Politics in times of pandemic – editorials
Never in recent history has India faced a challenge, which is affecting or has the potential to affect every state, every economic sector, every organization, every business and every individual. The answer must take into account this scale of the crisis. And a key precondition for a concerted response is political unity.
India is a democracy. This is their strength. And it also means that on any issue, at any time, there will be differences between citizens and political formations. On the management of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as well, the Opposition has the right to ask questions about the government’s initial response, current strategies, and protocols that are being implemented. In fact, you must do it to present the prospects that may be missing. The government also has a duty to remain responsible and explain its plans to citizens and the parliamentary opposition. This vitality of debate is important, especially since it is through consistent comments and constructive criticism that political measures can be refined.
But this should not translate into a question of political contention. Indian citizens, despite their political and ideological differences and contrasting views on different leaders and issues, are not in the mood for minor disputes and points at Covid-19. The ruling dispensation must refrain from any premature self-gratitude messages about how it has dealt with the crisis. The Opposition should not pat itself on the back for warning about the crisis and making doomsday predictions. Treat this as a national emergency. And just like in an emergency, work together. In Kerala, both the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition together, through a video conference, spoke to local bodies about the crisis and the necessary measures. The Indian political class must emulate this example.