Centre urges Rahul to postpone Bharat Jodo Yatra amid new Covid threat

In a letter, Mandaviya has requested Rahul to postpone the Bharat Jodo Yatra if Covid-10 protocols could not be followed.

New Delhi  | Updated: 21 December, 2022 12:08 pm IST
Union minister Mandaviya has asked Gandhi to ensure that Covid protocols are followed during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandviya has written to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, urging him to postpone his Bharat Jodo Yatra amid the health risk posed by the emergence of a new Covid variant from China and the US.

Mandaviya called an emergency meeting with officers from the Union health ministry and states health departments on Wednesday, a day the ministry warned against a possible surge in infections and asked state governments to start genome sequencing of samples.

According to the letter, parliamentarians PP Chowdhary, Nihal Chand and Devji Patel had raised concerns over the possibility of the spread of Covid-19 cases due to the yatra, being led by Gandhi.

In his letter, Mandviya said, “Covid guidelines should be strictly followed in the ongoing Bharat Jodo Yatra in Rajasthan, masks and sanitisers should be used and it should be ensured that only vaccinated individuals take part in this yatra.”

“Yatris should be isolated before and after joining the journey. If it is not possible to follow the above Covid protocols, I request you to postpone the Bharat Jodo Yatra in the interest of the country,” wrote the Union health minister.

Congress’ Bharat Jodota Yatra started from Kanyakumari on September 7. After covering a distance of more than 3000 kilometres, it will reach Delhi on December 24 from Rajasthan. It will take a 9-day break in Delhi before heading towards the next destination – Sonali Khurd in Haryana on January 3. The yatra, planned to pass through 12 states and 2 union territories over the course of five months, will culminate in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday morning, Sonia Gandhi hailed the Bharat Jodo Yatra as “a matter of pride”.

“It is a unique outreach that seeks to take the message of the Congress Party directly to the people and, in return gain a first-hand understanding of their problems and aspirations.  In the South and in the North; in cities, towns and villages; in the cold, rain and heat; lakhs of men, women and children have joined the Yatra,” she said.

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