The Week Ahead: Formula 1 thriller, PM Modi in Gurugram and more…

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Phew! What a season-ending thriller the Formula 1 race was last night. Max Verstappen with 395.5 points (10 wins, 18 podiums) pipped Lewis Hamilton (8 wins, 17 podiums) to become the 2021 world champion. So much adrenaline, yes, but so few outlets to let the excitement die down!

Yet, this week is going to one hell of a rollercoaster with announcements, events and rallies to keep the news cycle running. Today and tomorrow, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for the month of November will be released. There was a marginal uptick in CPI inflation in October. After reaching a six-month high of 6.3% in May, reports Abhishek Jha, it had declined continuously up to September, when it was 4.35%. In October, CPI inflation was 4.48%. Both core CPI inflation – the non-food, non-fuel component – and non-core inflation increased in October. The core component increased from 6% in September to 6.24% in October. The non-core component increased from 2.42% to 2.63%.

On the other hand, at 12.5%, WPI inflation, a measure for prices that producers face, was at its second-highest level in October since the new series began in January 2011. The highest level of WPI inflation in the new series was seen in May this year, when it was at 13.11%. It had, however, moderated to 10.66% by September before increasing again in October.

We don’t know what the political and economic impact of these announcements is going to be, but the Reserve Bank’s decision last week to keep rates steady could be an indicator.

Today, however, there will be a flurry of political activity. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually lay the foundation stone of Umiyadham Temple in Gurgaon, besides inaugurating the multi-crore temple complex at Kashi-Vishwanath.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will also visit Goa, where the Trinamool Congress wants to make significant inroads. The TMC is likely to witness several ‘high profile’ inductions with current NCP MLA Churchill Alemao widely tipped to switch sides. Over the coming weekend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too will be in the state to celebrate 60th year of Goa’s Liberation.

Tomorrow, December 14, is when controversial Narcotics Control Bureau official Sameer Wankhede will be summoned by the caste certificate scrutiny committee. Later this week, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will hold a rally in Dehradun to honour war veterans. There is also a nationwide bank strike expected on December 16. On December 18, PM Modi will lay the foundation of the 600 km Ganga Expressway, and India will host central Asian foreign ministers the same day.

Political activity in several states may also turn out to be interesting. As relations between the Kerala government and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan get strained further, chief minister Pinayari Vijayan will meet the latter on Monday to wrinkle out differences over appointments in state universities. The CBI court in Kochi has summoned former CPI(M) legislator KV Kunhiraman and four others in connection with the twin murder of two Youth Congress activists on Wednesday. The same day the Kerala high court will hear their anticipatory bail pleas.

In Jharkhand, the state’s five-day winter session begins today. This session will be crucial as the government is likely to introduce a Bill to check lynching in the state. The winter session of the Karnataka state legislature will also commence from today, and will go on till December 24. The results of the December 10 MLC polls for 25 seats of the upper house of the state legislature will be announced on December 14. The opposition is likely to corner the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government over charges of corruption and the contentious anti conversion laws among others.

In Tamil Nadu, the Madras high court will on December 13 continue to hear the case of compliance reports of various state and central government departments on action taken to protect the LGBTQIA+ community and the NCERT is also expected to file a status report on a controversy that was flagged by the court that the education department had rightly uploaded material to sensitise people on the community but it was taken down from its website within hours due to external pressure.

 

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