'Kids' death in Kota politicized at behest of PM, HM'

Facing flak over a spate of infants' death in Kota hospital, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Saturday alleged that the children's death was politicised by some local politicians at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah as "we speak against" them.

Without naming any local politician, Gehlot said, "Since we speak against (PM Narendra) Modi and (Home Minister) Amit Shah, they have pitted someone in Kota and someone in Jodhpur."

"Their (local politicians') work is to make an issue out of non-issue and to mislead media. A long media trial happened in Kota matter and the state earned a bad name. This is not a good sign,” he said.

Gehlot said the infant mortality rate has reduced in the state over the years and the fact should have been appreciated instead of politicising the issue.

In an apparent reference to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla and state's Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot visiting the families of infants' who died in Kota's J K Lon Hospital, the chief minister said death of even a single child is unfortunate, but he has not heard of anyone visiting bereaved families to mourn death of an infant or premature baby.

“IMR is getting reduced, still an issue is being created. When a newborn passes away, her mother, father and family members remain in pain but I have never heard of (anyone) going for mourning when an infant, newborn, or premature baby has passed away," he said.

"Politics was done on the matter which was unfortunate,” he said.

More than 110 children died in Kota's J K Lon hospital since December 1.

The government was criticised and targeted not only by the BJP but also by Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot who visited the bereaved families in Kota and said his government's response could have been more sensitive.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who represents Kota-Bundi in the Lower House, too had met the bereaved families.

Gehlot ruled that children's death was "politicised" without appreciating that due to governments' efforts infant mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio has come down considerably.

“IMR (infant mortality rate) and MMR (maternal mortality ratio) should reduce and I am happy that the IMR, which was 65 twenty years ago, has come down to 38 due to constant efforts by governments, be it of the Congress or the BJP,” Gehlot told reporters here.

He said the IMR has consistently reduced both in the BJP and Congress rules and it should be appreciated.

“The media trial which happened in the matter was a kind of conspiracy of a few politicians. An atmosphere was created deliberately. IMR is coming down and this should have been appreciated. Instead of this, some local politicians politicised the matter to polish their politics” he blamed, without naming anyone.

While complaining against "media trial" of his government, the chief minister, however, said that it was the duty of the media to expose shortcomings and the government's duty was to rectify the shortcomings.

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