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GUJARAT STARTS NATION’S FIRST DRIVE-THROUGH RT-PCR TESTS

Abhijit Bhatt

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Corona

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.

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HIGH-PROFILE DEFECTIONS LEAVE CONGRESS HOLLOW

Some Congress leaders who want to be unmanned feel that the TMC may emerge as a challenge for the Congress’s opposition space and this ruckus is helping the BJP.

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The defection of leaders from the Indian National Congress (INC) has shaken the grand-old party and has led to speculation among the workers about the threat to its opposition space in view of the Trinamool Congress trying to grab it. In the last week, leaders from Meghalaya, Bihar, Haryana, and Goa joined the TMC which is trying to expand its national footprints at the cost of the Congress party. Within the last few days, Kriti Azad (a three-term Lok Sabha member from Bihar), Ashok Tanwar (former Haryana Congress chief and Lok Sabha member) and 12 Member of Legislative Assembly from Meghalaya under the leadership of former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Congress Legislature Party leader Mukul M. Sangma has left the Congress.

The Congress circles in New Delhi were abuzz that the Congress high command tried hard to bury differences in the Meghalaya unit but the pressure of high command did not yield the desired results. In November itself, the high command had called former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Congress Legislature Party leader Mukul M. Sangma and state Congress head Vincent H. Pala to the national capital to bury the hatchet.

Some Congress leaders who want to be unmanned feel that the TMC may emerge as a challenge for the Congress’s opposition space and this ruckus is helping the BJP by these moves.

However, many party leaders feel that the defection would not affect the party. Talking to The Daily Guardian, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Rajya Sabha member, and senior Congress leader said, “In North-East we all know that the leaders leave the struggling party. As far as the TMC is concerned it is a Bengal-based regional party, it has no impact elsewhere. We are a national party and the bypoll results have shown that we are improving and challenging the BJP.” Ground-level Congress workers echo the same sentiment.

Shams Shahnawaz, youth Congress spokesperson who had been actively working for the party said, “ Indian National Congress is a very large party. Those who were leaving the party didn’t want to struggle, they wanted everything on a platter. The party gave them everything when it was in power. Kriti Azad was given major responsibility in Delhi and Mukul Sangma was made CM. But, now when the time to struggle has arrived, they have shown their real face. I would argue it’s good for the party as new leaders will emerge through struggle and raising people’s issues.”

After joining the TMC, former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma said that the Congress has failed to make any marks as the “main opposition” of the country. He added, “Congress has failed to play the role of the main opposition party in the country. We have decided to merge with the Trinamool Congress, a complete sense of commitment towards serving the people has brought us to take this decision. In the 2018 Assembly elections, we were confident of forming the government but we could not. Again, post the election, there were activities to poach our members. This group of 17 collectively demonstrated our commitment…the commitment towards the state has superseded everything else… We are failing in our duty as far as the role of the opposition is concerned,”.

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UPTET CANCELLED BECAUSE OF PAPER LEAK, EXAM TO BE HELD NEXT MONTH

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The Uttar Pradesh Teacher Eligibility Test (UPTET) 2021 examination scheduled to be held on Sunday was cancelled due to an alleged paper leak. Prashant Kumar, Additional Director General (ADG), Law and Order said that dozens of suspects were detained by the Special Task Force (STF) in the paper leak case. “UPTET 2021 examination scheduled to be held today stands cancelled due to alleged paper leak. Dozens of suspects were detained by STF in the paper leak case, the investigation is on. Uttar Pradesh government will conduct the exam again within a month,” he said.

Basic Education Minister Dr Satish Dwivedi said that the state government will conduct the exam again within a month and the paper leak case will be investigated by the STF.

“UPTET 2021 examination has been cancelled following information of paper leak. UP government will conduct the exam again within a month. Investigation to be conducted by UP STF,” Dwivedi said.

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MAHA VIKAS AGHADI IS ‘MAHA VISHWASGHATI AGHADI SARKAR’, SAYS JAVADEKAR

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Prakash Javadekar

Former Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday hit out at the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on the completion of its two years in office and called it the ‘Maha Vishwasghati Aghadi Sarkar’ (an unfaithful government), adding that the people of Maharashtra had given their mandate to Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in the 2019 assembly polls but the Shiv Sena chief chose to join hands with rival NCP and Congress only to become the chief minister of “the most corrupt” dispensation in the state.

Addressing a press conference here, Javadekar said, “Uddhav Thackeray government has completed two years today. We have not seen a more corrupt, opportunist and anti-people government than this in the state. They have named themselves Maha Vikas Aghadi, I want to name it Maha Vishwasghati Aghadi. They have betrayed the people and have done the criminalisation of politics.” Javadekar slammed Thackeray for “betraying” the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and said that he is an “accidental” chief minister.

“Uddhav Thackeray is an accidental chief minister. He has become the chief minister by betrayal. The voters had voted for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But he betrayed and stitched an alliance with the anti-Modi people,” he said.

