Deaths due to oxygen shortage: BJP says states did not report any such casualties to Centre

Maharashtra government also told Bombay High Court that no one died due to the oxygen shortage

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21

The ruling BJP on Wednesday claimed that the blame for not reporting deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic was with states and UTs since they did not report any such casualties to the Centre.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said the data presented in Parliament, yesterday was not collated by the Centre but sent by states and union territories. “If the Opposition says the Centre has not given correct data, then they should ask their own state governments what went wrong,” Patra said, adding that opposition-ruled states claimed in courts that there was no death due to shortage of oxygen and made similar assertions in their response to the Centre.

Patra said the Maharashtra government even told Bombay High Court that no one died due to the oxygen shortage and Chhattisgarh Health Minister T S Singh Deo also made similar claims.

The government had told Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and UTs during the second COVID-19 wave, drawing sharp criticism from opposition leaders.

The BJP spokesperson also accused opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi of the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal of AAP, of doing politics on the matter. He said states, where these parties are in power, claimed that no one died there due to lack of oxygen. 

Slamming Rahul Gandhi, Patra said he was acting like a “Twitter troll throughout the pandemic by writing two-line lies.”

“It is painful that a former president of one of the largest parties behaved so irresponsibly… He should speak to chief ministers in the states where his party is in power instead of lying on Twitter and spreading confusion,” Patra said.

With the AAP also targeting the Modi government over its reply in Rajya Sabha, Patra said a Delhi government committee told high court that there was no evidence to suggest that around 21 persons died due to shortage of oxygen in Jaipur Golden hospital after the hospital management reported the matter.

As per Patra, opposition-ruled states talked of patients dying due to the oxygen crisis in the second wave because “they wanted to target the Narendra Modi government. But they have taken a different stand in writing and their submission to courts to politicise the whole issue”.

On why Centre did not seek data from the states or collect it themselves, Patra said had this been done in Delhi or West Bengal, the state governments there would have accused it of “killing democracy”. “Rather we want to know why the Congress and the AAP abstained from the meeting that was called regarding the preparations of the third wave by the Prime Minister,” Patra said, referring to the meeting of the PM with the floor leaders of parties on Tuesday.

Regarding BJP-ruled states, Patra said people might have suffered there too but they neither levelled allegations like the opposition-ruled states nor the issue was taken to high courts there in this manner. “State such as Uttar Pradesh had not been complaining of shortages. The UP CM never blamed any other state or the Centre,” he said.

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