Prez Polls: Will Oppn consolidate?

The BJP’s reach out on Presidential polls that started on Friday has not cut much ice with the Opposition, which believes that the ruling side not indicating a name is a “deliberate” ploy but would help consolidate the non-NDA side.

The Opposition is entering a hectic phase of consultations in the coming days and expects to decide on a candidate by the middle of next week with sources saying their goal is to come up with a name before the government side.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, whom senior BJP ministers Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu met here following, feels that the government’s efforts were not sincere, a view echoed in the opposition ranks.

After the meeting, Yechury minced no words in describing the meeting as a “pre-concluded PR exercise” in which the BJP wanted to show a charade of reaching out to opposition. Besides Yechury, the BJP leaders had with opposition parties Congress president Sonia Gandhi and leaders of CPI, Samajwadi Party and BSP.

“Without names, they are meeting opposition. That means it has made improbable for any opposition party to talk about support. So those opposition parties who were thinking of probably supporting a candidate whom they could vote for has no option,” a senior Opposition leader said.

The BJP’s ‘no names strategy’ may also be to force the opposition to put up a candidate as it wants to show that they won against a joint candidate, the leader said. Sources said that it could also mean that the BJP would want a political candidate, who adheres to the party ideology.

Some of the Opposition parties had earlier indicated that they would vote for an NDA candidate in case they put up a nominee who could appeal to their constituencies.

Amid rumblings in the opposition ranks, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Yechury held a meeting on Thursday where the former made it clear that they were for a fight in the Presidential polls.

Sources said Sonia also indicated Congress was not averse to the candidature of Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who has started reaching out to parties. Gopalkrishna Gandhi has already spoken to leaders, including AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal who said his party was honoured to support him.

The Opposition parties’ prominent leaders would consult over the weekend before a meeting of 17 parties, which attended a luncheon meeting called by Sonia last month. Though AAP and Naveen Patnaik-led BJD are not part of this grouping, it is expected that they would join them in voting. AAP has already conveyed their support to Yechury on Presidential polls.

June 16, 2017

No self medication mid-air, airline crew told

Do not take medicines without consulting a doctor mid-air. This is the advice given by an investigation panel to aircraft crew following an incident on a SpiceJet flight.

The recommendation by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) came recently following its investigation into an incident in January 2014 where a SpiceJet pilot-in-command (PIC) fell ill mid-air after he took a pain killer for his neck pain mid-air.

Though the plane landed safely, the AAIB has not taken the incident lightly and in its recommendation to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), it said the regulator should sensitise all airlines to educate their crew of the “consequences of self-medication and also the importance of communicating any ailments” to the company doctor during the pre-flight medical.

“DGCA should issue instructions to all schedule operators should to sensitize flight crew recurrent training on the importance of procedures in case of flight crew incapacitation,” it said.

The panel said the “most probable cause of the SpiceJet pilot getting incapacitated was due to side-effects of a pain killer which he took any prescription or consultation by a doctor”.

Prior to the flight Mumbai-Hyderabad on 8 January 2014, the PIC had neck pain but he decided to continue with his flight schedule as the pain was reducing. He also did not record this during the pre-flight check-up.

“During flight he experienced pain in the neck and consumed a pain killer medicine in flight to subside the pain. During descent, he experienced partial loss of hearing and a blurred vision and decided to take an anti-allergic tablet to counter the presumed reaction of the pain killer medicine,” the report said.

According to the report, the PIC said due to repeated stretching of arms to operate controls and overhead panels the neck pain got aggravated and for relief, he decided to take a pain killer from his flight bag in which he used to carry over the counter medicine like pain killer and anti-allergic medicine.

During descent into Hyderabad, he experienced partial loss of hearing and a blurred vision. To counter the existing reaction of the painkiller he took an anti-allergic tablet, the symptoms improved after 10 minutes of taking anti-allergic medicine, it said.

“The PIC apprised his First Officer regarding his health condition and briefed him about the medicines he had consumed. He also instructed the first officer to carry out an auto-land and inform ATC to provide a doctor on ground after landing,” it said.

June 17, 2017

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