Lockdown in Madhya Pradesh was delayed as BJP wanted to topple State govt: Kamal Nath

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 12, 2020

Kamal Nath

No provision for testing of migrant workers in State, he said

The BJP has created a constitutional breakown in Madhya Pradesh by not even forming a Council of Ministers and it is hampering the fight against Covid-19, said Kamal Nath, former State chief minister and senior Congress leader.

Talking to reporters through video conferencing here on Sunday, he said that Madhya Pradesh could be the only State in the world that does not have a Health Minister and a Home Minister.

He said the Centre tried to destabilise the State Government during the time of Covid-19. “But still there is no Cabinet in the State. We had started a sort of lockdown when we were in power. I resigned on March 16. But the Centre did not take any step. The decision of the Speaker to adjourn the Assembly citing Covid-19 was laughed at. The lockdown was started nationally soon after Shivraj Singh Chouhan sworn in as Chief Minister. The BJP was just looking for a political opportunity,” Nath said.

He said the situation in the State is not satisfactory as enough testing is not done. “The data available are from urban areas. Data of rural areas are not available. A number of migrant workers have returned. But there is no provision for testing to see if they are infected,” he said and added that the Centre ordered for testing kits when the situation got worsened.

Covid 19 is detected among 45 health professionals. The Principal Secretary in charge Health has been infected with the virus. This is the situation in the State,” he said.

He said it was obvious that the lockdown was delayed to establish a BJP government in Madhya Pradesh. “Parliament was running when so many assemblies had been adjourned. All the countries were concerned. Figures were emerging in India, too. But Parliament was kept running to establish that the Madhya Pradesh Assembly can function,,” he said.

Ordered closing of schools, colleges

He said he had started working soon after WHO declared Covid-19 as pandemic. “We ordered closure of schools, colleges and shopping malls. But now, situation is difficult. 90 per cent of the patients are going to private colleges,” he said. “Look at the chronology. This was done by pure allurement. Resignation of 19 MLAs were brought to the Speaker by BJP leaders. They were forced to resign by allurement. You can understand the morale of people and bureaucracy when they witness such things. The atmosphere in the State is the motivating factor. But here where is the motivation? This is complete constitutional breakdown,” he said.

The former Union Minister said the question is where is an economic package is focussed. “Economic package is for the past losses. There is very limited economic activity that happen during the lockdown. Which section is it focussed on? Focus it on restarting the economic activity. What will happen to machinery? What about payment of wages. Which bank will want to kill it’s balance sheet? They will ask the government to take over the loans,” he said.

The senior politician added that it is absolutely correct to term the action of Centre as autocratic. “Just in the last budget they reduced ₹40000 crore from state allocation. I was struggling with the budget. We had to chop off this amount. I took it up with the Prime Minister. Now, the Centre’s revenues have been hit so hard with GST collection was falling, how the Centre will deal with this. I see a situation where India may have to go back to the IMF as we did in 1980. There was such conflicting views on IMF at that time,” he said.

He urged the State government to start the procurement at the earliest. “MP has small farms. If we do not set up procurement centres in every village, procurement will not be possible. Procurement was to start on March 25. If the crops are dried up, it is easy to catch fire. This will be a very bad situation,” he said.

Published on April 12, 2020

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