BJP’s New Plan To Shake Off COVID-19 Criticism
The BJP is set to start the second phase of a countrywide voluntary service to promote Covid vaccination, promote awareness and help people affected with the disease. The programme was initiated last month by BJP chief JP Nadda as the country grappled with the second wave of Covid and the opposition accused the government of being unprepared to deal with the crisis.
Under the “Seva hi Sangathan” Mr Nadda has instructed party workers to help with vaccination campaigns, relief programmes, training healthcare volunteers in villages.
Under the vaccination campaign, the party workers have been asked to ensure that all people aged 45 years and above get both doses of the vaccine.
Among the 18 to 44 year age group, specific target groups have been set who are at high risk of contracting the disease. The workers have been asked to motivate delivery men, auto rickshaw drivers, domestic helpers, newspaper distributors, gas cylinder to get vaccinated.
The other group considered crucial will comprise parents of children below the age 12 years. This is part of the government’s preparatory measures to forestall a possible third phase in which a section of experts believe will be highly risky for children.
A letter from Arun Singh, the party’s National General Secretary that enumerated Mr Nadda’s instructions, also marked out other priority areas: “Organising blood donation camps & donating blood on requests should be taken up. Arranging ration kits & food distribution at hospitals & other places should be taken up on the basis of necessity. Assigning volunteers to individual houses where either aged people are facing problems or all are infected. Tele medicine consultancy & medical help centres to attend to post COVID complications should also be taken up. Helping people affected with ensuring they get their insurance facility at the earliest(either health or life) should be looked into. Volunteers have to assist families in need.”
Teams will be formed at state level to train workers in rural areas and store basic medical equipment like thermal scanners, oxymeters, home test kits and oxygen concentrators at the local party offices.
Rural areas bore the brunt of the second wave of the virus and with the health infrastructure in a shambles in these areas, critics claim the people have died without medical treatment and the deaths have been unaccounted for in official data.
Amid the national and international criticism for its handling of Covid, the government and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – the ideological mentor of the BJP – planned a concerted push for positivity last month.
The aim was to highlight the positive work being done by the government and send out a “message of positivity” at multiple levels, sources had said.