Youth Congress workers distributing food packets. (Photo@IYC)
Youth Congress workers distributing food packets. (Photo@IYC)

BJP, Congress youth wings go all-out to outdo other in Covid-19 relief

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and the Youth Congress have been flooding the social media platforms with posts regarding their relief activities during the pandemic.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Aurangzeb Naqshbandi | Edited by Ashutosh Tripathi
UPDATED ON MAY 23, 2020 08:19 PM IST

The frontal organisations of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress are trying to outdo each other in relief distribution and quick response to distress calls during the coronavirus-induced lockdown across the country.

The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) and the Youth Congress have been flooding the social media platforms with posts regarding their relief activities during the pandemic.

Medicines for a cancer patient in Bihar’s Rajendra Nagar and for another with a neurological ailment in Mumbai’s Goregaon; money and food for a group of 18 people, including children from Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, and for nine others, including a pregnant woman from Nagaland who ran out of essentials during the lockdown are on top of the BJYM’s list of quick responses.

Taking a cue from its parent political outfit, the BJYM has set up helplines to offer aid to those in need. A toll-free helpline that works 24x7 was set up and social media platforms were used to disseminate information about the ‘BJYMCares’ initiative launched on April 1.

“We realised that the pandemic is a great equaliser; and we could use this as an opportunity to use our ideological training in seva (voluntary work). So we set up a system where our members could reach help down to the mandal level,” said BJYM president Poonam Mahajan, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai North Central.

On the other hand, the Youth Congress since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown on March 25 too has supported the needy, distributing food, groceries, water and medical facilities to stranded migrants and the poor, including the Hindu refugees from Pakistan living in the national capital.

The Youth Congress turned its Delhi headquarters into a 24x7 food bank, installed a roti (bread) making machine to ensure that a large number of people are served food.

“On the instructions of our leadership, we will continue to provide help to the migrants and the poor and try to minimise the far-reaching consequences of this draconian lockdown imposed upon the people and do so till the nation wins this fight against deadly coronavirus,” said Youth Congress president Srinivas BV.

The BJYM has also formed a national coordination team with states being clubbed into six zones. A team of 100 people monitor online requests in different shifts, BJYM functionaries said, adding requests are routed to the teams on the ground and a report sent to the national team. The turnaround time is short with medicines, packed food and ration being provided in most cases within 30 minutes to an hour.

Over the last few weeks, the BJYM, which claims to have over 10 crore members, has focused on distributing homemade masks, distributing personal protection equipment apart from helping migrants sort out train registrations. “No call for help goes unheard or unassisted,” said Mahajan.

For its part, the Youth Congress has also started campaigns such as ‘Meri Zimmedari’, ‘Hume Garv Hai’ and 1 crore mask distribution. Under the ‘Meri Zimmedari’ campaign, the Youth Congress instructed its volunteers to provide relief in any form possible to the needy, through ‘Hume Garv Hai’ it felicitated Corona warriors and sanitation workers.

The Youth Congress has so far distributed once crore masks to the people, Srinivas said, adding these masks were produced at its Delhi headquarters and offices across the country by those who lost jobs due to the lockdown.

The BJYM has also collected more than 58,000 blood units donated by its workers and volunteers and a list of more than 1.5 lakh donors are on standby to meet exigency.

Like the BJYM, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP, the students’ wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), too organised blood camps.

An ABVP functionary said volunteers have been distributing masks, sanitisers, ration and cooked food in collaboration with local administration. “We also reached out to landlords who have provided accommodation to students and appealed to them to forego their rents. We have also been receiving calls for help from students from the Northeast,” said ABVP general secretary Nidhi Tripathi.

The medical divisions of ABVP, Medivison and Jigyasa, in collaboration with local administration in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur and Bikaner, Bengaluru, Kerala, Gujarat and Haryana, offer free aid; while in Pune, volunteers are involved in door-to-door scanning,

The ABVP, which claims to have over three million members, is also organising remedial classes and online guest lectures.

The Youth Congress too organised blood donation camps and facilitated travel of migrant workers. Similarly, medical supplies and food is also being provided for those returning to their homes through trains at different railways stations and bus terminals.

“The entire Youth Congress family, right from the block level to the national level, is working with great enthusiasm and determination. We are determined to continue this fight against corona, its effects and the government apathy and relief is being given to all without any discrimination,” Youth Congress national media in-charge Amrish Ranjan Pandey said.

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