Gorakhpur a 'spot of virtual murder', not 'picnic spot': Congress
August 19, 2017 | 10:41 PM
by PTI
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Gorakhpur on Saturday. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday hit back at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for targeting Rahul Gandhi over his visit to Gorakhpur, saying the eastern Uttar Pradesh town was not a "picnic spot", but "a spot of virtual murder".

AICC spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the chief minister was the Lok Sabha member from Gorakhpur where the tragedy took place, and accused him of reducing the debate over medical negligence to such "cheap politicking".

"He has insulted the sacred memory of those helpless and poor children who died, by reducing the debate to such cheap politicking as a picnic spot. "I will leave for the people of India to judge whether in an anxiety to score political point over Rahul Gandhi, has he not reduced this whole, serious, terrible and tragic episode to a farce and grossly insulted the memory of those children," he told reporters.

Singhvi was responding to the remarks made by Adityanath after launching a cleanliness campaign in the district to tackle the deadly encephalitis outbreak in the wake of death of 71 children at BRD Medical College. "I feel that the shehzada sitting in Lucknow ..yuvraj sitting in Delhi will not know the importance of this cleanliness campaign. They will come here to make it a picnic spot, we cannot permit it," Adityanath said, referring to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Gandhi.

Gorakhpur was not a picnic spot, instead it "has been turned into a murderous spot by utter negligence, lack of accountability and total callousness", Singhvi alleged.

"It is a spot of virtual murder. The chief minister's statement is objectionable and insulting," he added. The Congress leader said it was the spot where hundreds of children seemed to be dying, whereas "business as usual" was the answer charted out by the entire Yogi Adityanath government.

Hitting back at the chief minister for his barb, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar said it only reflected the "pettiness" and "panic" over Rahul's visit. "The chief minister took no action and he wants to divert the issue...he is belittling the position that he holds by such petty statements...Rahulji has come here to share the the pain of the poor...but asking why he has come only indicated the pettiness of the chief minister and panic that his visit will ensure justice," Babbar said.

Babbar, along with other senior leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad and R.P.N. Singh, accompanied Rahul. The Congress vice-president visited the villages to meet families of the children who lost their lives and assured full support, besides taking up the matter with officials concerned to check the recurrence of the deadly disease.

The Congress has targeted the Yogi Adityanath government over the deaths following allegations that the children who were critically ill succumbed due to oxygen shortage.

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