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Covid virus has a right to live, says ex-CM Trivendra Singh Rawat. Barbs follow

This isn’t the first time that Trivendra Singh Rawat, who was abruptly replaced by TS Rawat as Uttarakhand chief minister in March this year, has been in the spotlight for his controversial comments.
UPDATED ON MAY 13, 2021 11:21 PM IST
Former Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat triggered a political row over his controversial comments during an interview on the coronavirus pandemic. (HT File Photo)

Former Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat waded into a controversy on Thursday over his comments that Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, “has a right to live”, triggering stinging barbs from opposition leaders who described his statement as not just insensitive, but also “foolish”.

“If we talk philosophically, then Covid-19 virus is also a living organism which wants to live and has a right to live just like humans. However, we consider ourselves more intelligent than any other living organism. We are now after it and to escape, the virus is changing its form constantly,” Rawat told a local news channel in the course of an interview on the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed over 4,100 people in Uttarakhand, more than 258,300 across the country and has forced most states to impose strict restrictions.

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Rawat continued in the widely-circulated video clip. “Hence, we now have to keep our distance from it. It is also moving and we are also moving, but we have to move faster than it so that it gets left behind”.

The Congress moved fast to take potshots at Rawat.

“What Rawat, who was the state’s CM, has said, is nothing but foolish and nonsense. He has lost his mind and has no vision because of which he was replaced abruptly by his party,” Uttarakhand Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana said.

“The virus is a living organism, so was Ravana, Kansa and Mahishasura. But they all were killed by different gods because they were destroying the world just like this virus which has killed lakhs... Rawat is just uttering sheer nonsense,” he said.

This isn’t the first time that the former chief minister, who was abruptly replaced by TS Rawat in March this year, has been ridiculed for his comments. He stunned people in 2019 when he claimed that the cow is the only animal that inhales and exhales oxygen. In March this year, the BJP abruptly dropped him.

AAP’s Uttarakhand spokesperson Amarjeet Singh Rana said Trivendra Singh Rawat’s remark was a reflection of his wisdom. “This shows his and the BJP leaders’ wisdom. They are making Uttarakhand a laughing stock,” Rana said.

Rawat hasn’t issued a clarification on his comments yet.

The BJP’s counter to the opposition’s barbs was a counter-attack, accusing the Congress and the AAP of indulging in a blame game rather than working for humanity in the pandemic.

“The Congress is just playing a dirty blame game and sees negative in everything even in this pandemic while AAP is doing this just for cheap publicity as it has no political presence in the state,” said BJP’s media in-charge in the state Manveer Singh Chauhan.

Uttarakhand state secretary of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Dr Ajay Khanna said, “Covid-19 virus is a living organism. But it’s killing people.” He did not elaborate but another IMA functionary, who spoke on condition of anonymity, called the statement an insult to people who have lost their lives to the virus.

“It is really unfortunate for this country that when (the number of) dead bodies are increasing every day in this country, a leader like Rawat who has been the CM of Uttarakhand is saying that Covid-19 virus is a living organism and has a right to live. It is just shameful and an insult to all those who lost their lives to this lethal virus,” he said.

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