West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should resign for mishandling the coronavirus crisis, reported PTI. She alleged that the prime minister failed in planning to contain the rise in the number of infections.
“He is the man responsible for the present situation,” Banerjee alleged. “He did not make any administrative planning for 2021. And look at the situation in Gujarat. The BJP cannot tackle the Covid-19 surge even in Gujarat, and has brought the entire country, including West Bengal, to such a pass.”
On Sunday, West Bengal reported its highest single-day surge of 8,419 new Covid cases, taking the overall infection count since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 6,59,927. With 28 new deaths, the toll climbed to 10,568.
The chief minister said Modi did little to address the shortage in supply of medical oxygen and vaccines in the last five to six months, when the spread of the infection was under control before its resurgence this year. Banerjee also accused the prime minister of exporting vaccines to other countries to boost his image in the international arena even as there was a scarcity in India.
“We have no problem if you help others in the world, but first give it to Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, and other states of the country,” she said. “You failed to do so and were only concerned about your image-building exercise in the global community.”
Banerjee added that Modi has not yet responded to the West Bengal government’s request for sending 5.4 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses for inoculating all citizens of the state free of cost.
“There is [a] shortage of oxygen and antiviral drug remdesivir in the entire country,” she said. “Who is responsible for this? Had they given us the consent, we would have been able to vaccinate every resident of the state.”
The chief minister noted that Maharashtra too has flagged concerns about the shortage of “life saving materials” such as oxygen and medicines. “But without attending this issue you [Modi] are attending election rallies in Bengal,” she said.
In letter to Modi, Mamata Banerjee asks for vaccine doses, medicines
Later on Sunday, Banerjee wrote to Modi, seeking the Centre’s help in tackling the coronavirus surge in West Bengal, reported the Hindustan Times.
In her letter, she flagged three matters – vaccination, supply of essential medicines and oxygen – and sought the Centre’s intervention. “As such, in the present situation, we have to significantly scale up our capacities to tackle the pandemic on war footing,” the chief minister said.
Banerjee asked for 5.4 crore vaccine doses from the Centre to meet the state’s demand. She said that the density of population in the state, and more particularly in Kolkata, was extremely high, and an aggressive Covid-19 vaccination was important. However, she said, the supply of vaccines has been “scarce and erratic”, affecting the state’s inoculation drive.
She also said that the supply of medicines was scarce and the state needs 6,000 vials of remdesivir and 1,000 of tocilizumab every day. Banerjee asked the prime minister to ensure a steady supply of the medicines, saying that only 1,000 vials of remdesivir were currently available with the state.
Banerjee also sought a steady supply of oxygen in West Bengal as various states, including Maharashtra and Delhi, have reported shortages. “The Steel Authority of India Limited is meeting up our need for the moment and we shall be grateful if you kindly instruct them too for ensuring steady supplies,” she added.