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How Gorakhpur Deaths Disillusioned Yogi Adityanath’s Constituency

Before Yogi Adityanath came to power, people in Gorakhpur were convinced he’d change the fate of Uttar Pradesh. 

Published
Politics
4 min read
64 children have died at Gorakhpur’s BRD hospital in a span of five days.
i

Baba, Yogi, or Adityanath — the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is referred to by many names in Purvanchal zone.

On 19 March 2017, almost six months ago, a great deal of celebratory pyrotechnics were held when Adityanath was declared the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. And why not? After all, Adityanath was the chief priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt and the MP of Gorakhpur for the last 19 years.

People worship Yogi Adityanath, not just in Gorakhpur, but in more than 10 districts including Maharajganj, Siddhartha Nagar, Deoria and Kushinagar of Purvanchal. Considering this, we take a look at two instances, one before Yogi came to power and one after he did.

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Maharajganj, About 60 km from Gorakhpur on 15 March

Maharaniganj.
Maharaniganj.
(Photo: The Quint)

From tea stalls to patients in district hospital, there was only one discussion on people’s lips. If Yogiji becomes the Chief Minister this time, the fate of UP will change.

“Baba will not disappoint anyone from his area.”

In the district hospital, 3 children had died from January to March, but people were convinced that if Baba became the Chief Minister, he could end infant mortality.

Yogi was gaining respect and support from all sides of his area.

Ekla Village, Gorakhpur, on 12 August

Ekla village of Gorakhpur.
Ekla village of Gorakhpur.
(Photo: The Quint)

The Quint, however, saw a completely different picture at Adityanath's constituency five months after Adityanath came to power. A statement of a youth called Amit from the village reveals the whole picture.

“Yogiji and his people used to worship here before. But, we don’t know about their whereabouts anymore.”

Bahadur, a resident of Amit's village, lost his 4-year-old son, Deepak to encephalitis. So there was obvious anger among the people.

Between 7-11 March, more than 60 children lost their lives at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College, which happens to come under Yogi Adityanath's constituency. It was reported that many of these deaths were either due to oxygen deficiency, or encephalitis.

Nandini
Nandini
(Photo: The Quint)

We spoke to Deepak's mother Nandini, who said that earlier the hospital refused to admit her child.

Everything ceased after the arrival of Baba; they even stopped admitting the children.
Nandini
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Yogi Adityanath Had Visited BRD Hospital

In fact, on 9 August, Yogi Adityanath himself took stock of the health system by doing a proper inspection of this hospital. He even spoke to the medical college’s principal, CMO and other doctors, but noted that the staff hadn’t been negligent. The next day, 60 children lost their lives.

The deaths did not stop there, as news children dying at the BRD Medical College came in every day. By 28 August, almost 296 children had died in the hospital.

Unsatisfactory Statements

People were stunned by the number of deaths. How could this have happened? Apart from the different statements from the government, people were simply disappointed. Just look at the statements:

  • UP Health Minister Siddharthnath Singh reached the Medical College after the death of the children, he said, 'Deaths have occurred before in the month of August'
  • Then Chief Minister Adityanath said, "The lack of cleanliness led to the death of children."
  • In a recent interview, Yogi Adityanath said that deaths caused by encephalitis in Gorakhpur have been taking place for the past 40 years.
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Biggest Failure In 6 Months?

But, how can so many deaths have occured in the CM's constituency?

The BRD Hospital owed Pushpa Sales close to Rs 69 lakh in unpaid dues, which the hospital was reluctant to pay. The company wrote to the hospital administration many times, but the hospital just refused to pay and the result is there everybody to see.

The protest over deaths of children from Gorakhpur is echoing through the entire country, and this is the biggest failure of the Yogi government till now.

The BRD hospital is the only proper medical care facility available, not just for Gorakhpur, but also for the entire Purvanchal area. 

Looking back at Yogi's six months of governance, the biggest setback has to be the Gorakhpur tragedy, and that raises some serious questions about the state of medical facilities in the state.

(This is a translation. Read the original story on Hindi Quint)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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