In the on-going battle against COVID-19, Rahul Gandhi chose to raise a false alarm with the help of some news analysis that shares the same trait as pushing a false narrative.
Rahul Gandhi quoted an NDTV report to argue that the government is depriving the poor of their food, as it diverting the surplus rice stock to produce ethanol, which in turn, will be used to make hand sanitizers. Rahul Gandhi instigates the poor by claiming that the ‘rice meant for you’ going to the sanitizers that helps ‘rich’ to clean their hands.
Here we explain in five points why Rahul Gandhi’s fearmongering is misleading and condemnable.
- Rahul Gandhi himself agreed that India has ‘surplus’ food stock in his previous media interaction. Thus, if the surplus rice is diverted to support the production of sanitizers, which are in big demand amidst the pandemic, nobody should have problem with that. In fact, Rahul Gandhi himself said that since the new procurements are going to come, government should make space for that.
- Why not distribute to poor instead of using them for sanitizers? This is also a falsehood Rahul Gandhi had previously spread by suggesting that the government is not distributing the grains. In reality, there is a detailed account available on how government is distributing food grain reserve to the needy – through ration, migrant camps, various daily meal distribution like the one from Railways, it also supplying grain for NGOs who are feeding the needy.
- Rahul Gandhi’s rather mischievous act of putting sanitizers in ‘rich’ category is wrong in times of pandemic, since the government has already capped the price of hand sanitizers by bringing it under the essential commodities act.
- Now, let’s examine the ‘hypocrisy’ in projecting hand sanitizers as the product of ‘rich’ people. Just a day before he demanded that many products including sanitizers should be made GST-free. Going by the logic of Rahul Gandhi, did he want to further benefit ‘rich’ people by making sanitizer tax free?
- If the argument is that hand sanitizers should be available to the poor in large quantities, he and his party should be welcoming the decision of utilizing the surplus rice for producing sanitizer. More the production, more the possibility of everybody getting it.
A few weeks ago, Telangana’s Congress unit had said that it held discussions with pharma companies, who agreed to supply the sanitizer liquid for free distribution among the poor and needy. Some time back, Congress Members of Parliament Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jairam Ramesh were seen using sanitizers in the premise of the Parliament. So, people across the nation are availing sanitizers in the COVID-19 era irrespective of whether they are ‘rich’ or not.
In such a situation, if the surplus rice, which otherwise may go waste, goes to the production of ethanol- based sanitizer and the public would get the benefit of it, why ridicule using the false rich vs poor narrative on this topic?