Congress President Sonia Gandhi speaks on Bangladesh event via video conference, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI Photo)
Congress President Sonia Gandhi speaks on Bangladesh event via video conference, in New Delhi on Friday. (ANI Photo)

‘Me vs you debate childish, focus on battling Covid-19': Sonia takes on Centre

The Congress Working Committee meeting comes amid a steep rise in coronavirus disease cases in the country with over 200,000 infections being recorded daily in the last three days.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON APR 17, 2021 01:01 PM IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday urged the government to ramp up its strategy to tackle the coronavirus disease across the country witnessing the second wave of the pandemic as she pointed out to the overwhelmed medical infrastructure and shortage of vaccines and drugs to treat Covid-19. Sonia Gandhi was speaking during the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, which was attended by former party chief Rahul Gandhi, general secretaries and state in-charges of the party.

As the opposition party exclusively discussed the current Covid-19 situation in the country and steps that need to be taken urgently to check the further spread of the virus, Sonia Gandhi spoke about her letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after her meeting with chief ministers of Congress-ruled states to take a jibe at the Centre.

Also read | Sonia Gandhi reviews efforts to tackle Covid-19 in Congress-ruled states

“I have written to the Prime Minister after meeting with them. Our Chief Ministers have spoken to the Prime Minister and written to the concerned minister from time to time pleading for relief. Some of them were left with only a few days of vaccine, no oxygen or ventilators. But there has been thundering silence on the part of the Government. On the contrary some other states have received preferential treatment/relief,” she said. “Instead of listening to the constructive suggestions of the opposition, Union Ministers are pressed into service to attack leaders of opposition for giving those suggestions. This convoluted “me versus you” debate is childish and totally unnecessary,” she added.

The Congress president reiterated her point about lowering the immunisation age to 25 years and above “as also all younger persons with at-risk health disorders like asthma, angina, diabetes, kidney & liver diseases and other similar ailments.” She also said Goods and Services Tax (GST) on all equipment, instruments, medicines and support required to prevent and treat Covid-19 should be made free. “It is a matter of grave concern that life saving drugs like Remdesivir etc. and medical oxygen as also other basic supplements are subjected to GST @ 12%. Even basic equipments like Oxymeters and life saving critical equipment like ventilators are subjected to 20% GST. In the current state of affairs, this is inhuman and untenable,” she added.

Also read | Govt exported Covid-19 vaccine and allowed shortage in India: Sonia Gandhi

The government must provide financial support for the poor in the form of monthly income support and transfer 6,000 in the account of every eligible citizen, who have been hit by the partial curfews, travel restrictions, closure and lockdowns put in place by authorities. “Similarly, with reverse migration of labour already having started, it will be critical to immediately address their need of safe transportation as indeed their suitable rehabilitation in host as well as home States,” Sonia Gandhi said.

“Let us ensure that the suggestions our party puts forward are considered by the Government of India in the spirit of true democratic traditions. Taking on these challenging times as Indians rather than as political opponents will be true Rajadharma,” she added.

Both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have written to Prime Minister Modi asking him to expand the country's vaccination drive against Covid-19. The CWC meeting comes amid a steep rise in coronavirus disease cases in the country with over 200,000 infections being recorded daily in the last three days. India’s tally of the coronavirus disease now stands at nearly 14.5 million, second only to the United States, and deaths in the country has risen by 1,341 to 175,649.

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