Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday took strong exception to the Congress’ criticism of his letter to party leader Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, asking them to ensure that Covid norms are followed during the Bharat Jodo Yatra and consider postponing it in the national interest if adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour was difficult.
“I cannot neglect my duty of stopping potential Covid spread just because one family thinks it’s above the rules,” Mandaviya told reporters today, adding that the manner in which the Congress raised questions against his advisory to Rahul Gandhi was nothing short of an attempt to obstruct him from discharging his duties.
“Many participants in the Bharat Jodo Yatra have been found Covid positive. Even the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister was found Covid positive after he attended the Bharat Jodo Yatra. In view of these facts, I received a letter asking me to initiate action to ensure that Covid does not spread in Rajasthan,” Mandaviya told reporters today.
“On the basis of the views from experts sought by the Health Ministry, I wrote to Rahul Gandhi and Ashok Gehlot and told them that I have received a letter and that I have been informed that participants in the Yatra have been found Covid positive and that precautions be taken and Covid protocol be followed,” he said.
“But the manner in which questions have been asked of me for my letter… Why did you write such a letter? You should not have written it… As the Health minister of India, it is my responsibility that Covid does not spread in India, that citizens remain healthy. To raise such questions only to defend one particular family acts as an obstruction to discharging my duties,” the Health minister added.
Earlier today, the Congress party accused the Centre of selectively targetting the Bharat Jodo Yatra and questioned if similar letters were also sent for yatras by BJP in other states.
“Why just Rahul Gandhi, why just Congress party, why just Bharat Jodo Yatra? Have they postponed the Parliament or is the Parliament still in session? If physical Parliament can take place, if the Janakrosh Yatra can take place, if the BJP yatra in Karnataka can take place, if there is no mask compulsory in air travel, why are you picking on Rahul Gandhi and Bharat Jodo Yatra…,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said today.