Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday slammed the Centre for calling the vaccine drive an 'Utsav' (festival), saying that "by no stretch of imagination can it be a festival."
He said that the vaccination drive is a "crusade".
Taking to Twitter, the former Union finance minister urged the government to allow walk-in vaccination and asked them to get rid of the need for pre-registration for taking the vaccine in India.
His comments come in the backdrop of the Tilak Utsav, a four-day long drive, endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is aimed at vaccinating the maximum number of eligible people against COVID-19 amid a surge in cases.
Attacking the Centre for 'mismanagement' in the production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Chidambaram accused the government of "covering up its massive failure through rhetoric and hyperbole."
He asked the government to immediately provide funds to ramp up production and urged them to authorise the use of more approved vaccines and allow their manufacture and import to India. He also said that the country currently lacked the support to vaccinate 138 crore people.
Recently, several states including Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab have reached out to the Centre for assistance as many claimed that their vaccine stocks will only last for a few days.
The Centre, however, has firmly denied the claim insisting that there was no shortage of vaccines. Union health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the complaints, mostly from non-BJP ruled states, were attempts to "cover-up" their failures and spread panic.
However, Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India, earlier this week had said that his company's existing capacity to manufacture coronavirus vaccine Covishield was "very stressed" and it required Rs 3,000 crore to increase production by June.
He added that the Serum Institute was prioritising the vaccine needs of India but was still short of being able to supply the doses to every citizen.
India is currently in its third phase of vaccination, where those above 45 years are eligible to get the shots.
With inputs from agencies