DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ● REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 TMC CHIEF TO TAKE OATH TOMORROW Have to defeat Covid first, am street fighter, all together can fight BJP in 2024: Mamata The day after: BJP says 6 workers killed, Centre asks for report ATRI MITRA Clashes in many places; Mamata calls for peace, BJP a dharna on May 5 KOLKATA, MAY 3 A DAY AFTER sweeping the Assembly elections with a landslide victory and returning to power for the third consecutive term, Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee said fighting and defeating Covid were her top priorities now, and demanded that the Centre provide free mass vaccination throughout the country. Banerjee tendered her resignation to West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, and is scheduled to take oath on May 5. Earlier in the day, she met the newly elected members at Trinamool Bhavan where she waselectedtheleaderof thelegislative party. BeforemeetingtheGovernor, Banerjee said, “Due to Covid, the party decided that I alone will takeoathonMay5.Otherministers will be sworn in after the newly-elected members take oath in the Legislative Assembly,” she said. Responding to a question if she would consolidate all antiBJP forces for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, during a press CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SANTANU CHOWDHURY KOLKATA, MAY 3 Mamata Banerjee shows a message sent purportedly by the Returning Officer of Nandigram seat to a CEO official, claiming a threat to his life, in Kolkata on Monday. Partha Paul KOLKATA, NEW DELHI, MAY 3 A DAY after sweeping the Assembly elections in West Bengal, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee said Monday that EVMs in Nandigram, where she lost to BJP's Suvendu Adhikari, were tampered with and that the Returning Officer (RO) had denied recounting fearing a Indian virus variant being sent to UK to check for vaccine test Covishield and Covaxin effective against B.1.617, says ex-CCMB chief PUNE, MAY 3 FOLLOWING A request from the United Kingdom, samples of the double-mutantIndian variantof the coronavirus, suspected to be fuelling the fierce second surge, are being sent to London to enable wider studies on the effectiveness of the existing vaccines against it. “Thesamplesof thevirusculture are in the process of being sent to the UK. In fact, an exchangeofsamplesofthevariants is happening. The first shipment should happen in the next few days,”RakeshMishra,whoretired as director of the Hyderabadbased Centre for Cellular and MolecularBiologythreedaysago, told The Indian Express. This particular variant, WORLD namedB.1.617,firstdiscoveredin the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in December last year, is the focus of global attention now, because of its possible role in triggering India’s second wave of infections. Scientists still do not blame this variant for the surge in India but admit that, at least, in some areas,likeVidarbha,itcouldhave been the primary reason for the rise in cases. Incidentally, this Indian strain, the WHO has said, has been detected in at least 17 countries including the US, UK and Singapore. In the last few days, several countries have put restrictions onIndiantravellers,worriedthat they might carry and spread this variant in their population as well. In a recent interview with CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR PAGE 12 INSIDE ‘BHISHMA PITAMAH’ OF COACHING INDUSTRY DEAD PAGE 10 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 threat to his life. Shesaidthatherpartywould approach the courts over the issue. However, when asked about the allegations, sources in the Election Commission (EC) told The Indian Express that a report submitted by the poll body's observer in West Bengal states that RO was indeed under pressure - but it came from the TMC to agree to a recount of all EVM votes in Nandigram. TheCommissionislearnedto haveaskedthestategovernment to provide police protection to the Nandigram RO Kishore Kumar Biswas. Responding to a question, a senior official said Biswas had not approached the EC for protection. “The elections are over, and the Model Code of Conduct has been lifted from all four states and one union territory. The EC has asked the West Bengal CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EXPRESS INTERVIEW ADHIR CHOWDHURY A vandalised BJP office at Nandigram on Monday. ANI MANOJ C G THE EDITORIAL PAGE ADHIR RANJAN Chowdhury, who led the Congress’s campaign in West Bengal, is the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha. When the group of 23 wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seekingreforms in the party, he strongly defended the leadership. In an interview to The Indian Express after its debacle in the recent Assembly elections, he admits need for a change