Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the Union government of "hiding" the actual coronavirus death figures, even as he urged people to raise their voice for universal free vaccination. "GOI is hiding actual COVID-19 deaths," he said in a tweet, tagging a media report that conducted a survey on who people thought were responsible for coronavirus deaths. Rahul Gandhi also launched a campaign to pressure the government for universal free vaccination in the country.
"Vaccine is the strongest protection against the coronavirus pandemic. You should also raise your voice for providing free vaccination to the people of the country - wake up the Union government," he said on Twitter, using the hashtag #
His sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted for universal free vaccination and slammed the government over a "confused and dithering" vaccination program. "We are one of the biggest vaccine-manufacturers in the world. Yet only 3.4% of our population is fully vaccinated. Who is responsible for India's confused and dithering vaccination program?" she asked in the tweet.
She said that on August 15 last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared that there was a plan in place to vaccinate every Indian. But it is now mid-2021, and the country's inoculation rate is just 1.9 million people per day, whereas "we need 7 to 8 million people to be vaccinated per day to achieve that target," she said.
"The Union government first took all responsibility, after that as the second wave hit it started to abdicate responsibility to the states. Other federal countries like Germany and the USA have followed a completely different process, where the Centre has procured the vaccines and distributed it to states," she said in a video tagged in the tweet, asking, "Why did the Modi government not do so?"
The Congress has been critical of the government's handling of the pandemic and has slammed the vaccination policy. The party has also been demanding free vaccination for all and has urged the Union government to procure jabs and provide them to states.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram questioned the government over delay in giving approval to foreign-made vaccines. "Our suspicion that the govt had not approved any vaccine other than Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik has been proved correct. Why did govt go through the charade of negotiating quantities with Pfizer & Moderna without first giving Emergency Use Approval (EUA) to their vaccines? (sic)"
"Why has it taken 8-9 months for the government to decide to give approval when the U.S. and other countries had granted approval? Remember, Dr Manmohan Singh had made this specific suggestion in his letter which got a rude reply from the Union Health Minister! (sic)" he said in a series of tweets.
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