Ashok Gehlot says the government has sent a letter about Covid protocol because the BJP has been “alarmed” at the popularity of the foot march in Rajasthan
Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi resumed from Malab Village in Nuh’s Haryana on Thursday. People in large numbers were seen joining the march holding banners and party flags. The ongoing foot march of the grand old party entered the state of Haryana on Wednesday. On Wednesday, while addressing a gathering here, Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties and said that the leaders of these parties do not listen to the public.
“Nowadays, there is a gap between the leaders of BJP, Samajwadi Party, and the public. Leaders think there is no need to listen to the public and give speeches for hours. We have tried to change this in this journey,” Gandhi earlier said on Wednesday.
On Tuesday the Congress foot march observed its last day in the Congress-ruled state of Rajasthan. It is the only Congress-ruled state where the yatra covered around 500 km over 17 days before entering Haryana.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday claimed that the letter written to him and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi by Mansukh Mandaviya regarding following the COVID protocol during the Bharat Jodo Yatra is because the BJP has been “alarmed” at the popularity of the foot march in the state.
“The BJP and the Modi government are so alarmed by the huge turnout in the Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan that they are writing letters to Rahul Gandhi to follow the Covid-19 protocol in Rajasthan,” Gehlot said while talking to the reporters. The Chief Minister said that the move by the health minister clearly shows that BJP’s aim is to disturb the Yatra. “Upset with the rising public support for Bharat Jodo Yatra, BJP’s aim is to disturb it,” he further said.
Gehlot further accused that the step of writing the letter was not in the interest of the public but “politically motivated”. “PM Modi did rallies in Tripura two days ago where no COVID protocols were followed. During the second wave of COVID also, PM had mass rallies in West Bengal. If the Union Health Minister’s objective is not political and his concern is justified, then he should have written the first letter to the Prime Minister,” Gehlot said.
Gehlot’s comment came after Mandaviya wrote a letter to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Gehlot asking to follow the COVID-19 guidelines strictly during the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.
The health minister wrote, “Follow the COVID guidelines strictly during Bharat Jodo Yatra which is going on in Rajasthan. Use of masks-sanitizer should be implemented. Only vaccinated people should participate.”
Mandaviya has also requested to postpone the foot march if the following protocol is impossible.
Also, Congress leader Pawan Bansal on Wednesday took a dig at Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and said that maybe the BJP is nervous and that is why a letter was written by Mandaviya to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot asking to follow the COVID-19 guidelines strictly during the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Slamming the Central government for deliberately targeting the Bharat Jodo Yatra over COVID-19 concerns, the Congress on Wednesday pointed out that BJP has taken out marches in Rajasthan and Karnataka while asserting that public health is a far too serious issue to play party politics on.
In a statement, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, “The Union Health Minister writes to Rahul Gandhi on the basis of a letter sent to him by a BJP MP from Rajasthan who alleges that the Bharat Jodo Yatra has not been following COVID protocols. This MP’s letter was sent following the enormous success of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in his state.”
He further pointed out that masks are no longer compulsory anywhere and there has been no advisory from the Centre to states. “Parliament is meeting normally. Masks are no longer compulsory anywhere including on flights. BJP has taken out yatras in Rajasthan and Karnataka. There has been no advisory from the Centre to states of late except the one issued yesterday on genome sequencing,” said Ramesh.