Bhopal: Launching a sharp attack on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath alleged that the Centre delayed the lockdown in the country as they wanted time to topple his government in the state.
“It is important to understand why the situation of the country became like this. On February 12, Rahul Gandhi had warned the Central government about COVID-19. The BJP government at the Center, however, declared the lockdown on March 24, 40 days later. By then the pandemic had increased 175 times in India. It increased from 3 cases in February to 536 cases by March 24,” Kamal Nath said.
“After all, why did the Modi government wait till March 24 for the lockdown? Their only reason was that they had been working to topple the Congress government of Madhya Pradesh since February. Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as the chief minister on March 23 in MP and lockdown was declared on March 24. On March 12, the WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic, that is, a world epidemic. On March 14, the Congress government of Madhya Pradesh alerted the citizens of its state and announced the closure of schools, colleges, shopping malls. 13 more states had made such announcements. On the other hand, many states including Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Orissa had postponed their Assembly sessions,” he added.
The Congress leader further asserted that while his then government was preparing to fight COVID-19 in the state, the BJP and rebel Congress MLAs from MP were plotting his downfall.
“BJP MLAs and fugitive MLAs of Congress were celebrating at the Karnataka resort with the blessings of the BJP leaders of the Centre. It means that while the Madhya Pradesh Congress government was preparing to fight coronavirus, the BJP, both in the Center and the state was engaged in devouring power,” he said.
Kamal Nath further said that realising the threat posed by the infection, the Assembly session had been postponed after the Governor’s address on March 16, “so that we could fight against this serious epidemic. Then the BJP went to Supreme Court. Even then, the Center kept waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision.”
“Finally, after the Congress government fell, BJP formed the government and Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as the Chief Minister in Madhya Pradesh on March 23 and then they declared the nationwide lockdown from March 24. It is, therefore, clear that the Modi government risked the lives of the people of the entire country to form government in MP,” he said.
The Congress leader, however, assured that his party will stand alongside the Centre in fighting the pandemic, but raised questions regarding the ability of the incumbent state government in handling the situation in MP.
“The situation here is completely different from other states. There is only a Chief Minister in the name of democracy. There is neither a Health Minister nor a Home Minister, meaning there is no Cabinet, nor is there a local body, all are absent. Today the biggest responsibility of this fight lies with the Health Department and more than 45 officers including Principal Secretary of Health Department of my state have tested positive for COVID-19,” Kamal Nath said.
“Madhya Pradesh is the first state where two doctors have lost their lives in this battle. The city of Indore is the most affected. In Madhya Pradesh, only 55 tests are being done on 10 lakh people, which is very worrying. The epidemic has reached 20 districts of the state. The biggest concern is the farmers. Government purchase of Rabi crops was to begin on March 25, nothing is known about it yet,” he said.
The former CM said that Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should also be made mandatory for doctors who see ordinary patients so that they too can avoid infection and the rest of the patients will also be safe.
He also vouched for regular check-ups to be scheduled for some time for corona patients who have recovered and gone home.
As of Sunday evening, the total number of coronavirus cases in Madhya Pradesh stood at 564, out of which 306 have been reported from Indore alone. The toll due to the disease has been recorded at 36 so far. (ANI)