In a bid to create confusion and mislead Indian citizens in midst of a pandemic, Rahul Gandhi, put together unrelated news which created headlines to cast aspersions that the central government is backtracking its statements on coronavirus vaccines.
In his tweets, the Gandhi-scion Rahul Gandhi raised three points, entirely unrelated to each other, to insinuate that the Modi government had a confusing policy on inoculating coronavirus vaccine to the public.
Firstly, Rahul Gandhi invokes a statement a made by PM Modi on October 29 in which Prime Minister had said all Indians will be vaccinated once the coronavirus vaccine is available and no one will be left behind. In his interview to Economic Times, PM Narendra Modi had also said that a national expert group has been created to manage vaccine administration and chart the path. By stating that everyone will be vaccinated and no Indian will be left behind, PM Modi meant to say that no citizen will be denied the vaccine.
Most importantly, PM Narendra Modi had also clarified saying that initially, the government will focus on protecting the most vulnerable and the frontline workers. This is also how major countries are going forward with immunisation programmes. Prime Minister Modi had also added that coronavirus vaccine was still a work in progress and trials are on.
In his interview, PM Modi said that the entire country would be vaccinated in the coming days. However, as vaccine testing, production and inoculation would necessarily take time, it would be first given to the vulnerable sections of the society that will then be extended to other citizens of the country. PM Modi has categorically stated that anybody, who wishes to get vaccines, will be not left behind.
However, Rahul Gandhi, with all his political shrewdness, picked up a headline that depicted half-story to add his own theories to the statements made by Prime Minister. He did not stop there but connected Prime Minister’s statements on vaccine distribution to the month-old promise made by BJP in the run-up to the Bihar elections.
Rahul Gandhi co-relates BJP manifesto promise with Prime Minister’s official statements on vaccines
Raking up BJP’s promise of free coronavirus vaccines, Rahul Gandhi in his tweets tried to co-relate two different issues – firstly Prime Minister’s statements on coronavirus vaccines to all the citizens of the country and second being BJP’s promise of free vaccines to Bihar ahead of the assembly elections.
In the run-up to Bihar elections, Finance Minister and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman while releasing the BJP manifesto had promised free coronavirus vaccines in Bihar, whenever the vaccine is made available. However, the Congress party and its media establishment had then created a furore over her statement to again mislead public by stating that the Modi government was promising free vaccines only to Bihar keeping elections in mind.
In reality, the promise made by the BJP was clear and straight-forward. Health is a state subject and if BJP came to power in Bihar, the state government led by BJP would procure the vaccines for the centre and then would distribute and vaccinate people for free. Other states, too, can make such decisions regarding public healthcare.
Rahul Gandhi, despite knowing that Prime Minister’s statements and BJP’s statements are two different issues, tries to bring correlation between them.
Rahul Gandhi misleads public by twisting statements of Union government
Next, with premising the two independent statements made out by the Modi government and the BJP ahead of the Bihar elections, Rahul Gandhi tries to equate it with the recent statements made by senior officials of Union Health Ministry who had said there will not be any attempt to vaccinate people against COVID-19 ‘if people do not wish to do so’.
The Union Health Ministry officials had said that there will not be any attempts to vaccinate people against their wishes. The government has also said that it may not inoculate the entire country against coronavirus. This means priority groups will be inoculated with government support, while healthy citizens without any underlying health conditions may need to buy the vaccine like any other medical product.
Speaking to OpIndia, government sources have clarified that the secretary has been misquoted and he was speaking in the context of ‘compulsory vaccination’.
“This is a democracy. Even if you are in a priority group and have been identified as a vulnerable person, you will not be forced to take a vaccine,” a senior official of the government had said recently to News18.
The Modi government has been working on a consistent policy to distribute and deliver vaccines to every corner of the country. Ahead of vaccination drive, the Union government is focusing on two things – firstly, every individual who needs to be vaccinated will be vaccinated when the vaccine is made available for the public use and people who do not wish to take the vaccine can stay out of it. Secondly, the vaccine will only be free for a section of a vulnerable population and the rest of the country may have to pay a nominal amount to get vaccinated if it is not already covered under state governments.
It is pertinent to note that the choice of providing vaccines ‘free of cost’ or not completely rests on the state governments. The respective state governments has to procure the vaccines from the centre and then inoculate it to the rest of the public. If the state government wishes to provide vaccines for free, it is up to these state government to fund it through the state’s exchequer.
Unfortunately, Rahul Gandhi, despite all the clarification, continues to mislead the public by twisting and associating different statements put out by the Union government during different circumstances on COVID-19 vaccine.
At a time when the entire political class and its citizens need to be united to fight the never-ending battle against the pandemic, Rahul Gandhi attempts to put out misinformation in the public domain to confuse and create panic in the society that is eagerly waiting for vaccinations. It is shocking that Rahul Gandhi, instead of allaying fears of the public at the time of health emergency, has now chosen to play his pity politics on the issue of coronavirus vaccines.