With Panchayat elections over UP extends lockdown

The curfew which began on Friday night, was earlier to end on Tuesday morning

With Panchayat elections over UP extends lockdown
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NH Correspondent/Lucknow

On April 20, the Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh had told Supreme Court that it was not in favour of lockdown because it will hit the livelihood of poor. But 10 days later, the same government has extended lockdown for five days in a week raising a big question whether this BJP government was waiting for Panchayat elections to end before putting the state under lockdown.

The Panchayat elections ended on April 29 and counting of votes started on May 2 and will end by Monday evening.

On Monday, the government announced an extension of the weekend curfew by two days. The curfew was scheduled to end on Tuesday at 7 am and now it will end on Thursday at 7 am. “This extension was announced as per Chief Minister’s directives,” a senior official told this reporter.

The official said that this decision was taken to break the chain of the Coronavirus in the state.

Incidentally, on April 19, the Allahabad High Court had slammed the Yogi Adityanath government for its failure to control the second surge of coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh and urged the government again to impose a 14-day lockdown in the state.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Siddharth Varma and Justice Ajit Kumar rejected the state government’s plan to control the pandemic saying that the government should give up the “my way or no way” attitude and follow the court’s directives on tackling the situation. “It is shameful for the state government failing to provide oxygen to patients dying due to deadly virus,” the High Court had sternly remarked.

Meanwhile, in a statement, a government spokesman had said: “It is mandatory to save lives but it is equally important to save livelihood of the poor and therefore lockdown will not be imposed in cities. In many sectors people are willfully closing down their institutions.”

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a meeting then had said that the government is not in favor of complete lockdown like Delhi. He said instead of complete lockdown , officials should be instructed to increase the availability of oxygen and strict action should be taken against those violating the Covid protocol.

The Yogi Government moved the Supreme Court against High Court order and got the reprieve.

The word spread that rather than focusing on saving lives at this time of crisis, the Yogi government was paying attention to the Panchayat elections only.

“Government should have suspended Panchayat elections and stopped counting of votes. There is complete violation of covid norms despite strict warning by the Supreme Court to conduct counting under covid protocol. People have thronged the counting centres and in some places police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse the mob,” a Samajwadi Party lawmaker Ujjawal Raman Singh said.

He opined if the government had announced lockdown when High Court had asked it to do so, many lives would have been saved.

“Arrogance never pays and this Yogi dityanath should know,” Congress spokesman Amarnath Agarwal said.

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Published: 03 May 2021, 1:05 PM