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Saturday, January 22, 2022

‘unemployment will be biggest poll plank; Govt lying about Covid deaths’

Srinivas B V, 40, is the national president of the Indian Youth Congress, who had come to the aid of Covid-19 patients during the second wave of the pandemic. He speaks about the Youth Congress’s role in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls and the organisation’s preparations in case of a third wave of the pandemic.

Written by Vaibhav Jha | Ahmedabad |
January 13, 2022 6:18:54 am
Srinivas BV (File)

What will be Youth Congress’s role in 2022 Gujarat Assembly polls?
Unemployment will be the biggest poll plank for us in the coming elections. So many unemployed youth in Gujarat after taking degrees from colleges go to other states and do low-paying jobs. If they prepare for government services, then the question papers get leaked thereby killing their chances. No action has been taken against chairman Gujarat Subordinate Service Selection Board (GSSSB) Asit Vora under whose tenure three papers got leaked. The mental health of the youth of Gujarat is severely affected due to unemployment and scams. We read news about youth committing suicide everyday in papers. Our team will be fighting on these issues.

It was an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader who turned whistleblower in one of the paper leak cases . The AAP is increasingly making inroads in Gujarat’s political space. Do you think they pose a challenge to the Congress and BJP especially when it comes to young voters?
AAP is just like the BJP that believes in only advertising. Using the money of taxpayers from Delhi, they are trying to make inroads in all states while their own governance in Delhi is in shambles. What is the situation of Mohalla Clinics in Delhi now? Teachers have been agitating for better pay in Delhi for months but the AAP is busy spending on advertisements in newspapers and channels.

How prepared is IYC, in case there is another severe wave of Covid- 19 ?
We recently had a discussion with (Congress MP and leader) Rahul Gandhi on this issue wherein we agreed on creating a database of doctors who can provide counselling to the Covid- patients. We will select timings such as 4 pm-6pm where the doctors can provide free counselling to the patients who are under privileged or left alone with no help. Similarly, we will be providing home isolation kits to the patients and their kin.

In 2020, we had a team of 500 volunteers on ground and in 2021, it was 1,000. This year, we have made a team of 2,000 workers on ground in cities across India. We are also helping students get vaccinated as soon as possible. Additionally there will be teams monitoring social media for SOS messages.

Has there been an all party meeting by the union government regarding the preparation of third wave ?
The union government had given an affidavit to the Supreme Court stating that they will be completing two doses of all population by December 2021. However, they couldn’t do that and I don’t think there is any seriousness on their part.

Till now they have not revealed how many new oxygen beds, ICU beds, hospitals they have added since May 2021. We have not been invited for any discussion with the union government… Even the New Zealand embassy sought our help on social media for oxygen because they trust us. In return of helping people, we got police cases and harassment.

What do you think of the Covid situation in Gujarat ?
The Gujarat government has been lying that there have been only 10,000 deaths due to Covid. In reality, the figure is somewhere between 4-5 lakhs. What world do they live in ? After demonetisation, draconian goods and services tax and the pandemic, the people of Gujarat are suffering on all fronts. Businesses have been destroyed in Surat, Rajkot and other cities. Farmers and traders are committing suicide. No one has been given due compensation for what they have lost.

What are Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel’s prospects in the party?
The Congress party has given a big responsibility to Hardik Patel and he has been working extremely hard to prove his mettle. I am sure with his vigour, Congress party will be able to surpass the margin of victory in coming elections which we had missed by a whisker last time.

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