Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being responsible for the second wave of COVID-19, and warned of multiple such waves if the Union government didn’t evolve an effective vaccination policy.
Mr. Gandhi, who was addressing a virtual press conference, alleged that the COVID-19 mortality figures put out by the Centre were “big lies”. Though Mr. Modi was worried about his image, “it is gone; it’s dead”.
In the war against the pandemic, the country needed a strategy and vaccination was the only permanent solution. Lockdown was a temporary solution but it brought pain and benefits in equal measure, he said.
The Prime Minister and his government have not yet “understood that corona isn’t just a disease but an evolving disease that gets more dangerous if it is given time and space to spread”, he stated.
Mr. Gandhi also accused the government of shutting down the feedback and information system. The pressure against social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook should be viewed in that context, he observed.
“Mr. Modi is responsible for the second wave of COVID-19; it’s a result of his ‘nautanki’ [theatrics] and lack of his responsibility. It’s time for him to be a leader, display leadership skills and show courage and not come out with excuses and blame others,” he said.
‘There is no strategy’
“The problem is there is no strategy. The Prime Minister doesn’t think strategically. He is an event manager. He thinks one event at a time. You don’t need events now as events will kill people, you need a strategy. The aim of the strategy should be to shut the space for corona,” he noted.
With only 3 % of India’s population fully vaccinated and 97 % potentially exposed to the virus, the situation was alarming not just to the country but a ‘liability’ to the entire planet. As the virus mutated very fast, there could come a time when even vaccines may not be as effective as they were now. If 50-60 per cent of India’s population was vaccinated, then the threat of a third wave would greatly subside and certainly won’t be a fourth or fifth wave, he said.
“You are the Prime Minister, the buck stops with you,” Mr. Gandhi said, adding, “Did Chhattisgarh export vaccines? No, the Prime Minister of India exported vaccines. Because, he fundamentally misunderstood what is going on”.
The government may believe that their fight against coronavirus involved a fight with its political rivals as well, but the Opposition parties were actually a warning system. “The tragedy is that the government is not understanding the nature of what they are fighting. The government is under the impression that they are fighting the Opposition. When it comes to corona, we are on the government’s side,” he pointed out.
Post the press conference, Mr. Gandhi tweeted, “Bring the country together. Shut the space for viral space. Stop the lies. Vaccinate extensively”.