Odisha vaccination drive: BJP, BJD engage in a war of words
The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has targeted the BJD (Biju Janata Dal) government in Odisha for using Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s photographs instead of PM Modi’s on banners outside COVID-19 vaccination centres across the state.
Earlier this week, BJP leaders staged protests at various vaccination centres in areas such as Jeypore, Balasore and Rayagada, demanding to use the Prime Minister’s picture on banners outside the centres. As a result, immunisation efforts for the age group 18-44 were also disrupted at several centres. In addition, leaders from both BJP and BJD have started a war of words on Twitter over the matter.
On Monday, BJP leader and Union minister of state Pratap Chandra Sarangi posted a series of tweets, targeting Patnaik’s BJD government. Accusing the Odisha government of engaging in “cheap politics”, he said that chief minister Patnaik hijacked the free vaccination program initiated by the Central government as its own. He further accused the Patnaik government of taking credit for different welfare schemes of the central government.
“Projecting the free COVID19 vaccination program of Central Govt. as its own and hijacking the same by putting only the photographs of @CMO_Odisha, point to cheap politics,” the BJP leader tweeted.
Speaking to media outside a vaccination centre, Sarangi said that the mass inoculation drive is being sponsored by the PM Modi led-Central government and “Naveen Babu has no role in it”.
Hitting back at the saffron party, the ruling BJD also accused BJP leaders of doing cheap politics over the matter. BJD Rajya Sabha member Sasmit Patra tweeted to confirmed that PM Modi’s photograph is displayed on every Covid-19 vaccination certification. In a series of tweets, he noted that it is “petty and shameful” to do politics over the matter, affirming that vaccination in India has always been a national program carried out by the Centre.
“While every other political party made an issue out of it, BJD did not,” he said in one of his tweets.
BJD leader and Balasore MLA Swarup Kumar Das also hit out at the BJP for questioning the use of CM Patnaik’s pictures on posters outside the vaccination centres.
“This is sheer lawlessness. Where were they since the last three months and suddenly the BJP members and Minister came to review the vaccination process here? Why has the vaccination certificate the picture of PM Modi,” Das asked, as quoted by media reports.
Meanwhile, Odisha has fully inoculated more than 1.8 million people since the launch of the vaccination campaign in the state.