24/08/2020 4:41 PM IST

Watch: SP MLC Sunil Singh Sajan On UP's Coronavirus Horror After Chetan Chauhan's Death

Cricketer-turned-politician Chauhan is the second UP cabinet minister to die of Covid-19.

Screenshot from YouTube

The death of Uttar Pradesh minister and former cricketer Chetan Chauhan from Covid-19 has raised grave questions about the government’s measures to curb the spread of the disease in the state. 

The total number of cases in the state has crossed 1.8 lakh, with the death toll over 2,900. In a speech in the Uttar Pradesh assembly on Friday, Samajwadi Party MLC Sunil Singh Sajan blamed government apathy for BJP leader Chauhan’s death. 

Chauhan is the second UP minister to die of coronavirus.

Sajan, who said he was also in hospital due to Covid-19 at the same time as Chauhan, alleged that doctors did not speak to the minister with respect. Then Sajan described his own ordeal, saying he had to get tested many times due to the doctors’ mistakes. 

“He (Chauhan) was there beside me (next hospital bed) for two days. He was suffocated. I should not say this, but he did not die of Covid-19, but because of government apathy.” 

Sajan said in his speech that he got tested five times, and each time the report came out positive. The doctors kept taking new tests because the label on his swab sample got mixed up, then his form was sent but not the sample, Sajan alleged. 

He said he got fed up and left the hospital after 19 days to be isolated at home. Both Chauhan and Sajan were admitted at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences. 

Sajan wondered if this was the way ministers were treated, then what would happen to the general public. 

The Print said in a report that so far nine cabinet ministers of the Uttar Pradesh government had tested positive, out of whom two — Chetan Chauhan and Kamal Rani Varun — died. 

The Yogi Adityanath government has come under criticism for alleged excesses by the police force as well as for targeting critics. Journalists in the state told HuffPost Indialast week that the government has been intimidating them to avoid negative reports on its performance. 

READ: Between FIR And Arrest, UP’s Journalists Fight To Survive

The footage of Sajan’s speech in the Legislative Council went viral on social media platforms on Saturday.

In a tweet in Hindi, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said, “While comparing the so-called better preparations for COVID-19 to that of the USA, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister had forgotten the kind of behaviour his cabinet colleague Chetan Chauhan experienced at a government hospital.”

When contacted, SGPGI director Dr RK Dhiman expressed surprise at Sajan’s statement.

“During treatment, I had spoken to Chauhan a number of times, but he never brought up the incident. And he went to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram citing family reasons. If there were any complaints, it should have been conveyed. The incident will be probed,” he told PTI.

(With PTI inputs)