Written By: Madhuri Danthala
With the BJP’s incompetence coming to the fore once again in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, people are increasingly becoming anxious about their future. The heart wrenching scenes of poor people stranded in cities, who are unable to get home, pricks one’s conscience. In the name of public health and safety, the poor who have nowhere to go are left to fend for themselves. The many instances of brutal assault by the police are an indelible blemish on our collective conscience.
It is immoral that the BJP did not give it a thought before the PM announced the national lockdown on TV at 8PM, which has become his wont—to announce ill thought plans such as the lockdown and the demonetization at 8PM to an unsuspecting citizenry. The plans are devoid of any preparation as is revealed by the chaos that follows. There is no remedial action and a pliant media refuses to hold the PM accountable.
It isn’t that the BJP is implementing the lockdown in letter and spirit. As their newest bedfellow, the Janasena chief Pawan Kalyan tweeted, a BJP functionary went to the High Court to ensure that the thousands of Andhra people stranded in Telangana can return to their homes. If people are being allowed to travel together, it beats the very purpose of the lockdown. The government surely wasn’t oblivious of the nature and magnitude of transmigration in India. As tragic as it may be, it is essential to restrict people from moving around. This situation is purely because the government did not wake up on time. Even now, rather than beating up people who are traveling, the government should provide for them so that they don’t have a reason to migrate. Where will all these people go and who will care for them?
Meanwhile, there have been several articles about how some states have been swift and are constantly coming up with novel and effective ideas to address the problems the lockdown brings. The approach of several states, particularly Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra amongst others have been lauded. Interestingly none of these states are ruled by the BJP. Meanwhile, in the PM’s own constituency there are reports of daily wage laborers allegedly eating grass after losing their livelihoods amidst the lockdown. Rather than announcing relief measures, the Yogi administration served a legal notice to the journalist who broke the story. The district administration declared that the grass is fit for human consumption!
The BJP feels threatened by the truth. They fear facing the realities of people. That’s perhaps why they live in denial and cover each lie with a bigger lie. And when they are exposed, they resort to harassment of whistle blowers or scribes. Instead, if they reach out to the opposition and seek their counsel, several crises can be mitigated. In Congress ruled states like Rajasthan, the CMs have called for an all-party meeting to take a united stand against such crises. And in states like Kerala, where the Congress is in opposition, they are cooperating with the government. Such display of unity inspires confidence in people in difficult times. It is surprising that despite the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic, the PM has not called for a meeting with all CMs and taken the states into confidence before announcing drastic decisions. Perhaps India is the only country where neither the Health Minister nor the Home Minister has addressed the country and guided the administration to cope with the pandemic.
For all its talk of providing efficient administration, the BJP has time and again displayed criminal incompetence. Tragically, it still believes the lies it tells itself. That’s why they go on a PR overdrive, while their minions—the regional partners like Janasena—scaffold their image building. Unfortunately, none of this can fight diseases; none of this can create jobs or curtail a crumbling economy.