With 105 dead and still counting in Gorakhpur’s Baba Raghav Das Medical College, medical teams reporting lack of basic facilities and hygiene in the hospital and the Allahabad High Court serving a notice to the state government, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath remained unfazed.
He blamed the situation on the incompetence of previous governments and slammed Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi for visiting Gorakhpur saying he would not allow it to become a ‘picnic spot’.
Rahul Gandhi was in Gorakhpur on Saturday and met the families of children who died in the BRD hospital tragedy. Gandhi was accompanied by Congress Rajya Sabha leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The visit comes over 10 days after reports that more than 70 children had lost their lives due to alleged disruption of oxygen supply in the encephalitis ward of the state-run hospital.
CM Adityanath had stated initially that deaths were not caused due to lack of oxygen supply. Medical teams’ reports found that the oxygen supply was indeed disrupted. The principal and the doctor in charge of the ward were suspended and a probe was also ordered.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was with Gandhi, said, “In spite of being five-time MP from Gorakhpur, he (UP CM) did nothing for the hospital,” referring to CM Adityanath.
Earlier, Adityanath, who was also in Gorakhpur, lashed out at Rahul Gandhi saying he will not allow Gorakhpur to become a ‘picnic spot’. He also criticised the previous governments led by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati for the condition of the state. The chief minister said a ‘shehzada’ (aimed at Akhilesh) sitting in Lucknow and a ‘yuvraj’ (aimed at Gandhi) sitting in Delhi cannot understand the importance of cleanliness.
“If someone gives an open challenge to the self-respect of the people of Gorakhpur and eastern UP …they will themselves come forward to fight such dreaded diseases through their awareness,” Adityanath said.
Adityanath was in Gorakhpur to flag off the ‘Swachh Uttar Pradesh, Swasth Uttar Pradesh’ campaign, which many consider a propitiatory move following the deaths of 70 children at the district’s BRDM College hospital.
Adityanath blamed the previous Samajwadi Party and BSP regimes for the poor condition of the state’s medical infrastructure. “Government in last 12-15 years has ruined institutions in UP for selfish motives by institutionalizing corruption. They kept people deprived of facilities,” the CM charged.
He said the present government was taking steps to transform the state and asked for the peoples participation in the sanitation campaign and making UP free of open defecation. “I started movement against Encephalitis; when it comes to it, prevention is better than cure and it starts with sanitation,” said Adityanath, adding that the ‘Swachh Uttar Pradesh, Swasth Uttar Pradesh’ campaign was an effort in this direction.
The chief minister, who has represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha five times, will also tour Encephalitis and flood-affected areas.