Ambulance outside Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad | Photo by Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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The Prime Minister of India and all his Cabinet men and women ought to watch television news, rather than appear on it. They will then see what India sees: chaos.

And maybe what they will see will make them reconsider the political public messaging we see.

They will see themselves holding crowded political rallies in West Bengal – from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (even though he has belatedly cancelled rallies). This, when the Prime Minister is imploring Indians to stay at home and step out only when and if necessary.

And then they will see the headlines across news channels: “Monster surge’’ said India Today, “Over 18 lakh cases active in India”, it added.

“30,000 new cases in second wave,” announced Zee News; “Oxygen crisis in cities,’’ declared India TV; “Mega Covid Surge,” said Mirror Now; “Deaths surge across nation,’’ mourned Times Now; “Did we let our masks down?” asked its anchor Rahul Shivshankar; “Tsunami in city after city,” said Zee News.

And they will see the same headlines repeated across channels daily— “Biggest ever one day surge” as the number of cases reach new heights every day. “No beds, no oxygen…” is the other constant frightening refrain.


Also read: ‘Healthy fear’ of Covid — Modi govt has a new pandemic communication pitch


Chaos in the capital

The PM and all other politicians in power will also see what we saw in horror — crowds of men and at least one woman – jostling outside liquor stores in Delhi after the ‘curfew’ lockdown was announced.

They will see channels condemn the latter the queues, call out ‘#StopSuperspreaderEvents’ (Times Now), but it was only on Tuesday evening that India Today’s Rahul Kanwal directly cornered them. “Why did you put votes over lives? … Why put the blame on the public?” he asked as footage of election rallies by Modi, Shah and Mamata Banerjee rolled on.

Meanwhile, the lady at the liquor store was so disdainful of all efforts by the authorities to control the pandemic that when asked by Zee Hindustan if she was more concerned about obtaining her next peg than her safety, she tartly replied, “Yes, this is medicine.”


Also read: PM Modi’s speech was short – on answers that Indians demand of him during second Covid wave


Covid carnage

All the Prime Minister’s men and women will see the burning pyres across different cities of India. Aaj Tak showed a night skylight glitter with smouldering fires in different cities. In Lucknow — and at Delhi’s Nigambodh Ghat, the channel’s reporter said 68 pyres of Covid-19 victims had been burned.

In Surat, India TV found a crematorium overflowing and at least one worker said there were over 100 bodies each day, In Bhopal, the News 24 reporter said people complained that the government was lying about the number of deaths.

They will see hospitals that are sagging under the burden of more patients than they can carry—on Tuesday, channels like NDTV 24×7 interviewed Dr D.S. Rana of Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital who said that the hospital had only eight hours of oxygen left for patients.

Zee Hindustan visited a hospital in Valsad, Gujarat. “Shocking pictures,” said the reporter, “on the bed is a patient, on the floor beside him is a body….”

They will see patients everywhere, angry, anxious, bereaved and bewildered.

ABP News had women crying outside one hospital and a relative of another woman declaring he was prepared to pay up to Rs 3-4 lakh if the hospital would admit her. Another woman with Covid-19 lay in the back of a car for five hours waiting, waiting. “Waiting for five days,” said a man outside Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (India Today)

Zee News visited Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in Delhi where people waiting outside were angry and said that while the government claimed there were beds available, they still couldn’t get patients admitted. One man said they were told to carry the stretchers themselves. Another man was furious: “The government talks big,’’ he said hotly, “that’s all.’’

In Lucknow, India TV caught up with a young man whose young pregnant wife was Covid-19 positive, ready to deliver a baby, “but no hospital beds”.


Also read: Between ‘Covid is over’ and universal vaccination cheer, India lost sight of strategy


Systems collapse

Prime Minister Modi and his men and women will see reporters ring up hospitals and clinical laboratories to ask for test sample collection, only to hear the same reply, each time: “Not possible’’, “We have stopped collections’’.

They will listen in to the ABP News reporter conduct a sting operation and find out that the much sought-after drug, Remdesivir, is selling on the black market for thousands of rupees. On Aaj Tak, another sting found oxygen cylinders going at a premium — ‘Saanson ka Saudagar’ it labeled the sellers.

They will see people leaving the cities of Mumbai and Delhi in droves despite the PM’s advice to stay put. “Fear of Covid is driving them out,” said the reporter on NDTV India. “Horrible situation,” said the Republic TV reporter at Delhi’s Kaushambi bus stand.

They will also see Baba Ramdev doing what he can to boost the immunity of the nation with yoga on India TV, daily. An impressed anchor announced, with seeming expert knowledge, that “will power can also help you fight corona’’, while Ramdev executed a headstand amongst other yoga poses, which he says will help reduce stress.

What will governments and politicians think or say after they have watched all the horror and tragedy unfold on television news? Will they wonder why they allowed a Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, poll campaigns in states like West Bengal, which is now seeing a terrible spike in cases?

Or will it be back to business as usual? “Mamata 3 roadshows, Smriti Irani 3 roadshows’’ announced Zee News on Wednesday…

Mujhe maaf karo sarkar’’, pleaded Aaj Tak as the bodies piled up across the country.

