Covid: Mamata prods Centre to provide free vaccination for all
Mamata Banerjee, in her first news conference after sweeping the elections on Sunday, demanded free Covid vaccination for all by the Centre.
“We will give free vaccination to all people in the state and I demand free vaccination for 140 crore people in the country. I will start a non-violent movement from the Gandhi statue on the Maidan (in Calcutta) very soon,” Mamata said.
“They have the Reserve Bank (of India) with them… The cost of vaccinating everyone in the country will be Rs 30,000 crore. Why won’t they do it?” she asked.
Mamata made it clear that battling the Covid pandemic would be her top priority after taking charge of the government. She urged Trinamul Congress supporters not to bring out any victory processions now.
“We will not have any victory rallies now… We will have a big one at the Brigade (Grounds) after the Covid situation normalises,” she said.
The focus on Covid, sources close to her said, came from her realisation that the Narendra Modi government’s mishandling of the pandemic had contributed to her landslide win. Of 114 seats that went to polls in the last three phases, which were held when the Covid situation in the country had turned grim, Trinamul won around 95.
“People blessed us with their two hands and I promise that we will tackle the Covid situation and things will be under control,” Mamata said.
The chief minister said her target was to win 221 seats. She said several political leaders from across the country had congratulated her on the results and she would get back to each one of them personally.
Although she lost in Nandigram, the Trinamul chief made it clear that she would be taking oath as chief minister of Bengal.
“We will have a small swearing-in ceremony in view of the Covid situation… I cannot comment if there will be any lockdown or not right at this moment as I have to sit with my officers who have already taken some decision,” said Mamata.