Congress leaders across the country submitted memoranda addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday, requesting him to direct the Centre to ensure universal free vaccination, saying it is the only way to defeat the pandemic. Pradesh and District Congress Committees in different states submitted memoranda to the respective governors and district magistrates for the President.
"Vaccination is the only protection in the midst of the raging Covid-19 pandemic. Modi Government's vaccination strategy has been a dangerous cocktail of blunders and bloopers," their identical memoranda read. They also emphasised that "the need of the hour is that Union BJP government should procure the vaccine and supply for free to the States and private hospitals for vaccinating the people of India. Anything less is a huge disservice to India and its people.
The country's entire population of above 18 should be vaccinated on or before December 31, 2021, they demanded. "This is the only way to save our people. For this, the only solution is to vaccinate at least one crore people a day and not the current average of 16 lakh people a day. "We, therefore, urge upon your goodself to direct the Modi government to ensure one crore vaccination per day as also universal free vaccination. This is the only way to fight Covid-19 pandemic and defeat the disease," the party memorandum said.
Separately, a party statement also said states are left totally at the mercy of an "unreliable Centre" because foreign suppliers are refusing to engage directly and domestic ones do not have enough production to meet their demands. "They are begging from the Prime Minister to release the GST compensation due to them so that they can buy vaccines for those between 18-44 in order to stop the onset of the third wave," the statement said. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, party leader Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders in their joint statement on many occasions have tried to draw the attention of the government towards the need for universal free vaccination. The Congress Social Media Department on June 2, 2022 ran a massive online campaign, #SpeakUpForFreeUniversalVaccination, aimed at urging the Central government for universal free vaccination, the party said.