Madhya Pradesh: Oxygen Tanker Stopped for Photo Ops with BJP Netas Before Arriving at Hospitals

By: Aashruti Vohra
19 Apr 2021 11:03:56 PM CSMC, Chitkara University, Punjab

A tanker carrying 30 tonnes of oxygen from Gujarat arrived in Indore on Saturday night but before it could reach the city hospitals, politicians made a media pageant of its arrival, holding it up for photo ops at two places, The News Minute reported. This, despite Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s instructions that oxygen tankers should be given ambulance status and should be accompanied by police to ensure there is no hold-up. 


The tanker driver had started off from Jamnagar at night stopping only once for lunch during the 700 km journey. “I have not blinked all the way. We are aware of how important oxygen is during Covid times,” driver Shailendra Kushwah told Times of India on Saturday night. He did not expect to be hounded by politicians with garlands, balloons and cameramen. 


The tanker was first stopped at Chandan Nagar Square by BJP workers, led by local president Gaurav Randive. He was soon joined by cabinet minister Tulsiram Silawat. A team of media persons, informed in advance, took photographs of the two posed in front of the tanker and gave speeches. A team of administrative officials, conducted by collector Manish Singh, had to arrive and assist the tanker on its way.


When the tanker arrived at the oxygen plant at MR-10, BJP Lok Sabha MP Shankar Lalwani, and MLAs Ramesh Mendola and Akash Vijayvargiya were there to welcome it. It was decorated with balloons. A priest performed puja in the presence of the politicians before the nod was given to pipe off the oxygen.


As reports of the incident spread, Congress leaders took this as an opportunity to attack Madhya Pradesh’s ruling party on Sunday. “BJP leaders in Indore celebrated the arrival of just one oxygen tanker while 10 people died in Shahdol due to lack of oxygen. This is the height of shamelessness,” said PCC spokesperson K K Mishra.


The saffron party has countered that there was no delay in the tanker reaching the filling station. “The tanker was stopped only once, for five minutes, on Dhar Road and then it went directly to the filling station,” Gaurav Randive released his statement.


As of April 18, Madhya Pradesh has over 73,000 active COVID cases. Out of these 12,248 were recorded between Saturday and Sunday. In the same interval, 66 people have been reported to have succumbed to the virus. 

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