DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA Election Commission divided: One EC objects to panel asking court for gag order on media Affidavit filed in Madras HC and SLP in SC don’t have unanimous approval THEElectionCommission(EC)is splitdownthemiddleoveritsresponse to the censure by the Madras High Court on its role in conducting elections during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Indian Express has learned that the pollpanel’s plea in the Madras High Court to gag the media from reporting oral CEC Sushil Chandra (left) and EC Rajiv Kumar. Express observations of judges and its subsequent Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court’s “murder-charges” remark were not unanimously approved by the Commission. One of the Election Commissioners, it is learnt, stronglyobjectedtothecontents of the affidavit filed in Madras HC and the SLP. He is said to have advised againstcallingforagagonthemedia. His feedback,being currently discussed by several officials within the EC, was overruled. AfterSunilArora’sretirement SOFI AHSAN NEW DELHI, MAY 4 VACCINATION RESUMES FOR 45-PLUS GROUP AMID CHAOS PAGE 3 Under CBI lens, 6 firms owned by Maharashtra former minister’s sons Oneof themisinaKolkatabuilding knowntohouseshellcompanies MUMBAI, MAY 4 A KOLKATA-based company is among over half-a-dozen firms owned by the two sons of Anil Deshmukh, former home minister of Maharashtra, that have come under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), sources have told The Indian Express. The Kolkata firm has been operating from an address that’s aknownhotspotof shellcompanies, the sources added. The CBI is investigating Deshmukh for corruption and Anil Deshmukh is under probe for corruption alleged “attempt to obtain undue advantage for improper and dishonest performance of the public duty”. The agency is also probing Deshmukh for exercising “undue influence” over transfers, postings of police officials in the state and influencing theperformanceof officialsasalleged by former Mumbai Police CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Vaccines falling short, state Health Minister’s Jalna got extra doses TABASSUM BARNAGARWALA MUMBAI, MAY 4 FROMAPRIL7to9,whenseveral districts in Maharashtra had to shutdowntheirvaccinationcentres on account of shortage of vaccines, Jalna stood out, with a surplus that would last at least 10 more days. HometoMaharashtraHealth Minister Rajesh Tope, Jalna district received 60,000 vaccine doses more than its allotment of 17,000 when fresh supplies of 26.77 lakh doses were received by the state from the Centre on March31--anddistributedtoall districts. Sources said Tope called Health Department officials and asked them to increase the allocation to his district to 77,000 PAGE 1 ANCHOR as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on April 12, the threemember Commissionhas Sushil Chandra as CEC and Rajiv Kumar as Election Commissioner. The position of the third EC is vacant. The poll watchdog has been under a harsh glare over its handling of the Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry with parties, mainly the Trinamool Congress, accusing it of being biased in favour of BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY NADDA RUSHES TO STATE Death toll 14 in Bengal violence, PM dials Gov, Mamata calls for action Rumours of rape, molestation in Birbhum false, says SP CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Delhi HC slams Centre on oxygen: Do you live in ivory towers? INSIDE KHUSHBOO NARAYAN `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 MADRAS HIGH COURT CENSURE NEW DELHI, MAY 4 REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES RITIKA CHOPRA ● ASKING why contempt action should not be initiated against it for not complying with judicial orders on oxygen supply to the Capital, the Delhi High Court Tuesday told the Centre that it mightchooseto“digitsheadlike an ostrich in the sand”, but the court will not. Noting that people are dying, the HC asked the government: “Are you living in ivory towers?” As the Centre said that it had submitted an affidavit with data to the Supreme Court on Delhi’s requirement of oxygen, a Division Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, addressing Additional Solicitor General AishwaryaBhatiandASGChetan Sharma said: “Therefore the Central government is going to quibble about these little things soastojustifynotsupplyingoxygen to Delhi and let people die? You are not even giving 500 MT (metric tonnes, of oxygen). While we are going on with the hearing, there are several hospitals and nursing homes saying they are not getting oxygen. Where do you think all that oxygen is going if it’s sufficient?” It continued, “You are part of this city, you know what is happening. You do not know? Are you living in ivory towers? Where are you living? You may choose to dig your head like an ostrich in the sand but we will CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD Health Minister Rajesh Tope doses. Tope told The Indian Express “no particular district was preferred” and that if Jalna got more stocks, this was done “to encourage more vaccination”. “We distributed doses to primary health centres and sub centres to increase vaccination,” the minister said, noting that against the state average