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She has a combative take on dengue too, arguing her state fights the disease better than others
Bengal chief minister is used to swatting political opponents, but with the state in the grip of a dengue outbreak, worse than in the last few years, she has taken on the Aedes aegypti mosquito (that causes the disease) as well. In the first few weeks of the fever trail, senior ministers and Kolkata Municipal Corporation officials typically downplayed it, blaming the media for spreading panic and pointing out that "dengue is a natural phenomenon … the government alone can't check dengue". Bengal had a poor monsoon in July and early August, and the rains picked up only in late August-early September. Nature, the ministers argued, had played spoilsport and hadn't "washed away" the larvae and so mosquitoes grew rampant. As the toll swiftly rose to 12 (though the official count is still 3) and hundreds were admitted to hospitals, 'Dr' Mamata stepped into the fray and took the battle to the mosquito. On Wednesday, she stormed into the state secretariat with a bundle of papers to address the media. She announced a host of measures—"Don't let water accumulate near your house, the dengue mosquito breeds in clear water", "If you have fever, get tested", "Don't panic", "Drink lots of water, take rest for three to four days", "Don't diet." The diet remark immediately led to hours of discussion on television and cyberspace, but the chief minister's "medical advice" did touch a chord with people, who had got the feeling that the administration was blind to their suffering.
Now, that the CM has woken up to dengue, the civic administration is likely to take the cue and try to prevent the spread of the disease. Clear garbage and roads of water, to begin with. In her inimitable style, Mamata also threw a challenge to the media, reading out numbers of dengue cases in states like Karnataka (1,869), Tamil Nadu (4,675) and Kerala (2,683). Bengal, she triumphantly announced, has reported only 638 cases. Go figure.
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