In what can be seen as an assurance for Yogi Adityanath, a top BJP leader who visited Uttar Pradesh for a “review” exercise heaped praise on the chief minister for the handling of the coronavirus crisis and reducing the daily case count by “93 per cent within five weeks”.
“In five weeks, @myogiadityanath’s Uttar Pradesh reduced the new daily case count by 93% … Remember it’s a state with 20+ Cr population. When municipality CMs could not manage a city of 1.5Cr population, Yogiji managed quite effectively,” BL Santosh, the BJP’s national general secretary of organisation, tweeted after his return from Lucknow.
The tweet comes as an affirmation for the UP government ahead of a critical election next year in the state as well as amid rumours that the BJP top brass was planning a change of leadership at the very top, including replacing the Chief Minister or his two deputies.
Santosh and UP BJP in-charge Radha Mohan Singh attended a two-day review meeting in the state capital as criticism of the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis spiralled. Images of bodies floating in the Ganga river or buried in shallow graves beside it from many districts in UP have found their way to international publications.
What has added to Adityanath’s bag of worries is reports of the party’s MLAs and MPs airing grievances against their own government to the media. A few days ago, party MLA from Sitapur (Sadar) Rakesh Rathore said he might face sedition charges if he spoke too much as he criticised the Yogi government’s handling of the pandemic.
“Vidhayakon ki haisiyat kya hai…Hum jyada kahenge to desh droh, raj droh humpe bhi to lagega (What is the status of an MLA? If we speak too much, then we too will have to face sedition charges),” the MLA said when he was asked why the trauma centre project in Sitapur district was still non-operational.
The Allahabad High Court while hearing a PIL over the coronavirus spread and the condition of quarantine centres in UP, said, “The entire medical system in villages and small cities of Uttar Pradesh is at God’s mercy (“Ram bharose”). A High Court Bench of Justices Siddharth Verma and Ajit Kumar made the observation while taking into account the death of Santosh Kumar (64), who was admitted to an isolation ward at a Meerut hospital. The doctors there failed to identify him and disposed of the body as unidentified, according to a probe report.