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Health Politics

Covid-19: India’s Opposition leaders suggest solutions, will PM finally listen? 

Senior Opposition leaders including four CMs once again ask Centre to procure vaccines, start free mass vaccination, pause central vista project, give food to poor

Sabrangindia 15 May 2021

Modi mask

To say that India’s Opposition parties are playing a major visible role as the nation continues to face its biggest health crisis ever would be an understatement. It has been the major Opposition parties, which took it upon themselves to take on the central government, when the Oxygen shortage in hospitals threatened to reach a critical point. 

Senior Opposition leaders issued a joint statement in the first week of May, asking the government to focus all its attention on ensuring uninterrupted oxygen supply. Soon the courts too issued similar directions to the state and central governments on this matter. However, ironically, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership, many of whom have been conspicuous by their silence, even on social media, have refrained from reassuring the people of India that there is a solid plan in place that will help the nation overcome Covid-19 pandemic, and its many tragic aftermaths.

Instead, there is political posturing over any criticism of the centre’s  Covid-19 policy especially if it comes from any Opposition leader. The BJP sets in motion a defence team, led by the party’s National President JP Nadda  who recently ‘penned’ a long winding response to concerns raised by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Nadda in his letter to Sonia Gandhi complained about Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders. According to Nadda Rahul Gandhi “will be remembered for duplicity and pettiness.” However, he is yet to tell the nation what India’s current Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan who is at the helm of affairs, along with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to decide the government’s Covid-19 combat policy, will be remembered for. Most of the Covid-19 policies and responses are now Centrally controlled. Nadda was then upset at being reminded by Gandhi that the Prime Minister had “mismanaged” the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Now, once again, 12 Opposition party leaders, including four Chief Ministers, have sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the Centre to procure vaccines from global and domestic sources and begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country. Mass vaccination has globally emerged as one of the best ways to flatten the Covid-19 curve which continues to rise sharply in India. Vaccine shortage has forced the vaccine for all programmes to be paused in many states across the country just days after it began.

Delhi has now shut down  almost 125 centres after Bharat Biotech told the state government it could not provide additional Covaxin supplies. According to Dy CM Manish Sisodia, “The Covaxin manufacturer has in a letter said it cannot provide us vaccines due to unavailability, undeernment officials. It means the Centre is controlling vaccine supply.” Sisodia had earlier  suggested that “a global tender to import Covid vaccines” be initiated. However neither he, nor Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, signed this letter sent by the Opposition on May 13.

The letter has has been signed by eminent Opposition leaders including former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda,  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI General Secretary D Raja, JKPA’s Farooq Abdullah, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav. 

The Opposition leaders reminded the Centre that they have “repeatedly in the past drawn your attention, independently and jointly, to the various measures that are absolutely imperative for the Central government to undertake and implement. Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy.”

They stated that the Centre must “procure vaccines centrally from all available sources — global and domestic” and “immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country,” asking the PM invoke compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production and spend budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for the vaccination drive, stated media reports. The leaders once again asked the Centre to stop the Central Vista project, which is now being seen as a vanity project while hundreds are dying across the country each day. The Opposition has said the money could be better used to get oxygen and vaccines. 

However, the BJP via its social media department shared its own ‘tool kit’ of responses, and accused the Opposition of “using the pandemic for their vested political interests.”

 

 

The Opposition leaders also suggested that the Centre release the money held in the “unaccounted private trust fund, PMCares to buy more vaccines, oxygen, medical equipment, also give the unemployed at least Rs 6000 per month, and give free foodgrains to the needy. In response, the BJP has deployed its members to counter opposition over social media, case in point Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, now Bihar’s Minister of Industries, and a National Spokesperson, BJP who posted: “the Prime Minister is already very serious and diligent about the nationwide campaign. But we wonder why it took them so long to understand this important thing?”

 

 

This time, the Opposition leaders sign off with: “Though it has not been the practice of your office or government, we would appreciate a response to our suggestions in the interests of India and our people.” Time will tell who the BJP will now assign to loudly counter these suggestions. 


