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‘Our Death Rate is a Lie’: Rahul Gandhi urges Narendra Modi to Tell ‘Truth’ about COVID-19 Mortality

India’s main opposition party, Congress, on Friday slammed the Narendra Modi-led government for mishandling the country’s COVID-19 crisis. While addressing a press conference, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi demanded that the government should reveal the truth, especially about the exact number of deaths from COVID-19.

“Our death rate is a lie. The government is spreading that. The government should tell us the truth. Concealing the number of deaths is helping coronavirus. It’s gone past politics – it is about saving people’s lives. The future of Indians is at stake.”

In one of his sharpest attacks to date, Rahul Gandhi said today that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was responsible for the second wave and that he “did not understand COVID-19 at all”.

“Government not understanding the nature of what they’re fighting. Understand the dangers of mutation of this virus. You’re creating a liability for the whole planet. Why? Because you are allowing 97 percent of the population to be attacked by the virus as only 3 percent are vaccinated,” Gandhi said during the virtual press conference.

Gandhi also stressed that without a proper vaccination strategy, India would witness multiple waves of infection.

“We had warned the Government of India about COVID-19 repeatedly. Later, PM Modi had expressed India’s victory against COVID-19. This is an evolving disease. Lockdowns and wearing of masks is a temporary solution but the vaccine is a permanent solution to COVID-19,” he added.

Hours after his scathing attack on the government, BJP leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar hit back at Gandhi’s remarks about the vaccination policy. He declared that India will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

“If you’re concerned about vaccination then pay attention to Congress-ruled states… there is a mess. They have not been taking the quota given to them for those aged between 18 and 44 from May 1,” Javadekar said.

On Wednesday, India’s Health Ministry said many States such as Jharkhand (37.3 percent), Chhattisgarh (30.2 percent), Tamil Nadu (15.5 percent), Jammu & Kashmir (10.8 percent) and Madhya Pradesh (10.7 percent) are reporting much higher vaccine shortage wastage than the national average (6.3 percent).

After this, several states responded that these figures are “wrong and baseless”.

Jharkhand Chief Minister, Hemant Soren, however, tweeted late on Wednesday that these numbers from the Health Ministry were “laughable”. The State’s wastage was 4.65 percent, below the national average of 6.3 percent, he said. Chhattisggarh’s Health Minister Tribhuvaneshwar Saran Singh Deo also tweeted that the figures attributed to his state were “erroneous and completely baseless”.

Even the BJP-ruled Haryana government claimed that data pertaining to COVID-19 vaccine wastage released by the Union health ministry was “not accurate” as it mismatched with “actual data”. Vaccine wastage according to World Health Organisation (WHO) is any vaccine discarded, lost, damaged or destroyed.

On Friday, India recorded 186,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours the lowest spike in daily infections in the past 44 days. The number of active “cases” further declined to 2,343,000 and more than 24,800,000 people have recovered from the virus up to now.

With 3,660 new fatalities, the death toll is now more than 318,000 which, in a country of an estimated 1.4Bln, represents 0.023 percent over the past year.