One of the major states where the coronavirus has had a free run is Tamil Nadu. It is worth pondering if the situation would have been the same had Amma aka J Jayalalithaa been alive and still the CM. She would surely have attacked the virus more firmly and decisively asking people to stay indoors and monitored the situation with an iron hand and a frown that would have made TN and Covid 19 to shiver.
Jaya was a master in dealing with two C’s – Crisis and the Centre. The Centre never dared to take her lightly and she knew how to arm-twist Delhi – with or without Modi. Similarly, she was at her best while fighting a crisis – from the time she was thrown out of the party after the demise of her mentor MGR. She always made a comeback.
In fact, there is a strong relationship between a tough and decisive leader and the spread of coronavirus. Had Narendra Modi been the chief minister of Gujarat, probably the situation would have been different. Today, Gujarat is among the top contributors to the Covid 19 numbers in India.
Wherever there are strong leaders, the spread of the virus has been under a tight leash. Look at Kerala where Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan imposed tough measures and checked the spread of the coronavirus in its track. He converted Kerala into a mini police state. No wonder that the state has just 30 active Covid cases as of today with just 4 deaths. The recovery rate is one of the best.
Telangana too has a tough leader in K Chandrasekhar Rao and the virus is under control. The State has 648 cases with a healthy recovery rate of 58%
Punjab has a strong leader in Captain Amarinder Singh. Though the state is fighting a tough battle, it is winning. The state has 1451 cases with recovery of 133, but the death rate has been high — 25.
Above all, India has a strong leader in Narendra Modi who imposed tough measures in the initial days and this has paid dividends. While experts predicted a doomsday scenario for India in the initial days, the numbers are still low when compared with other nations. Of course, whether lockdown versions 2 & 3 were worth is still debatable. And the leadership showed signs of weakness while handling the pathetic case of migrants. One is aghast as to how a strong leader missed this issue totally.
Now look at states that have weak chief ministers. Tamil Nadu has been discussed. Uddhav Thackeray is new to the chair of the CM and has so far not been effective. Of course, he has a problem child in Dharavi, the largest slum in the world where social distancing is impossible. The state has 14,541 cases with 583 deaths.
Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani is no match for a CM who once governed the state for four consecutive years – Narendra Modi. The State has 5804 Covid cases with 319 deaths.
The same is the story with Delhi (4898 cases, 64 deaths) and Rajasthan (3061/77) – the two other states that are contributing to the numbers. Delhi’s CM Arvind Kejriwal, admittedly, is fighting a battle with his one arm tied.
World over too, tough and decisive leaders have won the battle against Covid 19, the exception being Vladimir Putin who was lax in the initial days like Donald Trump who dismissed Coronavirus as just a flu.
China was able to cap the explosion of the virus as it imposed tough, often termed as draconian, measures under the leadership of Xi Jinping.
Donald Trump (for whom economy is above a tragedy), UK’s Boris Johnson, Italy’s Giuseppe Conte, Spain’s Pedro Sanchez and others formed the confederation of weak leaders who fumbled in tackling Covid 19.
And above all, if the World Health Organisation was headed by a tough and decisive leader, Covid 19 may have been a different story today.