Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav today joined the ranks of opposition parties slamming the government over its statement on oxygen in parliament yesterday. The statement — that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were reported by states and Union Territories during the second COVID-19 wave — has generated huge political backlash that echoed in parliament.
“When people were desperate for oxygen, the BJP government could do nothing,” Akhilesh Yadav said in the evening.
“The people who died struggling for the oxygen, the entire responsibility is of the government. The government saying there was no oxygen shortage, this is the biggest lie of the BJP,” said the former Chief Minster of Uttar Pradesh, whose successor, the BJP’s Yogi Adityanatha had also denied any oxygen shortage in his state.
But later, mass graves on the banks of Ganga and thousands of bodies floating down the river raised speculation about a huge number of Covid deaths in the state that went unreported as the virus swept through the rural areas.
Since junior health minister Bharati Praveen Pawar’s written statement in Rajya Sabha yesterday, the Congress, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party have slammed the BJP, accusing it of lies.
Delhi, the epicentre of the second wave that saw the healthcare system struggling amid a shortage of beds, drugs and oxygen, saw multiple deaths.
The Delhi government has said the Centre has neither accepted a list nor allowed the formation of a committee to probe the oxygen-related deaths.
“The government shamelessly told white lies in Parliament,” Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said today.
“There was utter chaos due to oxygen shortage from April 15 to May 5 and there is no big deal that people would die due to oxygen shortage,” said Mr Sisodia, adding that an investigation can be held even now if the Centre allows. The Delhi government and te Centre have traded charges of mismanagement and negligence in oxygen supply during the peak of the second wave.
Congress’s KC Venugopal, who asked the question on oxygen deaths in the Upper House, has accused the government of providing false information”.
“This is a blind and unconcerned government. People have seen how many of their near and dear ones have died because of lack of oxygen,” Mr Venugopal said yesterday.
The BJP has pointed out that the opposition-ruled states have claimed in courts that there was no death due to oxygen shortage during the second wave and made similar assertions in their response to the Centre.