As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, India's healthcare facilities are feeling the pressure. Ambulances wait outside hospitals and the dead line up outside crematoriums and graveyards for hours on end, as the facilities threaten to crumble in parts of the country. Against this backdrop, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter hitting out at the Prime Minister.
"There are no tests, nor beds in the hospital. There are no ventilators, nor oxygen. There is also no vaccine. Just the pretense of a festival. PMCares?" he tweeted. His remarks come amid concerning reports from various parts of the country.
Hospitals in Maharashtra are running out of beds while scrambling to accommodate the surge in patients, with some reporting shortage of oxygen supplies. At the same time, vaccinations efforts have been disrupted in several areas including Mumbai as the western state ran low on doses. Similar situations prevail in Delhi, Ahmedabad and many other cities.
The use of "PMCares" is not accidental. One only has to look back at reports and remarks from a few months ago to recall Gandhi's vocal criticism of the fund set up by the Prime Minister at the onset of the pandemic.
Gandhi's remarks comes less than a day after he hit back at critics over the use of foreign-made COVID-19 vaccines in India. As the government fast tracked the approval process, the Congress MP was quick to point out that he had made a similar suggestion recently and had been soundly mocked by Union Ministers and BJP leaders.
On Thursday India set a new and concerning COVID-19 benchmark, clocking a record 2 lakh fresh cases in 24 hours. At the same time, the death toll rose by 1,038 - the highest in around six months.