PM Modi is seldom effusive in his praise: So, his remarks that Uttar Pradesh's handling of the second wave of COVID-19 was "unparalleled" caused some flutter in power corridors.
Modi was on a touch-and-go visit of five hours to Varanasi on Thursday, where he kickstarted the campaign for the coming assembly elections.
Going into specifics, the Prime Minister also said UP - which was recording over 30,000 new cases daily at the peak of the second wave -- had "stood up and battled the virus efficiently", and that its management of the pandemic was "worthy of praise".
It has not been an easy going for the UP government during the second wave of coronavirus. It almost lost the battle of public perception when bodies surfaced in river Ganga. The shortage of clinical oxygen and hospital beds had also hit headlines, adding to its woes.
The Prime Minister on Thursday dedicated and laid foundation of projects worth Rs 1500 crores in his parliamentary constituency. During his visit, he also addressed a public meeting, met notable personalities and Covid warriors.
The latest controversy is over the permission granted by the Yogi government to the Kanwar Yatra – disciples of Lord Shiva; a similar permission was withdrawn by the nascent Uttarakhand government, after it came under pressure from the Union Health Ministry over the need to scrap religious pilgrimages and processions during the pandemic. CM Yogi, from all accounts, is going ahead with the Yatra.
So, it was welcome praise when the PM specially mentioned the steps taken by the UP government to control pandemic in the recent past. He said that the population of UP is more than that of many countries in world; yet it has managed to stop the second wave. He also said that there has been tremendous improvement in medical infrastructure, be it health centres, medical colleges or AIIMs, one can see change everywhere in the state.