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Tuesday,22-June-2021

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Congress-called Odisha shutdown finds support

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Daily life was affected at several places as the Odisha unit of Congress on Monday observed statewide shutdown in protest against fuel price hike and other issues including law and order problem.

Vehicular traffic has been disrupted in many parts of the state as the party workers resorted to road blockade during the six-hour (7 a.m. to 1 p.m.) bandh.

While educational institutions remained closed following the shutdown, the shops and other business establishments also remained closed in several places in the state.

In Bhubaneswar, the party workers led by MLA Sura Routray resorted to rail blockade at Bhubaneswar railway station.

Hundreds of buses and heavy vehicles are lined up on the National Highway-16 following the shutdown. Passengers were seen stranded at the railway stations and bus stops.

However, emergency vehicles including ambulance, milk van, and marriage party vehicles were allowed.

“Both the Centre and the state government are imposing unreasonable taxes on fuel, leading to a steep hike in their prices which in turn lead to an increase in the prices of other essential commodities,” said Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik.

He said the Narendra Modi government is not paying any heed to the plights of poor and middle-class.

“I thank the people of Odisha for supporting the bandh,” he added.

State Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said the rising fuel price is affecting the common people.

Due to the rising fuel price, several sectors have been impacted including the transport sector. Besides, it will impact the price of essential commodities, said the Minister.

On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decried the bandh call by the Congress.

“The Congress party is observing the shutdown for its existence in the state. The crude oil is being imported from other countries. Once Goods and Service Tax is implemented, the fuel price will decrease,” said BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi.

National News

Uniform assessment policy for all Class 12 boards not possible: Centre

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The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that there cannot be any uniform assessment policy for all board examinations, which includes those of the CBSE, the ICSE and the state boards.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, told a bench headed by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar that all boards are autonomous bodies, and empowered to formulate their schemes in connection with the assessment of Class 12 students.

He told the top court that the life of each student is protected by Article 21 of the Constitution, and it is not safe or prudent to have a written exam amid the ongoing pandemic. “Students cannot be compelled to take examination during the pandemic. For example, if something happens to a student, then his/her parents will sue the board,” Venugopal said.

The AG said this situation has arisen for first time and the boards had to innovate and think of the students’ best interest. He added that 13 experts have put their heads together and has been approved by the CBSE.

The Centre also informed the top court that students will be given an option, that is, if they are not satisfied with the assessment, then they can opt for the exam.

The CBSE on Monday informed the Supreme Court the optional examinations for Class 12 students, unsatisfied with its assessment criteria, would be held between August 15 to September 15. The exams would be conducted if the environment is conducive against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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National News

Smriti Irani slams Rahul Gandhi, calls him ‘Gyani Baba’

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Mocking former Congress President Rahul Gandhi as ‘Gyani Baba’ (wise monk), Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday said he needs to introspect why his party-ruled states have failed poorly in the Covid management.

In a series of tweets after Rahul Gandhi’s press conference, Irani said, “While Gyani Baba is dishing out pearls of wisdom to the Honourable Prime Minister, he may like to introspect on the following – Where did the second wave start? – Congress ruled states. Which states had a huge percentage of India’s cases and deaths? – Congress ruled states.”

In another tweet, she said, “State with the highest case fatality rate – Congress ruled state. States with maximum noise against vaccines creating vaccine hesitancy – Congress ruled states. States which had an astronomical positivity rate during the second wave – Congress ruled states.”

She pointed out that it was the Congress-ruled states that demanded decentralisation of vaccine procurement and later did a u-turn.

“Who demanded decentralization & then did a u-turn?- Congress. Which states did the worst in terms of vaccination yesterday even as the country created a world record? – Congress ruled states. It is darkness under the lamp,” she said.

National in-charge of BJP’s Information and Technology department, Amit Malviya tweeted, “Before Rahul Gandhi pontificates on Covid management, notwithstanding that Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra, all Congress ruled, have been laggards, he should let us know if he has got himself vaccinated, since Congress actively promoted vaccine hesitancy.”

Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi released a white paper on the Centre’s Covid management and said, “The idea is to provide insights and information so that avoidable deaths can be prevented in the coming waves.”

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AIMIM invites applications for 2022 polls in Uttar Pradesh

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The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has started inviting applications from candidates willing to contest the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The application will be in the prescribed form and will also include a loyalty contract.

The ‘loyalty contract’ says that the applicant will campaign for the party in the election, working honestly for the party even in the event of not getting the ticket.

The applicants will also have to pay an application fee of Rs 10,000 along with the form.

AIMIM state president Shaukat Ali said, “We have made up our mind to contest on 100 Muslim majority seats in Uttar Pradesh and there has also been a discussion about a possible alliance with like-minded parties. Although no final decision has been taken on this yet, the doors of both SP and BSP are open for us.”

He said that AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi will take the final decision on the ticket distribution, for which he will visit the state soon.

In the recent panchayat polls in UP, AIMIM has done well in Akhilesh Yadav’s constituency Azamgarh and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s hometown Prayagraj.

Meanwhile in 2015, the AIMIM had won four seats in the zila panchayat polls. The rise in the graph of AIMIM in the UP panchayat elections has boosted the morale of the party workers.

Earlier in 2017, AIMIM had fielded its candidates on 38 seats in the assembly elections but did not win a single seat.

The party got 2,05,232 votes in entire Uttar Pradesh, which was only 0.2 per cent of the total votes polled.

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