THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 30 SEPTEMBER 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P10 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 27 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 86% P9 Channi left red-faced as Sidhu terms his key appointments as compromise STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 29 SEPTEMBER THUMBNAILS In this file image dated 27 June, 2019, Home minister Amit Shah meets with then Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, in New Delhi. RANJEET JAMWAL CHANDIGARH, 29 SEPTEMBER Voters showing their identity cards as they wait to cast their vote during the second phase of the Bihar Panchayat Elections 2021, at IANS Paliganj in Patna on Wednesday. War veterans demand inclusion under OROP: Released Emergency Commissioned and Short Service Commissioned officers (SSCOs) from across the country will take part in a 'Maun Warat' silent protest in New Delhi on 2 October demanding pro rata 'One Rank One Pension (OROP)' and all benefits as per OROP tables. The silent protest will be held at the national capital's Mandi House. (P3) Taliban’s CAA writes to DGCA to resume commercial flights between India and Afghanistan: The Taliban-controlled Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has written to Indian aviation regulator DGCA to resume commercial flights between the countries. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is yet to take a decision in the matter. The last commercial flight between India and Afghanistan was operated by Air India on Kabul-Delhi route on 15 August. RCB beat Rajasthan Royals: Royal Challengers Bangalore made light work of overhauling Rajasthan Royals' modest total of 149/9 in their IPL match on Wednesday. Maxwell was on fire scoring a fine half century. After a whirlwind start the Rajasthan team ran out of steam, finishing with a total that posed no challenge for Virat Kohli's team. (Earlier report on pg 12) DRDO espionage: Odisha cops to take Interpol help BHUBANESWAR , 29 SEPTEMBER Odisha Police, which is probing the espionage case at DRDO’s Integrated Test Range (ITR), said it will take the help of Interpol through central agencies to trace the mystery woman who had allegedly engaged five ITR employees in leaking defence information to a foreign agent. The Additional Director General of Odisha Police crime branch, Sanjeev Panda said the photograph of the woman has been obtained along with her footage from video calls with the accused persons. The agency has obtained proof that the woman managed to hack the mobile phone of one of the accused for around eight months and kept tabs on his activities. She also managed to steal vital information about the ITR, Chandipur, he said. One of the accused received Rs 38,000 in two installments from Dubai, he added. A dding fuel to speculation over Captain Amarinder Singh's possible defection to Bharatiaya Janata Party (BJP), the veteran Congress leader met BJP's Amit Shah on Wednesday even as a red-faced Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi reached out to a miffed Navjot Singh Sidhu and offered to resolve issues through talks, a day after the former cricketer resigned as the state Congress chief. Amarinder, who claims to have been humiliated by Congress high command with his sudden removal as Punjab CM recently, met senior BJP leader and Union home minister Shah at his residence in New Delhi this evening. This meeting comes days after a 'hurt' Amarinder questioned the Congress' move to replace him as CM and his threat to chart his future political course soon ahead of Punjab Assembly polls early next year. Amarinder, who claims to have several options before him, maintains he would not quit politics on a low and fight till the end. Speculation is rife Amarinder may quit the Congress ahead of Assembly polls and BJP which lacks top leader in the poll-bound Punjab would welcome the veteran leader, who has Army background and wears his nationalist identity on his sleeves, into the party fold. It could lead to fall of Congress government in Punjab if Amaridner's loyalist MLAs join him in leaving the Congress. The BJP leadership is known to have a 'soft spot' for Amarinder because of his nationalist political stance. