kochi l Monday l november 23, 2020 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l late 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 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 81,000 Helpful verdict, claims Trump team ■ ■ 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 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 dutta @ New Delhi After reaching the trough of just 28,609 fresh Covid-19 cases on November 16 — the lowest in four months — India has seen between 38,000 and 46,000 new cases daily in the last four days, raising concerns that the country is staring at a second wave of the deadly infection. The daily infection count reached its peak of 96,860 on September 16. Ever since, there had been a steady decline. 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 U.S. may start vaccination by dec 11 The US is planing to start coronavirus vaccinations by December 11, a top official said. Two US firms Pfizer and Moderna have reported their vaccine candidates to be over 90% effective in final round trials | P9 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 representatives 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 Assem- bly to 6%. In Karnataka, 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 negligible electoral presence. Continued on: P7 , ly,” he added. Understandably the spurt in cases has forced state governments to re-impose some of the curbs that were dialed back. Haryana and Manipur, for instance, have shut schools again while many districts in Rajasthan and Gujarat are witnessing more restrictions. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray warned the second wave “looks like a tsunami” and urged people not to lower their guards so as to avoid another lockdown. P7 may see a higher caseload this time around if they let the guard down. “In those states, since seroprevalence and infectioninduced immunity are low, people venturing out would mean high daily cases,” said public health expert Oommen C Kurian. “India will have multiple peaks before vaccines arrive and a second wave by end-November or early-December is highly like- 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 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 Manipur 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 Facing flak, CM says new police law Cow cabinet mulls cess to raise funds won’t be used to gag free speech E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram In the wake of widespread criticism against the Kerala Police (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 passed by the state government, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday clarified that the new law will not be used against freedom of speech or impartial media activity in any way. There is no room for any apprehension, Pinarayi said in an official statement. The amendment ordinance — which stipulates imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to `10,000 for those who produce, publish or disseminate content with an intention to intimidate, insult or defame a person, through any means of communication — was notified in the gazette on Saturday . The state government came under intense criticism from various personalities, not just from the state but also at the national level, with many terming the newly included Section 118A a ‘draconian’ one. The Opposition alleged that the state government is planning to gag the media through this black law under the guise of controlling cyber attacks. Justifying the government move, Pinarayi said: “The state government has been repeatedly receiving complaints against the wide misuse of social media, especially by certain online channels. Even prominent public and cultural figures had made such complaints. They have brought to the notice of the government instances in which inhuman and vile cyber attacks were carried out by some in the guise of journalism and how it even harmed the family lives of many It . has often turned into targeted attacks using untruths and even sleazy content. Many families are bearing the consequences of such attacks.” He also pointed out that the use of personal likes or dislikes, political or non-political interests and so on to unsettle the peaceful atmosphere of families to settle scores arising out of revenge cannot be al● More on P4 lowed. SOP will be prepared, says DGP State Police Chief Loknath Behera said the police will prepare a standard operating procedure before taking any action as per the new amendment. The SOP will be prepared after discussing it with legal experts to ensure that the ordinance is not misused by anyone, he said. ‘Section 118A will not stand court scrutiny’ R a j e s h A b r a h a m @ Kochi The controversial section included in the Kerala Police Act, which gives sweeping powers to the police to clamp down on ‘defamatory’ or ‘offensive’ posts, will not stand the scrutiny of court, said legal experts. In March 2015, the Supreme Court, in a landmark verdict, had struck down Section 66A of the IT Act and Section 118 (d) of the Kerala Police Act after it found the sections violative of the right to free speech, and a similar fate would befall on the Section 118A of the Kerala Police (Amendment) Ordinance too if challenged in the court, they said. “The SC said Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, as well as the 118(d) of the Police Act, go overboard, which means you can extend or expand it like an elastic by including anything in the purview of the definition. That’s why the provision was struck down by the SC,” said eminent lawyer Kaleeswaram ● More on P4 Raj. E x p r e s s N e w s Se 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 government along with self-help