KOttayam l Sunday l may 02, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l city edition results of assembly polls for Four states, 1 UT today Exercise to begin on Sunday morning across 2,364 counting halls in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu & Puducherry Elaborate arrangements at centres Stung by criticism over not enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour during campaigning, the Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for counting. Apart from ensuring physical distancing, it has barred gatherings outside halls. Counting will begin at 8 am and continue late into the night, with 1,100 observers closely watching over the process | P10 200% covid -ve certificate must for agents ■ ■ ■ Candidates and agents will have to produce a negative Covid-19 test report or double dose of vaccination certificate to get entry The results will have a bearing on Congress’ future as a national party, while serving as a litmus test for the BJP’s expansion plans It will also likely reflect the public perception on Covid handling Increase in the number of counting centres in view of the pandemic 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 O2-starved hospital horror Head of dept at Batra Hospital among the dead; Fortis Hospital stops new admissions; Max doctor on Covid duty takes his own life Water has gone above head, give oxygen Now: hc to Centre K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi Batra Hospital employees paying respects to Dr R K Himthani | TWITTER within 5 minutes. Their regular supplier of oxygen has defaulted yet again due to alleged Disruption in oxygen sup- ‘lack of oxygen supplies’ and is ply resulted in the death of 12 being pulled up,” he tweeted. Covid-19 patients at Batra HosGupta said they had inpital on Saturday. One of the formed authorities about lack deceased was RK Himthani, of oxygen in the morning when head of the gastroenterology they had 2,500 litres left. department of the hospital. Around 12.30 pm, hospital auMedical director of the hos- thorities claimed they had run pital Dr SCL Gupta said that out of oxygen. The tanker arsix of the deceased, including rived at 1.35 pm, they added. the doctor, were in Expressing grief, ICU on high flow of Chief Minister oxygen. The doctor 18 die in Gujarat Arvind Kejriwal hospital blaze once again flagged was admitted to the hospital 15-20 days the issue of short Bharuch: At least 18 ago. supply to Delhi. people, including 16 “There were pa- Covid patients, died in “Their lives could tients who could have been saved by a fire at a hospital at have survived, but Bharuch in Gujarat on giving them oxythey could not be- Saturday. The victims gen on time. Delhi cause of oxygen were either charred to should get its quota shortage. The govof oxygen. Can’t death or died due to er nment should see our people dysuffocation after a take some decision, suspected short-circuit ing like this. Delhi either close the needs 976 tonnes of sparked the blaze at hospital or admis- Patel Welfare Hospital oxygen, but it resions. What was ceived only 312 the fault of those tonnes yesterday. who died due to shortage of How will Delhi breathe in such oxygen?” he said. a less amount of oxygen?” his The hospital had raised an tweet in Hindi said. alarm over depleting stocks Other hospitals in the city around noon, after which AAP also sent out messages about MLA Raghav Chadha, who oxygen shortage on Saturday. monitors supply to several hos- Fortis Hospital in Vasant Kunj pitals in the city, said the gas stopped taking admissions due was reaching the hospital. to shortage. Meanwhile, a “Our SOS cryogenic tanker 35-year-old resident doctor at carrying Liquid Medical Oxy- Delhi’s Max Hospital died by gen is reaching Batra Hospital suicide on Saturday . E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ New Delhi EXPRESS READ India returnees to face 5-yr jail in Australia April GST revenue at record high of K1.41L-Cr Melbourne: Threatening a fiveyear jail term or hefty fine, the Australian government temporarily barred its citizens from entering the country if they happened to be in India within 14 days of their intended arrival. The decision will come into force from Monday. The move aims at keeping the spread in check in Australia. P9 New Delhi: GST collections in April touched a record high of over I1.41 lakh crore, indicating sustained economic recovery, the Finance Ministry said on Saturday. The revenues for April are 14% higher than March’s collection. The ministry attributed the record collection to the resilience shown by the Indian businesses. P10 WITH THIS ISSUE Helping Handles PLUS 12 PAGES Taking a stern tone over Delhi not getting its due share of medical oxygen, the Delhi High Court on Saturday told the Centre to arrange its full quota by whatever means or face action. “Water has gone above the head. You have to arrange everything now. You have made the allocations. You have to fulfill it. Eight lives have been lost,” a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said, while referring to Batra Hospital’s reported loss of lives, including that of a doctor, after oxygen supply stopped for 80 minutes on Saturday . The number has since risen to 12. “We direct the Centre to ensure that Delhi receives its 490 MT today by whatever