of 27% of the target population receiving vaccinations, Jalna had accomplished just 18.1% at the time. But this went against both the criteria on which the Maharashtra public health CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 For lack of oxygen, units making oxygen cylinders shut down RITU SARIN BJP national president J P Nadda meets the family of party worker Abhijit Sarkar who was killed in post-election violence in Kolkata on Tuesday. ANI NEW DELHI, MAY 4 IT SEEMS like a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing. The ban on industrial oxygen has had a significant fallout: over the past 10 days, production has come to a halt in the country’s largest oxygen cylinder manufacturing units, mostly in Gandhidham, Gujarat. Reason: these cylindermanufacturing units were included in the ban on use of industrial oxygen and despite a Ministry of Home Affairs “clarification” on April 27 that liquid oxygen should be supplied to oxygen-cylinder manufacturers, the ban is yet to be lifted. Representatives of the All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association (AIIGMA) said that the clutch of large units located in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Gandhidham,Kutch,accountfor over two-thirds of the country’s oxygencylinderproduction,and the continuing ban was only making the oxygen cylinder Banlifted but only on paper HOME MINISTRY clarified April 27 that liquid oxygen should be supplied to oxygen-cylinder manufacturers. But the government in Gujarat, where the manufacturing hub is, has not yet implemented it. Units said it’s a “desperate” situation. shortage more acute. Speaking to The Indian Express, AIIGMA president Saket Tiku said: “During the second wave of the Covid crisis, the demand of oxygen in the state of Gujarat has shot up between 1,200-1,500 metric tonnes (MT) a day. And the collective requirementof thecylinderplantsinthe state is minuscule in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RAVIK BHATTACHARYA & ATRI MITRA KOLKATA, SOUTH 24 PARGANAS, MAY 4 CHIEFMINISTER-ELECTMamata Banerjee held an emergency meeting on Tuesday with top state officials seeking an immediate end to the post-poll violencethathasclaimedatleast14 lives in two days. Sources said Banerjee instructed that the violence, involving the TMC and BJP, should end before she gets sworn in for a third time on Wednesday, and that if needed, arrests be made to restore calm. The Centre has mounted pressure on the TMC government over the incidents, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling up Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and the Union Home Ministry seeking a report from its state counterpart. BJP president J P Nadda arrived in Bengal on Tuesday and met families of some of the victims. A senior police official said, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 16 THE EDITORIAL PAGE DELHI’SCOVID PUZZLE BY NEELKANTH MISHRA PAGE 10 LIZ MATHEW & MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, MAY 4 CALLING UPON Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee to play the role of the Chief Ministeroftheentirestateandnot just of her party, the BJP on Tuesday sought stringent moves toendtheviolenceinWestBengal after a bitterly fought, highly polarised election campaign. Sources said the central BJP leadership, worried that the violence could possibly force its cadretoswitchrankstotheTMC, is trying to pull out all the stops —fromPrimeMinisterNarendra Modi dialling West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar and expressing serious anguish to BJP president J P Nadda rushing to the state to meet families of workers killedand injured inthe clashes. On Tuesday, the party also approached the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the violence. The BJP’s offensive against the TMC had support from the CPI(M) and the Congress, which condemned the attacks and accused the ruling party of “unleashing violence”. Although neither party has any presence in the new West Bengal Assembly, their lending weight to the campaign is significant given how Banerjee had talked of a united front against the BJP. Calling the situation alarming and an attempt to “scare” party workers, BJP general secretary and West Bengal incharge Kailash Vijayvargiya told The Indian Express, “What we CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Odisha scrambles to Covid-hit IPL put on hold, BCCI cope as Chhattisgarh eyes a window after World T20 surge hits rural districts 2 PLAYERS TEST POSITIVE, TAKING TOTAL AFFECTED TO 6 SHAMIK CHAKRABARTY & DEVENDRA PANDEY FOREIGN MINISTERS OF G7 MEET AFTER PANDEMIC PAUSE AFTER 27 YEARS OF MARRIAGE, BILL AND MELINDA GATES SAY THEY’RE DIVORCING State violence to scare our workers, says BJP; gets support from Cong, CPM AISHWARYA MOHANTY BHUBANESWAR, MAY 4 KOLKATA, MUMBAI MAY 4 THE INDIAN cricket board is exploringthe possibilityof holding the remaining 31 matches of the IPL after the World T20 in October-Novemberfollowingits decision to put the ongoing T20 tournament on hold due to a string of Covid cases, The Indian Express has learnt. The decision to indefinitely postpone the IPL was announced by the BCCI after Sunrisers Hyderabad wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals spinner Amit Mishra Tuesday became