Follow COVID-19 rules or suspend yatra: Health Minister to Rahul
In a letter to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan's Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has asked them to ensure that COVID-19 rules are followed in Congress's Bharat Jodo Yatra, or else they should suspend the march in "national interest." The Congress retorted by asking if the protocols were followed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent election campaign in Gujarat.
Why does this story matter?
- Billed to be the longest political march organized by any party in India's history, Bharat Jodo Yatra is a novel political move by the Congress, a party struggling to find its footing in recent years.
- Marred by controversy over several senior leaders quitting the party in the last few months, the grand old party's 3,570-km yatra is expected to give it a much-needed boost.
Rajasthan BJP MPs write to Mandaviya as COVID-19 cases rise
The letter urges them to ensure that only vaccinated people participate in the march. Mandaviya's letter said that Rajasthan BJP MPs PP Chaudhary, Nihal Chand, and Deviji Patel wrote to him, expressing concern that the yatra in Rajasthan could spread COVID-19 amid the recent global surge of cases. The Health Ministry asked states to boost genome sequencing of positive cases to track COVID-19 variants.
In the letter, the Union Health Minister also requests that if following COVID protocol is not possible then the Bharat Jodo Yatra be postponed in national interest, taking note of public health emergency. pic.twitter.com/zjFi6fhHer— ANI (@ANI) December 21, 2022
BJP scared by seeing huge response to yatra: Congress
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the BJP was scared after seeing the massive response to the march and that Rahul Gandhi was all over social media. He said Mandaviya was not liking it and was deputed to divert the public's attention. Congress MP Karti Chidambaram said COVID-19 protocols weren't enforced at other public gatherings and questioned the "sudden attention" given to the march.
No circular issued for precautionary measures in Parliament: TMC MP
The letter by BJP MPs mentions that Himachal Pradesh's CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu contracted COVID-19 after participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Dola Sen said that though they were in Parliament, no circular was issued for wearing masks or taking preventive measures. She said the Centre failed in fulfilling its responsibility toward the public.