Leaders of 13 Opposition parties Sunday urged the Centre to launch a free mass vaccination drive across the country in view of the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases.
In a joint statement, they also called upon the Centre to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply to all hospitals and health centres as they manage the staggering patient loads in view of the rising cases.
The signatories include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, JDS leader and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee.
“In times of the uncontrollable surge of the pandemic across our country, we call upon the Central government to focus all attention in ensuring the uninterrupted flow of Oxygen supplies to all hospitals and health centres across the country,” they said in a joint statement.
“We call upon the Central government to immediately launch a free mass vaccination programme across the country,” they added.
The opposition leaders said the budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for the vaccination programme must be utilised for this drive.
JMM leader and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, DMK chief MK Stalin, BSP supremo Mayawati, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav have also signed the statement, besides left leaders D Raja (CPI) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M).
Later, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh hoped that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would consider the joint statement seriously.
“Hope the prime minister will consider this joint statement from opposition leaders seriously, and in the right spirit. Meeting them immediately would be a good first step to rebuild trust and confidence during this time of national crisis,” he wrote on Twitter.