bhubaneswar l sunday l january 16, 2022 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l late city EDITION Amid surge in covid cases, ec extends ban on rallies On a day India recorded over 2.6 lakh new Covid cases, the EC put roadshows on hold in the five poll-bound states till Jan 22 allows indoor meetings with 300 people ‘ensure compliance with covid norms’ Though the Election Commission on Saturday extended the ban on physical rallies including padayatras by a week, it has granted some relaxation to political parties. It has allowed them to conduct indoor meetings as long as there was a “maximum of 300 persons or 50% of the capacity of the hall or the prescribed limit set by the State Disaster Management Authority” ■ ■ The poll watchdog, criticised for inaction during the second wave, held virtual meetings with health ministries and chief secretaries of UP, Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand It has asked parties to follow Covid norms and asked state and district administrations to ensure compliance with them JAN 22 EC WILL REVIEW PANDEMIC SITUATION AND ISSUE FRESH INSTRUCTIONS IN A WEEK CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI OBC, SC names dominate BJP’s UP list 44 OBC, 19 SC candidates in first list of 107 names for initial two phases; 20 sitting MLAs dropped M A N ISH A N A N D @ New Delhi THE Bharatiya Janata Party’s first list of 107 candidates for Uttar Pradesh, including chief minister Yogi Adityanath from his traditional Gorakhpur constituency, unveiled the BJP’s mega outreach to other backward classes (OBC) and scheduled castes (SC) with 59% of the nominees for the initial two phases of polls hailing from these two categories. The party also sent out a loud message that it is unfazed by the desertion of big OBC names, denying tickets to 20 sitting MLAs, or one-fourth of the first list. Sixty-three sitting MLAs have been fielded again. By nominating the CM from Gorakhpur, not Ayodhya as was widely speculated, the BJP brass also put its stamp on the leadership of the UP polls clear, tasking Yogi to defend the eastern front and reserving the temple pivot exclusively for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gorakhpur is a saffron bastion, the party having won from there for decades. While announcing the first list on Saturday, Union minister and the BJP’s election in-charge for UP Dharmendra Pradhan said the party would contest the elections in alliance with the Apna Dal and the Nishad Party. The BJP has withheld the name of one candidate for the first phase of polls in 58 constituencies and seven out of the 55 seats in the second phase. Sticking with the strategy to give the BJP a big OBC makeover, the party fielded 44 candidates from those caste groups in the first list, besides 19 from the SC category . Ten women candidates also found a place in the first list of candidates, which included former Uttarakhand governor Baby Rani Maurya from Agra constituency, where she had previously been a mayor. The list also included Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya from Sirathu in Prayagraj district. The BJP has affirmed its trust in Adityanath’s ministers, making it clear that the saffron outfit will be seeking a positive P7 mandate for Team UP . Bhim Army chief not to ally with SP Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad, whose Azad Samaj Party was in talks with Akhilesh Yadav’s SP, has now said he will try to form a third front. Reports said there was a rift over the number of seats. “We thought this is a new SP. We wanted unity of the bahujans and we were banking on him (Akhilesh), but yesterday we felt that our hopes had been shattered,” Aazad said on Saturday | P8 Cong first list for Punjab has Sidhu stamp, no ticket for CM’s brother Ha r p r ee t B a j w a @ Chandigarh The Punjab Congress stuck to the one-family one-ticket formula and dropped four sit, ting MLAs in the first list of 86 candidates announced on Saturday Among the promi. nent names on the list were CM Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib and state Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar (East). The list has Sidhu’s stamp as Malavika Sood, sister of actor Sonu Sood, and singer Sidhu Moosewala were fielded from Moga and Mansa respectively Both had joined the party . recently following Sidhu’s lobbying. Sources said there was disagreement on eight seats between Sidhu and the CM as both wanted tickets for their supporters. But, Sidhu appears to have prevailed. Channi was seeking a poll ticket for his younger brother from Bassi Pathana but the sitting MLA has been retained. Channi was also pushing for Nimisha Mehta from Garhshankar but Punjab Youth Congress leader Amarpreet Lally was picked instead. The party has given tickets to several relatives of senior leaders. Among them are Sandeep Jakhar, the nephew of former state unit president Sunil Jakhar, and Mohit Mohindra, the son of Cabinet minister Brahm Mohindra. Further, two MPs managed to get seats for their sons. All Cabinet ministers have been retained in the first list that