The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday hit back at industrialist Rajiv Bajaj for his criticism of the nationwide lockdown, saying that he was not an expert on the pandemic, PTI reported.
Bajaj, who is the Chairman of the Bajaj Group, had told Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday that the government’s “draconian lockdown” to contain the spread of the coronavirus had ended up decimating the economy. “We tried to implement a hard lockdown which was still porous,” he had told Gandhi during an online conversation. “So, I think we have ended up with the worst of both worlds. On one hand, a porous lockdown makes sure that the virus will still exist and as you said, it is still waiting to hit you when you will unlock. So, you have not solved that problem.”
He had also alleged that the government flattened the wrong curve. “But you have definitely decimated the economy,” Bajaj had said. “You flattened the wrong curve. It is not the infection curve, it is the GDP curve.”
Responding to the conversation, BJP spokesperson Gopal Krishna Agarwal said that Gandhi used the industrialist as a “bouncing wall” for his ideas. “Everybody has a right to have an opinion but Rajiv Bajaj is not an expert on the coronavirus and how to deal with it,” he said, according to PTI.
Agarwal added that the lockdown had bought India time to prepare for the coronavirus crisis. “The lockdown gave India time to ramp up the country’s poor health infrastructure to deal with the pandemic,” he wrote on Twitter. “India had no manufacturing capacity for protective equipment or face masks and depended on import on March 25. Infrastructure has been built.”
BJP’s Information Technology cell chief Amit Malviya also hit out at Bajaj for praising Sweden for not imposing a lockdown, and said the country’s chief epidemiologist had admitted that the approach was incorrect and led to a high coronavirus death rate.
In his conversation with Bajaj on Thursday, Gandhi had said that India was the only country where the number of coronavirus cases had increased after easing the nationwide lockdown. The Congress leader had added that the lockdown had instilled fear in the minds of people.
India first went under lockdown in March. The nationwide restrictions continued for four phases. With the latest phase, termed ‘Unlock 1’, the government is hoping to restart economic activity and gradually bring the nation out of the lockdown in a phased manner.
The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 2,26,770 on Friday morning after 9,851 more people tested positive for the infection in 24 hours. This is the biggest single-day increase in the number of cases. The country’s toll rose by 273 to 6,348.