India’s virus surge damages Modi’s image of competence

India’s virus surge damages Modi’s image of competence
FILE - In this Nov. 11 2020, file photo, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves after a function at the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters following a state election in New Delhi, India. Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: India’s hospitals were packed with Covid-19 patients, relatives of the sick patients desperately trying to find supplies of medical oxygen, and crematoriums were running near full capacity to handle the dead. The Covid surge is extreme in India

Despite those clear indications of an overwhelming health crisis, the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed ahead with a densely packed campaign rally.

“I have never seen such a huge crowd before!” the Indian Prime Minister roared to his supporters in West Bengal state on April 17, before key local elections.

“Wherever I can see, I can only see people. I can see nothing else,” Mr Modi said.

As another deadly surge of coronavirus infections was swamping India, Modi’s government refused to cancel a massive Hindu festival. Cricket matches, with thousands of fans attending, carried on, too.

The catastrophic Covid-19 surge has badly dented Narendra Modi’s political image after he drew praise last year for moving quickly to lock down the cuntry’s nearly 1.4 billion population. Now, he has been called a “super-spreader” by Dr. Navjot Dahiya, the vice president of the Indian Medical Association.

With coronavirus deaths and infections mounting and a touted vaccine rollout faltering badly, Narendra Modi has pushed much of the responsibility for fighting the virus onto poorly equipped and unprepared state governments and even onto patients themselves, critics say.

Author and activist Arundhati Roy said of Modi’s handling of the virus: “It is a crime against humanity. Foreign governments are rushing to help. But as long as decision-making remains with Modi, who has shown himself to be incapable of working with experts or looking beyond securing narrow political gain, it will be like pouring aid into a sieve.”

You may read: Biden aims to expand vaccines for adults and children