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Congress refuses to implement Covid protocol in Bharat Jodo Yatra as advised by govt

On Wednesday, December 21, Congress leader and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot claimed that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is alarmed by seeing the popularity of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Gehlot said this after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya penned a letter to him and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi cautioning them in the wake of increasing COVID cases in China

“The Bharat Jodo Yatra has had an impact on the country. I saw the letter from Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, and they are scared,  we can see their condition. The BJP is in a state of disarray. A few days ago, JP Nadda’s Aakrosh rally in the state failed miserably,” Gehlot said.

Notably, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had urged the Congress leaders to follow standard Covid guidelines as new cases of the pandemic are rising in several countries, including China where it has reached alarming levels. Mandaviya in his letter stated that the arrangement of masks and sanitisers should be done and all the Covid protocols should strictly be followed. Besides, only those people who have been vaccinated should be allowed to participate in the Yatra. 

Mandaviya further suggested that in case it is not possible to follow the Covid protocols, Congress should consider suspending the Yatra in wake of a “public health emergency.”

Union Health Minister’s letter to Rahul Gandhi (Image via ANI)

Instead of taking Minister Mandaviya’s letter seriously and acting accordingly, Gehlot and other Congress leaders are politicising a serious health issue like Covid. Rajasthan CM said that “lakhs of people are joining the Yatra. Modi government is scared and that is why they are writing such politically motivated letters.”

Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Choudhary asked if PM Modi followed Covid protocols during the Gujarat assembly elections. “Mandaviya is diverting the public’s attention. 

Notably, Mandaviya has clarified that it was after Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu tested positive after attending Bharat Jodo Yatra that he decided to write a letter to caution Congress leaders.

It is pertinent to mention that Congress has a history of politicising the pandemic and creating vaccine hesitancy. 

Last year, when India was struggling through the second of the Covid pandemic, Congress and the left-liberal ecosystem tried to derail India’s covid vaccination drive. Be it targeting the native vaccine manufacturers or discrediting India-made covid vaccine, Covaxin developed and manufactured by Bharat Biotech. 

Politicizing the move Congress even trivialized the cover vaccination drive altogether. Taking the ‘vaccine politics’ a level up, Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav called Covaxin as ‘BJP’s vaccine’.

PM Modi, in his speech in Rajya Sabha, had back then slammed politicians involved in fuelling vaccine hesitancy in India.

PM Modi had said, “A few leaders of some political parties have shown immaturity in the last 2 years which has disappointed the nation. We have seen how games have been played due to political selfishness. Campaigns were led against Indian vaccines.”

In June 2021, Congress leader Gaurav Pandhi shared a document on Twitter claiming that Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN contains newborn calf serum obtained after slaughtering 20-day-old calves. In a tweet, he wrote, In an RTI response, the Modi Govt has admitted that COVAXIN consists of Newborn Calf Serum… which is a portion of clotted blood obtained from less than 20 days young cow-calves, after slaughtering them. THIS IS HEINOUS! This information should have been made public before.” 

Ministry of Health back then had refuted the claims of Congress leader that Covaxin contained newborn calf serum. In a press release, MoH had clarified that Covaxin does not contain newborn calf serum at all. 

In January this year, Karnataka Congress leader, DK Shivakumar had called Corona as “BJP’s creation.” Just like Ashok Gehlot today ignored the threat posed by Covid, Shivakumar had back then said that he will continue with his padyatra to expedite Mekedatu reservoir project saying that “there is no covid in the country and that it is all created by BJP as it is scared of his padyatra.”

In 2020, Congress leader Harjit Bhatti had in a tweet claimed that healthcare workers in Assam Medical College were “forced” to cover themselves in plastic bags. He claimed that these plastic bags are the ones which are used to carry biomedical waste. He had alleged that there was shortage of personal protection equipments (PPEs) in Assam Medical College.

Bhatti’s allegations were amplified by the ‘liberals’ like Rohini Singh, Vinod Kapri and others. Bhatti, Kapri and others however, quietly deleted their misleading tweets after Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma called out their lies. 

The Congress party has been at the helm of all of it, from politicizing the pandemic to fueling vaccine hesitancy, trivializing indigenous vaccines, and spreading misinformation about Covid.

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