The Congress on Friday paid tributes to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 30th death anniversary and recalled his contributions saying his dedication to change India and usher it into the 21st century was “unstoppable”.
The Congress also attacked the central government saying it was caught napping during the second Covid wave, which hit the country in January-February 2021.
Congress General Secretary In-charge – Organisation K C Venugopal addressing a press conference here said that today is a solemn day for all of us as 30 years ago our leader Rajiv Gandhi was mercilessly assassinated by destructive forces.
“It didn’t deter us from walking the path of truth. Rajiv Gandhi’s compassion and resolve to boldly take the road less travelled and implement out of the box initiatives was legendary,” he said.
Venugopal said that his “unfathomable dedication” to change India and usher it into the 21st century was “unstoppable”.
The Congress leader said that Rajiv Gandhi’s zeal to use information technology, telephony and computers as tools of equality and empowerment of India’s people reflected his “foresight”.
It is only natural that in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and unimaginable devastation, we rededicate ourselves to the life of a leader, who not only dared to dream but implemented life altering transformation and change. Millions of workers and leaders of the Indian National Congress have, therefore, undertaken a special ‘SEVA’ drive on Friday in the service of the people,” Venugopal said.
He said that over the last one year, the Congress, its frontal organisations and its workers and leaders have completely dedicated themselves to the service of the people in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“To heal, to hold hands, to share and alleviate the pain has been our sole motto, as guided by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,” he said.
Launching an attack on the central government, he said that as a deliberately negligent and callous leadership in the central government was caught napping during the second Covid wave, which hit the country in January-February 2021, the Congress and its frontal organisations, especially the Indian Youth Congress (IYC), have done stellar work in the service of fellow countrymen, with dedication and humility.
He said that from providing free ambulances to hearse vehicles, from providing oxygen and oxygen concentrators, from providing medicines to home isolation kits, from arranging plasma donors to tele-consultations, from providing dry ration to food packets and even assisting in cremation and burial of the loved ones, the Congress and its workers have shown fortitude and resilience in the most painful times.
Venugopal said that the Congress President had set up a four-member “AICC Control Room” on April 25, 2021 to create PCC Control Rooms and co-ordinate with them in providing relief to those in need during the pandemic.
Subsequently, the Congress President constituted a high-level COVID-19 Relief Task Force on May 11, 2021 under the chairmanship of Ghulam Nabi Azad to co-ordinate, supervise and guide the relief measures being carried out by the party across all the States and Union Territories ever since the onslaught of the second wave of Covid-19, he said.
Venugopal said that the Committee held extensive deliberations with the party general secretaries, in-charge of respective States and Union Territories, the Congress Committee Presidents, the District Congress Committee Presidents and the State Control Rooms.
Pursuant to these deliberations, the task force arrived at a list of relief measures to be provided to the people throughout this crisis.
These measures will continue for as long as required for the people of India, he said.
Slamming the government, he said, “We cautioned the government about the impending danger; giving constructive suggestions to protect our people from this onslaught. Today is not the day to talk about the government’s attitude with us! but it breaks our heart to realise that when Congress men and women are out in the field helping whoever can be helped – with whatever possible – oxygen, medicine, ambulance etc the party in power, the BJP, is busy maligning us, our leadership through absolute fakery.”
“They created fake content just to divert attention from their own failure,” he said.
“We are happy that BJP and its leadership’s bluff has been called. They have been exposed!! We don’t want to say anything about these serial offenders. We want to leave it to the highest court – people’s Court. I could have demanded action from the BJP President but what action can one expect if he himself is involved in peddling lies,” Venugopal said.
Highlighting the work of the party since April, he said, “Since April, across the country, 1,600 ambulances have been arranged, out of which 456 have been arranged from the MLA LAD Funds of various states, 1,34,000 requests for hospital Blbeds fulfilled, 64,000 requests for Oxygen cylinders fulfilled, 15,00,000 home isolation kits arranged, 3,23,700 requests for critical Covid medication fulfilled, 89,000 requests for tele-consultation fulfilled, 50,000 requests for Oxygen concentrators have been fulfilled.”
He added that 5,000 requests for Plasma and 976 Dldoctors onboard for Hello Doctor, have been fulfilled.
He said that on Rajiv Gandhiji’s martyrdom day, the party takes the opportunity to place the efforts and rehabilitation undertaken so far as also the special SEVA drive being undertaken.
He said that 1.50 crore masks, 25 lakh sanitisers and over 10 lakh home isolation medical kits as approved by physicians, food distribution drives for the poor and for those in need of assistance in and around hospitals, funeral sites etc., 11 lakh dry ration kits for the poor who have been impacted by the pandemic have been provided. Congress MLAs and MLCs from some states have set aside a significant amount from their MLA and MLC LAD funds to procure medicines for Covid-19 patients and distribute them for free.