Terming the death of infants in a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur as an outcome of the Uttar Pradesh government's 'gross criminal negligence', the SP and the BSP on Saturday demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident.
Both the opposition parties in the state have decided to send teams to Gorakhpur.
"As many as 60 children have died in a government hospital in Gorakhpur in the last six-seven days. This is an example of gross criminal negligence of the BJP government," Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said in a release here.
Blaming the Yogi Adityanath government for the tragedy, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav claimed that a shortage of oxygen supply in the hospital led to it.
"The company supplying oxygen had informed the principal (of Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital) that it would stop the supply if payment was not made and the government must be aware that the deaths have been caused due to a shortage of oxygen," he said.
Stating that the exact toll was not available with the opposition, Yadav said, "We have received information that as the children were dying, their families were being taken out of the hospital in a hush hush manner."
Demanding a high-level inquiry into the incident, Mayawati said all possible help should be extended to the bereaved families.
"As it is not in the nature of the BJP to accept its follies, the matter of dismissing the departmental ministers for this negligence should be left on the wisdom of the chief minister," she added.
The BSP supremo further alleged that the issues of peoples' welfare were of no importance "for the governments of the BJP".
"Issues like tiranga (tricolour), vande mataram, madarsa, anti-romeo squads –which divert the attention of the people –are of more importance to them," she said.
Mayawati added that as the incident took place at a time when the chief minister was on a visit to Gorakhpur and "taking time off his political activities and puja-paath, was doing government work", it raised "a hundred questions on the capacity and working of the BJP government".
Congress says CM, health minister should resign
The Congress on Saturday held the Uttar Pradesh government "responsible" for the death of 30 infants at a state-run hospital in Gorakhpur, and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who visited Baba Raghav Das Medical College in eastern UP, along with party colleagues, expressed deep anguish over the death, allegedly due to shortage of supply of liquid oxygen, in a span of 48 hours.
He said, "This incident took place due to the laxity on the part of the state government. We hold the state government responsible for it. The health minister and the health secretary must immediately tender resignation. The doctors should not be blamed for this."
Earlier, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the CM and the health minister should resign taking "moral responsibility" for the deaths.
"There are clearly two dimensions to it, that of criminal culpability of all those who are responsible –the hospital administration, the oxygen supplier and the district administration which is supposed to exercise superintendence over the hospital, and the other is the moral responsibility of the CM," Tiwari said. "While all those responsible must be charged with criminal culpability accounting to murder,...there is a moral dimension which the UP chief minister and his health minister must take responsibility for and resign," he said.
Taking a swipe at the UP health minister, Tiwari tweeted, "UP Health Minister only seeks votes in Lal Bahadur Shastri ji's name -he doesn't follow Shastri ji's high morals in politics... Shastri ji resigned taking moral responsibility for railway accident, @sidharthnsingh holds on to power even after death of infants(sic)."