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Rahul Gandhi accuses Narendra Modi of lying on Covid deaths

Congress leader reiterates his demand for a higher compensation for families that lost a loved one to the pandemic

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 07.05.22, 02:03 AM
Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi. File photo

Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lying on Covid deaths and repeated his demand for a higher compensation for families that had lost a loved one to the pandemic.

With the Modi government objecting to the World Health Organisation’s estimation of 4.74 million excess deaths in India linked to the pandemic, which is 9.8 times the country’s official Covid toll, the Congress has demanded that a commission made up of members of different political parties be set up to analyse the fatalities.


Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “47 lakh Indians died due to the Covid pandemic. NOT 4.8 lakh as claimed by the Government. Science doesn’t LIE. Modi does. Respect families who’ve lost loved ones. Support them with the mandated Rs 4 lakh compensation.”

Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh accused the government of letting India down on the world stage by presenting a gross underestimation of the Covid toll.

He added: “Heeding our demand for the last two years, the government must immediately form a Covid Commission with members from all parties to analyse the deaths that happened due to unavailability of oxygen and broken supply chain in case of vaccines and medicine, and plan for better management during such pandemics.”

Reiterating the demand for a Rs 4-lakh compensation for every Covid death, Vallabh said: “Mismanagement of Covid by the BJP government is not hidden from anyone. The apathetic attitude has been evident all along. The nation saw people gasping for oxygen during the second wave. The world saw the Modi management style when thousands of bodies were floating in the Ganga. India was shamed in the world when pictures of the bodies floating were circulated in the international media.”

Referring to the WHO report, Vallabh said: “As per government data, there have been 5.24 lakh deaths. The report said the world saw 1.49 crore excess deaths associated with Covid in 2020 and 2021. One in three deaths in the world due to Covid happened in India. India had 47 lakh deaths due to Covid between January 2020 and December 2021. Amongst the nations with highest ratio of excess deaths in 2020 & 2021 as compared to officially reported Covid deaths, India is ranked second with a ratio of 9.9x, behind Egypt (11.6x) and ahead of Pakistan (8x). Almost half of the deaths that until now had not been counted globally were in India.”

The Congress spokesperson recalled a study in The Lancet that is consistent with the WHO report on excess deaths in India.

“There have been recurring reports of concern over the Modi government’s management and data. Even if we keep the numbers aside, the government in its Civil Registration System Report has accepted that 45 per cent of people who died in 2020 didn’t get any medical attention at the time of the death. All the facts are stacked against the government. They can’t simply refute the claims of expert panels without providing any empirical data or logic,” Vallabh argued.

The Congress spokesperson also referred to newspaper reports that alleged undercounting in some states and said: “When the BJP claims to have put India on the world stage, is this the way we Indians want to see our country being mentioned on the world stage? When a Hindi daily reported numbers regarding excess deaths in Madhya Pradesh due to Covid-19, its offices were raided by the national agencies. When will the agencies raid the WHO now? Is the government’s underreporting of Covid death data a way to escape paying compensation to the families of the deceased?”

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