in the party functioning. MAMATA’S FIRST TASK She must stop the violence. Keeping peace secures her win, helps fight pandemic PAGE 8 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY BJP ADMITS SHRILL PITCH, COVID HURT PAGE 7 NEW DELHI, MAY 3 What went so wrong for the Congress in West Bengal? Your vote share is down to 3%, you did not win even one seat. The TMC wanted to retain power and the BJP wanted to wrest power. We did not have suchstakes,ourfightwasforsurvival. The BJP left no stone unturned to communalise the political environment. They failed. But in some areas where Muslims are concentrated, like Murshidabad and Malda, polarisation was served. Polarisation aggravated after the Sitalkuchi firing in which four youths were CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘Murder’ remark: SC tells EC we can’t gag media, undermine courts EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 3 OBSERVATIONSMADEbyjudges while hearing cases are in the “larger public interest”, and the media cannot be stopped from reporting them, the Supreme Court said Monday. “We cannot in today’s times say that media will not report the discussions that take place in court,” a Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah told the Election Commission of India (ECI). The ECI had approached the court with a special leave petition against oral observations by the Madras High Court that the Commission “should be put on murder charges” for “not stopping political parties from wanton abuse of the Covid-19 protocol” in election rallies. In its plea, the Commission termedthe HC’s remarks as“uncalled for, blatantly disparaging andderogatory”.TheHighCourt, which is an independent constitutional authority, had made CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BMC to set up dedicated paediatric Covid care facility MUMBAI, MAY 3 THE BRIHANMUMBAI Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to set up a paediatric Covid care facility in the city, besides a crèche network for children whose parents are admitted in various care centres for treatment of the infection. The decision to set up the paediatric ward has been taken in the light of expert warnings that the third wave, likely to strike in July, may affect children harder than the first and second wave. According to the civic body officials, a dedicated paediatric Covidwardforchildrenbelow12 will come up, likely in the next two months, at NESCO Jumbo Covid Centre in Goregaon east. The facility will have about 700 beds, of which 300 will be for paediatric care. It will also in- INSIDE VACCINATION DRIVE FOR 45 AND ABOVE GROUP TO RESUME TODAY PAGE 3 clude a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) with a capacity of 25 beds each. Besides, 300 beds will be arranged in the paediatric ward and 50 in NICU and PICU for mothers whose children are being treated at the facility. Officials said this is likely to be India's first dedicated paediatric Covid facility. The decision was taken on Monday, after guardian minister Aaditya Thackeray met additional municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal along withother BMC officialsto discuss preparationof newCovidfacilitiesahead of the anticipated third wave. The BMC will consult with leading pediatricians before setting up the facilities, the officials added. Speaking to The Indian Express,Jaiswal,whoissupervisingthebed-enhancement work, said, “In the first wave, adults were the most infected. However, in the second wave, therewasaslightchangeinvirus behaviour as young adults and some children were infected, though the intensity was less. This was a new development or trend which came to our notice. Anticipating thechallenge in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E In public interest: ● Court THE COURT asked the EC not to take criticism otherwise because discussions are in the public interest, and faith in institutions is vital to democracy. It also underlined that High Courts were doing a very important job, and it could not demoralise them. Steroid use too early may be causing drop in oxygen: Guleria Crèches being planned for children of infected parents LAXMAN SINGH Anofficialin PPEoncounting day inGuwahatiSunday. AP KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, MAY 3 A relative of one of those who died in Chamarajanagar. PTI 23 die as Karnataka Covid facility runs out of oxygen EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE BENGALURU, MAY 3 TWENTY-THREE patients have diedataCovid-19treatmentfacilityinKarnataka’sChamarajanagar district in a 24-hour period from Sunday morning. While the families of the pa- tients have alleged they died because of a shortage of medical oxygen at the facility, the state government has claimed only three of thedeaths occurred due to this reason. Chamarajanagar district deputy commissioner Dr M R Ravi