has nine women candidates (10.4%) and 15 new faces. A senior party leader said the list reflected Sidhu’s formula. As a result, a dozen leaders who wanted tickets for their relatives, including Channi and a few sitting Cabinet ministers, were denied the privilege. Odisha govt advises no test for asymptomatic people E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar Even as the new Covid-19 cases continued to be over 10,000 for the third consecutive day, the State government on Saturday advised asymptomatic people not to go for Covid tests and use unnecessary drugs. Director of Public Health Dr Niranjan Mishra said people having no symptoms do not require tests unless they are suffering from comorbid conditions. “We have informed district administrations regarding the ICMR’s fresh guidelines on testing. Those without symptoms do not need to take a test. Tests are also not required for asymptomatic contacts of Covid patients. As people without symptoms are never prescribed any medication, they should not take unnecessary drugs and antibiotics,” he added. The State reported 10,856 fresh cases from across districts and two deaths pushing the virus tally to 11.22 lakh and death toll to 8,478. As many as 32 more Omicron cases were also detected mostly from clusters taking it to 201. The super mutant variant was found among 42 samples sequenced at the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) here. While 15 cases were from the 18 samples collected from a cluster at VIMSAR, Burla, six were from nine samples from a cluster at National Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhubaneswar. “The sequencing data revealed that most of the cluster containment in the State is now driven by the Omicron variant. As the virus is spreading rapidly, people have to adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour to be safe,” said a scientist at the ILS lab. Of the new Covid cases, 1,021 are of the 0-18 years age group and 6,293 were in quarantine. The rest were local contact cases. Six districts led by Khurda accounted for 65 per cent of the caseload. The maximum 3,087 cases were found in Khurda, followed by 1,943 in Sundargarh, 909 in Cuttack, 500 in Sambalpur, 376 in Mayurbhanj and 326 in Balasore. Twenty-one districts registered more than 100 cases each. With 74,936 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the test positivity rate (TPR) rose to 14.5 per cent (pc). The TPR soared to 30 pc in Sundargarh, 27.8 pc in Khurda, 18.2 pc in Sambalpur, 17.6 pc in Mayurbhanj and 13.8 in Cuttack. The active cases stood at 58,589 after recovery of 3,220 patients. Only two pc of the active cases have been hospitalised. NATIONWIDE jan 14 jan 15 Fresh cases 2,64,202 2,68,833 Recoveries 1,09,345 1,22,684 Deaths 315 402 Jab-o-meter Take your shot Jan 14 49,33,612 doses Jan 15 57,29,760 doses Total: 1,56,63,10,110 odisha jan 14 jan 15 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 10,273 10,856 2,216 3,220 04 02 A s i s h M e h ta @ Bhubaneswar Soumya Patnaik objects to tariff applications of govt utilities, Tata Power B i j o y P r a d h an @ Bhubaneswar ance sheets of discoms sold to Tata Power, Patnaik said that Putting the State govern- many important issues like ment in a spot, senior BJD unaccountable inadvertent leader and Khandapada MLA, power, mismatch of OERC Soumya Ranjan Patnaik on data with CEA data, obsolete Saturday filed objections to methods to forecast sales, the Aggregate Revenue Re- power purchase and determiquirement (ARR) for the year nation of transmission tariff, 2022-23 and tariff applications non-separation of SLDC from of four State-run power utili- OPTCL, cost based tariff, norties and four Tata Power man- mative loss and multiyear taraged distribution companies. iff are yet to to be duly adPatnaik, a strong critic of dressed by the Commission, the Odisha Electricity RegulaTaking strong exception to tory Commission (OERC) for the ARR petition filed by some of its controversial reg- GRIDCO, the bulk power supulatory mechanism plier to the State, the and tarif f orders for mer MP alleged passed for the current that the latter has no fiscal, is the first sitlocus standi under the ting MLA of a ruling Electricity Act, 2003, party to intervene in which does not prothe tariff proceedings vide any space for any in the last 25 years of power trader to file the Commission’s ARR and tariff appliexistence. cation before OERC. In his petitions, He urged the ComPatnaik submitted mission to dismiss I did it to create that the OERC has awareness among the petition of GRIDfailed to realise the CO and pass the Cenpeople which basic objectives of should not be seen tral Electricity Aupolitically the power sector rethority’s General forms in the State. Review-2021 and tarSoumya Patnaik, The prime aim of iff report in the proMLA the State gover nceedings specifying ment to initiate rethe crucial roles, forms was to supply 24X7 functions and authority of hours quality electricity to CEA under the provisions of consumers living in every the Act. Contacted, the BJD corner at affordable