New Delhi: BJP president J P Nadda on Tuesday accused the Congress of misleading people and creating false panic in the fight against COVID-19, and alleged that the conduct of its leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, during the pandemic will be remembered for "duplicity and pettiness".
Nadda wrote a four-page letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, a day after the Congress Working Committee, the apex body of the opposition party, hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government over the handling of the coronavirus crisis.
The BJP president also accused Congress leaders, including a chief minister, of trying to actively create vaccine hesitancy during the "once-in-a-century" pandemic.
Lauding the work of healthcare personnel, he said, "You must ask yourselves - in times as these, is your party's (Congress) conduct weakening the morale of these COVID-warriors? Deliberately or otherwise, are your actions trying to weaken this fight against COVID-19? Deliberately or otherwise, are your actions trying to weaken this fight against COVID-19?"
Under Modi, the fight against the pandemic is driven by unwavering belief in science, support to innovation, trust in COVID warriors and cooperative federalism, he said.
Nadda said he is saddened but not surprised by the conduct of the Congress during these challenging times.
The CWC had said that Modi must "atone for his mistakes" and serve the people instead of carrying on with his "personal agenda" oblivious to the sufferings all around.
The BJP president also hit back over the criticism of his party for holding big poll rallies in April even as COVID cases surged across the nation and also of the ongoing construction of the Central Vista project.
The Congress is doing no favours to itself by opposing lockdowns and then demanding it, he said, accusing it of "ignoring" the Centre's advisories on the second wave of COVID-19.
Congress leaders, he said, held massive election rallies in Kerala causing a spike in the COVID cases and are now "grandstanding" about poll rallies elsewhere.
"Even when the second wave was on the rise, your party leaders were happier being seen in super spreader political events in north India, where there was no regard for masks or social distancing. This is not the era when such information can be erased from public memory," he said.
Hitting back at the Congress over the CWC criticism that the Centre had abdicated its responsibility on the vaccination and left the matter to states, Nadda wondered if there is so much gap between the party and its leaders in power in some states as he noted that its top functionaries in April had called for decentralisation of the inoculation programme.
The Centre has so far distributed 16 crore vaccines to states and 50 per cent of them are being provided even now free of cost, he said, and asked Gandhi if the states where her party is in power will also give free jabs to people as those ruled by the BJP and its allies have done.
The Modi government has engaged with all stakeholders, including chief Ministers, in fighting the pandemic and former prime minister Deve Gowda has also acknowledged that, he said.
The poor have been Modi's priority with the Centre ensuring food and DBT (direct benefit transfer) distribution, he said.
While acknowledging that a few Congress members are doing commendable work in helping people like other several other selfless citizens, Nadda said their hardwork gets eclipsed by the consistent negativity spread by the more senior members of the opposition party.
"One would wish that while India is fighting COVID+19 with utmost courage, the top echelons of the Congress would stop misleading people, creating false panic and even contradicting their stands just based on political considerations," he said.
With the Congress blaming the BJP government for mishandling the crisis, Nadda wrote to Gandhi, "There are other aspects that also need greater thought. For instance, the data from February and March would reveal which states failed to track the rising cases. Why are mortality rates in states such as Punjab so high? These are questions you must ask your own Chief Ministers."
Defending the ongoing Central Vista project, he said there is a "new trend" in the Congress to put all the blame on this.
The need for a new Parliament building was raised during the Congress-led UPA time with the then Speaker Meira Kumar underscoring the need for this, he said, noting that Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has addressed queries regarding it.
"Yet, the Congress does not believe in facts. People are also contrasting the Congress' stand on Central Vista with the Chhattisgarh Government going ahead to build a new assembly complex," Nadda added.