Is it too much to expect PM Modi to do away with poll rallies to check spread of Omicron variant?

Centre claims it’s prepared to tackle a third wave. But believing Modi govt at election time is like believing grass will grow on ice. Ahead of second wave too, PM Modi was a picture of confidence

File picture of a BJP election rally
File picture of a BJP election rally

Sushil Kutty

The greetings and the good wishes have piled up at the entrance alongside dire predictions. Among the second lot are those which are related to the coronavirus. The coronavirus morphed several times and its latest variant Omicron is reportedly mildly severe compared to the horrendous Delta and its predecessor ‘Wuhan’, both of which raged and killed like there was a powerful shortage of souls for the fires of hell!

The Omicron spreads like a California fire but it gets a reprieve because its symptoms are docile and because it is not ravenous for human lives. The vaccination of the 15-18 group will be a challenge for Omicron. This age-group did not succumb to Delta and if the 15-18 vaccinations run strong and true, Omicron will also bite dust like its predecessors did with this age-group.

The trouble is, how many of India’s adults and the elderly have been left unvaccinated? Let’s get this, if people don’t get their boosters—Modi’s ‘precautionary dose’—everybody, even those who got both their doses would be rendered unvaccinated in one fell swoop!

That is because vaccines do not seem to be working against Omicron and even the double-doses are contracting Covid-19. Besides, there’s no guarantee that the next ‘badass variant’ will not give vaccines a friendly pass.

Vaccines like the coronavirus are proving to be funny and frustrating. The smallpox vaccine provides lifelong immunity with a single dose. And here are these plethora of Covid-19 vaccines with all their multiple claims which fall short of that distinction—none of them guarantee complete lifelong immunity.

Also, who knows what all vagaries of vaccines and viruses are awaiting humankind in 2022 and beyond? Sure, we are learning how to tackle the critter in the short-term, but don’t underestimate this lifeless unseen lumpen. It is unpredictable, worse than even the Monsoon and is a serial killer in many disguises.

Some of us want to look at Covid-19 like it is a common cold—just another virus-come-lately. That will be a folly. One misstep and humankind will be on the brink. And the missteps can be deliberate. Call it conspiracy theory or whatever, there are human beings who have become billionaires on the back of industries spawned by the coronavirus and Covid-19 vaccines—stinking, stinking rich.

Besides, where is the cure—cures? Yoga guru Baba Ramdev appears to have given up. And the entire big pharma cabal appears to have thrown in the towel. A million claims will be made and the global media is awash with them, but the truth is pretty dull, to say the least.

The only thing you can do with Covid-19 is to give whichever variant has got you tied down time to run its course through you, which is not cure but resignation in disguise. Let’s admit it, all the Antony Faucis in this world cannot do zilch to the coronavirus.

They are all falling by the wayside. Even the World Health Organization has run out of platitudes and variant names. The only grace is the thousands of scientists and researchers who are keeping track of the virus and catching its variants as and when they mutate and emerge in all their spiked glory.

Let us not forget India’s rickety and overburdened healthcare infrastructure failed Indians miserably with Delta and the second wave. The Modi Government was caught flatfooted and in the middle of a clutch of elections during the second wave.

Now, claims have been made that the Government of India is prepared to tackle a third wave if it comes to that. But, you know what—believing the Modi Government at election-time is like believing grass will grow on ice. Last time, with the Delta, too, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a picture of confidence.

But with this gentleman, for whom elections and winning elections is his sole reason to exist, nothing that he says and does at election-time can be taken at face value.

The Election Commission will be of no help. It got the chance to put its foot down on public rallies and roadshows, but it forfeited its responsibility. So we will have Modi’s mega rallies and Amit Shah’s roadshows. And Yogi will address rallies from the podium.

So, the next couple of months will be full of ‘coronavirus rallies’ in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Just as it was in West Bengal when elections were held there last year.

(IPA Service)

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