NEW DELHI: Rebutting the opposition’s allegation that the government ignored the risk of a second surge of infections, BJP on Thursday circulated details of the times when the Modi government alerted states about the imminence of a second wave, when it issued advisories and took other measures.
The party said PM Narendra Modi, in his interactions with chief ministers, repeatedly raised the issue of rising infections in certain parts and asked them to take measures to handle the surge.
The party also circulated a video of Modi’s meetings with CMs on March 17 where he had sounded an alert about a fresh spike in infections after they had plateaued and asked them to take urgent steps before it was too late.
“We are confident about our Covid management but our confidence should not become overconfidence,” Modi had said and urged states to become proactive in order to contain the spread of the virus and insisted on micro containment zones.
In fact, from September 2020 to April this year, the PM held six interactions with chief ministers, starting from September 23 last year to the latest one on April 23.
BJP said even in September last year, the PM had asked chief ministers to focus on 60 districts with a high burden of cases and increase testing substantially. During the same meeting, the PM had informed chief ministers that the limit of using the state disaster response fund for Covid-specific infrastructure had been increased from 35% to 50%.
“Moreover, the PM’s interaction with CMs on March 17 took place when India had only 30,000 new cases per day,” the party said and circulated a ‘Narrative vs Truth’ chart, which was shared by its senior leaders and supporters.
The party alleged that opposition CMs like Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal) and Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) skipped these interactions as they were busy with assembly polls. Baghel had a long stay in Assam as a key campaigner for Congress.
It also said the Centre had dispatched teams to various parts as soon as states like Maharashtra and Kerala started showing a steady increase in people testing positive.
BJP took on Congress for the latter’s criticism of the vaccination policy, saying the opposition party’s functionaries like Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari, spokesperson Randeep Surjewala and health ministers of Congress-ruled states, such as T S Singh Deo (Chhattisgarh) and Bana Gupta (Jharkhand), sought to promote vaccine resistance by raising questions about the efficacy of “made-in India” Covaxin.
“India is in the midst of a pandemic. Its scientists raced against time to produce a vaccine. They were reviewed at different levels before being given emergency use approval so that lives could be saved. But the opposition, Congress in particular, mocked it. Result: people died,” BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya tweeted, sharing videos of Congress leaders’ reservations about use of Covaxin.
Referring to claims that India had the highest number of cases in the word, the party said, “India has more people than Europe and North America put together. So, in absolute numbers, India will obviously be higher. But in terms of cases and deaths per million population, India stands at 110th in the world so far.”