The YSRCP Government’s approach in handling the coronavirus pandemic has been widely criticized from the start. While Governments elsewhere in India and countries abroad were shaken by the pandemic, the Jagan Mohan Reddy administration was busy in its petty politics to sweep the local body polls. If it were not for the State Election Commissioner’s (SEC) timely intervention by postponing the polls, the State could have been hit worse by the coronavirus.
It is no exaggeration to point out that the Government wasted valuable time in slandering the SEC as politically biased. The Chief Minister stooped too low when he shunned the SEC’s intervention and trivialized the magnitude of coronavirus by calling it a regular fever that can be cured with a dose of paracetamol. The antics of Jagan Mohan Reddy, his administration, and the YSRCP party and its leadership continued throughout. Let us have a look at how the State, which was earlier known for its crisis management, erred throughout the Corona crisis.
The sudden spread of novel coronavirus was complemented by the spread of false news and misinformation. One such shock was when the Chief Minister became a source of such misinformation. While there some amount of truth to usage of paracetamol to subsume flu and fever in a corona affected patient, the CM became a subject of social media memes for his remarks in a press conference trivialising pandemic as a regular fever and paracetamol as the all curing medicine. It became worse when his ministers tried defending him in numerous media debates. Further, the CM commented that the impact of the coronavirus is limited to senior citizens above 60 years of age. For others, it is not very dangerous. In another press conference dated 27 April 2020, Jagan Mohan Reddy mentioned that corona cannot be eliminated and we have to live with it by taking adequate precautions.
The below graph indicates the constant rise in corona positive cases in AP:
Suspension of Government Doctor Sudhakar
Further, a senior doctor in Narsipatnam Area Hospital Dr. Sudhakar Rao was suspended from service on April 8, in a video that went viral across the State where the doctor was seen raising his voice against the non-availability of N-95 Masks in the Hospital. The treatment of health personnel by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the lack of PPE kits was widely criticised. The issue took an ugly turn when videos of the Dalit doctor being dragged on road by the police with hands tied and half naked went viral on the internet. While the Government and police alleged Dr. Sudhakar Rao to be inebriated and mentally ill, the High Court made an intervention ordering a CBI inquiry into the episode.
Suspension of Nagari Municipal Commissioner
The YSRCP Government in its suspension race suspended the Municipal Commissioner of Nagari municipality K. Venkata Rami Reddy for raising his voice (through a video) about crisis management under his jurisdiction. In the video released by Venkata Rami Reddy, he pointed out that without the distribution/supply of masks, gloves, and PPEs from the State Government the sanitary and health workers of Nagari Municipality were doing their best to combat and protect the people from this virus at a time when four positive cases had already been registered under this municipality.
Venkata Rami Reddy also pointed out that the Municipality has received zero support from the Andhra Pradesh Government in its fight against the pandemic and the bank accounts of the municipal body have been frozen by the Government.