GANGTOK, July 29 - The Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) has accused the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) of holding party gatherings by violating the COVID-19 guidelines.
The Opposition party�s reaction came after Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang allegedly blamed the people for the surge in COVID-19 cases in the Himalayan State. He made the alleged remark on Monday while presiding over a high-level meeting of the State task force to review the management of COVID-19 outbreak in the State.
�The Chief Minister must be reminded that more than 15 gatherings were organised by his own party Sikkim Krantikari Morcha across the State, where masks were rarely worn and no social distancing was maintained,� said SDF spokesperson Prashant Babu.
�It is very disheartening to see the Chief Minister making such an incredulous statement, blaming the people for the surge of COVID-19 cases in the State and issuing directives to the police to �take action�. This statement will be a major setback in the efforts to contain the spread of the virus as effective coordination is required between the people and authorities for the safety of all,� he said.
�It is most unfortunate on the part of the Chief Minister to blame the people for recent surge in COVID positive cases in the State. The people of Sikkim has accepted and adhered to all the guidelines and protocols issued by the State government ever since the first lockdown started in the month of March 2020,� he added.
Social activist Passang Sherpa said, �We outrightly reject such anti-people statement by the Chief Minister. People of Sikkim are bewildered by such statement as it could lead to misuse of power against innocent Sikkimese people by the authority on the pretext of COVID-19.�
�The Chief Minister should immediately retract his statement in the interest of the State and its people. He should be aware that as a head of the State it is his responsibility to be accountable for good, bad, wrong or right happening in the State and he cannot run away from his responsibility by simply blaming the people,� the social activist said.
Meanwhile, the SKM has come to the State government�s defence with spokesperson Jacob Khaling accusing the opposition of spreading lies as no such statement was made by the Chief Minister and all he spoke about was violation of guidelines during the lockdown period.
�Having nothing much to criticise the SKM Govt for its handling of COVID-19 crisis, Opposition take to manipulation of words and accuses the Chief Minister of blaming the people for his failures,� the SKM tweeted.
�Shame on those who choose to hit below the belt just for the sake of criticism,� it added.