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Mamata Banerjee takes credit for free Covid vaccine, BJP leaders reject claim

CM says ready to bear financial burden, asks Centre to provide adequate number of vials.

After being vaccinated, frontline workers rest in an observation room at an urban primary healthcare centre at CIT Road in Kolkata on Saturday. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday thanked frontline workers for their fight against the coronavirus and said her government was providing free Covid-19 vaccine to all in the state.

In an open letter, Banerjee said: “Our government is sending the vaccine free of cost to all people in the state.”

Read |Taking steps to give free Covid vaccine to all in Bengal: Mamata Banerjee

Her “free vaccine” remarks prompted the BJP to accuse her of “wrongfully” claiming the credit. West Bengal is due for the Assembly polls in April-May.

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In another statement, she requested the Central government to supply an adequate number of Covid-19 vaccines for not only frontline workers but also for others.

Also Read |Mamata Banerjee trying to politicise vaccination drive: Vijayvargiya on allegations of less vaccines sent to Bengal

“The people of Bengal should get vaccines free of cost as early as possible, and the state government is willing to bear the financial burden,” the statement said.

BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya alleged that the chief minister was sending personalised letters to all healthcare workers in the state and unduly claimed the credit for the vaccination. Sharing an image of a health worker who had received the letter, Vijayvargiya called the act “shameless”.

He tweeted, “Shameless!!! Modiji has sent free vaccine to 3 crore people across the country. Under the same scheme, the free vaccine is also being sent to West Bengal. But Mamataji is saying in this photo letter that she has sent the vaccine. It cannot be a big white lie. This is the limit of shamelessness!”

BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya termed Mamata’s “free vaccine” claim “bogus”.

Meanwhile, the state on Saturday registered 609 new Covid-19 cases and 15 deaths, taking the caseload and the toll to 5,64,707 and 10,041. Total 616 patients were discharged in the last 24 hours with the recovery rate standing at 96.96 per cent.

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