Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is known for his political acumen as a master electoral strategist, has now also proved his mettle as a capable administrator. The case in point being Delhi. But what about Bihar? The COVID-19 situation in the state is also worsening by the day, but there are no palpable signs of intervention.
Delhi was fast emerging as the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak in the country last month. With rising cases, it was as if the Kejriwal-led Delhi government had given up the hope of rescuing the National Capital.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had even gone on to say, “In SDMA’s meeting today it was discussed that in Delhi by June 15, there will 44,000 cases and 6,600 beds will be needed. By June 30, there will be one lakh cases and 15,000 beds will be needed. By July 15, there will be around 2.25 lakh cases and 33,000 beds will be needed. By July 31, there will be 5.5 lakh cases in Delhi and around 80,000 beds will be needed.”
There was a panic situation in Delhi after Sisodia’s statement. Moreover, the Kejriwal government tried to reserve Delhi hospitals for Delhi residents to tackle the public health emergency. Delhi’s public health infrastructure which the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had flaunted during the Delhi Assembly polls only months ago broke down dramatically.
According to Outlook, It was at this time that PM Modi nudged Shah to take charge of the situation. Amit Shah held a meeting with all stakeholders on June 14. Subsequently, a multi-pronged strategy eased the burden of the Pandemic in Delhi.
More testing, aggressive contact tracing, door-to-door surveys, supply of Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs), medical facilities and beds, and capped treatment cost, were at the forefront of Amit Shah’s Delhi strategy.
Today, there are around 1,29,000 cases in Delhi. The number itself is nowhere near the 5.5 lakh figure that was being anticipated. Moreover, the recovery rate has shot up dramatically. More than 1,13,000 cases patients have already recovered. The recovery rate, therefore, stands at somewhere around 87 per cent.
But while Delhi at least grabbed headlines when the Coronavirus situation worsened, Bihar’s case has been peculiarly different. No one is talking about Bihar, even though the Coronavirus Pandemic is gradually going out of control.
Bihar has one of the lowest testing rates per million population in the country, yet, among the highest positivity rates. This effectively means that the state’s actual numbers are far more than what have been placed on record so far.
Low testing and a failed contact tracing strategy have failed Bihar. To make it worse, the already fragile healthcare infrastructure of the state is also collapsing.
Hospitals of Bihar have transformed into a gateway of death for the people of Bihar, many of whom are dying inside due to lack of medical care, if not dying on the roads outside due to an unbearable infection and the scorching heat, not to mention the administration’s absolute disregard for human life. Leave alone the COVID care facilities in other parts of Bihar, in Patna’s Nalanda Medical College & Hospital (NMCH), the Central team was left aghast seeing the subhuman conditions in what was supposed to be an isolation ward for infected patients, with a dead body lying in the middle of the ward during their inspection.
Delhi has an AAP government at the helm of affairs, yet the Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s timely intervention had helped matters. But in Bihar, there is a BJP-JDU coalition government at the helm of affairs. Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey too is a BJP leader. As such the BJP needs to assume responsibility.
Nitish Kumar has failed Bihar. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav too has hit out at the Bihar CM for the “low” number of tests conducted in the state. The JDU supremo is facing criticism from the opposition, but the BJP cannot escape it for long either when it enjoys power in the state as a coalition partner.
Tejashwi Yadav, for example, alleges that Bihar is becoming the global COVID-19 hotspot. RJD itself doesn’t have much to boast about when it comes to administrative adroitness, but it is the BJP-JDU government which is currently in power. Ultimately, it is the BJP and JDU which will have to account for the Coronavirus situation in the state. Amit Shah had rescued Delhi from the Coronavirus scare and now he must rescue Bihar too.