Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday accused the Narendra Modi government of mismanaging the coronavirus situation in the country. She blamed the Centre as several states complained of vaccine shortages amid a record surge in daily infections.
“It [government] has exported the vaccines and allowed a shortage to be created in India,” Gandhi said at a virtual meeting with the chief ministers of Congress-ruled states. “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 behaviour, adhering to all laws and Covid regulations without exception.”
The Congress president said that mass gatherings and religious events have accelerated the surge in coronavirus cases. She asked the Congress-ruled states to take strict measures so that the pandemic does not get out of control.
Gandhi also asked the states to ensure testing at a large scale and prepare adequate facilities to rein in the pandemic. “We must make all efforts to support those who have faced the brunt of reduced economic activity as the restrictions become harder and more stringent,” she said.
The party chief also called for transparency in reporting coronavirus data. “Governments must reveal the actual numbers of infections and deaths across states, whether Congress-ruled or otherwise,” she said. “Cooperation with states respecting federalism and in turn, for us to be constructive and cooperate with the government in its effort to fight the pandemic is equally important.”
Gandhi questioned if the stimulus packages announced by the government had any impact and if the Bharatiya Janata Party should be doing more to deal with the crisis. “Do you see economic recovery happening in the manner that is being officially claimed?” she asked.
At the meeting, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also “expressed deep concern over the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the country”, according to party chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
Coronavirus cases in India maintained the upward trend on Saturday, as the country reported 1,45,384 new infections in the last 24 hours. The country’s overall count of infections rose to 1,32,05,926 since the pandemic broke out last March. The toll went up to 1,68,436, with 794 more fatalities in the last 24 hours.