Ahead of Rahul Gandhi's visit to Gorakhpur on Saturday, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath mounted a veiled attack on the Congress vice-president and said the city wasn't a picnic spot.
"There's a 'yuvraj' (prince) sitting in Delhi, who doesn't understand the significance of a Swachhta Abhiyan. There's no valid reason why he should be permitted to turn Gorakhpur into his picnic spot," Adityanath said at a public meeting earlier in the day.
The chief minister, who inaugurated a cleanliness campaign in the district to tackle the deadly encephalitis outbreak in the wake of death of 70 children at the BRD hospital here, also targeted Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
"I feel that the shehzada sitting in Lucknow ..yuvraj sitting in Delhi will not know the importance of this cleanliness campaign. They will come here to make it a picnic spot, we cannot permit it," he said, attacking Gandhi who is scheduled to meet the families of the victims and visit the BRD hospital today.
"I started a movement against encephalitis. I drew the attention of every government to sanitation and clean drinking water,” he claimed.
He pointed out that his government had started a massive immunisation drive against the disease vaccinating 98 lakh children in 38 districts.
Adityanath was in Gorakhpur to flag off the 'Swachh Uttar Pradesh, Swasth Uttar Pradesh' campaign, which many consider a propitiatory move following the deaths of 70 children at the district's BRDM College hospital. While the Adityanath-led government held Acute Encephalitis responsible for the tragic deaths, the opposition alleged that shortfall in the supply of oxygen in the hospital's paediatric wards was the fatal factor.
However, Adityanath did not allude to the infants' deaths which had made national headlines for days, but blamed the previous Samajwadi Party and BSP regimes for the ramshackle condition of the state's medical infrastructure.
"Government in last 12-15 years has ruined institutions in UP for selfish motives by institutionalising corruption. They kept people deprived of facilities," the CM charged.
Yogi virtually putting the responsibility of the recent death of 30 children within 48 hours at Gorakhpur’s Baba Ram Das Medical College hospital at the doorstep of the previous governments comes in the wake of his asking his cabinet colleagues to strongly counter the opposition’s ‘propaganda’ on the issue during the cabinet meeting earlier this week.
More than 70 infants have lost their lives since August 7 at the state-run BRD hospital in the district allegedly due to disruption of oxygen supply – a claim the state government has dismissed. While the hospital principal and the doctor in-charge of the pediatric ward have been suspended, a probe has been ordered by the state government.