Former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who is recovering from Covid-19 at a Mumbai hospital, was among the senior Congress leaders from Maharashtra who shared a video message on Thursday as part of the party’s nationwide campaign to raise public support for those suffering as a result of the lockdown.
Mounting pressure on the Narendra Modi government to provide direct cash transfer to the poor and vulnerable sections and financial relief to MSMEs, the Congress launched a nationwide ‘Speak Up India’ campaign on Thursday.
In his video message circulated by the party’s media team, Chavan, who is also the state public works department minister, said that he had logged in from the hospital bed to express solidarity towards the campaign.
In a video message, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that due to the lockdown, many jobs were lost, work places were shut down, farmers had to struggle to sell their crops but the government did not take cognisance of these.
The party demanded direct cash of Rs 7,500 per month in the account of every poor family for the next six months. It also demanded that Rs 10,000 be deposited immediately in the account of labourers to ensure their safe and free travel back home and doubling the number of work days to 200 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme. Financial assistance for micro, small and medium enterprises was also demanded.
In Maharashtra, Congress leaders shared video messages between 11 am to 2 pm. State party president Balasaheb Thorat, who is also the revenue minister, said, “The initiative received massive support. The voice of the people must have surely reached the Union government. At least now it should wake up from its deep slumber and help the distressed.”
The initiative was launched on all social media forums. In his video message, Thorat also showed a 7-minute long documentary made on the plight of migrants returning home from various parts of the country. He said that the Maharashtra government had spent Rs 67 crore so far in arranging safe travel of the migrants in the state.
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