Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi hit out at the BJP late Monday night after the party announced a "nationwide dharna" on May 5 to protest against "widespread violence" allegedly perpetrated by Bengal's ruling Trinamool, in the hours after it recorded a massive win in the Assembly election.
The BJP - among several political parties accused of violating coronavirus rules by holding mass gatherings while campaigning for the polls - said its protest "will be held following all Covid protocols".
That assurance provoked a withering retort from Ms Chaturvedi.
"Yes, we need super-spreader dharna events across the nation, because clearly, as per the BJP, the country hasn't seen enough of a COVID surge, no?" the Rajya Sabha MP tweeted.
Yes we need super spreader dharna events across the nation, because clearly, as per the BJP, the country hasn't seen enough of a COVID surge, no? https://t.co/knFyS19Ehb— Priyanka Chaturvedi???????? (@priyankac19) May 3, 2021
Earlier in the day the BJP had said: "... a nationwide dharna on May 5 against the widespread violence unleashed by TMC workers post the election results in West Bengal. This protest will be held following all Covid protocols across all organisational mandals..."
The BJP has announced a nationwide dharna on 5th May against the widespread violence unleashed by TMC workers post the election results in West Bengal.— BJP (@BJP4India) May 3, 2021
This protest will be held following all Covid protocols across all organisational mandals of the BJP.
Over the past couple of months India has been hit by a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases.
On Monday morning the country reported over 3.68 lakh new cases and more than 3,400 Covid-related deaths from the previous 24 hours. Active cases now number 34.1 lakh - over thrice the earlier record.
The spike has been attributed, by some experts, to mass gatherings such as campaign rallies in Bengal, at which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and major leaders from state parties were present.
Visuals from these rallies and roadshows showed thousands without face masks and total violation of social distancing norms. And, since campaigning, poll-bound states like Assam, Bengal and Tamil Nadu have reported massive increases in daily Covid cases.
Experts have also pointed to religious gatherings like the mega Kumbh at Uttarakhand's Haridwar, which was held despite advice to the contrary. On Saturday news agency PTI said over 70 lakh people participated, triggering concern that it could become another 'super spreader'.
The spike has also brought the country's healthcare system to its knees; hospital beds and life-saving medicines are in short supply, and a lack of medical oxygen has killed people.
The Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court have slammed the centre over its failure to ensure oxygen supply, as well as provide adequate numbers of hospital beds and medicines.
With input from PTI