means. It falls on the Centre to arrange tankers as well. If this is not implemented, we may even consider initiating contempt proceedings,” the HC said. During the hearing, senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, stated that while Delhi’s demand was 700 MT, but 490 MT has been allocated, of which the suppliers had made a voluntary commitment to supply 445MT. “Our tankers are not given priority There . is no timing, schedule given to us. We are dealing in SoS even today My officers will . have a mental breakdown,” Mehta told the bench. “Enough is enough. No one is asking for more than allocated. If you can’t supply the allocation today we will see your expla, nation on Monday the HC said, while refus,” ing the Centre time to explain the crisis. The court also sought data with respect to daily Covid-19 admissions and discharges from all hospitals in Delhi starting April 1. The order was passed after the court observed that while the recovery rate was high, there appeared to be choking of beds. “Every day a substantial number of beds should become available. But that does not appear to be happening. Patients who require hospitalisation with oxygen support should normally be in a position to leave within 8-10 days subject to their condition,” the court said. election commission moves sc against madras hc remarks New Delhi: Days after the Madras HC made stinging remarks against it, the Election Commission of India on Saturday approached the Supreme Court, terming the observations as “blatantly disparaging” and prejudicial against it. The HC on April 26 had condemned the EC for allowing political rallies amid Covid-19 crisis NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths April 30 may 01 3,86,452 2,97,540 3,498 4,01,993 2,99,988 3,523 RT-PCR @ 500 A young woman gets a vaccine shot in Mumbai on Saturday | PTI Dull start to 3rd phase of vaccination E x pre s s ne w s Ser v i c e @ New Delhi T he va c c i n at i o n p ro gramme for all adults got off to a slow start on Saturday with many states skipping the launch date and others doing a symbolic vaccination drive due to an acute shortage of doses. While some states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka kicked off the inoculation drive for the 18-44 years group in a small way at limited centres, Kerala said its launch will be delayed by a few days due to shortage of vaccines. In Delhi, vaccination for this group was carried out only at one vaccination centre, with CM Arvind Kejriwal saying that the largescale distribution of doses will start only on Monday . Chhattisgarh administered doses to only 1,693 people in that age group till 7 pm on Saturday . Legal action against labs refusing to test, charging old rate: CM @ T’Puram CHIEF Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has warned of legal action against private laboratories which overcharge the public for RT-PCR test for Covid-19 detection. Though the state government had slashed the test rate from `1,700 to `500 on Thursday, several laboratories continue with the old rates. “Some private labs are refusing to conduct RT-PCR tests after the rate revision. The government expects the laboratories to cooperate with the decision and follow the revised rates. The revised tariff of `500 is inclusive of the manpower cost and the price of materials used for the test which comes to `240. These rates were decided after a detailed s t u d y, ” P i n a r a y i t o l d mediapersons. The CM said some labs were encouraging customers to opt for the costly TrueNat test. STATEWIDE Apr 30 37,199 17,500 49 may 01 35,636 15,493 48 The chief secretary has issued an order stating that no private lab should charge for any of the tests to detect Covid beyond the rates fixed by the state government. If they charge more, they will face charges under the Disaster Management Act and other acts. “The government cannot accept this as the disease spread is on the rise. We will be forced to take legal action against labs which refuse to do the tests or charging the old rate. We expect them to do the test at the rate fixed by the government,” he said. The CM extended May Day greetings to all healthcare workers who dedicated themselves to Covid prevention and are at the forefront of the fight against this pandemic for more than a year now without a break. As many as 35,636 persons tested positive for the disease on Saturday, ● More on P5 the CM said. 24.33% was the test positivity rate on Saturday Active cases in the state cross 16 lakh 2 dists: Kozhikode & Ernakulam report 5,000+ cases ‘WILL MISS INDIA’ Denied Covid vaccine, Pierce decides to get back to US P R a m d a s @ Kochi NINE months ago he had approached Kerala High Court expressing his wish to stay in the state and spend the rest of his life in the country But now . US citizen Johnny Paul Pierce, 75, is desperate to return to his homeland. The denial of Covid vaccine citing his foreign roots has forced Pierce to change his decision. It was the rapid spread of the pandemic in the US that prompted him to settle down in Kerala where the number of Covid cases and the case fa- tality rate was low. But the situation has changed and Kerala has 3.23 lakh active cases now compared to 2,411 on July 7, 2020 when he approached the High Court seeking permission to stay in the state. The