“Many Similarities Between PM, Ventilators”: Rahul Gandhi’s Jab Again


Congress’ Rahul Gandhi has been a fierce and vocal critic of the centre’s handling of the pandemic (File)

New Delhi:

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Monday compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ventilators – essential medical equipment for Covid patients – bought by the PM CARES fund, saying both had “too much false PR”, “don’t do their respective jobs” and were “nowhere in sight when needed”.

“There’s a lot common between PMCares ventilator and the PM himself: too much false PR, don’t do their respective jobs, nowhere in sight when needed!” Mr Gandhi tweeted.

The swipe comes amid a row over reports suggesting ventilators bought with PM CARES funds and supplied to a hospital in Punjab’s Faridkot have been left unused because of technical glitches.

The centre has hit back at these reports, calling them “unfounded” and alleging it is the lack of infrastructure at the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital that is to blame.

The centre – facing fierce and widespread criticism over its handling of the pandemic – has been providing states with medical aid, including ventilators, since April 2020, it added.

The ventilators in question were supplied by Bharat Electronics Limited and AgVa.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered an immediate audit of the process of installing and operating the ventilators, and directed healthcare workers be trained in its use, if necessary.

However, it is unclear if the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) will conduct the audit, since the Prime Minister’s Office has made it clear PM CARES do not come under CAG purview.

Mr Gandhi has been relentless in his attacks over the pandemic management issue.

On Sunday he slammed the centre over reports of people being arrested in Delhi for allegedly putting up posters critical of the centre’s handling of the crisis.

Last week he accused the Prime Minister of “going missing”.

The Prime Minister is also missing, with vaccines, oxygen and medicines. All that remain is Central Vista project, GST on medicines and the Prime Minister’s photos here and there,” he tweeted.

India has reported over three lakh infections a day for over 20 consecutive days in April-May; today was the first time since April 21 that daily numbers were below that mark.

2.81 lakh new cases and over 4,000 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.

The flood of cases has left hospitals full, and medicines and oxygen in short supply. The shortage of vaccines has made things worse, as the country looks to vaccinate people as quickly as possible.

Faced with scathing criticism – from within the country and abroad – the centre last week began planning a big concerted push for positivity, sources said. That push was slammed by Mr Gandhi, who called it “burying one’s head in the sand” and a betrayal of citizens.

On Sunday the Prime Minister said he empathised with people’s suffering and pain.

“Because of this coronavirus, we have lost people close to us. The pain that citizens have suffered, that many experienced, I am feeling it equally,” the PM said during an online interaction with farmers.

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