COVID has hit with fury; despite a year to prepare, we were caught off guard again: Sonia Gandhi

NEW DELHI: With the country witnessing a massive rise in COVID-19 cases, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday accused the Modi government of “gross unpreparedness” and “adhocism” in managing the crisis and suggested reducing the immunization age to 25 years and providing income support to people.

Chairing the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), she also called for making all equipment, medicines and instruments required for treating COVID-19 free of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The Congress has always believed that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is a national challenge that should be kept above party politics and it hopes suggestions put forth would be considered in the spirit of true democratic traditions, she said.

Accusing the Centre of giving preferential treatment to some states, Gandhi said it maintains “thundering silence” on requests of states ruled by the Congress and other opposition parties.

“Taking on these challenging times as Indians rather than as political opponents will be true Rajadharma,” she said at the meeting. Considering that India has one of the highest infection rates, she also asked whether the export of vaccines should be held back and priority be given to protect Indians. “How is boasting about our generosity to other countries going to help thousands of our people who are dying,” she said. Gandhi said that the Congress has extended hands of cooperation since February-March last year. “We cannot, however, lose sight of the fact that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the country with fury. Despite a year to prepare, we have, regrettably, been caught off guard again,” she said.

Instead of listening to the constructive suggestions of the opposition, Union ministers are pressed into service to attack leaders of opposition for giving those suggestions, Gandhi said.


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