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Bihar BJP chief questions babus for Covid mishandling

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3:20 am IST

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Sanjay Jaiswal

Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal has put his own state NDA government in the dock over the “callous” attitude of the bureaucrats and officials in dealing with Covid-19. This has led to a sharp rebuke from the top leadership of the JD(U), with senior party leader K.C. Tyagi responding to him by stating he was free to have express his feelings and that the Bihar model of tackling the pandemic was better than the Uttar Pradesh and Punjab models where outsiders were brought into the state without proper check. Bihar is being ruled by the BJP and the JD(U) in an alliance and the state is supposed to go to polls in less than 200 days. Jaiswal, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from West Champaran and party’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha, took to the Facebook to anguish his anger over the mismanagement. “There is one problem with the government in Bihar which is that no official comes out in public to clear the confusion as to which of the shops will be opened (during the lockdown).

No official is clarifying that those who want to come to Bihar by using the special trains, they have to register themselves by coordinating with the respective state governments and not by calling officers in Bihar,” Jaiswal wrote. He further added that due to this a lot of confusion is happening as people are interpreting the rules as they wish and sharing it on social media. “(In this context) The Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh interacts with the media and makes everything clear,” Jaiswal stated while insinuating that the top bureaucracy in Bihar should learn from its counterpart in Uttar Pradesh. Senior IAS officer Pratyay Amrit, Principal Secretary of the Bihar Disaster Management Department, who has been appointed the nodal officer to oversee the task of bringing back migrants, while commenting on complaints that the migrants were not being able to connect to the helpline numbers stated that the 18 mobile helpline numbers which were being handled by senior IAS officers ‘crashed’ due to the high number of calls that they got. The anger among the people with this attitude of the state bureaucracy was evident from the comments that they had shared on Jaiswal’s post. Bihar’s chief secretary Deepak Kumar is one the closest officers to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and is on a six months extension given to him in February 2020. The deputy CM of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, is from Jaiswal’s own party. Jaiswal’s Facebook posts had led to questions on why the BJP leader chose to share this issue on Facebook rather than with Sushil Modi. Modi did not respond to The Daily Guardian’s SMS while the mobile number of Jaiswal was switched off.

Responding sharply to Jaiswal’s claims, JD(U)’s national general secretary K.C. Tyagi stated that the BJP leader was free to express his feelings. “Please tell me if all shelter homes in Delhi are getting food. What is the quality of the food being given there? The quality of food is that khichdi is being distributed in plastic bags in which there is water. Are shelter homes in Delhi free of mosquitos? Is everything (in terms of relief) good in Noida, Gurgaon and Manesar? We believe the Bihar government has acted very wisely in these times of crisis. This is not a time for populist politics as some people have been acting and advocating,” Tyagi told The Daily Guardian. He also took a potshot at the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments. “What happened on 28 March?

More than one lakh people gathered at the Anand Vihar bus stop to go back to their homes. Who encouraged UP’s government officials to send 20,000 buses at the Delhi-UP border? Was the quarantine, social distancing norms suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed by them there? Even Punjab CM Amarinder Singh fell for such populist measures when he allowed pilgrims from Nanded Hazur Sahib to enter Punjab without checking their health. Now 500 Covid-19 patients are there in Punjab,” Tyagi said, adding: “Our friends in the BJP are free to express their views but we believe that the Bihar model is better than Uttar Pradesh and Punjab models and we appreciate the measures taken by the NDA government in Patna to tackle Covid-19.”