Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday came down heavily on former PM Manmohan Singh, stating that History would be kinder to him if his offer of ‘constructive cooperation and valuable advice was followed by Congress leaders. The statement came in response to Manmohan Singh’s letter to PM Narendra Modi on fighting the Covid-19 crisis.

“All suggestions given by you have been implemented a week prior to your letter,” he added.

In response to the letter written by Manmohan Singh, the health minister stated that people ‘in responsible positions in your party’ do not share his view that vaccine is the most important method to fight COVID-19.

He further accused Congress leaders and Congress-ruled state governments of spreading ‘falsehoods’ regarding the ‘efficacy of vaccines’, and ‘fueling vaccine hesitancy’.

‘The irresponsible public pronouncements made by some of your leaders have resulted in a below national average vaccination coverage of senior citizens and even frontline workers in some Congress-ruled states,’ the health minister wrote in a letter addressed to Manmohan Singh.

‘Those who drafted the letter or advised you have done a great disservice to you by misleading you regarding material that is already in public domain,’ he added.

Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the COVID-19 crisis, stressing that ramping up vaccination was the key to battling the pandemic. In a letter to the prime minister, the veteran Congress leader said one must not look at absolute numbers but the total percentage of population vaccinated.

“The key to our fight against COVID-19 must be ramping up the vaccination effort. We must resist the temptation to look at the absolute numbers being vaccinated, and focus instead on the percentage of the population vaccinated,” he said in his letter.

Noting that India currently has vaccinated only a small fraction of its population, Singh said he is certain that with the right policy design, “we can do much better and very quickly”.

“There are many things we must do to fight the epidemic but a big part of this effort must be ramping up the vaccination programme,” he said while making several suggestions.

Singh said he is forwarding his suggestions for consideration in a spirit of constructive cooperation in which he has always believed and acted upon.