Nana Patole
Nana Patole
Photo via Twitter

Mumbai: The Maharashtra unit of the Congress will hold protest against the BJP-ruled Centre from Monday by beating plates and ringing bells outside those vaccination centres in the state that have been shut due to the non-availability of COVID-19 vaccines, a party leader said.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, state Congress president Nana Patole wondered how 'Tika Utsav' (vaccine festival) can be observed in the state from April 11 to 14 when several centres are shut as they have run out of doses.

"We will protest against the central government's attempt to politicise a serious issue of shortage of vaccine doses by banging of thalis (plates) and ringing of bells outside those vaccination centres that had to be shut due to the non-availability of doses," Patole said.

Beating of plates and ringing of bells was part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the people last year to display the country's collective resolve to defeat COVID-19 and to express gratitude towards the health workers and the frontline staff risking their lives during the pandemic.

Patole said there is no option but to vaccinate people to keep them safe from the virus.

"Maharashtra is leading among other states in the vaccination drive, but the Centre is not providing enough doses," he said.

Patole said there is enough production of vaccine doses in the country, but instead of allotting them to Maharashtra, the vaccines are being exported to other countries, including Pakistan, free of cost.

He alleged that the BJP-ruled Gujarat has less number of COVID-19 active cases and its population is also less than that of Maharashtra, but the supply of vaccines to that is more.

Patole accused the Centre of deliberately trying to corner the opposition-ruled states to put the blame of coronavirus management on them.

"The state Congress's agitation outside the closed vaccination centres will continue till the vaccine supply is adequate," he added.

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