RSS miffed over Centre’s COVID-19 failures

A man wearing personal protective equipment stands next to a burning funeral pyre of a relative, who died from the coronavirus disease. REUTERS/Adnan Abid

New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is miffed over the Central government’s inept handling of the COVID-19 situation, though a second wave was unexpected.

The right-wing organization felt the team handling the pandemic in the Prime Minister’s Office should be replaced. It also suspected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not being provided adequate information, preventing him from initiating appropriate action to control the infectious spread.

The government failed in preparing various departments to battle the pandemic. The failure has led to mounting anger among the public, the RSS felt. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, the other day, had demanded handing over of the anti-pandemic coordination activities to efficient persons like Nitin Gadkari.

There has been a popular public feeling that concrete measures were needed to contain the surge, and that the Prime Minister holding discussions with chief ministers alone won’t return the desired results. Several BJP leaders, too, admitted to such a feeling among the masses.

Hemant Soren, the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, recently alleged that the Prime Minister’s teleconference was merely ‘Mann Ki Baat’, a one-way communication programme in which Modi addresses the nation over government-controlled media channels.

Lancet slams Modi government

International general medical journal The Lancet, in an editorial, termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s actions “inexcusable” and criticized India for squandering its early successes in controlling COVID-19.

Quoting the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates, the journal said India would report 10 lakh deaths from COVID-19 by August 1, and if it were to come true, “Modi's Government would be responsible for presiding over a self-inflicted national catastrophe.”

The editorial also said the Central government seemed keener on stifling criticism on Twitter than trying to control the pandemic. It also blamed the government for allowing super-spreader religious and political events.

The journal urged India to restructure its response while the crisis rages. “The success of that effort will depend on the government owning up to its mistakes, providing responsible leadership and transparency, and implementing a public health response that has science at its heart,” the editorial said.

The editorial also criticized Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s declaration that India was in the endgame of the epidemic.

The government ignored the warning of a second wave and the emergence of new strains but believed that India had defeated COVID-19 after several months of low case counts.

The false impression, the journal said, led to complacency in India’s vaccination programme.

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