THURSDAY FINAL STEP TO WTC FINAL 04 Will it be a turner? Who will India bring in? Will hosts make it to the summit clash? Questions aplenty as 4th Test begins | P11 MARCH, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in LOTS AT STAKE facebook.com/TheMorningStandard India have proved that the first Test loss was a blip. Having recovered in convincing fashion, now the onus in on finishing the job. If they avoid defeat, they will advance to WTC Final in June twitter.com/TheMornStandard MAHARASHTRA PROBE INTO STRIP FIASCO Govt orders inquiry after women in hostel are asked to strip, dance by policemen PAGE 8 PITCH TALK A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS Phase 3 efficacy of 81% ends Covaxin anxiety First interim analysis based on 43 cases; 36 in placebo group and seven in vaccine group S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi INDIA’S first homegrown Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin has been found to be nearly 81% effective, an interim analysis of the data from the vaccine’s phase 3 clinical trial in 25,800 volunteers shows. The first interim analysis is based on 43 cases of Covid-19, of which 36 were observed in the placebo group and seven in the vaccine group, resulting in a point estimate of vaccine efficacy of 80.6%, said Bharat Biotech, the company that developed the vaccine along with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The Phase 3 study enrolled 25,800 participants between 1898 years, including 2,433 over 60 and 4,500 with comorbidities. This is a significant result considering Covaxin is used in the country’s vaccination drive, which in addition to healthcare and frontline workers, now covers senior citizens and people above 45 with ailments. According to sources, the data safety monitoring board of the trial unblinded the study only on Wednesday afternoon and details such as how many severe cases of the disease were reported in the two groups are now being analysed. Covaxin had received the restricted use authorisation, along with Serum Institute of India’s Covishield in January after which the first phase of the vaccination was started. The permission granted by the country’s apex drug regulator without efficacy data had triggered massive criticism and resulted in slow acceptance of the vaccine in many states. Krishna Ella, CMD of Bharat Biotech said the vaccine, in addition to demonstrating high clinical efficacy has also shown , significant imsmunogenicity against the rapidly emerging variants of Covid-19. Analysis from the ICMR’s National Institute of Virology has indicated that vaccine-induced antibodies can neutralise the UK variant strains and other heterologous strains. Bharat Biotech is planning an additional interim analysis for 87 cases, and the final analysis is planned for 130 cases. All data from the analyses will be shared via pre-publication servers as well as submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. COVISHIELD WORKS FASTER ON INFECTED The first-ever data on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccine Covishield in India has shown that it not only works faster in people already infected but is also highly effective in those without antibodies against the virus after the 28 days of the first dose. As part of the study, researchers measured antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 directed against the spike protein in a group of 135 vaccinated healthcare workers | P7 SLEAZEGATE K’taka minister Jarkiholi puts in his papers B A N S Y K A L A P PA @ Bengaluru A day after purported sleaze videos of Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi surfaced, he resigned from the Council of Ministers on Wednesday own, ing moral responsibility . “The allegations against me are far from the truth. It has to be investigated at the earliest. Though I’m confident about my innocence, taking moral responsibility, I’m resigning from my position as cabinet Minister. I request you to accept it,” Jarkiholi wrote in his resignation letter, addressed to CM B S Yediyurappa, He also sought an immediate inquiry into the episode. The CM forwarded the resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala who “accepted the recommendation under Section 164 (1) of the Constitution’’. Soon after the scandal broke out, BJP national general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Arun Singh, is said to have communicated the party’s decision to the state leadership, keeping in mind the Assembly and LS bypolls and panchayat elections in the state. The allegation, just ahead of the Budget session starting Thursday is a huge embarrassment , for the BJP government. Members of the England team inspect the surface | BCCI | P13 NEW DELHI WHAT THEY SAID J8.00 IF your insurance policy broker’s service is not satisfactory , you can now approach an ombudsman to seek redressal. For, the insurance ombudsman rules have been throughly amended to bring brokers under its ambit. You can lodge your complaint a g ainst your insurance broker online. They can now be penalised for deficiency in service. The amended rules have enlarged the scope of complaints to the ombudsman to include