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The covid disaster of Maharashtra, and why is no one talking about it?

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Kishan Dev
Kishan Dev
Provocative Trash-talker. University of Delhi.

Many a times I’ve been fooled by Maharashtra government’s deceptive, and deceitful self-promotion advertisements on Twitter, and promotional, thanks-giving tweets from the Bollywood that I no longer see the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal as the most efficient propagandist chief minister of India. This realization came when I saw and read the news about the huge mismanagement, and brazen shamelessness of the Uddhav government in Maharashtra, whether it was the backlog deaths due to COVID in the state last year or the latest backlog deaths being added to the state records for face saving, this year, it is always magnificent how the Maharashtra government still manages to promote their mismanagement through thanks-giving tweets from Bollywood celebrities as the best handling of the pandemic in whole India, while people stare at the statistics that more than 1,00,000 people have died of covid in Maharashtra alone, out of 3,60,000+ deaths in whole of India.

When India was fighting the second wave, Maharashtra was still struggling to contain the first wave. Amravati district of Maharashtra had an upward trend of positive cases in February and March itself, but the government totally ignored the red flags. Times of India had reported earlier this month that the Maharashtra government has so far added a total of 11,617 additional backlog Covid-19 deaths to the list since the exercise of reconciliation started some three weeks ago in the state. This is a whopping addition to the already destroyed healthcare system of the state, as the figure is much higher than the total deaths recorded in the state in last three weeks alone, which is 10,645. Now, the total death count in the state has reached a whopping 1,06,748.

On top of that, the government of Maharashtra is thumping their chests for doing tremendous work in vaccinating the people of state, while blaming the vaccine insufficiency, and vaccine hesitancy on the central government earlier when the central government had delegated the work of vaccine procurement and distribution to the states. This zealous attitude came to the fore when the state was witnessing the absolute worst of the pandemic, and it looked like a carnage in April, that time too, instead of accepting their mistakes, the government of Maharashtra blamed the shortage of oxygen on the central government, while themselves spending 3,000 crore rupees on the renovation of BMC (Mumbai’s municipal corporation) corporators’ flats before the local municipal corporation elections in the capital city, Mumbai.

The truth is, the government of Maharashtra was avenging the central government through political vendetta, they were playing a cat-and-mouse game, when thousands were dying in the state, because of lack of oxygen, and medicines. Even then, the government was busy sending letters to Twitter to take down cartoons, and videos which were critical of the government of Maharashtra and which mocked the handling of the pandemic by the government. In June, this year, the party came under fire from the opposition for floating a decision to spend nearly 5.98 crore rupees to boost the image of state’s deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, but cancelled it later. After some days of the incident, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was questioned by the BJP on the annual expenditure of 2 crore rupees by the municipal corporation for handling 34 social media accounts of the BMC on Twitter. Yes, the government of Maharashtra was spending crores when people were dying in the state because of lack of oxygen, medical beds, and medicines.

Meanwhile, in April, the state government through state police, arrested Psychologist Dr Swapna Patker, who had filed a stalking and harassment case against the ruling government’s MP in Rajya Sabha, Sanjay Raut, in the Bombay high court. The police arrested Patker without any written court order, or even any arrest warrant. Patker had alleged that Sanjay Raut had threatened her, tortured her, and harassed her to come back and resume work with Shiv Sena’s propaganda mouthpiece publication Sammna. Dr. Swapna Patker accuses that Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had harassed her for nearly 8 years when she left the publication, she accuses him of torture, vulgar video calls, character assassination and abuse. All these acts against political dissenters, and ex-party workers shows the government is terrified of criticism, and fascist behaviour is the only path they can walk on.

Maharashtra is a huge state, with a huge population, the government has failed all of them when they weren’t able to find a hospital bed, or an oxygen cylinder, or medicines, or vaccines. The government failed them back-to-back when the state had time to set up medical facilities after the first wave, they refused to do so because the warning of a disastrous second wave came from the central government, in February 2021. Anybody who has read the local news papers of Maharashtra during the onslaught of the pandemic, or even visited the state, knows that the health infrastructure in the rural areas is dilapidated, and not sufficient for the population, the deaths of thousands of people, failure of the hospital infrastructure, and the sheer statistics of covid cases tells us a grim reality of rural India, specifically states like U.P., Bihar, and Maharashtra where the metropolis is the only region where the health infrastructure is somewhat feasible.

We shouldn’t let the government of Maharashtra go free, when dozens died in Palghar district because of fire eruption in the covid intensive care unit, and negligence of the authorities, we shouldn’t forget the other 2 incidents of fire in covid wards in Mumbai and Thane. An exclusive report from India Today says: “Between January 20 and April 28, as many as 40 people have died in four of Maharashtra’s hospitals as a result of fires. In each case, the cause was found to be a short-circuit that led to a blaze engulfing a ward or section of the hospital.” Why shouldn’t the state government be held responsible for these grave tragedies? And why shouldn’t the central government prosecute the state of Maharashtra?

In early June, CM Uddhav met PM Modi in New Delhi for discussing state related issues, but nowhere he gave any assessment about the mismanagement of the pandemic in Maharashtra, nor any mainstream media asked some questions to the CM about the tragedy which unfolded in the state, meanwhile Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut praised PM Modi for being the top leader of India and the BJP. It’s time the central government ask the shenanigans of Maharashtra government to hand over the pandemic mismanagement report to them, so that the truth comes out in the open to see for everyone.

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Kishan Dev
Kishan Dev
Provocative Trash-talker. University of Delhi.
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