SAMBALPUR l monday l november 23, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l CITY EDITION judge throws out trump suit on Pennsylvania loss A Pennsylvania judge on Saturday dismissed Trump campaign’s lawsuit seeking to invalidate millions of mail-in votes state can now certify biden as winner Helpful verdict, claims Trump team Judge Matthew Brann ruled that the Trump campaign “presented strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations unsupported by evidence”. Donald Trump had claimed some Pennsylvania counties contacted and let voters to fix mistakes in their mail ballot declarations. The path is now clear for the state to certify Joe Biden as the winner ■ ■ Trump’s legal team cast the ruling in a positive light, saying it helps their strategy to get the case expeditiously to the US Supreme Court, where a majority of judges are conservative The case will now go to the 3rd circuit of the US Court of Appeals, which, the Trump campaign hopes, will pass a quick verdict | P9 81,000 votes is biden’s lead over trump in Pennsylvania CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Experts see building of a second Covid wave in India s u m i s u k a n ya d u t ta @ New Delhi After recording just 28,609 fresh Covid-19 cases on November 16—the lowest in four months—India has recorded between 38,000 and 46,000 fresh Covid cases daily in the last four days, raising concerns that the country is facing a second wave of the deadly infection. After recording 96,860 new infections in a day on September 16, there had been a steady decline in the number of new cases reported daily . But, in recent days, states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, and Delhi have seen a sharp rise in daily new cases, pushing the national tally up. “We are definitely seeing early signs of a second wave at the national level,” health economist Rijo M John said. The mortality rate, too, is rising in several states including Kerala, Odisha, Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, John pointed out. Experts warned that the states that did well in containing the first wave may see a higher caseload this time PM likely to hold virtual meet with Cms Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to hold virtual meetings with chief ministers and other representatives of states and union territories on Tuesday to review the Covid-19 situation BJP show tied to muslim MLas S a n a S h a k i l @ New Delhi Barring a few exceptions, the fact that fewer Muslim MLAs were elected in the recent Bihar Assembly elections falls into a pattern witnessed in recent years. Wherever and whenever the Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partners have performed strongly, coming to power in most cases, the number of elected Muslim re presentatives has gone down, like in Bihar where it dropped from 24 to 19. Conversely, where non-BJP parties have done well, Muslim representation in the elected houses has generally increased, an analysis by this newspaper found. Take, for instance, the Karnataka elections in 2018 and Uttar Pradesh in 2017. In both states, the BJP did well and the number of Muslim MLAs dived. The steepest fall was in UP where the BJP stormed to power with a crushing threefourths mandate. In the outgoing Assembly where the Samajwadi Party was in power, the state had 68 Muslim MLAs; that figure dropped to 24. Percentage wise, it dipped from 17% of the total strength of the Assembly to 6%. In Karna- taka, the number of Muslim MLAs fell from 11 to seven. Contrast them with the elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in late 2018, Odisha in mid-2019, Maharashtra and Jharkhand in late 2019, and Delhi in February this year. In all these states, the Congress and regional parties upended the BJP and the Muslim MLA count grew, even if marginally in some cases. The biggest increase was in Rajasthan — from two to eight — where the Congress wrested power from the BJP. In Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress ended 15 years of continuous BJP rule, Muslim MLA numbers went up from nil to one and one to two, respectively. Maharashtra and Jharkhand are also interesting, as the BJP lost power, and the number of Muslim MLAs increased. Exceptions to the trend were Gujarat, Assam and Tripura, where Muslim representation went up though they are ruled by the BJP. On the flip side, the Muslim MLA count dropped in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab, where the BJP has ne gligible electoral Continued on: P7 presence. around if they let the guard down. “In those states, since seroprevalence and infection-induced immunity are low, people venturing out would mean high daily cases,” said public health researcher Oommen C Kurian. “India will have multiple peaks before vaccines ar- rive and a second wave by end November or early December is highly likely,” he added. Understandably, the sudden rise in new cases has forced worried state governments to re-impose some of the restrictions that were dialed back. Haryana and Manipur, for instance, have shut schools again while many districts in Rajasthan and Gujarat are under full or partial lockdowns. India on Sunday reported 45,209 fresh cases, taking total P7 tally to 90.95 lakh. Figure it out How they stack up Percentage in population % of Muslim MLAs at present Number of Muslim MLAs Number of MLAs in the last Assembly Jammu & Kashmir 68.31% 68.9% 60 60 Himachal