YK MYK OVER 240 CORONA VIRUS VARIANTS HAVE SURFACED IN THE COUNTRY MEHBOOBA MUFTI RE-ELECTED PDP PRESIDENT OPINION NATION Morning India Rs. 3 KOLKATA TUESDAY, 23 FEB, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—278 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) WEATHER TODAY MAX 32 C MIN 19 C Sky will be clear. AT A GLANCE PM HINTS EC TO GIVE POLL DATES IN MARCH FIRST WEEK GUWAHATI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hinted that the dates for Assembly elections in Assam and other states are expected to be announced by the Election Commission in the first week of March. While addressing a massive public gathering at Silapathar in eastern Assam's Dhemaji district, Modi said, "Last time (2016), Assembly poll date for Assam was announced on March 4, this time also dates are expected to be announced in the first week of March. However, this is the work of the Election Commission." MUTANT COVID: DIAL REVAMPS 'AIR SUVIDHA' PORTAL NEW DELHI: GMR Group-led consortium Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on Monday launched a revamped 'Air Suvidha' portal along with a new RT-PCR test package for arriving international passengers. The firm manages and operates the national capital's IGI Airport. Accordingly, the development comes after the Centre issued new guidelines for passengers travelling to India. The company had launched Air Suvidha, the first-of-its-kind portal, in August last year, where India-bound international passengers could fill the mandatory self-declaration form and also apply online for exemption from mandatory institutional quarantine process. Development in Bengal not possible if 'syndicate rule' persists, people want 'poriborton': PM Modi HOOGHLY: Hitting out at the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that West Bengal will not be able to progress if syndicate rule and "tolabaji (extortion)" continue to persist. Addressing a public rally here in Hooghly, Prime Minister Modi alleged that the monetary benefits of schemes in West Bengal never reached the poor as "TMC does not care the poor, needy and women of the state." Asserting that the people of the state have made up their mind for "poriborton (change)", he said the BJP work for a 'Sonar Bangla' (golden West Bengal) that will strengthen the history and culture of Bengal. "Development in West Bengal not possible as long as cut money culture, syndicate rule and "tolabaji" (extortion) persists. BJP government should be formed not just for political 'poribartan' (political change), but 'asol poribartan' (real change) in Bengal. Lotus Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leaders wave to supporters at a rally in Dunlop in West Bengal on Monday. The picture of the crowd is projected on the screen behind him. PRABIR BHATTACHARYA will bring that 'asol poribartan' that youth aims for. Our youth is living with the hope of this 'Ashol Poriborton' (real transformation), and thus, we need to form the BJP government in Bengal," he said Toolkit case: Disha Ravi sent to one-day police remand NEW DELHI: A Delhi Court on Monday granted one-day police remand to climate activist Disha Ravi, who was taken into custody by Delhi Police on February 13 from Bengaluru in connection with the 'toolkit' case as part of the police probe into violence on January 26 in the national capital during the tractor march called by farmers protesting against three new farm laws. Disha Ravi was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dr Pankaj Sharma's court at the end of her three days of judicial custody. Delhi Police sought five-day remand in today's hearing at Patiala House Court. Public Prosecutor Advocate Vikas representing Delhi Police informed the court that, there are two other accused persons in this case -- Nikita and Shantanu -- who have joined the investigation. Recently, both of them have been granted protection from arrest by the Bombay High Court. "We need Disha's Police remand to confront her with other coaccused in the toolkit matter," Vikas said. Advocate Sidharth Aggarwal appearing for Disha Ravi opposed the Delhi Police remand application. ALSO SEE PG 7 while urging the people to vote for the BJP in the upcoming Assembly polls in the state. "The BJP government will bring changes in the industrial policies for development in the state. We will INDIA TOTAL CASES: 1,10,05,962 TOTAL DEATH: 156,424 WORLD TOTAL CASES: 112,036,858 TOTAL DEATH: 2,479,412 CHINA BACKS INDIA HOSTING THIS YEAR’S BRICS SUMMIT: OFFICIAL BEIJING: China on Monday expressed its support for India in hosting this year’s BRICS summit and said it will work with New Delhi to strengthen the cooperation among the five-member grouping of emerging economies. India has assumed the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Chairmanship for 2021 and is set to hold this year’s summit. On February 19, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar launched India’s BRICS 2021 website at the BRICS Secretariat at Sushma Swaraj Bhawan in New Delhi. Asked about India assuming the BRICS Chairmanship this year, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing here that Beijing backs New Delhi in hosting the summit. "injustice" to West Bengal's pride. "I am told that Vande Mataram Bhawan, where Bankim Chandra Ji lived for 5 years, is in very bad condition. This is the same Bhawan MUMBAI: In an apparent case of suicide, Mohan S. Delkar, the Independent MP