With an imminent rout facing her and the Trinamool Congress, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has clearly run out of issues to attack the Modi government and the BJP with. As such, after having fear mongered the people of West Bengal against CAA-NRC and empty, toxic insider-outsider rhetoric, Banerjee has now resorted to questioning the efficacy of Made in India vaccines, which only a day ago, were proven to show an incredible ability to tame the Covid-19 causing virus strains. The hollow and ill-informed attack on the Modi government by Mamata Banerjee came a day after the Centre liberalised India’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, apart from also universalising it.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said there was “Covid vaccine shortage” in her state and added that the Centre’s policy did not address the “key issues” and instead it indulged in “empty rhetoric”. According to the Indian Express, Banerjee said, “The (Centre’s vaccine policy) announcement does not address major issues such as ensuring the quality, efficacy, stable flow of supply of required number of vaccines by the manufacturers and also the price at which vaccines are to be purchased by the states.”
On Monday, the Modi government had announced a comprehensive and reformed vaccination campaign which is to come into effect from May 1. From May 1, every Indian above the age of 18 years will be eligible for taking the vaccine against the Covid-19 infection. Apart from this much needed universalisation of India’s vaccination campaign, the Modi government also allowed vaccine manufacturers to have a pact/agreement with the state governments but also to directly supply the vaccine in the open markets.
The Modi government’s introduction of Covid-19 vaccines into the open market and its directive to the states to deal directly with the manufacturers did not auger well with Mamata Banerjee. In her letter to the Prime Minister, she added that the new policy could lead to “price fluctuation” as a result of which the common people would have to bear the consequences. “More importantly, the supply would also become erratic because the vaccine manufacturers are barely prepared to scale up their production capacities to meet the nationwide demand,” she said.
In a rather extravagant usage of words, Banerjee also claimed that the Centre’s ‘universal’ vaccine policy appeared to be hollow, without substance and was a regrettable show of evasion of responsibility at a time of crisis. On Wednesday, after the Serum Institute of India announced the pricing of Covishield vaccine for state governments and private hospitals, Banerjee said, “I will write a letter to the Centre for its intervention to fix disparity in pricing for states and private hospitals. It is not the time for business. It’s time to save lives as people are suffering due to Covid-19.”
Frankly, Mamata Banerjee seems to be running out of issues to attack the Modi government with. As such, she has resorted to vaccine politics, to the extent that she is questioning the ‘efficacy’ of the vaccines and how their ‘quality’ will be affected by the Modi government’s new vaccination plan.