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As second wave wanes, political parties in Punjab count their pandemic ‘good deeds’

To show work done by its cadre, Punjab Congress has prepared data base of beds, ambulances, medicines arranged for patients, revealed sources, adding that other parties too have kept such records.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
June 17, 2021 8:08:32 am
Clockwise from top: A ‘karha’ langar organised by the AAP; doctor attends to a patient at a Covid centre set up by the SGPC and SAD; and Congress workers spray disenfectant in an Abohar locality. (Express Photo)

With second wave of the pandemic beginning to wane, political parties in Punjab are counting their outbreak good deeds to shore up support among people.

To show work done by its cadre, Punjab Congress has prepared data base of beds, ambulances, medicines arranged for patients, revealed sources, adding that other parties too have kept such records.

Sunil Jakhar, president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), said, “In all a total of 5,773 requests came of various types and we fulfilled 4,962. These were done by team of our PPCC workers apart from what Punjab government was doing. These included arranging grocery kits, home isolation kits, medicines like Tocilizumab, Remdesiver and Liposomal. We arranged 721 beds for patients on receiving 785 calls. We could arrange 262 ventilators out of 291 requests made. We helped in creation of new isolation centres at Mansa, Fazilka, Bathinda, Mohali and Patiala.”

He added, “Apart from this, PPCC arranged langars for people, arranged vaccination for around 3.5 lakh people in Punjab, distributed around 13 lakh masks and sanitisers to the people till date. Hence, our team was on the job and even now we are on the job.”

In Abohar, which is Jakhar’s home town, helpline number was introduced by Sandeep Jakhar, nephew of Sunil Jakhar.

“Abohar remained a pinnacle of politics as SAD president too visited the town and also Fazilka for free Covid facilities.food for patients in home isolation, oxygen availability, telemedicine, helpline numbers aided a number of persons if not all,” said Gurdev Singh, a resident of an Abohar village.

In the meantime, SAD stayed busy last month getting free Covid centres inaugurated in various parts of Punjab in coordination with SGPC and Youth Akali Dal .

The party said that so far 12 free Covid centres have been started by SGPC and SAD, a few of them were in Alamgir, Mansa, Talwandi Sabo. Gurdwara premises have been used for these Level 2 Covid centres with oxygen concentrators and it was told that so far around 1200 persons have got free treatment in place. First Covid centre was inaugurated on May 6.

Jagroop Singh Jarkhar, a resident of Jarkhar village in Ludhiana, said,”Covid centre in gurdwara premises helped as people had a sense of faith as well. It did help whatever limited persons it could do in a month’s time.”

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal remained busy inaugurating these centres across the state amid second wave where he also targeted the ruling Congress party for not being able to tackle the outbreak.

AAP launched a campaign ‘AAP da doctor’ through which telemedicine services were provided to patients in home isolation. Party flashed numbers on its social media handles, but mostly during the last week of May.

Harpal Singh Cheema, Leader of Opposition, said, “This service was for many who were in home isolation and a number of them availed it. We had spread this message in rural as well as urban areas so that maximum people can avail facility because at times, people don’t follow protocols in home isolation and hence end up infecting others or even deteriorating their own health.”

BJP no doubt is at the receiving end in villages over farm laws issue, but despite that party quietly launched many activities for spreading awareness for Covid patients. These included ‘Bhajpa Rasoi’, which was started in the last week of May for Covid patients and their families who are not able to cook. It was part of drive to observe 7 years of the NDA government.

This included free delivery of lunch as well as dinner at patients’ houses. “We organised this service quietly and served thousands in Punjab. We also distributed masks, sanitsers and even helped in sanitising houses of Covid patients,” said Dinesh Kumar, organisational secretary of the state BJP while talking with The Indian Express.

In addition to this, BJP leaders, despite protests by farmers in fields, have been organising ‘Karha langars’ and awareness drives against Covid in various constituencies. They organised such drives in Hoshiarpur , Jalandhar etc. areas.

Sewa Bharti, a wing of the RSS also organised Karha langars in Bathinda, Patiala, while in Patiala, BJP leaders also distributed books to school going children. “This is a way to reach out to public in rural areas,” said a BJP leader, who didn’t wish to be named.

“We did everything quietly without making much noise as idea is to help people out as we are here for them in this difficult time when government has failed to fulfil their duties,” said Dinesh Kumar.

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