YK MYK WEATHER TODAY MAX 27 C MIN 22 C THIRD WAVE OF COVID-19 WILL BE HITTING INDIA VERY SOON OPINION Rainfall may occur. Rs. 3 KOLKATA THURSDAY, 29 JULY, 2021 PG- 8, YEAR— 8, ISSUE— 74 (RNI NO: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) ANIL DESHMUKH CASE: CBI SEARCHES 12 LOCATIONS IN MAHARASHTRA NATION Morning India Mamata discusses Opposition unity, Pegasus row with Sonia, Rahul Cong MP raises 'Khela Hobe' in LS Amid the continuous ruckus created by the Opposition during the question hour in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Congress MP Jasbir Singh Gill from Khadoor Sahib constituency in Punjab raised the slogan of Trinamool Congress 'Khela Hobe' The political tussle between the leader of Congress in Lok Sabha and West Bengal Congress Committee President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Trinamool Congress leader and state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is very well known. Jasbir Singh Gill raised the slogan 'Khela Hobe' while demanding a discussion on the 'Pegasus Project' report to which most of the Congress MPs did not support him. Trinamool Congress MPs continued with their slogan of Khela Hobe with more enthusiasm. MI NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI: With an eye on 2024 Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday discussed "the unity of Opposition" with Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and said it is essential for everyone to come together in order to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Banerjee, who is in the national capital for the first time since her victory in the West Bengal Assembly elections, termed the meeting as "very good" and expressed hope that positive results will come in the near future. The political situation in the country, alleged Pegasus snooping row and COVID-19 situation were among other issues discussed during the meeting. "Sonia ji invited me for tea, Rahul ji was also there. We discussed the political situation in general, the Pegasus, COVID situation, and also discussed the unity of opposition. It was a very good meeting. I think the positive result must come out in the future," Banerjee told reporters here after the meeting. "It is essential for everyone to come together in order to defeat BJP... Alone, I am nothing - everyone will have to work together. I am not a leader, I am a cadre. I am a person from the street," she added. She further questioned the government on Pegasus issue. "Why is the government not replying to Pegasus? People want to know. If policy decisions are not made in Parliament, if discussions are not held there, where will it take place? This is not done at tea stalls, this is done in the Parliament." The Trinamool Congress chief on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Kamal Nath. Banerjee's visit during the ongoing Parliament's Monsoon session holds significance as the Opposition is cornering the BJP-led NDA government on a range of issues including price rise, increasing cost of diesel and petrol, and issues related to tackling the COVID-19 pan- It’s vital that US, India stand together: Blinken NEW DELHI: "At a time of rising global threats to democracy and international freedoms -- we talk about a democratic recession -- it's vital that we two world leading democracies continue to stand together in support of these ideals," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said here on Wednesday. On the first day of his visit to India, Blinken while addressing civil society representatives said, "Here in India, that includes the free media, independent courts, a vibrant and free and fair electoral system -- the largest expression of free political will by citizens anywhere in the world." "We also know that successful democracies include thriving civil societies. That's how citizens become more fully engaged in the life of their communities. It's how we organize and provide the resources to respond to emergencies. And we've seen people and organizations come together throughout Covid-19 in creative and incredibly generous ways, and civil society is also where we're able to build meaningful connections across our social, religious, and cultural US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on Weddnesday. ANI differences," Blinken said. "In short, if we want to make our democracies more open, more inclusive, more resilient, more equitable, we need a vibrant civil society," he added. "And I'm really here to underscore the importance of the relationships between our countries, to try to deepen our ties and extend our cooperation. I think it's hard to find countries with more -who do more together in more different areas than with the United States and India," Blinken said. "Later today, I'll have a chance to see Prime Minister Modi, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, an old friend and colleague. We'll talk about many of the critical issues our countries are working on together, from Covid-19 to climate change, defense, mutual security, trade and investment, education, energy, science, technology. The list goes on and on," Blinken said. "When you put it all together, the relationship between our countries is one of the most important in the world.," Blinken said. demic. Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday met his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee here and discussed several political issues with her. The meeting took place at TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee's residence at 181, South Avenue. Met @MamataOfficial didi today. It was our first meeting since her resounding victory in West Bengal assembly elections. Conveyed my best wishes and discussed several political issues with her, Kejriwal said in a tweet. The Delhi CM was accompanied by AAP MLA Raghav Chadha, while Banerjee attended the meeting with her nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee. CABINET GIVES NOD TO DEPOSIT INSURANCE CREDIT GUARANTEE CORPORATION BILL NEW DELHI: Bringing sigh of relief for the depositors in stressed banks, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave nod to the Deposit Insurance Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) Bill, 2021. Addressing media persons, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, "The proposed law will insure bank deposits up to Rs 5 lakh. Under DICGC Bill 2021, 98.3 per cent of all deposits will get covered and in terms of deposit value, 50.9 per cent deposit value will be covered. Global deposit value is only 80 per cent of all deposit accounts. It only covers 20-30 per cent of deposit value." "The Union Cabinet has decided that depositors of troubled banks would get their money back within 90 days. As of now, several depositors of troubled lenders are waiting for longer periods to retrieve the money deposited in the bank accounts," the finance minister said. MORE ON PG 5 TMC MP Mahua Moitra amazed by charges of ‘name-calling’ MI NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey on Wednesday claimed that Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra had called him a "Bihari gunda" during a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology today. Dubey, the MP from Jharkhand's Godda took to Twitter to say that Moitra's "abusive language" has brought out into the open TMC's hatred towards North Indians, especially Hindi speaking people. "Trinamool Congress has abused the entire Hindi speaking people along with Bihar by using the word Bihari Gunda. Mamata Banerjee ji, this abuse by TMC MP Mahua Moitra has brought your party's hatred towards North Indians and especially Hindi speaking people in front of the country," Dubey tweeted in Hindi. "Lok Sabha Speaker ji, heard abuse for the first time in his 13 years of parliamentary life. TMC member Mahua Moita said 'Bihari Gunda' thrice in the meeting of IT Committee. Om Birla ji, Shashi Tharoor Ji has taken the contract to end this parliamentary tradition," the BJP leader said in another tweet. Meanwhile Moitra too took to Twitter to say: "Am a bit amused by charges of name-calling. IT mtng did not happen because NO quorum - members did not attend. How can I call someone a name who was not even present!! Check attendance sheet!" she tweeted. In absence of the quorum, today's meeting of the 31member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology led by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor to discuss the Pegasus snooping case with ministry officials, was not held. "After a heated debate on Bihari Gunde, the meeting was postponed due to lack of quorum," a member of the committee said. RUCKUS IN LS, CENTRE SLAMS OPPN FOR REPEATED DISRUPTIONS NEW DELHI: The proceedings of Lok Sabha were paralysed yet again on Wednesday as opposition MPs shouted slogans even as the government tried to transact business in the House. The government slammed the opposition for repeatedly creating pandemonium in the House. After the joint opposition meeting that decided to work together demanding investigation on Pegasus issue, Congress and DMK too joined Trinamool leaders as the latter shouted "Khela Hobe" slogans in the well of the House. Meanwhile, a few of the opposition members after shouting slogans for almost an hour tore the placards and papers and threw them in the air. A few of these landed on the Speaker's table. A placard even flew in the visitors' gallery. The House was then adjourned for a brief while. However, the opposition did come out together to protest against the snooping issue. DISASTER STRIKES THE HILLS J-K cloudburst: Death toll reaches 7, 14 missing KISHTWAR: As many as seven people died while 14 others are still missing after a cloudburst in the Gulabgarh area of Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday morning. According to Jammu police, a total of 17 people have been rescued out of which five are critically injured. "05 more injured have been rescued. Total 17 persons rescued. Out of the 17 rescued 05 persons are critically injured. 