Congress MP Rahul Gandhi took a sharp dig at PM-Modi led government after the Centre gave a nod to fasttrack the emergency approval for the foreign-produced anti-coronavirus vaccines. Gandhi, who had earlier urged the government to allow foreign vaccines in the country, was sharply criticised by several BJP leaders for his demand.
The Wayanad MP wrote a tweet that implied that the Centre's decision of allowing foreign-made vaccines in India had been prompted by his party's suggestions.
Gandhi tweeted, citing Mahatma Gandhi's quote: "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win". He also tagged a media report, saying the Centre has fast-tracked emergency approval for foreign-produced jabs.
Gandhi, on Friday, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging the government to fasttrack approval for vaccines. However, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had accused Gandhi of lobbying for pharma companies by asking for arbitrary approval for foreign vaccines.
"After failing as a part-time politician, has Rahul Gandhi switched to full-time lobbying? First, he lobbied for fighter plane companies by trying to derail India's acquisition programme. Now he is lobbying for pharma companies by asking for arbitrary approvals for foreign vaccines," Prasad had said in a series of tweets.
With an aim to expand the basket of COVID-19 vaccines and enhance the pace of inoculation in India, the central government has fast-tracked emergency approval for foreign-produced jabs that have been granted similar clearances in other countries. The move is significant as it may make available several vaccines, including those made by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, in India with certain conditions.
This week, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave approval to the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, developed by a Moscow laboratory, for use in an emergency situation, the country's sovereign wealth fund informed. Moreover, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said it expects over 50 million doses of Sputnik V vaccine to be manufactured in India by this summer.
Sputnik V will be the third vaccine to be used in India against coronavirus. In January, DCGI had given the emergency use authorisation for two COVID-19 vaccines -- Covaxin of Bharat Biotech and Covishield of Oxford-AstraZeneca manufactured by Serum Institute of India in Pune.