The Congress party will hold its Parliamentary strategy group meeting at the residence of the party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday to discuss the issues that will be raised in the winter session of the Parliament beginning November 29. “We will raise the issue of inflation in the upcoming session of Parliament. Congress Parliamentary Strategy Group will meet in New Delhi on November 25 to finalize the strategy for the upcoming Parliament session,” Congress general secretary KC Venugopal had told ANI. To take on the BJP-led Central government, Congress is also planning to strongly raise issues of ‘COVID mismanagement’ in public forums and in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.
As per party sources, Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states will write to the Centre seeking compensation to COVID victims. “Along with that, Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leaders of every state will also write to their respective Chief Ministers in the state where Congress is not in power,” they said. Party leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi started the “COVID Nyay campaign” by posting a video on his social media account and demanded the Government of India to provide correct figures of the COVID-related deaths in the country and pay a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to families of those who lost their lives due to the infection. “The Congress party has two demands – Correct figures of COVID dead should be given, and Rs 4 lakh compensation should be given to the families who have lost their loved ones to COVID,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi. “If you are in power, you will have to drive away from the sufferings of the people. Due compensation should be provided to the people,” the former Congress president’s tweet further read.
The Waynad MP also took a jibe on the “Gujarat Model” of development by sharing a video on Twitter claiming that families that the Congress spoke to in Gujarat said that during COVID they were not able to find hospital beds, oxygen and ventilators. In the video, he alleged that over 3 lakh people have succumbed to the COVID-19 in Gujarat, while the official data have stated only 10,000 COVID-related deaths. Along with that video, Congress also trended the hashtag “4Lakhdenehongey” on Twitter.
“Congress will raise the issue from now onwards till the winter session of the Parliament to take on the government. Rahul Gandhi will share more videos on social media. A day before the commencement of winter session Rahul Gandhi will do a press conference on the issue,” said a top Congress source. Meanwhile, in this series, Maharashtra Congress Legislature Party has written to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and said that National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) norms require ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakhs each should be given to families of COVID victims. “In the letter, Congress asked Chief Minister Thackeray to commit Rs 1 lakh per deceased, so as to force the Centre to give its share of Rs 3 lakhs per deceased,” the source said.
Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting to provide an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakhs each to families of COVID victims. In the letter, the Chattisgarh government said it is committed to giving its share of the ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh per deceased as per State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) norms, and demanded the Centre provide its share of monetary compensation. “Other Chief Ministers in Congress rules states will follow the suite,” added the sources.
Earlier party’s General Secretary KC Venugopal had said, “It’s shocking that government statics about the death of people due to COVID have lots of discrepancies. We are talking to our state governments. Every state govt can provide Rs 1 lakh but the Central government should give Rs 3 lakhs each to families of COVID victims.”