YK MYK LOCKDOWN DUE TO PANDEMIC COMPLETES ONE YEAR ON MARCH 24 OPINION Rs. 3 KOLKATA FRIDAY, 19 MARCH, 2021 PG-12, YEAR—7, ISSUE—302 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) WEATHER TODAY MAX 36 C NEW CORRUPTION CHARGES LEVELLED AGAINST SUU KYI WORLD Morning India Mamata urges people to vote for TMC MIN 24 C Sky will be clear. AT A GLANCE ONSCREEN RAM ARUN GOVIL JOINS BJP NEW DELHI: More than three decades after essaying the role of Lord Ram in Ramanand Sagar’s epic TV serial ‘Ramayan’, actor Arun Govil joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the national capital on Thursday in the presence of its national General Secretary Arun Singh and Union minister Debasree Chaudhuri. Welcoming Govil into the BJP, Singh said the actor has joined the party after being influenced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies. “He (Govil) played the character of Lord Ram in ‘Ramayan’, which was watched by over 7.7 crore people when the show was retelecast during the lockdown last year,” Singh said. LIC ALLOWS POLICYHOLDERS TO DEPOSIT MATURITY CLAIMS AT ANY OFFICE NEW DELHI: To mitigate the hardships faced due to corona pandemic, insurance major LIC has allowed its policyholders to deposit their maturity claim documents at their nearest LIC office anywhere in the country. “LIC has allowed its 113 divisional offices, 2,048 branches, 1,526 satellite offices and 74 customer zones to receive maturity claims documents from policyholders whose maturity payments are due, irrespective of the servicing branch . MI NEWS SERVICE AMLASULI: Continuing her attacks on the Centre, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday urged people to vote Trinamool Congress (TMC) to power in the Assembly elections to teach Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a lesson. "Khela hobe, jeta hobe (the game is on, we shall win)," Mamata Banerjee assured people. Addressing a public meeting in Amlasuli while sitting on a wheelchair, Banerjee said: "I'm like a tigress and I will not bow my head. I only bow my head to the people. But a party like BJP tortures women, Dalits. I don't support them. We want to defeat the BJP and CPIM-Congress together," she added. The TMC supremo warned citizens that the "BJP has two cards – National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). They will come to you and they will ask if you have any card. If you do not have any, they will cut your name." Talking about the developments in West Bengal, Banerjee said, "Poverty has decreased by 40 per cent in West Bengal and now we will make more than 25 lakh houses. Also, we have taken the initiative to supply water to every home. We will take up initiatives by which farmland and water bodies will be developed and 100 days job will be given to the deserving." "You are getting ration for free and you will get it free if TMC remains in power. We will send the ration to your doorstep. We have mentioned this in our manifesto. In future, we will provide free medical treatment like free rations," she continued. "Women will get medical treatment for free up to Rs 5 lakh. We have also decided to give Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 to the women belonging to the scheduled caste and general castes respectively. Along with women, farmers will also get Rs 10,000," she added. Talking about the education facilities for the students in the State she said, "Mamata Student Credit Card will be made for students where students will get up to 10 lakh for medical, and engineering studies. We gave thousands of crores after Amphan, where was BJP at that time?" Banerjee asked. While mentioning the Nandigram incident, she said, "They said to arrest those people who were in Nandigram movement but if someone should be arrested, it is the BJP." Mamata Government has decided to provide free meals to children and Asha workers. Nitish’s JDU to contest Bengal elections Identifies 45 ‘winnable’ seats in State MI NEWS SERVICE KOLKATA: The Nitish Kumarled Janata Dal United is throwing its hat in West Bengal’s electoral fray. Senior JDU leader and former Rajya Sabha MP Gulam Rasool Balyawi made this announcement in Kolkata on Thursday. The party is firming up its candidate list to contest about 45 seats in the State. The JDU leader took pains to counter suggestions that the entry of his party in Bengal’s electoral fray would end up indirectly helping the BJP. “I want to make it clear that the Janata Dal United is in partnership with the NDA only and only in Bihar. In every other part of India, JDU has always fought elections on its own. For example, we have contested and won elections in even Gujarat,” he told a press conference in Kolkata.He said that his party would put up candidates in the Assembly elections in Assam as well, adding that the list of names for both West Bengal and Assam would be announced in the next 48 hours. JDU has always strived for the poor and deprived in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Bengal. We are planning the same for Bengal. I have had a word with Sajag Samaj Party chief Bhai Ram Lakhan Singh Chouhan who has recently declared four candidates. We will support them and they will also extend their support to our candidates. Our candidates and supporters stand together. Bablu Mahato, JDU’s State Election Committee Chairman, said that his party had identified the seats where it stood a good chance of winning. “Kalchini, Kumargram, Uttar Cooch Behar, Islampur, Karandighi, Kumarganj, Itahar and Tollygunge are the confirmed seats in which we shall definitely put up candidates,” he said. The JDU also presented a few of its candidates at the media conference. Balyawi told reporters that the JDU had always tried to put up a “positive agenda” and said that Nitish Kumar’s constructive and developmental policies would be showcased before Bengal’s