Coronavirus pushes BJP and Congress to stop politics, do relief work

NEW DELHI: The two largest political parties, BJP and Congress, have put aside their respective main political work and have focused on relief work following the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent shutdown since March 25 .

Public gatherings, protests, rallies, or even membership campaigns have stopped since Janta Curfew was observed on March 22.

Regular group meetings of the two sides are off for now.

However, much of the focus of the two largest national parties has shifted toward carrying out relief work for people who have been hit by the shutdown. Political programs have been replaced by social service, particularly for migrant workers and the needy.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Speaking to timesofindia.com, the national BJP general secretary in charge of West Bengal reported that the party president makes eight to ten video conference calls every day to speak to party workers.

Vijayvargiya said: “For example, Nadda talks to the national secretaries-general at least every other day. He also talks to other office holders, members of different cells and departments, such as lawyers, doctors, public accountants, and other professionals, all party and MLA MPs from different states.

He said that normal political activities like public meetings and demonstrations, membership, political rallies and protests have been suspended. The main focus of Nadda's meetings with party officials is to devise strategies to improve the condition of migrant workers and other poor sectors of society. For example, our party workers are helping the poor obtain ration cards, he said.

Regarding his political commitments, Vijayvargiya said that although he is in his hometown Indore since the closure, he continues to speak to MPs, members of different cells and departments of West Bengal BJP regularly by video call. .

“In addition to the relief measures, we also discussed the political programs in West Bengal, which will go to the polls next year. We decided to hold protests against the Mamata Banerjee government through slogans and banners on the stand, ”he said, adding that meetings are being held to inform people about the achievements of the Modi government.

While carrying out all these activities, party workers wear masks and maintain social distance, Vijayvargiya said.

Congress

India's main opposition party has halted all political activities.

A senior Congress functionary told timesofindia.com on the condition of anonymity that it was not the time for politics but to do something positive. “Politics can wait. It is the time bring relief to those who have been worst affected by the novel pandemic,” he said.

He said the state units of Congress are carrying out relief work on the ground and supporting the migrant workers by providing them food, water and shelter.

The senior functionary said political activity of a different nature was in progress. For example, the Haryana Congress contributed a cheque for Rs 40 lakh to Haryana chief minister ML Khattar earlier this week.

He said as far as top leadership is concerned, Congress president Sonia gandhi It has been holding meetings via videoconference with leaders such as party office holders, department heads, heads of state units and general secretaries on a regular basis.

Similarly, he said, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi It has also been active during this lockout period. It has already held three press conferences: two with Delhi journalists and one on Saturday with regional correspondents.

In addition, he spoke with the former RBI governor and winner of the Nobel Prize about COVID-19, its impact on the economy and the ways and means to save the situation.

On the economic front, Sonia gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have written to the PM on ten separate occasions offering specific solutions and the way ahead of these trying moments.

The senior functionary also said the party’s communication department has been working every day since Lockdown 1.0 on March 25. The communication group, led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Randeep Singh Surjewala as its convener and Rahul Gandhi, former Union ministers P Chidambaram and Manish Tewari as members, has also been actively involved in organizing press conferences and giving information to the media.

On the role being played by the party rank and file during novel coronavirus outbreak, Surjewala said, “ Congress and its cadre are playing a frontline constructive role by addressing and articulating issues, espousing humanitarian challenges and offering critique-based solutions to the government as a responsible opposition party. As the principal opposition party, we believe that constructive support involves showing the mirror of truth to the powers that are.”

He said, “On the health front, Congress put out the ‘Test, Trace, Quarantine’ doctrine, bringing focus to inadequate testing facilities, unavailability of PPEs and N95 masks as also testing kits.”

Surjewala said despite the government’s dilly-dallying, Congress rose to the occasion as Sonia gandhi announced that its state units will pay for return train fare of migrant labourers.

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