Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. [Photo/ANI]
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. [Photo/ANI]

History would be kinder to you if Congress took your advice: Harsh Vardhan replies to Manmohan Singh's letter

ANI | Updated: Apr 19, 2021 15:09 IST

New Delhi [India], April 19 (ANI): Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday responded to former PM Manmohan Singh's letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the COVID-19 situation in the country and alleged that Congress-ruled slate governments were engaged in spreading doubts regarding the efficacy of the vaccines, thereby playing with the lives of the countrymen.
In a reply to former Prime Minster and Congress leader Dr Manmohan Singh's letter listing out suggestions for consideration 'in a spirit of constructive cooperation', to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to 'resist the temptation to look at the absolute number of vaccinations and focus on the percentage of the population vaccinated', Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said history shall be kinder to him if his offer and valuable advice was followed by his party members.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, "History shall be kinder to you Dr Manmohan Singh ji if your offer of 'constructive cooperation' and valuable advice was followed by your INCIndia leaders as well in such extraordinary times !"
The Union Health Minister's letter read,"The emphasis you have laid on vaccination as an important tool to fight COVID-19 is well taken, which is exactly why India launched the world's biggest vaccination drive and also became the fastest in the world to reach the milestones of 10, 11 and 12 crore administered doses. Your advice to not get tempted to go by absolute numbers, but to go by percentage of population covered, is not incorrect. However, I am sure that you will agree with me that this is a practice that must be followed uniformly and junior members of your party too must follow your advice."
Harsh Vardhan in his letter further told the senior Congress leader that while he well understands the importance of vaccination as an important method of fighting the COVID-19 battle, people in responsible positions in his as well as in the state governments formed by his party does not seem to share his opinion.
The letter stated, "Quite obviously, it cannot be that the discussion on total cases, active cases or mortality is based on absolute numbers, which the Congress party often tries to do, but the vaccination numbers continue to be touted as a percentage of the population covered. It is saddening, Dr Singh, that while you very well understand the importance of vaccination as an important method of fighting the COVID-19 battle, people in responsible positions in your party as well as in the state governments formed by your party do not seem to share your view."
"Shouldn't it be a matter of pride that India is perhaps the only developing country to have two vaccines?" asked Harsh Vardhan in his letter.
He further stated in the letter that it is shocking that senior members of the Congress party are yet to utter a single word of gratitude towards the country's scientist community and vaccine manufacturers for innovating under trying circumstances and empowering the world with vaccines.
The Union Health Minister accused Congress members and Congress-ruled slate governments for taking extraordinary interest in spreading falsehoods regarding the efficacy of the vaccines, thereby fuelling vaccine hesitancy, and playing with the lives of the countrymen.
"A sitting Chief Minister of your party created a dubious world record of sorts by being the only head of government directly inciting people against an indigenously developed vaccine. Some Congress leaders even shamed the vaccines in public but took their doses in private," alleged Vardhan in his letter.
The letter further said, "A word of advice from you to them - even if it had been done in private by you - may have ensured better cooperation from these people knowing your penchant for constructive cooperation, which you have said you always believed in. I would assume that you did advise them and yet, quite clearly, your advice has been in vain."
The Union Minister alleged that the irresponsible public pronouncements made by some of the Congress leaders have resulted in a below national average vaccination coverage of senior citizens and even front-line workers in some of the Congress-ruled states, adding that these very same states have also become the big contributors in the second wave of COVID-19 infection.
Vardhan went to inform Dr Manmohan Singh in his letter that the test positivity ratio in the Congress-ruled states during the second wave is alarmingly high and they too could benefit from his counsel and wisdom.
"With due respect, and irrespective of the negativity that your party spreads. we take your suggestions at face value and with the belief that they are made keeping national interest in mind. However, it does seem that those who drafted your letter or advised you, have done a great disservice to your standing by misleading you regarding material that is already in public domain," said the Union Minister in his letter.
Terming various earlier sugestions by the former Prime Minister as "factual inaccuracies" Harsh Vardhan in his letter said, "For example, take the point that you have mentioned about allowing import of vaccines that have already been approved by credible foreign authorities. You made this suggestion on April 18, 2021, but a decision on this had already been taken a week ahead of your suggestion, on April 11, 2021."
"The same is the case with your suggestion regarding providing funds and other concessions to augment vaccine manufacturing This decision had also been taken many days before receipt of your letter and multiple vaccine manufacturing entities have been funded by the government to immediately enhance production," read the letter.
The Union Health Minister stated that despite such factual inaccuracies, he understands Singh's deep concern for the country and also assured him of sharing the same.
Harsh Vardhan request the former Prime Minister's continued cooperation in the battle against the pandemic and welcome more illuminating suggestions.
"However, as a senior leader, we expect that you shall offer the same advice and wisdom to your own party leaders as well. I hope and pray for the good health and well-being of you and your family," concluded the Union Minister's letter to the senior Congress leader. (ANI)