May 11, 2021

A Megalomaniac and his kingdom

By Shakir Alam Mazumder

“It can be said with the pride, India defeated Covid-19 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party hails its leadership for introducing India to the World as a proud and victorious nation in the fight against Covid-19.” These are the words of ruling party BJP in February 2021 before the second wave of Covid-19 hit the country making it the second worst affected country after USA.

If Modi took the credits to handle the first wave of coronavirus, shouldn’t he and his government be blamed for what we are facing today? Trails of pyres, people dying outside hospitals, family members desperately searching for oxygen cylinders for their loved ones, patients dying after the shortage of oxygen supply. This is the situation of India which is among one of the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers. India has also exported millions of vaccine doses before even vaccinating its own people. The country is facing shortage of vaccine doses in its third phase of vaccination of the age group 18 to 44 years. Has the government miscalculated the demand?  Whereas it’s neighboring country Bhutan has vaccinated majority of its population. Its Prime Minister has self-isolated himself for 21 days following an official trip to Bangladesh.

The first case of covid-19 was detected in January 2020 but instead of ramping up healthcare facilities, Modi preferred to gather lakhs of people in Donald Trump’s visit to India in February last year. In this trying time, when migrant workers are forced to leave, centre  has decided to build a new Parliament House, a new residence for the PM and office for the Vice President and a Central Secretariat housing all the ministries. The project will cost around Rs 20,000 crore. The existing Parliament House which is not even a century old and is in a good condition will be turned into a museum. On the other hand, in the same state, parking lots and parks are used to cremate dead bodies after the surge of Covid-19 cases.  What should be the country’s priorities today? The capital state is gasping for medical oxygen on the other hand; a huge amount of public money is being spent on building lavish houses for politicians. These politicians even during this pandemic were doing election rallies and public meetings with large gatherings risking so many lives. While the other countries have cancelled major events such as the Tokyo Olympics, India allowed the country’s biggest religious gatherings, the Maha Kumbh where lakhs of devotees took part in. Even the Prime Minister himself boasted the large gatherings in his election rallies. In fact, in one of his rallies in West Bengal, he expressed his gratitude saying that he had never seen such huge crowds in the rally. In mid-March, the cricket board allowed 130,000 fans, to watch two international game in a stadium renamed after PM Narendra Modi. Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh recently claimed that there is no shortage of medical oxygen in the state and that action will be taken against hospitals for spreading rumors. This claim comes at a time when hospitals are turning away patients because of lack of oxygen supply.  The national vice-president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA)Dr. Navjot Dahiya had called Narendra Modi as ‘super spreader’ of Covid-19 and blamed for the second wave of Covid-19. Australia has banned its residents and citizens who have been in India within 14 days of the date they plan to return home from entering Australia. Majority of Indians see Modi as a messiah who is here to take away all their miseries.

The slogan “Modi hai toh munkin hai” (“If Modi is there, anything is possible”) still resonates with them. This is why when Modi asked people to light diyas and bang thalis, they were convinced that Modi could deal with the virus keeping them safe.In democracies, governments are hold accountable when actions go wrong but here this government is setting different precedent by censoring criticism which questions their governance. Facebook and Twitter has taken  down thousands of posts showing the mismanagement of situation after the Centre  said that it maligns India’s Covid handling situation.India is reporting over four lakhs daily cases and it is high time for the government to act and take serious actions instead of being in a denial mode that India is doing far better than other countries in handling the pandemic.

Photo credit : Kashmir Walla

Also read : Earthquake Trauma: Thought about jail inmates?

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