West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is expected to skip the Covid-19 review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to discuss the current status of the pandemic in the nation. In place of Banerjee, state chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay will attend the meeting.
Why the Covid-19 review meeting?
The meeting was scheduled to be held on Thursday with chief ministers of all the states to review the situation amid the surge and vaccination drive in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to interact with CMs at 6.30 pm. The meeting will be via video conferencing, and comes on the day India reported over 1.26 lakh new infections, a record daily high since the pandemic outbreak.
Why did Mamata Banerjee want to skip Covid-19 review meeting?
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said she is busy with the Trinamool Congress election campaign and has back-to-back rallies ahead of the fourth phase of elections. Last time too, on March 17, Banerjee had skipped the meeting chaired by PM Modi with all the chief ministers to review Covid situation.
What is the Covid-19 situation in India?
India registered a record single-day spike of 1,26,789 new Covid-19 cases, pushing its infection tally to 1,29,28,574, while the number of active cases too went up to breach the 9 lakh mark again, as per the Health Ministry update. With 685 new Covid-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the toll in the country has mounted to 1,66,862.
Is there a Covid-19 vaccine shortage?
The issue of vaccine shortage has been flagged by states such as Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and is likely to be discussed in the meeting. The Centre, however, had rejected claims of vaccine shortage, and instead blamed the states complaining of being lax in their vaccination drive. In recent weeks, some chief ministers have joined the chorus for relaxing age criteria for Covid-19 vaccination.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi took his second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at AIIMS in Delhi, and asked those eligible for the shot to take it soon to defeat the virus.