Shiv Sena blames Centre, Election Commission for second wave of COVID-19 in India
Mumbai: Holding the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) responsible for the second wave of coronavirus in India, the Shiv Sena on Saturday said that the virus spread across the country more rapidly from those states, where polls were either held recently or are still underway.
Had the Centre reduced its "dose of politics" and focused on tackling the pandemic, the situation would been under control, it said.
"China might have been responsible for the outbreak of the pandemic in India, but for the second wave of coronavirus, the Election Commission and the Centre are responsible. The virus spread at 500 times more speed to the rest of the country from the states where polls were either held recently or are still underway," the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"For the sake of elections and their political interests, the rulers in Delhi created a wave of pandemic. There is a shortage of oxygen, Remdesivir medicine, hospital beds and ventilators in the country at present. Crematoriums are overflowing. But the central government is busy in electioneering in West Bengal. Had the Centre reduced its dose of politics and instead focused on the war against coronavirus, then the situation would have been under control," it said.
From West Bengal, BJP workers are going back to their homes in different parts of the country with COVID-19, the Sena said.
In the last 24 hours, there were over two lakh new cases in the country, but election rallies and religious gatherings like kumbh mela are showing no signs of stopping, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said.
Lakhs of devotees congregated at Haridwar for the kumbh mela and the virus spread. If PM Narendra Modi is not willing to stop his election rallies in West Bengal, how can the saints in Haridwar be blamed? it added.
Accusing the Centre of not taking the coronavirus crisis seriously, the Sena said, "When Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was saying that vaccines from foreign companies should be brought to India, he was accused of lobbying for them. Now when the situation is going out of control, the Centre has permitted Russia's COVID-19 vaccine 'Sputnik V' in India." The Centre should keep aside ego and the political profit-loss calculations and talk to all with an open mind, the ruling party in Maharashtra said.
The Sena also hit out at Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who had recently blamed Maharashtra for its handling of the coronavirus situation. "He has nothing to speak over the pandemic situation in BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh," it said.
Meanwhile, a war of words broke out between Union Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya and NCP leader Nawab Malik on Saturday on the availability of antiviral drug remdesivir, which is used in the treatment of COVID-19.
Malik, in a series of tweets, alleged that the central government is not giving permission to various export oriented units (EoUs) in the country to sell the drug in the domestic market.
The allegations were strongly refuted by Minster of State of Chemicals and Fertilisers Mandaviya who said the government is making every effort to double the production of the drug in the country.
"Tweets by @nawabmalikncp are shocking. It is full of half truths and lies and the threats issued are unacceptable.He is unaware of the ground situation. GoI has been in active contact with officers of GoM and is assisting with supply of Remdesivir in every manner," he tweeted.
He further said the government is in the process of doubling the remdesivir production in the country and has given express permission to more 20 plants since April 4 this year.
"Ensuring adequate supply of Remdesivir to the people of Maharashtra remains our priority," he said on Twitter.
In another tweet, Mandaviya said:"As per the Government's record, there is only one unit of EoU and one in SEZ. We have reached out to all the Manufacturers of Remdesivir. No such consignment is stuck. I request you (Malik) to share the list of these 16 companies, availability of stock and WHO-GMP with them."
The central government is committed to doing everything to help the people, he added.
Earlier Malik, a minister in the Maharashtra government, alleged that there were 16 EoUs in the country that have 20 lakh vials of remdesivir available with them.