Amid a severe shortage of the critical drug Remdesivir in Maharashtra, an ugly political row has broken out over former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s alleged role in the seizure of thousands of vials of the critical drug Remdesivir, which were to be flown out of Mumbai to a foreign country despite an export ban on the drug.
After a video of Fadnavis arguing with Mumbai police officials for grilling a pharma company director went viral, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra lambasted former chief minister for hoarding a drug that many people were scrambling to procure to save their lives. She said that he was perpetuating a “crime against humanity” by this act.
“At a time when people from every corner of the country are requesting for being provided with Remdesivir, and many are struggling to procure a bottle of Remdesivir to save their lives, a BJP leader, who was in a responsible position, hoarding the drug is a crime against humanity,” Vadra had tweeted in Hindi.
According to a report in The Hindu, the Mumbai police had received a tip-off that a big stock of Remdesivir was being flown out of the country as air cargo. While the police was questioning the pharma firm director who was flying out the cargo, state Opposition leader, Fadnavis and another state BJP leader Pravin Darekar had rushed to the police station. They objected to the director being questioned and claimed that the state government was playing “politics” over the issue.
Fadnavis claimed that he has not done anything wrong and was ready for an inquiry claiming that the director was being picked up because the BJP had managed to get Remdesivir stocks for the state. However, an activist Saket Gokhale evinced surprise at how a private individual like Fadnavis had managed to get his hands on Remdesivir, when only the government was allowed to buy it.
Meanwhile, a Shiv Sena MLA, Sanjay Gaikwad told reporters on Saturday (April 17) that instead of supporting the Maharashtra state ministers during a pandemic, Fadnavis and BJP leaders were just waiting for this government to fail. He questioned what Fadnavis would have done if he was the Chief Minister in this situation.
He alleged that Fadnavis and BJP leader Pravin Darekar and Chandrakant Patil were playing “petty politics” over the distribution of Remdesivir injections when people were dying of COVID-19. Therefore, he added that if he had found the coronavirus he “would stuff it into the mouth of Devendra Fadnavis”, said media reports.
According to him, the Centre had asked the Remdesivir manufacturing companies not to supply the drug to the state and neither were they providing medical oxygen to Maharashtra. Instead these companies were supplying 50,000 vials of the drug to Gujarat free of cost from a BJP office in Maharashtra, where people were dying because of the shortage of this drug. He alleged that Fadnavis and the Centre were stooping so low and playing petty politics.
Angered by his Gaikwad’s remarks, BJP workers had burnt the effigies of the MLA from Buldhana on Sunday.