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VIEW COMMENTS

21 COMMENTS

  1. Hahaha…in the US trump was criticised for watching too much TV. Here we are telling Modi to stop his connect with voters and watch TV as media is controlled by the liberal mafia. LOL.

  2. A system failure. People gets back an unexpected slap on the their face. They thought a Sanyasi like figure will take care of them, but Sanyasi in reality does not want to know reality.

  3. Botched response to Covid emergency resulted in Trump exit. Modi Government must get booted out for similar mess.

  4. And theprint.in’s men and women will not stop publishing hatred and sexist trash in the name of journalism.

  5. politicians being politicians will not stop campaigning. the citizens must atleast now discuss the merits of one nation one poll.

  6. Congress supporters using this national Calamity for political reasons because of their miserable defeat by BJP in 2014 and 2019 elections.

  7. This central administration is incompetent headed by an incompetent narcissistic charlatan. The home minister spent the first 12 days of the 18 days in April in rallies around Bengal. Last year he was MIA during what TOI called the “dehumanizing exodus of migrant workers”. The less said about our boastful empathy less PM, the better.

    In the short term nothing much can be done. But in the longer term one lesson to us (at terrible cost) is that we should not never elect a strongman or strongwoman (think IG). Also distrust all parties driven by ideology. Another lesson is that do not give majority to any party at centre. If possible let us all strive to get proportional democracy.

    In the short term look after yourself and your neighbours and hold Mr Modi and his administration whenever possible.

  8. Why each and every person is pointing finger towards Modi and Modi alone. It is not having Presidential Govt. like USA and so President is answerable to the despondency, despair and woes of the countrymen. It is a federal democracy and each State having its own elected Govt. is responsible for the affairs of its own State. They can seek advice and of course assistance from the federal Govt. but by and large have to fend the States requirements etc itself. When they announce free ride in trains and buses for ladies irrespective of the fact they are or are not in a position to pay for their own ticket; provide honorarium to moulvis etc. for their work in mosques, they with fanfare receive laurels from the beneficiaries besides creating vote bank for ensuing elections, but never ponder over the long range requirements like hospitals and the requirements therein. That time they appeal the center and try to put onus on them. Irresponsibility thy name is democracy!

    • Because this man took credit for anything and everything and derided all his predecessors. This is the fallout of the strongman image he cultivated.

  9. Time for Modiji to release next version of the Mor/ peacock video. He should stick to what he does best. Meanwhile, this too, shall pass – his philosophy!

  10. Mamata Banerjee is also holding election rallies. As a chief minister of a state and health a state subject she should not do rallies and focus on Covid relief measures. Unfortunately the jaundiced eye media completely ignored this aspect.

  11. I totally agree current situation is vary bad, but I want to ask who is responsible for current situation? Please give me the honest answer.

    when center initially did Lockdown, everybody shouted at him, but nobody supported center that for such big population, its needed and also it has given time for us to build the infrastructure and it saved lot of life’s. did anybody acknowledged him? Instead most of the states complained that too much instructions coming from center govt. So govt. let the state govt. deal with it.

    This has to be blamed on
    1) state govt. who are not able to tackle it.
    2) blame the people who are varied, Modi is getting +ve talk on handling of situation in 1st wave.

    In short if Modi takes charge and handles it you blame him, if he gives you to charge and if you fail again you blame him.

    I am not giving clean chit to center, but now I think center should take back the control back and handle.

    Only request is please let them handle when they take back the control. everybody need to agree when govt. started vaccination drive everybody questioned its efficasi and planned down on people minds, please for GOD sake stop doing that.

  12. Madamji, we all saw what happened after 08 Nov 2016. The poor in India forever lost whatever chance they had for economic progress by the announcement on TV that night. India’s chances of becoming a high-income country vanished in the aftermath of DeMo. Yet, they voted for the same policies to continue in 2019. Come 2024, the same people will repeat the same mistake which will keep them in poverty and dependent on govt doles. The BJP spin machinery will remind these folks that Modi got rid of India’s population problem by deliberately mismanaging Covid! Why are you wasting your breath? Conserve it – for times are so bad that it really sucks your breath away!

  13. Now in our country covid 19 tsunami running but our PM and cabinet ministers & party leaders busy in elections campaign .this is acche din…?

  14. MODIJI must campaign and ensure victory to defeat mumtaz Begum and fake propaganda of RENTED JOURNALISTS.

  15. Yes our healthcare infrastructure is under stress. It takes years to create health infrastructure, and lots of public money. We supported socialist policies and resulting lack of private sector capacity. Whatever good India has achieved is by private sector, we need to stop funding BSNLs and other PSUs and start investing in healthcare.

  16. Political rallies happening in one state has created so much of flutter while so called farmers in Delhi spreading virus has not concerned Delhi based journalists at all. Check vaccination and testing rate in Punjab, you’ll be shocked. Delhi will face the brunt of Punjab’s lackadaisical approach, and so called farmer protests need to be vanquished with the same force as what Pakistan did to TLP.

  17. Usless rubbish paper. Don’t support these people with donation. They run anti India agenda and scare people of India.

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