India has seen the deadly second wave of Covid-19 which led to the record number of cases and deaths. The curve is now flattening but the number is still ridiculously high while India is preparing for the third wave. The indicators were positive in December and January; the complacency came through in the mind of the general people and the government which led to such devastation. Though India is called the ‘vaccine factory of the world’ the vaccination drive is still very low and from April 14 and it suffers from vaccine shortage. The reasons are known but the repercussions will be both known and unknown.
The BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a diverse cabinet of efficient and efficient ministers. From very efficient ministers like Nitin Gadkari or Piyush Goyal to inefficient ministers Nirmala Sitharam and Dr. Harsh Vardhan all exists in the same cabinet for too long without any reshuffling prior to failure. The Covid-19 blunder by the Modi government was inevitable as government was not imposing any types of restriction to control infections since December. Moreover, people stopped wearing mask and government was silent about it. The condition was worsening when thousands of people started attended to watch Cricket match in stadiums.
Recently, Modi government is blaming the state governments for failing the containment of Covid-19 second wave. Somehow the accusation is true but not entirely. Modi government was being cautioned several times about the incoming second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. The government did give any importance to the issue. Furthermore, when India started the vaccine drive, the government of India only placed order of 100 million doses of covid vaccine and government only wanted to vaccinate 250 million people by June to August. That is inefficient and ridiculous for a country big like India.
The Ministry of Health did not heed to contain the second wave rather was silent. It has been more than fourteen months since the first covid case was detected and the government is yet to plant enough ‘live saving’ oxygen plant in every states and enough ICU beds and ventilator for the hospitals to combat the pandemic. India is a huge industrial country having giants like Tata Groups, Reliance Groups, Adani Groups, and Birla Groups. If the government had the willingness to combat the pandemic well, it would have not that hard to decorate the hospitals with ample ICU beds, ventilators, Oxygen supply in the second wave. The morbidity rate is high only because the numbers of cases are high and the hospitals do not have enough oxygen for all which could be avoided it steps were taken earlier.
Only two vaccines were approved by the Indian government for fighting the covid crisis prior to the second wave. The Oxford-AstraZeneca invented, Serum Institute India manufactures Covishield and Bharat Biotech invented Covaxin. By combining they could only produce less than 100 million doses per month where Serum was bound to export half of its vaccine according to the contracts. If the government of India pre-ordered nearly 300 million doses instead of 100 million doses prior to second wave and administered them in February and March very fast, the scenario might have been very different by now. The authority might have a reserve of vaccine and they could go for more by this time.
India could have imported vaccines from Russia and USA earlier till their own production goes up. Indian government did that, but it was too late. Pharmaceutical companies like Dr. Reddy’s are now getting contracts and permission to produce Russian made vaccine Sputnik V. Yet the companies are predicting they may only produce vaccine to their potential around July. By that time India will be hit by the third wave.
Indian government let the election commission held elections in five provinces where rallies and political gatherings were allowed during the second wave. Modi and Shah had frequent visit to the states for election campaigning and attended rallies. This show how serious is the government on the issue of pandemic. They only care about the elections, power, chairs, not the people.
Even in the second wave, Indian government was waiting for a miracle to flattening the curve what did not happen. Partial of full lockdowns were not imposed to if imposed it was too late. Last year, the economic growth was minus. This year the government did not want that to happen again. The government prioritized the economy over its people. If they wanted a booming economy, they could have gone for a mass vaccination, not waiting for the miracle.
The image of Modi and BJP government is not good now. Finally, something has come and showed people that whatever Modi is doing is not good. Previously, when the economy was slowing down or Bank note ban or other bad things happened or bad policies were taken, people supported Modi that at least he was trying. But this time it shows that he really does not have any kind of policies or plans, or even if he has, he does not care. He is still reluctant to shuffle his cabinet with having these kinds of mismanagements. The priority is clear and people understand that.
Modi has the least popularity now in seven years timeline and it is going down. General people, including supporters of BJP or members or leaders of BJP are angry with Modi. The blunder will led BJP a hard time in the next national election in 2024. We understand that the ‘Iron Man Modi’ does not exist now in the mind of Indian people. A change in the Modi-Shah leadership is inevitable. BJP will find a new face for the next election where the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Aditya Nath, Former CM of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari are in the pole position. Yogi has public support but bad image, where Fadnavis lost the Maharashtra election to a coalition of Indian National Congress, Nationalist congress Party and Shiv Sena. The only person left in the list is Gadkari, who is backed by the RSS and have a great reputation as a politician and minister. The main challenge for BJP will be winning the next election with a great leader.
The parties against BJP must try to remind people of the blunder over and over again till the next election. They should not let the people to forget, moreover create issues from the mismanagement every time they get chance. A large amount of people are not going to vote for BJP next time. A coalition against BJP might work; just the time will tell who will be benefited from it.