JAIPUR: The row between the Ashok Gehlot government and the Centre over the alleged shortage of Covid vaccines for the state has escalated into a verbal war between the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP in Rajasthan.
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot supported Health Minister Raghu Sharma’s claim that the 'inadequate' supply of Covid vaccine led to the suspension of the first round of doses at primary and community health centres since Tuesday. The BJP hit back saying that a ‘vaccine scam’ may have erupted in Rajasthan.
Gehlot took to Twitter to argue that the centre gave "completely incorrect" data. “The Health Ministry claimed that Rajasthan received 37.61 lakh vaccines and till yesterday 24.28 lakh vaccines have been administered. This data is completely incorrect. As of March 8, Rajasthan received 31,45,340 vaccines. Of these, 2,15,180 vaccines have been made available to the Army,” Gehlot tweeted in Hindi on Tuesday.
Gehlot's statement drew a sharp response from the BJP. The party’s chief spokesperson and MLA Ramlal Sharma said, “Gehlot’s claims of vaccine shortage are bogus. The Central government says Rajasthan has received 37.61 lakh vaccines but the state is only giving an account of 24.28 lakh doses. Wonder where have the rest of the doses disappeared? Hope, this government which is steeped in scams has not created a new scam around the vaccines.”
In his series of tweets on Tuesday night, Gehlot asserted that Central government officials should be told not to give “false” information about Rajasthan on Covid vaccines. The Chief Minister had also claimed that the ‘delay’ in sending vaccines and ‘misinformation’ on the drive will ‘hurt people’s spirits and disappoint the corona warriors in the state.
Suresh Singh Rawat, another BJP MLA, attacked also Gehlot’s claims and said the charges of the state government are ‘totally baseless.’ Claiming that he had spoken to the central government on the issue, the BJP leader said: “The Rajasthan government did not send its demands on time. If the state government asks the Centre for more doses, the Centre will oblige as it is giving priority to Rajasthan in the matter of vaccination drive.”
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition Rajendra Singh Rathore made sharp comments in the Assembly on this issue. “Our CM is prone to do politics on every issue. But I request him not to play politics on a pandemic that has gripped the whole world. Instead of attacking the Centre for the shortage of vaccines, it might have been better had the Chief Minister checked with his Health department on the disappearance of more than 1.6 lakh doses.”