Arvind Kejriwal has been under tremendous pressure for failing to effectively handle the COVID-19 pandemic yet, the BJP failed to attack him with gusto thanks to the worsening situation in Gujarat.
Vijay Nehra was shunted out of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation because he allegedly failed to control the situation. But it has only gone downhill since the change of guards. Even after the visit of AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria and his guidance on how to bring down the death rate, the state could not do much.
In fact, the death rate due to COVID-19 in Gujarat has been the highest for sometime now, despite all efforts. The state had 23,590 cases and 1,478 deaths at the time of writing this article. This means the death rate in the state is 6.26%. In Ahmedabad, the total number of cases as on 14th June was 16,640 with 1,197 deaths. The city thus had a 7.19% death rate.
Surprisingly, when Nehra was shunted out, the death rate for the city was around 6.75% and it has only gone up since then. This has caused huge embarrassment for the state government and it has become difficult for the Centre to defend the actions of Gujarat government in the Supreme Court. All the political parties have been blaming the high death rate on Gujarat’s handling of the situation.
In fact, the death rate in Gujarat is higher than that of the US and Brazil, the two countries which have the highest number of cases and deaths across the world. This has put the Gujarat government in difficulty. Gujarat’s political leadership is thus in a tight spot and under stress to explain this situation to the Centre. But the worst part is that despite all efforts, the death rate is far beyond control and rumblings are being heard in the bureaucracy again.
(The author is a senior journalist with over two decades of experience covering Gandhinagar, bureaucracy and politics in Gujarat.)