Andhra sees political warfare rising over COVID vaccine

Naveen S Garewal 

Today News Online Service 
Hyderabad, May 12 

Andhra Pradesh has been gripped by what can be called vaccine politics with the state Chief Minister YSR Jagan Reddy accusing former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu of prevailing upon Covaxin manufacturer Bharat Biotech deliberately withholding vaccine supply to the state. 

The move has gone a step further with the government allowing registering of cases against Naidu in Guntur town and Narasaraopet also in Guntur district for what it calls “fake propaganda over the N44K variant of Coronavirus spread in the state”. 

In a meeting with officials to take stock of the COVID-19 situation, Jagan Reddy alleged that Naidu has links with Bharat Biotech and that the supply of the vaccine was being hampered at the behest of Naidu. He has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking transfer of technology from the vaccine manufacturer to other pharmaceutical companies. 

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) that Naidu heads have strongly refuted the charge and said “this was just a ploy to divert public attention from the failure of the government in checking the spread of coronavirus”, TDP leader Pattabhiram Kommareddy told the media. 

In the police complaint registered against Naidu by two lawyers at Guntur and Narasaraopet saying that the former chief minister had brought the state into disrepute by saying that the N44K, also come to be known as the Andhra Pradesh Variant had brought disrepute to the state, while the facts were untrue. 

The complaint reads that Naidu said that the new variant was 10-15 times more virulent compared to the original virus. This, the complaint reads, have spread panic among the public. Such comments were demoralising the morale of the government “that was taking all care to check the spread of the virus”, the lawyers have alleged. 





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