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BJP Seeks Resignations of Punjab CM, Health Minister Over Alleged Corruption in Procuring COVID-19 Kits

Capt Amarinder Singh slammed BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi for making derogatory remarks on protesting farmers.

Capt Amarinder Singh slammed BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi for making derogatory remarks on protesting farmers.

BJP said the government first gave a tender for 'Fateh' kits to a firm for Rs 837 for a single unit and then awarded two more tenders for Rs 1,226 and Rs 1,338 per unit.

Stepping up its attack on the Congress government in Punjab, the BJP on Tuesday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and state health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu over alleged corruption in the award of contract for COVID-19 kits to private firms. BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia claimed the state government first gave a tender for 'Fateh' kits for coronavirus patients to a firm for Rs 837 for a single unit and then awarded two more tenders in the next few weeks for Rs 1,226 and Rs 1,338 per unit during April.

The last tender cost nearly 60 percent more than the first one, he said, accusing the Congress of finding means for corruption and scam even during the times of a pandemic. "It is a matter of shame that the Congress is doing scam during the pandemic," he alleged at a press conference.

Firms that got the tender also did not have a mandatory drug licence, he alleged, a day after opposition parties in the state, including the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party, alleged irregularities in the purchase of 'Fateh' kits. A 'Fateh' kit contains a pulse oximeter, a thermometer, face masks, a steamer, sanitisers, vitamin C, zinc tablets and some medicines for COVID-19 patients.

Noting that the Congress government had sold vaccines to private hospitals "at a profit" with the private facilities selling them to people at a much higher price, Bhatia alleged that Singh has no right to continue as chief minister. There cannot be a fair probe so long as Sidhu remains the health minister, the BJP spokesperson said, and demanded his resignation.

There is a "suit-boot ki sarkar" in Punjab which wants the poor to pay for vaccination at private hospitals, he claimed. "The guilty should be punished," Bhatia said, and also demanded that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi break their "silence" on the matter.

The fresh accusation comes a few days after the opposition accused the Punjab government of diverting coronavirus vaccines to private hospitals. The Punjab government had last week asked private hospitals to return all vaccine stocks meant for the 18-44 age group, following severe criticism.

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