WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 04 NOVEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P5 Mainly clear sky. Mist in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 30 and 10 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Min: 28% P10 P12 53.51% turnout in phase 2 Bihar polls: EC Bypolls in 54 Assembly seats across 10 states BHOPAL/LUCKNOW/ AHMEDABAD, 3 NOVEMBER MANOJ CHAURASIA TEMPERATURE Max: 31.6°C (+1) SUN RISES 06:36 hrs MOON RISES 19:13 hrs P8 ‘YOU MOPE WHEN YOU ARE OUT OF ACTION’ Voting in 94 seats crucial for important leaders like Tejashwi Yadav WEATHER Max: 95% LIVERPOOL TO BE OFFERED RAPID COVID TESTING ‘SITHARAMAN TO UNVEIL ANOTHER STIMULUS SOON’ ARMY CHIEF TO VISIT NEPAL AMIDST MAP ROW PATNA, 3 NOVEMBER Min: 10.0°C (-5) SUN SETS 17:34 hrs MOON SETS 10:35 hrs THUMBNAILS Women get their hands adorned with mehandi on the eve of Karwa Chauth festival, in the Capital on Tuesday. SUBRATA DUTTA Malabar wargames: India, the United States, Japan and Australia began their largest joint naval exercises in over a decade on Tuesday, government sources said, seen as part of efforts to balance China's military and economic reach in the region.The annual "Malabar" wargames that India holds with the US and Japan have been expanded to include Australia this year to cover all members of the Quad, an informal group of the four largest democracies in the Indo-Pacific. Punjab CM to lead Rajghat protest today: With President Ram Nath Kovind not meeting him, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh announced he will lead a relay sit-in of his Congress MLAs at Rajghat on Wednesday to highlight the state’s power crisis due to continued suspenP3 sion of goods trains. Restrictions continue on entry of Indians: Some countries have still not removed restrictions on the entry of Indian nationals and the central government is ready to fly passengers to these countries whenever they ease their limits, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday. Saudi Arabia is one such country that does not allow airlines to bring passengers from India currently amid the pandemic. However, special international passenger flights have been operating in India under the Vande Bharat Mission since May under bilateral air bubble arrangements. V oters showed rare enthusiasm amidst Covid-19 pandemic as the second phase of polling passed peacefully in Bihar today. The 94 assembly seats that went to poll on Tuesday recorded 53.51 per cent turnout and the figure was likely to go up, the Election Commission said. Initially, the polling percentage remained sluggish with just around eight per cent voters casting their votes in the first two hours but it slowly gained momentum. By 5 pm, the voting percentage touched an impressive 51.80 per cent with maximum voting percentage reported from the rural areas. While Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Khagaria districts took the lead with polling over 57 per cent, Patna recorded the lowest polling at 46.57 percent. Since early morning voters riding boats, cycles, pushcarts and also on foot were seen going to the booths and queuing for their turn. At one polling booth in Patna, a young girl was seen carrying her grandmother on a cycle while in Khagaria, an elderly villager reached the booth on a pushcart. A grim aspect was how voters again ignored safety norms with impunity. With today’s polling, the fate of several leaders is now sealed in the EVMs. They include Grand Alliance’s CM candidate Tejashwi Yadav, his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, their relative Chandrika Rai and at least four NDA ministers. Today’s polling on a total 94 seats spread over 17 districts is pivotal since they are areas which have large migrant population. Also, these are the areas where flooding caused massive destruction. Many voters said they wanted a “good government” who could look into their concern and shape the future of their children but their replies were quite diplomatic. However, one factor that has dominated elections this time is that of employment raised by the opposition Grand Alliance’s chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav. In fact, he had set the agenda for election this time and never allowed the ruling NDA to divert from the real issue despite their constant efforts. He has promised 10 lakh jobs to the youths should his alliance come to power. The NDA leaders, especially from the BJP, made unsuccessful efforts to bring controversial issues in the poll campaign such as abrogation of Article 370, CAA, Ram temple, 1947 Partition. Apart from these, Prime Minister Narendra Modi constantly raised the issue of “Jungle Raj” and continued repeating it at his all 12 election rallies in Bihar and tried hard to whip up the fear of “Jungle Raj” if the opposition alliance was allowed to come to power. