Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar hit out at Rahul Gandhi shortly after Congress MP addressed a press conference criticising the Union government over its handling of the COVID-19 second wave. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday asked the government to evolve a COVID-19 vaccine strategy for the entire population, warning of multiple waves of the virus at the current rate of vaccination.
Addressing the media to respond to Rahul, Prakash Javadekar said the vaccination drive in India will be completed by December 2021. He also asked the Congress MP to look into the handling of the COVID situation by Congress-ruled states and accused Rahul of trying to incite fear among the minds of the public. â€śThe vaccination exercise in India will be completed in 2021 itself, before December. The Health Ministry has given a roadmap for producing 216 crore doses by then,â€ť Prakash Javadekar said. â€śBut the language used by Rahul Gandhi, the way he tried to stoke fears on COVID-19 confirms that the Congress is behind the toolkit,â€ť the Union minister added.
Addressing the media virtually on Friday, Rahul Gandhi noted that India was the vaccine capital of the world and it was possible to escalate the inoculation drive, and added that was time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be a leader and show that he can organise vaccines for everyone.
"In my understanding, going by the current rate of vaccination, (it) guarantees the third wave of the virus. If vaccination was 50-60 per cent you would not have a third wave and certainly not the fourth," he told a press conference.
The former Congress chief said there is no vaccine strategy in place. He said going by today's pace of vaccinations, the entire inoculation exercise will be completed by May 2024 and several waves of COVID-19 will come. He said lockdown, masks and social distancing are temporary solutions, but vaccination is the permanent solution to COVID-19 and the government must evolve a strategy.
"The prime minister created space for COVID-19 through his actions, he is responsible for the second wave," he charged. Gandhi also accused the prime minister of not thinking strategically. He also accused the government and the prime minister of "lying" on the COVID-19 death rate and urged it to not give the virus time or space.
(With PTI inputs)