7 Politicians Struggling to handle the COVID-19 crisis

7 Politicians Struggling to handle the COVID-19 crisis
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This is a combination of both numbers and some degree of subjectivity. Please do comment on why you disagree or agree. Read the caveats at the end.

  1. Arvind Kejriwal: Unlike Mumbai, Arvind Kejriwal made a huge deal out of the healthcare system in Delhi. While focussing on out of pocket healthcare expenses of the poor was critical, Delhi has issues with few beds and and an ordinary in-patient healthcare system. Things got so bad that the CM, a politician with national ambitions decided to shut down patients from other States (reversed by the Lt Gov)
  2. Uddhav Thackeray: The CM had very little administrative experience before this crisis came calling. And not just his team but no one in the world had any experience of such a crisis. But the fact that Mumbaikars are struggling to get tests done or find enough beds has everything to do with the Shiv Sena. Having run the State (last 5 years with BJP) and BMC (for 23 years with the BJP), there are no excuses for not having enough doctors and Infra in the City of Mumbai. The state’s authorities did not understand the wider consequences of the lockdown because Mumbaikars had to spend long hours at extremely close distances (Given the low home sizes), spreading the disease wide.
  3. Vijay Rupani: He was not seen very positively by many BJP supporters to start with. Gujarat now has one of the highest per capita deaths due to COVID, 3rd only to Delhi and Maharashtra. The whole Gujarat Model which was anyway struggling when it comes to healthcare and education received another blow. The BJP meanwhile was busy poaching MLAs from the Congress for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha election
  4. Mamata Banerjee: If any event has hurt Mamata, it is this one. Mamata set up an audit committee to monitor co-morbidities and exclude them from COVID-19 deaths. The state then went really slow on testing. Result, when it comes to death per 1000 cases, Bengal is the worst in the country. The lack of transparency and empathy while handling this crisis does not help Mamata’s own personal image.
  5. PM Narendra Modi: The PM Started really well by tightening the incoming flights, launching an early lockdown and giving motivational speeches. In fact, as the lockdown began, most Indians were completely aligned with how the PM was handling the whole issue. 75 days later, the PM is kind of missing. He last gave a national speech on the 12th of May. He avoided a speech at the end of the last lockdown and instead wrote a letter. He did not attend the last CMs meeting instead sending the Home Minister. Most importantly, the economy which was anyway struggling continues to be in tatters. The number of new COVID cases is up 11000 everyday and continues to increase unabated. Only reason he will continue to do well is because we have a terrible opposition and some of the CMs have done a horrible job
  6. Edappadi K. Palaniswami: EPS was apparently the man who was taking TN to the path of economic recovery until he met COVID-19 crisis. Compared to the rest of the South, Tamil Nadu stands out like a sore thumb whether it is the number of cases or number of deaths. It is not that TN did not have good infra, it had the best health infra and very talented administrators and therefore to reach this situation is a setback for EPS.
  7. K Chandrasekhar Rao: After having kept the opposition and the whole of the State media in control, KCR suddenly finds himself under the scrutiny of National Media. Telangana is one of the worst states nationally or deaths where it was second only to Tamil Nadu in the South.The lack of transparency on testing invited the Centre’s intervention. Only Bengal received such criticism. With the economic slowdown hitting hard, it needs to be seen if KCR can pull back quickly.

Caveats

  1. Only explanation for Delhi’s poor performance is the high density of population and the 3rd largest slum population in the country making social distancing very challenging
  2. Only explanation for Maharashtra’s poor performance is the low amount of living space whether it is in Mumbai or Pune making transmission easy.
  3. Gujarat is one of the most urbanised states in the country, it is natural that the spread will be much more easy than states with low urban populations (Like AP, MP, UP, Bihar etc)
  4. While Mamata started off quite poorly, the state has now picked up the game both in terms of deaths and testing.
  5. PM Narendra Modi: Whatever the criticism, the fact that India has so few cases and so few deaths is a huge plus. That occurred because of an early lockdown.
  6. EPS: Similar to Gujarat, TN is an highly urbanised state making transmission easy. On top of all that, the fatality rates were quite low
  7. KCR: Inspite of all the issues, Hyderabad is up and running and on the road to recovery. Further, the number of tests have been increased quite a bit in the last one week.
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