Tharoor congratulates Centre on 1-bn vaccination, gets slammed by party

Party spokesperson Pawan Khera told Tharoor that giving credit the government for achieving the 1-billion vaccination target is an insult to the families of people who died to its mismanagement during the pandemic

Shashi Tharoor Anil Antony BBC documentary series on Narendra Modi Gujarat riots
Shashi Tharoor said people of the country have the freedom to watch or not watch the BBC documentary series on the 2002 riots (file photo)

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday (October 21) drew sharp criticism from his party for his tweet commending the Narendra Modi government for reaching the 1-billion milestone in COVID-19 vaccination.

Praising the Centre to have successfully vaccinated 100 crore people against the virus, Tharoor said the government despite its initial failure in managing the pandemic has “partly redeemed” itself through the vaccination drive.

“This is a matter of pride for all Indians. Let’s give the Government credit. After severe mismanagement of the second #Covid wave & botching the vaccination orders that might have prevented it, Govt has now partly redeemed itself. It remains accountable for its earlier failures,” he tweeted.


Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera shot a quick rejoinder, telling Tharoor that giving credit to the government was an “insult” to families who lost their loved ones due to its mismanagement.

Khera said to claim credit, the prime minister should first ask for the forgiveness of these families.

“Giving credit to govt is an insult to millions of families who suffered and are still suffering from the after effects & side effects of widespread Covid mismanagement. Before seeking credit, PM must apologise to those families. Credit belongs to scientists & medical fraternity,” he said.

Besides receiving brickbats from Congress supporters, Tharoor’s laudatory tweet also didn’t go down well with those in the right wing camp, with many users accusing him of putting up a monkey balancing act – between appeasing the prime minister and not offending the Gandhis. Others called it a stunt to suck up to the ruling party given the weak electoral standing of the Congress.

Tharoor in 2019 had ruffled feathers when he had remarked that praising Narendra Modi whenever he says or does the right thing will add credibility to the Opposition’s criticisms when the prime minister falters. The comment had drawn widespread criticism from Congress leaders from Kerala with some of them even suggesting Tharoor to join the BJP and another MP writing to party president Sonia Gandhi, seeking disciplinary action against him.

Also read: Slow starter India crosses 100 crore COVID vaccination milestone

According to the Union Health Ministry, India took 279 days to administer 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses. The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with health care workers getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. The country launched vaccination for all people aged over 45 years from April 1. The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing all above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1.