On Punjab 'Vax scam', Hardeep Puri joins issue with Rahul, targets 'Congress culture'

    06-Jun-2021   
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New Delhi: "Rahul Gandhi ji asks where is the vaccine for our children. That vaccine is in the garbage in Rajasthan and profits are being made on that vaccine in Punjab," thus spoke Union Minister and BJP leader Hardeep Singh Puriat a media conference.
 
"..... This is the culture of Congress,” Puri directed his ire against the Congress party for abusing vaccines including dumping them in Rajasthan and on the other hand question the centre and BJP leadership about the efficacy of the system in vaccines supply and reaching them to the consumers.
 
Citing the data of Covid-19 vaccination in Punjab, Puri said the figures as revealed show that the ruling dispensation in the northern state is profiteering by overcharging for the vaccines.
 
One dose of Covishield vaccine, which costs ₹309, has been sold at ₹1,560 through private hospitals, Puri alleged.
"These people are giving a dose of Covishield which they bought for ₹309 to a private hospital for ₹1,000 and as per yesterday's data they are selling it for ₹1,560," he said.
 
The Union Minister alleged that the Punjab government has procured 4.29 lakh doses of Covishield at Rs 13.25 crore. Puri's press conference is being seen as a deliberate plan by the BJP to field the Union Minister Puri, also a Sikh, against the Congress regime in Punjab. The crucial state would go to the polls by February-March 2022 and the battle this time poses to be an exciting affair as Congress is faced with intense internal squabbling.
 
Moreover, the Akali Dal, which was for long BJP's ally, has walked out of the NDA last year over the farm laws.
Was there any political message when Puri said, "I am not raising these questions as a union minister but a karyakarta of the party (BJP) from Punjab" - remains to be seen.
 
"When we raised it, Captain (Amarinder Singh) said to withdraw the order, which tells you the order was fishy. Why was the decision taken in the first place?" Puri said.
 
The Akalis have been the most dependable alliance partner of the saffron party formally since the 1990s and 'informally' even during Emergency days in 1975.
 
In 2020, the saffron party leaders have been ‘interacting’ with S S Dhindsa, a senior Akali Dal leader who quit the Badals-led party. The BJP also sought to reach out to another Akali dissident R S Brahmpura, who floated Akali Dal (Taksali).
 
At the media conference, Puri said it was "shameful" that the Congress government in Punjab was trying to garner a profit. This shows the "incompetence" of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh's administration, he said.