Day after Congress’ Surjewala slammed PM’s visit to vaccine hubs, colleague Anand Sharma hails it

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NEW DELHI: A day after Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his visit to vaccine facilities amid farmers’ protests, senior leader Anand Sharma struck a divergent view on Sunday and hailed the PM’s one-day tour, saying it was a recognition of Indian scientists and will lift the morale of frontline COVID warriors.

Sharma, who is a party spokesperson and part of the group of 23 Congress leaders who wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi seeking large scale changes in the organisation, said the prime minister’s visit was a recognition of Indian scientists and their work to produce vaccines for COVID-19.

“Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visit to Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila was a recognition of Indian scientists and their work to produce the vaccine for COVID-19. That alone will lift morale of frontline warriors and reassure the nation,” Sharma said in a tweet.

“Also respecting the institutions that India has built over decades that have expertise and potential, making India world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. Urging PM to ensure that an efficient and equitable platform is functional as the vaccine arrives,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi on Saturday visited Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune to review the development and manufacturing process of coronavirus vaccines at facilities in these cities.

He visited the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad, Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad and Serum Institute of India in Pune.

Hitting out at Modi, Surjewala accused Modi of getting pictures clicked in corporate offices while farmers are protesting on roads of Delhi.

“Wish the PM talks to farmers on the road instead of flying in the aircraft,” he had said in a tweet, after Modi visited a company in Ahmedabad which is engaged in the COVID-19 vaccine research.

“Coronavirus vaccine will be found by scientists, farmers will feed the country and Modi ji and BJPites will handle television,” Surjewala had said.

Congress leaders have been found airing differing views on key issues of late.

Earlier this month, Sharma had described India’s decision of not joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as “unfortunate and ill advised”, asserting that it was in the country’s strategic and economic interests to be a part of the process of Asia-Pacific integration.

His view was at variance with senior leader Jairam Ramesh and the party which had last year, after India had decided not to join the RCEP, claimed victory.

The Congress had said its forceful opposition ensured that the BJP government backs out from bartering the interests of farmers, dairy producers, fishermen and small and medium businessmen.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has set up three separate committees for discussing policy issues related to economic affairs, foreign affairs and national security, with former prime minister Manmohan Singh part of all the three panels.

The committee on foreign affairs has Sharma as a member along with Shashi Tharoor, Salman Khurshid and Saptagiri Ulaka. Khurshid is the convener of the panel.

Incidentally, among those nominated in the committees include senior party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Veerappa Moily and Shashi Tharoor, who were part of the 23 letter-writers seeking an organisational overhaul of the Congress.

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