from the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, was found hanging in a Mumbai hotel room on Monday morning, shocking political circles. Police prima facie suspect tribal farmer and Bharatiya Navshakti Party leader Delkar, 58, committed suicide as a detailed suicide note running into several pages, has been recovered from the scene, said an official. The body of Delkar, who is believed to have reached Mumbai on Sunday night by road, was found by his driver this afternoon when he attempted to enter his room but failed, and then informed the hotel staff. Police have registered an accidental death report and investigating how and why he arrived in Mumbai, checked into the Hotel Sea Green, an Arabian Sea-facing hotel on Marine Drive where his body was recovered this afternoon, who had gone to meet or may have interacted with him, and the motives behind the stunning suicide and other details. "The Marine Drive Police team is at the spot. A suicide note has also been recovered Investigation is being carried out. Prima facie, it's a case of hanging, but the exact cause of death will be known only after the post-mortem is conducted," Mumbai Police's spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner of Police S. Chaitanya told IANS. The suicide note, reportedly penned in Gujarati, is believed to contain certain clues behind Delkar resorting to the extreme measure, police sources said. In his last speech in the Lok Sabha, the MP had accused the UT officialdom of harassment, insults, deprived him of addressing the people of his constituency, attempts made to book him in fake cases, etc, during the Covid19 pandemic, which blocked his efforts to arrange the necessary aid to his constituents. His body has been sent to Sir J. J. Hospital for the autopsy after which it is likely to be sent to his home in Silvassa, the capital of the UT. Top police brass including Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre-Patil, Additional Commissioner of Police S. Chaudhary and others rushed to the spot to direct and supervise the probe. Popular as 'Mohanbhai' among his constituents, Delkar was a senior parliamentarian who represented the Union Territory of Dadra & Nagar Haveli, adjoining MaharashtraGujarat, for 7 times between 1989 and 2009 and again since 2019. Delkar was elected as Independent in 1989, FSL to find reasons for kerosene explosion RANCHI: Police have sent the sample of kerosene to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to ensure how it exploded and claimed four lives in Hazaribagh. Superintendent of police of the district, Karthik S informed Morning India saying an FIR was registered in this connection two days ago. "IOCL is saying that that explosion took place as the flashpoint of Kerosene supplied through PDS was low and this is due to some adulteration. On the other hand, suppliers are not ready to take responsibility saying IOCL is at fault. In this situation a thorough investigation has been started to assure what happened," Karthik said. Meanwhile, the Hazaribagh district administration has launched a drive creating awareness on nonuse of kerosene supplied to 38 PDS dealers from an army tanker, which led to a kerosene explosion in the Hazaribagh Sadar area. The district administration has also started the process of recollection of kerosene sup- ON SATURDAY TOO, INCIDENTS OF KEROSENE EXPLOSION OCCURRED UNDER THE MUFASSIL POLICE STATION AREA (HAZARIBAGH). IN THE INCIDENT, INDRADEV RANA'S WIFE SHANTI DEVI, SON PIYUSH AND DAUGHTER PAYAL SUFFERED BURN INJURIES. plied in the area by 38 PDS dealers. A victim of the kerosene explosion died at RIMS, Ranchi on Sunday. On Saturday too, incidents of kerosene explosion occurred under the Mufassil police station area. In the incident, Indradev Rana's wife Shanti Devi, son Piyush and daughter Payal suffered burn injuries. Three persons who suffered burn injuries were admitted a local hospital where their condition is said to be serious. The primary investigation suggested that kerosene which was supplied to 38 PDS dealers had 13 flashpoints, while kerosene should have 35 to 50 flashpoints. Flashpoint is an ignition point on which kerosene burns. India step into ‘unknown’ for pink ball Test AHMEDABAD: India step into the 'unknown' in the third Test of the four-Test series when they play against England on a fresh pitch of a new stadium in Motera, near Ahmedabad, in a day-night game from Wednesday. Although latest pictures of the pitch show that there is a layer of grass on it, India opening batsman Rohit Sharma said that the pitch won't be any different from the one in the second Test that supported spin bowlers. Since the reconstruction work on the Sardar Patel (Gujarat) Stadium in Motera was completed in February last year, no multi days matches have been played at the newly laid pitch -- partly due to Covid-enforced nationwide lockdown for almost all of the last year. The only official matches to be played on the virgin pitch were the seven T20 games of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this January. But it is the multi days matches that really assess pitches before it hosts five-day Test matches. That has not happened in Motera and, therefore, it is anybody's guess how the pitch will behave. Despite the pitch being said to be spinner-friendly, the pink ball is likely to help seam bowlers. It is MOTERA PITCH providing benefits of central government schemes