NEW DELHI: Hours after Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging “vaccine starvation” in the nation, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit out at him, claiming the shortage in Congress-ruled states is not of vaccines but of commitment.
Gandhi, in his letter to the prime minister, demanded an immediate moratorium on Covid-19 vaccine exports and opening up of the vaccination to “everyone who needs it”.
Hitting back, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote on Twitter, “Rahul Gandhi must know that shortage in Congress-ruled states is not of vaccines but of basic commitment towards healthcare.”
“He should write letters to his party’s governments to stop their ‘vasooli’ (extortion) ventures and concentrate on administering the lakhs of vaccines they are sitting on,” he said.
India is not facing vaccine starvation but Gandhi is facing “attention starvation”, Prasad said.
“Why has Rahul Gandhi not yet taken vaccine? Is it an oversight or he doesn’t want it or has he already taken one in many of his undisclosed trips to foreign locations but doesn’t want to disclose?” he posed.
In his letter to PM Modi, Gandhi has also sought more say to the state governments in vaccine procurement and distribution.
He also asked for a provision of direct income support to the vulnerable sections amid the disastrous second wave of Covid-19 in India, as he extended his support to the vaccination programme.
Gandhi also sought fast-tracking of approval of other vaccines according to norms and guidelines.
“After failing as a part-time politician, has Rahul Gandhi switched to full-time lobbying? First, he lobbied for fighter plane companies by trying to derail India’s acquisition programme. Now he is lobbying for pharma companies by asking for arbitrary approvals for foreign vaccines,” Prasad said.