electorate. “More than politics, Nitish ji has always espoused the slogan of ‘Nyay ke saath vikas, Aapsi mein bhaichara’,” he said. We, at JDU, do not focus only on get- ting votes,” he said, adding, “Hum Vote ki chinta nahi karte, Voter is sochte hain”, Balyawi said. “Bengal is trying to find an alternative to get over with the political violence in Bengal. Secondly, the utilization of funds in Bengal is more on party expansion than on developmental activities. The misuse of national resources is an indicator that to save the nation at these trying times, the nation needs to set up a movement based on Gandhian principles, the rigor of Jai Prakash Narayan, the courage of Karpoori Thakur ji , the will of Ram Manohar Lohiya and the work ethos of Nitish Kumar. The concept of Sonar BANGLA can take flight only if the public rise above all caste, religion and community and unity in solidarity to resonate with ‘Development with Justice’ – something that JDU has decided to uphold as the foundation of political strategy,”. Toll booths to be replaced by GPS imaging technology within 1 year, says Nitin Gadkari NEW DELHI: All physical toll booths in the country will be removed and replaced by GPS imaging technology within one year, informed Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday. While addressing the Lok Sabha, Gadkari added that toll money will be collected based on GPS which will capture an image of the vehicle and charge accordingly. “I want to assure the House that within one year, all physical toll booths in the country will be removed. Toll money will be collected based on GPS imaging. At the entry of the road, there will be a camera that will capture an image on GPS. Toll money will be charged based on where one is coming and going from,” the Union Minister said. “There will be no toll booths and no one will be stopped on their way,” he added. Earlier in the day, the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister had also announced a vehicle scrappage policy in the House. “In case of failure to get a fitness certificate, commercial vehicles will be de-registered after 15 years. Private vehicles will be de-registered after 20 years if found unfit or in case of a failure to renew registration certificates,”. US DEFENCE SECRETARY VISITING INDIA TO DEEPEN STRATEGIC TIES NEW YORK: US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is on his way to New Delhi for discussions on deepening strategic ties between the two democracies, affirming India’s role as a key partner in President Joe Biden’s focus on the Indo-Pacific to meet China’s challenge. During his visit -- the first by a member of Biden’s cabinet - that starts on Friday, he is to meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Austin will come to India after visiting two US treaty allies, Japan and South Korea, on the frontlines of Chinese aggressiveness at sea in the region, and the military headquarters of the Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii. Last week Biden held a virtual summit with other leaders of the Quad, Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India, Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga of Japan, at which they discussed security issues in the face of Chinese aggressive actions. It was his first multilateral summit indicating his priority to the region. Outlining Austin’s agenda in India, Acting Assistant Defence Secretary for Indo-Pacific, David F. Helvey, said that he will “discuss operationalising the major defence partnership that we have with India, including through enhanced information sharing, regional security cooperation, defence trade, and cooperation in new domains”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets the family members of the BJP workers who were killed, in Purulia on Thursday. ANI ‘Khela’ will end, ‘vikas’ starts: Modi tells Didi KOLKATA: Countering Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress’ popular slogan “Khela Hobe”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday trained guns at the West Bengal chief minister countering her with politics of developments, instead of unabated violence. “Didi bole khela hobe, BJP bole chaakri hobe. Didi bole khela hobe, BJP bole vikas hobe. Didi bole khela hobe, BJP bole shiksha hobe....Khela shesh hobe, Didi ar vikas aarambho hobe, (Didi says there will be a game but BJP says there will be employment generation, development and education. Didi’s match will come to an end and the process of development will start in Bengal),” Modi said at an election rally in Purulia. Modi also took a dig at the issues like drinking water crisis, rampant corruption and violence across the state by the ruling Trinamool Congress in the past 10-years. “People of Bengal want an answer from Mamata Didi. This government has robbed people of its rights in the name appeasement. It has neglected the issues of Other Backward Class (OBC) communities. The state government has also encouraged coal and sand mafias in running syndicate raj across Bengal,” he said. Optimistic about Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s electoral win, he said that the people of Bengal would resist the misrule of Trinamool in the forthcoming state assembly polls this time. Braving high mercury, hundreds of sloganeering BJP supporters, armed with party’s flags, caps and posters, came to attend the Modi rally that was held at Bhangra More in Purulia district on Thursday. “The countdown for the end of the Trinamool government has begun. Now no more fear. Our target is to only secure electoral victory...Didi has received leg injury. I’m concerned about that. I pray so that’ she gets well soon,” he said, wishing Mamata Banerjee a speedy recovery. Earlier, the state unit of BJP had dubbed Mamata’s Nandigram incident a sheer ‘drama’ to win voters’ sentiment in the seat.