The BJP’s bid to corner the Ashok Gehlot government over the phone-tapping issue came a cropper, with an influential faction of the party led by former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje distancing itself from the entire development. The saffron party being ill-prepared was another reason why its attempt to pull Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was futile. On the basis of the Gehlot government’s reply to a question related to phone-tapping in the Assembly, the BJP sought to go after the CM and his government over this issue.
The BJP started targeting the state government over the phone tapping “scandal” only to find itself on the backfoot at the end of the day. The Ashok Gehlot government took the wind out of the BJP’s sail by simply explaining that the police have the right to tap the phones whenever it is required. While raising this issue, what the BJP lost sight of was that there are umpteen number of phone-tapping cases which are related to Gujarat where the saffron party is in power. The BJP realized that if the issue was lent a bigger proportion, then Gujarat will also figure in discussions, with the Congress looking ready to take it up in an aggressive manner. CM Ashok Gehlot has been alleging that all the people of the country are under fear of their phones being tapped. The BJP, which was seeking a CBI probe into the phone tapping scandal, lapsed into silence the moment it realized that the issue might open the floodgates of allegations against its governments as well. This is the reason why the deadlock ended in the Assembly.
In fact, the factionalism in the BJP is also behind its strategy getting weakened. The central leadership is finding itself hard-pressed to deal with the group fighting in BJP in Rajasthan. The central high command wanted to hand over the party charge in Rajasthan to Gajendra Singh Shekhawat at the time of Assembly polls. But it could not be possible due to all powerful Raje’s opposition. After the formation of the Gehlot government, BJP understandably continued its efforts to explore possibilities to gain power. Satish Puniya was given the reins of the party in the state. Shekhawat was appointed Union minister, and the central leadership tried to project him as the key face of the party in Rajasthan. Then emerged an audio tape when the Gehlot government was struggling to survive last year. It was alleged that the tape had the voice of Shekhawat. It was said that Shekhawat no longer commanded political clout after the tape incident and also after his name featured in a scam. But many feel that this is not the situation. Shekhawat continues to be an influential leader. The names of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Diya Kumari are also considered to be the front-runners for the main face of the BJP in Rajasthan.
But Shekhawat is said to top the list of front runners. This is the reason why Shekhawat targeted the state government over the phone-tapping issue by tweeting several comments. But the moment the phone tapping cases in Gujarat were referred to, the BJP relented. The party understood that the Congress would then demand a probe into audio tapes which were found to be containing a clip matching allegedly the voice of Shekhawat.
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YOGI ADITYANATH TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.“I got tested for Covid-19 after showing some symptoms. The report is positive and I am in self-isolation and following all medical instructions. I am doing my work virtually. All the functions of the state government are running normally. Whoever came in my contact, please get their Covid test done,” Adityanath tweeted in Hindi.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on Tuesday went into self-isolation after coming into contact with some officials who tested positive for Covid-19. Uttar Pradesh reported 18,021 new Covid-19 cases and 85 deaths on Tuesday. ANI
AS DELHI SEES 17K CASES, HEALTH MINISTER SAYS ENOUGH HOSPITAL BEDS FOR PATIENTS
As Delhi registered more than 17,000 fresh Covid-19 cases—another record high in the national capital—and almost double the 9,925 cases in Mumbai, Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said that there are enough hospital beds available for coronavirus patients.
Speaking to the media, Jain said, “Currently we have 13,000 beds and there is no shortage of ventilators. Patients from Delhi and other states are being admitted.” Elaborating on the arrangements that have been made, the Health Minister said the Central government has provided 1,100 beds and talks are going on to add more hospital beds.
He said that 286 out of 5,525 Covid Care Centres are occupied in Delhi. To set up more centres, banquets halls and hotels will be included soon, he added. The Health Minister said that there is no slowdown in Covid cases, the numbers of coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing and appealed to people to stay home. “The numbers of hospital beds (for availability) is being revised twice a day on the Delhi Corona App,” he said adding that people should visit hospitals only after going through the app.
