Bhopal: Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who resigned from the post last month, lashed out at the Centre on Sunday over the novel coronavirus outbreak in the state that has infected 532 people and killed 36.
The “Centre's’ engagement in toppling the (state) government led to delay in taking steps to tackle” the crisis, he said, referring to dramatic scenes last month in which 22 former MLAs resigned to leave the ruling Congress short of numbers in the Assembly and thereby allowing the BJP to grab power.
Kamal Nath also pointed out that the BJP's Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was sworn in as Chief Minister two days after the Congress government collapsed, had still not yet appointed ministers for Home and Health ministries - key posts in the battle to contain the contagious COVID-19 virus.
"Madhya Pradesh is the only state where there is no minister for Home and Health. Lockdown was imposed 40 days after Congress MP Rahul Gandhi expressed concerns. The Centre's engagement in toppling Madhya Pradesh government (has) led to delay in taking steps to tackle (the) COVID-19 (outbreak)," Kamal Nath was quoted by news agency ANI.
Madhya Pradesh is among the states most badly hit by the COVID-19 outbreak; only Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have reported more cases and only Maharashtra has more deaths.
Holding the BJP-led government at the Centre responsible for the crisis, Kamal Nath also said the people of Madhya Pradesh had been ‘befooled’. "Nowhere in the world has this (failure to appoint key ministers) happened," he claimed.
"(The) Cabinet (has) yet to be formed. On March 12, I ordered the closing of malls and other places but no action has been taken after my resignation," he added.
Over half of the COVID-19 cases in the state have been reported from the city of Indore, which has also reported a shockingly high death rate - 11 per cent, or three times the national average.
Madhya Pradesh is also the state where healthcare workers and civic officials have been attacked, on at least two separate occasions. One attack - in which two women doctors were injured - was reported from Indore earlier this month.
Coronavirus cases will rise if more testing done
Kamal Nath accused the BJP government at the Centre of being responsible for the situation arising out of coronavirus in the country.
"It is obvious, Parliament was run only to ensure that Madhya Pradesh assembly could run and the Congress government be toppled," Nath said at a press conference addressed through video conferencing.
The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister said the situation in the country due to coronavirus was very serious and the number of cases will rise if more testing was done.
Noting that the country is going to face a very serious economic crisis due to COVID-19, he said the Centre's economic package needs to be focussed and its success lies in its execution and on which sectors it focusses on.
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