Updated: May 3, 2021 5:49:13 am
Hours after the Assembly election results, leaders of 13 opposition parties – including the Congress, Left and the Trinamool Congress who had fought bitterly in West Bengal – today came together and asked the Central government to launch a free mass vaccination drive across the country in view of the unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases.
In a joint statement, senior leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury also asked the central government to pay attention to ensuring uninterrupted flow of Oxygen supplies to all hospitals and health centres across the country.
Interestingly, the Left trounced the Congress in Kerala earlier in the day. In Bengal, the Congress and the Left were wiped out in the Trinamool Congress-BJP battle.
“In times of the uncontrollable surge of the pandemic across our country: We call upon the Central government to focus all attention in ensuring the uninterrupted flow of Oxygen supplies to all hospitals and health centres across the country. We call upon the Central government to immediately launch a free mass vaccination programme across the country. The budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for the vaccination programme must be utilised for this,” the leaders said in a joint statement.
The signatories to the statement include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Banerjee, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, DMK supremo MK Stalin, BSP chief Mayawati, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, Left leaders Yechury and D Raja and Farooq Abdullah on behalf of the Jammu Kashmir Peoples’ Alliance.
That BSP chief Mayawati was a signatory to the joint statement was an interesting political development. The BSP had been keeping an arm’s length from the opposition grouping for some time. It was not part of the joint statement issued by 16 opposition parties in January declaring their decision to boycott President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to Parliament.
Moreover, the Congress had been critical of the BSP for its stance on various issues. The party had slammed Mayawati when she had announced last year that the BSP is even ready to vote for the BJP to defeat Samajwadi Party in UP legislative council elections.
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