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi had once heaped praise on Amarinder saying: “Neither P12 P6 ‘Upset’ Capt meets Shah, as switchover buzz grows Min: 26.7°C (+4) SUN SETS 18:08 hrs MOON SETS 14:20 hrs STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE GAVASKAR BATS FOR ROHIT SHARMA’S CAPTAINCY Singh says discussed farmers' agitation against farm laws, urged Shah to resolve crisis Min: 60% TEMPERATURE Max: 35.0°C (+1) SUN RISES 06:14 hrs MOON RISES 00:44 hrs CHOICE OF GOVERNOR FUMIO KISHIDA SET TO BECOME JAPAN’S NEXT PRIME MINISTER ‘US WAR IN AFGHANISTAN A ‘STRATEGIC FAILURE’ cannot be any compromise on this," he said. Referring to the recent apportionments by the Channi government, Sidhu said he is witnessing a "compromise". "The person who gave clean chit to Badals six years back has been given the responsibility (of DGP). Those who have blanket bails to (accused in sacrilege cases) have been given the responsibility (of AG). What's the agenda ? How will we achieve our aim ? ... We broke the system of tainted officers and ministers, the same system cannot be erected again. I oppose it. I will stand and fight against it. If I lose everything for it, be it," Sidhu said.Sources said the Congress leader is unhappy with the induction of four ministers including Rana Gurjeet Singh as Cabinet ministers. Amid efforts to get Navjot Singh Sidhu to withdraw his resignation as Punjab Congress chief, the cricketer-turned-politician on Wednesday left the Charanjit Singh Channi government red-faced by terming its key appointments as a 'compromise'. Sidhu, who is camping at his ancestral house in Patiala, questioned the appointment of the new Director General of Police (DGP), Advocate General (AG), ministers and said he is ready to sacrifice anything for the issues raised by him. Even as Channi has deployed a two-member team of Cabinet ministers Pargat Singh and Amrinder Singh Raja Warring to placate Sidhu, the CM said he was open for discussion and even to change a decision if required. "I called him (Sidhu) today. I have told him the party is supreme and the government implements the ideology of the party. So I have told him to come and hold a dialogue. We can always correct the wrong doings. We can have talks today or tomorrow, it depends on him," Channi said. Earlier in an over four minute video posted on his Twitter account, Sidhu said he is in politics to make a difference. "My fight is for principles and agenda for Punjab. There he nor they (Congress) consider each other their own. He is a ‘swatantra fauji’ (independent soldier).”After his meeting that lasted for about 45 minutes, Singh tweeted "met Union Home Minister Amit Shahji in Delhi. Discussed the prolonged farmers' agitation against #FarmLaws & urged him to resolve the crisis urgent- ly with the repeal of the laws & guarantee MSP besides , supporting Punjab in crop diversification. #NoFarmersNoFood." However, the politically significant meeting, which came days after Singh resigned as chief minister after accusing the Congress of humiliating him, raised speculation over his future plans ahead of the polls in Punjab with some political analysts viewing it as an indication that Singh may be seeking the support of the BJP . Singh's meeting with Shah has added another dimension in politics in Punjab where no party is being seen as a clear favourite in the polls, expected to be held early next year. Sibal, Azad seek urgent meeting of CWC amidst crisis STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 29 SEPTEMBER Veteran Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday asked the Congress High Command to convene a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting immediately to elect a ‘Congress President’ and CWC to strengthen the party. Azad has written to party president Sonia Gandhi demanding an immediate meeting of the CWC to discuss the current state of affairs in the organisation. Sibal, who spoke to the media, also demanded that an immediate meeting of the CWC, the highest decision-making body of the party, be convened and wondered who in the party was taking decisions in the absence of a fulltime president. Their demand comes in the wake of turmoil in Punjab Congress after the ouster of Amarinder Singh as chief minister; former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro and leaders like Sushmita Dev and Abhijeet Mukherjee quitting the party; and senior Kerala Congress leader V M Sudheeran resigning from the AICC. “There is no elected Congress President at this moment. Who is taking decisions in the Congress….We knowand…yet we do not know,” Kapil Sibal said while reacting to the turmoil in the Punjab Congress. Hitting out at the Congress high command for taking decisions in an autocratic way, he said, quoting Mahatma Gandhi, “Democracy cannot be worked by 20 men sitting at the centre, it has to be worked from below by the peo- India’s new case tally below 20k for ‘Court’s power of contempt 2nd day, recoveries at record high can't be taken away by law’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 29 SEPTEMBER India logged less than 20,000 new daily Covid cases for the second consecutive day while the active caseload stood at its lowest and the national recovery rate recorded at its highest since March 2020, according to a data update by the Union Health ministry. The daily rise in infections reported from across the country was 18,870, just marginally