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Tuesday,22-June-2021

National News

Mamata Banerjee takes oath as Bengal CM 3rd time

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Mamata Banerjee after taking her oath as West Bengal CM for the third consecutive time in an unembellished function at the ‘Throne Room’ in Raj Bhavan in Kolkata on Wednesday morning announced that handling the Covid situation in the state and tackling post poll violence and the overall law and order situation in the state will be her priority.

The chief minister’s convoy left her residence at Harish Chatterjee Street popularly known as Kalighat at 10.10 a.m. and reached Raj Bhawan at 10.20 a.m. Like any other day she sat by the side of the driver but the usual scene of people standing by the side of the road to have a glimpse of the chief minister was missing because she had requested everybody to stay indoors. Though the curious eyes were absent but the entire road was decorated with blue-white — the colour combination branded by Trinamool Congress and large footballs — highlighting the party’s theme song — ‘Khela Hobe’ (We will play).

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who was escorted by her nephew Abhishek Banerjee and poll strategist Prashant Kishore reached Raj Bhawan and exchanged pleasantries with the guest that included Trinamool hierarchy Arup Biswas, Subrata Mukherjee, Partha Chatterjee, Subrata Bakshi and Firhad Hakim. Though opposition leaders and personalities like BJP state President Dilip Ghosh, Congress state President Adhir Ranjan Cowdhury, veteran leader Abdul Mannan, Left Front Chairman Biman Basu, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bahttacharjee and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly were invited but they were not present.

The oath taking ceremony started after Governor Jagdeep Dhankar entered the hall at 10.44 a.m. and his entry was followed by the national anthem. The ceremony started at 10.45 a.m. and lasted for seven minutes where Mamata Banerjee took her oath in Bengali.

Speaking to the media after that the chief minister said, “I shall start my work from today only. I shall go to Nanbanna and do a high-level meeting on the Covid situation in the state. We need to review the situation and several measures will be announced in the evening. We hope we will be able to control the situation as we did before”.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to all people and workers of all political parties to maintain peace and harmony. Bengal has a culture and we should not forget that. There are some sporadic incidents. I have got information but the administration was not in my hand for the last three months. I assure everybody to take necessary action and handle the situation strongly but before that I would like to appeal to everybody to stay in a peaceful manner,” she added.

Ghosh had told the media that he decided to quit the oath taking ceremony because a lot of the BJP workers are being killed all over the state in post poll violence. State Congress President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that he didn’t receive any invitation letter from the government.

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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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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