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Rahul Gandhi alleges absence of fair policy of vaccine distribution

Reports suggest that 50 percent of doses went to only nine hospitals, he says

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has alleged that the Union government’s unfair policy of vaccine distribution was leading to inequality.

Reports suggested that 50 percent of the doses went to only nine hospitals, he said. “In the absence of a fair policy of vaccine distribution, the inequality policy of the Modi government will give such results,” he observed in a Hindi tweet.

BJP leaders have been claiming that the Opposition parties have changed the goalpost. They said the Opposition first demanded that the States should be given control of the vaccination policy and when it was done, they wanted the Centre to take over.

Clarifying the Congress’s position on the issue, Mr. Gandhi said, “I have always said this, the vaccines should be procured by the Centre and distributed by the State.”

Opposition parties’ plea

In a joint letter written on May 12 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 12 Opposition parties unequivocally demanded that the Centre should provide free and universal mass vaccination. “Procure vaccines centrally from all available sources – global and domestic. Immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country,” the letter said. Congress President Sonia Gandhi was one of the signatories to the letter.

Recently, four Chief Ministers independently picked loopholes in the vaccination policy of the Centre. While Kerala’s Pinarayi Vijayan and Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren demanded universal and free vaccines, Andhra Pradesh’s YS Jaganmohan Reddy and Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik flagged the lack of vaccine supply. Both Mr. Reddy and Mr. Patnaik said the global tenders floated by the States have gone unanswered because the manufacturers were willing to engage only with the Central government.

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