P Chidambaram yesterday said that no state has asked PM Modi to allow them to procure vaccines.
Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP P Chidambaram corrected himself after social media users provided a counterpoint to one of his statements. Reacting to PM Narendra Modi’s announcement of free vaccination for all, Chidambaram had said that the government has learnt from its mistakes and claimed that as usual bluff and bluster, PM Modi blames the Opposition for the mistakes he committed. The former finance minister also went on to say that no state has asked PM Modi to allow them to procure vaccines.
“Nobody said that Centre shouldn’t procure vaccines. He (PM) now blames state governments saying – they wanted to procure vaccines so we allowed them. Let us know which CM, which state government, on what date demanded that he should be allowed to procure vaccines,” said P Chidambaram.
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His statement drew responses from a lot of social media users who posted letters by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in which the leaders have demanded decentralisation of vaccine procurement.
— Avanish Kumar ???????? (@Avanish_2016) June 7, 2021
After the social-media backlash, P Chidambaram corrected his statement. “I told ANI ‘please tell us which state government demanded that it should be allowed to directly procure vaccines’. Social media activists have posted the copy of the letter of CM, West Bengal to PM making such a request. I was wrong. I stand corrected,” he said.
I told ANI ‘please tell us which state government demanded that it should be allowed to directly procure vaccines’
Social media activists have posted the copy of the letter of CM, West Bengal to PM making such a request.
I was wrong. I stand corrected.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) June 7, 2021
While Chidambaram referred to Banerjee’s letter, he refrained from recognising Rahul Gandhi’s letter to PM Modi in which the former Congress president had batted for a greater say to state governments in vaccine procurement.
Mamata Banerjee had written to PM Modi on February 24 saying, “…Government of West Bengal has decided to procure an adequate number of vaccines for the members of the public at large. We would request you to kindly take up the matter with appropriate authority so that the State government is able to purchase the vaccines from designated point(s) on top priority basis because the West Bengal government wants to provide vaccination free of cost to all the people.”
On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi had written to PM Modi on April 24. In his letter, he made 7 requests to the PM. “Give state governments a greater say in vaccine procurement and distribution,” read one of his requests.