In the latest episode of On The Record, West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra spoke to Hindustan Times' Sunetra Choudhury about home minister Amit Shah’s prediction that the BJP will win 200 seats in the assembly elections, the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s message, and the TMC demand to club the remaining seats in a single phase, among other issues. Polling for the first four phases has been concluded while the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth phases will take place on April 17, 22, 26 and 29 respectively. Counting of votes will take place on May 2. Watch the full video for more details.
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The ICSE board exams for Classes 10 and 12 have been postponed amid the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was today briefed about the efforts being made by the government to import medical grade oxygen. Scam-accused billionaire Nirav Modi's extradition to India has been cleared by the British government. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the extradition order on Thursday. Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday. Tamil Actor Vivekh is still in critical condition and will be observed closely for the next 48 years at the SIMS Hospital in Vadapalani.
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Congress Leader KC Venugopal assured that the party is totally prepared for the upcoming assembly elections. "Congress is totally prepared for elections. We will appeal to the people for change, for good governance. Alliance for Assam has been finalised. In Kerala and West Bengal, the alliance is almost finalized. In Tamil Nadu, talks are underway on alliance," he said.
Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi arrived at Kollam's Thangassery beach to interact with fishermen. Congress leaders KC Venugopal, Ramesh Chennithala and Mullappally Ramachandran accompanied him.
After an all-party meeting with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of West Bengal Aariz Aftab on April 16, the BJP leader Sawapan Dasgupta said that they have advised the Election Commission to balance robust democratic culture with safety norms. "We've advised the Election Commission to balance the need for a robust democratic culture with safety norms. It is up to the Election Commission to tell us what exactly political parties must do. We've assured them that we'll adhere to protocols," said Swapan Dasgupta.
Jharkhand Congress MLA Irfan Ansari stoked controversy by performing puja at a temple. Ansari performed puja at Deoghar's Baidyanath Dham temple, a sacred abode of Lord Shiva. BJP MP Dr Nishikant Dubey demanded arrest of Ansari after he offered prayers at temple. Dubey claimed that entry of non-Hindus is strictly not allowed at Baidyanath temple. The MP from Godda demanded that Jharkhand's JMM-led govt order arrest of Ansari. He also sought action against the deputy commissioner and SP of Deoghar. Meanwhile, Ansari accused Dubey of playing dirty politics in the name of religion. Ansari, MLA of Jamtara, had entered temple's sanctum sanctorum with his companions and performed puja. Ansari claimed that he has been coming to the temple since childhood to seek blessings.
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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that last year, he and his party leaders collectively warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi about COVID-19 virus and requested him to take action to save economy, small-scale industry and migrant labourers but media mocked him. "Last year in Feb, all Congress leaders and I collectively said to PM that India is going to be affected by COVID. You start preparing to save economy, migrant labourers and small-scale industry. Press mocked me and said I am trying to scare people,' he said.