Congress under fire over Kota infant deaths

BSP supremo Mayawati fired a salvo at the Congress, particularly at AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, asking her to also visit the “aggrieved mothers” in Rajasthan, in the same manner as she does in Uttar Pradesh. PTI

Congress was facing fire over the death of more than 100 infants at a government hospital in Kota, forcing party chief Sonia Gandhi to crack the whip that sent Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot scrambling into action.

Days after BJP kept up heat on the Gehlot government, BSP supremo Mayawati fired a salvo at the Congress, particularly at AICC General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, asking her to also visit the “aggrieved mothers” in Rajasthan, in the same manner as she does in Uttar Pradesh.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi summoned AICC General Secretary Avinash Pande, in-charge of party affairs in Rajasthan, to express her “serious concern” over the death of infants at the Kota hospital and directed him to submit a report on the matter.

“Sonia ji wanted to know the reasons of the deaths. It is a very sad situation and the Chief Minister has been asked to act on the report,” Pande told reporters after meeting Gandhi.

Congress leaders dismissed attempts by the BJP to draw similarities between the infant deaths in Kota and the tragedy in Gorakhpur two years back. They pointed out that the deaths in Gorakhpur were due to negligence of hospital authorities who did not stock adequate oxygen.

As the death of infants came to light, BJP sent a three-member team on a fact-finding mission to Kota, prompting the Congress to accuse the saffron party of politicising the issue.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also announced that a central team of pediatricians to Kota to identify the gaps in the treatment and suggest quick measures needed to provide relief.

Congress leaders argued that the hospital gets patients from the adjoining tribal regions of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat who are already in a critical condition due to delayed medication. They pointed out that the hospital was well equipped and that the infant mortality rate in Rajasthan had been on a decline.

Mayawati kept up the attack on Priyanka, who is in-charge of Congress affairs in Uttar Pradesh and is working to revive the party where BJP, SP and BSP have held sway for the last three decades.

“It is very sad that the woman Congress General Secretary is keeping mum on the deaths of 100 children in the Kota hospital. It would have been better if like Uttar Pradesh, she would have met the mothers of the children who have died in the hospital, due to the apathy of the government of her party in the state,” Mayawati said.

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