“Welcome to the largest democracy on the planet,” Narendra Modi said shortly after achieving his first absolute majority in the 2014 general elections. With populist rhetoric and championing Hindu nationalism, the Prime Minister of Indiahe kept winning elections and dodging problems. It did not matter that thousands of women took to the streets protesting the terrible cases of rapes without a response from the Government or that millions of Muslims stood up for new supremacist laws that threatened to tear the fabric of the country’s secular identity in favor of the Hindu majority. Modi was still untouchable. The friendly face of his mandate, the fight against poverty and the efforts to bring down a corruption that was too entrenched in the system, had their reward at the polls.
Modi (70 years old) also came strong when the first wave of coronavirus hit India. Against all odds, the country that has a doctor for every 11,000 inhabitants, a public hospital for every 55,000 people and a bed for every 84,000 patients, managed to hold out. So much so that in February this year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that India would be one of the economies that would grow the most and Prime Minister Modi, with not even 1% of the population vaccinated, declared that the country was the “pharmacy of the world “ and noted that pre-pandemic life could resume.
So it happened. Thousands of people once again filled the cricket stadiums and millions took a dip in the Ganges celebrating the Kumbh Mela festival. Meanwhile, Modi toured five states where an electoral cycle had begun with almost 190 million people summoned to the polls. The days went by and the second wave of coronavirus was taking shape. But Modi did not give up the big campaign rallies. On April 2, when the numbers were already skyrocketing, infections reached 89,129 and there were 478 deaths. On May 2, 368,147 infections and 3,317 deaths were reported.
India has collapsed with the arrival of the second wave. It is the worst pandemic scenario in what we have. And many point to the prime minister as guilty for his overconfidence and lack of foresight. The first slap has been in the state elections. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost on Sunday in the state of West Bengal, which will remain under the control of Mamata Banerjee (66 years old), who has been its chief minister — ruler — since 2011 and a scourge of Modi in his crusade. Hindu against religious minorities in India.
The West Bengal elections were held in stages , beginning in late March and ending last week. Many critics said they should have been canceled, or that the rallies — where there were no masks and no safety distance — should have been banned.
Banerjee, who leads the Trinamool Congress, a party he founded in 1998, will continue to challenge Modi’s nationalism, leading 213 seats out of 292 in a state with more than 90 million inhabitants and which had become the prime minister’s strong bid, who traveled a dozen times to West Bengal in the middle of the campaign.
Modi’s party also failed in two southern states, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Although he did win a second term in the northeastern state of Assam. “The BJP began to lose steam as the pandemic spread. The verdict in the state of West Bengal will definitely weaken Modi’s position,” says Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Modi’s political analyst and biographer, although he assures that this electoral defeat and the devastating second wave will not prevent the prime minister from ending his term in 2024.
Modi now has to deal with an unprecedented crisis, leading a government that is being unable to maintain a constant supply of oxygen to hospitals where there are no more patients. As authorities wait for friendly nations to send them more pumps and oxygen concentrators , citizens are pleading on social media for medical supplies and paying exorbitant prices on the black market for drugs that are no longer in hospitals and pharmacies.
The healthcare system has collapsed . India has been reporting more than 300,000 new infections for 12 consecutive days. In total, infections close to 20 million and 220,000 deaths. Funeral pyres burn in makeshift crematoriums in parks and parking lots in cities like New Delhi. Meanwhile, Modi’s party is trying to silence hospitals in some states that criticize the lack of oxygen and formally ask Twitter — with the excuse of “protecting the sovereignty and integrity of India” — to remove messages that point to government mismanagement. for not being able to prevent the deadly second wave.
Originally published at https://zaviews.blogspot.com.