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Adityanath, Rahul spar over Gorakhpur deaths

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Congress said it only reflects the pettiness and panic that Rahul Gandhi’s visit will ensure justice to the victims.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday mocked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for visiting the families of the victims who died in the BRD Hospital, saying the yuvraj (prince) from Delhi should not be allowed to convert Gorakhpur into a “picnic spot.”

The Congress however, shot back with Mr. Gandhi suggesting that the Chief Minister should resign for the controversial deaths of the children in the hospital.

Under fire for the deaths of more than 100 children in the BRD Meidcal College hospital, Mr. Adityanath launched a week-long cleanliness drive in UP — Swachh Uttar Pradesh, Swaasth Uttar Pradesh.

“The shehzada sitting in Lucknow [Akhilesh Yadav] will not know the importance of this cleanliness… the Yuvraj in Delhi will not understand the importance of this Swachhta Abhiyaan. They should not be permitted to come and convert Gorakhpur into a picnic spot,” Mr. Adityanath said in Gorakhpur.

No Mixed-Media ItemsTH19 OMAR Yogi and Rahul attack each other in Gorakhpur.

Rahul visits Gorakhpur victims’ families

Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Friday visited the homes of families, whose children had died at the BRD Medical College Hospital last week, and termed the hospital incident a “government-made tragedy” and advised Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to stop trying to “cover up” the deaths, which he claimed were clearly due to lack of oxygen supply.

Responding to Mr Adityanath’s statement on not making Gorapkhpur a ‘picnic spot’ Mr. Gandhi said, “If he has even a little bit of decency and honour” he “would have resigned” as Chief Minister given the “magnitude of the tragedy.”

‘National tragedy’

“It is not only an incident in Uttar Pradesh, rather it is a national tragedy Things don't work like this. Modiji speaks about new India. We don't want this kind of new India. We want a new India where the poor can take his/her child for treatment and they don’t die," Mr. Gandhi told reporters.

Congress leader Raj Babbar, who was part of the Congress team that visited Gorakhpur along with Mr. Gandhi, targeted Mr. Adityanath for his comments, saying that he was “insulting his position by talking in an undignified manner.”

“He did not take any action [in the hospital incident] There is no empathy from his end. To question why Rahulji visited — Rahulji has come to share and ease the pain of the poor —shows his chotapan (pettiness) and ghabrahat (unease),” Mr. Babbar said.

Mr. Gandhi visited the homes of Brahmdev Yadav in Baghagada village, Nitesh Shukla in Malanv and Rama Shankar in Basoli Khurd and expressed condolences for the loss of their children and listened to their grievances.

On August 14, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had also visited the families of the victims in Baghagada and Belwar villages in Rural Gorakhpur.

Cleanliness drive

Mr. Adityanath started the cleanliness drive by garlanding a statue of B. R. Ambedkar before sweeping the streets of Andhiyari Bagh mohalla, a Dalit busty, with a broom.

Mr. Adityanath said that there was a need to run a campaign against Encephalitis focusing on providing clean drinking water and eradicating open defecation. The government had conducted a vaccination drive of 93 lakh children from 38 districts in the state, he said.

The government has issued a deadline of December 31 to make Gorakhpur open-defecation free and October 2, 2018 for the entire state.

Our Delhi  reporter adds:

Amnesty calls for impartial probe

Authorities must ensure thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the deaths of 70 children at Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College, Amnesty International India (AII) said on Saturday.

AII’s Programme Director Asmita Basu said, “The death of 70 children in a five-day period in a government hospital is nconscionable.The government has an obligation to ensure that investigations are carried out in an impartial manner,” she said.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 1:08:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/adityanath-targets-rahul-gandhi-says-gorakhpur-not-a-picnic-spot/article19524061.ece

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