MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 08 MARCH 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR WHAT TO DO WITH IRAN? KERALA AT CROSSROADS P7 P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Mist in the morning. Strong surface winds during the day. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 31 and 16 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 91% Min: 45% TEMPERATURE Max: 34.0°C (+5) SUN RISES 06:38 hrs MOON RISES 04:01 hrs Min: 14.4°C (0) SUN SETS 18:25 hrs MOON SETS 13:31 hrs THUMBNAILS Farmers stage a cycle protest against the new SNS farm laws at Ghazipur border on Sunday. Curtailment of Parliament session on cards: In view of assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory, the curtailment of Budget Session of Parliament is on the cards with parties across the aisle in agreement on this idea, sources said on Sunday. It is yet to be decided for how many days the session will be curtailed, but there are suggestions to curtail it by almost two weeks, the sources said, adding that the final call could be taken in the floor leaders' meeting on Monday. IPL 2021: The IPL 2021 will run from 9 April to 30 May across six venues with no team getting to play at home, its Governing Council announced on Sunday. Despite a Covid-19 surge, Mumbai has been named as one of the host cities and the tournament will be held behind closed doors at least in the initial phase of the tournament. P12 WHERE I.S. RULED, POPE ASKS CHRISTIANS TO FORGIVE SINDHU FINISHES AS RUNNER-UP P12 P9 Trinamul’s khela is over, says Modi PM addresses massive rally at Brigade Parade ground, accuses Trinamul Congress of promoting nepotism , extortion RAJIB CHAKRABORTY Mamata challenges Modi to one-on-one duel KOLKATA, 7 MARCH F iring a salvo against the ruling Trinamul Congress (TMC) for its alleged syndicate, extortion, commission system and cut money network, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked people to vote against the “misgovernance” of the Mamata Banerjee-led government. Addressing a rally at a jam-packed Brigade Parade Ground in the city, his first since the announcement of Assembly elections in the state, he said that TMC’s “khela khatam" (The TMC’s game is over) ~ a take on the TMC’s Khela Hobe slogan ~ as the lotus is blooming in Bengal because TMC has spawned muck in the state. "You've pushed Bengal towards division instead of development, and thus the lotus is blooming. You've divided people on religious lines, and thus the lotus is blooming," he said and asked people to vote against misgovernance and to free themselves from fear. "Bengal wants development," Mr Modi said. Criticising Miss Banerjee for her alleged favouritism towards her nephew MP Abhishek Banerjee, Mr Modi said, Didi being an aunt of a particular nephew you only fulfilled your nephew's greed but you forgot the future of the lakhs of nephews from Bengal. "Like Congress you developed a culture to pamper the dynasty," he said. The Prime Minister said that Miss Banerjee, who was a strong opponent of the erstwhile Left Front's STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE SILIGURI, 7 MARCH government's misrule, has drastically changed. "I have known Didi for ages. She is not the same person who raised her voice against the Left. That Mamata Banerjee is being controlled. Her remote control is in a different hand," he said. Mr Modi noted that the TMC had broken off from the Congress. On the other hand the BJP has the ethos of Bengal, he claimed. "We are outsiders, they say. Are the founders of the Congress not outsiders? Are Marx, Lenin, Mao not outsiders? But our leader was Syama Prasad Mookerjee so Bengal is in BJP’s DNA," Modi said. Mr Modi also accused the TMC of alleged misappropriation of Amphan relief funds provided by the Centre. "These people are experienced and play a lot. They have done a lot of corruption and looted the people of Bengal. They have even looted the relief money sent for Amphan, You have been involved in so many scams that a Cor- ruption Olympics can be organised," he said. Mr Modi said that extortion rackets should be exterminated to develop the state and asked people whether they want friendship or tolabaazi (extortion). Mr Modi said he comes from a poor background and that his friends are the common people and has promised that he will work for these friends of his. "The coronavirus disturbed everyone over the world, but it was these poor friends of mine who were very upset. When coronavirus came, I gave ration to every friend for free, gave free gas cylinders and deposited crores of rupees in bank accounts, " he said. He also said he wants to bring benefits of Ayushman Bharat to the state. Mr Modi also took a jibe at Miss Banerjee over the video of her riding an electric scooter in protest against hike in fuel prices. "Thankfully you have not fallen (from the scooter)," he said. He also said that he was surprised to see that Didi's scooter has taken a sudden turn towards Nandigram when it was supposed to stop at Bhawanipore. "I don't know whether she will fall from the scooty in Nandigram," he said. Mr Modi added that the TMC has failed to bring the promised 'change' to the lives of people. Referring to an incident at Nimta in North 24-Parganas, in which an 80-year-old mother was allegedly thrashed by TMC supporters, he said that mothers are being attacked on streets and in their houses. "You are well aware of the condition of 'Maa, Manush, Maati. Condition of these three are worsening during TMC's reign," he said. Mr Modi also questioned the relevance of the alliance of the Congress, ISF and Left. "Left Front used to say breaks the kalo haat (black hand) of the Congress. Suddenly this hand became gora (white). Now LF is joining hands with Congress," he said. More reports on Pg 4 Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee today challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a “one on one” fight and claimed that she would hand the saffron brigade a defeat. As BJP leaders, including former state transport minister Suvendu