‘They will turn India into Italy’: UP CM stings Rahul Gandhi over Covid-19 darts
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday launched a sharp counter attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and sister Priyanka for their criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, asserting that if the country listens to them on Covid-19, India will turn into Italy. “Let India be India,” the chief minister said in an interview with Hindustan editor-in-chief Shashi Shekhar.
Yogi Adtiyanath’s barb was a reference to a spike in Covid-19 cases in Italy in the early days of the pandemic. Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by coronavirus and was widely seen to have been caught off-guard. According to the World Health Organisation’s situation report, Italy has reported 2.33 lakh Covid-19 cases and over 33,000 deaths.
Watch | ‘Rahul Gandhi & his family will turn India into Italy’: Yogi Adityanath
India, in contrast, has reported 2.26 lakh cases and 6,348 deaths.
In recent weeks, Rahul Gandhi has been hurling darts at the Bharatiya Janata Party governments at the Centre as well as Uttar Pradesh and has questioned the impact of the lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 to defeat the virus. The lockdown did slow down the virus but it also brought the economy to a grinding halt and is expected to increase joblessness.
Yogi Adityanath blamed Congress leaders for most problems facing the country, saying the party which was in power for decades after independence did not have an agenda for the country or a vision for the people.
“There was just one testing laboratory in the country when the first case of coronvirus was detected in the country. Today there are nearly 650 and about 2 lakh tests are being conducted every day. This is PM Modi’s vision, he said. In Uttar Pradesh, the government has deployed nearly 1 lakh medical screening teams for containment zones and screening of migrant workers who returned to the state.
The chief minister also described the criticism of the government’s handling of the pandemic as an effort to score political points, asserting that people doing politics in times of coronavirus are insulting people and weakening the fight against the disease.
But you don’t let them contribute, he was asked, a reference to the back-and-forth over the Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s offer to send across buses to help poor migrant workers reach home.
“It is in their genes to lie”, the chief minister said.
Yogi Adityanath said the government had accepted their offer. But the Congress didn’t send the buses, he said, adding that a large number of vehicles listed as buses by the Congress did not have their documents intact. There were buses without registration documents, valid insurance or both. Some of the vehicles mentioned by the Congress weren’t buses, or even three-wheelers.