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Govt Flouted COVID Norms for Polls, Made Harsh Vardhan a Scapegoat: Cong in RS

After being adjourned due to protests by the Opposition, the Rajya Sabha resumed it's Monsoon Session.

Updated
India
2 min read
File photo of Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
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After being adjourned due to protests by the Opposition, the Rajya Sabha resumed its Monsoon Session on Tuesday, 20 July, with Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge severely criticising the Narendra Modi government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also stressed that instead of taking the blame, Prime Minister Modi made Health Minster Harsh Vardhan, who resigned ahead of the cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, a scapegoat.

Lockdown was announced overnight, just like demonetisation. Govt didn't prepare for it. There were no trains for people to go back home. Livelihood of people was impacted. Government should be held accountable.
Mallikarjun Kharge, as per ANI

He added that while the Centre asked people to wear masks and maintain social distancing, they were 'breaking their own rules' during different state elections. "They should be given credit for flouting COVID norms," Kharge said.

Censuring the Prime Minister, the congress leader stated, "PM Modi appealed to people to clang utensils, light up candles. People trusted him and did all of it. He didn't fulfill his promise but disappointed them. Instead of taking its blame, he made the health minister a scapegoat," ANI reported.

Kharge also paid tributes to COVID-19 warriors as the House discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that "I salute people who helped others by running 'oxygen langer' in Delhi during second wave of COVID-19. I also want to salute plasma donors, who came out in support."

What Did Other Opposition MPs Says?

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s Sushil Kumar Gupta said:

"Changing the health minister, will not change the healthcare system. In order to improve the healthcare system, health Budget ought to be increased."

Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav too, as per ANI, insisted that health Budget ought to be increased and infrastructure built to combat future challenges.

"Before the Budget, I told Nirmala ji to raise health Budget. Current health Budget is fake, actual Budget is only Rs 72,000 crore. You've added other depts' Budget in health," Yadav added.

Meanwhile TMC MP Dr Santanu Sen claimed:

"Tamil Nadu had polls for 234 Assembly seats in a day. West Bengal with 294 Assembly seats had polls in 8 phases. Infection rate was 2.3 percent before polls but after 8 phases, it rose to 33 percent. Kudos to our CM, it has again come down to below 1.8 percent."

Union Minister Hardeep Puri Reacts

Meanwhile, Union Minister Hardeep Puri, as per ANI, rubbished the criticism coming the government's way, dubbing it an attempt to produce "false narrative".

"Uninformed comment is bad enough but when an attempt is made to deliberately produce a false narrative, it's an even more serious matter. Even one death of any Indian citizen on account of any cause, whether COVID or non-COVID related,is matter of regret."
Union Minister Hardeep Puri

Further, Puri insisted that the virus, and not the government or the system is "the enemy".

"Listening to members from across party lines, I got the impression that the one realisation that had escaped them was that the enemy here is the virus, not the govt, not the state CMs, not the system. It is the virus which is the enemy."

(With inputs from ANI)

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