Amid a severe shortage of Covid vaccine, Maharashtra's ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders on Thursday slammed the Centre alleging "stepmotherly treatment" in providing vaccine doses, while Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis lashed out at the state government.
State Congress President Nana Patole, state Nationalist Congress Party President and Minister Jayant Patil, senior Congress Minister Ashok Chavan, and other MVA leaders targeted Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for his harsh statements against the Maharashtra government on Wednesday.
Patole, Patil and Chavan among other leaders said that Maharashtra is a huge state with the highest number of Covid patients and tally and it was the Centre's duty to provide more doses rather than to a small state like Gujarat.
Responding, Fadnavis said that only three states - Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan received more than 1 crore vaccines, and the "supply is not on the basis of population but purely based on state's performance of execution of vaccination process".
Challenging state Health Minister Rajesh Tope's statement on acute dearth of the life-saving doses, Fadnavis said that Gujrat and Rajasthan have almost equal population and Maharashtra has received 1.06 crore doses as per the government figures on April 06, of which 91 lakhs were administered, leaving another 15 lakhs with the state government.
"So why are vaccination centres deliberately shut down today and why spread the false news? Maharashtra to receive another 19 lakh vaccines between April 9-12 Due to lack of even basic facilities, sufferings of the people are on a rise day by day. Does the CM or ministers even care to pay attention to this," he said.
He further contended that since the MVA is constantly facing criticism over its mis-governance and various exposes in courts lately, "its an absolute shame that vaccination politics is being played out to divert peoples' attention".
MVA leaders Patole, Patil and Chavan urged Fadnavis "to speak up for Maharashtra" and use his good offices with the Centre to ensure more vaccine doses are received.
Fadnavis said he had spoken with Harsh Vardhan, who assured there was "never every any biased approach towards Maharashtra and supplies are smooth", and the Union Minister has also assured NCP President Sharad Pawar of extending all help to the state government to tide over the vaccine crisis.
Both sides continue to blame each other for playing "vaccine politics" at the height of the pandemic while the MVA accused the Centre of favouring certain BJP-ruled states like Gujarat at the expense of Maharashtra where the crisis is much bigger.