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s campaign, on the other hand, focussed his campaign over “Jungle Raj”, parivarwad, corruption and Tejashwi’s inexperience. The CM faced an embarrassing situation today when the people threw onions and potatoes at him during a rally in Madhubani. A visibly angry Kumar stopped his speech midway and said whosoever wanted to throw things at him were welcome. The masses are said to be seething over rising inflation and losing jobs as a result of lockdown. SNS & PTI Thousands of people on Tuesday battled corona fears and queued outside polling booths across 10 states to vote in by-elections to 54 assembly constituencies, including 28 in Madhya Pradesh where the BJP is locked in a highstakes contest with the Congress, to save its government. Covid-19 guidelines were in place as the first pan-India electoral exercise in the pandemic began with election staff in personal protective equipment (PPE) suits, more polling booths to prevent overcrowding, thermal screening, sanitisers and masks and gloves for voters as well as markings to ensure social distancing, officials said. Voting started at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm, except in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Nagaland. The last hour has been reserved for voters who have tested positive for Covid-19, officials said. The votes will be counted on November 10. Prime Minister Naren- Pak taking advantage of pandemic to promote terror: India STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 NOVEMBER India has hit out at Pakistan, accusing its neighbour of taking advantage of the Covid19 pandemic to support crossborder terrorism. “While the world has come to a standstill due to the pandemic, Pakistan has only enhanced support to crossborder terrorism taking advantage of the pandemic,” said Indian diplomat Ashish Sharma while addressing the dialogue with Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance at the UN General Assembly. Pakistan has also resorted to “unbridled hate speech” to try and create divisions among India’s religious communities, he said. The hate speech by Pakistan, he said, was not merely directed towards one community in India but also against organisations, individuals and even against high ranking political leaders. Fortunately, its provocation was falling on deaf ears since India has had a tradition of pluralism and co-existence where all communities live in harmony under a democratic framework. India called on Pakistan to practice co-existence in their own country and eschew all sectarian violence, discrimination and intolerance against their own people. Sharma said the world today was confronted not only by the challenge of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the challenge of “infodemic”, which in many cases has been responsible for rise in hate speech and seeding hatred within communities. Earlier this year, India, along with 12 countries, sponsored the Cross-Regional Statement on “Infodemic” in the Context of Covid-19 - a first of its kind by UN member states to counter the increase in hate speech and misinformation during the pandemic. “India is fighting Covid-19 pandemic in the most transparent manner with equal access to medical facilities to all citizens,” Sharma said at the Third Committee meeting of the General Assembly, adding that special efforts have been made to ensure that vulnerable communities were provided adequate medical support. dra Modi urged people to vote in large numbers. “Today, there are bypolls taking place in various places across India. I urge those voting in these seats to vote in large numbers and strengthen the festival of democracy,” he said in a tweet. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar echoed them in their appeal to voters. All eyes are on Madhya Pradesh where the BJP, which has 107 MLAs in the assembly with an effective strength of 229, needs at least eight more MLAs for a simple majority. The stakes are high for the Congress, too, as it had sitting MLAs in 27 of the 28 seats going to the polls. Twenty-five resigned early this year and joined the BJP after a rebellion by Jyotiraditya Scindia, leading to the collapse of the Kamal Nath government. They are now contesting as BJP candidates. In the three other seats, the byelection was necessitated following the deaths of the sitting legislators. Twelve state ministers are among the 355 candidates contesting in the central India state, where bypolls are being held for so many seats in one go for the first time. In most seats, there is a direct fight between the BJP and Congress. SEE PAGE 5 India’s new cases below 40K SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 3 NOVEMBER The number of new Covid cases reported in India in 24 hours dropped below 40,000, taking the country’s Covid-19 tally to 82.67 lakh, while the total recoveries crossed the 76 lakh-mark, according to the Union Health Ministry's data updated on Tuesday. India’s COVID-19 caseload mounted to 82,67,623 with 38,310 fresh infections, while the death toll reached 1,23,097 after 490 new fatalities were reported, the data updated at 8 am showed.A total of 76,03,121 people have recuperated from the infection so far, push- ing the national recovery rate to 91.96 per cent, while the case fatality rate standsat1.49 per cent.There are 5,41,405 active cases in the country as on date which comprise 6.55 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated. Bengal logs 3,981 new cases, 56 deaths: West Bengal today recorded a single-day spike with 3,981 fresh Covid cases and 56 deaths due to the infection. Till now, 3,85,589 people have been detected Covid positive, 7,013 died and 3,42,133 recovered of which 4,058 patients were discharged from hospitals in a single day. 82,67,623 5,41,405 38,310 58,323 1,23,097 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 03 NOVEMBER 2020 US election day begins as polls open in New York, New Jersey & Virginia With 6,725 virus cases, Capital sees highest spike; tally tops 4L AGENCIES NEW YORK, 3 NOVEMBER The United States started voting Tuesday in an election amounting to a referendum on Donald Trump's brash and bruising