April 6, 2021 2:30:20 am
It is rare for Ghulam Nabi Azad not to campaign in elections. The Congress veteran was not in action in Bihar last year because he had tested positive for Covid-19. Azad, the tallest leader among signatories to the letter 23 party leaders had written to Sonia Gandhi, however, was absent in campaigning in states going to the polls now. While Azad and some of the other ‘G-23’ leaders were missing in action, Manish Tewari, another signatory, was present in both Kerala and Assam. Apart, of course, from Shashi Tharoor, who campaigned across Kerala, energising the party cadre, and even triggering speculation whether he could be among those in the reckoning for the Chief Minister’s post if the Congress-led UDF is voted in.
Elections in the past few years have seen political parties increasingly adopting a confrontational stance against the Election Commission (EC). In the past, the poll panel’s practice has been to never react to accusations, given that they are usually driven by political motivations. But in the ongoing Assembly polls, the is breaking away from this tradition and has responded to charges levelled by Trinamool Congress, the ruling party in West Bengal. In the last few months, the EC has at least on two occasions reacted to the party’s accusations that the panel is acting at the behest of BJP. The thinking behind this departure in the Commission, it seems, is that its silence is being misused by parties to perpetuate a perception about EC.
For An Inclusive Jab
In the backdrop of the second wave of Covid-19, several CMs have written to the Centre to lower the age eligibility for vaccination. On Tuesday, the Indian Medical Association, the country’s largest medical association, forwarded another proposal to increase the vaccination coverage: to allow vaccination at family clinics. “Private sector family clinics also shall be included actively…. Availability of vaccination with all doctors and family physicians will have positive impact on the vaccination drive,” IMA president Dr J A Jayalal wrote to the Union Health Minister.
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