Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ex-Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other top Congress leaders met today in the presence of party chief Sonia Gandhi to discuss the second wave of coronavirus in India, which has affected lakhs of people in the last few weeks. The surge in cases, shortage of vaccines and other pertinent issues were discussed by the party leaders as they blamed the government for not doing enough.
At the online meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party's top decision-making body, ex-prime minister Manmohan Singh said "vaccine manufacturers must be given the opportunity to get a fair price so that they can ensure the supply as per demand", sources said.
The 88-year-old veteran leader is likely to send his suggestions on necessary Covid measures that the government should take to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter.
Rahul Gandhi, a vehement critic of the government, said India, which has been the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has "become the worst-affected nation". "The government should have prepared better. They had one year but they did not do enough," sources quoted him as saying.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra stressed that "super-spreader events" and public rallies should be immediately stopped. Ms Vadra, who is the general secretary for the party from Uttar Pradesh, also gave a detailed briefing on the state that has been witnessing a record surge in cases.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, in a sharply-worded letter after the meeting, slammed the government on various counts. She also said the vaccine net should be widened to all those who are 25 and above.
"It is deeply concerning to read news reports of acute shortages of medical equipment and hospital beds. Reports from across the country speak of the scarcity of Covid-19 vaccine as also of important life saving drugs including Remdesivir in different parts of the country," she said.
"I have written to the Prime Minister after meeting with them. Our Chief Ministers have spoken to the Prime Minister and written to the concerned minister from time to time pleading for relief. Some of them were left with only a few days of vaccine, no oxygen or ventilators. But there has been thundering silence on the part of the government," she added.
India's Covid tally soared to 1.45 crore cases this morning with the biggest-ever surge of 2.34 lakh fresh infections. Over the last one week, the country has recorded more than 10 lakh cases.