Pradesh 2.18% 00 0 Punjab 1.93% 0.85% 1 2 Haryana 7.03% 3.33% 3 3 Delhi 12.78% 7.14% 5 4 Uttarakhand 13.95% 2.85% 2 2 Uttar Pradesh 19.3% 5.9% 24 68 Arunachal Pradesh 1.9% 0 0 0 Assam Bihar 34.22% 23% 16.9% 7.81% 29 28 19 24 Meghalaya 4.39% Sikkim 1.6% 0 1.66% 1 1 0 0 Nagaland 2.4% 0 0 0 Manipur Rajasthan 9.1% 4% 8 2 Gujarat 9.6% 1.64% 3 2 Madhya Pradesh 6.57% 0.86% 2 1 Maharashtra 11.54% 3.47% 10 9 Goa 8.33% 0 0 0 8.40% 5% 3 3 West Bengal 27.01% 18% 59 59 Tripura 8.60% 3.33% 2 1 Jharkhand 14.5% 4.87% 4 2 Mizoram 1.3% 0 0 0 Odisha 7.08% 0.68% 1 0 Chhattisgarh 2.02% 1.1% 1 0 Telangana 12.7% 6.72% 8 8 Andhra Pradesh 9% 1.71% 3 4 Karnataka 12.9% 3.12% 7 11 Puducherry 4.97% 3% 1 1 Kerala 26.56% 22.85% 32 36 Tamil Nadu 5.86% 2.13% 5 5 Ten states where the number of Muslim legislators went up as compared to the last Assembly elections are Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam and Tripura Nine states where the number of Muslim legislators has remained the same as compared to the last Assembly elections are Haryana, Telangana, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Puducherry and J&K Six states where the Muslim MLA count dropped as compared to the last Assembly elections are Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab Six states that do not have a single Muslim MLA are Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Nagaland, Goa and Himachal Pradesh Cow cabinet No Covid setback for mulls cess to tech-studies, enrollment raise funds steady across the board E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Bhopal The first of its kind gau (cow) cabinet meeting on Sunday convened by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan explored the possibility of levying a cess to raise funds for the welfare of cows in Madhya Pradesh. “There was a time when every individual offered the first roti of the meal to a cow and the last roti to dogs, but now it doesn’t happen. Maybe we’ll make the people contribute financially, but it will be ensured that they aren’t pained by it,” Chauhan said. The gau cabinet, which met virtually also decided to set up over 2,000 cowsheds in the state for the protection of the cows. “We won’t let any cow remain shelterless. We’ve targeted 2,000 gaushalas to be managed by gover nment along with self-help groups.” WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) YOUR LIFE COACH Sudarsan Maharana @ Bhubaneswar The coronavirus pandemic may have left schools, colleges and universities shut for nearly 10 months now but the crisis has not been able to dampen student community’s interest in engineering and technical courses in Odisha. Student enrollment in various courses across engineering colleges, ITIs and polytechnics of the State are likely to steady this year, given the application and registration numbers. A growth has been seen in key areas which education experts feel may boost popularity of technical courses as soon as the situation normalises. Despite the Covid crisis, a record number of students applied for Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE) 2020 which was 22 per cent more than the previous year. “We received 14,868 more applications in engineering and professional programmes this year,” said OJEE Committee Chairman SK Chand. The number of candidates appearing in the BTech entrance was at least 400 more than the previous year. For OJEE 2020, as many as 79,754 applications were received and more than 49,278 students appeared the test and allotted rank. Though rank allotment is around 5,000 less compared to 2019 when 54,217 candidates got them, the number in BTech has seen a rise from 6,170 last year to 6,605 this time. The Odisha Private Engineering Colleges Association, umbrella body of private engineering colleges in the State, is hopeful of a better admission rate this year. “As admissions have started, we are witnessing a rise in demand in core engineering courses such as civil, mechanical, electrical, electronics telecommunication and computer science,” said OPECA secretary Binod Dash. With students preferring not to travel outside Odisha in view of the pandemic, colleges are hopeful of bringing down seat vacancy below 50 per cent this year. Last year, as many as 19,429 (around 62 per cent) engineering seats had remained vacant in the State. In ITIs too, the candidate registration for enrollment in 202021 has been very positive. As many as 70,875 students registered for various trades, of which, 58,877 have already completed their fee payment CONTINUED ON: P5 process. creative pursuit A child paints a paper mask, making full use of free time as schools remain closed due to Covid-19 pandemic, in Bhubaneswar on Sunday | irfana BJP chief’s ABC Plan for 120-day tour from Dec 5 Party-ruled states have been categorised as A, while those by the Oppn are on the B list workers in the course of his state visits, which will commence from Uttarakhand. BeTo get a head start for the 2024 sides the ABC states, Nadda Lok Sabha elections, the BJP will also travel to the states has put in place an ‘ABC Plan’ where Assembly elections will that will see party be held next year. chief J P Nadda emThe BJP has said bark on a 120-day tour Nadda’s travel plans of states from Decemwill follow all Covid-19 ber 5 to gear up the orguidelines, with arganisation for the big rangements being electoral challenge. made for checking Nadda will head out temperatures, masks to the A, B