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Congress: Narendra Modi a coward, lacks compassion

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra pointed out that good governance in a crisis was about confronting the truth, taking responsibility and executing actions
Narendra Modi.

Sanjay K. Jha   |   New Delhi   |   Published 13.06.21, 02:51 AM

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mettle as a statesman and his ability to feel compassion while lamenting that he had acted like a “coward” when the country so badly needed true leadership during the devastating pandemic.

She listed several failures and alleged misdeeds — ranging from the misreading of the pandemic to not paying heed to timely warnings, from not making preparations for treatment of patients to bungling of the procurement and distribution of vaccines.


“If he had the mettle of a statesman, or the compassion and bravery of a true leader, he would have come forward and comforted his countrymen when they most needed reassurance and succour. He would have moved heaven and earth to stand by us all without making excuses,” Priyanka wrote on Facebook as part of her series titled “Who is responsible” in which she has pledged to “expose” the government’s failures.

“He did none of this. He simply retreated and waited for the worst to pass. The Prime Minister has behaved like a coward. He has let our country down. The whole world has witnessed his incompetence at governance. His vast capacity for vanity has been exposed. Indians do not come first for him. Politics does. Truth does not concern him, propaganda does. The time has come for us to ask him: Zimmedar kaun (Who is responsible)?” the Congress leader added.

Priyanka pointed out that good governance in a crisis was about confronting the truth, taking responsibility and executing actions.

“Unfortunately, the government did none of these. Instead, from the beginning of the pandemic, it made every attempt to hide the truth and to shirk responsibility. Had the Prime Minister prioritised the people of India above his own PR and image building, we would not have the shortage of vaccines we have today. Had he woken up from his slumber and ordered vaccines in the summer of 2020 instead of waiting till January 2021, he could have saved countless lives,” Priyanka said.

She drew attention to how Modi had ignored warnings from parliamentary committees and the government’s own empowered group on an impending oxygen crisis.

“Instead of distributing free vaccines across the world to boost his own image, had he paused for a moment and protected his countrymen first, we would not be standing in line today grappling with a convoluted registration system designed to slow down the vaccine process,” Priyanka said.

“Had the Prime Minister gathered the courage to fight the pandemic head-on, he could have taken even his opponents along in this battle for Indian lives. He could have engaged with experts, critics, allies and the Opposition fearlessly. He could have used the media as a disseminator of life-saving information about Covid rather than as a propaganda tool to promote his own image.”

Priyanka also took strong objection to the Prime Minister’s appearance on television to try to shift the blame onto the states instead of supporting them in their battle against Covid by sanctioning resources and clearing their dues.

“Had he been an informed and competent leader, he would have planned, strategised and prepared for the inevitable second wave. He would not have set aside the tools of science and modernity and transported us back through thaali-banging and lamp-lighting rituals into the darkness of bygone centuries described by the poet Nirala,” the Congress leader said.

Priyanka quoted from poet-author Suryakant Tripathi Nirala’s novel Kulli Bhaat where he had thus described scenes from the Spanish flu a hundred years ago: “The waters of the river Ganga were filled with corpses. There was no wood left in crematoriums to cremate the dead. In the blink of an eye, my family had vanished from before me.”

Referring to the similarities with the current situation, Priyanka wrote: “They are eerily prescient, even more so now because we live in modern times, when such scenes of collective turmoil caused by an abdication of governance ought to be a thing of the past.”

The Congress expressed grave concern over alleged data manipulation by BJP state governments to hide the actual number of Covid deaths, demanding a judicial probe to find out the truth.

Referring to media reports about the stark differences in government claims and death figures collected from crematoriums and burial grounds, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said: “This government considers data as enemy, considers truth which comes out through data as enemy number one. It fights with data on jobs, on the economy, on Covid deaths.”

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