New Delhi: The latest editorial of CPI(M) mouthpiece People's Democracy has blamed the Narendra Modi government's "disastrous" handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to its "Hindutva outlook" and inability to rely on science.
The editorial questioned the government on why it failed to comply with the three-member bench of the Supreme Court which had asked it to reconsider the existing vaccination policy and suggested that it decide on the allocation of vaccines to states and the delivery schedule, instead of leaving it to them to negotiate with the two vaccine manufacturing companies.
"Faced with the fiasco of the vaccine rollout and the rate of vaccination falling to the extent of 60 per cent in the states in the last fortnight, any sensible government would have seized the opportunity provided by the Supreme Court intervention to rework its vaccination programme. But this is not a sensible government – it is a regime blinkered by its neo-liberal and Hindutva nostrums," the editorial said.
It said the party hopes that the apex court will muster the will to direct the government to change its policy based on the citizens’ right to life provided for under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
"The other reason for the government’s disastrous handling of the Covid wave is its inability to rely on science stemming from its Hindutva outlook. For what else can explain the conduct of Union Health Minister and Minister of Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan?" the editorial said.
It alleged that as COVID-19 cases surged in mid-April, the minister held a meeting of officers of various departments, regarding the research programme on indigenous cows.
"Absurdly titled as Scientific Utilisation Through Research Augmentation Prime Products from Indigenous Cows (SUPRA-PIC), it is reported that various projects are being undertaken such as thescientific validation of panchgavya (a concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee). A sum of Rs 100 crores have been allotted for different projects," it said.
"The minister was unhappy about the delay in taking up these projects and said that the pandemic cannot be an excuse for the slow progress of the mission. This at a time when people were dying because of a shortage of oxygen," the editorial said.
"If only the minister had spent as much time last year to ensure that oxygen plants in 150 district hospitals were set up and that too at the cost of only Rs 200 crore," it added.
It also questioned the priorities of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who ordered the setting up of “helpdesks” for the protection of cows in every district amidst the corona crisis.
These cow shelters will be equipped with oximeters and thermal scanners for the staff employed there.
"This at a time when thousands are dying of Covid, in villages all over the state, with no medical care or help. The denouement in this inhuman Hindutva drama are the macabre and distressing scenes of hundreds of bodies of Covid victims floating down the Ganga from various parts of Uttar Pradesh," the editorial said.
"This government will not learn nor correct its ways. That is the tragedy for the people and the country," it said.