Shortly after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s searing criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre’s handling of the Covid second wave, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday mocked him as a “gyani baba (wise monk)” who is “dishing out pearls of wisdom” to others while not introspecting why states ruled by his own party fared poorly.
Smriti Irani alleged that the second wave began in “Congress-ruled states” and a state governed by the party reported the highest fatality rate. She, however, did not name any state. In a series of tweets, the BJP leader listed how Congress-ruled states fared on several parameters to curb the pandemic.
She also accused the Congress of a “U-turn” on its demand of vaccine decentralisation and creating “noise” that, she added, led to hesitancy among people. She claimed that Congress-ruled states “did the worst” in terms of vaccination, even as India created a record by vaccinating more than 86 lakh people on Monday. The new vaccination strategy, led by the Centre, came into effect on Monday.
State with the highest case fatality rate – Congress ruled state
States with maximum noise against vaccines creating vaccine hesitancy – Congress ruled states
States which had an astronomical positivity rate during the second wave – Congress ruled states
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) June 22, 2021
Mr Gandhi this morning released a Congress White Paper that he said was a “blueprint” on how the authorities should respond to the possible third wave. He also targeted PM Modi, saying his focus was on Bengal at a time Covid cases were spiraling.
“90 per cent of people who died (in the second wave) could have been saved. The biggest reason (they died) was lack of oxygen. The PM’s tears can’t wipe families’ tears… his tears can’t save them, oxygen can. But he didn’t take it seriously as his focus was on Bengal (election),” the Congress MP said.
He also questioned the government’s inability to compensate families for losing their primary earner to COVID-19, pointing out that the Centre is “making Rs. 4 lakh crore from petrol and diesel (price hikes)”.
Apart from Ms Irani, several other BJP leaders seized on Mr Gandhi’s comments and lashed out at him.
The BJP’s Karnataka unit posted on Twitter: “The Virus is not as intelligent and transforming as @RahulGandhi!”
— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) June 22, 2021
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said it was “unfortunate” that Mr Gandhi made these remarks a day after India achieved a record 80 lakh vaccinations in a day.
“How long will you conduct virtual press conferences? Try going to the ground in Congress-ruled states and assess the Covid situation there,” Mr Patra sneered.
“Rahul Gandhi’s name is confusion. He has become Confucius Gandhi,” the BJP leader sniped.