DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2021, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `4.00 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 antiBJPforces forthe Lok Sabha electionsin2024,duringapressconferenceatherKalighatresidence, the Trinamool chief said, “I am a street fighter. All I can do is give a boost to the people to fight together in 2024. I think, all together,wecanfightthebattlefor 2024. But right now we have to fightCovid-19.Wehavetodefeat it first. Then we can discuss all this. We can hold a Brigade rally where leaders from other states will be called.” After a bitter and fierce election battle where Mamata took ontheBJP,whosechargewasled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘Humiliating loss... need to hit streets, come out of Twitter, FB’ 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 HOURS AFTER the poll results were declared in West Bengal, political violenceerupted 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 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Mamata, EC spar over Nandigram, both say poll official under threat ATRI MITRA & RITIKA CHOPRA 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 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 seeking reforms 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 6 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY BJP ADMITS SHRILL PITCH, COVID HURT PAGE 9 Indian virus variant being sent to UK to check for vaccine test 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 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 AnofficialinPPEoncounting dayinGuwahati Sunday. AP 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 Covishield and Covaxin effective against B.1.617, says ex-CCMB chief ‘Murder’ remark: SC tells EC we can’t gag media, undermine courts E X P L A I NE D Saysshesupports cooperationwith Centre,seeksfree vaccinesforall KAUNAIN SHERIFF M AMITABH SINHA 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, 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. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 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 threeof thedeathsoccurred due to this reason. Chamarajanagar district deputy commissioner Dr M R Ravi confirmed 23 deaths at the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Gujarat used 78% of its Covid test capacity between April 1 & 23: Govt affidavit in HC PAGE 1 ANCHOR SOHINI GHOSH & RITU SHARMA AHMEDABAD, MAY 3 ACROSS 99 testing laboratories, Gujarathasacapacitytoconduct 72,610 Covid tests, including RTPCR, TrueNat and CBNAAT, but average 78 per cent is being utilised daily, analysis of data from an affidavit filed by the state government before the Between April 1 and 23, only 13.14 lakh (39 per cent) of the total 33.62 lakh tests conducted were RT-PCR. Express Gujarat High Court has found. Average 57,141 RT-PCR tests were donedaily fromApril 1-23, it stated. Overall testing, which includesRT-PCRandrapid antigen tests, dipped considerably since April 23 when over 1.89 lakh samples were tested. On May 2, the state did only 1.37 lakh tests. As per the affidavit, from April 1-23, when 98 RT-PCR laboratories were operational, only 39 per cent (or 13.14 lakh) of the 33.62 lakh tests conducted were RT-PCR. Had the full capacity beenutilisedeachday,16.47lakh RT-PCR, TrueNAT and CBNAAT testscouldhavebeenconducted, it said. Gujarat,whichhasseencases cross six lakh, of which over two lakh were added in April, has reported a positivity rate ranging from2.4percenttoovernineper cent this month. AmongtheissuesthattheHC pulled up the Gujarat government for were low testing and low proportion of RT-PCR tests. Thishasalsobeenhighlightedby theCentreinmultiplecommunications to the state government. CONTINUED ON PAGE 8 WITHMANY patientsinthecurrent Covid-19 wave reporting a drop in oxygen saturation levels, inturnrequiringhospitalisation, 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 medical care, PrimeMinister CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD NEPAL SUSPENDS FLIGHTS; TAIWAN BARS ARRIVALS FROM INDIA PAGE 12 INSIDE ‘BHISHMA PITAMAH’ OF COACHING INDUSTRY DEAD PAGE 10 Ahmedabad
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