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Congress cancels yatra, BJP to curtail public events

The last big gathering involving the BJP leadership was on March 13 when party president JP Nadda addressed an ‘Intellectual Meet’ in Bengaluru and home minister Amit Shah addressed the convocation event of AIIMS-Rishikesh.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Mar 18, 2020, 09.49 AM IST
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At the Congress party, its mega padyatra from Ahmedabad to Dandi — replicating Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March — had to be shelved for now, despite having been made elaborate arrangements
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New Delhi: Political parties across the board are finally beginning to scale down on business-as-usual amid the growing coronavirus scare, even though intense politicking is ongoing in Madhya Pradesh, including en masse shifting of MLAs, and Parliament continues to hold its usual standing committee and consultative committee meetings.

While Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s elaborate 27-day-long ‘Gandhi Sandesh Yatra’, which was due to start off on March 12 and traverse 386 kms, has been put off amid the virus scare, the ruling BJP has asked its units to wind down all community programmes.

Party offices, however, continue to function. Parties also hold small meetings and media briefings.

“We are not holding any big public events now. We have communicated to all our units across the country to desist from holding any large events involving big gatherings in view of the coronavirus situation. However, we are continuing with all usual party work otherwise,” BJP national media co-in-charge Sanjay Mayukh told ET. “We are operating from our party offices in groups of 4-5 and also participating in all debates and so on. So, while party work continues and we are also available to help people wherever necessary, we are cutting back on all programmes that could involve large gatherings,” he added.
Cong Cancels Yatra, BJP to Curtail Public Events
The last big gathering involving the BJP leadership was on March 13 when party president JP Nadda addressed an ‘Intellectual Meet’ in Bengaluru and home minister Amit Shah addressed the convocation event of AIIMS-Rishikesh.

At the Congress party, its mega padyatra from Ahmedabad to Dandi — replicating Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March — had to be shelved for now, despite having been made elaborate arrangements. Congress chief ministers and the Gandhi family were expected to participate in the march.

“We had to postpone the padyatra as it involved mass contact and participation of thousands of people. All our senior leaders were expected to participate as well. We are continuing with media briefings and other meetings so far as is necessary, keeping in view the ongoing session of Parliament. We are exercising due caution and are keeping a watch on the situation”, Pranav Jha, Congress’s Secretary in charge of communications told ET.
In Bihar, where assembly elections are only months away, the coronavirus outbreak is throwing a spanner in campaign plans of political parties.

Tejaswi Yadav effected a last-minute cancellation of a two-day workshop for Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders and party workers to plan for the polls.
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