Leading French daily calls Modi arrogant, demagogue; says he’s responsible for rising Covid curve

Here is a translation by Punjab Today, from the original French.
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Narendra Modi’s lack of foresight, arrogance and demagoguery are evidently among the causes of a situation that now seems out of control.

EVERY DAY, 350,000 new infections and more than 2,000 deaths are being recorded in India, a situation that has arisen not only due to the unpredictability of the virus but also the lack of anticipation, arrogance and demagoguery of the Indian Prime Minister.

It was in early February that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, prided himself on having defeated the Covid and saving his country. The subcontinent and its 1.4 billion people had only 9,000 daily cases.

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The Prime Minister Modi, after having paralyzed and traumatized his country in 2020 by decreeing brutal confinement, abandoning millions of migrant workers, completely lowered his guard at the beginning of 2021.

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Presented as the “pharmacy of the world,” the country exported and offered millions of doses of vaccine, ensuring that enough was produced for its population to be protected.

Three months later, the Indian “example” has given way to a nightmare. Every day, 350,000 cases of new contaminations and more than 2,000 deaths are being recorded; India is nearing 200,000 deaths, according to statistics that are likely far below the real mark.

The sight of the lines of ambulances at the doors of saturated hospitals, of the relatives of patients begging in vain for oxygen, of chain cremations just does not stop. From towns to the countryside, from the privileged to the poor, the devastation has spared no one.

Descending until February, the epidemic curve is now rising almost vertically. This tragedy has shaken a great country full of promise, exposing its weaknesses.

Such a backlash cannot be explained solely by the unpredictability of a virus and its variants. Narendra Modi’s lack of foresight, arrogance and demagoguery are evidently among the causes of a situation that now seems out of control and requires international mobilization.

The Prime Minister Modi, after having paralyzed and traumatized his country in 2020 by decreeing brutal confinement, abandoning millions of migrant workers, completely lowered his guard at the beginning of 2021.

modiPreferring nationalist harangues to actual healthcare measures, more inclined to self-celebration than to the protection of the people, Mr. Modi only made the situation worse. In an electoral campaign to conquer states that had escaped his grip in the past, he held multiple rallies gathering gigantic crowds without masks.

Mr. Modi allowed the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage to unfold, in which millions of Hindus immersed themselves, one against the other, in the waters of the Ganges, turning the place into a giant hotbed of contagion.

Mr. Modi’s vaccine strategy stems from the same idiocy: a lavish vaccine diplomacy meant to serve his grandiose ambitions, but ignorant of the reality of the country’s production capacities. He gave priority regions that were inclined politically favorable to him, abdicating his responsibility towards other federated states.

The result is that barely 10% of India’s population has received a dose of the vaccine and, at the current rate, herd immunity will not be achieved until 2023.

In the face of this disaster, now is the time for solidarity. Everything must be done to alleviate and shorten the suffering of the people of India, whom the pandemic has already brought down, by the millions, below the poverty line.

The United States, the European Union, France, Germany and the United Kingdom have rightly announced that they’ll be sending aid in the form of respirators or components for the production of vaccines.

Never has the vanity of each-for-himself been more blatant than in these times of Covid-19. Never has the dependence of each human being on all of humanity been clearer.

The Indian drama, like that experienced by Brazilians, also illustrates the ravages of populism in countries where illusionists thriving on inequality manage to sell voters their promises of salvation based in reality on hyper-nationalism and complete ignorance.

To read the original story in French, click here.

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Also Read: The Guardian view on Modi’s mistakes: A Pandemic That Is Out Of Control

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WHY WE REACHED THIS CRISIS? Because we forgot this man carrying his dead wife on his shoulders!

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Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment.

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