Presidency, which Democratic opponent and frontrunner Joe Biden urged Americans to end to restore "our democracy." The country is more divided and angry than at any time since the Vietnam War era of the 1970s-and fears that Trump could dispute the result of the election are only fueling those tensions. Despite an often startlingly laid-back campaign, Biden, 77, leads in almost every opinion poll, buoyed by his consistent message that America needs to restore its "soul" and get new leadership amid a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 231,000 people. "I have a feeling we're coming together for a big win tomorrow," Biden said in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a vital electoral battleground where he was joined by pop superstar Lady Gaga. "It's time to stand up and take back our democracy." But Trump was characteristically defiant to the end, campaigning at a frenetic pace with crowded rallies in four states on Monday, and repeating his dark, unprece- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 NOVEMBER dented claims for a US president that the polls risk being rigged against him. After almost non-stop speeches in a final three-day sprint, he ended up in the early hours of Tuesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan-the same place where he concluded his epic against-the-odds campaign in 2016, defeating the apparent frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Despite the bad poll numbers, the 74-year-old Republican real estate tycoon counted on pulling off another upset. "We're going to have another beautiful victory tomorrow," he told the Michigan crowd, which chanted back: "We love you, we love you!" "We're going to make history once again," he said. While Tuesday is formally Election Day, in reality Americans have been voting for weeks. With a huge expansion in mail-in voting to safeguard against the pandemic, nearly 100 million people have already made their choice. Biden has the wind in his sails after indications that Democratic enthusiasm in the early voting may be matching the more visible energy at Trump's impressive rallies. In one of US history's great political gambles, Biden stuck to socially distanced gatherings with small crowds right up to the last moment, in stunning contrast to Trump's constant, large rallies where few supporters so much as bothered with masks. But the Democrat, making his third attempt at the pres- idency, clearly senses that his calmer approach and strict attention to pandemic protocols is what Americans want after four tempestuous years. "It's time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home," Biden told supporters in Cleveland on Monday. But where many early votes are believed to have been cast by Democrats, Trump's side is hoping for a massive wave of Republican supporters vot- ing in person on Tuesday. Polls opened at 6:00 am (1100 GMT) in the eastern states of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Connecticut and Maine. But the first polling stations to open in the country were in two New Hampshire villages, Dixville Notch and Millsfield, starting at midnight. A tiny hamlet of 12 residents in the middle of the forest, near the Canadian border, Dixville Notch has traditionally voted "first in the nation" since 1960. The vote took minutes, as did the count: five votes for Biden, and none for Trump. There are worries that if the election is close, extended legal wrangles and perhaps violent unrest could ensue- not least because Trump has spent months trying to sap public trust in the voting process in a nation already bitterly divided along political fault lines. SEE PAGE 10 Amid the recent surge in coronavirus (Covid-19) cases, Delhi today witnessed a new record of 6,725 fresh cases ~ its highest Covid spike so far ~ which took the city's caseload past 4 lakh to hit 4,03,096, according to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin. This is the first time when the number of daily Covid cases crossed the 6,000-mark in Delhi. The city's 6,725 fresh coronavirus infections were detected out of 59,540 tests conducted the previous day, with the positivity rate soaring to 11.29 per cent amid festive season and rising pollution in the national capital. Delhi today logged 48 fresh Covid-linked deaths, which raised the tally of such fatalities to 6,652 so far, the health bulletin said. The coronavirus patients who recovered during the last 24 hours numbered 3,610, with the cumulative count of such patients climbing to 3,60,069. Delhi's Covid recovery rate came down further to 89.32 per cent, the bulletin stated. The city had 36,375 active coronavir us cases and 21,521 of such patients were under home isolation. The number of those remaining hospitalised was 8,129. The number of containment zones (red zones) in the city stood at 3,453, the bulletin added. On 30 October, Delhi had recorded 5,891 infections ~ which was its previous highest single-day spike ~ with 59,641 tests conducted for the purpose. Its positivity rate was then 9.88 per cent. Delhi had recorded over 5,000 daily cases for five consecutive days till 1 November when the infection count stood at 5,664. The city had yesterday recorded 4,001 Covid cases, with a relatively lesser number of tests ~ 36,665 tests ~ conducted for identifying them. The Centre reportedly attributed the recent surge in such infections to greater movement of people during the festive season and their laxity in adhering to safety precautions.
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