the latest to test positive following two players of Kolkata Knight Riders A body scanner at the entrance to Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi being dismantled on Tuesday. AP and two non-playing staff of Chennai Super Kings. “We are looking to conduct the remaining IPL matches after we host the World T20 in October-November. If all goes well,wewillhostboththeWorld CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A23-YEAR-OLDspentthreedays under a banyan tree outside his village in Kalahandi because there was no provision for isolation in his small, thatchedhome. A 48-year-old struggled for 48 hours to save his mother’s life in Bargarh but failed for want of an official letter. At a hospital in Jharsuguda, a security guard is the key contact for families outside and Covid patients inside. Thesesnapshotsfromthelast five days tell the story of how rural districts on Odisha’s western borderwithChhattisgarh,which has been ravaged by the virus, havestruggledtocombatthesecondwavewithlimitedresources Health workers in a village in Nuapada district. Express and inadequate manpower. On Tuesday, Odisha decided to set up checkposts in the southern districts bordering Andhra Pradesh and Telangana following reports of a new virulent variant. It said that all travellers from the two states via road or rail have to undergo CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 The officer and the politician, combative and uncompromising COOMI KAPOOR NEW DELHI, MAY 4 JAGMOHAN, who passed away Tuesday at 93, was a rare exception in Indian politics who changed political masters, but never his core beliefs. Always referred to simply by his first name Jagmohan — few were aware of his surname Malhotra — the able, innovative, but high-handed and combative civil servant turned politician, succeeded in making a radical switch from the Congress to the BJP, without in any way compromising on his thinking or tough style. Two of his main backers, Sanjay Gandhi and the RSS, both appreciated these qualities and he was decorated with a string of Padma awards by different governments, including the Padma Vibhushan in 2016. Jagmohancametothenotice of Sanjay Gandhi in the early 1970s when he was appointed Vice Chairperson of Delhi Development Authority and changed the face of the capital, innovating schemes for land appropriation and beautification projects. He was a close lieutenant of Sanjay’s during the Emergency, and earned notori- ety for overseeing the ruthless slum demolition drives, particularly the devastating evacuation and demolition of Turkman Gate in 1976. He remained unapologetic about the mass, overnight displacements, insisting that his squatter victims were major beneficiaries in the long run. When Indira Gandhi came back to power in 1980, he was appointed the Lt Governor of Delhi. Even Rajiv Gandhi appreciated his dynamism and appointed him to help plan and organise the Delhi Asian Games. From 1984 to 1989, he was Governor of Jammu and JAGMOHAN 1 9 2 7-2 0 2 1 Kashmir.Thiswasaperiodwhen militancy in the Valley was exploding. Jagmohantried to crack down on law and order and was accused of using extra-legal methods to engineer defections and displace Farooq Abdullah as Chief Minister so that G M Sayed couldbeinstalledinhisplace.All along, he was of the firm belief that Article 370 was an obstacle in enforcing New Delhi’s writ in the troubled border state. He believed that regional parties were complicit in the deteriorating law and order situationinKashmir.Itwasduringhis brief second tenure as Governor in 1990, that the Kashmiri Pandits began their exodus from the Valley. His critics charged thathewasunabletoprotectthe Pandits from Islamic militants and orchestrated their departure. On the other hand, the Hindus were grateful to him for saving their lives. Always combative and convinced about the righteousness of his causes, he wrote half a dozen books spelling out his position on different topics, including My Frozen Turbulence, giving his version of his role in Kashmir. Other books include Rebuilding Shahjanabad and Soul and Structure of Governance in India. During the Emergency, Jagmohan was perceived as being anti-minority because he famously remarked during the Turkman Gate evacuation that he had no intention of permitting the displaced persons to be re-located together, stating bluntly: “I did not destroy one Pakistan to create another.’’ It was this, compounded with his strong view that Kashmir should be fully integratedwithIndia,whichbrought him to the notice of the RSS. Although the RSS initially opposed his efforts to take over the Vaishno Devi temple board administration and undertake a massive clean-up, they came to applaud his efforts in bringing order and accountability in the running of the renowned shrine and organising a system for ensuring a smooth, comfortable passage for tens of thousands of pilgrims annually. With the backing of the RSS, Jagmohan joined the BJP, and was made a minister in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinets. He served ably as Minister for Urban Development, Tourism and Communication. Until ill health confined him to his bed in his last years, Jagmohan lived a very CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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