Adhikari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, branded Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s associates as “tolabaaz” (extortionists) who allegedly ran “syndicates,” Miss Banerjee also hit back at them in Siliguri today and said there was no syndicate in the country other than Narendra Modi and (Home Minister) Amit Shah. Addressing a crowd here after a march she led in protest against the hike in prices of petroleum products, Miss Banerjee said: “Syndicate!What Syndicate? India knows only one syndicate that is Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. There is no other syndicate.” Miss Banerjee addressed the gathering here almost at the same time that Mr Modi criticised her in a Kolkata rally. A visibly excited Miss Banerjee wondered what the the BJP leaders’ earn- Syndicate! What Syndicate? India knows only one syndicate that is Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. There is no other syndicate. MAMATA BANERJEE WEST BENGAL CHIEF MINISTER ings were if they sold out public sector units. “You are the great tolabaz. How much amount of ‘tolabazi' (cut money) will be involved in the Railways, Sail, Air India, Coal India and Ujjwala!,” Miss Banerjee asked, referring to the Centre’s Ujjwala Yojana, which seeks to provide free cooking gas cylinders to the poor. She also challenged Mr Modi to a “one on one fight” and claimed: “I would beat the BJP …” As the PM mocked the TMC’s slogan ‘Khela Habe’ in Kolkata and said: “Khela Shesh … Khela Khatam,” Miss Banerjee here said: “Khela Habe… One on one…” Significantly, Miss Banerjee also said she does not have any problems if Mr Modi came to Bengal for “propaganda,” “but you will have to answer why an LPG cylinder is costing over Rs 900.” “The state government is providing rice free of cost to the people, but they boil the same rice by buying LPG at high prices,” she said. Similarly, as the PM mentioned his party’s slogan ‘Sonar Bangla’ and ‘Aasol Parivartan’ (real change) in Bengal, the CM here said: “No change in Bengal. Change will come in Delhi…BJP will face defeat in all five states.” China, India should not undercut each other; Active caseload rises for 5th day boundary dispute not whole story: Wang STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 7 MARCH PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BEIJING, 7 MARCH China and India should stop “undercutting” each other, shed mutual “suspicion” and create “enabling conditions” by expanding bilateral cooperation to resolve the border issue, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said on Sunday. Calling the boundary dispute as not the “whole story” of the China-India relationship, Wang said that both countries were friends and partners but they should shed suspicion at each other. Answering a question at his annual press conference on the current state of IndiaChina relations following the tense standoff in eastern Ladakh since May last year and how Beijing viewed the relationship going forward, he said it is important that both countries manage their disputes properly and expand bilateral cooperation. “The boundary dispute, an issue left from history, is not the whole story of the China-India relationship. “It is important that the two sides manage disputes properly and at the same time expand and enhance cooperation to create enabling conditions for the settlement of the issue,” Wang said at an online press conference held on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress, China's Parliament. In his lengthy remarks, Wang, who is also a State Councillor, did not touch upon the recent disengagement of troops from the most contentious north and south banks of the Pangong Lake area in eastern Ladakh after the 10th round of military-level talks between the two sides. Wang's comments on the border issue came days after he held a 75-minute telephonic conversation with External Affairs Minister S Jais- hankar during which the latter emphasised that the disengagement of troops at all friction points is necessary to bring peace and tranquillity on the border and for the development of bilateral relations. In his remarks, Wang pointed out that the world expects both China and India to safeguard the common interests of the developing countries and advance multipolarity in the world. The similar national conditions of the two countries also mean that they share the same or similar positions on many major issues, he said. “Therefore,” Wang stressed, “China and India are each other's friends and partners, not threats or rivals.” With Covid-19 cases surging in six states, the Centre on Sunday sent high-level teams to the states of Maharashtra and Punjab to review the Covid-19 situation in there. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the statesofMaharashtra,Kerala,Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat andTamil Naidu collectively accounted for 85.71 per cent of 18,711 new daily cases reported during the past 24 hours. While Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 10,187, it is followed by Kerala with 2,791 and Punjab with 1,159 new cases. Maharashtra reported the maximum casualties (47), followed by Kerala with 16 deaths in the previous 24 hours. Nineteen states and UTs, on We are in the end game of the Covid19 pandemic in India, and to succeed at this stage, we need to... keep politics out of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, trust the science behind Covid-19 vaccines, and ensure our near and dear ones get vaccinated on time. HARSH VARDHAN UNION HEALTH MINISTER the other hand, have not reported any Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. The Centre has been continuously engaging with the states and Union Territories which are reporting higher caseload of active cases and also those showing a rise in daily new Covid cases. It has also deputed high-level teams to Maha- rashtra and Punjab, that are showing steep increase in new cases, said a senior officer of the ministry. Eight states were displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases, among which the six states required immediate