Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday urged the government to prepare for the third wave of coronavirus by improving medical infrastructure and vaccinate on a war footing to protect all Indians.
He also released a "white paper" by the party on the Centre's Covid handling, saying, "It is pretty clear that the management of the first and second wave was disastrous."
Gandhi also took a swipe at the prime minister for turning emotional while talking about Covid deaths in his address to the nation, and said the deaths have been needless and could have been avoided.
"The prime minister's tears cannot wipe the tears of those who lost the lives of their kin. The PM's tears did not save the lives of those who died, but oxygen could have saved them," he said.
He alleged the prime minister did not take the second wave seriously and was fighting elections in Bengal and his focus was elsewhere.
The former Congress chief said there were some central reasons as to why the first and second waves were disastrous and added that the party has "tried to point out those reasons in our white paper".
"This is a blue print on how to react to the third wave, which is going to come. It is our intention to provide the government with information and insights on what went wrong," he told reporters at a virtual press conference.
The purpose of this white paper is not to finger point at the Government, but to help the nation prepare for the third wave that is going to come.
"If the second wave was bad, the third wave would be worse," Gandhi said, noting that the virus is smart and is mutating fast.
WATCH: PM's tears didn't save lives but oxygen could have, says Rahul
"The idea behind our white paper report on COVID-19 is to provide insights and information so that avoidable deaths can be prevented in the coming waves. GOI must work on our constructive inputs in the interest of the country," he later tweeted.
Asserting that the central pillar to fight Covid is vaccination, Gandhi said it is important that "we aggressively do vaccinations and cross this bridge over 100 percent vaccination as soon as possible, because that is the only protection."
"It is important that the government prepares itself for what is going to come," he said, adding that it needs to have the infrastructure ready, which was there in the first and second wave, and have oxygen supply and medicines required ready.
Noting that vaccinating 50 percent population would not help, he said, "we have to vaccinate everybody as fast as possible.Vaccinations should be done fast on a war footing, as a mission".
He also urged the government to treat all states equally for COVID-19 vaccinations, asserting that there should be no bias and they should not be viewed as BJP or opposition states.
He also called for granting compensation to all victims of Covid and suggested the setting up of a compensation fund.
"The government must treat all states equally. The Government must not view states as BJP states or opposition states. That bias should not come in," he said.
The former Congress chief said the government must work towards vacccination with an open mind and not a closed one.
Gandhi also said that this is not the time for claiming victory over Covid, as the virus has hurt the country so far and will continue to hurt in the third wave and the consequent ones.
He also noted that the idea of Covid vaccination mission is "a good one", but the government has to make the process work as a continuous one and not a one-day event.
Talking about the white paper, the Congress leader said it is the result of the discussion held within the Congress and with experts and they have come out with the concept of four pillars.
Explaining further, he said, the first pillar is on what went wrong and that is the foundation of the white paper and our suggestions that look into some of the shortcomings and correcting them.
The second pillar is preparation for the third wave, which includes developing the critical infrastructure like oxygen and the third one is the idea of an economic assistance package to assist the poorest and weakest people.
The fourth element of the paper is to have a Covid compensation fund, where money is given to people who have lost loved ones and we commit to them and stand with them as the Indian nation.
Read the complete White Paper on COVID-19 HERE.