In the unprecedented Covid crisis, the Centre and Opposition-ruled states face off over critical supplies of oxygen and vaccines. Coming after a long, bitter election campaign in four states and a Union Territory, the divide has hardened. Congress president SONIA GANDHI in an interview to MANOJ C G speaks on the role of the Opposition, the management of the Covid crisis and what needs to be done. Excerpts:
Rahul is now improving. As you know, Covid is an unpredictable disease and we have to wait and watch for some more days. Of course, I am worried also about Dr Manmohan Singh, and all our other fellow citizens who are facing an unprecedented crisis on account of this pandemic affecting so many loved ones. What is happening is horrifying and I wish everyone the very best and urge everyone to remember that precaution, prevention and treatment are the keys to fighting Covid.
I feel our role is two-fold. The first is to insist upon transparency and accountability and join with the people to put pressure on the government (to) recognise that nothing is more vital now than to save lives. The abdication of leadership that we are witnessing today is shocking and culpable. It is as if our people have been abandoned by the all-round collapse of governance and relinquishment of responsibility. Therefore, our role as an Opposition to listen to people and to convey their anguish becomes all the more imperative. We have to put as much pressure as possible on the government to act even now. It is still not too late. Timely action, leadership and management of Covid can still save lakhs of lives.
The second is to use our network of workers and leaders to provide as much help, assistance and healing to those who are suffering. Our party has set up control rooms in every state. Our frontal organisations, including Youth Congress, are reaching out…we are pooling our resources to help as many people as possible (with) access to oxygen, beds and medicines…I am regularly in touch with our state governments and so are a number of our colleagues.
The Modi government’s response to the second wave of Corona has been a complete disaster, bordering on utter negligence and leaving the people to fend for themselves. The entire focus has been on the Assembly elections instead of rising to the occasion to provide leadership and management of the huge upsurge in disease. Even now, their decisions are arbitrary and partisan. Their duplicity is inexcusable.