The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led government in Madhya Pradesh is facing criticism as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the state. On Thursday, the state reported 248 new coronavirus cases and four deaths, taking the total number of cases to 5,981.
A day earlier, Chouhan had held a meeting with yoga guru Ramdev where they discussed ways to tackle the pandemic. A tweet from his office said that senior officers, officials from AYUSH department and chief medical and health officers (CMHOs) were also present at the meeting.
The Hindu reported that “at a video-conference to give advice” to the CMHOs, Ramdev said that if an individual’s immunity is strong, coronavirus can do no harm to them.
State health minister Narottam Mishra was also present during the meeting, the report added, in which Ramdev guided health officials on the use of Ayurvedic medicines and pranayama to combat the virus.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Madhya Pradesh unit took a dig at the Chouhan government over the video conference, tweeting that this was a sign of “new India”:
Mishra was only named the health minister in April after the state weathered through weeks of the pandemic with just Chouhan at the helm. Chouhan, who took oath on 23 March, had set a record by becoming the longest serving Chief Minister without a council of ministers, according to News18.
His latest stint as chief minister had come after a period of intense political turmoil in the state.
Transfers after rise in cases
The government has also transferred a couple of key officials recently. After Khandwa saw 90 new coronavirus cases, the Madhya Pradesh government on Wednesday transferred Khandwa district collector and superintendent of police, Hindustan Times reported.
After Ujjain became a hotspot, collector Shashank Mishra was shifted on 4 May and SP Sachin Atulkar on 7 May.
The Madhya Pradesh Congress criticised the Chouhan government over its handling of the pandemic and asked for his resignation. State Congress president’s media coordinator Narendra Saluja was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times, “If inefficiency is the reason behind these transfers then why chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan should not go from his post under whose leadership the state government failed to control coronavirus in the state and almost entire state has been affected by the disease except five districts?”
He added that either Chouhan should step down or Prime Minister Narendra Modi should remove him.
Preparing for bypolls
The state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also reportedly begun planning for the assembly bypolls for 24 seats. The date for the elections is yet to be announced.
The bypolls have been necessitated after 22 MLAs of the Congress resigned following Jyotiraditya Scindia’s exit from the party. State BJP President VD Sharma said the BJP is likely to give tickets for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly bypolls to a majority of former Congress MLAs.
“These are people who had left their ministerial berths and posts as MLAs to save Madhya Pradesh from corruption and poor administration. I would not be wrong in saying that these people had sacrificed themselves and their posts for the state. So, for this reason, all of them are in consideration for the candidature,” he told ANI.
Sharma also said that online meetings are being conducted in all constituencies. “We have strengthened the organisation online. Shakti kendra and booth level meetings have begun. We work round the year. We will reach people through online mediums and door to door campaign will be done by keeping physical distancing and following other health measures,” he added, according to Hindustan Times.
The Chouhan government, The Economic Times reported, is also looking at expanding the cabinet ahead of the by-elections.
(With PTI inputs)