Govt exported Covid-19 vaccine and allowed shortage in India: Sonia Gandhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday alleged that the government exported Covid-19 vaccine and thus allowed shortage in India. Gandhi said this at a meeting of Congress-ruled states to review Covid-19 situation in the nation. "The Modi government has mismanaged the situation--exported vaccine and allowed a shortage to be created in India," she added.
During the meeting, Gandhi discussed the efforts to fight Covid-19 including the availability of vaccine, access to medicines and ventilators. "Public gatherings, including poll rallies should be cancelled," she said.
Gandhi also asked chief ministers of Congress-ruled states to scale up testing and tracking of Covid-19 vaccination.
"We must focus on India's vaccination drive first and foremost, then only export vaccines and gift them to other countries. We must stress on responsible behavior adhering to all laws and Covid regulations without exception. “It is our responsibility to raise issues and push the government to move away from PR tactics and act in the interest of the people," she added.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, his Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh and Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel were among those who participated in the meeting. While Singh pointed out that Punjab's vaccination stock will last for five more days, Baghel said Chhattisgarh will run out of the vaccine stock in three days.
Gandhi said mass gatherings for elections and religious events have accelerated Covid for which everyone is responsible to some extent. “We need to accept this responsibility and keep the interest of the nation above our own. In our states, we need to take strict measures to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t go out of control and ensure testing at large scale, preparation of adequate facilities, setting up temporary ones.”
She sought answers to whether there is enough vaccine available, whether the central government has been cooperative, whether the states are doing enough to ensure availability of the oxygen.
“What is your view of lockdown? Should not public gatherings, including election rallies, be cancelled?” she asked.
Gandhi also reviewed the efforts to fight Covid-19, including the availability of vaccines, access to medicines and ventilators, Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Surjewala further said that Rahul Gandhi, who was also present in the meeting, too "expressed deep concern over the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the country." "Rahul Gandhi points out that virus attacks the poorest and disadvantaged the hardest," Surjewala added.
The meeting came a day after Rahul Gandhi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to place an immediate moratorium on the export of Covid-19 vaccines, fast track approval of other vaccines and open up vaccination to everyone who needs it.
Referring to the Prime Minister's appeal to the chief ministers to organise a vaccine festival from April 11 to 14, Gandhi tweeted that shortage of vaccines amid the rise in Covid-19 cases is a very serious issue.