NEW DELHI 07 MARCH 2021 SUNDAY `9 PAGES 24 facebook/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard https://epaper.morningstandard.in PLUS: 12 PAGES Picture Past Perfect MAGAZINE Fourth Wave in a Coffee Cup EXCLUSIVE VOICES TJS George Ashoke Maitra Shankkar Aiyar Pushpesh Pant In Praise of Older Women Ravi Shankar Shinie Antony Sathya Saran Amar Bhushan K U M A R V I K R A M @ New Delhi 2019 LOK 2016 SABHA ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS ELECTIONS WITH the BJP unveiling its first list of 57 candidates for the eight phase West Bengal Assembly elections on Saturday, the Nandigram constituency is set for a battle of titans after the saffron outfit pitched former state minister Suvendu Adhikari against chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Both the BJP and the ruling Trinamool Cong ress have fielded heavyweights, hoping to pin down each other in the constituency . BJP national general secretary Arun Singh announced the names of the candidates on Saturday at the party headquarters in Delhi even while the full might of the outfit was busy preparing for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Brigade Ground election rally on Sunday . The BJP also sought to create another buzz by fielding former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh against another former senior police official, Humayun Kabir, from the Debra Assembly seat. Ghosh had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but lost. Kabir joined the TMC last month. In line with the open arms welcome to sitting legislators from other parties, the BJP fielded former CPM leader Tapashi Mondal from Haldia and Sudip Mukherjee, ex-TMC, from Purulia. The two had won from the same seats in 2016. The BJP also fielded former Indian cricket player Ashok Dinda from East Midnapore. Singh said the first list of the candidates have 19 Dalits and seven tribals. While the chief minister is banking on her political war cry of “Ma, Mati, Manush,” the BJP is seeking to set the electoral narrative with Adhikari against her. The BJP is hoping that the politically influential Battle of Nandigram 1,34,623 TMC 53,393 Left BJP 1,30,659 62,268 Left 9,353 DAYS after income tax authorities raided properties linked to Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu, and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, the unfazed duo took to social media to hit out at the raids and took a dig at their alleged illegal possessions and tax discrepancies. Pannu wrote that the threeday long I-T raids were primarily on keys to an “alleged” Paris bungalow, an “alleged” receipt for `5 crore, and a “memory of 2013 raid.” At the end of her twitter thread, she wrote, “not so sasti” anymore. On Wednesday, income tax department officials had raided 30 properties linked to filmmaker Kashyap and Pannu in Pune and Mumbai over alleged their tax evasion. Both were also questioned by officials in Pune. “Three days of intense search. Of three things primarily: 1. The keys of the ‘alleged’ bungalow that I apparently own in Paris. Because summer holi- days are around the corner,” Pannu tweeted sarcastically . In the second tweet, Pannu wrote, “The alleged receipt worth 5 crore to frame n keep for future pitching coz I’ve been refused that money before.” This was followed by a third tweet where she wrote, “My memory of 2013 raid that happened with me according to our honourable finance minister.” a post script in the tweet said, “not so sasti anymore.” In a tweet attaching a photo of Pannu and him on the sets of their second project, Kashyap wrote “and we restart our shoot.” On Instagram, he captioned their photo on the sets together, and wrote, “And we restart #DoBaaraa .. with all our love to all the haters.” Actor Swara Bhasker came out in their support by retweeting Pannu’s thread, and replying to Kashyap’s picture with emojis. Earlier, she had written ‘appreciation’ tweets for the duo expressing her solidarity with their ‘talent’ and ‘courage’. “More power to Anurag,” she had written in one tweet, while her tweet for Pannu said, “Stand strong warrior.” Pannu and Kashyap are outspoken critics of the government and have been vocal on several issues, including the farmers’ protests against the three central laws. EXPRESS READ Series won, No 1 again & spot sealed in WTC final Ahmedabad: India beat England by an innings & 25 runs on Day 3 of the fourth and final Test to win the series 3-1. It confirmed India’s place in the World Test Championship final, where they face New Zealand at Lord’s from June 18-22. The win also put Virat Kohli’s team back on top of the ICC Test rankings. Washington Sundar (96 n.o), Ravichandran Ashwin (5/47) and Axar Patel (5/48) were the stars of the day. P11 SUVENDU ADHIKARI I am Bhumiputra, Didi is an outsider: Suvendu Pitted against his former boss, BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari yet again exuded confidence about trouncing Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee. “I am Nandigram’s ‘Bhumiputra’...Mamata is an outsider here (in the region),” he said after his candidature was announced. Adhikaris can upset the CM. “Since his joining the BJP, Adhikari has been saying that he will defeat the chief minister by over 50,000 votes. The party has given him the opportunity to fulfill his goal,” said a senior BJP leader. Mamata’s decision to not contest from Bhawanipur and selecting Nandigram instead Time for summer holiday in Paris: Taapsee hits back E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi VS 10,713 TMC BJP MAMATA BANERJEE was said to be her master-stroke to blunt Adhikari’s attempt to harm the party in other parts of south Bengal. “Her goal was to confine Adhikari in a small pocket. The CM’s victory is sure. But her move forcing the BJP to field Adhikari against her will keep the BJP’s key player confined to Nandigram,” P8 said a TMC leader. INSPIRE CREMATION GROUND TURNS INTO SCHOOL College teacher’s initiative sees dropouts and poor kids take a shot at education in Madhya Pradesh village | P5 T HE number of reports brought out by the country’s top audit body, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, has come down sharply in the past five years, raising concerns that the government’s financial accountability is not coming under the CAG’s gaze very closely . The total number of CAG reports relating to central government ministries and departments came down from 55 in 2015 to just 14 in 2020, a fall of nearly 75%, a reply to an RTI application filed by this newspaper said. The CAG’s mandate is to serve as a watchdog, bringing out financial, performance and compliance