disputes pertaining to deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries. “Insurance brokers have PAGES 12 UMESH LIKELY Hosts will be pressed into at least one forced change. And that could be pace bowler Umesh Yadav, who has recovered from his calf injury. But expect them to play three spinners CHAUHAN BANGER KALYANPURI TRILOKPURI (E) ROHINI-C SHALIMAR BAGH (N) CHAUDHARY ZUBAIR AHMAD DHIRENDER KUMAR VIJAY KUMAR RAM CHANDER SUNITA MISHRA MARGIN 10,642 2017 The people of Delhi have once again voted in the name of work. Congratulations to all. The people are fed up with misrule of the BJP at MCD for 15 years Winner AAP Margin 2,342 MARGIN MARGIN 7,043 2017 Winner AAP Margin 874 MARGIN 4,986 2017 Winner AAP Margin 3,049 2,985 2017 Winner AAP Margin 2,669 MARGIN 2,705 2017 Winner BJP Margin 3,553 VOTE SHARE (IN ALL 5 SEATS) ARVIND KEJRIWAL, Delhi Chief Minister AAP 46.10% BJP 27.29% Losing Shalimar Bagh North is a matter of introspection. The shortcomings will be removed and I am sure BJP will win the elections for three municipal corporations in 2022 ADESH KUMAR GUPTA, Delhi BJP Chief CONG 21.84% Arvind Kejriwal (fourth from left) and other AAP leaders at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday | PARVEEN NEGI AAP four, BJP zero in civic bypolls E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi Congress’s victory in Chauhan Bangar in the MCD bypoll shows that the people’s confidence in Congress is increasing. This victory is an indication of the return of the Congress in Delhi ANIL CHAUDHARY, Delhi Congress Chief AAP sets sights on double engine govt Senior AAP leader Raghav Chadha said that the party has won the ‘semi-final’ decisively, with about a year to go for MCD finals. “It is time for Delhiites to put an end to the 15-year corruption-plagued rule of BJP in MCD. With AAP ruling MCDs and Delhi, the double engine Kejriwal government will run full steam,” he said. BJP has been ruling municipal corporations since 2007 THE Aam Aadmi Party won four wards out of the five in the municipal bypolls in Delhi. Congress wrested the lone remaining seat in the offing. The BJP which is in power in , three civic bodies for about 14 years, drew a blank. Worse, the AAP won Shalimar Bagh North ward — a saffron stronghold — where its candidate Sunita Mishra defeated BJP’s Surbhi Jaju by 2,705 votes. Chaudhary Zubair Ahmad of Congress grabbed the limelight as he logged the highest victory margin of 10,642 votes to defeat his nearest rival AAP’s Mohammad Ishraq Khan at Chauhan Banger. It is a seat AAP had won in 2017. Overall, the AAP retained Rohini-C, Trilokpuri, Kalyanpuri and won Shalimar Bagh North and losing Chauhan Banger to Congress. Insurance brokers now under ambit of watchdog EXPRESS N E WS S E RVI CE @ New Delhi With the last two Tests favouring spin excessively, there will be a lot of attention on the 22 yards. If initial reports coming out of Ahmedabad are to be believed, it is going to turn again rather early been brought within the ambit of the ombudsman mechanism, by empowering the ombudsman to pass awards against insurance brokers,” the finance ministry said. A complaints management system will be created to enable policyholders track the status of their complaints online. The ombudsman can use video conferencing for hearings. “A number of amendments have been made for securing the independence and integrity of the ombudsman selection process, while also building in safeguards to secure the independence and impartiality of the appointed persons while serving as ombudsmen,” the ministry said. Elsewhere, AAP’s Dhirender Kumar won Kalyanpuri ward by 7,043 votes. AAP’s Vijay Kumar defeated BJP’s Om Prakash by a margin of 4,986 votes in Trilokpuri East. Ram Chander of the AAP also won Rohini C ward, which was with the BSP earlier. According to the Delhi State Election Commission, the AAP polled the highest 46.10 per cent votes in the bypolls, followed by 27.29 per cent of the BJP and 21.84 per cent of the Congress. Wednesday’s results are won’t impact political equations in north and east municipal corporations as the BJP has a comfortable majority But, it will certainly rankle . the rank and file of the saffron party as Shalimar Bagh has been its stronghold. The development assumes significance as municipal elections for three civic bodies in the city are scheduled to take place early next year. Political parties believe that Wednesday’s results may impact the MCD elections in 2022. As soon as the results were announced, Delhi CM Arvind Kerjiwal said that the people of Delhi want the AAP also in municipal corporations. “The people of Delhi have once again voted in the name of work. Congratulations to all. The people are fed up with the misrule of BJP at MCD for 15 years. People are desperate to bring the AAP to rule the MCD,” the chief minister tweeted. Kejriwal later joined party supporters at the AAP headquarters where they gathered to celebrate the victory “This is . a call for how the results are going to be in the MCD elections 2022.The people of Delhi want to change the MCD, they want the MCD to run as effectively as the Delhi government. The results show that