Statement of Randeep Singh Surjewala, General Secretary, AICC:
People’s mandate is the final word in democracy. People of West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have given their democratic mandate for next five years. We accept the verdict with humility and a sense of responsibility.
We recognize that the election results are not as per our expectations, particularly those of Assam and Kerala.
We have lost the election in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and West Bengal but we have neither lost our morale nor our resolve or determination to continuously become people’s voice in these times of unprecedented calamity.
The Congress Party will definitely study the results and all the reasons diligently and we are committed to correct our mistakes and do appropriate course correction.
We take this opportunity to recognize that our workers and leaders worked unitedly on the ground and gave their best, yet the people’s verdict was not in our favour.
Congress Party and its workers have a deep rooted personal connect with the people of the country, particularly in the five States where elections were held.
We shall endeavor and work harder to build greater faith and affinity between the Party and the people. We shall fulfill our commitment of a responsible opposition in both the States of Assam and Kerala to raise people’s issues, inside & outside the Assembly.
We also congratulate the people of West Bengal, who have decimated the vicious divisive agenda as also money and muscle power of the Bhartiya Janata Party.
They have chosen peace & brotherhood over division and hatred. While the Bengal results are a matter of concern, discussion and deliberation for the Congress Party, we congratulate Ms Mamata Banerjee for her resounding victory and her determination in defeating the BJP.
We also congratulate Bhartiya Janata Party and Shri Sarbananda Sonowal for their victory in Assam as also LDF & Shri Pinarayi Vijayan for their victory in Kerala.
We sincerely hope that they will work to fulfill all their electoral promises as also do their best to protect lives in times of pandemic.
In Tamil Nadu, Congress fought as part of the DMK alliance. The DMK alliance led by Shri M.K. Stalin has emerged victorious, defeating the AIADMK-BJP alliance.
We thank the people of Tamil Nadu for their wisdom & faith and congratulate Shri M.K. Stalin for leading the alliance to victory.
We are committed to work together, fulfill the election promises and ensure the State’s development.
Presently, the biggest challenge facing the country is to defeat the unprecedented Covid pandemic. Congress Party, along with its frontal organizations like the Youth Congress, is leaving no stone unturned to contribute in every way possible.
We demand that Modi Govt now rise above the partisan political campaign and concentrate upon tackling Covid, providing life saving medicines and oxygen, ramping up hospital infrastructure and ensure universal vaccination for all. This is the bounden duty of each and every Indian.
I wish you and your family safety and good health in this challenging time of Corona epidemic. My heartfelt condolences to the millions of families who have lost their loved ones.
This is a challenging time for our country and we all have to hold hands together and become a strength of one another.
I urge everyone to safeguard yourself by following all the safety protocols and help each other during this pandemic.
As far as the Government is concerned, it is time to wake up and fulfill their duties. Helping the poor should be their first priority and I urge the centre to deposit Rs 6000/- each to the bank accounts of all to stop their migration, till thepandemic is over.
The discrimination over vaccine pricing should end and black marketing of life-saving drugs must be stopped and all industrial oxygen should be provided to hospitals for medical purposes.
With the consensus of all political parties, I urge the Central government to evolve a national policy to deal with the COVID crisis in the country.
SONIA GANDHI, CONGRESS PRESIDENT
COVID-19 vaccine should be provided free of cost to all the citizens and vaccine production must be ramped up to speed up the country’s vaccination drive to help save people’s lives.
Even earlier the country has faced with several such crisis, but with unity and determination, we have been able to overcome such crisis.
The government’s ineptitude has been called by the two vaccine manufacturers who have now put 5 prices on the table for similar vaccines and the government is silent! It is time to call the bluff of the two manufacturers.
The way to do it is to invoke compulsory licensing and invite price bids from other Pharma manufacturers that will include royalty payable to SII and Bharat Biotech. L1, L2 etc will reveal the true cost of manufacturing of the two vaccines including a reasonable profit.
There is a body of opinion that holds that even at Rs 150 per dose, the two current manufacturers will make a small profit.
If true, at Rs 400-1000, it will be profiteering. Perhaps that is what the government wants.
Special Congress Party Briefing by Shri P Chidambaram, Shri Ajay Maken and Shri Jairam Ramesh. Excerpts:
Our best wishes to Dr. Manmohan Singh for his full and speedy recovery. He is still in Hospital, but, I am told that he is stable and the progress is good
Govt of India has finally acknowledged problem of vaccine shortage & other deficiencies in current vaccine policy. While we welcome positive changes made, details show that the modified vaccine policy is, in crucial respects, regressive & inequitable
Under the modified vaccine policy, States will bear the responsibility & cost of vaccinating the poorer sections who are below the age of 45 years & are neither Health Care workers nor Frontline workers, as defined by the central government
GoI appears to have abdicated its responsibility towards poor by excluding them from its vaccination programme. In a country where median age is 28 yrs, to leave those < 45 yrs out of a public-funded programme is, to say the least, callous
The migrant workers who live and work in other states and are the lifeblood of the economy of our cities will be the worst affected by this directive
By liberalising the pricing of vaccine, and by not fixing a price for states at the same rate as it is available to the Union Government, the government is paving the way to unhealthy price bidding and profiteering
States with limited resources will be at considerable disadvantage. States that are already weighed down by shrinking GST revenues, lower tax devolution, reduced grants-in-aid and increased borrowing would have to bear this additional burden
Meanwhile, nobody knows where the thousands of crores of rupees collected under PM-CARES are being deployed
Union government’s vaccine policy refuses to grasp that the problem is not only of production, but also of financing, procurement and distribution of the vaccines, and of coordination with the states
Ignoring the suggestion of Dr. Manmohan Singh in his letter to the Prime Minister, the modified vaccine policy does not provide funds for capital investment to the vaccine manufacturers to ramp up production
Furthermore, the modified policy does not invoke the provisions in law for compulsory licensing to allow other domestic vaccine manufacturers to manufacture the approved vaccines and augment total supply
It is also not clear if the central government will take the initiative to import foreign-made vaccines and distribute them among the states
Under modified vaccine policy, Union Govt is running away from taking responsibility, overburdens the states, encourages vaccine manufacturers to profiteer, and will worsen the inequality between states as well between poor and rich Indians
Nowhere in the world has any government left its vaccination programme to be determined by the vagaries of market forces, and for good reason
We hope that the five points made by us above in a spirit of constructive cooperation at this time of grave national crisis will be considered seriously by the Central Government
I am pleased to say that I have had an excellent conversation with Kerala Governor Arif Mohd Khan, who heard me out sympathetically & has promised to consider the matter in his capacity as Chancellor/Visitor of all state universities.
Irresponsible to conduct physical exams now.
Following our conversation, & at his request, I have also sent him my own representation in writing so that it is a matter of official record.