‘Stand Corrected’: Chidambaram on Mamata’s Vaccine Letter to PM

Chidambaram had criticised PM Modi’s statement on Centre decentralising vaccination because states had demanded it.

2 min read
P Chidambaram had criticised PM Modi’s statement on Centre decentralising vaccination because states had demanded it.

While the Modi government's change in vaccine policy, as announced by the Prime Minister on Monday, 7 June, was ascribed to the Supreme Court's rebuke last week, by Opposition leaders, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram withdrew his remarks criticising the PM’s statement on decentralisation of vaccination.

Chidambaram, on Monday, had said that no states had demanded that they be allowed to procure vaccines on their own, as claimed by PM Modi. However, on Tuesday, he withdrew his statement.

"I told ANI 'please tell us which state government demanded that it should be allowed to directly procure vaccines' Social media activists have posted the copy of the letter of CM, West Bengal to PM making such a request. I was wrong. I stand corrected," Mr Chidambaram tweeted.

On Monday, PM Modi, in his national address, announced that vaccines will be provided for free to all citizens above 18 from 21 June. He also announced that Centre would take back control of vaccination from states, reversing a policy that took effect on 1 May. He said the vaccine drive was decentralised after some states complained and demanded to have control over procurement.

Reacting to his address, Chidambaram had said on Monday, as quoted by ANI, “The underlying message was that the central government learned from its mistakes. They made two cardinal mistakes and made effort to correct those mistakes, but as usual bluff and bluster, the Prime Minister blames the Opposition for the mistakes he committed.”

“Nobody, but nobody said that Centre shouldn’t procure vaccines. He (PM) now blames state governments saying - they wanted to procure vaccines so we allowed them. Let us know which CM, which state government, on what date demanded that he should be allowed to procure vaccines.”
P Chidambaram, as quoted by ANI on Monday

Soon after his remarks, it was pointed out that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee indeed had written to the Prime Minister in February asking him to let states procure vaccines on its own.

"We would request you to kindly take up the matter with appropriate authority so that State government is able to purchase the vaccines from designated point(s) on top priority basis because the West Bengal government wants to provide vaccination free of cost to all the people," the Chief Minister had written.

CM Mamata Banerjee, who tweeted taking a jibe at Prime Minister's national address, did not make any reference to her earlier demand.

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