and C cateand santisation. gories of states, with “The plan of action Strategy in the first two compris- Oppn-ruled for the travel of the ing party and opposiBJP chief across the states tion ruled states, recountry includes In Oppositionspectively The smaller . building a positive imruled states, states have been placed age in the party-ruled Nadda will in the C basket. states, team spirit, strategise to BJP national generstrategy for the 2024 build campaigns al secretary Arun Lok Sabha elections, against the Singh on Sunday told besides stress on clarreporters that the 120- ruling parties by ity of the party ideoltaking up day long tour would be ogy said Singh. ,” various ssues utilised for building Given the imporforcefully dialogue, strategies tance of social media, and team spirit in the Nadda will hold meetcadre. “The BJP chief will be ings with digital volunteers spending three days each in during his state visits. Another large states and two days each important feature will be meetin the smaller states,” he said. ings allies in the states. “The BJP national general secretary BJP will endeavour during the Tarun Chug will coordinate meetings to strategise on winNadda’s travel plans. ning those Lok Sabha seats the Singh said the BJP chief will party could not in 2019,” said connect with booth level party Singh. E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi Shah discusses strategy with BJP & RSS leaders E XPR E S S N E W S S E RVIC E @ Chennai UNION Home Minister Amit Shah left from Chennai on Sunday, after holding a series of meetings with the core committee of the state BJP unit and senior RSS functionaries. The meetings that happened after Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam announced that the AIADMK’s alliance with the BJP would continue for the Assembly elections next year, much to the surprise of the even the saffron party’s state unit leaders, were held to chalk out strategies at multiple levels in the state, said sources. They were also held in the context of the expected release from prison of V K Sasikala, former aide of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the over- tures by M K Alagiri, estranged brother of DMK chief M K Stalin, and the ever looming Rajinikanth factor. Among those who met Shah from the RSS on Sunday morning were Tamil Nadt-Kerala zone organiser Senthil, TNKerala secretary Rajendran, southern TN organiser Arumugam and secretary Adalarasan, north TN organiser P M Ravikumar and secretary Jegadeesan. Thuglak Editor S G u r u m u r t hy a l s o called on the Union minister, and the meeting lasted about three hours. Speaking about his meeting, Gurumurthy said: “We discussed national and international issues, not just about Tamil Nadu. Nothing much was discussed about Rajinikanth as he has not taken a decision regarding his political entry .” Facing flak, govt revises norms for school merger E x p r ess Ne w s S e r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Drawing flak from all sections over its move to close down schools on a massive scale, the State government on Sunday revised the norms for merger of primary and upper primary schools in the scheduled and nonscheduled areas. Minister of State for School and Mass Education Samir Ranjan Dash announced the change in the decision after a day-long discussion over the issue in the Assembly The government had . agreed for a discussion in the House following strong opposition by the BJP and Congress members on Saturday . Replying to the discussion, the Minister said, schools having less than 15 students in scheduled areas will be merged with ones in nearby locations. Similarly in non-scheduled areas, less , than 20 students has been set as the new norm for merger of a school. In its earlier decision, the government had set less than 20 and 40 students in a school in scheduled and nonscheduled areas respectively as the norm for merger. The Minister said that the number of schools to be merged will be decided as per the changed criteria. The government will also take into account natural barriers in scheduled areas while deciding on merger, he said. The Minister said that 6,048 schools in the State have less than 20 enrollment, of which around 3,000 have lower than 15 students. “There are less than 40 students in 14,382 schools. The process for the merger of 7,772 such schools is underway. Among these, 1,724 schools have less than 25 students and 6,048 have less than 20,” he said. However, the Opposition members were not satisfied with the reply of the minister. Leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Narasingha Mishra said that if the changed decision of minimum 15 students is not introduced in KBK area, the issue will be raised in the House again. Deputy leader of CLP Santosh Singh Saluja alleged that the government has ruined schools in KBK areas by not posting the required number of teachers. Alleging that thousands of schools in the region will be closed, he warned that there will be wide-scale agitation if norms are not relaxed. Deputy leader of the BJP Legislature Party Bishnu Charan Sethi said the State government’s decision to shut down 11,000 schools will be a disaster. Around 800 schools will be closed in Koraput district alone, he said. Moving the motion, government chief whip Pramila Mallick said schools are being merged to ensure quality education.
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