Hot News

Politics Over Pandemics

Politics Over Pandemics

In view of the coronavirus pandemic; indisputably, India’s lockdown has been harshest in the world. But has it really achieved anything! Thought of as the best way to contain the spread of the dreaded disease, it has however been the abject failure of the government to control and regulate the entire process which many feel will spell doom for the nation in the days to come.

Right from its inception, the Modi-sarkar has never let an opportunity pass it by to tom-tom its own achievements – even if they have come on the back of catastrophes!

Indians would never be willing to go into lockdown again. What did sound as an ‘austerity’ measure to check the rampaging virus has virtually turned into a tamasha of sorts with the Centre and the states at loggerheads over the implementation of the MHA advisories issued as the lockdown progressed phase-wise.

Quite contrary to the claims, the model of aggression adopted by the Centre that would impede the progress of the raging microbe failed to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and India has raced from nowhere to break into the global top-five recording a daily increase in the coronavirus cases.

If on one hand the lack of public willingness and cooperation is to be blamed for the rising cases of COVID-19, immature management and ridiculous handling of the ‘infectious’ situation by the authorities on the other hand put paid to all the good work done  - if at all there was any!

While the plight of the migrant workers needed to handled very sensitively; there is absolutely no doubt that the haste shown in recommencing train services by the state governments to bring in the stranded residents has been the biggest contributory factor in the recent spikes in the disease observed.

In recent times, politics in India just seems to revolve around the rise of the BJP and the hurtling of the Congress into the abysmal depths of ignominy. The Saffron brigade though has preferred to keep it that way, and very gracefully at that! 

Ever since it came to power at the centre, it has been a virtual mud-slinging match between the BJP and the Congress with the former invariably getting the better of the later with a passion that has surprised many. Apparently for those who believe in giving both the parties a fair due, migration has not been synonymous with the BJP’s ascent to power. It started much earlier during the prolonged Congress rule in the country.

In fact, the Congress party stands accused of furthering its cause while depriving states like UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bengal of the necessary infrastructure essential for the progress and development of these regions all through the decades when in power.

Stories about the plunder of the rich mineral resources unique to these regions further gave an entirely new dimension to the politics being enacted in these states. The ‘migratory adventures’ of residents from these regions was the consequence of their neglect by the Congress government then.

In recent times, blaming the Centre for its skewed policies, state governments without exception have been unsympathetic to the plight of the migrants. But the sanctimonious shows put up by the Modi-dispensation on the face of such calamitous situations never seem to end.

In fact it would be wrong to aver that politics has become much irrelevant to the pathetic course of events unfolding these days. But making issues out of innocuous matters and playing politics over them without making any definite plans to overcome the problems at hand has plagued the present political set-up in the country.

Emerging reports of the Shramik trains pressed into service by the Indian railways to ferry home stranded labourers from different parts of the country proving to be nothing less than protracted hours of nightmare on rails have been quite disheartening.

With filthy toilets, bogies without water and with no meals being provided to the passengers in the long-distance trains, it does appear that the railways is only limiting its role to ‘transporting’ (no marks for guessing what I am alluding to) the migrants!

Quite obviously, “railways’ monumental mess-ups are another sign of Centre’s tragic mishandling of the migrant crisis”.

A complete disorientation at the top level of governance in the country has led to this miserable situation. Unfortunately, a total lack of coordination between the central and state governments on various matters pertaining to the containment, control and regulation of the disease has been the turning-point in this sordid saga brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic.

How much of truth can one ascribe to the contention that Modi-sarkar’s national lockdown and the strategies employed to check the spread of the disease dramatically slackened the rate of transmission!

Was the government hiding behind a façade of lies when it claimed that the country would be free of any fresh cases of infection by May 16! It is no secret that the nation’s lockdown was accompanied by little planning and foresight, and the consequences would be strikingly clear once the restrictions are completely relaxed.

Vis-à-vis the lockdown; it is politics once again which is driving the BJP-government to claim success for the containment measures enforced during the lockdown period while there is yet no evidence that these steps have effectively stonewalled any further risks. The government’s inaptness in addressing various situations arising out of the harsh strictures imposed whilst combating the menace of the coronavirus has placed it in a very precarious position.

The Opposition, meanwhile, has been grossly guilty of criticizing any and every measure adopted to impede the progress of COVID-19 without bothering to understand its effectiveness. In this war with the monstrous virus it is apparent that the nation seriously lacks the wherewithal to withstand its effects. Yet our leaders do not seem to get over their fondness for political theatrics!

(Published on 8th June 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 24)