Actor Anupam Kher, who has often praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is known to be a strong defender of the BJP-led regime, said today that he believed the government “had slipped” in the Covid crisis and it was important to hold it responsible.
“Somewhere they have slipped … it is time for them to understand that there is much more to life than just image-building maybe,” Anupam Kher said in what appeared to be a critique of the Centre in an interview to NDTV.
Should the government’s efforts have been more about providing relief than managing their image and perception, Mr Kher was asked. How distressing did he find images of Covid-hit families begging for hospital beds, corpses floating in the river and struggling patients?
“I think the criticism is valid in lots of cases and I think it is important for the government to rise to the occasion and do things that they are chosen by people of this country for. I think only an inhuman person will not get affected by… bodies floating. But for another political party to use it for their gain is also not right,” said the veteran actor.
“We should as people… Get angry…It is important to hold the government responsible for what has happened.”
The words mark an extraordinary departure for the 66-year-old actor whose wife, actor Kirron Kher, is a BJP MP.
About two weeks ago, Mr Kher was trolled for responding to a critique of the government’s handling of Covid with a tweet that said: “Aayega toh Modi hi (but Modi will return).”
With the deadly second wave of Covid leaving many states desperate for oxygen, hospitals and medicines, Mr Kher is among celebrities who have launched relief efforts. His “Heal India” initiative seeks to help those who need ventilators and oxygen concentrators.
India has seen more than three lakh coronavirus cases daily for 20 days now and today, it reported a record 4,205 deaths in a day.
The government, criticized in India and abroad for a botched response, has reportedly prepped strategy to burnish its image by pushing for “positivity” and positive stories.