Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], August 8 (ANI): Taking a jibe at the Central government for handling the COVID-19 pandemic in a "non-serious" manner, Trinamool Congress MP Santanu Sen on Saturday said that the Prime Minister should be called a "Publicity Master", alleging that the Centre sold one vaccine at three different prices across the country.
Amid the ongoing vaccine shortage in West Bengal, the TMC leader slammed the Centre for its "faulty vaccine policy", and alleged that India's vaccine policy has been "condemned by the World Health Organisation and the Supreme Court".
Speaking to reporters here, the TMC MP said, "The problem with the Central Government is that it was never serious in handling the COVID situation since the beginning. On January 16, when the vaccination started, there was not enough awareness among people and they refused to get vaccinated. By the time they understood the importance, there were not enough vaccines left.
The faulty vaccine policy of the Government of India was condemned by WHO and Supreme Court. The abbreviation of PM has now changed. Now juniors in School say that PM means Publicity Master."
Accusing the Centre of doing "dirty politics" over vaccines, Sen said that against the requirement of 14 crore vaccine doses, the state just received three crore doses which are not sufficient to vaccinate the entire population of the state.
"We need 14 crore doses to inoculate all and we got only approx 3 crore doses. Present Government does dirty politics over COVID vaccines," said Sen.
Drawing a comparison between the battle against COVID-19 and Cricket, the TMC leader said that the disease should be fought like test matches and not like one-day matches.
"Fighting COVID is not an International one-day match. It should be handled like a test match. In its own country, Central Government made available one vaccine at three prices," said Sen.
Sen stated that since Uttar Pradesh is due to go to the polls next year, the state is getting more vaccine doses from the Centre. He further alleged that the Prime Minister is busy doing politics and "does not care whether people of the country live or die".
"Earlier during elections in Bihar and Bengal, false promises were made regarding free vaccines. Now there are elections in Uttar Pradesh so they are getting more vaccines. Our PM is busy doing politics. It hardly bothers him whether the people of our country live our die," said the TMC MP.
On Friday, the West Bengal Government issued a notification over the closing of the vaccination drive for Covishield in every urban primary health care centres (UPHCs) due to a shortage of vaccines till further notification. Prior to this, last week, "No Vaccines" boards were seen displayed outside every UPHC across Kolkata.
On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the central government not to discriminate among states regarding the vaccine supply, hinting towards Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states of being supplied with major chunks of COVID vaccines.
The chief minister held 'Global Advisory Board' meeting over the third COVID-19 wave. Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee was also present at the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, Mamata Banerjee said, "Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka have received enough amount of COVID vaccines. I do not discriminate among people. Bengal has received fewer vaccines as per its density of population. I would request the Centre and appeal Prime Minister not to discriminate among states."
Earlier on Thursday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi apprising her concerns regarding the COVID vaccine supply deficit to West Bengal. (ANI)