Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday warned the government of an imminent third wave of the coronavirus pandemic and urged the Centre to prepare for it.

Gandhi also released a report on the pandemic. “The aim of this white paper on Covid-19 is not finger-pointing at the government but to help the nation prepare for the third wave of infection,” he said. “The whole country knows that a third wave will strike.”

He criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for conducting election rallies for Assembly polls amid the second wave of coronavirus.

“In the second wave, many died needless deaths... We couldn’t provide them oxygen cylinders,” Gandhi said. “Prime Minister’s tears cannot wipe the tears of families who lost family members. His tears cannot save them, oxygen can. But he did not take it seriously as his focus was on Bengal [election].”

Gandhi said that the government’s management of the first two waves of the pandemic was “disastrous”, adding that his intention was to provide the government “information and insights on what went wrong”.

The Congress MP suggested the ramping up of health infrastructure in the country which, he said, were “not ready” during the first two waves of the pandemic.

“The central pillar of fighting Covid is vaccination,” Gandhi said, listing out the measures suggested in the white paper. “It is very important that we aggressively do vaccinations and cross this bridge of 100% vaccination as soon as possible because that is the only protection.”

He commended the fact that more than 86 lakh doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered on Monday. But, he added that the government needed to ensure the process continued until the entire population in India is vaccinated.

On Tuesday, India reported 42,640 new coronavirus cases, taking its overall count of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 2,99,77,861. This was the first day in more than three months that the daily count came at under 50,000. The number of active cases in the country stood at 6,62,251, while the toll rose by 1,167 to 3,89,302.

Follow today’s coronavirus updates