The Congress on Sunday said credible and true figures of COVID-19 deaths in the country should come out and it will strive to get a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of those who died of the viral disease.
As part of the party's campaign for exerting pressure on the Centre to grant compensation to the victims of the coronavirus, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi put out a video of the families that suffered during the second wave of the pandemic.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress would raise the issue in both houses of Parliament and seek the grant of a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to all such families from the government.
Mr Gandhi shared a 4.31-minute video on Twitter in which families that lost their dear ones due to Covid in Gujarat alleged that they did not receive any government help at the time.
He also attacked the "Gujarat model", which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has projected as the best in the country.
"The stories of the families of those who died due to Covid are true, their pain and suffering are also true. The government statistics are false. True figures will have to be reported and a compensation of Rs 4 lakh will have to be given," Mr Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag "4LakhDenaHoga".
He also said in the video that the Gujarat model is discussed a lot, "but the families whom we talked to said they neither got hospital beds, nor oxygen or ventilator".
The Gujarat government says officially, only 10,000 people died due to Covid, but the truth is that over three lakh people have died of the viral disease in the state, the former Congress chief claimed.
"We want that the truth about Covid deaths should come out and those whose family members died due to Covid should get adequate compensation," he said.
Mr Gandhi said the government's job is to help people. When the government was to offer help to them when they were in hospital, it did not do so and now, when they have spent so much on hospital treatment, it is not even coming forward to offer them compensation, he said.
"What kind of a government is this?" the Congress leader asked.
"We wanted to be with you in your time of need and wanted to assure you that we are with you and there is no need to worry," Mr Gandhi was heard telling one of the victims in the video.
"Lakhs of people have lost their father, mother, brothers and sisters. They will not come back. But remember that the Congress will use all its might to get them a compensation of Rs 4 lakh," he said.
Kharge said in both houses of Parliament, the opposition party would seek that the government grants compensation to the families of those who died of Covid.
"We will raise the issue in Parliament and seek the cooperation of all. The poor should get Rs 4 lakh each as they were devastated by Covid and their earning members were lost. They lost their family members and their incomes due to the government's negligence," he told PTI.
"According to estimates, at least 50 lakh people have died in the country due to Covid. In Gujarat alone, while official figures say only 10,000 people died, around 3 to 3.5 lakh people have lost their lives," Kharge said.
Pitching for a re-survey and a correction in the statistics, he said, "The families of the victims should also be compensated."
Kharge said the government has to rehabilitate such families by paying them a compensation of Rs 4 lakh, a campaign for which has been launched by Gandhi.
The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said the surveys conducted by several foreign agencies have pointed to a lower number of deaths being recorded in the country.