Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday (April 20) for not doing enough COVID-19 testing nor improving the inadequate medical infrastructure, after the state recorded more than 20,000 cases over the past few days.
Uttar Pradesh, which is one of the worst-affected states in this virulent second wave of the pandemic, clocked in 29,754 new cases on Tuesday, while its death toll has breached the 10,000 mark after the state reported 162 deaths. According to a BBC report, though the government claims the situation is under control, there are “disturbing images of overcrowded testing centres, hospitals turning away patients and funeral pyres burning round the clock at cremation grounds in the state capital, Lucknow, and other major cities such as Varanasi, Kanpur and Allahabad have made national headlines.”
In the backdrop to this situation, Priyanka Gandhi highlighted the need for the UP to ramp up testing, which had been recommended to the state after their own sero-survey showed that “five crore people had come into contact with COVID-19”, reported Hindustan Times. However, the government started 70 per cent antigen testing, which meant that only 30 per cent of those tests were RT-PCR, she said.
“What is more important? People’s lives or your numbers or the image of your government? Were the antigen tests done to lower the numbers?” Priyanka Gandhi asked, adding that private labs had been directed to stop the testing.
The Congress leader in-charge of UP went on to lambast Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well for continuing to hold public rallies in poll-bound states. According to her, “they” are busy campaigning even today. “At rallies they are seen laughing from stages while people are reduced to tears seeking oxygen, beds, medicines and you are holding huge rallies and laughing,” said the Congress general secretary.
Prime Minister Modi will hold rallies in Murshidabad, South Kolkata, Siuri and Malda on April 23.
Priyanka Gandhi next targeted the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for his negative response to former Prime Minister Manmohan’s letter to PM Modi offering suggestions and strategies to combat the coronavirus crisis in the country. Singh, who tested positive for COVID, advised the PM to vaccinate more people against COVID-19 and not to consider absolute numbers as a standard to evaluate the vaccination programme.
But Harsh Vardhan had hit back at Singh mocking his advice and instead turned on Congress leaders for creating doubts about the vaccines in people’s minds.
Criticising Vardhan, Priyanka Gandhi said that when a dignified person like Manmohan Singh was suggesting measures when our nation is facing pandemic, “then suggestions should be taken up with the same dignity with which they were offered”.