Political row erupts over infants’ deaths in Kota
“There should no politics over the issue. Infant mortality at the hospital is steadily decreasing. We will try to reduce it further. It is on our top priority that mothers and children remain in good health,” Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot tweeted in Hindi.Updated: Jan 03, 2020 05:45 IST
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday insisted that his government is sensitive and that there should be no politicisation of the death of over 100 infants at a Kota hospital as he faced severe criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati over the issue.
“There should no politics over the issue. Infant mortality at the hospital is steadily decreasing. We will try to reduce it further. It is on our top priority that mothers and children remain in good health,” Gehlot tweeted in Hindi.
Gehlot’s remarks came as Mayawati hit out at Rajasthan’s ruling Congress. Mayawati also questioned Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s silence over the deaths. She added if Priyanka Gandhi does not meet mothers of the dead children, then her meetings with the kin of the victims of violence during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in Uttar Pradesh will be “construed as pure theatrics”.
In a series of tweets in Hindi, Mayawati slammed Priyanka and said, “It is sad that the Congress general secretary is keeping mum on the deaths of 100 children in the Kota hospital. It would have been better if like Uttar Pradesh, she would have met the mothers of the children who have died in the hospital, due to the apathy of the government of her party in the state.
“If the Congress general secretary does not go and meet the Kota families who are affected by the tragedy, then her outreach towards victims in Uttar Pradesh would be considered political opportunism, from which the public of Uttar Pradesh is advised to stay alert.”
On Wednesday, Priyanka Gandhi had raised the issue of a 14 month girl child who was separated from her parents in Varanasi after they were jailed due to anti-CAA protests.
Mayawati further said that the attitude of the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan was condemnable as it has mismanaged the situation of the 100 children deaths in Kota and still remains irresponsible and unsympathetic to the situation.
In New Delhi, Rajasthan Congress in-charge Avinash Pandey said Sonia Gandhi is very concerned about the deaths and Gehlot has sent a detailed report to her. Pandey’s comments came after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi.
After meeting Sonia, Pandey said, “Sonia ji wanted to know the reasons of the deaths. It is a very sad situation and the Chief Minister has been asked to act on the report. The BJP allegation is untrue as the inquiry is on and those responsible will be punished.”
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla tweeted, “In view of the increasing number of untimely deaths of infants at JK Lon Mother and Child Hospital in Kota, I have sent a reminder letter to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, and urged him to strengthen medical facilities with awareness.”
Chief minister Gehlot insisted the Congress government established the first Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for children in Rajasthan in 2003. “We established an ICU for children in Kota in 2011.”
He said the aim of “Nirogi Rajasthan [healthy Rajasthan]” was a priority for the government and an expert team from the Centre could help improve health services in the state.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said he has spoken to Gehlot and assured him of all possible support to prevent further deaths.