Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the government’s handling of India’s biggest health challenge in recent years continued this morning as the country recorded the world’s biggest daily spike in Covid infections. Mr Gandhi, 50, had also tested positive for Covid earlier this week, and is quarantined at his home.
In a sharply-worded tweet, the Congress MP from Kerala’s Wayanad targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his address to the nation on Tuesday, calling it a “hollow speech”.
“I am quarantined at home and I continue to see tragic stories being reported from across the country. India has not just been hit by the coronavirus crisis but has been battered by the anti-people policies of the government. The country doesn’t need hollow speeches and useless festivals…. India is in dire need of a solution,” the Congress leader wrote in a tweet in Hindi. He also referred to four-day “Tika Utsav” by the government earlier this month to step up vaccine coverage.
On Tuesday, PM Modi, in a televised address, assured the nation about the availability of medical oxygen, hospital beds and vaccines amid an alarming surge in Covid infections. As restrictions return to many parts of the country, the Prime Minister also said “lockdown should be the last resort”.
Hit by the second Covid wave, India saw a record rise in Covid caseload with 3.14 lakh infections; 2,104 Covid patients died in another grim record.
Oxygen shortage for Covid patients has emerged as one of the biggest concerns with the health crisis sweeping several parts of the country. The government, however, has assured “round-the-clock” monitoring of the oxygen supply.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi too, last week, slammed the government over the Covid surge, saying that India “has been caught off guard again” despite a year to prepare.
Ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to PM Modi suggesting five measures to battle the Covid crisis including ramping up vaccination and boosting the supply of medicines. He also tested positive for Covid on Monday.
However, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had shot back at the Congress over the criticism. “History shall be kinder to you Dr Manmohan Singh ji if your offer of ‘constructive cooperation’ and valuable advice was followed by your @INCIndia leaders as well in such extraordinary times!” he had tweeted.
Earlier this month, shortly after Rahul Gandhi’s letter to the Prime Minister on what he called the “catastrophic” impact of vaccinations “at a snail’s pace”, the BJP hit back with a question — “Why has Rahul Gandhi not yet taken vaccine?”