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No lavish birthday for BSP Chief Mayawati this year




There will be no celebrations, no cake-cutting and no lavish lunch at the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) office this year to mark the 65th birthday of party president Mayawati.

Party sources said that Mayawati had decided not to celebrate her birthday this year due to several reasons –her father’s demise in November last year, Covid pandemic and farmers’ protest.

She has asked the party workers to observe January 15 as a day of austerity and distribute clothes and blankets among the poor.

Workers have been asked to distribute blankets, clothes and, if possible, to give financial aid to those in need. Senior party members will be overseeing the functions in various districts.

“This year will mark a huge change from previous years when Mayawati’s birthday was celebrated in a huge way. Cakes were cut in every district and the weight of the cakes matched her age,” said a party functionary.

This year, Mayawati is unlikely to visit Lucknow on her birthday.

“So far, we have not been informed of her programme to visit Lucknow. Probably, she will remain in Delhi on her birthday,” the functionary said.

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Narendra Modi condoles death of 6 persons in Rajasthan bus accident




Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed grief over the death of six persons in a bus accident in Rajasthan’s Jalore district.

A total of six persons were killed and seven injured when a bus caught fire after coming in contact with a 11,000 volt high tension wire, police said on Sunday.

Taking to Twitter, the Prime Minister expressed grief and offered condolences to the bereaved families, saying “the news of a bus accident in Jalore, Rajasthan, has caused immense grief. Many people have lost their lives in this accident.

“I express my condolences to the family members and wish the injured well soon,” said the Prime Minister.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot also expressed grief.

“Deeply saddened by the loss of lives in an unfortunate bus accident near Maheshpura, Jalore in which 6 people have lost lives and several others have been injured. My heartfelt condolences to bereaved families, may God give them strength to bear this loss. May those injured recover soon,” Gehlot tweeted.

In a tweet, Congress leader Sachin Pilot Pilot said, “The news of the death of many people due to electric current in a bus in Maheshpura village in Jalore district is very sad and painful. My deepest condolences to the families of the dead. I pray to God for the peace of the departed souls and for the speedy recovery of the injured.”

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I will also get vaccinated against coronavirus: Tamil Nadu CM



K. Palaniswami. (File Photo: IANS)

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Saturday said he too will get a vaccine shot against the Coronavirus.

Launching the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the state at Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai, Palaniswami told reporters that he too will get vaccinated against Coronavirus and added that the State had received 556,500 doses of vaccines — 536,500 doses of Covishield and 20,000 doses of Covaxin.

Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar and others were also present at the hospital.

The first vaccine shot was given to K. Senthil, State President of Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association.

Both the vaccines — Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Covaxin developed and manufactured by Bharat Biotech — will be used in the state.

Palaniswami said 28 days after the first shot, a second vaccine dose will be administered and one has to be very careful for the next 42 days after which immunity against coronavirus will develop.

When pointed out some states not using Covaxin, Palaniswami said the permission to the vaccine was given by the central government after detailed studies.

Palaniswami said people may have some initial apprehension about the vaccine but when the doctors themselves come forward to take the shot people’s views would undergo a change.

The Chief Minister also said the government would consider regularising the about 12,000 coronavirus frontline workers.

At the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, its Dean Therani Rajan took the first vaccine jab.

“I had opted for Covaxin to create confidence in the people as the number of people who had registered for this vaccine was less as compared to Covishield,” Rajan told IANS.

He said 52 persons had registered for Covishield while it was 30 for Covaxin.

“Except for the slight pain when the needle poked the skin, I have no other problem,” Rajan said.

In Tamil Nadu, the immunization exercise will be performed at 166 centres — government and private hospitals.

At Apollo Hospitals here, the Chairman of the Apollo Hospitals Pratap C. Reddy got himself vaccinated. The hospital is one of the vaccination centres in the state.

A total of 100 people will be vaccinated at each centre in the coming days.

Till Friday, a total of 8,29,573 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the state. A total of 12,251 persons have lost their lives due to the virus.

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Punjab CM kicks off process to inoculate 1.74 lakh people




Punjab joined the rest of the country in the historic roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday with five healthcare workers getting the jab in the presence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who virtually launched the process to inoculate 1.74 lakh people in the state in the first phase.

Sandeep Singh, Charan Kamal and Dimple Dhaliwal Srivastva, all doctors, computer operator Asha Yadav and Class IV employee Surjit Singh were administered the first dose of Covishield vaccine in the presence of the Chief Minister at the Civil Hospital in Mohali near here.

Amarinder Singh also gifted saplings to these five healthcare workers posted at the Civil Hospital as a token of appreciation.

Interacting with the media, the Chief Minister said that it was his desire to get vaccinated first, but in accordance with the directives of the government of India, only healthcare workers would be covered in the first phase.

“I would definitely get myself vaccinated in the next phase,” said Amarinder Singh.

The Chief Minister said the vaccine would be administered to the healthcare workers first, followed by the army and police personnel, in line with the guidelines of the government of India.

He said he had written to the Prime Minister for permission for free distribution of vaccine among the people belonging to the lower income groups.

In response to a query on vaccine safety, the Chief Minister said the vaccines would not have been approved unless the scientists were sure of their safety.

He said that around the world, vaccines have been taken by many eminent personalities, including Queen Elizabeth of the UK who is 93-year-old, and her husband who is 99, without showing any side-effects.

Punjab Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that all arrangements have been put in place for a smooth vaccination drive, including online portal for registration, operationalisation of 366 sites for administering the dose etc.

For the initial stage, as many as 408 vaccination teams have been constituted, while 59 teams are working to inoculate the healthcare workers, he added.

Sidhu also said that 729 cold chain points have been established in the state for adequate storage of vials at the desired temperature.

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