Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done what US President Donald Trump could not and “saved the country” from the novel coronavirus, BJP President JP Nadda declared Thursday at an election rally in Bihar’s Darbhanga, which goes to the polls on Saturday in the final phase of voting.
Praising the centre’s handling of a pandemic that has, so far, infected nearly 84 lakh and killed over 1.24 lakh people in the country, Mr Nadda referred to the ongoing US presidential election and the multiple criticisms of Mr Trump’s handling of the Covid situation – an issue that has featured prominently in the campaign of his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.
“The results of the US elections are being declared and the allegation against Donald Trump is that he could not handle COVID-19 properly. But Modiji saved the country and its 130 crore population by taking timely decisions,” Mr Nadda was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
#WATCH: Results of US elections are being declared and the allegation against Donald Trump is that he could not handle COVID-19 properly, but Modi ji saved the country with 130-crore population by taking timely decision: BJP President JP Nadda in Darbhanga#BiharElectionspic.twitter.com/Rs67IHqHDL
— ANI (@ANI) November 5, 2020
India, the second worst-hit nation by the Covid pandemic, is 11 lakh cases behind the United States. This morning over 50,000 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours – the first time since October 26 that the mark has been breached – amid concerns over a surge in cases amid the festive season.
The centre has frequently compared figures from more developed nations to indicate India is in a relatively better position (fewer cases and deaths with reference to population size), but experts have questioned the lockdown strategy and possible under-reporting of Covid figures.
In response the centre has pointed to its lockdown strategy to say that the impact of the virus could have been far worse had “timely decisions”, as Mr Nadda said today, not been taken.
Bihar, facing a massive influx of migrants who had left the state looking for jobs but were forced to return because of the lockdown, has recorded over two lakh cases and 1,000 deaths so far.
The migrants, of whom there are more than 32 lakh, were promised jobs by Nitish Kumar but many have been left disappointed with the state government’s inability to provide employment – something that has provided opposition leaders like Tejashwi Yadav with ammunition.
Mr Yadav’s promise of 10 lakh government jobs has captured voters’ imagination and irritated Nitish Kumar, particularly since his ally, the BJP, then responded by promising 19 lakh jobs.
Nitish Kumar has dismissed Mr Yadav’s job promise as “bogus”. It is unclear if Mr Kumar extended that remark to the BJP’s promise.
Campaigning for the third and final phase of the Bihar election ends today, with voting for 78 seats set to start early Friday morning. Results for the election are due November 10.
With input from ANI