Free Press Bulletin-Top 5-21 July 2021
1. Won't apologise to Amarinder Singh, say Navjot Singh Sidhu's supporters as he visits Golden Temple
In a show of strength, 62 MLAs, arrived at the newly-appointed Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu's residence in Amritsar today and at least one of them rejected a demand from Amarinder Singh's camp that the cricketer-turned-politician should apologise to the Chief Minister publicly. "Why should Sidhu apologise? It's not a public issue. CM has not solved many issues. In that case, he should also apologise to the public," Congress MLA Pargat Singh said. Amarinder Singh's media advisor had yesterday tweeted, "The Chief Minister will not meet Sidhu till he publicly apologises for his personally derogatory social media attacks against him."
2. India sees first bird flu death of 2021 as 12-year-old boy undergoing treatment at AIIMS succumbs
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Tuesday reported the first bird flu death in the country for this year after a 12-year-old boy undergoing treatment for H5N1 Avian influenza died at its pediatric department. "The 12-year-old boy being treated at the hospital's D5 ward was found to be infected with H5N1 (Avian flu) after the diagnosis. The boy was suffering from leukemia and pneumonia. He was under treatment and admitted to the ICU of AIIMS in Delhi," AIIMS officials told news agency ANI. "All staff who had exposure to him should monitor themselves for any signs and symptoms of flu and should report if any are present," AIIMS officials added.
3. Modi govt wants to establish "surveillance state": Mamata Banerjee hits out over Pegasus row
Latching on to the Pegasus snooping row, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today accused the Modi government of trying to establish a "surveillance state". She also asked the Supreme Court to take cognizance of snooping scandal that purportedly targetted politicians, activists, journalists and even judges using the Pegasus spyware, and asked Opposition parties to come together to defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. "BJP wants to convert a democratic country into a surveillance state rather than a welfare state," she said addressing the Martyrs' Day rally in Kolkata online.
4. Cabinet rejig on the cards in Maharashtra: KC Padvi, Aslam Shaikh may be axed for non-performance
A reshuffle of the council of ministers led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is on the cards, following talks between ruling partners Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress to the effect. Non-performers will be shown the door, it is learnt. A Congress minister told The Free Press Journal that the party is expected to remove Tribal Development Minister KC Padvi and Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister Aslam Shaikh. As far as Shiv Sena is concerned, it is likely to fill up the vacancy created after the resignation of former Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod in connection with a Tik Tok star’s alleged suicide. Shiv Sena insiders pointed out that the CM was likely to take a call over his rehabilitation and re-induction after the final police report on the Tik Tok star’s death. The NCP, meanwhile, is likely to fill up the vacancy created by the resignation of former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who is currently being probed by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case.
5. Data on COVID-19 deaths generated by States, Centre just collects: BJP
The Centre just collects data on COVID-19 deaths, it doesn't generate it, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra today. Health is a state subject, Patra pointed out while addressing a press conference, and no state or union territory sent any data regarding deaths, specifically due to a shortage of oxygen. Responding to a question by Congress MP KC Venugopal on Tuesday, during the Parliament's monsoon session, on whether a large number of COVID-19 patients died on roads and hospitals due to acute shortage of oxygen in the second wave, Minister of State for Health Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar informed the Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen had been specifically reported by states/Union territories during the second wave of COVID-19.