 

Related:

How will an angry letter to an Opposition party help curb Covid ...Ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply to hospitals: 13 Opposition parties tell Centre

Covid-19: India’s Opposition leaders suggest solutions, will PM finally listen? 

Senior Opposition leaders including four CMs once again ask Centre to procure vaccines, start free mass vaccination, pause central vista project, give food to poor

Modi mask

To say that India’s Opposition parties are playing a major visible role as the nation continues to face its biggest health crisis ever would be an understatement. It has been the major Opposition parties, which took it upon themselves to take on the central government, when the Oxygen shortage in hospitals threatened to reach a critical point. 

Senior Opposition leaders issued a joint statement in the first week of May, asking the government to focus all its attention on ensuring uninterrupted oxygen supply. Soon the courts too issued similar directions to the state and central governments on this matter. However, ironically, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership, many of whom have been conspicuous by their silence, even on social media, have refrained from reassuring the people of India that there is a solid plan in place that will help the nation overcome Covid-19 pandemic, and its many tragic aftermaths.

Instead, there is political posturing over any criticism of the centre’s  Covid-19 policy especially if it comes from any Opposition leader. The BJP sets in motion a defence team, led by the party’s National President JP Nadda  who recently ‘penned’ a long winding response to concerns raised by Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Nadda in his letter to Sonia Gandhi complained about Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders. According to Nadda Rahul Gandhi “will be remembered for duplicity and pettiness.” However, he is yet to tell the nation what India’s current Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan who is at the helm of affairs, along with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to decide the government’s Covid-19 combat policy, will be remembered for. Most of the Covid-19 policies and responses are now Centrally controlled. Nadda was then upset at being reminded by Gandhi that the Prime Minister had “mismanaged” the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Now, once again, 12 Opposition party leaders, including four Chief Ministers, have sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the Centre to procure vaccines from global and domestic sources and begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country. Mass vaccination has globally emerged as one of the best ways to flatten the Covid-19 curve which continues to rise sharply in India. Vaccine shortage has forced the vaccine for all programmes to be paused in many states across the country just days after it began.

Delhi has now shut down  almost 125 centres after Bharat Biotech told the state government it could not provide additional Covaxin supplies. According to Dy CM Manish Sisodia, “The Covaxin manufacturer has in a letter said it cannot provide us vaccines due to unavailability, undeernment officials. It means the Centre is controlling vaccine supply.” Sisodia had earlier  suggested that “a global tender to import Covid vaccines” be initiated. However neither he, nor Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, signed this letter sent by the Opposition on May 13.

The letter has has been signed by eminent Opposition leaders including former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda,  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI General Secretary D Raja, JKPA’s Farooq Abdullah, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav. 

The Opposition leaders reminded the Centre that they have “repeatedly in the past drawn your attention, independently and jointly, to the various measures that are absolutely imperative for the Central government to undertake and implement. Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy.”

They stated that the Centre must “procure vaccines centrally from all available sources — global and domestic” and “immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country,” asking the PM invoke compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production and spend budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for the vaccination drive, stated media reports. The leaders once again asked the Centre to stop the Central Vista project, which is now being seen as a vanity project while hundreds are dying across the country each day. The Opposition has said the money could be better used to get oxygen and vaccines. 

However, the BJP via its social media department shared its own ‘tool kit’ of responses, and accused the Opposition of “using the pandemic for their vested political interests.”

 

 

The Opposition leaders also suggested that the Centre release the money held in the “unaccounted private trust fund, PMCares to buy more vaccines, oxygen, medical equipment, also give the unemployed at least Rs 6000 per month, and give free foodgrains to the needy. In response, the BJP has deployed its members to counter opposition over social media, case in point Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, now Bihar’s Minister of Industries, and a National Spokesperson, BJP who posted: “the Prime Minister is already very serious and diligent about the nationwide campaign. But we wonder why it took them so long to understand this important thing?”

 

 

This time, the Opposition leaders sign off with: “Though it has not been the practice of your office or government, we would appreciate a response to our suggestions in the interests of India and our people.” Time will tell who the BJP will now assign to loudly counter these suggestions. 


 

Related:

How will an angry letter to an Opposition party help curb Covid ...Ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply to hospitals: 13 Opposition parties tell Centre

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