New Delhi: The Congress party has a reputation for switching colors.
During election season in the Hindutva-oriented states, party officials enjoy temple-hopping and striking partnerships with Islamic forces such as the ISF in West Bengal, the AIUDF in Assam, and the Muslim League in Kerala.
The Congress leaders even downplayed the anniversary demolition of Babri Masjid during the Gujarat elections in 2017. Once upon a time, Rahul Gandhi even played up the ‘Shiv Bhakt’ card, though there was a ‘China angle’ in the entire saga. The idea was to hoodwink the Hindu voters.
The grand old party has been persistent about two things – first in their electoral setbacks one after another and secondly targeting Bharat Biotech vis-à-vis vaccines against coronavirus.
“Is it a coincidence that Congress has been relentlessly targeting Bharat Biotech made indigenous Covaxin…… Question is at whose behest?” – asked Amit Malviya, BJP IT cell chief.
This issue is essential as there must be a reason for Congress’s actions and those who keep asking. The answer although remains in the womb of time – as of now!
The government has clarified. “Newborn Calf Serum is used only for preparation/ growth of Vero cells. Different bovine and other animal serum are standard enrichment ingredients used globally for Vero cell growth. Vero cells are used to establish cell lines that help in the production of vaccines. This technique has been used for decades in Polio, Rabies, and Influenza vaccines,” a statement from the Union Health Ministry said.
Recently, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said, “When the vaccine rollout began, instead of asking all eligible people to get vaccinated, Congress leader Raashid Alvi continued with petty politics, doubting vaccine efficacy and fuelling hesitancy. The reference was to Rashid claiming that opposition leaders may fear the ‘misuse’ of the vaccine against opposition leaders. This was around the time, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had said that he will not take the “BJP vaccine”.
The calf serum row was triggered by Congress Social Media coordinator Gaurav Pandhi when he tweeted – “In an RTI response, the Modi Govt has admitted that COVAXIN consists Newborn Calf Serum ….. which is a portion of clotted blood got from less than 20 days young cow-calves, after slaughtering them.
THIS IS HEINOUS! This information should have been made public before.”
Jairam Ramesh, Congress MP and former Union Minister had said – Bharat Biotech is a first-rate enterprise, but it is “puzzling” that internationally accepted protocols relating to Ph-3 trials are being changed for Covaxin.
Raashid Alvi had made an absurd claim that just like BJP and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, were using agencies like CBI, Income Tax Department, and ED against opposition leaders, they might use the vaccine to ‘target’ the opposition leaders.
Kerala MP, Shashi Tharoor, was another leader who made unfavorable remarks against Covaxin and Bharat Biotech.
The Congress government in Chhattisgarh had even demanded that Covaxin should not be sent to the state.
The Congress party’s Health Ministers in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab and Rajasthan had also accused the Modi government of drafting a vaccination policy to suit the profiteering by Bharat Biotech (makers of Covaxin) and Serum Institute of Pune whose vaccine is called Covishield. .
Bharat Biotech is a 24-year-old vaccine maker based in Hyderabad with a portfolio of 16 vaccines. Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine, meaning it is made up of coronaviruses that have been killed, making it safe to inject into the body.
But what is the Congress party’s issue? Why do they want to promote Vaccine Hesitancy amongst the masses?
Are they simply against indigenous vaccines helping the country fight the pandemic; or they are specifically against Bharat Biotech?
The Covaxin has shown an efficacy rate of 81 percent preliminary data from its phase 3 trial showed.
India has shipped 66 million doses of vaccines to 95 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa.
The recipient countries include the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico.