Over the next two days Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding virtual meetings with all the chief ministers. Since these meetings are specifically in relation to the challenges of containing the Covid-19 pandemic, the states appear to have been divided into two groups based on how seriously they are currently affected by the pandemic.
The spread of the infection is showing different trajectories in different parts of the country. This will continue to be the case in months to come. States acting at odds with each other has already proved counterproductive. Overall coordination of resources and strategies is going to remain key in getting us all through this.
It is necessary to suspend politics as usual in these circumstances. To illustrate, NDA should refrain from destabilizing the Congress government in Rajasthan and various coalition egos in Maha Vikas Aghadi should not run amok at this critical juncture for Maharashtra. For states where fiscal to medical resources are stretched very thin, Centre needs to be a pillar of material and knowledge support.
In this vein yesterday’s meeting between the Union home minister and the Delhi chief minister was in the right direction, as it set the ground for ramping up low levels of testing in the capital, providing it infrastructure support from the Centre etc. But the messaging of the meeting would have been much improved if the photographs didn’t show Amit Shah and Arvind Kejriwal walking side by side with their masks hanging around their necks. Masks are effective only when they cover our noses and mouths properly.