Sonia urges Congress workers to ensure maximum vaccination

The Congress president was addressing a meeting of party general secretaries and in-charges of AICC in various States

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday asked party colleagues to play an active role in ensuring vaccination coverage of 75 % of India’s population by the year end and also address the issue of hesitancy with regard to COVID-19 vaccines.

Following a virtual meeting of the general secretaries and All India Congress Committee (AICC) members in-charge of various States with Ms. Gandhi, the party has decided to step up its COVID-19 outreach programme.

Addressing the AICC office bearers, Ms. Gandhi said experts had pointed to the possibility of a third wave in a few months and the vulnerability of the children in such a scenario.

“The second wave these past four months has been devastating for lakhs and lakhs of families all over the country. We must learn from this traumatic experience so that we do not have to experience it yet again,” Ms. Gandhi said.

‘Share white paper’

The Congress chief urged party leaders to disseminate the party’s white paper (released on June 22) that not only details the “failure” of the Narendra Modi government in handling the pandemic but also offers suggestions in aggressively vaccinating the majority of the adult population in the shortest possible time.

“At the national level, the daily rate of vaccination has to treble so that 75% of our population gets fully vaccinated by end of this year. No doubt, this is dependent entirely on the adequacy of vaccine supply. We must continue to put pressure on the Union government which has, at our Party’s insistence, finally taken on the responsibility for this. At the same time, we have to ensure that registration takes place, that vaccine hesitancy wherever evident is overcome and vaccine wastage is minimised,” she said.

Rising prices

Ms. Gandhi also talked about the ‘intolerable’ burden placed on the people because of the rising fuel prices and the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities like pulses and edible oils that affect millions.

“This price rise is taking place at a time when livelihoods are being lost in unprecedented numbers, when there is mounting unemployment and when economic recovery is not a reality,” she said.

Each general secretary and State in-charge referred to the COVID relief measures undertaken in their States, with general secretary for Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, briefing her colleagues about work in the State. From providing government approved medicines kits to collecting data about COVID deaths, and children orphaned by the pandemic, the State unit has been directed to aggressively undertake the COVID outreach programme.

While several leaders suggested a signature campaign at petrol pumps to press the Centre for a rollback on fuel prices, one person suggested taking up the issue of unemployment and jobs as a major public campaign issue

Earlier this month, general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal had announced that party workers would reach three crore families by undertaking a door-to-door campaign across the country.

“The teams visiting the families in consultation with PCC will facilitate delivery of Government approved Medicine kits, will deliver mask/ sanitiser; help out in delivery of Ration/food for extremely vulnerable families and also help arrange vaccination registration assistance and will coordinate with ambulance service as provided by INC in affected areas,” Mr. Venugopal had said.

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