PM at All-Party Meet: Stay Vigilant Against COVID, Rise Above Politics
The Congress and the SAD had, earlier in the day, informed that they would not be attending PM Modi’s presentation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 20 July, conducted an all-party meeting, in which he reportedly emphasised on the need to remain vigilant, citing resurgence of COVID-19 cases in various countries.
The Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had, earlier in the day, said that they would not be attending Prime Minister Modi’s presentation on COVID-19.
MPs from AIADMK, Shiv Sena, National Congress Party, Biju Janata Dal, Tamil Manila Congress, Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (Secular), Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party, Lok Janshakti Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Janata Dal United, and Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party were, meanwhile, reported to be in attendance.
As per a government press release, PM Modi further urged the Centre and the states to rise above politics and work together as a team to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, according to PTI, some parties requested expedition of the process for getting international recognition for Bharat Biotech's COVID jab Covaxin.
MORE DETAILS FROM THE MEET
Modi, at the meet, apprised the floor leaders of both houses on the Public Health Response to the pandemic, said the government in a press release.
The attendees were also reportedly apprised of India's COVID-19 vaccination strategy, which as per the government, aims to:
• Provide free vaccination to all adult Indians, safely and as fast as possible
• Protect on priority Healthcare Workers & Frontline Workers
• Protect the vulnerable population, ie 45 years and above, who contribute to more than 80% of COVID-related mortality in the country
Modi also talked about the "rising speed of India's vaccination program" and claimed
While administering the first 10 crore doses took around 85 days, the last 10 crore doses have taken 24 days.
The daily closing stocks show an average of more than 1.5 crore vaccines at the end of the day throughout the country.
Stressing on the need to "properly plan" the vaccination drives at the district level, Modi expressed concern that a significant number of healthcare workers and frontline workers are still to be vaccinated. Further he sought more proactivity from the states in this regard.
Emphasising that the COVID situation in other countries indicated a continued need for vigilance, Modi said that the mutations make the disease "very unpredictable".
According to the government's press release, leaders across parties thanked the Prime Ministers for his efforts through the pandemic.
WHAT HAD THE AKALI DAL AND CONGRESS SAID?
Regarding their decision to skip PM Modi's presentation on COVID, ANI quoted Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge as saying:
“We had said that all MPs be called in Central Hall instead of just the Floor Leaders. Everyone must be spoken to. We had said that this be done in two slots. We are not attending it as everyone should get to know (the COVID situation).”
As per NDTV, however, Kharge had insisted that theirs was not a boycott, and said that a discussion on the matter must be held by MPs in the House first.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, however, was quoted by PTI as saying:
“Today Shiromani Akali Dal will boycott PM Modi's briefing on COVID-19. It will be attended only after he calls a meeting to discuss farm issues.”
Previously, several Opposition leaders had rejected the idea of a presentation by the PM at a time when Parliament was in session.
Trinamool Congress' Derek O’Brien had taken to Twitter to say: "MPs do not want fancy PowerPoint presentations on COVID-19 from the PM or this government in some conference room. Parliament is in session. Come to the floor house of the House."
Meanwhile, as the Rajya Sabha resumed its Monsoon Session on Tuesday, 20 July, Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge severely criticised the Narendra Modi government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also stressed that instead of taking the blame, Prime Minister Modi made Health Minster Harsh Vardhan, who resigned ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, a scapegoat.
(With inputs from NDTV, ANI and PTI.)
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