NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram accused the government on Sunday of covering up its failure as regards the vaccination drive against COVID-19 through rhetoric and hyperbole and demanded that it be made a walk-in exercise.
He also asked the government to provide funds to ramp up vaccine production and increase supplies as well as to authorise the use of more approved vaccines and allow their import.
The former minister criticised terming the vaccination drive an "utsav" (festival), as suggested by the prime minister, and said it is a crusade instead.
"What does one say when the government wants to call the vaccination drive an 'utsav'? By no stretch of imagination can it be a festival. The vaccination drive is a crusade," he said.
"Having messed up the management of the production and supply sides of the vaccines, the government is covering up its massive failure through rhetoric and hyperbole," the senior Congress leader said in a series of tweets.
He said the Congress was the first to demand universal vaccination, to "get rid of the silly app" and the need for pre-registration.
"Vaccination must be a walk-in programme," he demanded. Chidambaram demanded that the government must immediately provide funds to ramp up production of vaccines in the country and increase supplies.
The government must also authorise the use of more approved vaccines and allow their manufacture or import, he noted.
"We have a duopoly of two vaccines, but they are hardly sufficient to vaccinate a nation of 138 crore people," the former minister said.
Asserting that the "tika utsav", a vaccination drive between April 11 and 14, marks the beginning of another major war on COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made several suggestions to people on curbing the spread of the virus and urged them to focus on personal and social hygiene.
In a blog addressed to the countrymen, he urged them to remember four things, including "each one, vaccinate one", helping those getting vaccinated who are less educated and the elderly people who cannot go for the jab themselves, and "each one, treat one", helping those who do not have the means or do not know about the facilities available for vaccination.
He also spoke of "each one, save one", saying the emphasis should be on wearing masks so as to save oneself and others too.