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BJP Can Hold Virtual Rallies If Needed Amid Omicron Risk: Polls In-Charge – dot newz

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COVID-19: BJP said it can hold virtual rallies if the need arises ahead of assembly elections

New Delhi:

The BJP can hold virtual election rallies if the need arises due to stricter restrictions amid concerns over the spread of Omicron, a party’s election in-charge has said.

Several states have already announced night curfew as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Election rallies, where social distancing is problematic, are seen as worrisome with assembly polls just months away in big states like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

“The BJP is ready for a virtual rally. We did virtual rallies before the (West) Bengal elections also,” Union Minister and BJP election in-charge Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said today.

“During the pandemic, when all political parties in the world were in hibernation, even at that time BJP workers and supporters were working on virtual platforms,” he said.

The Election Commission is in talks with the Union Health Secretary and experts on how to go about holding polls amid the highly transmissible Omicron risk.

“It is the job of the Election Commission to decide how, when and with what policies the elections will be held and what restrictions will be there. The decision taken by the Election Commission will be applicable to all political parties,” Mr Shekhawat said.

The Election Commission is likely to announce the dates for polls in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab and Manipur early next month. Those deployed in election duty in the five states are considered frontline workers and can take a booster dose.

India may see a spurt in the COVID-19 growth rate within days and head into an intense but short-lived virus wave as the Omicron variant moves through the nation, news agency Bloomberg reported today quoting an expert at the University of Cambridge.

“It is likely that India will see a period of explosive growth in daily cases and that the intense growth phase will be relatively short,” Paul Kattuman, professor at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge which has developed a COVID-19 India tracker, wrote in an email. “New infections will begin to rise in a few days, possibly within this week,” he said, adding that it was hard to predict how high the daily cases could go.



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National

Shiv Sena, NCP To Contest Goa Assembly Elections Together – dot newz

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Mumbai:

Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have decided to contest the upcoming Goa Assembly elections together in alliance, Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut said on Sunday.

Speaking to ANI, Raut said, “Shiv Sena and NCP will contest together in Goa assembly elections. There will be a discussion on seat sharing on January 18. NCP’s senior leader Praful Patel will discuss seat-sharing formula in Goa on January 18. Only after that, it will be clear who will contest on how many seats.”

“Political dynamics are different in Maharashtra and Goa. NCP, Shiv Sena, Congress are in alliance in Maharashtra. However, at the moment Congress has decided to contest alone without forming an alliance with any other party in the state,” he said.

Goa elections are set to be held in a single phase on February 14. The counting of votes will be held on March 10.

In view of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Shiv Sena leader did not comment much on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s decision to contest from Gorakhpur.

“I will not make any comment on Yogi ji’s decision to contest from Gorakhpur. He has been fielded from his native constituency. So, it is a good thing. I have heard that Aparna Yadav is going to join BJP. It’s good to know,” he said.

Yadav is the daughter in law of Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Meanwhile, elections for the 403 assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases starting February 10, the Election Commission said. The polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27 and March 3 and 7 in seven phases.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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“India Feels Proud”: PM Modi On 1 Year Of Vaccination Drive – dot newz

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the vaccination drive added great strength to fight against Covid.

New Delhi:

Lauding India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive as it completes a year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it has added great strength to the fight against the pandemic and has resulted in saving lives and protecting livelihoods.

When the pandemic first struck, not much was known about the virus. However, our scientists and innovators immersed themselves in developing vaccines, he said. India feels proud that our nation has been able to contribute to fighting the pandemic through vaccines, PM Modi tweeted.

“I salute each and every individual who is associated with the vaccination drive,” he said, adding that the role of our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers is exceptional.

“When we see glimpses of people being vaccinated in remote areas, or our healthcare workers taking the vaccines there, our hearts and minds are filled with pride,” he said.

The prime minister asserted that India’s approach to fighting the pandemic will always remain science based. Health infrastructure is also being augmented to ensure that fellow citizens get proper care, he said, asking people to keep following all COVID-19 related protocols.

The countrywide vaccination drive against COVID-19 on Sunday completed one year, during which over 156.76 crore vaccine doses were administered.

According to Health Ministry officials, over 92 per cent of the adult population have received at least one dose while over 68 per cent have been fully vaccinated. The Centre will issue a postal stamp this afternoon to mark the completion of one year of the inoculation drive.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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“We Invite You”: Maharashtra’s Red Carpet For Elon Musk After Telangana – dot newz

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Elon Musk had said Tesla is “working through” a lot of challenges with the Indian government. (File)

New Delhi:

Another state has now invited US billionaire Elon Musk to invest after he said that electric car pioneer Tesla was “working through” a lot of challenges with the Indian government ahead of long-awaited plans to launch in the country.

After Telangana’s invitation earlier this week, a Maharashtra minister today offered Mr Musk a place to set up Tesla’s manufacturing plant in his state.

Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, in a reply to Mr Musk’s tweet, said, “Maharashtra is one of the most progressive states in India. We will provide you all the necessary help from Maharashtra for you to get established in India.”

“We invite you to establish your manufacturing plant in Maharashtra,” the Nationalist Congress Party leader added.

Earlier, Telangana minister KT Rama Rao had invited the Tesla Inc’s chief executive to set shop in his state and said that his government will be “happy to partner Tesla in working through the challenges”.

Mr Musk, in response to a tweet asking him about a potential India launch date, had not identified the “challenges” being worked on with the government.

Tesla had plans to begin selling imported cars in India last year and has been lobbying the government to lower import duties, which can be as high as 100 percent, on electric vehicles before it enters the market.

Elon Musk had tweeted last July that Tesla wanted to enter India “but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country”.

Even as Tesla is holding out for a cut in import duties, luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz will start assembling the electric version of its flagship S-Class sedan, the EQS, in India later this year.



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