07 dead bodies have been recovered so far. Rescue operation is on," tweeted IGP Jammu. The police further said that the rescue operation is on to search for the missing people. NINE KILLED, SEVEN MISSING IN HIMACHAL FLASH FLOODS SHIMLA: At least nine people were killed and seven reported missing following flash floods at two places in Himachal Pradesh in the past 24 hours, officials said on Indian Army's rescue operation is underway after a village was caught in a flash flood due to a cloudburst, in Kishtwar on Wednesday. ANI Wednesday. Seven were washed away in a flash flood in the Tozing rivulet in Udaipur subdivision in Lahaul-Spiti district, some 15 km from district headquarters Keylong, after a cloudburst. Two people were killed in Chamba district. Special Secretary, State Disaster Management Authority, Sudesh Mokhta told the media that the search operation has been on to trace three missing from the flash flood in Lahaul-Spiti. Two have been rescued. In Kullu district, four people, including a Delhi tourist, have drowned in the swollen Parvati river in Manikaran. Reports say traffic on the Manali-Leh highway was also hampered owing to massive landslides. Several vehicles, including tourists, have been stuck on the highway. The Mandi-Kullu-Manali national highway was also disrupted from Chandigarh due to landslides at several places ahead of Mandi town. Owing to heavy rains, the Border Roads Organisation has closed the Manali-Leh highway and the ManaliUdaipur highway. The tourists and locals have been prohibited from travelling beyond Manali towards Leh via Keylong till further orders. 48% parents not willing to send their kids to schools till they get Covid vaccines: Survey NEW DELHI: Nearly 48 per cent parents are not willing to send their children to schools till they are vaccinated against the novel coronavirus infection, says a new survey. The survey conducted with over 32,000 parents across 361 districts in the country found that 30 per cent parents are willing to send their wards to schools if coronavirus cases in their districts come down to zero. "Vaccinating children in the coming months is going to be key if children are to go to schools for physical classes. Forty-eight per cent of the surveyed parents said they are not willing to send their children to schools till they are vaccinated. "At least 21 per cent of parents said whenever the schools reopen, they are ready to send their wards there," said the survey by an online platform, Local Circles. Nearly 47 per cent of the respondents of the survey were from tier 1 districts, 27 per cent from tier 2 and 26 per cent respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had on Tuesday told BJP MPs that Covid vaccination for children was likely to start soon. Schools across the country were ordered shut in March last year ahead of a nation- wide lockdown to contain the spread of the highly contagious infection. While several states started partial reopening of schools in October last year, physical classes were again suspended following the exponential rise in the COVID-19 cases during the second wave. The states that have partially reopened schools this month include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have announced reopening of schools in the first week of August. BJP govt in Tripura suffering from insecurity: TMC AGARTALA: The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday hit out at the BJP-led government in Tripura over the alleged detention of an I-PAC team, stating that it was suffering from insecurity and fear of losing power in the next assembly elections in the state. Addressing a press conference, senior TMC leader Bratya Basu claimed that members of the I-PAC team were kept under detention at a hotel in Agartala, citing COVID restrictions even though they had tested negative. "Even FIR was lodged against them, which is condemnable. This BJP-led government in Tripura is suffering from the trauma of insecurity and fear of losing power in the next assembly elections, so they did this heinous work," Basu told reporters at the Agartala Press Club. Basu, the education min- ister of West Bengal, along with West Bengal Law Minister Moloy Ghatak and TMC's trade union leader Ritabrata Banerjee was in Agartala to meet the I-PAC team, which was allegedly detained while carrying out political survey for the Trinamool Congress. Ghatak said the BJP government would not be suc- cessful in its strong-arm tactics. Forty central ministers had extensively campaigned in West Bengal before the recent assembly elections, but people rejected BJP and voted overwhelmingly for Mamata Banerjee, he said. "We are well aware that people of Tripura are facing oppression by leaders of the ruling party. We have come here to stand by the oppressed people and organise our party workers," he said. Basu said Mamata Banerjee is the face of the opposition in the country and under her leadership, the BJP-led government at the Centre would be ousted in 2024. He also announced that Abhishek Banerjee, the TMC's general secretary, would soon visit Tripura to strengthen the party's organisation in the state. The I-PAC team, which arrived here a week back for political survey works, was confined at the hotel since Sunday evening, citing COVID restrictions, police said. They were allowed movement last night as RTPC tests of all 23 members found them to be COVID-negative, police said.