Rahul Gandhi Says “Excuses To Stop Yatra” After Health Minister’s Letter
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who is leading the pan-Indian foot march, said directly that the Health Minister’s recent letter to him ordering him to stop the march if Covid protocols are not being followed is an excuse. This comes after Congress communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh suggested that sudden action regarding a Covid surge in the country is a ploy to disrupt the “Bharat Jodo Yatra.”
“This yatra will travel till Kashmir. Now they (the BJP) have come up with a new idea. They wrote a letter to me saying Covid is coming, so stop the yatra. Look, now excuses are being made to stop the yatra. Wear masks, stop the yatra…these are all excuse. They are scared of the strength and the truth of this country,” he said while addressing the media in Haryana’s Nuh.
Rahul Gandhi received a letter from Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya earlier requesting that the Covid “protocol” be followed during his “Bharat Jodo Yatra”. Mr. Mandaviya “asked” Rahul Gandhi to halt his yatra “in the national interest” if “protocol” could not be followed in his letter on Tuesday, citing worries following a surge in China.
“I request [Rahul Gandhi] that Covid protocol, including use of masks and sanitisers, be strictly followed during the march and only those who are vaccinated be allowed to participate,” Mr Mandaviya wrote in the letter.
“If this Covid protocol cannot be followed, then, in view of the public health emergency, and to save the country from the Covid pandemic, I request you to suspend the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in the national interest,” he added.
The Health Minister doubled down yesterday, after Congress workers and leaders accused him of hypocrisy. “I cannot neglect my duty of stopping potential Covid spread just because one family perhaps believes it’s above the rules… No one is entitled to special treatment,” he said.
Today, the central administration informed the parliament that airport random sampling for Covid testing of incoming foreign travellers had begun. In light of a significant uptick in China, PM Narendra Modi will also conduct a review meeting around 3.30 pm.
A sub-variant of the Omicron variety known as BF.7, which is responsible for the recent increase in China, is also present in India. India has received reports of all four of its cases; the earliest was in July and the most recent was in November. Less than 200 instances per day have been reported in India on average for several days.
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