Mamata slams Modi govt's 'monumental incompetence' in COVID management

·2-min read

(Eds; Minor edits) Bhagawangola/Sagardighi/Farakka (WB), Apr 20 (PTI) Slamming the Narendra Modi government for its 'monumental incompetence' in COVID management, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said the Centre allowed open market sale of coronavirus vaccines only after shipments to foreign countries led to depletion of stocks in India.

Banerjee also alleged the schedule for West Bengal assembly election was decided to assist the BJP, and voiced displeasure at the rejection of her proposal to club the polling for the remaining three phases.

Addressing an election meeting at Bhagwangola in Murshidabad district, the Trinamool Congress supremo claimed the prime minister allowed export of vaccines to other countries to 'boost his image' while states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Rajasthan and West Bengal struggled to get the doses they required to combat the pandemic.

'Yesterday the PM said the medicine (vaccine) will be available in open market. Where is the open market, where is the availability? You have already shipped out the majority of stock to foreign destinations,' she alleged.

India, as part of vaccine diplomacy decided to export life-saver jabs to several countries including Pakistan, notwithstanding persistent tensions between the two countries.

'We are facing a huge deficit of vaccines due to faulty planning,' Banerjee said, calling the Centre 'a government of monumental incompetence'.

The TMC supremo said more and more COVID-19 cases are being reported from Kolkata, North 24 Parganas and Asansol belt and the state government is trying to manage the crisis with limited stock.

'For six months the central leadership did not bother to plan, they were busy plotting electoral battles in Bengal,' Banerjee alleged.

Training her guns on the BJP, she claimed the party brought in 'lakhs of people' from outside the state to help in the campaign and many of these people were infected with COVID.

These people will leave but they have already spread the virus and the onus to manage the new crisis will be on us, she said.

'Bengal's COVID situation was firmly under control but now the rate of infection is rising again,' she said and advised people not to panic. 'We will again put it (pandemic) under a tight leash.' PTI SUS JRC SK SK