Gujarat BJP chief slammed for distributing Remdesivir

The line between the ruling party and government should not be blurred as it has in China

Ramdev Bakshi |

C.R. Paatil

Gujarat BJP president C.R. Paatil: In the eye of the storm

The row surrounding free distribution of 5,000 doses of Remdesivir, an important anti-Covid drug, in Surat by Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party president C.R. Paatil is unfortunate and ominous.

It is unfortunate because at a time when corona cases are surging and the authorities are struggling to curb it, the nation can ill-afford a needless controversy. And it is ominous because here the distinction between government and ruling party blurs. This is dangerously similar to the situation in China where the difference between government officials and Chinese Communist Party leaders is thin and often ambiguous.

Deccan Herald reported ( that “as the distribution began, a controversy started brewing over how a political party can get the stock of medicines and distribute them. Also, this came a day after Surat district administration suspended allotment of injections to private as well as civic body-run hospitals. During a media briefing when Chief Minister Vijay Rupani was asked how BJP and Paatil received the stock of injections, he responded, ‘You should ask C.R. [Paatil] how he arranged those. Government has nothing to do with this’.”

Paatil responded to this statement by saying, “Many friends in Surat bought these injections… After buying them at market price, the BJP is distributing them. We have committed for 5,000 injections as an alternative for anyone who comes. Besides, the government is also arranging them efficiently. The government is distributing them in civil hospitals… These injections are only for Covid-19 infected people. It is an effort to help those people.”

Unimpressed by this explanation, the opposition Congress has demanded Paatil’s arrest. A round of allegations and counter-allegations is likely to ensue. Typically, this will generate a lot of heat and dust but little light.

At the heart of the issue is the ruling party-government relationship. It is neither unusual nor objectionable for the ruling party in a democracy to promote a government programme. It is, however, not kosher when the ruling party becomes an organ of government—as it happened in this case. There are certain lines that need not be crossed in a liberal democracy; one of them is between the ruling party and government.

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