Since the onset of the Covid pandemic, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been critical about the way it has been handled by the Modi-led government. Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he has held him responsible for the deadly surge in the second wave of Covid-19 and said that he "did not understand Covid at all".
He also predicted that if the vaccination process continues at the current pace, there will be "multiple waves" in the country. This comes soon after the government declared that it would complete the vaccinations before December 2021.
He also reiterated his earlier contention that India was under-reporting its death rate.
"The first wave no one understood...but the second wave is the PM's responsibility. His nautanki and failure to fulfil his responsibilities is the reason for the second wave," the Wayanad MP said, addressing a virtual press conference.
While accusing Modi of his “ignorance” on the severity of the virus, Mr Gandhi commented: "Unfortunately, the Prime Minister is an event manager. He cannot deal with more than one event at a time. Anything happens, he will organise an event and deal only with that. We cannot do with an event manager in such times. We need effective and speedy administration.”
Social distancing, lockdowns and masks are temporary solutions, stressing that vaccination is the only "permanent solution" to the pandemic. He added that the central government did not "understand the nature of what they're fighting".
He further stated that without a proper vaccination strategy, India would witness multiple waves of Covid.
"Understand the dangers of mutation of this virus. You're creating a liability for the whole planet. Why? Because you are allowing 97% of the population to be attacked by the virus as only 3% are vaccinated," he added.
Going on blaming Modi, Mr Gandhi said that as the prime minister of the country he is responsible for its well-being, but he lives in a bubble. "The PM is trying to repair his image but his image is gone... It is time the Prime Minister stands up and leads the nation. These are the times where he has to show his leadership, his courage, his strength. The Prime Minister must stand up and deliver... don't be afraid. Time has come to show what a good leader you are. So please deliver."
‘Govt’s Death Rate Figures Are False’
Slamming the Centre for allegedly lying about the death rate in the country, Gandhi said that the fatality figures given by the government are false.
“The death rate is false and the government is spreading falsehoods. This is not political, it is about the future of India. The government must understand that the Opposition is not its enemy. If they had listened to us in February, this would not have happened,” he said.
On being asked if covid numbers are misreported in Congress-led states as well, he said: “I have personally spoken to the Congress CMs and told them that lying on death rates is only going to do more damage. Actual numbers will scare people but there’s no advantage of hiding the truth.”
‘Rahul Gandhi Should focus at Congress-ruled States First’: BJP
In counter to Gandhi’s track, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar slammed the Congress leader for using the word "nautanki" for PM Modi and said that he is fighting Covid with people of the country, adding that usage of such words is an insult to the nation and its people. “The people have long put an end to their nautanki,” he said.
Mr Javadekar said: "Vaccinations in India will be complete in 2021 before December. If Rahul-ji is worried about vaccination then he should focus on Congress-ruled states where there are problems in the drive."