Nine newborn babies have died at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital on Saturday, prompting the State authorities to order a probe in to the matter as the issue has been seized by the opposition ahead of the Assembly polls. Since Thursday, at least 18 newborn babies have died at the hospital. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held a meeting with the officials of State health department and hospital administration to discuss the matter and asked them to take all measures. “We have ordered an inquiry in the matter and formed a committee to look into the matter,” Gujarat health commissioner Jayanti Ravi said. According to the hospital administration, of the total 18 deaths reported in the last three days, nine took place on Saturday out of which five were referred to from smaller places. “Five babies were of extremely low weight,” a senior doctor from the hospital said, defending the hospital management. According to him, five babies referred to Civil Hospital from distant places were already in critical conditions and suffered from life-threatening conditions such as extremely low birth weight around 1.1 kg, which is less than the normal birth weight of 2.5 kg, hyaline membrane disease, early onset septicaemia and disseminated intravascular coagulation. “This is the pathetic conditions of health facilities in Gujarat’s largest hospital,” Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said, blaming the State health authorities for negligence. On Sunday, Congress party workers held protests march at the hospital. “The government is responsible for deaths of babies so we want the government to pay compensation to the families,” Congress leader Alpesh Thakor said.