India

"First They Ignore You... Then You Win": Rahul Gandhi's Vaccine Jab

COVID-19 Vaccine: Rahul Gandhi was attacked for his demand for fast-tracking approvals of vaccines (File)

Highlights

  • Rahul Gandhi was attacked for demand for fast-tracking vaccine approvals
  • India to fast-track approval for Covid vaccines used in the west, Japan
  • Rahul Gandhi had written to PM on vaccinations "at a snail's pace"
New Delhi:

Top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today took a sharp dig at the government after it decided to fast-track emergency approval for Covid vaccines used in western nations and Japan. Mr Gandhi, who had earlier urged the government to fast-track more vaccines, was sharply criticised by the ruling BJP for his demand.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win," Mr Gandhi tweeted today.

India has fast-tracked emergency use approval for eligible foreign-produced vaccines against COVID-19, in a move to expand its basket of vaccines amid the "highest" surge in the infections in the country. Russian-made Covid Sputnik V has been cleared for emergency use in India.

The move paves the way for possible imports of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna shots.  With this, companies will not need to conduct small, local safety trials for their vaccines before seeking emergency approval.

Last week, the BJP had hit out at Mr Gandhi for his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on what he called the "catastrophic" impact of vaccinations "at a snail's pace".

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had attacked him for his demand for fast-tracking approvals after several states, including the worst-hit Maharashtra, reported shortage of vaccine doses.

"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,"  Mr Prasad had said in a series of tweets.

Union Minister Smriti Irani had tweeted, "Part-time politician, full-time lobbyist! Is that a surprise?"

India is currently using Astra-Zeneca's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.  With over 1.84 lakh new COVDI-19 cases in the last 24 hours, India hit the highest daily tally once again. The new cases pushed the total cases to over 1.38 crore. Deaths rose by 1,027 to 1,72,085.