Remdesivir shortage: Gujarat daily publishes BJP president's phone number on front page, demands answers

After CR Patil claimed he could make 5,000 doses available, Divya Bhaskar asked how he got his hands on such a large stock.

ByNL Team
Remdesivir shortage: Gujarat daily publishes BJP president's phone number on front page, demands answers
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After reports surfaced in Gujarat on a shortage of Remdesivir injections in the state, state BJP president CR Patil announced that 5,000 doses of the same would be made available free of cost by the party in Surat.

In his interaction with the media on Friday after visiting a hospital, Patil did not answer key questions: How did he manage to get such a huge stock, especially when the government has mandated that not more than six doses of Remdesivir will be sold to anyone without a doctor's prescription? Did he get a license for the stock?

The same questions were later addressed to chief minister Vijay Rupani at a press conference. His response was: "I don't know. Ask Patil."

Gujarati daily Divya Bhaskar took his word for it and promptly published Patil's phone number on its front page on Sunday.

The newspaper declared: "9824127694. This number belongs to the 'government' of injections, CR Patil. People in need should call Patil and ask for injections...because Rupani has said questions on how CR Patil got the injections should be asked from him only."

The report continued: "When people are unable to get Remdesivir injections despite standing in line for hours, then how did 5,000 injections reach BJP president CR Patil? The government must respond."

Divya Bhaskar didn't stop there. Another report quoted Patil as saying that his "friends got him the injections", and the newspaper asked whether a case would be registered against him.

A third piece titled "Tamne khabar hovi joiye", or "you should know", appeared in its commentary section. Written by Devendra Bhatnagar, the column said: "This drama is shocking." Who are these "friends" of Patil, it asked, handing him injections worth Rs 50 lakh for free? What do the BJP and Patil plan on giving these "friends" in return?

Bhatnagar concluded: "Ek vaat nichschit che ke Patil e maarelu aa injection sarkaar ne bahu dukhse pan unhkaaro nahi kari shakaay.” One thing is decided though, this injection by Patil to the government will hurt really bad, but the government will not be able to express the pain.

Gujarat reported over 5,400 cases and 54 deaths in the last 24 hours. Earlier today, the Gujarat High Court observed that media reports indicate that the state "is heading towards a health emergency of sorts", the Indian Express reported, observing that newspapers and TV channels were filled with "harrowing tales, unfortunate and unimaginable difficulties, unmanageable conditions of the infrastructure, the shortfall and the deficit of not only testing, availability of beds, ICU, but also supply of oxygen and the basic medicines like Remdesivir".

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