Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of lobbying for pharma companies after the latter’s letter to Prime Minister Modi on vaccine shortages, seeking fast track approvals for other vaccine candidates.
Mr. Gandhi’s letter followed a rather acrimonious exchange of words between the Centre and the Maharashtra government on vaccine shortages and vaccination rates.
Mr. Prasad’s response to the Congress leader’s letter came in a series of tweets.
“After failing as a part-time politician, has Rahul Gandhi switched to full time lobbying? First he lobbied for fighter plane companies by trying to derail India’s acquisition programme. Now he is lobbying for pharma companies by asking for arbitrary approvals for foreign vaccines,” he tweeted adding that fighting a pandemic wasn’t a “one trick game”.
“Fighting a pandemic is not a one trick game. Apart from vaccination, there needs to be adequate focus on testing, tracing & treating. Rahul Gandhi’s problem is that he doesn’t understand all this and his ignorance is compounded by his arrogance,” the Minister added.
Referring to charges of vaccine shortages, Mr. Prasad said “Congress-ruled States” had a problem with “basic commitment towards health care”.
“He should write letters to his party’s governments to stop their vasooli (extortion) ventures & concentrate on administering the lakhs of vaccines they are sitting upon,” he said.
He also termed Mr. Gandhi as attention-seeking and asked why he hadn’t taken the vaccination himself, or whether it was “an oversight or he doesn’t want it or has he already taken one in many of his undisclosed trips to foreign locations but doesn’t want to disclose?”