Cong plans protests on economy, fuel price; to boost Covid outreach
The Congress party will launch nationwide protests early next month against economic issues like inflation and rising fuel prices, and rapidly expand its Covid outreach to cover 3 crore households in 30 days, a major political manoeuvre to make its presence felt on ground after losing elections in Kerala, West Bengal and Assam, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday after Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s meeting with top party officials.
Gandhi, in her opening address at the meeting with the party’s general secretaries, state in-charges and state leadership, referred extensively to the Covid pandemic. She stressed that it was “absolutely essential that our party plays an active role” to ensure full vaccination coverage and encourages people to register for the jabs. In addition, the Congress should also continue to put pressure on the Narendra Modi government to treble the daily rate of vaccination to ensure at least 75% of India’s population is inoculated at the end of 2021.
Gandhi also spoke about the “intolerable burden being imposed by rising fuel prices” and how “prices of many other essential commodities like pulses and edible oils too have skyrocketed causing wide-spread distress.”
The Congress followed up the concern, announcing that it will launch a 10-day-long nationwide agitation from July 7 with programmes at block, district and state levels. The party’s frontal organizations will also step up. A cycle yatra at district levels, march and processions at state level and even a signature campaign at petrol pumps to demand reduction of prices of petrol and diesel would be part of this programme.
The Congress hasn’t been able to carry out “political activities” due to Covid restrictions and needs to get back in the game. a senior Congress leader said.
“We did campaign in the recent assembly elections, but round-the-year movements were missing. And in some states, lack of opposition activities has been a key reason for electoral losses,” said the leader who was present at Thursday’s meeting.
The Congress’ Covid care campaign, which asks each volunteer to reach out to more than 200 households every day for a month, is targeted to cover 7,199 blocks and 7,935 towns across the country’s 736 districts. This is a part of the plan detailed in a circular by general secretary organization KC Venugopal reported by HT on Thursday.
In the urban and semi-urban areas, the party wants to approach “auto/battery and cycle rickshaw drivers, plumbers, electricians, gardeners, mechanics, domestic workers, slum dwellers, delivery boys and street vendors” under its covid care programme.