A photo of Tanmay Fadnavis, a relative of ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, being administered a Covid vaccine has triggered a row after it was widely circulated online, with many pointing out he appears much younger than 45 – the current minimum age to be vaccinated.
Tanmay Fadnavis is the grandson of Mr Fadnavis’ aunt and senior BJP leader Shobatai Fadnavis.
According to news agency PTI he was given the shot – the photo on social media, which he posted to Instagram before deleting it, is reportedly of him getting the second dose – at Nagpur’s National Cancer Institute.
Devendra Fadnavis – who has accused the Maharashtra government of “favouritism” in the distribution of Remdesivir – has rushed to distance himself from the younger Fadnavis’ actions.
“If he is eligible for vaccination then I have no objection… and if he is not then it is completely improper,” a statement from the former Chief Minister’s office said.
“Even my wife and daughter have not yet received vaccine… all should follow the rules,” it added.
Mr Fadnavis is 50 years old and his wife, Amruta Fadnavis, is 45.
Ms Fadnavis also spoke out, calling for patience while the law takes its course.
“Priority for any service should be on basis of decorum or prevalent policy. No one is above rules & law. The law can take its course and we stand for justice always ! We are with you on this issue, pls take action which will stop future queue breaking occurrences!” she tweeted.
Priority for any service should be on basis of decorum or prevalent policy. No one is above rules & law. The law can take its course and we stand for justice always ! We are with you on this issue, pls take action which will stop future queue breaking occurrences!
— AMRUTA FADNAVIS (@fadnavis_amruta)
Under current rules only people over the age of 45 (and those classified as healthcare or frontline workers) are eligible to get the vaccine. The net will be widened to people over 18 on May 1.
Predictably the Congress, which is part of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra, has cornered Mr Fadnavis on this issue. The state unit of the party tweeted: “… lives of BJP leaders’ families are important. So what are the other people? Isn’t their life worth anything!”
४५ वर्षांवरील लोकांनाच लस देण्याची अट मोदी सरकारने घातलीये. असं असताना फडणवीसांच्या ४५ वर्षांपेक्षा कमी वय असलेल्या पुतण्याला लस मिळतेच कशी?
भाजप नेत्यांच्या कुटुंबीयांचा जीव महत्त्वाचा मग इतर लोक काय किडेमुंग्या आहेत का? त्यांच्या जिवाची काहीच किंमत नाही का!
— Maharashtra Congress (@INCMaharashtra)
Karnataka Congress leader Srivatsa tweeted an extensive thread, tagging Devendra Fadnavis and calling on Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to “arrest” Tanmay Fadnavis.
Modiji, under what law is the families of BJP leaders getting Vaccines when they are still below 45 years of age?
Tanmay Fadnavis has committed a crime & must be immediately arrested.
Fraud Fadnavis has been caught again. People of Maharashtra are seeing what a traitor he is.
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb)
Controversy over the younger Fadnavis getting vaccine doses out of turn comes amid a shortage of the life-saving drugs in the country. Several states, including Maharashtra, have had to shut down vaccination centres because there simply aren’t enough doses.
On Monday the centre sanctioned an advance of Rs 4,500 crore to two manufacturers to boost supply, but with those stocks unlikely to come for a few months, supply remains a sensitive subject.
Mr Fadnavis, meanwhile, also criticised the state over allotment of Remdesivir; he said the more badly-affected districts were not getting adequate stocks of the antiviral drug.
This was after the Nagpur bench of the Mumbai High Court, on Monday, directed the state to release 10,000 vials of Remdesivir to the district.
With input from PTI