MONDAY BHAVANI 1ST INDIAN FENCER TO QUALIFY FOR OLYMPICS 15 Bhavani Devi took up the sport as a means to escape from the grind of studies. The Chennai woman qualifies on her rankings MARCH, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in HARD WORK AND DETERMINATION facebook.com/TheMorningStandard ■ twitter.com/TheMornStandard ■ MAHARASHTRA ENCOUNTER COP IN NIA CUSTODY ■ IMPROVES WORLD RANKING, GOES TO TOKYO Waze was held in connection with explosive-laden SUV near Antilia, murder cases A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 NEW DELHI J8.00 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an election rally in Kolkata on Sunday | PTI MPs, actors & defectors get equal share in BJP’s Bengal battle list Four sitting MPs and same number of turncoats fielded to wrest south Bengal from TMC P R A N A B M O N D A L & E N S @ Kolkata/T’Puram THE BJP is deploying heavy artillery to wrest south Bengal from the Trinamool Congress, if one were to go by the list of candidates for 63 seats in the third and fourth phases of the eight-phase West Bengal Assembly polls. For, it has fielded four BJP members of Parliament, four defectors and an equal number of actors, trying to whip up enthusiasm and possibly create a wave for the big fight. The party has already made deep inroads in north Bengal during the Lok Sabha polls. While Union minister and Asansol MP Babul Supriyo will contest from Tollygunge in Kolkata, Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta will enter the fray from Tarakeshwar. Dasgupta’s name is already doing the rounds as a possible CM candidate. Tarakeshwar is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site and his candidature is significant in the backdrop of the BJP’s Hindutva rhetoric. Fielding Supriyo in Tollygunge is being seen as a smart move as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while announcing her party’s candidate list, had hinted she might contest from there besides Nandigram. Former minister in Mamata’s cabinet Rajib Banerjee has been fielded from his own constituency Domjur and Trinamool defector Rabindranath Bhattacharya from Singur. Bhattacharya joined the BJP two days after Mamata denied him a ticket. But angry BJP supporters in Singur reportedly locked up visiting Madhya Pradesh minister Prabhuram Chaudhary in a party office, demanding Bhattacharya’s axing from the list. In Kerala, Metro Man E Sreedharan, who recently joined the BJP has been fielded from , Palakkad. K Surendran, the party’s state president, will contest from Manjeshwar, where he lost by a whisker in 2016, and also in Konni, the epicentre of Sabarimala P7 protests. Security force firing kills 18 protesters EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AT least 18 protesters were killed in Myanmar on Sunday, in one of the most violent crackdowns by security forces since last month’s military coup, news agency AFP reported. According to reports, 95 protesters have been shot dead by the junta. Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military wrenched civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power in a February 1 coup, triggering a mass uprising that has seen thousands protest for a return to democracy . A group of elected MPs, many of whom are in hiding, have formed a shadow parliament called the Committee for Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the Burmese word for the country’s governwing bloc. They issued a statement saying that under the country’s penal code, protesters have “full right to defend themselves”. PAGES 12 The 27-year-old sabre fencer secured a spot in the World Cup in Hungary after the hosts lost in the quarterfinals of the team event to South Korea. With South Korea qualifying as a team, two individual spots opened up for the Asia and Oceania regions based on World Rankings through which Bhavani managed to make it. She currently holds the 45th rank Selling government banks a huge mistake, says Rajan I am hurt but... remember, an injured tiger is extremely dangerous. I will never bow down. May the unholy powers be destroyed and the good prevail... My pain is not greater than the suffering of people MYANMAR She reached round of 16 at Fencing World Championships in 2019, her best effort so far, where she virtually sealed her spot Not pursuing a well-known sport, she struggled with her finances early on. Tamil Nadu govt, GoSport and family supported her She is trained by Italian coach Nicola Zanotti Denied ticket, Cong leader shaves head The Congress also announced candidates for 86 seats in Kerala. Party MP K Muraleedharan has been fielded in Nemom. Within minutes, however, the party was left shocked when Lathika Subhash resigned as the state Mahila Congress chief and tonsured her head after she was denied ticket. Kushboo in BJP’s TN list Actress-turnedpolitician Kushboo Sundar and the state party chief L Murugan are among the BJP’s candidates in Tamil Nadu. The party was allocated 20 seats during the seatsharing talks with the AIADMK. Kushboo will contest from Thousand Lights constituency in Chennai EC says no attack but accident, shunts