THIRUVANANTHAPURAM l Sunday l may 02, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l LATE 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 | P8 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 18 die in Gujarat hospital blaze E x pre s s N e w s Ser v i c e @ New Delhi Disruption in oxygen sup- Bharuch: At least 18 people, ply resulted in the death of 12 including 16 Covid patients, died Covid-19 patients at Batra Hos- in a fire at a hospital at Bharuch pital on Saturday. One of the in Gujarat on Saturday. The deceased was RK Himthani, victims were either charred to head of the gastroenterology death or died due to suffocation after a suspected short-circuit department of the hospital. Medical director of the hos- sparked the blaze at Patel pital Dr SCL Gupta said that Welfare Hospital six of the deceased, including the doctor, were in ICU on high supplies’ and is being pulled flow of oxygen. The doctor was up,” he tweeted. admitted to the hospital 15-20 Gupta said they had indays ago. formed authorities about lack “There were patients who of oxygen in the morning could have survived, when they had 2,500 libut they could not be- Jab-o-meter tres left. Around 12.30 cause of oxygen shortpm, hospital authoriTake ties claimed they had age. The government your should take some decishot run out of oxygen. The sion, either close the tanker arrived at 1.35 April 30 hospital or admispm, they added. sions. What was the 26,08,948 doses Expressing grief, fault of those who died Chief Minister Arvind May 1 due to shortage of oxy- 27,44,485 doses Kejriwal once again gen?” he said. flagged the issue of Total doses The hospital had short supply to Delhi. raised an alarm over 15,49,89,635 “Their lives could have depleting stocks been saved by giving around noon, after them oxygen on time. which AAP MLA Raghav Delhi should get its quota of Chadha, who monitors supply oxygen. Can’t see our people to several hospitals in the city dying like this. Delhi needs 976 , said the gas was reaching the tonnes of oxygen, but it rehospital. “Our SOS cryogenic ceived only 312 tonnes yestertanker carrying Liquid Medi- day How will Delhi breathe in . cal Oxygen is reaching Batra such a less amount of oxyHospital within 5 minutes. gen?” his tweet in Hindi said. Their regular supplier of oxyOther hospitals in the city gen has defaulted yet again also sent out messages about due to alleged ‘lack of oxygen oxygen shortage on Saturday . EXPRESS READ India returnees to face 5-yr jail in Australia 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 CBSE Class X exam results by June 20 T’Puram: In the wake of the cancellation of the Class X Board examinations, CBSE has come out with a detailed policy for tabulation of marks based on internal assessments conducted by schools during the academic year. Using the tabulation model, CBSE plans to declare the Class X results by June 20. P5 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,” P7 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 had on April 26 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 3,08,552 3,684 RT-PCR @ L500 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 study Pinarayi ,” told mediapersons. The CM said some labs were encouraging customers to opt for the costly TrueNat test. “The government cannot 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, Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance and other acts, it said. 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. Pinarayi 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, the chief minis● More on P5 ter said. 24.33% was the test positivity rate on Saturday Total 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 the 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 fatality rate were 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,” 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. Chief secy issues order 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 Pierce told TNIE. But he still 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 High Court during lockdown seeking a directive to the Centre 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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02-05-2021 of The New Indian Express-Thiruvananthapuram