Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s barbed tweet on a New York Times report on India’s Covid numbers drew a furious response from Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today. Without being explicit, the minister spoke of vultures intent on playing politics over Covid deaths.
“Politics on corpses, INCIndia Style! Although vultures are disappearing from trees, it seems their spirit has been absorbed by vultures of the [email protected] ji trusts #NewYork more than #Delhi. One should learn to play politics on corpses from the vultures of the earth,” his tweet read.
“Numbers don’t lie… GOI does,” Mr Gandhi had posted this morning, along with an article headlined “Just How Big Could India’s True Covid Toll Be”.
Over the last weeks, as thousands of dead bodies flooded the country’s crematoriums, floated down the Ganga and were found buried on the riverbank, foreign and Indian media questioned the official figures, which currently stand at 3.11 lakh.
The Congress has repeatedly accused the Centre of under-reporting death data.
At a press conference earlier this month, senior party leader P Chidambaram said, “We have a strong suspicion that the Government of India, in conjunction with some state governments, is suppressing the true numbers of new infections and COVID-related deaths”.
“If our suspicions are true, this is a grave misdeed apart from being a national shame and a national tragedy,” he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Mr Chidambaram and Shaktisinh Gohil said the 2000-plus bodies buried on the banks of Ganga and the bodies floating down the river had confirmed their suspicions.
They had also cited a report in a Gujarati newspaper which claimed a huge mismatch in the death data from the government and from crematoriums and said they had confirmed the figures independently.
Mr Gandhi had targeted the Central government earlier too over the unclaimed bodies in river Ganga and the queues outside hospitals.
“Countless dead bodies flowing in rivers; lines in hospitals up to miles; the right to life security is taken away! PM, take off those pink goggles that lets you see nothing except for Central Vista,” his tweet in Hindi read.
The BJP leaders have rubbished the opposition claims and media reports, though the party units in opposition-ruled states like Maharashtra and Rajasthan have accused the state governments of concealing the actual death figures.