Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Baghel, Whose Government Fuelled Vaccine Hesitancy, Blames Centre For Second Wave As State Reports Highest Weekly Positivity Rate 

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Baghel, Whose Government Fuelled Vaccine Hesitancy, Blames Centre For Second Wave As State Reports Highest Weekly Positivity Rate Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel (Representative Image) (Bhupesh Baghel/Twitter)
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  • Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel blames the central government for second wave.

As the second wave of the coronavirus devastates Chhattisgarh with more than a hundred thousand active cases, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has blamed the Centre for the second wave of infections, saying the Narendra Modi government did not advise the states or provide guidelines to deal with the pandemic.

Baghel, who was in Assam for election campaigning when Naxals killed over 20 security personnel in Chhattisgarh, said the second wave of infections was “Central government’s mistake” as it “didn’t make us aware of the second wave.”

“The Prime Minister kept giving us instances of other countries….how there was a surge and how it waned…we kept listening to his lectures all through the year,” the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister told the Indian Express in an interview.

Baghel, whose government actively fuelled vaccine hesitancy, said the state "cannot be dependent on just two vaccines”.

In January, just days before India rolled out the world’s largest vaccination programme, Chhattisgarh Health Minister T S Singh Deo had launched a campaign against Covaxin, the Covid-19 vaccine developed indigenously by Bharat Biotech, saying it must not be allowed in the state as the third-phase trial data has not been published. This, experts have said, fuelled vaccine hesitancy in the state.

When asked about his advice to the Centre, Baghel said “increase vaccinations”.

The Congress leader, who was camping in poll-bound Assam when the second wave of infections started, said the Centre “should have made us aware or advised us”.

Baghel has also criticised the Narendra Modi government’s vaccine diplomacy under which Indian Covid-19 vaccines were given to friendly countries.

Baghel’s criticism of the Centre comes at a time when the number of active Covid-19 cases in Chhattisgarh has reached 128,019.

A relatively small state, Chhattisgarh is now among the top four states in terms of infections — the other three being Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.

The state has also reported the highest weekly positivity rate at 30.38 per cent.

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