price. De- legislator said the objection spite capital grant investment should not be viewed politiof about `20,000 crore in the cally “I did it to create aware. last decade for augmentation ness among people which of distribution supply infra- should not be seen politically ,” structure of the four distribu- he added. tion companies (discoms), Patnak has filed objections there has been no significant to the ARR and tariff applicaimprovement. tion of State owned OHPC, Expressing concern over OPGC, GRIDCO, OPTCL and the non-capitalisation of the the four discoms namely TPassets created out of govern- CODL, TPWODL, TPSODL ment assistance in the bal- and TPNODL. hit the ground running Two persons gored to death in jallikattu in TN, as 480 bulls took part in the event in Tiruchy on Saturday and 1,356 bulls participated in Madurai events over the past two days | MK Ashok Kumar Tongans flee tsunami after volcanic eruption Undersea volcano breaks out near the Pacific nation of Tonga sending large waves crashing across the shore and forcing people to rush to higher ground | P12 WITH THIS ISSUE Meet the Pawrents PLUS 12 PAGES Teenager stabbed to death at fast food centre in City BLOOD spilled on the roads of the State Capital after an 18-year-old was stabbed to death in full public glare at a fast food outlet near Press Square on Saturday exposing gaping holes in Commissionerate Police’s enforcement of law and order in the City . The teenager, identified as Niranjan Parida, had gone to the busy commercial area with his friends for evening snack when he came under the attack. Shop-keepers alleged that one of the accused stabbed Niranjan to death using a knife which he was carrying. Four of the accused who were present at the momo shop near the KTM bike showroom apparently attacked the youth and his friends following an argument. The miscreants fled the spot without any hindrance. While Niranjan lay in a pool of blood by the roadside, friends rushed him to a nearby private hospital in an ambulance. By the time police reached the crime scene, it was all over. The incident which occurred around 6 pm has sent shockwaves in the City and has posed serious question marks on Commissionerate Police which is busy in slum outreach programmes. Despite night curfew in place, violent crimes have escalated in the capital in last one year pointing at criminals’ lack of fear of the police. The city has reported at least 33 murders between January and December last year. Out of the total murder cases, police managed to close only 10 of them, with a meagre success rate of 30 per cent. Today’s murder led to tremendous public outrage and demanding immediate arrest of the accused, residents of Gadakana blocked the road near Press Chhak. Three other youths suffered injury in the incident and one of them is in stated to be serious. Police rushed to the spot and pacified the protestors by assuring them that the accused will be nabbed at the earliest. Police have detained one person in this connection. “A probe has been launched to ascertain whether the murder was a fall-out of past enmity or committed over sudden provocation,” said a police officer. Parida was the only child of his parents and was studying BSc. on his terms Now, Kohli steps down as Test captain v en k ata k r i s h na B @ Chennai THE mood in the dressing room was already sombre on Friday Even as the squad was . coming to terms with the series defeat, Virat Kohli broke the news that he would no long er continue as Test captain. Twenty-four hours later came the confirmation. “Seven years of hard work, toil and relentless perseverance to take the team in the right direction. I’ve done the job with absolute honesty and left nothing out there. Everything has to come to a halt at some stage and for me as Test Captain of India, it’s now,” Kohli, who will walk away as India’s greatest Test captain in terms of wins (40), tweeted. Only four months after relinquishing the T20 captaincy in order to give himself “space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI cricket”, Kohli has had enough. Within the team, the reaction was one of shock, even if it is not something that came out of the blue. In fact, ever since a few senior players expressed reservations over his authoritative style of functioning, those in the dressing room have revealed how the 33-year-old has seldom been his usual self. The tussle with board officials, too, contributed to Kohli’s decision. Apart from the disagreement with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly over the manner in which he was sacked as ODI captain, it is learnt that board officials have stopped communicating with him. In simple terms, he no longer enjoys the backing of the BCCI. But Kohli stepped down on his terms. That he no longer had his mentor, Ravi Shastri, also made the decision a lot easier. He leaves a huge void to fill as the Test team, unlike the limited-overs side, doesn’t have a ready-made captain in waiting. Either K L Rahul or Rohit Sharma is likely to be the new P11 captain.
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