higher than yesterday's figures (18,795). India's tally of Covid cases rose to 3,37,16,451. With 378 more Covidlinked fatalities, the total death toll climbed to 4,47,751, as per the ministry data. The active cases declined to 2,82,520, the lowest in 194 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. The active cases, comprising 0.84 percent of the total 3,37,16,451 2,82,520 18,870 28,178 4,47,751 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2021 infections, recorded a dip of 9,686 cases in a span of 24 hours, while the national Covid recovery rate was recorded at 97.83 per cent, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said. Out of 18,000-odd Covid cases, Kerala alone accounts for 11,196 of them. The state continues to report a high daily caseload, however the numbers have recently come down from the earlier 20,000 figure. With 1,630 cases, Tamil Nadu is the second southern state after Kerala with a high daily Covid caseload. It also reported 19 Covid deaths. Maharashtra reported 281 fresh cases over a 24-hour period. It also reported 60 deaths. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar - the three big states - reported zero deaths. Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand also reported zero Covid deaths. As many as 15,04,713 tests were conducted on Tuesday taking the total cumulative tests conducted so far for detection of Covid in the country to 56,74,50,185. Delhi cases: The number of fresh cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday increased to 41 from 34 identified on Tuesday, according to the Delhi government's latest health bul(See page 2) letin. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 29 SEPTEMBER Holding the chief of an NGO guilty of contempt for not depositing Rs 25 lakh for “scandalising and browbeating”, the Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that the court’s power of contempt cannot be taken away even by a legislative enactment. A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh held the chairperson of an NGO guilty of contempt for not depositing Rs 25 lakh for “scandalising and browbeating” the apex court. The bench said Rajiv Dahiya, chairperson of NGO Suraz India Trust, has been "throwing mud" at all -- including the court, administra- A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh held the chairperson of an NGO guilty of contempt for not depositing Rs 25 lakh for ‘scandalising and browbeating’ the apex court tive staff and the state government. It said Dahiya is clearly guilty of contempt of court and added, it cannot approve, his action to scandalise the court. "The power to punish for contempt is a constitutional power vested with this court which cannot be taken away even by enactment of a legislation," the top court said. The apex court has issued notice to Dahiya and directed him to be present on October 7, for hearing on the sentence In connection with the recovery of money from Dahiya. Dahiya had told the bench about his inability to pay the cost imposed and cited lack of resources for the same. Dahiya had submitted before the bench that he would approach the President with a mercy plea. The top court's order came on Dahiya's application seeking recall of its 2017 judgment, where costs of Rs 25 lakh, was imposed on him for filing 64 PILs over the years without any success. Results mostly a foregone conclusion, eye on Mamata victory margin TIRTHANKAR MITRA B y no stretch of the imagination can the Bhawanipore bypolls and the elections to Samsergunj and Jangipur Assembly constituencies slated to be held on Thursday be called watershed electoral events, since predictable results are expected from all of them. The significance of the three poll battles would lie in the victory margin of the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Bhawanipore, and the clear lack of coordination between Congress and Left Front in the two other seats. After her defeat to her one-time Cabinet colleague, Suvendu Adhikari at Nandigram, the EVM units being distributed to poll officials for Bhawanipur AC SNS bypoll in Kolkata on Wednesday. West Bengal chief minister is in no doubt of her victory at Bhawanipore. But to achieve a victory margin in keeping with her political stature, she has deployed several senior leaders of her party in her campaign. Trinamul’s landslide triumph in the recent Assembly elections despite a clutch of top BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigming against it have elevated Miss Banerjee to the status of a national leader. A thumping victory in Bhawanipore will help cement her position. The Congress's with- drawal from the bypoll will not imp-rove the prospects of CPI-M nominee, Srijib Biswas at Bhawanipore. Rather, it is expected to aid the victory prospects of the chief minister. But it would be interesting to know whether