Raut takes dig at Centre with Russian COVID-19 vaccine example


PTI, Aug 16, 2020, 3:04 PM IST

Mumbai: In a dig at the Narendra Modi government over its push for self-reliance, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday, August 16 said Russia gave the first lesson to the world on being ‘Aatmanirbhar’ by introducing a COVID-19  vaccine while India has just been preaching about it.

Lauding Russia for the vaccine, Raut, in his weekly column ‘Rokhtokh’ in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, said this was a sign of being a superpower, and added that Indian politicians will not follow Russia’s example as a model since “they are in love with America”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday announced that his country has developed the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19 that works “quite effectively” and forms a “stable immunity” against the deadly disease, as he disclosed that one of his daughters has already been vaccinated.

“When there was a movement across the globe to prove the Russian vaccine as illegal, Putin used the vaccine as a trial on his daughter and created self-confidence in his own country,” Raut said.

“Russia gave the first lesson of being ‘Aatmanirbhar’ (self-reliant) to the world. We are just preaching about being ‘Aatmanirbhar’,” the executive editor of ‘Saamana’ said.

Noting that Ram temple trust head Mahant Nritya Gopal Das has tested positive for coronavirus, Raut sought to know if Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who shook hands with Das during the temple’s ground-breaking function in Ayodhya (on August 5), will quarantine himself.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee, who has tested positive of coronavirus, is in a critical condition and ministers and bureaucrats in the Modi government have also tested positive for the viral infection, he pointed out.

“Delhi (the national capital) was never under such terror as it is now due to the coronavirus. There was fear of Modi and (Home Minister Amit) Shah earlier, but the fear of corona is more than that,” he said.

The Rajya Sabha member claimed Delhi has “come to a standstill” and that this is serious.

“The official unemployment figure has been put at 14 crores. But those running the country have no work. Political workers have become lazy because there are no political agitations. Opposition parties have become cold,” he said.

There are no political meetings or functions in Delhi now. Even the Independence Day function preparations weren’t there. “Like in Mumbai, there is the fear of coronavirus everywhere in Delhi,” he said.

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