out Didi’s security official EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi REJECTING claims that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was attacked in Nandigram, the Election Commission on Sunday attributed the injury she sustained on her left foot on Wednesday to an accident. Nevertheless, the EC placed under suspension a few senior officers for lapses in the CM’s security, and appointed former DGP Intelligence (Punjab) Anil Kumar Sharma as a special police observer for the state. The poll panel ordered the suspension of Vivek Sahay Director (Securi, ty) of the CM’s protection team. “The charges must be framed against him within a week for grossly failing in discharge of his primary duty as Director Security to protect the Z+ protectee,” the EC said. It also suspended Pravin Prakash, superintendent of police of Purba Medinipur for failing to provide adequate bandobast at Nandigram. The district magistrate and district election officer of Purba Medinipur, too, was axed. The decisions were based on the report of the chief secretary and the joint report by special general observer Ajay Nayak and special police observer Vivek Dube. The EC found the two suspended officers failed to protect the Bengal CM. Mamata received injuries after she got sandwiched between the front door and the seat of her car because of pressure from the crowd. The poll panel directed that since the security of star campaigners becomes far more sensitive during the election period, established SoPs should be followed scrupulously . The EC also decided to issue instructions separately to the CEOs of all poll bound states/ UTs to bring it to the notice of political parties for strict compliance of the security of the star campaigners as per the category of protection and local threat assessment. LENDING indirect support to the two-day strike called by a section of public-sector bank employees over the Centre’s plan to privatise two PSU banks, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on Sunday said the government’s move would be utterly foolish. “I think it would be a colossal mistake to sell the banks to industrial houses,” Rajan said in an interview to a news agency . According to Rajan, who is currently a Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, it will also not be politically feasible to sell THE country on Sunday reported 25,320 fresh cases of coronavirus infection, the highest daily surge in 84 days, according to data from the Union health ministry A total of . 161 fatalities were added on the day, highest figure in 44 days, taking the death toll to 1,58,607. The case tally stands at 1,13,59,048, of which 2,10,544 are active. India’s Covid tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surged past the one-crore mark on December 19. The 161 new fatalities recorded on Sunday include 88 from Maharashtra, 22 from Punjab and 12 from Kerala. So far, 1,58,607 deaths have been reported in the country including 52,811 from Maharashtra, 12,543 from Tamil Nadu, 12,387 from Karnataka, 10,939 from Delhi, 10,288 from West Bengal, 8,745 from UP and 7,182 from AP The health min. Monday and Tuesday The pro. test could cripple branch operations such as deposits and withdrawal at branches, cheque clearance and loan approvals. Most PSU banks, including State Bank of India, have alerted customers about possible disruption in operations. ATM and internet banking services are unlikely to be hit. I believe the (monetary policy) framework has helped bring inflation down, while giving the RBI some flexibility to support the economy. It is hard to think of what would have happened if we had to run such large fiscal deficits without such a framework in place —Raghuram Rajan, former RBI governor EXPRESS READ Meghalaya governor bats for farmers Baghpat (UP): Siding with farmers protesting the Centre’s new agriculture laws, Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik has urged PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah not to offend them. “None of the laws are in favour of farmers,” said Malik at an event. Passenger dies despite emergency landing Nagpur: A Delhi-bound IndiGo flight made an emergency landing in Nagpur, after a 65-year-old passenger complained of health issues. He died by the time he was taken to hospital, police said. Chhotusingh Naryansingh Yadav was a resident of Gaya. 100 SENIORS N.O. SUPER SET EXAMPLES Tulsi Das Chawla & Khazan Singh are centenarians and recipents of Covid-19 vaccines PAGE 5 India records highest surge of Covid in 84 days EXPRESS N E WS S E RVI CE @ New Delhi any decent-sized bank to foreign banks. Raman feels some Indian private banks may be in a position to acquire inefficient PSU banks and turn them around, too. But the question is whether they have the appetite for it, he said. According to bank unions, over 10 lakh employees will take part in the strike on istry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities. Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh gover nment has issued a guideline making it mandatory for travellers arriving in the state from adjoining Maharashtra to undergo seven-day quarantine in the wake of fresh Covid-19 waves in both states. SC ruling settled power tussle The power tussle between Delhi government and the L-G reached the Supreme Court in 2017 and a constitution bench ruled in July 2018 that the lieutenant-governor cannot “interfere in every decision of the Delhi government”. “The L-G is the administrative head but can’t act as an obstructionist,” the top court said. BILL TO GIVE MORE POWER TO L-G WILL BE TABLED TODAY E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi A Bill that seeks to give more discretionary powers to the Delhi lieutenant-gover nor (L-G) will be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Union Home Minister Amit Shah will table The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which proposes to clearly spell out the funct i o n s o f t h e C o u n ci l o f Ministers and the L-G. One of the provisions of the Bill says the L-G can act in his discretion in any matter related to the All India (Civil) Services and the Anti-Corruption Branch, which is beyond the purview of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi. The validity of any decision taken as per such discretion shall not be questioned. Sources said the proposed amendments also specify that the elected government needs to send legislative proposals to the L-G at least 14 days in advance to seek his opinion and avoid any delays. The Bill may revive the tussle between the Modi government at the Centre and the current Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) dispensation in Delhi, which are often at loggerheads over jurisdiction in administrative matters. The Union Cabinet had in February approved the proposed amendments to the Government of NCT of Delhi Act, prompting the Arvind Kejriwal government to call it a “murder of constitutional democracy”. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had alleged that the Bill would “snatch the power of Delhi’s elected government and give it to the Centre-appointed L-G”. The constant run-ins between the Centre and the Kejriwal government started soon after the AAP came to power in 2015. The then L-G Najeeb Jung demanded to see all the files while CM Kejriwal directed bureaucrats not to bother. With bureaucrats caught in the crossfire, the matter reached a head when then chief secretary Anshu Prakash alleged assault by some AAP MLAs at a meeting at Kejriwal’s residence. Another flashpoint was when Kejriwal and some of his ministers sat on a dharna at L-G’s residence for nine days in 2018. The AAP has repeatedly accused the Centre of interfering in the Delhi government’s functioning and trying to curtail its powers through the L-G. ON THE MARK Burning train to bullseye in national archery, MP teens conquer odds E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhopal Amit and Soniya won medals in national junior archery| EXPRESS NEARLY trapped inside a burning train on Saturday and winning medals in a national event a day later, a bunch of youngsters from Madhya Pradesh has gone through the extremes. Having escaped from the ill-fated coach of the New Delhi-Dehradun Shatabdi Express which caught fire, Amit Kumar and Soniya Thakur secured three podium finishes at the national junior archery championship in Dehradun. It started on Saturday afternoon, when coach C5 of the train turned into an inferno following an electrical short circuit while passing through Rajaji Tiger Reserve. In the coach among others were eight archers (four boys and four girls) and two coaches from MP Archery Academy Af. ter coming out safely they spent , a sleepless night. But that did not deter them from hitting bullseye. Dispelling doubts over their team’s participation on the opening day of the event, 17-year-old Amit won bronze in the 70m recurve event. The effort was bettered by 14-year-old Soniya, who secured silver in the girls’ section of the same event. Amit and Soniya then We helplessly watched as our equipment and dreams of making Madhya Prdesh proud at the event got reduced to ashes Ashok Kumar Yadav, assistant coach teamed up to claim another silver in the mixed-pair event. Their achievement drew the attention of MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who took to Twitter to congratulate them. Although they came out unharmed before being taken to Dehradun on the same train after a few hours, the archers had to endure the sight of their kits getting burnt to ashes. Thanks to the intervention of MP Sports Minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia and officials of the state sports department, the archers had a fresh set of bows and arrows delivered to them from Patiala on Sunday night. “We were awake all night cutting and calibrating arrows and other equipment,” assistant coach Ashok Kumar Yadav recalled. “Inspired by our honourable sports minister’s pep talk and the steely resolve of our archers, we won three medals. After a full night’s sleep, we will go all out for gold medals in the events to be held on Monday,” said the assistant coach.
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