Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and Congress leader Kamal Nath accused the state government of under-reporting COVID-related deaths and claimed that over one lakh people had died from the infection in March and April across the state.
Speaking to media in Ujjain on Saturday, the former CM said, "I have calculated myself, information of 26 districts were on newspaper and I gathered information from rest of the districts. In March and April, 1,27,000 bodies reached crematoriums. According to me, 80 per cent of them were of COVID victims."
According to the official data, the death toll due to COVID-19 stands at 7,394.
"The present government's approach of suppressing and hiding the COVID-related facts and figures will not address the problem but worsen it. The government is not fighting with COVID, but with criticism. Some journalists are also booked. They are busy in image management, not COVID management," the former CM alleged.
He also claimed that many of the national and international media were talking about the second wave of COVID-19.
"When the national and international media was talking about the second wave, PM Modi was claimed that we have fought the battle against COVID. 6.7 crore vaccine doses were exported," he said.
Kamal Nath further said, "If I had power, I would have had buffer stock of COVID vaccines and medicines since October. There are many government infrastructures across the state that can be converted into isolation centers."
"Earlier corona from China, now it has become infamous as the Indian variant corona," he reiterated.
The Government of India has clarified that the World Health Organization (WHO) has not associated the term "Indian Variant" with the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus in its 32-page document. In fact, the word "Indian" has not been used in its report on the matter, the government had said.
"Congress leader Kamal Nath has named Corona as Indian Corona. A few people were calling a particular variant the Indian variant. He went a step ahead and called it Indian Corona. He further said that the identity of India is - Mera Bharat COVID (My India COVID). His statement is doing the rounds and he has not disowned it till now," Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
"His statement calling India's identity as Mera Bharat COVID is an insult of the country. This is an insult of India," he added.
According to official data, there are 67,625 active cases of COVID-19 across Madhya Pradesh.
(With ANI inputs)