groups.” Continued on: P8 BJP chief’s ABC Plan for 120-day tour from Dec 5 States ruled by party and allies categorised as A, while those headed by others on B list Nadda’s travel plans. Singh said the BJP chief will connect with booth level party To get a head start for the 2024 workers in the course of his Lok Sabha elections, the BJP state visits, which will comhas put in place an ‘ABC Plan’ mence from Uttarakhand. Bethat will see party sides the ABC states, chief J P Nadda emNadda will also travel bark on a 120-day tour to the states where Asof states from Decemsembly elections will ber 5 to gear up the orbe held next year. ganisation for the big The BJP has said electoral challenge. Nadda’s travel plans Nadda will head out will follow all Covid-19 to the A, B and C categuidelines, with argories of states, with Strategy in r a n g e m e n t s b e i n g the first two compris- Oppn-ruled made for checking ing party and oppositemperatures, masks states tion ruled states, reand santisation. In Opposition“The plan of action spectively The smaller . ruled states, for the travel of the states have been placed Nadda will BJP chief across the in the C basket. strategise to country includes buildBJP national generbuild campaigns ing a positive image in al secretary Arun against the the party-ruled states, Singh on Sunday told reporters that the 120- ruling parties by team spirit, strategy taking up for the 2024 LS elecday long tour would be various issues tions, besides stress on utilised for building forcefully clarity of the party idedialogue, strategies ology said Singh. Giv,” and team spirit in the cadre. “The BJP chief will be en the importance of social mespending three days each in dia, Nadda will hold meetings large states and two days each with digital volunteers during in the smaller states,” he said. his state visits. Another imporBJP national general secretary tant feature will be meetings alTarun Chug will coordinate lies in the states. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Shah discusses plans with BJP, RSS leaders in TN Chennai: Union Home Minister Amit Shah left 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 CM 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 were held to chalk out strategies at multiple levels, said sources. Thuglak Editor S Gurumurthy also called on Shah, and the meeting lasted about three hours. Speaking later, 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.” express read CB likely to record Covid vaccine: State Swapna’s statement constitutes panel T’Puram: The Crime Branch on Monday will formally start the probe into the leaking of a voice clip purportedly from Swapna Suresh, a key accused in the gold smuggling case. A special investigation team will be constituted and is expected to record Swapna’s statement this week. A request letter will be dispatched to DGP(prisons) Rishi Raj Singh for sanction to record Swapna’s statement. P5 WITH THIS ISSUE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST T’Puram: The state government has constituted a five-member committee to explore the possibility of setting up a vaccine manufacturing unit(s). The units will operate with the drug manufacturing licence of pharmaceutical companies. The government had held talks with Bharat Biotech and on the basis of its letter, the CM himself had chaired a meeting on conducting vaccine trials. P4 YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) ‘ED probing KIIFB’s bonds based on CAG report’ E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @T’Puram Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac on Sunday lashed out at the Enforcement Directorate (ED), alleging that the central agency has written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking details of the permission granted to the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) to issue masala bonds. He said ED is colluding with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to topple the state government. According to Isaac, ED has started a preliminary probe based on the findings about KIIFB in the CAG report on the The ED has taken steps on the basis of the observations in the CAG report, which has not been tabled in the assembly. This is a breach of privilege of the House. — Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister state’s finances for 2018-19, which is yet to be tabled in the assembly He also accused the . agency of leaking this information to the media. ED is learnt to have asked the RBI whether it had given sanction to issue masala bonds and whether the nod was given with the knowledge of the Central government. “ED has taken steps on the basis of observations in the CAG report, which has not been tabled in the assembly. This is a breach of privilege of the House. If ED wanted to intervene, it should have waited for the report of the Public Accounts Committee which will examine the CAG report,” he told reporters “Only the Public Accounts Committees in Parliament or assembly are entitled to take further action on the CAG report.” Isaac said the ED will not be allowed to have a free run in the state challenging the rules or powers of the assembly “An . ED officer sent WhatsApp messages to media persons on the agency’s letter to the central bank.” Isaac said various central agencies like CAG, ED, CBI and NIA are conspiring against the state government and its various development projects. “The letter to the RBI and leaking of the information to the media are proof for this,” he said. Isaac also sought to know the opinion of Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on the breach of privilege of the as● More on P5 sembly by ED.
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