Narendra Modi pays price at the polls as India suffers another day of record deaths
Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, suffered a major blow on Sunday after his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost a key regional election amid mounting criticism of his response to the country's catastrophic outbreak of the coronavirus. As the votes were counted for the state elections in West Bengal, a new daily record of 3,689 deaths from Covid was recorded on the day, along with 390,000 new infections. Britain announced on Sunday night that it was sending 1,000 ventilators to India. It comes on top of 200 ventilators, 495 oxygen concentrators and 3 oxygen generation units dispatched last week to Indian hospitals.news.yahoo.com
Modi's party seeks big win as 2 key Indian states vote
Top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including Modi, have campaigned heavily to win West Bengal for the first time and dislodge the state’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, as well as retain power in northeastern Assam state. The vote comes as tens of thousands of farmers have rattled Modi’s government with prolonged protests on the fringes of the capital, New Delhi. AdKailash Vijayvargia, a BJP leader, rejected Banerjee's criticism and said she was just rattled by the growing popularity of the BJP party in the state. In southern India, Modi's BJP party is vying for a third spot in Kerala, currently ruled by a Communist Party-led government. And in legislative elections in Tamil Nadu, both the BJP and Congress have allied with powerful regional parties as junior partners.
India's PM Modi faces big electoral test in Muslim areas
Modi and his Hindu nationalist party are making a serious bid for electoral victories in three states that have sizeable minority Muslim populations. In West Bengal, rival groups have attacked each other with sticks and rocks, and even set vehicles on fire. But in West Bengal and Assam, the BJP is banking on its strong Hindu nationalist ideology to draw votes. The test for Modi is likely to be the toughest in West Bengal, analysts say, where the political discourse has shifted from issues to personalities. “Its best hope remains in breaching West Bengal and consolidating its presence in Assam, its gateway to India’s northeast,’’ said analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay.
Politicians Woo Refugee Sect Ahead of 2021 Elections
Today they are being used by politicians to garner votes,” said Mukut Mani Adhikari, a doctor from the community. The community is key to the BJP, which is vying to retain its hold in the 2021 Assembly elections. She was the widow of Pramath Ranjan Thakur, the great-grandson of Harichand Thakur, the founder of the Matua community. “There has been little economic development of the Matua community. “Rebelling against social marginalization and untouchability, and promising salvation through ecstatic singing and dancing, the Matua community triggered a massive mobilization in rural East Bengal.thewestsidegazette.com
Soumitra Chatterjee, legend of Indian cinema, dies at 85
Chatterjee, the legendary Indian actor with more than 200 movies to his name and famed for his work with Oscar-winning director Satyajit Ray, has died. “International, Indian and Bengali cinema has lost a giant," tweeted Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal’s chief minister. The film world in Bengal has been orphaned.”In 2012, Chatterjee was awarded the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest honor in Indian cinema. In 2017, he became the first Indian film personality conferred with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s highest award for artists. Before embarking on his film career in 1959, Chatterjee worked as an announcer at All India Radio in Kolkata.
India struggles with twin challenges of cyclone and pandemic
A villager clears tree branches fallen in front of his house after Cyclone Amphan hit the region, at Baguranjalpai village in East Midnapore district in West Bengal state, India, Friday, May 22, 2020. People forgot about social distancing and crammed themselves into government shelters, minutes before Cyclone Amphan crashed in West Bengal. Even before the cyclone, its pandemic response was lagging; the state has one of the highest fatality rates from COVID-19 in India. Even before the cyclone, its pandemic response was lagging; the state has one of the highest fatality rates from COVID-19 in India. The pandemic made evacuations harder since many cyclone shelters were being used for quarantining virus patients.
Recovery begins after storm ravages Indian, Bangladesh coast
Amphan hit land Wednesday as the most powerful storm in the region in more than a decade, dumping heavy rain amid a battering storm surge. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the cyclone should be treated as a national disaster and appealed for assistance from the federal government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi surveyed the worst-hit areas of West Bengal and neighboring Odisha state by air. The country is already going through a crisis and during that time we have to deal with a cyclone, Modi said in West Bengal. At least 80 people were killed in West Bengal state and two deaths were reported in Odisha state.
Deadly cyclone cuts destructive path in India and Bangladesh
Commuters take shelter in an empty taxi stand at Howrah railway station as it rains in Kolkata, India, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Officials in both countries said the full extent of the damage caused by the cyclone was not known because communications to many places were cut. At least 74 people were killed in India, with most of the deaths in West Bengal state, which includes Kolkata. About 10 million people in Bangladesh remained without electricity, said Moin Uddin, chairman of the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board. Debashish Shyamal, who lives in a fishing village along the West Bengal coast, took shelter with his family in a government clinic.
Cyclone batters India and Bangladesh coasts, millions flee
A powerful cyclone is moving toward India and Bangladesh as authorities try to evacuate millions of people while maintaining social distancing. A woman crushed by a tree and a 13-year-old girl killed near Kolkata were among the first deaths reported in India. In southern Bangladesh, a volunteer in a cyclone preparedness team drowned when a boat capsized in a canal. India's West Bengal state moved nearly 300,000 and Odisha state another 148,486, officials said. Some cyclone shelters in West Bengal were being used to quarantine virus patients and migrant workers returning to their homes.