attention. India’s active caseload continued to increase for a fifth consecutive day, on Sunday standing at 1.84 lakh, With this, the country's active caseload has touched 1.65% of the total positive cases, the officer said. Pandemic ending in Delhi, claims Jain: Delhi might be witnessing an uptick in single-day fresh coronavirus infections, but its health minister Satyendar Jain today said that the Covid pandemic was ending and was rather entering an “endemic” phase in the national cap(SEE P 2) ital. 1,12,10,799 1,84,523 18,711 14,392 1,57,756 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SUNDAY 07 MARCH 2021 At current rate, it will take 50 years to achieve gender parity in parliaments globally RAMAN PANDIT NEW DELHI, 7 MARCH In 2020, the global proportion of women in Parliaments reached a record 25.5 per cent, an increase of 0.6 points compared with 2019, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union's (IPU) latest Women in Parliament report. Every year, the IPU publishes a report to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March. Although progress has been steady over the past few years, it is still excruciatingly slow and at the current rate, it will take another 50 years before gender parity is achieved in parliaments worldwide, the report states, adding that as at 1 January 2021, women accounted for 50 per cent or more of members in just three parliaments, include Rwanda, Cuba and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). President of the IPU Forum of Women Parliamentarians Susan Kihika said: “While we note that a quarter of MPs in the world are women, we see how this still falls far short of representing half the world’s population. Unleashing the full potential of women who make up that 50 per cent should be our number one priority.” IPU president Duarte Pacheco said: “Achieving gender equality in parliaments is a shared responsibility of men and women, and especially of men and women MPs, who by definition, are elected to lead. Only by working together and taking strong action can we move forward and accelerate the pace of change.” IPU secretary general Martin Chungong said: “Progress is being made, but parliaments must be more open to women. They should be gender-sensitive and transform their functioning and structures to facilitate work-life balance for women and men, have zero tolerance towards all forms of violence against women in politics, promote legal change for better inclusion of women and be key actors in women’s political empowerment.” Covid-19 and women’s political representation The IPU Women in Parliament report shows that the Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on elections and campaigning in 2020. According to the report the national parliamentary elections were postponed in nearly 20 countries but went ahead in 57 countries overall in 2020. The report points out that the economic downturn caused by the pandemic exacerbated existing gendered socio-economic inequalities, and adversely affected women’s ability to campaign for office and access campaign funding, however, the shift to remote, technology-driven parliamentary practices may have a potentially positive long-term impact for women in parliament. The report further states that virtual voting and sittings have helped promote participation by members for whom travel is difficult, including those with disabilities or with young children. Flexible and remote workplace practices may allow more women and men to combine caring responsibilities with political career aspirations, it states. Women in the top leadership in Parliaments Globally, 58 women held speaker positions in 2020, an increase of one from the previous year, representing a global average of 20.9 per cent. Women held speaker positions in all regions of the world in 2020, with regional variations. The United States made history in 2020 with the election for the first time of a woman as Vice President. Vice President Kamala Harris also constitutionally becomes President of the Senate. With Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives, both chambers of the US Congress are now presided over by women. Progress in all regions of the world in 2020 Despite political upheaval experienced across Latin America, in particular in Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, once again, the Americas outpaced other regions with women making up 32.4 per cent of MPs, the report states, adding in the United States, 2020 marked the highest levels in history of women’s representation in its national legislature, at 26.9 per cent of the two chambers combined. The report highlights that despite grave security challenges, in sub-Saharan Africa, Mali and Niger made significant gains in women’s representation. In Europe, of 14 parliamentary renewals in 2020, four countries ~ Ireland, Serbia, North Macedonia and France ~ witnessed women’s representation exceeding 30 per cent in at least one chamber while three countries ~ Azerbaijan, Czech Republic and Romania ~ failed to reach the 20 per cent mark, points out the report. Within the Middle East and North Africa region, although Egypt reached historic highs for women in parliament thanks to a new quota law for the House of Repre- sentatives but as a whole, the proportion of women in parliament in the region is the lowest among all regions at 17.8 per cent, all chambers combined, the report noted. The report said gains in Asia were driven by women’s representation in the upper houses of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Of parliamentary renewals in 2020, only Nepal exceeded 30 per cent women, sustaining a strong track record on women in parliament over the past decade, it says. In contrast to other regions, women’s representation in parliaments in the Pacific remained consistently low or entirely absent in elections held in 2020 except New Zealand, the report states. New Zealand’s new parliament made history with more women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ and Maori MPs than at any time in the past.
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.