Cong to undertake mask awareness campaign on Rajiv's death anniversary

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New Delhi, May 19 (PTI) On former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's death anniversary on Friday, the Congress will undertake COVID-19 relief initiatives such as distributing nourishment among patients' relatives at hospitals, observe a mass mask awareness programme and help people register for vaccination against the viral disease.

The activities to be undertaken by the state units of the party will continue to the farthest extent possible even after May 21, Congress general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal said in a statement.

He said his party, 'ignoring the arrogance and apathy of the government', will continue to contribute constructively with a renewed drive and determination till the last citizen of the country is vaccinated against COVID-19.

'Today, India is faced with an unprecedented crisis. There has been tremendous suffering, pain and devastation. In the middle of this unprecedented national catastrophe, May 21, 2021 will mark the 30th anniversary of the martyrdom of former Prime Minister and our beloved leader Rajiv Gandhi,' Venugopal said.

The most appropriate homage to his memory and legacy would be Congress workers re-dedicating themselves to saving lives, securing health and propagating safe behaviour and practices till the country wins its battle against COVID-19, he added.

Even as the pandemic rages on, the efforts of the Congress leaders and workers to extend relief and provide oxygen cylinders, essential medicines and food items have been commendable, Venugopal said.

On Rajiv Gandhi's death anniversary, the pradesh Congress committees will distribute nourishment among patients' relatives at hospitals, ambulance drivers, people at funeral sites and to anyone in need.

They will observe a mass mask awareness and distribution programme at the state, district and block levels, Venugopal said.

The PCCs will also disburse relief materials among people, prepare kits of basic medicines and distribute those to needy people, he said.

They will also help people register for the vaccination programme, Venugopal said.

'Each MLA and MLC has been asked to provide at least two ambulances in their respective or neighbouring districts for COVID patients, out of their MLA or MLC funds,' he said.

'However, mass gatherings that violate the COVID-19 protocols should be strictly avoided. The above activities will continue to the farthest extent possible even after May 21,' the Congress leader said.

The PCCs have already met and allocated responsibilities to the ministers, MPs, MLAs, party candidates in the assemblies and local bodies, representatives of corporations, municipalities and panchayats in their areas to execute the programmes at the state, district, block and panchayat levels, Venugopal said.

'The Congress party and its leaders, especially Rahul Gandhi, had repeatedly forewarned about the tsunami that COVID-19 was to bring about. However, the (Narendra) Modi government and its ministers, rather than preparing themselves and the nation to face and fight the eventual crisis, had laughed it off,' he said.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur town of Tamil Nadu by a suicide bomber during election campaigning. PTI ASK RC