Prakash Javadekar rubbishes opposition's allegations on Centre's handling of COVID-19 crisis
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday dismissed the Opposition allegations on Centre's initiatives to control coronavirus epidemic in the country, saying the government is more interested in saving the lives and livelihoods of people rather than indulging in verbal duels.
"As far as Opposition is concerned, I think they are rudderless. They have no agenda or issues," he told ANI. "They have not said a single good thing, nor given any good suggestions. Now they are blaming the government on points on which they earlier agreed. There is a complete bankruptcy of political opponents."
The minister was responding to allegations by Congress leaders who alleged corruption in acquiring coronavirus testing kits, discrimination in sending kits to states, and managing the issue of migrant workers.
"As far as states are concerned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been the chief minister of Gujarat. Therefore he values the independence of states, the authority of states, and he means cooperative federalism too. He took every chief minister into confidence, and only one state has some problem," said Javadekar.
"Rahul Gandhi and Congress have started raising the issues which even the Communists would not raise. They were demanding for buses for migrants earlier. When the buses were given, they started demanding trains. When six trains started yesterday, they demanded 600 trains. They do not want to do anything. They wait for the occasion to speak against the government. It is futile," he said.
The Union Minister said that the government does not want to indulge in a verbal duel with any state and wants to solve the problem instead.
"Maharashtra and Gujarat have not involved with the Central government. Here some people chose to wage a war between West Bengal and India. We are not interested in a verbal duel. We are interested in solving the problem and want to help every state," said Javadekar.
The Central government sees the whole country as one, he said. The Union Home Ministry sent several Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) to different states, including West Bengal, to visit coronavirus hotspots for assessment, issue directions to combat the spread of lethal virus in those areas, and submit a report to the central government.
"But if some people are making this a political issue, then it is too much. We will save people's lives and their livelihood," said Javadekar.
In West Bengal, a controversy erupted after the IMCT was allegedly blocked by the state government from carrying out its duties.
Asked about COVID-19 cases related to Tablighi Jamaat, Javadekar said: "Every state, including non-BJP ruled states, said that many infections are from Tablighi. I do not think this is religion. This has nothing to do with religion. We don't believe in creating any wedge in society. An unnecessary controversy has been created to divert attention from the main issue, which is controlling the pandemic."
Hundreds of coronavirus cases were reportedly linked with Tablighi Jamaat event held in March.
The minister said that there were politically and diabolically designed efforts to create differences between the Arab world and India, but that did not succeed because the two have a very strong friendship.