the people of Delhi have shown faith and trust in the work done by AAP ,” said Kejriwal. Delhi BJP chief Adesh Kumar Gupta struck a valiant note, saying that his party would fight the next year’s civic elections with renewed energy and a new strategy . “We may have lost the elections and may be down but certainly are not out. Defeat in Shalimar Bagh North is a matter of introspection. The shortcomings will be removed, and I am sure the BJP will win the elections for three municipal corporations in 2022,” said Gupta. Delhi Congress chief Chaudhary Anil Kumar said people had rejected the BJP and given a ‘show-cause’ notice to the AAP given that Congress’s ‘vote P4 share had increased. VOCAL CELEBS ANURAG AND TAAPSEE FACE I-T DEPT HEAT EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Mumbai/New Delhi Congress and NCP condemn action Maharashtra ruling allies Congress and NCP criticised the IT raids on Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu. They termed the action as an attempt to suppress the voices of those who speak against the Modi government. IN what was seen as a vindictive action against vocal celebs criticising the government, the Income Tax department on Wednesday raided 30 properties linked to actor Taapsee Pannu, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and his co-promoters in the now-dissolved Phantom Films in Pune and Mumbai. Both were questioned in Pune over alleged tax evasion. Searches were conducted on the premises linked to Phantom Films, a production house c o - p ro m o t e d by A nu r a g Kashyap, Vikas Bahl and Mad- Central agencies like ED, CBI and Income Tax are used to target those who take an anti-government stand —Nawab Malik, NCP minister hu Mantena. Exceed Entertainment, a talent house managing Saif Ali Khan, was raided. Some executives of Kwan Talent Management, which handles Deepika Padukone, were questioned. “The search will continue for the next couple of days to check the veracity of the submitted documents and actual income. Interlinked transactions are also being probed,” IT department sources said. The ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi slammed the raids, saying the Centre was suppressing dissenting voices. Anurag and Taapsee are known critics of the BJP-led Nazi govt chasing activists, journalists & artists to threaten them against calling spade a spade —Tejaswi Yadav, RJD leader Centre. Taapsee had recently lashed out at a section of celebrities supporting the government after a Twitter post by pop singer Rihanna on the farmers’ agitation. During a BJP briefing, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said: “The Income Tax department probes someone based on whatever information they get. The issue goes to court later.” People took to Twitter to condemn the raids. “Anurag Kashyap, Taapsee Pannu Face Income Tax Raids. BJP’s A team at work to harass,” tweeted lawyer Prashant Bhushan. The Income Tax department probes someone based on whatever information they get —Prakash Javadekar, I&B minister GAME CHANGER Sasikala calls it quits ahead of elections in Tamil Nadu T M U R U G A N A N D H A M @ Chennai IN a significant development that comes as a boost to the ruling AIADMK ahead of Assembly elections, VK Sasikala, the one-time confidante of former CM J Jayalalithaa, has announced that she is quitting active politics. The dramatic announcement, made late evening on Wednesday, ends speculation as to what role she would have played in the political landscape of Tamil Nadu. In a statement, Sasikala ap- pealed to all loyalists of Amma (former CM J Jayalalithaa) to unite and work together against the “evil force that is DMK.” The letter further said, “I never desired for power or position. I still remain a sister of Amma even after her demise. Now, I will pray to the almighty as well as Amma, whom I deem as god, for the establishment of Amma’s government yet again in the State.” A d d re s s i n g t h e m e d i a , Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran said that he tried his best to persuade her to reconsider the decision. “I met her earlier in the day to discuss her stand in the upcoming elections. However, when I reached her home, she told me she was breaking the news about her stepping down on Jaya TV .” Dhinakaran said that Sasikala believed her stepping down from politics will unite Jayalalithaa’s supporters in the election and prevent the creation of a chasm among the followers. Sasikala’s statement was handed over to journalists who were waiting outside her residence at T Nagar around 9.30 pm. Simultaneously, Dhinakaran walked out of the house and met the reporters. However, Sasikala did not emerge from the house. Senior AIADMK leader, KP Munusamy, said Sasikala’s decision has made them happy. “Though the decision to quit politics is the personal decision of Sasikala, she has expressed her wish for the establishment of Amma government even after elections,” RELIEF DISSENT IS NOT SEDITION: SC Expressing dissent on a decision taken by the govt cannot be seditious, the SC said, rejecting plea seeking action against Farooq Abdullah PAGE 7
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