to the common people, the Prime Minister pointed out that 11.75 crore houses (in West Bengal), only 9 lakh have water pipeline. "The way the state government works, no wonder how many more years it will take to deliver water to the poor. This shows that TMC doing injustice to 'Bengal Ki Beti'. Can they be forgiven? Centre transfers money directly into bank accounts of farmers and poor. But monetary benefits of schemes of the government does not reach the poor without the consent of all the 'tolabaaz' of TMC. This is why TMC leaders are becoming richer and normal families are becoming poorer," he said. "The Central government has provided Rs 1,700 crores for relief work after Cyclone Amphan to the TMC government in Bengal. The state government has only spent Rs 609 crores. The leftover Rs 1,100 crores have been siphoned off by the TMC," he added. LS member Mohan Delkar found dead in Mumbai hotel RAJ KUMAR CORONA METER take quick decisions for swift development," he added. The Prime Minister lashed out at the Mamata government for its failure to keep Vande Mataram Bhawan in a good state and called it an where he brainstormed to write Vande Mataram, the poem which gave a new lease of life to the freedom struggle. Failure to keep the place of the creator of such 'amar gaan' in a good state is an injustice to West Bengal's pride and there is huge politics involved in this -- the politics which focuses on vote bank, not patriotism; appeasement, not Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas," he said. "This kind of politics stops people of Bengal from performing Durga puja and visarjan. People of Bengal will never forgive those who insult their culture for vote bank politics. BJP will work for a Sonar Bangla that will strengthen the history and culture of Bengal. We will build a Bengal where religion, faith, spirituality and ability will be respected. We will build a Bengal where there will be development will be for all and appeasement of none. A Bengal which will be 'tolabaji-mukt' and 'rojgaryukt," he added. Cornering Mamata for not expected to do more, especially in the twilight period, when it becomes difficult for the batsmen to sight the ball against pace bowlers. England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has bowled very little in the series so far -- 12 overs in all and just two in the second Test -- says he could bowl more in different settings than the first two Tests played at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. "I think there may be more reason for me to bowl under lights in the next game if it will help the team," Stokes wrote in his column in UK-based Daily Mirror. "Generally, around the world whenever these pink ball games are played there is always a period when the ball starts doing a bit under lights and it brings the seamers right into the game." India have played just two Tests with the pink ball, with only one at home, and many of their batsmen have very little experience of batting in the twilight phase. Rohit Sharma, who missed the first Test in Australia at the Adelaide Oval, admitted on Sunday that he doesn't have any experience of playing in the twilight phase. "So far, I have only heard that it plays on a batsman's mind. I have played just one pink ball Test against Bangladesh but didn't get to bat at the twilight time when the sun was about to set. But I have to try and understand what exactly happens during that time," he told the media. "It's obviously challenging, the weather and light suddenly changing. You have to be extra cautious and focussed. All batters are aware of these challenges. We just need to be mindful of the situation and play accordingly," he added. on a Congress ticket in 1991 and 1996 (Congress), as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate in 1998, as an Independent in 1999, and as a BNP candidate in 2004, but lost to the BJP's Natubhai G. Patil in 2009 and 2014. After severing links with the Congress, he was elected to the 17th Lok Sabha in 2019 as an Independent. Last year, he entered into a tie-up with the Janata DalUnited headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, for the local bodies elections in the UT. Survived by his wife, a son and daughter, Delkar was strong champion for tribals, launched the Adivasi Vikas Sangathan in 1985 and subsequently took his first steps in politics as a trade unionist in Silvassa. ABHISHEK’S WIFE ASKS CBI TO VISIT HER TODAY KOLKATA: In response to the summons given by the CBI to Rujira Banerjee, the wife of Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee, has asked investigators to visit her on Tuesday between 11 am and 3 pm. She said that though she had no idea why she had been called by the Central agency, the investigators should send a team to her house for questioning in the alleged coal scam on Tuesday. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team had gone to Abhishek Banerjee’s house on Sunday to give a notice to Rujira to be involved in the investigation into the alleged coal scam case when Rujira was not present at home. While answering the summons on Monday, Rujira wrote a letter to CBI, asking them come to come on Tuesday between 11 am and 3 pm. In a letter to the CBI, she said: “Although I am not aware of the reason why I am being called for questioning or what is the subject of the investigation, you can, on 23 February 2021 from 11 am to 3 pm, come to my residence”.