Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has attacked the Narendra Modi government on a number of purported shortcomings in its handling of the COVID-19 situation.
In an interview aired by ANI on Wednesday morning, Priyanka accused the Modi government of being busy with elections in West Bengal even when people are pleading for help. “Even today they're busy with campaigning. They are laughing from the stages (at rallies). People are crying, screaming for help, seeking oxygen, beds, medicines and you're going to huge rallies and laughing! How can you?" Priyanka was quoted as asking by ANI.
Priyanka pointed out the government had failed to act in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19. Priyanka said, "The government has failed to put in place a proper plan to battle the second wave of infections... Why did it not make arrangements when a second wave was inevitable? The country is facing a shortage of oxygen because there was no strategy; this is the government's failure and bad planning... India's production capacity for oxygen is one of the largest in the world. Then why's there a shortage? You had 8-9 months (between first and second wave), your own sero-surveys indicated that a second wave is imminent, you ignored it."
Priyanka lambasted the government on the logistical issues in transportation of oxygen and shortage of vaccines and Remdesivir medicine to treat COVID-19.
"You had time. Today, only 2,000 trucks in India can transport oxygen. How tragic it is that oxygen is available but it's not reaching where it should; 1.1 million Remdesivir injections were exported in the last 6 months. Today, we are facing a shortage... The government exported 6 crore vaccines between January-March. During this time, 3-4 crore Indians were vaccinated. Why were Indians not prioritised? Vaccine shortage is due to bad planning, Remdesivir shortage is due to no planning, oxygen shortage due to no strategy. It's government's failure," Priyanka told ANI.
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Priyanka also pointed out flaws in testing for COVID-19. "Why did they not ramp up? Why the antigen tests? To lower their numbers? Even today reports are coming that private labs are being told to stop the testing. Why? What is important—people's lives or your numbers and the image of your government?" Priyanka told ANI. Priyanka appeared to be referring to reports that private labs in Uttar Pradesh had been asked to stop testing for COVID-19. Priyanka alleged only 30 per cent of tests done in Uttar Pradesh were RT-PCR tests.