NO COMPARISON BETWEEN MARKAZ AND KUMBH: UTTARAKHAND CM
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Tuesday said that there is no comparison between Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi and Kumbh in Haridwar as the former was held in a closed space while the latter is being held in a vast open area.
Briefing the mediapersons, Rawat said, “There is no comparison between Markaz and Kumbh. Markaz was in a closed hall. All the people slept in a single hall with close contacts. They shared blankets. On the contrary, there are 16 ghats in Kumbh. Not just Haridwar, Kumbh is spread from Rishikesh to Nilkanth. Devotees take bath in different ghats at different times.”
“The Akhadas also reach the ghats at different time slots. The peshwai of the Akhadas visit in a time-bound manner. Markaz was in a closed building but Kumbh is in a vast open area. Most importantly, Kumbh is at the bank of the River Ganga. Maa Ganga’s blessings are there in the flow. So, there should be no corona,” added the CM.
Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi is the headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat, a society of Sunni Islamic missionary movement. It caught national attention in March last year after the havoc Covid-19 infections caused among the people gathered in the building.
GUJARAT STARTS NATION’S FIRST DRIVE-THROUGH RT-PCR TESTS
Drive-through RT-PCR tests have been started at the GMDC ground in Ahmedabad for the first time in the country from Wednesday, under a joint venture between the municipal corporation and Neuberg Supratech Laboratory. Sample collection was started in the morning to reduce the line of people wanting to get tested.
Those who come in car for the test first scan the QR code provided by the laboratory in their mobile phone. After mobile phone scanning and registering of all information, the car goes to a collection center inside. The suspect’s sample is taken by a person wearing a PPE kit without getting out of the car. From 8 a.m., about 50 vehicles arrived for the test. People returned with samples in just 5 minutes. About 10 collection centres have been set up by Neuberg Supratech Laboratory. In addition, walking test centers have also been set up, where people can get tested.
According to the director, Neuberg Supratech Laboratory, Dr Sandeep Shah, there were lines of people in the laboratory, so Dr Rajiv Gupta has arranged for drive-through RT-PCR tests to reduce the lines, for which an entire collection center has been set up with Sufalam software along with Neuberg Supratech Laboratory.
TMC says EC acting on BJP’s instructions
Lists alleged instances of EC inaction against Modi-Shah.
Raising questions over the functioning of the Election Commission during the ongoing West Bengal polls, a delegation of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Wednesday met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and submitted a memorandum, listing several instances of “inaction” against BJP’s “violators” and “over action” against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The delegation was led by TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, who especially flew to Delhi to register the party’s grievances before the poll panel. Kalyan Banerjee, Dr Santanu Sen and Pratima Mandal were also part of the visiting TMC delegation.
“Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are seeking votes in the name of caste and religion. The Election Commission has not taken any action against the duo. We have now come here to formally file complaint and ask for action against them,” said Banerjee while briefing reporters outside the EC headquarters.
The memorandum submitted by the TMC leaders to the EC was divided into three parts, in which “illegality by EC” was highlighted in an orderly manner. The first part was inaction of the EC, wherein references to various “divisive speeches” made by PM Modi and Home Minister Shah were mentioned and the TMC emphasised how action was not taken against them despite their speeches being fit cases of poll code violations.
The second part spoke of “mild action” taken against mid-level BJP leaders, who flouted EC norms and that too after much hue and cry by the TMC.
The third part spoke of strong action by the EC against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who, according to the TMC, only appealed to female voters to lodge protests against those who hinder them from casting votes.
“It is apparent that the EC is acting in a partisan manner, absolutely in favour of the BJP or on its instructions, that is pre announced by the BJP,” said the memorandum. Since the onset of elections in West Bengal, the TMC has been accusing the BJP of misusing central agencies such as ED, CBI, EC and paramilitary forces.
RAJASTHAN ORDERS 6 PM TO 6 AM CURFEW STARTING FRIDAY
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government on Wednesday night announced a 12-hour daily curfew—from 6 pm to 6 am—starting Friday, across all cities, as part of a series of measures to combat a worrying spike in Covid cases. The curfew will be in effect till the end of the month.
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