Ensure compliance with Covid norms or suspend ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’: Minister writes to Rahul Gandhi
The Congress says the BJP government’s “diversionary ploy” is because “Rahul Gandhi is all over social media.”
The union Health minister has written to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, asking him to ensure Covid rules are followed in his ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra‘, or he should suspend it “in the national interest”.
The Congress responded by citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent election campaign in Gujarat. “The BJP is scared of the yatra because Rahul Gandhi is getting a huge response and is all over social media,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a Congress leader.
In his letter, Minister Mansukh Mandaviya mentions three Rajasthan BJP MPs who “expressed concern” about the recent rise in Covid cases around the world.
China has seen an increase, which has caused concern in other countries. India has relaxed much of the protocol in the last year, but a meeting of the Health Ministry is scheduled today to consider reinstating some standards.
“I request [Rahul Gandhi] that Covid protocols, including the use of masks and sanitizers, be strictly followed during the march, and that only those who have been vaccinated be allowed to participate,” the minister wrote in a letter dated December 20, when the Yatra was in Rajasthan. It arrived in Haryana on Wednesday.
“If this covid protocol cannot be followed, I request you to stop ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in national interest, in view of public health emergency and to protect the country from covid pandemic,” the minister said.
He has also attached a letter from three MPs outlining how Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu tested positive for coronavirus after taking part in the yatra.
The letter is a “ploy to distract,” according to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
“The yatra has shocked the BJP, and it is reacting in panic,” he said in Hindi, adding, “Was Modi ji wearing a mask when he went door to door in Gujarat to seek votes?”
He stated that while the health minister “may not like Rahul Gandhi’s yatra,” “people from all over India” are participating in it.
“The yatra has dented the BJP’s propaganda through godi (pliant) media,” he added.
“However, Rahul Gandhi is now all-over social media. The yatra is getting a lot of attention, and it’s having a big impact. That is why the Modi government has sent (Mansukh) Mandaviya to find any reason to turn people against the yatra “He went on to say.
Rahul Gandhi has not yet responded.