For the last several weeks, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been alleging that the Modi govt is hiding the actual number of deaths due to Covid-19 in the country. He is making this allegation despite the fact that the death numbers are reported by state governments, several of which are ruled by Congress and other non-NDA parties. In his baseless accusations against the union govt, Rahul Gandhi today found a so-called survey by leftist portal ThePrint that supports his claims.
The Shekhar Gupta run propaganda portal published a ‘survey’ to claim that most people blame the Modi government for the Covid-19 deaths. Apparently, the survey asked around 15000 people in 6 Hindi-speaking states whom they believe are responsible for Covid019 deaths in their families, if they have faced such a loss.
According to the report quoting the ‘survey’ conducted by an agency named Prashnam, the answers indicate the six states, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh should have 17 million Covid-19 deaths. They said that one in every six respondents said that they have lost someone due to the pandemic, and as there around 100 million families in the 6 states, the number of deaths would be 1.7 crore. The actual number of deaths in these six states is around 56,000. This means the survey claims that actual deaths are more than 300 times the official numbers.
Survey rejects own projection, uses USA fatality rate
However, as this number is absurd, as the projected deaths become more than half of confirmed cases in India, the survey rejected this calculation altogether, saying that the number will be lower as there will be “overlaps and double counting”. Instead, they used the death rate in the USA to calculate the ‘actual’ deaths in India.
They said that a similar study in USA had found that 19% of Americans had said they had lost a close friend or relative due to Covid-19. As that is close to 17% found in their own study, they concluded that the death rate of USA should be used to calculate the deaths in the six states, and declare that actual deaths are 2.5 times the reported numbers, not the 304 times their ‘survey’ had concluded.
There is no logic behind using USA death rate just because two ‘surveys’ in both the countries had reported almost same number of people saying they had lost someone to Covid-19. The demographics of both the countries are different, with India having a much younger population. USA also was hit hard by the first wave, while the fatality was comparatively low in India last year.
It is interesting to note among the six states, Rajasthan has a Congress government and Jharkhand has a Congress alliance govt. Which means, if the allegations of the report is true which is supported be Rahul Gandhi, these Congress governments are also under-reporting Covid-19 deaths.
The survey had also asked whom the respondents blame for the deaths, and according to it, majority of people blamed the central govt. Almost similar proportion blamed destiny or none, while only less than 20% blamed the state govt, according to the report. This is despite the fact that health is a state subject, and most people know that the govt hospitals in their states are run by the state govts.
Survey done by former Congress worker accused of sexual harassment
The most interesting fact behind this survey is that, it was conducted by an agency that is run by a former Congress leader who was removed from the party due to sexual harassment allegations. While Prashnam, the organisation that conducted this so-called survey, was founded by tech entrepreneur Rajesh Jain, its product and tech team is led by Chirag Patnaik, who had worked in the IT cell of the Congress party.
In 2018, a female worker of the Congress IT cell had lodged a complaint against Patnaik alleging that he had sexually harassed her. The woman had alleged that despite her complaints to senior workers and head of the IT cell on the issue, she was harassed further and was forced to resign. Then Congress IT Cell head Divya Spandana was also named in the charge sheet later filed in the case for her attempt to protect the accused.
Patnaik was arrested in July on the charges of 354A and 509 on accusations of him of breaching the woman’s personal space and indulging in immoral behaviour. He was later released on bail.
This same Chirag Patnaik now works at Prashnam, where his anti-BJP propaganda continues even though he is no longer part of the party.