kochi l Sunday l June 20, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l late city edition hard-line cleric elected Iran’s next president Ebrahim Raisi was on Saturday declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election that saw a record low voter turnout A harsh critic of American policies Raisi, who won 62% of the votes, is from the ultraconservative camp that deeply distrusts the US, and has criticised outgoing leader Hassan Rouhani after Washington pulled out of the nuclear deal. Raisi has backed the ongoing talks to save the deal. However, analysts say his hardline stance would make it tough for the US to extract any major concessions from Iran ■ 48.8% Comes to power at a tough time ■ ■ Raisi was a member of the “Death Commission” that secretly executed thousands of opposition prisoners in 1988 He comes to power at a time when Iran is battling job losses and a spiralling inflation, both of which have sparked discontent He is seen as a possible successor to Iran’s supreme leader | P9 Was the voter turnout in the election held on Friday 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 NC, PDP and Congress will decide whether to attend the meet after internal deliberations J&K statehood buzz as Modi calls all-party meeting E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Srinagar / New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair an all-party meeting with at least 14 politicians from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers and four deputy CMs, in Delhi on June 24, triggering speculation that restoration of statehood is on the cards. The move comes weeks before the second anniversary of scrapping of J&K’s special status and its bifurcation into Union Territories. The meeting’s agenda includes delimitation process and elections, officials said. PDP chief and former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti has convened a meeting of the party’s Political Affairs Committee in Srinagar on Sunday to decide whether to participate. As a goodwill gesture, the government on Saturday released Mehbooba’s uncle Sartaj Madni, who was under detention for nearly six months. Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad are the other three former CMs invited. Both the National Conference and the Congress said they will decide on attending the meet after internal consultations. Union Home minister Amit Shah will also attend the meeting, the first such excercise since the Centre abrogated J&K’s special status. Political commentator Noor Mohammad Baba said the Centre is under pressure to soften its Kashmir policy due to both internal and external factors. “There are more strategic factors. Kashmir is not like any other place. It is being watched. The UN agencies are also keeping an eye on the situation,” he said. Sudhakaran hits back at Pinarayi, says will quit politics if charges proved right E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kochi STATE Congress president K Sudhakaran adopted a calculated strategy of counter-attack, denial and media blaming to reply to the personal allegations levelled by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He denied the allegation that he had plotted to kidnap Pinarayi’s children and clarified that the original remarks that provoked the CM were part of an ‘off-the-record’ conversation with a reporter of the vernacular weekly which published his interview. Sudhakaran, who addressed a packed press conference at the district Congress committee office here on Saturday, challenged Pinarayi that if the latter proved any of the allegations levelled against him on Friday , he would quit politics. He asked why Pinarayi did not register a case against him despite being K Sudhakaran addresses mediapersons in Kochi on Saturday | Albin Mathew the chief minister for the last five years. Pinarayi had levelled allegations including corruption, illegal money trade and violent politics against Sudhakaran. It is learnt that Sudhakaran consulted senior Congress leaders before the press conference E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Lucknow/New Delhi Ending speculation on former bureaucrat A K Sharma’s induction into the Yogi Adityanath cabinet in UP, the BJP’s state unit appointed him as its vice president on Saturday . Shar ma’s appointment, with the crucial Assembly election just eight months away, is seen as an attempt to both bolster the party’s reach among the 3rd wave in 6 weeks if covid norms ignored: AIIMS chief G e o r ge P o i k ay i l @ Kasaragod With gradual unlocking under way in many states, a third wave is “inevitable” in the next six to eight weeks if Covid-appropriate behaviour is not strictly followed, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria warned on Saturday . Authorities should keep in mind human behaviour while unlocking, he said, adding that it should be done in a graded manner. “As we have started unlocking, there is again a lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour. We don’t seem to have learnt from what happened between the first and the second wave. Again crowds are building up... people are gathering,” Dr Guleria said, warning that it’s just a matter of time before Covid cases shoot up again. “It all depends on how we go E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi NATIONWIDE june 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths PLUS 12 PAGES june 19 45,984 74,043 1,456 ahead in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour and preventing crowds,” he added. With the main challenge being vaccination, the increase in the gap of dosage in Covishield “may not be bad”, he told a news channel. He said the country will require mini-lockdowns in areas that witness