The opposition tore into the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday, seeking the scalps of the state Health and Medical Education Ministers for the deaths of over 60 children at a Gorakhpur hospital.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who visited the Baba Raghav Das Medical College hospital along with the party's state unit chief Raj Babbar said Adityanath should personally apologize for the tragedy.
The principal opposition in the state, Samajwadi Party (SP) questioned the Chief Minister's silence in the aftermath of the children's deaths in his parliamentary constituency and hometown, that has left the state stunned.
Samajwadi Party General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said it was very unfortunate that Adityanath has not uttered a word on such a "heart wrenching" tragedy.
"Gorakhpur where the children have died in such large numbers is the Chief Minister's constituency and hometown. He has been there several times after assuming the post. And in the past 24 hours he has sadly said nothing on the issue," he said.
He also slammed the BJP government in the state for the inaction so far, saying while two days back Adityanath suspended 11 officials in Maharajganj and transferred seven others for dereliction of duty, so far no heads have rolled in the BRD Medical College tragedy.
"No official in Gorakhpur listens to anyone, or is accountable to anyone, and it seems that such officials are being patronized by the Chief Minister himself," Ram Gopal Yadav alleged.
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly and senior SP leader Ram Govind Chowdhary is to visit the Gorakhpur hospital.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also lashed out at the Adityanath government. She said the state government's callousness led to the tragedy and called for a high-level probe into the incident.
Mayawati said a three-member fact finding team from her party will visit the medical college.
"The BJP will never accept its mistake and so I leave it to their discretion to remove those responsible," she said.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also questioned Adityanath's silence. "First the callousness and now the shameless silence. It's a pity that such indifferent people are ruling the state," AAP spokesman Vaibhav Maheshwari told IANS.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has, however, hit back at the opposition, accusing it of "indulging in politics" on such a serious issue.
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said: "Opposition is levelling baseless charges out of frustration as the BJP government under the leadership of Adityanath was working for the welfare of the state and its people."
Earlier on Saturday, Adityanath dispatched Health Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh and Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon to the tragedy-struck town with instructions to "spare none for the tragedy".
They were directed by an "extremely unhappy" Chief Minister to inspect the situation at the state-run facility and take strict action against those responsible, an official said.
Sixty-three children have lost their lives due to encephalitis and reported lack of oxygen supply at the BRD Medical college in five days, of whom many were infants, and 30 of the deaths were reported in the last 48 hours.
The medical college has been receiving massive funds from the state to tackle encephalitis, especially after Adityanath became the Chief Minister.
Attendants and family members of the patients admitted here, however, claim that despite the funds, there were neither doctors, nor proper treatment, adequate medicines or oxygen supply at the medical college.