In joint letter, 12 Oppn parties urge PM Modi to allow free vaccination for all
12 Opposition parties have written to PM Modi suggestingvarious measures to tackle COVID-19 surge
As India continues to battle the surging cases of COVID-19, 12 leading opposition parties have written a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,calling on the Centre to take immediate action to tackle the second wave of the pandemic.
In the letter, the opposition leaders, including four state chief ministers, have noted that the COVID-19 pandemic in India has “assumed unprecedented dimensions of a human catastrophe”. They stressed the government has either ignored or refused their repeated suggestions to handle the pandemic crisis, which had compounded into an “apocalyptic human tragedy”.
“We have repeatedly in the past drawn your attention, independently and jointly, to the various measures that are absolutely imperative for the Centralgovernment to undertake and implement. Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions,” the opposition leaders said.
They further suggested various measures to the government, including central procurement of the vaccines, free distribution of food grains to people in need, and providing Rs. 6,000 per month to unemployed people in the country.
Furthermore, opposition parties have urged the government to immediately begin a free, universal, and mass vaccination campaign across the country. They also called on the Centre to invoke compulsory licensing to expand domestic production of the vaccine, along with spending budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for vaccines.
Moreover, opposition leaders suggested the Centre to halt the Central Vista construction and allocate the money for procuring oxygen and vaccines. In addition, they called for releasing all money held in the “unaccounted privatetrust fund” PMCares to buy oxygen, vaccines, and medical equipment for the treatment of infected patients in hospitals. Lastly, they reiterated their demand for repealing farm laws in order to protect farmers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In conclusion, the parties sought a response from the Centre, saying: “Though it has not been the practice of your office or government, we would appreciate a response to our suggestions in the interests of India and our people.”
The letter was signed by chiefs of the country’s key opposition parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin (DMK), JKPA’s Farooq Abdullah, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren (JMM), RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda.
While Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan was not a signatory to the letter, the Left was represented by CPM General-Secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI’s D Raja. Significantly, Mayawati’s BSP and Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP also did not sign the letter.
This is the second joint letter by Opposition leaders to the Prime Minister andthe government this month. Earlier on May 3, political parties had urged the government to allow free mass vaccination and ensure an adequate supply of medical oxygen to people in need.
The second wave of COVID-19 has sent India’s healthcare system into a deepcrisis. Amid the fight against the pandemic, the Centre and state governmentare in dispute over the procurement of essential medical supplies including oxygen and vaccines