Vaccination drive a ‘crusade’, not ‘utsav’, says Chidambaram


With Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching a four-day countrywide “Tika Utsav” (inoculation festival) from Sunday, Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram criticised him for terming it a festival, while seeking more approved vaccines be allowed and reiterating the demand of universal vaccination.

“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 in a series of tweets.

Accusing the government of “having messed up the management of the production and supply sides of the vaccines”, and “covering up its massive failure through rhetoric and hyperbole”, he said: “We were the first to demand universal vaccination and get rid of the silly app and the need for pre-registration. Vaccination must be a walk-in programme.”

“Government must immediately provide funds to ramp up production in India and increase supplies. Government must also authorise the use of more approved vaccines and allow their manufacture or import,” he demanded.

“We have a duopoly of two vaccines, but they are hardly sufficient to vaccinate a nation of 138 crore people,” he noted.

The ‘Tika Utsav’, which will continue till April 14, has been called by the Centre a second major war against the deadly virus as India registered the highest single-day spike on Sunday, with 1,52,879 more cases within 24 hours.