Updated: May 14, 2021 3:01:51 am
Prodded about the shortage in vaccine supply, Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda Thursday asked if government leaders should hang themselves if they fail to carry out the inoculation programme as per court orders.
His statement came after the Karnataka High Court Tuesday pulled up the state and central government over the slow pace of vaccinations in the state.
The Union Minister for Fertilizers and Chemicals, accompanied by BJP National General Secretary C T Ravi, was speaking at a press conference in Bengaluru to highlight the positive steps taken by the Union government in the second wave of the pandemic.
They attempted to defend the government by suggesting that the virus caught it unaware, but also acknowledged that the government’s efforts may have fallen short in the face of the huge second wave.
Gowda said: “If the court tomorrow says you have to provide a certain amount of vaccine and that amount has not been manufactured yet, can we go and hang ourselves? You must also think about all these things.”
The Union Minister was responding to queries on courts pulling up the government over its vaccination programme in the country.
“There may be some shortcomings here and there. The vaccines have to be produced. If the production is not as per the projection and when sufficient APIs do not come from other countries—when things are beyond our control, can we manage it?” he said.
“Earlier when we began the vaccination for the 45 plus there was no huge demand for vaccines and we thought we could provide the 18 to 45 group as well. As soon as the second wave increased across the country people began rushing for vaccines… We are trying our level best and things will be rectified in a day or two,” the Union Minister claimed.
Meanwhile, Ravi said that courts were not all-knowing beings to comment on the vaccination programme.
“Judges are not sarvajna (all-knowing). Whatever is available with us and based on recommendations of the technical advisory committee vaccines have to be distributed,” the BJP leader said.
Ravi also claimed that that the situation could have been worse had the government not made
“If we had not prepared for the crisis there would have been a large number of deaths across the districts. The deaths would have been ten times what we have seen so far… The spread of the second wave was beyond our planning and expectations and our efforts were not enough. Over one crore people have been provided with the first and second doses of the vaccine,” Ravi said.
The comments by the BJP leaders came on a day Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa announced that Karnataka is joining the ranks of other states that have suspended the 18-44 age group vaccinations to focus on mopping up second doses for the 45-plus category, health workers and frontline workers.
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