EDITORIAL | Vaccinating the vote banks
FROM THE EDITOR’s DESK:
Could it be more than just a coincidence that the world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccination programme will kick start in India when most states would go to polls in mid-April and May this year?
The launch of the COVID-19 vaccination is no doubt a feat for India, which has so far reported 10,527,683 COVID positive cases with 213,027 active, 10,162,738 recoveries and 151,918 deaths.
The country is preparing to defeat the contagious virus which has wreaked havoc across the world last year with the approval of the Oxford-Astrazeneca shot - Covishield and the Bharat Biotech vaccine - Covaxin.
Come January 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the programme via video conferencing, connecting three thousand six-session sites across all states and Union Territories.
While Indian citizens are eagerly awaiting the distribution of the vaccines, politics over the entire drive has already started.
Yes, it is a healthy practice in a democracy to raise questions and demand answers on programmes and schemes but, there is a difference between genuine and constructive criticism and destructive reproach – in simple words – petty politics.
In poll-bound states like West Bengal and Assam, political leaders have already started sharpening their tools with attempts to earn brownie points by emphasising on burning issues like farmers’ protests and COVID-19 vaccination.
Passing comments like a virus-inflicted party or leader can somehow be digested because of late, this has become a trend not only in India but every democratic nation.
However, to deprive a citizen of what he/she is rightly entitled to for their own motives cannot be accepted.
Look at poll-bound West Bengal; leaders are already targeting one another over this issue. While they accused a TMC minister of holding up a truck carrying vaccines, they reported another of likening the BJP to coronavirus.
As it appears, the COVID-19 vaccination programme may not be as tough a challenge as politics.
Apart from political bashings from the opposition parties, the government is facing criticisms over approval of the vaccines with some terming it a “BJP vaccine” with the sole purpose of garnering support and votes.