Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday night resumed his attack on the government over its handling of the COVID crisis, targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his comment last week about India being in a “better position than other countries” because the “right decisions” had been taken.
Mr Gandhi, a fierce and frequent critic of the Prime Minister over a pandemic that has killed more than 38,000 in India so far, posted an infographic from a news channel that listed 10 countries with the most cases over a 24-hour period ending 9.30 AM. India topped that list with nearly 53,000 new cases.
“The right decisions at the right time means India is better off than other countries,” Mr Gandhi’s message read, quoting from the Prime Minister’s speech at the virtual launch of upgraded COVID testing facilities in three cities.
On July 28, when PM Modi said India was in a “better position”, the country had recorded over 45,000 new cases per day for seven consecutive days. Since July 30 (Thursday) India has recorded over 50,000 new cases per day.
Government data Monday morning showed that India has crossed the 18 lakh mark, with 38,135 deaths and nearly 5.8 lakh active cases.
Prime Minister Modi isn’t the only one to claim India is in a “good position”; last month Union Home Minister Amit Shah said exactly that and promptly invited a sarcastic swipe from Mr Gandhi.
The relentless spike in new cases comes as the government doggedly relaxes restrictions; on Saturday it announced guidelines for Unlock3, the third phase of easing what many have described as the world’s strictest lockdown – one that has been credited by the government with keeping the number of infections and deaths under control.
Mr Gandhi, however, is unconvinced. In June he posted four graphs – one for each phase of the lockdown – that showed a steady increase in COVID-19 cases despite the restrictions.
This is what a failed lockdown looks like. pic.twitter.com/eGXpNL6Zhl
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 5, 2020
Although easing of restrictions is driven, in part, by the need to re-start commercial activity and boost the economy, concerns have been raised over too much being opened up too soon. The concerns also come as countries scramble to extend, renew or even tighten their lockdown measures.
Last month Mr Gandhi sounded a warning – India would cross 20 lakh cases by August 10 – something that appears certain to happen well before that deadline given the current rate of new cases.
India is third on the list of worst-affected countries; only the United States (46.7 lakh cases) and Brazil (27.3 lakh cases) are worse off.