‘We hide behind traditions’: Sachin Pilot on Ashok Gehlot’s remarks on Kota deaths

The war of words between Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot over the death of infants at a government hospital in Kota continued on Tuesday with the latter saying that a tradition to visit families which lose an infant must be established.

Pilot was reacting to a statement Gehlot made a few days ago that there is no logic in visiting families which lose an infant. Without naming the CM, Pilot said if there was such a tradition then it needs to be broken and establish a new one.

“On one hand we talk about discontinuing bad traditions such as keeping veils, on the other, on the other, we hide behind traditions,” he said. “If there is no tradition of going to bereaved families, then such a tradition should be made,” Pilot said at state Congress office.

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He went on to say that “it was the responsibility of the government to share pain and visit families. There is no condolence meet for infants but it is the responsibility to wipe the tears of the parents.”

Gehlot had told reporters at the party office a few days ago that condolence meetings are not held for infants. “I have not heard about people visiting families which lose infants,” he said, referring to Pilot’s to some of the Kota families during his visit to JK Lon Hospital in Kota after more than 100 kids died there.

Earlier this month, Pilot had said that the government’s response to the deaths at the JK Lon hospital in Kota was neither satisfactory nor sensitive and compassionate and accountability needed to be fixed.

The CM and deputy CM have been reacting to each other’s statements on Kota deaths without naming each other. Political observers say this was unfortunate and the government should instead focus on public health.

“The political leaders are using such incidents to settle personal scores rather than focusing on the real issue of health. They are deliberately trying to divert attention from the issue and playing a game to prove each other wrong,” said political analyst Narayan Bareth.

He said that no one is debating that the state government is spending a mere 1% of the GDP on health. “Why don’t the BJP and the Congress debate on why health sector is being privatized despite ours being a welfare state?” he asked.

BJP spokesperson Mukesh Pareek said: “The people of the state are divided among two power centers, Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot, for their show of strength, which is unfortunate for the state. The tussle among the two would prove adverse for the state.”

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