New Delhi: Prime time debate Tuesday saw Mirror Now and India Today focus on two coronavirus stories — the rising safety concerns around the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and the other on the rising number of cases in Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, NDTV 24×7 had an exclusive interview with Pinarayi Vijayan, the chief minister of poll-bound Kerala.
ABP News looked into the controversy triggered by Shia leader Waseem Rizvi’s petition in the Supreme Court where he sought the removal of 26 verses from the Quran, while Aaj Tak continued to cover the West Bengal election battle.
Several districts in Maharashtra have been placed under lockdown as coronavirus cases begin to surge once more. “Is Maharashtra complacent?” Mirror Now asked.
“We need to stop swinging between complacency and draconian measure. Why not act now, come up with an exhaustive strategy and stop the spread,” anchor Tanvi Shukla asked, sensibly.
NCP’s Clyde Castro blamed the public: “People, right now, are not following guidelines — the same people supported the government earlier. I don’t think we are being complacent at all. Or that we’re panicking.”
Dr Abhay Shukla considered some measures to curb Covid-19 cases: “Weekend, night time lockdowns are irrelevant from a public health perspective, we need to look at where the second wave is taking place, do intensive testing, contract tracing, isolation and gatherings must be restricted.”
On NDTV 24×7, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan responded to corruption allegations made against him by the Opposition. “When did these allegations emerge? You should see the timing. As the elections neared, they had nothing else to say (against the state government).”
He added, “Kerala’s Left government has stood strong against the BJP-led Centre’s anti-constitutional and anti-secular policies at every step.” The CM said Kerala must not weaken its opposition to such a “divisive force”.
Several countries in the West are reporting cases of blood clots after taking Covishield — the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine — and have suspended its usage. India Today discussed the concerns arising out of the controversy.
Dr Hemant Thacker of Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai, tried to reassure people taking the vaccine: “There is absolutely no indication that if you’re going for an Oxford vaccine that you need to take a blood thinner.” Blood thinners would help counter clots, he said.
On the serious side-effects of the vaccine, Dr Shahid Jamil, virologist, said, “The most serious side-effects after any vaccination happens within minutes. Beyond that is the regular fever, fatigue, etc.”
He added, “No vaccine is 100 per cent safe or effective. We all look at risk versus benefit.”
On ABP News, anchor Rubika Liyaqat focused on the controversy around the petition by Waseem Rizvi, former chief of UP Shia Central Waqf Board, who has petitioned the Supreme Court to remove 26 verses in the Quran.
According to the petitions, the verses “promote terrorism, violence, jihad” and were not a part of the original text.
“The whole community has become agitated by Rizvi’s statements. Waseem Rizvi’s own daughter and wife have distanced themselves from him. But despite this, he isn’t willing to step back,” Rubika said.
Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, rector of Darul Uloom, Firangi Mahal and chairman of Islamic Centre of India, one of the biggest madrasas in UP, said, “Not just lakhs or crores, he has hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims everywhere. We are facing humiliation everywhere now.”
Prominent Shia cleric Kalbe Jawab agreed. “There should be a court case against him since he has tried to agitate the community in the whole of India,” he said.
Prime Time on Aaj Tak highlighted the tough fight between the wheelchair-bound West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP’s star campaigner Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Anchor Chitra Tripathi said, “It is worth seeing how religious symbols are being used in this fight and the politicians, instead of being self-reliant, in their speech are dependent on the Gods.”
She said, “Sparks are flying each day, now — every day is very important. Mamata Banerjee is doing Chandipath every day from the campaign stage… the BJP… has thrown their entire weight (into the campaign)… JP Nadda, Rajnath Singh and Yogi Adityanath were among the campaigners…”