Covid deaths and the numbers game: A political row is on

WHO data on Covid deaths has triggered a war of words, with Rahul Gandhi lashing out at the government

The World Health Organisation (WHO) data on Covid -19 deaths in India has triggered a war of words between the Opposition Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the outfit in power.

With the WHO data released on Thursday pointing out that there have been 4.7 million excess deaths in India due to Covid 19, between January 2020 and December 2021, the nation was stunned that the official WHO figures were 10 times the government’s official figures.

The numbers also pointed out to the fact that India accounted for almost a third of Covid deaths globally. The global figure, according to the report, was 15 million, which incidentally is more than double the official figure of 6 million.

PM Modi lying on Covid death numbers, feels Rahul Gandhi

With the report hogging public space, Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the government stating that “Science does not lie, Prime Minister Narendra Modi does”. Calling upon the government to keep its promise of Rs 4 lakh compensation to the kin of those dead, Gandhi pointed fingers at PM Narendra Modi for having fooled the nation by showing the people fake numbers.

Gandhi tweeted that, 47 lakh Indians died due to the Covid pandemic. Not 4.8 lakh as claimed by the Govt. Science doesn’t LIE. Modi does”.

With Rahul Gandhi launching a scathing attack on the government, the ruling BJP has found itself in a spot. And the saffron party isn’t willing to take it all lying down. They lashed back at him stating that the “WHO data and Congress’ beta (meaning, son) are wrong”.

As if in a move to make people believe that the row over data and the Congress party’s interest in it are all a farce, the BJP hit out at Rahul Gandhi saying that he has been trying to tarnish PM Modi’s image since 2014, and he has tarnished India’s image in the process.

Death data row to escalate

The WHO report on Covid-19 death data has come in for harsh criticism from the India government. Dismissing the WHO data and the mathematical model to calculate the number of Covid deaths, India has clarified that it has an extremely robust system of births and deaths registration and that the WHO method of data collation is “statistically unsound and scientifically questionable”.

In this context, the WHO data is to debated much more exhaustively in the coming days. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether it is a bag of lies that PM Modi and his bunch of ministers have been peddling amongst the people of India. The WHO data, though challenged by the government, is being termed as scientifically calculated. Rahul Gandhi’s outburst shouldn’t die down, if that is the case. The Opposition has a role to play here.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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