Updated: May 3, 2021 8:54:31 am
She won, yet she lost. Mamata Banerjee roared back to a third term in spectacular fashion. Such was TMC’s dominance that the Left did not win a single seat in Bengal for the first time since Independence. However, her party’s victory was dimmed by her loss in Nandigram. She was edged out narrowly by her lieutenant-turned-BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, whom she had chosen to confront in his stronghold.
The Left’s rout in Bengal is mirrored by its strong show in Kerala, where the party led by Pinarayi Vijayan broke the four-decade-old tradition of unseating the incumbent government every five years. And it was the BJP’s turn to end with a duck as it failed to make any gains by playing up the controversy over the Sabarimala temple entry issue.
In Tamil Nadu, the DMK will be returning to power after a gap of 10 years despite a strong fight put up by the incumbent AIADMK. And Assam saw the BJP retain power but questions remain over who would be chosen as chief minister.
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Even as parties tailored their campaign around youth and jobs in West Bengal, young voters, particularly first-timers, declined in the state compared to the last Assembly elections. At the same time, the state saw the highest rise among voters 80 years and older.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, a minister in the outgoing Assam government, writes: “Ten years of UPA rule saw India’s vaccine security severely undermined. Now, in Opposition, the party’s attacks on vaccine manufacturers are baseless.”
The Second Wave
Asking the Centre to revisit its Covid vaccine policy, the Supreme Court suggested that the procurement of all vaccines can be centralised and their distribution decentralised. It also urged the Centre and states “to consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus in the second wave in the interest of public welfare”.
In April, the official Covid death toll in Bhopal district was 109. Records accessed by The Indian Express from the three crematoriums and one kabristan designated for Covid deaths in the district show that besides the 109, 2,567 bodies were laid to rest under the Covid protocol from April 1-30.
A war of words erupted between the government and Congress on Sunday involving two foreign missions in Delhi over supply of oxygen cylinders by the Youth Congress to these embassies for Covid patients.
With the daily number of Covid cases rising steeply, insurance companies are refusing to give health cover to persons recovered from Covid-19 and are asking them to wait up to six months for renewal of policies.
In this podcast episode, we discuss why a lockdown could be helpful in India, the crisis of oxygen in the national capital, and Dr Anthony Fauci’s advice to India.