Hello, this is your daily dose of news from Onmanorama. I'm your host, Deepa Soman, and these are the major news stories of the day:
1. We start with the news of Goa ex-Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and 7 other Congress MLAs joining BJP
2. In the Madhu lynching case, court orders to check the hostile witness' eyesight
3. Five out of the six accused appear in court in the Assembly ruckus case, hearing scheduled for Sept 26
4. Rahul Gandhi visits Sivagiri Mutt today, Bharat Jodo Yatra reaches Kollam
5. Senior advocate Mukul Ro-hatgi set to return as attorney general
Let's get into the details....
1. Eight Congress MLAs in Goa, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, on Wednesday joined the ruling BJP, in a body blow to the opposition party which is now left with just three MLAs in the 40-member state Assembly. The eight MLAs joined the BJP in presence of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and state BJP chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade. In a similar move in July 2019, 10 Congress MLAs had switched over to the BJP in Goa. The BJP retained power in the coastal state after the state Assembly elections in March this year. It has 20 MLAs in the Assembly, while the Congress' strength will be depleted from 11 to three. The eight Congress MLAs - Kamat, Michael Lobo, Delilah Lobo, Rajesh Phaldesai, Kedar Naik, Sankalp Amonkar, Aleixo Sequeira and Rudolf Fernandes - were seen interacting with Sawant in a viral photo hours ahead of formally joining the BJP. Earlier on Wednesday, a resolution was passed in the Congress Legislature Party meeting here to merge with the BJP, Lobo said. Sawant said the "Congress Chhodo Yatra" has begun from Goa, as seen from the influx of that party's legislators into the BJP
2. The special court for SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, where the trial into the Madhu lynching case has restarted after a break, ordered authorities to check the eyesight of one of the witnesses who turned hostile on Wednesday.
Sunilkumar, the latest one to turn hostile in the case, told the court that he could not see the pictures of Madhu shown to him. Wondering how others could see and not him, the court ordered for witness' vision check.
Along with Sunil, another witness Deepu also turned hostile, taking the total number of witnesses turning hostile to 16.
During the trial on Tuesday, a witness told the court that he had seen first accused Hussain kicking Madhu. Manikandan, the 28th witness, gave a statement in favour of the prosecution.In a case where several prosecution witnesses have so far turned hostile, two witnesses stood firm on their statements in court on Tuesday.
The 26th witness Jayakumar also stood by his earlier statement, but the 27th witness Saithalavi turned hostile.
Karara native Manikandan, an auto driver, testified in court that he saw Madhu, with his hands tied, amid a crowd at the Mukkali junction.
3. Five of the six accused in the 2015 Kerala Assembly ruckus case appeared before the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
While General Education Minister V Sivankutty, K T Jaleel, K Ajith, K Kunjumuhammad and C K Sadasivan appeared in court, LDF convener E P Jayarajan was conspicuous by his absence.
It was slotted as the 13th case of the day and the chargesheet was read to the accused. All five denied the charges.The case is now slotted for September 26.
The court asked Jayarajan to appear when the case comes for a hearing next time.
Evading the summons to appear before the court could invite an arrest warrant. The accused are estimated to have caused damage worth Rs 2.5 lakh in the Assembly.Sivankutty told reporters ahead of appearing before the judge, "Let us listen to the chargesheet first. Then we will take a call on whether it is politically instigated or not."
Earlier this month, the High Court had refused to stay the proceedings in the case, when the accused filed a revision petition against the dismissal of their discharge petition by the lower court in Thiruvananthapuram. The trial court had said that allowing it would send a wrong message to society.
Before we move on, here's a quick reminder to checkout Onmanorama's other podcasts, Wacky News and News Brake. Wacky News is a collection of the weirdest and strangest news from across the globe and News Brake is a clutter-free explainer of the major news story of the week. Both programmes are available on all podcast platforms.
Now, back to Daily News Dose.
3. Leading his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi visited Sivagiri Mutt in Varkala on Wednesday to pay respects to Sree Narayana Guru.
He will spend the fourth day of the yatra in Kollam.At Sivagiri Mutt, Rahul was welcomed warmly by the swamis. "We are happy to receive the Congress leader who did not wait for an official invitation," said Sivagiri Dharma Sangham Trust President Swami Satchidananda.Though Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi had visited Sivagiri Mutt earlier, this was Rahul's first visit and no one should give political colour to it, said Opposition leader VD Satheesan.The yatra, which began after 7.30 am from Navaikulam junction, continued to witness an encouraging turnout.
The 150-day foot march was launched from Kanyakumari in neighbouring Tamil Nadu on September 7 and will cover 12 states and two Union territories.
5. New Delhi: Senior advocate Mukul Ro-hatgi is set to return as India's attorney general from October 1, according to sources familiar with the development.
Ro-hatgi was the country's attorney general from June 2014 to June 2017.The present man in the job, K K Venugopal, was re-appointed as the top law officer of the country for three months on June 29.He had been unwilling to continue in the position due to "personal reasons" but acceded to a request by the government, Law Ministry officials said.
A veteran lawyer, Rohatgi has appeared in several high profile cases in the apex court as well as high courts across the country.
That brings us to the end of this episode. Be sure to come back tomorrow. As always, thanks for listening to Daily News Dose.