Updated: April 11, 2021 4:24:05 am
Saying that the Centre has “mismanaged the situation” with respect to the Covid-19 vaccination strategy, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday hit out against export of vaccines saying it created a shortage in the country.
Her comments came at a meeting with chief ministers and ministers of Congress-ruled states Rajasthan, Punjab and Chhattisgarh. Gandhi also reviewed the efforts made by these chief ministers to tackle the second wave of the Covid-19 infections. The meeting comes close on the heels of Primne Minister Narendra Modi’s review meeting with Chief Ministers.
In Saturday’s meeting, Gandhi told Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Amarinder Singh (Punjab) and Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) that their priority should be to test, track and vaccinate. All three CMs said they are facing shortage of vaccines.
— Congress (@INCIndia) April 7, 2021
Baghel and Singh said the vaccine stock available in Chhattisgarh and Punjab will only last for 3 days. While Singh said the Central government has given no assurance to the state of ramping up vaccine supply and the number of doses the state will be given, Gehlot said vaccine shortage is a reality that can’t be wished away and argued that the Centre must take states on board as stakeholders and not treat them as adversaries.
Maharashtra Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said the state has the capacity to vaccinate 5 lakh people every day if the Centre supplies the vaccine. Arguing that there was a shortage, he said vaccinations centres will have to shut down if the situation does not improve. He also pointed out that there was an urgent need for 1,200 ventilators, remdesivir injections and oxygen supplies.
Gandhi told those present in the meeting that as the principal opposition party, it is the Congress’s responsibility to “raise issues and push the government to move away from PR tactics and act in the interest of the people.”
“Mass gatherings for elections and religious events have accelerated Covid for which all of us are responsible to some extent. We need to accept this responsibility and keep the interest of the nation above our own,” she said.
She asked the Congress chief ministers to take “strict measures” to ensure that the pandemic does not go out of control and ensure testing at large scale and preparation of adequate facilities to deal with the situation.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who attended the meeting, asked the Government to examine new mutations, which he said are the source of the second wave. He said the Centre and the states should work in tandem to deal with the situation and argued it was not the time for complacency and declaration of premature victories.
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