Opinion DC Comment 11 May 2020 DC Edit: Amit Shah d ...

DC Edit: Amit Shah dispels rumours

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published May 11, 2020, 6:02 pm IST
Updated May 11, 2020, 6:02 pm IST
Mr Shah and his ministry have been engaged over the past few weeks in a series of confrontations with the West Bengal
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a review meeting to discuss civil aviation sector, in New Delhi, Friday, May 1, 2020. Home Minister Amit Shah is also seen. PTI Photo
  Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a review meeting to discuss civil aviation sector, in New Delhi, Friday, May 1, 2020. Home Minister Amit Shah is also seen. PTI Photo

Union home minister Amit Shah’s statement on Saturday in which he tried to dismiss social media speculation about his health, by declaring he was “absolutely well and not suffering from any disease”, appears somewhat puzzling, and not least because of its timing. The rumours he referred to had started doing the rounds almost immediately after the nationwide lockdown started a month and a half ago, but since then Mr Shah had often been seen in video images with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers, and had even participated in video calls with chief ministers. Then too, after work resumed in Central ministries some weeks ago, Mr Shah regularly spent long days at his North Block office, sometimes even working close to midnight, so it seems surprising to this newspaper why he felt the need to respond to these unverified social media rumours at this point.

Mr Shah and his ministry have been engaged over the past few weeks in a series of confrontations with the West Bengal government led by Trinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak (the MHA claims the numbers of Covid-19 cases in the state were being manipulated) and implementation of lockdown restrictions, which flared up again on Saturday as the Centre claimed the state was impeding the movement of migrants by special trains to and from West Bengal, which the state government immediately denied. A senior Trinamul MP said “it is part of the home minister’s DNA to play politics during a national pandemic”, while the Centre, and the BJP, has received steadfast support from West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar in its endeavours. The explanation is simple: the state will hold Assembly polls next year, and the BJP hopes a weakened Mamata Banerjee will enable it to reap electoral gains.

 

In scotching rumours about his so-called ill-health (with four people detained in Gujarat on Saturday over a fake tweet), the home minister also managed to bring in religion, saying as per Hindu beliefs, malicious lies about someone’s health actually work to the victim’s benefit. One can only hope Mr Shah will now vigorously work to contain the pandemic.

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