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Govt Coming up With Excuses to Stop Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul Gandhi

PM Modi reviews Covid-Related situation; Mandaviya advises heightened surveillance as cases rise in some countries.
Rahul Gandhi

Image Courtesy: PTI

Nuh (Haryana): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said the government is coming up with "excuses" to stop the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra', days after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote to him to consider suspending the march if Covid protocols could not be followed.


"If there is advice of experts or any protocol is to be followed on the advice of any medical health, public health or scientific institution, it becomes our responsibility to follow that. We will oppose a political protocol but not a scientific protocol," he said

Congress general secretary in-charge communications Ramesh said Mandaviya in his letter to Gandhi cited concerns raised by three BJP MPs over the spread of coronavirus. "The letter is not based on any scientific advise or advice from experts, but on basis of letters of MPs, and the health minister suddenly writes to Rahul Gandhi," Ramesh said.

He asserted that each "Bharatyatri" taking part in the yatra is fully vaccinated and "many have also got a booster dose". "There has not been a single case of Covid in the Bharat Jodo Yatra so far," he said.

Targeting the BJP, Ramesh told a press conference that politics is being played on a serious public health issue. This is being done since the Covid outbreak in the country in 2020, he said, adding politicisation of such a matter is wrong and the government is "selectively picking" on the yatra.

The yatra, which started in Kanyakumari on September 7, has covered Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

"This yatra will go to Kashmir. Now, they have come out with a new idea. They wrote me a letter that Covid was spreading, stop the yatra," Gandhi said while addressing a gathering in Ghasera village in Haryana's Nuh district.

The Bharat Jodo Yatra led by him entered the state through Nuh on Wednesday after its Rajasthan leg.

"Now, they are coming up with excuses to stop the yatra. Wear masks, stop the yatra, Covid is spreading, these are all excuses," he said.

Targeting the BJP, which is in power at the Centre and in Haryana, Gandhi said it is scared of the truth.

"Hindustan ki shakti say, Hindustan ki Sachai say, yeh log dar gaye hai, yeh sachai hai (they have got scared of power and truth of the country. This is the truth)," the former Congress chief said.

Gandhi also said that "we do not want RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi's hate filled India".

The Bharat Jodo Yatra has been going on for more than 100 days and in this people from all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians, men, women, and children have taken part, he said.

PM Modi reviews Covid-Related situation

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting on Thursday to review the situation related to COVID-19 in the country.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Home Minister Amit Shah, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and top officials attended the virtual meeting.

Ahead of the meeting, in a statement in Lok Sabha, Minister Mandaviya asked states to remain alert and create awareness about wearing face masks and using hand sanitisers, especially in view of upcoming festivals and new year celebrations.

On Wednesday, Mandaviya had reviewed the situation and asked people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks in crowded places, and getting vaccinated.

Official sources have said random sample testing will be done at airports for international passengers arriving from China and other countries.

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