a spike in cases and positivity rate beyond 5%. He emphasised that people would be vulnerable unless they are vaccinated. The focus should on ‘testing, tracking, and treating’ in hotspots, he added. Emphasising the need to be careful as the virus is mutating, he said, “When there is a huge increase in the number of cases, shortage of (hospital) beds follows. The strategy should be multi-pronged—we have to make sure fresh cases don’t rise.” statewide Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 18 june 19 11,361 12,147 12,443 13,145 90 115 E X P R E S R E AD Central European varsity honour for Shailaja V Muraleedharan declines state govt’s police security T’Puram: Former health minister K K Shailaja has been chosen for the Central European University Open Society Prize in recognition of her commitment to public health services. The award is presented annually to persons of exceptional distinction who serve society. P5 T’Puram: Union Minister of State for External Affairs and senior BJP leader V Muraleedharan turned down the security provided by the state government after escort and pilot vehicles were not provided for his movement in the capital. P4 WITH THIS ISSUE At Home with Covid 62,480 88,977 1,587 t r i b u t e t o t h e le g e n d Name sports awards after Milkha Singh A s h o k K u ma r I knew the legendary Milkha Singh personally because of my father, Major Dhyan Chand. Every time we met, he would enquire about his health. We had a practice camp in Chandigarh before the 1975 World Cup, which we won. Being an official of the Punjab Sports Department, Milkha sir would often visit us. He was a man of few wo ds, but always ensured we got the r best of facilities. One day he invited a few senior players for lunch. I was one of them. Given his keen eye on dining table etiquettes, we all had to use forks and knives. Most of us were not habituated to this, especially me. I somehow Saturday’s RESULTS England drew with Scotland 0-0 Hungary drew with France 1-1 Portugal lost to Germany 2-4 Sunday’s matches Saturday’s RESULTS Chile bt Bolivia 1-0 Italy vs Wales Argentina bt Uruguay 1-0 9.30pm Switzerland vs Turkey Full coverage page 11 9.30pm MONDAY’S MATCHES Venezuela vs Ecuador 2.30Am Colombia vs Peru 5.30Am Modi’s trusted aide elevated as BJP’s vice-president in UP Uproar as wives of three Periya case accused given jobs THE LDF government rehabilitated the wives of three CPM supporters accused of murdering Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sarath Lal P K at Periya by offering them temporary jobs as sweepers in the district hospital. The appointments created an uproar in the district, with the Youth Congress activists taking out a protest march to the hospital. Congress Legislative Party deputy leader K Babu called the appointments ‘cruel’ and urged the government to review its decision. BJP district president K Shreekanth said the postings were an incentive to encourage violent politics. District hospital officials said the appointments were made by the hospital management committee headed by district panchayat president Baby Balakrishnan of the ● More on P5 CPM. and toned down the attack against Pinarayi as advised by them. The discussions also helped him gather the muchneeded support of leaders K C Venugopal, Oommen Chandy V , D Satheesan and Ramesh Chennithala in the hour of need. At the press conference, Sudhakaran was flanked by MP Hidi Eden and MLAs K Babu and T J Vinod, as if to convey that the party stood firmly behind him. Repeating the oft-made allegation that Pinarayi is a political criminal, Sudhakaran said he has shown his real face by slamming him with unfounded accusations. At the press conference, he paraded Kannur district Congress committee secretary Kandoth Gopi who alleged that Pinarayi had hacked him during a labourer agitation at the local beedi cooperative society at Pi● More on P4 narayi. managed, without getting noticed. He accompanied us to a couple of felicitation functions after we won the World Cup. He was with the team in Mumbai when we were feted. Age difference and his seniority mea t we n interacted formally on most occasions. Mo t of our cons versations c tred on my faen ther, who us to address him ed as ‘Mil h ’. I lost my eldest k e brother Brijmohan Singh a couple of months ago. The demise of Milkha sir saddens me again. He and Balbir Singh Sr were the pillars of Indian sports after Independence. Unfortunately we lost both in a , short span of time. It’s time we gave them the recognition they deserve. We should name national sports awards after them. These legends inspired generations of athletes in the country and we must pay them back. Tributes pour in after legends die, but we should honour them during their lifetime. I am not complaining, but this will improve the sports culture in our country If athletes start . getting recognition, more will start pursuing sports as a career. I can only say he will keep inspiring Indian athletes for many years to come. Ashok Kumar former India hockey , captain and World Cup winner , spoke to Firoz Mirza upper caste in eastern UP and execute the leadership’s poll strategies in the state. Sharma, who joined the party five months ago and was elected as an MLC shortly afterwards, is close to Prime Minister Modi. He played a key role in managing the Covid situation in PM Modi’s constituency Varanasi. The Varanasi Model of Covid-19 management was appreciated by the PM on several occasions. Shar ma’s elevation was among a flurry of organisational appointments made by party’s UP unit president Swatantra Dev Singh, hours after meeting BJP president J P Nadda and national general secretary B L Santhosh in New Delhi.
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