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BJP, TMC jab at each other over vaccine

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on April 23, 2021

Parties exchanged gibes over promise of free vaccine, Covid management

Voters in West Bengal now have one more sop to look forward to post-election with both rivals, BJP and the Trinamool Congress, promising free vaccines if voted to power.

On Friday, the state-unit of the BJP put out a tweet assuring free vaccines to all here, if voted to power. The promise comes days after the TMC reiterated its poll promise of free vaccinations it had listed in its manifesto.

BJP’s assurance was also circulated on WhatsApp groups. The party’s IT cell in-charge and state’s co-incharge, Amit Malviya, re-tweeted the statement in sometime.

Bengal has a population of 10 crore and around 93 lakh have already been vaccinated. Minutes later the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress dismissed BJP’s announcement as jumla (fake) and dubbed the BJP a “Bharatiya Jumlebaaz Party”.

Asking people not to fall for the trap, the TMC claimed BJP had failed to keep a similar promise in Bihar.

“Here comes the free vaccine jumla announcement from Bharatiya Jumlebaaz Party @BJP4Bengal! Similar promise was made by them to fool people in Bihar before elections, which they have conveniently forgotten. Bengal won’t be fooled. Do not trust the BJP,” the state’s ruling party accused in a tweet.

The party supremo and CM Mamata Banerjee, has locked horns with the Centre over a price rise of Covishield by the Serum Institute of India in line with the Centre’s recent guidelines.

Covishield will be sold to State governments at ₹400 a dose compared with ₹150 charged for supply to the Centre’s vaccination programme.

Diverting Medical Oxygen

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister, alleged medical oxygen allotted for the State was being diverted to BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh; while vaccines were being diverted to Gujarat.

“This is unacceptable. They want to capture Bengal, but are diverting oxygen from here to other BJP-ruled States, especially Uttar Pradesh. We will not accept this step-motherly treatment,” Banerjee said.

“SAIL has been asked to focus on Uttar Pradesh. We have made some arrangements, around 5,000 cylinders, for ourselves. More arrangements are being made. But the State anticipates need for more oxygen in the coming weeks,” she added.

The State government expects the demand to rise to “roughly 450 tonnes per day in the next couple of weeks”.

On April 21, the Centre allotted 200 tonnes of oxygen elsewhere from different plants located in West Bengal. “The present allocation of liquid oxygen to outside West Bengal will jeopardise the medical treatment of Covid patients in the State. Accordingly, the West Bengal government has requested (the Centre) on April 22 to not divert the medical oxygen elsewhere,” a state government release said.

Creating Panic

BJP spokesperson, Shamik Bhattacharjee, countered Banerjee’s allegations claiming that the State government was “busy spreading panic”.

He alleged that Banerjee has been skipping meetings the PM called on Covid and the State also failed to chart out a clear management strategy and list out its requirements.

“These are wild allegations aimed at creating panic. Has any non-BJP State head, except Bengal made any such ridiculous claim? Did the CM do anything to boost people’s confidence in vaccines? Has she herself taken the jab,” he questioned.

Published on April 23, 2021

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