Bihar BJP chief defends revised Covid toll, RJD smells blood
BJP’s state president Sanjay Jaiswal on Thursday defended revision of Covid death toll by the Bihar government, calling it data transparency and a move aimed at ensuring assistance for families of those claimed by the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Bihar had revised its Covid death toll upwards by a whopping 72.84%.
Talking to HT over phone from New Delhi, Jaiswal, a doctor and MP from West Champaran, said, “There were several suspected cases of Covid where the patients died before their reports came in. Deaths at many private hospitals weren’t included either. A proper scrutiny was made and all such cases were included in our attempt to ensure that the bereaved families get the ex gratia,” Jaiswal said.
The three-time Lok Sabha MP said such practices were also followed in states like Delhi and Maharashtra. “There is nothing wrong in that. A fresh study was made to maintain the data transparency,” he said.
The state government on Wednesday said the death count had gone up by 3,951, which, in effect, is a whopping 72.84% after verification of deaths across each of its 38 districts, as directed by the Patna High Court on May 18. The state’s Covid-19 cumulative death toll jumped to 9,375 on June 8, as against 5,424 reported a day earlier.
Meanwhile, Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) dubbed the revised toll as “death scam” and demanded a judiciary inquiry into the matter.
“The government was forced to present data only after being rapped by the high court. As per our estimates, the death toll is 20 times higher than what the government has shown in its revised data. The manner in which Covid tests were ignored, a large number of deaths are still unaccounted and need to be looked into by a judicial magistrate,” RJD spokesperson said.Mrityunjay Tiwari said.