ShankerSinh Vaghela: There is a popular theory doing the rounds that the COVID-19 epidemic is an international conspiracy. Even as we debate this theory, the surge in COVID-19 cases shows that both the Centre and the state failed to ascertain the seriousness of the threat.
A lockdown was imposed without the governments doing their homework. The loss of lives due to an epidemic coupled with the social and economic losses caused as a result of the unplanned lockdown paints a scary picture of the future. The unplanned lockdown has sent us into an economic depression. As a party, BJP believes in bending where the wind blows. To go against the tide is not in its nature. It is the babus who usually run the administration, but in times of calamities like famine, flood, earthquake, or an epidemic, the ignorance and inefficiency of the saffron party get exposed. This also results in the common man paying the price for the government’s arrogance.
Both debt and enemies are best controlled when dealt with right from the beginning. We should have taken steps to contain COVID-19 in December when WHO warned the nations about the disease. But, we continued to ignore the warning and were in a sleep-induced apathy. It seems that citizens figure last in the priority list of both the Centre and the state.
The state govt built a new SVP Hospital where the government-run VS Hospital was functioning and called it a world-class facility when inaugurated. But the staff of the same hospital had to go on a strike to demand PPE kits and masks. There is a shortage of staff and beds, and the COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the state. This is the situation in every government-run hospital in the state.
The Namaste Trump event has also contributed to the spread of the disease in Ahmedabad and what the state needs to do is take bold steps to assure the people that they can manage the situation. Also, the government’s parsimonious attitude towards testing raises a pertinent question: what is it trying to hide?
(The writer is a former chief minister of Gujarat and is in active politcs for the last 50 years. The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Gujarat Exclusive.)