Modi government focussed on imagery, brand-building: Rahul Gandhi slams Centre
New Delhi, May 01: As India logged a world record of over four lakh coronavirus infections on Saturday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the entire world is shaken by what is happening and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "dropping the ball and throwing it to states" after prematurely taking credit for having "won against COVID-19" when the second wave was already underway.
"Rely on yourself is the motto. No one will come to help you. Definitely, not the prime minister," Gandhi said, while alleging that the COVID-19 situation has gone completely out of control for the Modi government, and wondered whether it was their way of making the states and the citizens truly 'Aatmanirbhar'.
In an interview with a news agency, the former Congress chief alleged that the government completely failed to understand or to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, right from the very beginning, despite repeated warnings including from scientists.
Training his guns on the prime minister and Home Minister Amit Shah, Gandhi said India must be the only country in the world facing this massive pandemic without the guidance of an expert and empowered group that is charged with fighting the virus and protecting the people, with planning ahead, anticipating needs and taking the decisions that will result in swift action to save lives.
"They continuously ignored rising cases and were busy instead with election campaigns. They encouraged super-spreader events. They even bragged about them. Our Prime Minister and Home Minister were not even wearing masks in public over the past few months. What sort of a message is that sending to citizens?" Gandhi said.
He was referring to election rallies that were recently held for five assemblies for West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Leaders of all major parties including BJP and Congress participated in rallies, but decided to curtail the size of meetings and even cancelled some towards the end of the campaign for West Bengal when cases began rising more sharply.
Gandhi, who was among the first to cancel his rallies and had also urged other political leaders to do so, noted that the second COVID-19 wave is a tsunami that has brought absolute devastation and has destroyed everything in its way. The former Congress chief termed the story of vaccine pricing in the country as one of "discount sales" and a "complete eyewash" alleging that the vaccine makers first marked up the prices and then reduced that while making a show of the entire exercise.