“There is a prominent minister whose home is raided by the Income Tax Department. More than Rs 1,000 crore is discovered as ‘benami property’. Another minister from the NCP, he was arrested because he had attacked a common man whistleblower.”

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SUKHBIR ANNOUNCES FOUR MORE CANDIDATES

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The Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal has announced four more candidates of the party for 2022 Assembly Elections.

Disclosing this SAD Senior Vice President Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said that Badal has announced Nusrat Ali Khan as party candidate from Malerkotla. He said that the name of previously announced candidate Yunas Mohammad stands withdrawn.

He further said that Badal has announced Gur Iqbal Singh Mahal as party candidate from Qadiana, Rajanbir Singh from Sri Hargobindpur Sahib and Rohit Vohra as party candidate from Ferozepur. He said that with this announcement the party has now announced a total of 87 candidates.

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UPSC ASPIRANTS SIT ON INDEFINITE STRIKE, DEMAND EXTRA ATTEMPT

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Demanding an extra attempt to appear for the exam, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Civil Services aspirants sat an indefinite agitation at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Sunday.

The agitating students said they need an extra attempt to appear for the UPSC exam as their preparations were affected due to COVID-19. Abhishek Anand Sinha, the lead petitioner in the ‘Abhishek Anand versus Union of India case’ said, “We filed a petition in the Supreme Court and demanded extra attempts as we are not fully prepared.”

“Many students who tested positive for COVID-19 have been quarantined and some of them lost their family member due to coronavirus. They cannot study under such circumstances,” Sinha noted. He stressed that “there are so many people in our groups who are doctors and worked day and night during that period. They are not prepared as it was difficult for them to manage time.” Speaking further, Sinha said, “our first petition was filed in September 2020 and the verdict came on 26, October 2020.”

Sinha informed that in March 2021, students filed the petition and the verdict came in July, wherein Supreme Court expressed its concern over students and said “the government is the one who can decide over this and handed it over to the government” “We are just saying that our demands are legitimate and Supreme Court has certified them too. But nothing has come to us from the government side,” Sinha noted, adding the aspirants were forced to start the protest. “We have done small protests time and again, but today students from the entire nation have come here,” he stated. Speaking further Sinha said, “aspirants have faced various hindrances in preparation and appearing in the exams. The country and its several areas suffered complete shut down on account of the Covid 19 pandemic and many had to migrate their home towns. Candidates have faced personal, physical, psychological, emotional and financial hindrances.”

“We also face digital dived as many of us don’t have facilities like laptops, internet connections, bandwidth,” he added. “We are sitting on infinite protest, we will collectively decide the future course of action with complete compliance with law and order. We all have hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah both will listen,” Sinha said further. Gaurav, a protestor from Madhubani, Bihar said, “for the past five years, I have been preparing for UPSC examinations and the year 2020 was my last attempt.” “Just before the exam, my father passed away during the Covid. and I was mentally not prepared. When the result was declared, I could not qualify. Therefore we demand the government to give us a chance,” he added.

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NDA chalks out strategy to counter Opposition in Parliament

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National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders held a meeting on Sunday before the beginning of the winter session of Parliament on Monday and chalked out the strategy to pass the 36 bills listed for this session and counter Opposition in both Houses of Parliament. Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs and Culture, Arjun Ram Meghwal said, “Government is ready to discuss all issues in Parliament and the allies of NDA stand united.” However, National People’s Party’s Agatha Sangma Lok Sabha MP from Meghalaya requested the government to repeal Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the upcoming session of Parliament.

“On behalf of my party and people of Northeast I requested the government to repeal the CAA in same sorts of sentiments. As of now they have not given any response but they have taken detailed note of what the NDA floor leaders said in the meeting,” Sangma told media after the meeting. The NPP MP further claimed that many leaders want to repeal the CAA adding that she has the support of many.

“I do not want to mention names of the leaders or any party but I know that many leaders want to repeal this law and they are supporting me,” she said.

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader in Rajya Sabha Navneet Krishnan said that the party has assured the Centre and the BJP of support to the passage of all bills in the Winter Session.

“In the NDA meeting, AIADMK has given assurance to the Central government and the BJP that AIADMK will support the central government for the smooth running of the House and also support all the bills for passage,” he said.

“NDA government is ready to discuss on every issue of opposition leaders that they want to raise but we will not allow the disruption in the Parliament because disruption of the Parliament leads to wastage of taxpayers’ money. As public representatives, we are responsible towards the people of the country, so we want to debate and have a discussion in both houses, not disruption,” an NDA leader said on the condition of anonymity.

Another NDA leader said on the condition of anonymity that some political parties are playing with the sentiments of the public and appealed to them to take part in the debate.

“People elected us and sent parliament to raise the issues of the common man but some political parties are playing with the sentiments public and not allowing to do constructive work in the House due to disruption. I appeal to such parties to stop such thing and NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to debate on every issue related to the common man in both the Houses,” he said.

BJP president J.P. Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, JDU president and Lok Sabha MP Rajeev Ranjan Singh and other NDA floor leaders were present in the meeting.

The BJP held its Parliamentary executive meeting as well to decide how to navigate the winter session.

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