April 27, 2021 2:01:22 am
A day after NCP Minister Nawab Malik announced that the state government will provide free vaccines to all its people, Congress leader and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said on Monday that the decision should have been announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and an attempt by other parties to take credit is not good.
Thorat, however, said that Congress’ stand is that vaccines should be given free of cost.
“When the CM is considering our demand for free vaccine, it was not right to make an announcement to get credit for it. We didn’t like it and we, as Congress, are unhappy,” Thorat told mediapersons when asked about NCP’s announcement and Shiv Sena leader and Minister Aaditya Thackeray’s deleted tweets on handing out free vaccines.
On Sunday, Malik had said that the Maharashtra government wants to make vaccines free for all adults. A formal decision will be taken by the CM on May 1, he had added.
Aaditya, meanwhile, had gone on to tweet about providing free vaccines and later deleted it. He then tweeted again on Sunday: “The official policy of vaccination will be declared by the empowered committee and we must await its recommendation for a fair policy for all sections of society.”
Throat said: “Our party chief Sonia Gandhi has said vaccines should be made available free of cost. So, our stand is very clear that vaccines should be given free to the people. We are keen on it and have also insisted on the same with CM. We are sure that the CM will accept it.”
Refraining from making a statement on Aaditya’s deleted tweets, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the government will take appropriate decision on providing free vaccine to its people.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, meanwhile, took on the ruling allies. The Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, who on Monday inaugurated two Covid-19 centres at Andheri and Kandivali in Mumbai, said: “The Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders are caught up in inter-party politics. They cannot look beyond.”
Thorat, meanwhile, said that a policy needs to be framed to vaccinate the 18 to 44 age group from May 1 to ensure there is no crowding. Maharashtra has 5.71 crore people in this age group and will require 12 crore doses to vaccinate them.
“Huge crowding was seen outside vaccination centres when the drive was opened for those above 45 years of age. Now, crowding is likely to increase and it may lead to a rise in Covid-19 cases. I have spoken to the chief secretary on framing a policy for it. It is expected to be decided in the next two days,” said Thorat. He added that it is also the Centre’s responsibility to make available vaccine doses to all states.
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