confirmed 23 deaths at the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WITH MANY patients in the current Covid-19 wave reporting a drop in oxygen saturation levels, in turn requiring hospitalisation, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Monday warned against indiscriminate prescription of steroids, as well as CT scans and tests, for those with mild symptoms. Talking about effective clinical management, Guleria, a member of the national task force on Covid-19, said hospitals were seeing mild patients who had consumed steroids, triggering virus replication and causing a drop in oxygen levels. With a rush in patients seeking medicalcare, Prime Minister CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 After 4 weeks, Covid cloud over IPL: 4 positive, several in isolation SHAMIK CHAKRABARTY NEPAL SUSPENDS FLIGHTS; TAIWAN BARS ARRIVALS FROM INDIA HOURS AFTER the poll results were declared in West Bengal, political violence erupted across the state Monday, with at least eight people reported to have been killed. The BJP said that six of its workerswereamongthosekilled and that “TMC goons” attacked and vandalised several of its offices,includingoneinNandigram where the party's candidate SuvenduAdhikaridefeatedChief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Adhikari's car was also attacked in Nandigram, the party said. The TMC rejected the allegation and said that one of its workers was killed in Burdwan. The newly formed Indian Secular Front (ISF), which had aligned with the Congress-Left Mamata, EC spar over Nandigram, both say poll official under threat ATRI MITRA & RITIKA CHOPRA AMITABH SINHA ‘Humiliating loss... need to hit streets, come out of Twitter, FB’ E X P L A I NE D Saysshesupports cooperationwith Centre,seeksfree vaccinesforall KOLKATA, MAY 3 AFTER HOLDING 29 matches across four weeks in the middle of a Covid surge that has caused havoc across the country, the IPL’s bio-bubble was breached with two Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)playersandtwonon-playing members of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) contingent testing positive. The development led to Monday night’s game between KKR and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Ahmedabad being postponed and a cloud of uncertainty over the ongoing T20 league that ends on May 30. With KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy and medium pacer Sandeep Warrier testing positive, cricketers from four other teams that played against the Kolkata side over the last 14 dayshavebeen askedtoself-isolate by their franchises. CSK is based in Delhi and scheduled to play Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday. OnMonday,anIPLmediaadvisory informed that Chakravarthy and Warrier have tested positive “in the third round of testing”. It also confirmed the rescheduling of the KKR versus RCB game. The BCCI, as of now, will go ahead with the tournament and atopofficialsaiditwon’tbepostponed or shifted to the UAE, where it was held last year during the pandemic. “More double-headers are an option,” the official said. Only last week, BCCI’s interim CEO Hemang Amin had assured all the teams that they were “totally safe” in the IPL bio- RCB vs Delhi Capitals in Ahmedabad on April 27. PTI bubble. According to a source, Chakravarthyleftthebio-bubble through the official channel to haveascan on hisshoulder,with permission from the BCCI and his franchise. “We will look into how players inside the bubble contracted the virus. Varun Chakravarthy might have got himself exposed during the scan, but we don’t wantto pinpointwithoutverifying the details. We will take necessary steps to address the situation,” said the BCCI official. Over the past 14 days, KKR hasplayedagainstDelhiCapitals, Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings and CSK. As per the IPL’s Covid19 guidelines, “close contact” of an affected person should “isolate for six days” and return “3 negative tests on Day 1, 3 and 6”. This puts a question mark over KKR’s matches, and will involve at least four other franchises as well. As for CSK, a BCCI official said the two members of the contingent,bothnon-playingstaff who stayed in the bubble, will “undergo another round of testing”, while further tests would be doneoneveryindividual,includ- ing players. As part of Covid safety measures, the IPL group league fixtures are being played in phases this year. Mumbai and Chennai hosted the first phase followed by Ahmedabad and Delhi, and then Kolkata and Bangalore. The playoffs and the final would be played in Ahmedabad. For the organisers, a tweak at this stage is difficult with the finalscheduled on May 30 andlittle room for an extension. The ICCWorldTestChampionshipfinal between India and New CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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