By Pragya Kaushika
New Delhi [India], June 4 (ANI): Former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Friday lashed out at Congress government in Punjab over its order, which was later withdrawn, for providing one-time limited vaccine doses to 18-44 age group population through private hospitals and questioned "silence" of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the issue.
The Shiromani Akali Dal leader levelled corruption allegations against Capt Amarinder Singh government in Punjab and asked if his visit to Delhi was linked to the controversy over vaccine supply in the state.
"Was he summoned in Delhi to pay ransom to save his chair? These Congress leaders took a cut in uniforms, PPE kits, action for poor and now even vaccines weren't spared," she alleged.
Badal, who is MP from Bathinda, targeted Rahul Gandhi for not tweeting about alleged "profiteering" by Punjab government over vaccination by private hospitals.
"Rahul Gandhi gives suggestions that poor should get vaccine free and when his party's government is getting a profit of Rs 650 on each dose why is he silent. Did Rahul Gandhi tweet anything about it? If he is silent on this, this reeks of some settlement between the Captain and high command. If that's not the case he should change health minister, admonish CM and take action against the chief secretary," Harsimrat Kaur Badal told ANI.
She accused the Punjab Chief Minister of giving clean chit to all those related to the controversy.
"You can take this in writing, if there is a judicial probe into this scam, there are chances of truth coming out. Otherwise everyone will be given a clean chit," she said.
She said that Punjab government had withdrawn its order providing "one-time limited vaccine doses to 18-44 age group population through private hospitals" following huge furore.
"If this order was so good why did the government withdraw it? Where is the accountability? Chief Secretary tweeted like a salesperson of private hospitals stating that common people can avail vaccines at cost if Rs 900 and Rs 1200," she said.
"What is Punjab government's intention? Do they want to save poor peoples lives or they want to earn profit from vaccines meant for the poor? This is clear that they committed a scam by taking money from private hospitals and traded vaccines meant for the poor. They indulged in profiteering. After this scam came to light, they have taken the order (selling vaccines to private hospitals) back," she said.
Badal also targeted Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu over his remarks that he was not involved in the vaccine procurement and distribution process and had nothing to do with the controversy. She said the minister should resign.
"Can a health minister wash off his hands from orders issued by his department? These circulars are being sent across the state and the health minister isn't even picking calls made to him. Does he mean that this scam was committed by the CM? Or he has no say in his department. If that is the case why doesn't he resign then?" she said.
The SAD leader also questioned the silence of AAP over the controversy and accused the party of being B team of Congress. She said AAP has many Congress turncoats and few of them even returned to the party.
The former union minister also slammed the Centre over its vaccination policy.
"The Centre has failed. When other nations were vaccinating their people, the Centre was showing its COVID friendship and was exporting vaccines. And now they are having a shortage of vaccines. Not just vaccines, oxygen and medicines too were in shortage. We earned a bad reputation worldwide for COVID deaths," she said. (ANI)