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‘If People Had Better IQ’: BJP Defends COVID Response, Slammed

Many people have called out the government for still being fixated on managing headlines and Modi’s personal image.

Updated
Politics
4 min read
To counter criticism of the Modi government’s handling of the pandemic, the BJP has come up with a “fact sheet”.
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To counter criticism of the Modi government’s handling of the pandemic by media, the Opposition and social media users and the unpleasant exposure that has come with it, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come up with a “fact sheet”, which has further been slammed on social media.

Putting ‘Narrative’ and ‘Truth’ in two columns, BJP tweeted the sheet, saying, “They have been using the pandemic for their vested political interests. But the truth can’t be suppressed. Here are the facts.”

Here are the ‘truths’ to the ‘narratives’:

  • The sheet said that PM Modi held a meeting with chief ministers on 17 March, warning them of a second wave and asking them to prepare. Around this time, cases rose steeply in India, with the country recording over 20,000 fresh cases every day.
  • The second point asserted how CM Mamata Banerjee and CM Bhupesh Baghel missed the meeting, as they were busy with the elections.
  • Countering the narrative that India has the highest number of cases, the ‘Truth’ column said, “India has more people than Europe and North America put together. So, in absolute number, India will obviously be higher.” It further claimed, “In terms of cases and deaths per million population, India stands at 110th place in the world or so!”
  • Defending Modi’s Bengal rallies and the Kumbh Mela, the ‘Truth’ column firstly asked, “‘Farmer protests’ egged on by politicians, rallies by Rahul Gandhi in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, all those pushups he did, etc, were COVID-proof, right?”

One month after this meeting on the second wave of COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 17 April raised a few eyebrows after he seemed to praise the large crowd at his rally in Bengal's Asansol. On the same day, India reported a record 2.34 lakh new COVID cases and the active caseload spiked to an all-time high of 16.8 lakh.

"... but today, in all directions I see huge crowds of people... have witnessed such a rally for the first time... Today, you have shown your power. The next step is more important. Go and vote and take others also,” the PM said.

The point claimed, “The second wave took off from Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Punjab.” It further said, “Latest data actually suggests that Punjab, the epicentre of ‘farmer protests’ was the origin of the second wave!”

  • The fifth narrative asked, “Why did India export vaccines while denying it to our people?” To this, the sheet answers with, “This is nonsense.”
  • The narrative which questioned the price of vaccine being different for states and Centre, the ‘Truth’ column claimed, “After all, it was the states that asked for freedom to negotiate and procure.”

Defending the Central Vista project by comparing it to our health budget, the “fact sheet” also responds to the far-fetched idea of having New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as India’s PM by saying:

“Sigh, if only people had better IQ.”

‘People Aren’t Dying Deliberately to Show This Govt in a Bad Light’

Several social media users have pointed out that the original fact sheet, which was posted in a podcast, highlight the ‘logical flaw’ in narratives propagated by the Modi government.

Here are some ‘logical flaws’ to the narratives:

About the logical flaw in the narrative “We don’t have a crisis. Lutyens media and the Western world is using this to show us in bad light,” the sheet said,

“Wake up and smell the coffee. Citizens are living a post-apocalyptic nightmare trying to source oxygen and medicines. Funeral pyres are burning all day. We should focus on that instead of hallucinating about our vishwaguru status and how others are bent upon stopping our inevitable rise.”

It also pointed out the eerie demand to be positive in the face of death and how PM Modi was working 18 hours a day, and responded with an appropriate, “Lol. People aren’t dying deliberately to show this government in bad light. Virus won’t go away by not talking about it. This isn’t the first hardworking PM we or the world has ever got.”

Here’s the fact sheet:

‘If People Had Better IQ’: BJP Defends COVID Response, Slammed

Reactions: ‘Goebbels Must Be Turning in His Grave’

Several social media users have called out the government for still being fixated on managing headlines and their image, instead of owning up to their mistakes.

The Modi government submitted a 200-page affidavit in the Supreme Court on Sunday, 9 May, in response to the suo motu case taken up by the apex court, hearing issues related to the COVID pandemic.

The affidavit said, “Any overzealous, though well-meaning judicial intervention may lead to unforeseen and unintended consequences in absence of any expert advice or administrative experience, leaving doctors, scientists, experts and executive very little room to find innovative solutions on the go.”

The affidavit even claimed that vaccination of India’s entire population couldn’t be done in one go due to the “suddenness” of the pandemic.

(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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