reports of the government. “The CAG is the supreme audit institution of India and is expected to promote financial accountability and transparency in the affairs of the audited entities,” the CAG said in its 2019-20 own performance report. The power its reports yield came out starkly during the United Progressive Alliance government of Manmohan Singh. Its scathing reports on the 2G auction, coal block auction, Adarsh housing society and the Commonwealth Games of 2010 blighted Singh’s corruption-free image and brought down his government. The information received through the RTI application revealed that the number of CAG reports tabled in Parliament was the highest in 10 Don’t be Afraid of Failure The Reel Challenge Comptroller and Auditor General reports came down from 55 in 2015 to just 14 in 2020, a fall of nearly 75%; defence audit report fell from eight in 2017 to zero last year; experts say expenditure of public money should be properly audited Saffron party fields former lieutenant Suvendu to take on Mamata in Nandigram @ Kolkata/ New Delhi AMMA SPEAKS CAGed? Ex-aide vs Didi, cop vs cop in BJP’s first poll list for Bengal E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E A Slice of Risk Where Substance Meets Style years during the early years of the National Democratic Alliance government.But the numbers have fallen steadily after that. The RTI reply revealed that defence audit reports prepared and tabled in Parliament have also come down during the last few years. While eight audit reports were tabled in Parliament in 2017, it was zero last year. The story is repeated in railway audit reports. In 2017, five reports were prepared but it was only there in 2020. Former IAS officer Jawahar Sircar said the trend was bad as the CAG’s primary duty was to audit the expenditure of public money. “The last two-three CAGs have not been very aggressive like Vinod Rai. In fact, they were unusually lenient and soft.” Sircar said even serious issues such as the impact of demonetization was not taken up by the CAG for audit. “What was the impact of banning the circulation of `1,000 notes? This came at a time when this institution was required to stand up.” Former Lok Sabha secretary general P D T Acharya said the CAG’s mandate was to look into the accounts of the government and public sector undertakings and the falling numbers meant that the CAG was not picking up financial transaction for examination. “The CAG has to find out whether money has been spent judiciously and as per the rules/laws. It is for the CAG to pick up all these transactions of the government and examine them. 60 55 50 40 45 39 34 30 26 21 23 FALLING NUMBERS 20 10 42 37 14 2011 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 8 7 7 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 2 3 2 2011 12 4 4 3 RAILWAY AUDITS 2 14 15 16 17 18 8 20 8 7 6 6 6 6 5 5 4 3 2 1 0 3 2 3 DEFENCE AUDITS 2011 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 3 0 That means the CAG has picked up less number of things or the CAG perhaps did not find anything wrong in the accounts,” he said. When contacted, the CAG refused to comment but a source claimed that appropriation of finance accounts reports, which are mandatory in nature, are sent every year. “There may be some fall here and there on the compliance and performance audit reports as these are theme based and depend on the risk assessment,” the official said. Girl dies as UP hospital refuses to stitch wounds N A M I TA BA J PA I @ Lucknow PEDAL POWER Farmers block the Western Peripheral Expressway near Kundli in Haryana on Saturday to mark the 100th day of the protest against the farm laws | SHEKHAR YADAV GOING LOCAL Delhi to have its own school education board E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi IN order to boost the ‘Kejriwal model’ of development, the Delhi government on Saturday announced that it would set up its own school education board just like the other states. The decision to establish a Delhi Board of School Education was taken at a cabinet meeting and the government hopes that schools in the national capital would change their affiliation in time. In an interview given to this newspaper in August 2020, Delhi’s education minister Manish Sisodia had revealed that the government was planning to start its own board. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who chaired the meeting, said it would bring “radical changes” to the education system. Kejriwal reminded the people how his government had overhauled the gov- ernment school education system on a top priority . “The Delhi Education Board will function in close alignment with national and international boards. The board will develop world-class education practices that will enable the shift in teaching-learning practices across Delhi,” the chief minister said. “The new school board of Delhi will become the basis for fulfilling a very big dream of improving education. In this, it will be ensured that every child becomes a good citizen, takes responsibility of the country by becoming a staunch patriot and becomes a good person. This board will free education from ‘rote passing exam,’” said Sisodia in a tweet after the announcement. There are approximately 1,000 government and 1,700 private schools in Delhi, most of them are affiliated with the CBSE board. A three-year-old girl was allegedly left to die with her post-surgery stitches still open outside a private hospital in UP’s Prayagraj district on Friday over nonpayment of medical bills. The incident prompted the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to issue a notice to the district administration seeking a report within 24 hours. The child was handed over to her relatives by doctors of Unity Medicity Hospital without giving her the stitches and dressing after an abdominal surgery The minor was left to . die apparently because her medical bills had run into `5 lakh, which her parents were unable to pay The family from . Manjahanpur in Kaushambi had recently brought the girl to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. The NCPCR also asked the Prayagraj DM to conduct a detailed inquiry, register an FIR and recommend strict action against doctors and staff of the hospital. It has asked the district administration to provide compensation to the family The . DM has formed a two-member team to look into the matter. Hospital authorities denied the incident. When contacted by this newspaper, they did not pick the call. However, a video going viral shows the minor writhing in pain with a pipe sticking out of her nose.
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