A slanging match has erupted between the estranged saffron parties, the Shiv Sena and the BJP, over the Centre’s assertion that 100 crore doses had been administered thus far with Sena MP Sanjay Raut challenging the BJP-led Centre’s claims on the “milestone achievement”.
Mr. Raut told a party meeting on Saturday that the Centre’s claims were “utterly false” and that not more than 23 crore doses were given to eligible citizens so far.
Saying he would also give proof to support his allegations, the Sena’s chief spokesperson hit out at the Centre without naming it: “How much will you lie? In the last fortnight, 20 Hindus and Sikhs have been killed [in Kashmir], 17 to 18 soldiers have been martyred, China is creating problems in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, but we are celebrating 100 crore vaccinations which is not true.”
In a sharp riposte, BJP’s chief Maharashtra spokesperson Keshav Upadhye on Sunday dubbed the allegations ‘bizarre’ and ‘laughable’.
“The Sena’s leaders in general, and Mr. Raut in particular, have a history of making outrageous claims…even after the Centre has laid down all facts regarding the vaccination milestone of 100 crore jabs in such a transparent manner, it beggars belief how someone can decry it as ‘false’ and come up with fantastic claims?” said Mr. Upadhye.
The BJP leader said Mr. Raut’s statements mocked the dedicated efforts of healthcare personnel across the country who had striven tirelessly to make the drive such a success.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lauded the collective effort behind the achievement with the one billionth dose being administered on October 21 about nine months after the start of the drive.