what remains of the Congress support base in this constituency votes for the Front nominee or shifts its allegiance elsewhere. Ever since the first general elections, Bhowanipore has been a Congress stronghold; and even after the emergence of the Trinamul, it still retains some pockets of influence. It is the support of this segment of voters that the BJP is eyeing to take some wind off the Trinamul’s sails. Aware of this game plan, the ruling party's campaigners have left no stone unturned in their efforts, even when they are putting the tag of a political minnow on the BJP nominee, Priyanka Tibrewal. And neither the Trinamul nor the Left can afford to overlook the fact that sizeable pockets of BJP influence have cropped up in Bhawanipore over the past few years. Only an overwhelming verdict in Miss Banerjee's favour can again make it her pocket borough. Signs of the electoral alliance between Left Front and Congress loosening at the seams, meanwhile, are discernible in Samsergunj and Jangipur, where the deferred elections are also to be held on Thursday. The coordination and understanding which marked the coming together Former Goa CM joins TMC STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA, 29 SEPTEMEBR Two days after quitting the Congress, former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro joined the Trinamul Congress on Wednesday. He joined the party in presence of TMC general secretary Abhishek of the two political outfits since the 2016 state Assembly elections is markedly absent. It is clear for all who care to see that the Congress is not campaigning for the RSP nominee Jane Alam Mian at Jangipur, while the state of affairs is curioser at Sam- Banerjee and other senior leaders such as Sougata Ray and Subrata Mukherjee. “At the outset, I must say I am a Congress man. I have same ideology and principles. Today when I am joining the TMC, my dream is to bring together this Congress family," Faleiro said. (See Pg 4) sergunj. Binning all prospects of the Front and Congress joining forces, Front nominee Md Mudassar Hossain of CPI-M and Jaidur Rahman of the Congress are both in the electoral fray. Those who were very close to Congress High Command are leaving party and we, who are not against the party are waiting for a dialogue. We have been waiting for a long time, but there should be a limit to wait... Protests outside Sibal's house: Hours after he raised questions over the functioning of the Congress, senior party leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday came under attacks from several quarters with party workers also protesting outside his house in New Delhi. Carrying 'Get Well Soon' placards and raising slogans against Sibal, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee workers protested outside his house, saying they were "hurt" by his PTI remarks. ple of every village”. He, however, refused to comment on the recent decisions taken by the party high command on Punjab.This should only be discussed in the CWC or in a closed door meeting, he said. Azad, a former leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha who currently leads the 'Group of 23' leaders in the Congress who have demanded organisational overhaul of the party in the past, is said to have sought internal discussions in the wake of the exodus of its leaders in his letter. PM POSHAN scheme to continue for 5 years STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 29 SEPTEMBER The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved extending the National Scheme for PM POSHAN in Schools to provide mid-day meals to school children for the next five years at a cost of over Rs 1.30 lakh crore. The scheme covers about 11.80 crore children studying in 11.20 lakh schools across the country. Earlier known as the Mid Day Meal Scheme, the scheme provides one hot cooked food to children studying in Classes I to VIII of Government and Government-Aided Schools. The CCEA decided that the Centrally-Sponsored Scheme will be extended to students studying in pre-primary or Bal Vatikas of Government and Government-aided primary schools, in addition to all the 11.80 crore children from elementary classes. The Central government will meet an expenditure of Rs 54061.73 crores for the scheme, while Rs 31,733.17 crore will be spent by State Governments and Union Territory administrations. In addition, the Central Government will bear a cost of about Rs 45,000 crore on foodgrains. Therefore, the total budget of the scheme rises to Rs 1,30,794.90 crore. During 2020-21, the Centre spent more than Rs 24,400 crore in the scheme. The concept of Tithi Bhojan will be encouraged extensively. The Tithi Bhojan is a community participation programme in which people provide special food to children on special occasions and festivals.
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