2022 has brought along the new phase of vaccination drive in the country.
While expanding the scope of the vaccine to cover those aged between 15 to 18 as of January 3, 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the measure would not only help to normalize education in schools but also relieve strain among parents of school-aged children.
At the same time, he stated that beginning January 10, additional vaccine doses will be available for frontline workers and people over 60 with comorbidities.
The Prime Minister stated that the additional dose should be referred to as a “precaution dose” rather than a “booster dose.” However, unlike every time, the PM’s photo won’t be on the vaccination certificates in 5 states.
Which Are These 5 States?
The Election Commission of India (ECI) published the calendar for Assembly elections in five states. Manipur will vote in two phases on February 27 and March 3, whilst Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Goa will vote in a single phase on February 14.
In Uttar Pradesh, however, voting will take place in seven stages: February 10, February 14, February 20, February 23, February 27, March 3, and March 7.
These are the 5 poll-bound states that are not supposed to have vaccination certificates issued with PM Modi’s picture in it as per the Model Code of Conduct coming into force. To ensure this, filters have been added to the Cowin platform by the Union Health Ministry.
Why Such Implications?
According to Congress, the vaccination process is being used for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “personal publicity” rather than to save people’s lives. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra of the Congress had launched the “Zimmedar Kaun (Who is Responsible)“ campaign at the time, which targeted the BJP administration over the immunization programme.
Given India’s history of vaccine manufacture and the breadth of its immunization programmes, Ms. Gandhi Vadra said it’s natural to imagine the government would do a better job.
“But the bitter truth is that from the beginning of the pandemic, vaccines in India became a tool for the Prime Minister’s personal publicity rather than a tool to save the lives of the common people,” the Congress leader claimed.
“As a result, India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, has today become dependent on vaccine donations from other countries and has joined the ranks of the world’s weakest countries in terms of vaccination.”
Similar Initiatives And Their Outcomes
Following objections from several political parties, the Health Ministry took a similar initiative during elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Pondicherry in April-March 2021.
A plea to remove PM Modi’s picture off of the vaccination certificate was denied by the Kerala High Court in December of last year.
It imposed a fine of ₹ 1 lakh on the petitioner, saying “Why are you ashamed of our Prime Minister… The petition seems to be filed with political motives and a publicity motivated petition. Therefore, it deserves to be dismissed with a heavy cost”.
The high court judge had at the time observed, “He [Modi] is our Prime Minister, not the PM of any other country. He came to power through a mandate. Merely because you [petitioner] have political differences, you cannot challenge this. Why are we ashamed of our PM? 100 crore people do not have any issue with this, why do you? You are wasting judicial time,” the judge had said.
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This post is tagged under health, coronavirus, covid, alpha, beta, delta, Omicron, Delmicron, third wave, politics, assembly elections, state elections, Narendra Modi, vaccination certificates