Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday demanded that every person walking into the Covid-19 vaccination centres should get a jab, saying that online registration was not enough for the inoculation drive.

“Those who do not have access to internet also have the right to life,” he tweeted.

Soon after, Union minister Smriti Irani hit back at the Congress leader, citing a verse from 15th Century poet Kabir Das. “Kahat Kabir – boya ped babul ka, aam kaha se hoy [Kabir says – you have sown seeds for acacia tree, how will mangoes grow].”

The Union minister noted that the central government has already given permission to states to allow walk-in registration for the vaccination programme. “Don’t spread confusion, get vaccinated,” she tweeted.

Last month, the Centre had allowed on-site registrations and appointments for Covid-19 vaccination for beneficiaries between the ages of 18 and 44 on the government’s CoWin platform. However, the facility is only available for government vaccination centres.

The Union government had also left it to the states and Union territories to extend the on-site registration facility to the beneficiaries.

Gandhi has been critical of the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In May, he had warned the Union government of a possible third wave and claimed that Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not understood the severity of the Covid-19 crisis.

Earlier, he had compared the Centre’s coronavirus vaccine strategy to its 2016 move to demonetise currency notes of the value of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.

So far, India has administered 24,02,81,903 Covid-19 vaccine doses with 4,59,55,907 getting both the shots, government data showed. On Thursday, India reported 94,052 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the infection tally in the country to 3,59,676 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country also reported its highest single-day toll – 6,148 – after Bihar revised its fatality count upwards of almost 4,000 deaths.

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