People Are Priority: Rahul Writes to Modi, Sonia Chairs Party Meet
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Modi giving suggestions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic
As the surge in COVID-19 cases continue to ravage India, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, 7 May, giving suggestions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, that has led India to seek aid from several countries around the world.
Meanwhile, Congress President Sonia Gandhi held a Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting in view of the current crisis and accused the Modi government of being unprepared and premature in its declaration of victory over the virus.
Pointing out that “thousands have died and millions are scrambling to access basic healthcare”, Sonia Gandhi asked what the Modi government has been doing.
Rahul’s Time-Sensitive Suggestions to PM Modi
In his letter to PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi said, “In such an unprecedented crisis, the people of India must be your foremost priority.”
Highlighting the importance of understanding India’s responsibility in a globalised and interconnected world, Gandhi said, “Allowing the uncontrollable spread of this virus in our country will be devastating not only for our people but also for the rest of the world.”
Here are the four suggestions Gandhi gave:
- Scientifically track the virus and its mutations across the country using genome sequencing as well as its disease patterns
- Dynamically assess the efficacy of all vaccines against all new mutations as they are identified
- Rapidly vaccinate our entire population
- Be transparent and keep the rest of the world informed about our findings.
Gandhi further claimed, “Your government’s lack of a clear and coherent COVID vaccination strategy, as well as its hubris in declaring premature victory as the virus was exponentially spreading, has placed India in a highly dangerous position – today the disease is growing explosively.”
He added that government’s failures have made another national lockdown almost inevitable.
Gandhi added that in case the decision to declare a national lockdown is taken, “the government must act with compassion and provide critical financial and food support to our most vulnerable people. In addition, it must be ready with a transportation strategy for those who will require it.”
Aware of the economic impact of a lockdown, Gandhi stressed that the human cost of allowing this virus to continue will result in “many more tragic consequences” for Indians than “any purely economic calculations your advisors are suggesting".
'Modi Govt Abdicated Its Fundamental Responsibilities': Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi, in the meeting, asserted: “Instead of alleviating people’s suffering and pain, it has abdicated its fundamental responsibilities and duties towards the people.”
She also claimed that the government’s own Empowered Groups had warned the Centre of a second wave and had urged it to plan and prepare for it and yet, “earlier this year, the Prime Minister arrogantly boasted that he had defeated the pandemic and his party obediently felicitated him for his so-called success".
Refusing to strengthen the supply chains for oxygen, medicine, and ventilators, Gandhi said, the Modi government “consciously chose to allocate thousands of crores for non-essential projects that have nothing to do with the peoples’ well-being”.
Hitting out at the Uttar Pradesh government, Gandhi said that BJP governments have been using the state’s repressive power to arrest people for merely crying out for help.
“They are cracking down on citizen groups who are trying their best to help. They are also compelling social media platforms and the media to obfuscate the truth and ignore the pleas of desperate citizens,” she added.
Parliament Had Allocated Rs 35,000 Crores to Ensure Free Vaccines for All
“The Parliament had allocated Rs 35,000 crores in the Union Budget to ensure free vaccines for all,” Gandhi said, adding, “Yet the Modi government has placed the burden on already stretched state governments and has allowed differential pricing for vaccines.”
Stressing that the inequitable vaccination policy will exclude millions of Dalits, Adivasis, Other Backwards Classes, as well as the poor and the marginalised, Gandhi claimed that the government has abdicated its moral obligation and its sworn duty towards the people.
She further asserted, “the system hasn’t failed”, rather, “India is crippled by a political leadership today that has no empathy for the people".
Gandhi applauded the efforts taken by the Youth Congress to “ensure that people are able to access oxygen supplies, medicines, ventilators, and hospital beds”.
She also announced that the All India Congress Committee COVID control room is reaching out with a detailed blueprint, and similar COVID relief control rooms have been set up at the state level.
“The Congress Party firmly believes that fighting Covid is not a ‘government versus us’ battle but an ‘us versus corona’ battle,” Gandhi said, asking the Centre to call an all-party meeting on the COVID-19 situation.
‘Disappointing Results’: Sonia on Elections
Gandhi called the party’s performance in the state Assembly elections “disappointing”. She said that the party must collectively draw appropriate lessons from this setback in a spirit of humanity.
"Unfortunately, our own performance in all the states was very disappointing and if I may say, unexpectedly so. The CWC is meeting shortly to review results,” NDTV quoted Gandhi as saying.
Several party leaders in the past have called upon the senior party leaders to introspect on why the leadership is losing out on voter constituencies.
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