The Congress on Friday appealed to the Centre to listen to suggestions from the states to curb India’s spiralling Covid-19 crisis, reported The Hindu.

The party’s interim President Sonia Gandhi, during a meeting of all Congress MPs, asked for inputs from all legislators. She reportedly said that tackling the pandemic would require able, calm and visionary leadership. Gandhi also accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the centre of leading the country in a way that everyone was bearing the weight of the Centre’s “indifference and incompetence”.

“Let us be absolutely clear – the system hasn’t failed,” she said, according to the newspaper. “The Modi government has been unable to constructively channelise India’s many strengths and resources. I say this categorically – India is crippled by a political leadership today that has no empathy for the people. The government has failed the people of our country.”

She said that letters from herself, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former party chief Rahul Gandhi to the prime minister, and concerns raised by other party leaders had “fallen on deaf ears”. “The government has made no meaningful response and continues to believe that it alone has the answers. The situation brooks no delay,” she said, reported The Hindu.

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Meanwhile, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said that the pandemic had gone from “bad to worse”.

“The insufficient supply of vaccines is a hard, bitter truth, but the government is in denial,” he tweeted. “In Tamil Nadu, not all among 45+ are getting the first dose and a small number the second dose.”

He also highlighted that a very small percentage of those between 18 and 44 was getting the vaccine. “The situation in other states is not very different,” he added. “The prime minister and the health minister refuse to own responsibility and are making a mockery of democratic principles.”

The Congress has been critical of the Centre’s strategy to combat the second wave of the coronavirus raging through the country.

Earlier on Friday, Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioning him against the possibility of more mutated strains of the coronavirus originating in India. The Congress leader warned that the spread of the virus in India could prove to be “devastating” for the rest of the world too.

On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi had said a full lockdown was the only way now to stop the spread of the coronavirus. He had also advocated for restrictions to be imposed along with the minimum income guarantee, or Nyuntam Aay Yojana scheme, for the vulnerable sections.

On May 2, Rahul Gandhi had criticised Modi for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and said that he had passed on the responsibility to the states during the second wave of the outbreak. On the same day, Sonia Gandhi had urged the Centre to come up with a national policy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. She stressed upon the need to forge a consensus among all political parties about the policy.

On April 18, senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh had written to Modi about ramping up India’s vaccination programme, saying it was pertinent to tackle to coronavirus crisis.

The Modi-led administration has been widely criticised for opening up vaccination for all adults, without a proper supply schedule from manufacturers. Several states have had to delay the third phase of vaccination as enough supplies are not available to handle the burden of inoculating nearly 60 crore citizens in the 18-44 age group who became eligible to receive the jab from May 1.

India on Friday recorded 4,14,188 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally of infections in the country to 2,14,91,598 since the pandemic broke out last year. This is the highest rise in daily cases and the third instance, after May 1, when the count rose by more than 4 lakh. The toll climbed by 3,915 deaths to 2,34,083.