Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi today castigated the Centre for not taking the opposition parties into confidence even when the nation was facing an unprecedented health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Emphasising that this was a moment for the entire nation to stand together, she hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for allegedly ridiculing even his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh’s earnest recommendations.
Targeting PM Modi himself in an interview with ANI, she said he must now stop his “public relations exercise” and talk to the people and opposition parties over the crisis. The Congress General Secretary in charge of Uttar Pradesh claimed the Centre was willing to talk to even Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, but not Opposition leaders.
“Today I do not think that there is any opposition leader who is not giving constructive and positive suggestions. And all the political parties are saying that we are with you (Centre),” she said.
“Manmohan Singh ji was Prime Minister for 10 years. Everyone knows how dignified a person he is. If he is giving suggestions…then suggestions should be taken up with the same dignity with which they were offered,” she said, asking that if opposition leaders do not raise their voice, who will.
Her comments come days after Dr Singh on Sunday wrote to PM Modi asking his government to “resist the temptation to look at the absolute number of vaccinations and focus on the percentage of the population vaccinated”.
He also listed some suggestions “in a spirit of constructive cooperation”, but was rebutted by Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan who said history shall be kinder to Dr Singh if Congress members themselves followed his advice.
The former Prime Minister had written the letter in the context of the second Covid wave sweeping India. Nearly three lakh new cases and over 2,000 deaths were reported today, a record-high since the pandemic broke last year.
Ms Gandhi, meanwhile, criticised the ruling BJP for its continued election campaign in West Bengal despite a spike in COVID-19 numbers.
“Even today they’re busy with campaigning. They are laughing from the stages (at rallies). People are crying, screaming for help, seeking oxygen, beds, medicines, and you’re going to huge rallies and laughing! How can you?” she asked.