death toll climbed from 27 to 5,356 on Saturday . “I have to go back to the US because the Indian government won’t give me Covid vaccine as I am a foreigner,” Pierce told TNIE. But he still E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ T’Puram THE results of a keenly-fought and perhaps the most crucial assembly polls held ever in the state will be out on Sunday. Counting of votes in all constituencies will begin at 8am and all results are expected by evening. Trends will be made available from 10am by the election commission, which has made elaborate arrangements for a Covid-compliant counting process. Drawing confidence from multiple pre-poll and post-poll surveys, the ruling LDF government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is optimistic of a convincing win. Pinarayi, who met reporters on Saturday to brief about Covid situation, reiterated that he had no doubt about the outcome of the polls. The LDF calculates that even in the worst-case scenario, the number of seats will not fall below the 80-mark. The mood in the UDF camp is not that upbeat after all exit polls predicted its failure. Yet, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala spoke of victory with certainty on Saturday. KNOW THE VERDICT 8.30am 8am Counting of EVM votes starts 10am Counting of Trends to start postal ballots starts coming in Result may be delayed due to large number of postal ballots and increase in EVMs by 90% Chennithala urged the UDF workers to keep their morale high and directed counting agents to ensure a fool-proof scrutiny as there is a large number of postal ballots to be counted this time. He and fellow UDF leaders have viewed exit poll results as a continuation of the pro-CPM stand taken by the mainstream media. In fact, nothing short of a win will be acceptable to Pinarayi and Chennithala. The CM, who has become the poster boy of the Left movement in the country in the last five years, badly wants to retain his fortress so that Left politics will stay rele● More on P5 vant. Govt order says strong action against offenders E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Nothing short of win will do for LDF, UDF in do-or-die battle loves Kerala and the country . “The people in Kerala are wonderful and I will miss India greatly he said. ,” Pierce hit the headlines when he approached the Kerala High Court during lockdown seeking a directive to the Union government to permit him to apply for conversion of his tourist visa into a business visa without leaving the country. He had come to India on February 26 last year on a tourist visa, which is valid up to January 26, 2025. This is his fifth visit to India as a tourist. The guidelines of the Indian government permit continuous stay for only 180 days for foreigners on tourist visa. But due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, the India government allowed him to continue his stay in the country. But the High Court had rejected his plea to change ● More on P5 the visa. The Secretariat, the seat of the next government, on the eve of the counting of votes | Vincent Pulickal POSSIBLE SCENARIOS LDF RETAINING RULE If LDF wins 85 seats or more, a CEO-style administration led by Pinarayi Vijayan will continue. In case of a narrow win, CPI and KC(M) will have more say and the LDF leadership will be back in focus, guiding the government UDF REGAINING POWER Less than 75 seats may pave the way for Oommen Chandy --- more acceptable to constituents --- to lead the government at least initially. Muslim League will have a stronger say. A bigger majority will see I group and high command uniting to support Ramesh Chennithala as CM HUNG ASSEMBLY Both fronts grabbing around 65 seats and with BJP, Twenty20 and independents winning at least half a dozen seats will lead to a tricky scenario. Governor will have to first call the largest front WHAT THE VERDICT WILL MEAN? FOR PARTIES For CPM and CPI, retaining Kerala is important as it is the only Left bastion remaining in the country For Congress, a win in Kerala will boost Rahul Gandhi’s prospects to take the party reins again. The party will launch its plan for 2024 Lok Sabha polls soon after For BJP, winning at least 17% votes is important. If the party fails to get it, faction-ridden state leadership will be held accountable by the central leadership FOR LEADERS A win will add to Pinarayi’s stature. He may grow to national opposition leadership if a Federal Front is put together to take on Modi in 2024. A failure will weaken Pinarayi as there are so many disgruntled leaders in the CPM who oppose his style of governance Chennithala can’t afford a failure as he may have to leave the leadership, paving way for a generation shift. A win, against all odds will take Chennithala to the centre stage of national Congress politics If BJP fails, K Surendran will have to shoulder the responsibility alone. A considerable increase in vote share will see him grow in stature 114 total counting centres SEAT POSITION IN 2016 LDF: 91 (CPM 63, CPI 19, JD(S) 3, NCP 2, KC(B) 1, CMP 1, Cong (S) 1, RSP(L) 1) UDF: 47 (Cong 22, Muslim League 18, KC(M) 6, KC (Jacob) 1) BJP: 1, IND: 1 twitter.com/xpresskerala whatsapp group instagram.com/xpresskerala 633 total counting halls facebook.com/TNIEKerala
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