LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (07/05/2021)

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Mismanagement Of COVID-19 Crisis

During the first wave of COVID-19 last year, it was mostly the adults and senior citizens who were affected. Currently, during the second wave, many young people and children are also getting infected severely due to the mismanagement of the crisis by the central government. Virologist Dr V Ravi has warned that a third wave will hit children in a big way between October and December. This warning from Dr Ravi is to both, the Centre and the state governments to chalk out strategies and gear up to handle the situation. But the big question is when the senior citizens will receive their second dose of the vaccine against COVID. They are unable to get fully inoculated due to the acute shortage of vaccines. In fact, many states are even facing difficulty in commencing vaccination for the 18-44 age group. Who is responsible for this? It is clearly the central government, which has been promoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image as a global vaccine leader and India as a ‘vishwa guru’ or a global leader. India exported more than 66 million doses of COVID vaccines to 95 countries under the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ or friendship programme. With the nation’s citizens now struggling to get themselves vaccinated and obtain medical oxygen for those suffering from the COVID infection, only God save the country from this mismanagement of the crisis.

BIDYUT KUMAR CHATTERJEE, FARIDABAD

Suspending IPL Matches, A Right Move

Matches of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which started a month back, have been suspended after some players tested positive for COVID-19. Though the matches were held with no spectators, presence of players from different teams and their contact with other persons in hotels and staff was enough for them to get infected. Many people have already lost their lives in this pandemic and cricket matches were given top priority inspite of the pandemic situation in the country going out of control during this second wave. The entire IPL fund and sponsorship could have been devoted to COVID-19 treatment by providing emergency facilities to patients and infected persons. The Indian Army too has got into action to provide their help with retired army doctors being on the field and the Army staff working as frontline workers. IPL matches can be played any time once the situation is normal, but if we lose a life it cannot be brought back by the sponsorships. The matches could have been suspended without waiting for the alarm bell to ring. The government should now come out with stringent rules to ban games as and when there is a pandemic situation in and around the country. No games should be allowed to be played when there are teams or groups involved.

RAJU RAMAMURTHY, VASCO

Message Emerging From Assembly Election Results

The results of elections to the Assemblies of four states and one Union territory will have an impact on national politics in different ways. In Assam, West Bengal and Kerala, the incumbents returned to power, while in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the incumbents lost. Clear messages are emerging from the election results. First, these results are not actually a verdict against the BJP due to its failure in dealing successfully with the COVID-19 crisis. This is because polling in states except for Bengal was over before the crisis worsened. The present crisis may adversely affect the BJP in the future. In fact, the elections were not a referendum on COVID-19 management. Secondly, BJP was not certain about winning sufficient number of seats to form government in Bengal. Obviously, the debacle of the Left-Congress-Indian Secular Front coalition enabled the Trinamool Congress to improve its record. The BJP’s overdependence on Narendra Modi to win votes did not help the party much in Bengal. Mamata Banerjee’s popularity diminished BJP’s electoral prospects. Third, political parties, the BJP in particular, adopted communal campaigns in Assam and Bengal. The BJP put in a lot of efforts for religious polarisation in Bengal and Assam. Mamata gave the BJP a taste of their medicine by adopting her own tactic of religious polarisation. Fourth, these results have worsened the existential crisis the Congress party faces. The party had already lost Puducherry before the elections. It failed miserably to come back to power in Assam and Kerala and is only a partner in the alliance in Tamil Nadu. Although the Left performed poorly in Bengal, it changed the political history of Kerala that a ruling front cannot return to power. Fifth, given that Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala will be governed by parties that are politically and ideologically opposed to the BJP, there will be a greater assertion of federal rights. This may help in the restoration of balance in federalism. Six, the election results have come out at a time when the BJP is faced with accusations of bad governance due to the Centre’s mismanagement of COVID-19 crisis. The prospects of political parties will depend on how they respond to the present crisis. It is the responsibility of the new governments to focus on COVID-19 and work towards combating the second wave.

VENU G S, KOLLAM