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‘Corona Management Ka UP Model’ — UP BJP’s ‘damage control’ in 5 pages, 60 bullet points

UP BJP is set to distribute a booklet to counter the opposition’s sustained jibes of 'Covid mismanagement' by the Yogi Adityanath government.

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Lucknow: The BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit has decided to go on the offensive to counter the opposition’s sustained jibes of “Covid mismanagement” by the Yogi Adityanath government. 

The party is set to distribute a five-page document with 60 bullet points, in which, among others, it claims it conducted a record number of Covid tests during the second wave in April and May. It is also claiming that it allowed economic activities to continue, while other states imposed stringent lockdowns in the aftermath of the second wave, and that it paid farmers Rs 1,000 “during the second Covid wave”.  

A BJP functionary told ThePrint that the document was prepared following the meetings that party general secretary (organisation) B.L. Santhosh held with at least 15 ministers, senior leaders and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on 21-22 June.  

The functionary added that the document, ‘Corona Management Ka UP model’, will be distributed to senior leaders in the organisation, cabinet ministers and several spokespersons. 

“This document has been prepared to counter the opposition narrative of Covid mismanagement in April-May,” the senior functionary said. “It has not been circulated yet. We also have a plan to share this at a very micro level, from district presidents to booth workers.”

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Highest testing, better oxygen management & more Covid wards

According to the booklet, a PDF copy of which is with ThePrint, oxygen supply to the state’s hospitals have been increased from 250 metric tonnes (MT), in the middle of the second wave, to 1000 MT now. The booklet does not specify the dates. 

It also claims that the government has at present 4 lakh paid volunteers for 73,441 nigraani samitis (observation teams) for Covid-19. 

The booklet says post-Covid wards have been set up in all 75 districts, and “highlights” the measures taken by ‘Team 9’, appointed by the chief minister in April to contain the spread of the pandemic. The ‘Team 9’ is a panel of senior officers and ministers headed by Medical Education Minister Suresh Khanna and Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh

Apart from this, the booklet looks to counter the opposition’s allegation of low testing in the state. In its second page, it claims that over 5.6 crore Covid tests were conducted in UP from April 2020 to June 2021, “which is more than 30 per cent of the population”. 

“More than three lakh tests were done in a day in the first week of June; it’s a record. Screening was conducted in over 97,000 villages from April 2020 to June 2021.”   

On the economic front, the BJP has stated that UP only opted for a ‘Corona curfew’ keeping business activities in mind. 

The booklet has claimed that the Yogi government set the “record for the highest wheat purchase in a year”. Between 1 April and 12 June, UP had bought around 51.05 lakh tonnes of wheat from more than 11.54 lakh farmers.

“Over the past three months, the Samajwadi Party, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have continually attacked the BJP government for Covid management and we have not countered them properly,” a UP BJP spokesperson said. “We did not have these 60 bullet points to counter their narrative. Now, we will speak on how much the government and party workers had done during this phase.”

Another senior leader told ThePrint that national general secretary Bhupender Yadav, in a recent Zoom meeting with top UP leaders, underlined the need for the document and ways to distribute.  

“He mentioned the central government’s efforts and asked everyone to reach out to each and every worker to inform them of the state government and party’s efforts regarding Covid management,” the second senior leader said. “Following this, senior functionaries prepared this document with help from the Chief Minister’s Office,” he added.

“While circulating this document, we have been told to point out that many countries and states also failed in Covid management,” the leader said. “We still did a better job even though UP is highly populated. Jo humare workers Corona may nirash ho gye te, unhe khastaur se ye document pdhkr bataaane ko bola gaya hai (This document is also for our workers who lost hope in us during the second Covid wave).”

Impact of meetings held by B.L. Santhosh

The roots of the document, a third senior UP BJP leader said, can be traced back to Santhosh’s meetings on 21 and 22 June.

The party general secretary (organisation) had been in Lucknow to review the Yogi government’s handling of Covid, for which it has faced flak, and its preparedness for the 2022 assembly elections.  

“It was decided in those meetings that for damage control, three things would have to be done,” the third leader said. “First, senior leaders would visit homes of party workers and office-bearers who had lost their family members to Covid. A document would be prepared highlighting the government and party’s efforts during the second Covid phase. Third, the party’s senior functionaries would share government initiatives and various schemes on their social media accounts.”

Since Santosh’s visit, the leader said, the party’s general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal, state party president Swatantra Dev Singh and other senior functionaries have been sharing various initiatives of the Yogi government on social media. “That’s the impact of B.L. Santhosh’s meetings,” he said. 

Another party functionary said all this is part of the party’s preparations for next year’s elections. 

“Our party’s focus is currently on assembly elections; we have done well in the zila panchayat president polls,” the functionary said. “Now efforts are on to bridge the gap between the sarkar (government) and the sangathan (organisation). This will help in keeping everyone united before the 2022 assembly elections.”

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

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