from the area, along with Ramji Gaur and Kumaram Bhim, as those who stood against the Nizams for the liberation of Telangana.

Hitting back at Yashwant Sinha — the joint Opposition candidate for Presidential polls — for his “rubber stamp Rashtrapati” comments, BJP national General Secretary C T Ravi said a feeling that an Adivasi woman is not capable for the position, itself depicts one’s “nasty mindset”. “Certainly the country doesn’t need a rubber stamp Rashtrapati, but also, in the same way, the mindset of indulging in false propaganda against a self-made Adivasi woman, who has proved her capability, is dangerous. The state of mind that feels oneself alone to be worthy is dangerous,” Ravi said.

Some good news for diners. The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), the government’s top consumer watchdog, has issued guidelines for “preventing unfair trade practices and violation of consumer rights with regard to the levying of service charge in hotels and restaurants.” The new guidelines say that “No hotel or restaurant shall force a consumer to pay service charge and shall clearly inform the consumer that service charge is voluntary, optional and at consumer’s discretion.”

Independent filmmaker Leena Manimekalai drew flak online days after she tweeted the poster of her latest documentary Kaali. The poster shows a woman dressed as the Hindu Goddess Kali smoking a cigarette and holding a pride flag representing the LGBT community in her hand. Several social media users demanded her arrest, accusing her of hurting religious sentiments. Soon, #Arrestleenamanimekalai started trending on Twitter. Following the backlash, Manimekalai urged users to use the hashtag “love you Leena manimekalai” instead of “#arrest Leena manimekalai”. “The film revolves around the events that take place one evening, when Kali appears and strolls the streets of Toronto. If you see the picture, don’t put the hashtag ‘arrest Leena manimekalai’ and put the hashtag ‘love you Leena manimekalai’” read the filmmaker’s tweet, roughly translated from Tamil.

In international news, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday declared victory in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, one day after Ukrainian forces withdrew from their last remaining bulwark of resistance in the province. Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin in a televised meeting that Russian forces had taken control of Luhansk, which together with the neighbouring Donetsk province makes up Ukraine’s industrial heartland of Donbas.

Political Pulse

June was a tumultuous month for the Opposition. First, while Rahul Gandhi’s grilling by the Enforcement Directorate gave the Congress an opportunity to cry hoarse, it found little resonance among the public. This was followed by the nominations for the presidential elections that exposed the chinks in the Opposition camp. But the bolt from the blue came from Maharashtra – halfway into the ruling coalition’s term, the BJP played a masterstroke, taking the Congress and NCP unawares and knocking out the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena. But the trials of the Opposition, which is facing an existential crisis of sorts, are far from over as the leading lights of the Opposition will now have to sit together to decide on a candidate for the Vice Presidential elections. The big question for the Opposition is: how long will the glue hold?

The DMK MP and ex-Union minister, A Raja, has sparked a controversy by asking the BJP-ruled Centre not to compel the Dravidian party to revive the demand for a “separate Tamil Nadu” by denying state autonomy. Significantly, Raja made these remarks in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president M K Stalin while addressing a conference of the party’s local body representatives in Namakkal on Sunday. The DMK leader’s fiery speech created a stir in political circles, drawing sharp criticism from the Opposition camp. Read Arun Janardhan’s report.

Express Explained

The world’s most powerful particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will begin smashing protons into each other at unprecedented levels of energy beginning July 5. Scientists will record and analyse the data, which are expected to throw up evidence of “new physics” — or physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics, which explains how the basic building blocks of matter interact, governed by four fundamental forces. The Indian Express explains what LHC is, its latest upgrade, and its previous runs.

Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport started trials of automated full-body scanners at Terminal 2 this month. The machines — built by the American defence, aviation and information technology company Leidos — have been installed at the security check area of T-2. How do these scanners work? Are they a safer alternative for the passengers? Read here.

Preparing for Civil Services and other competitive examinations. Read The Indian Express’ UPSC Key and UPSC Essentials to stay informed.

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