BJP Takes Swipe at Cong Over Internal Fight in Punjab, Raises Questions Over Party's Commitment to Fight Covid

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Taking a swipe at the Congress over its internal fight in Punjab, the BJP on Friday asked whether the party was committed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. "Today, the entire (Congress) party and the government of Punjab are in Delhi. Who will look after Punjab? Ignoring Punjab for their internal fight. This is a big sin of Congress," Union minister Prakash Javadekar told a press conference at the BJP headquarters.

This came after Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met a three-member committee, set up by the Congress high command to resolve infighting in the party's state unit, at All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here. The three-member panel is headed by the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and has AICC secretary general in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat and former MP J P Aggarwal as its other members. Singh had arrived in the national capital on Thursday. Javadekar used the opportunity to target Rahul Gandhi, saying the Congress leader, instead of giving lectures to others, should first consider how to set things right in place in the state ruled by his party.

"I would suggest to Rahul that instead of giving lectures to others, he should first think how works can be done properly in his state," he said. The BJP leader said while Punjab is badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no proper management of inoculation drive in the state. The state government is also not paying adequate attention to testing and other measures that need to be taken to contain the spread, he alleged.

"For the last six months, an internal fight has been going on (within the Congress in Punjab)," he said. Referring to media reports that claimed the Punjab government has allegedly sold some vaccines out of those procured under the state quota to private hospitals at a higher rate, Javadekar accused the Amarinder Singh dispensation of "making a profit" from vaccination.

"It's dangerous news. They (Punjab government) got over 1.40 lakh doses of Covaxin at Rs 400 each. And they gave some of the vaccines to 20 private hospitals at Rs 1000 each. The state government wants to make a profit from the vaccination. What kind of government is this?" he charged. Javadekar said the Centre has so far given a total of 22 crore vaccines to the states free-of-cost.

"They should pay attention to their management so that people of Punjab get relief. This is the demand and expectation of the people today," he added. Singh and his former cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu are engaged in a bitter war of words. Sidhu has publicly attacked the chief minister over an SIT report on the sacrilege issue in Punjab.

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