Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called up Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to get an overview of Maharashtra’s war against the Coronavirus, an official said.
During the conversation, the PM lauded Thackeray’s efforts and observed that the state has put up a good fight during the ongoing second wave of Covid-19.
Thanking Modi, the CM appreciated his guidance in the state’s Covid war right from the beginning and how the Centre had accepted certain suggestions given by Maharashtra.
Thackeray took the opportunity to request for more Central help and support in terms of critical needs like oxygen and apprised the PM on the state’s plan to tackle the possible Covid-19 ‘third wave’ expected to hit soon.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Maharashtra has emerged among the worst-hit in the country with a caseload of 49,96,758 which surpassed the infections of Turkey, and a total of 74,413 fatalities recorded till date, besides 654,788 ‘active cases’ – just below France’s 823,825 ‘active cases’.
Arvind Kejriwal, whose AAP is the majority opposition in Punjab, also did not comment on Mr Sood’s possible entry into politics, and instead stressed his “inspiring” work.
Actor Sonu Sood on Friday played down talk of his political debut ahead of Assembly elections in Punjab next year, following speculation that either he or his sister – Malvika Sachar, a well-known social activist in the state’s Moga area – could contest on a Congress ticket.
Mr Sood was interacting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for ‘Desh ke Mentor‘ – a programme to guide students in government-run schools.
‘Sonu Soodji has been agreed to be a brand ambassador of our soon-to-be-launched ‘Desh ke Mentor‘ programme. It is matter of joy for us,” Mr Kejriwal said at the event.
When asked about his potential entry into politics, Sonu Sood told reporters “politics was not discussed… this is a bigger issue than that”.
“There was nothing political… I have always been saying this. Politics was not discussed. This is a bigger issue… I don’t think there can be a bigger issue,” he said, adding, “People always say, ‘If you want to do good work then come to politics …’ It is a wonderful field… but we didn’t discuss.”
Mr Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party is the majority opposition party in Punjab, also did not comment on Mr Sood’s possible entry into politics, and instead stressed on his “inspiring” work.
“Sonu Sood is an inspiration for the entire nation… Anywhere in the country, if someone is in trouble, (he) contacts and helps them. This is (his) wonder and charisma,” Mr Kejriwal said as he appointed Mr Sood as the brand ambassador for the programme.
The Delhi government’s ‘Education Mentoring Programme’ is part of its ‘Youth for Education’ initiative, and will see over 200 B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD students from the Indira Gandhi Delhi Technological University mentor around 1,000 school students.
The actor took to Twitter to say he is “honoured and humbled” to be the brand ambassador for the programme.
Truly honoured and humbled to be the brand ambassador of Desh Ke Mentor a programme which has given me an opportunity to mentor lakhs of students across India. Thank you so much @ArvindKejriwal sir for making me a part of this initiative.
Jai Hind ??
Announcing the programme in May, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the Education Minister, said he hoped it would lead the way for more women in science.
“Although our nation is seeing major innovations in every field… these are mostly led by men. The participation of women is abysmal … especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects”, he said.
Mr Sood also discussed ‘Pravasi Rojagar‘ – an online job portal he set up to help migrant labourers.
“I was connected with the 7.5 lakh migrants. I had their data… Whenever I sent some home, I used to ask if they were coming back. They told me that they would if they got jobs. They were scared (thinking) parents might stop them from going back to (cities) where they worked,” he explained.
The popular actor helped hundreds of migrant workers (mainly from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh) return home after they were left stranded during last year’s Covid lockdown.
He has also provided financial assistance to around 400 families of migrant workers, and helped people during the oxygen crisis that marked the second wave of infections.
“I’ve decided to help families of the deceased or injured migrants for them to have a secure future. I feel it’s my personal responsibility to support them,” he was quoted by news agency PTI.
He even launched a toll-free helpline number to help those who needed assistance.
Mazari was a champion of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, Shiites who were persecuted under the Sunni Taliban’s earlier rule.
The Taliban have blown up the statue of a Shiite militia leader who had fought against them during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s, according to photos circulating on social media on Wednesday.
The statue depicted Abdul Ali Mazari, a militia leader killed by the Taliban in 1996, when the Islamic militants seized power from rival warlords. Mazari was a champion of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, Shiites who were persecuted under the Sunni Taliban’s earlier rule.
The Taliban have promised a new era of peace and security, saying they will forgive those who fought against them and grant women full rights under Islamic law, without elaborating. But many Afghans are deeply skeptical of the group, especially those who remember its previous rule, when it imposed a harsh interpretation of Islamic law.
The 107-km yatra, covering all seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi, will witness Puri taking part in 272 programs, while Lekhi in 47, said Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta.
Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Meenakshi Lekhi will take part in a four-day Jan Ashirwad Yatra organized by Delhi BJP from Monday.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana said that after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expanded his council of ministers, the newly elected ones would cover all areas of Delhi to take people’s blessing and tell them about the works done by Modi.
The 107-km yatra, covering all seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi, will witness Puri taking part in 272 programs, while Lekhi in 47, said Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta. The yatra will end on August 19. Around 20 lakh people will be contacted through the yatra, he said.
“Lekhi will be part of the yatra on August 16, 17, and 18 in New Delhi, Chandni Chowk, East Delhi, and some parts of northeast Delhi Lok Sabha constituencies,” said Gupta. Puri will visit west Delhi, northwest Delhi, south Delhi, and some parts of northeast Lok Sabha constituencies on August 16, 17, and 19, he said.
He said the yatra will commence from vaccination centers and during its course, the ministers will also visit Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana centers. Also, gas stoves will be given under Ujjwala Yojana. The yatra, after going to temples, gurdwaras, and Balmiki mandirs, will conclude with public meetings in the evening, he said.