New Delhi: Indian Youth Congress president Srinivas B.V., who has become synonymous with Covid-19 relief work in the national capital, says he is not doing this for political gains, and that he is serving the people, not the party, as the country reels under an unprecedented health crisis.
Speaking to ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on Off The Cuff, Srinivas said: “I’m not working for the party right now…People are jobless; three-four people in a single family have died. We cannot imagine people’s plight right now. I’m not going to do pandemic politics.”
Srinivas said the message from party leader Rahul Gandhi was clear since the Covid-19 pandemic hit India last year. “I am just the medium for relief work; the instructions have come from him. We have already been asked to prepare for the third wave,” he said.
Srinivas also said that while he does get requests from several AAP and BJP leaders for medical emergencies, he does not think it is right to identify people through their party affiliations at this moment.
Lack of govt planning
Lamenting the lack of government planning in managing the current outbreak, Srinivas said: “Most people are not dying because of Covid; they are dying because they are not getting hospital beds. Several people who ran from one hospital to another looking for beds died due to cardiac arrests.”
He urged the Narendra Modi government to pay heed to the advice of experts who are warning of a third wave, and call an all-party meeting to address issues of availability of beds, ventilators, oxygen, medicines, etc. in advance.
“We lost about eight months between the first wave and the second; this cannot happen again. There needs to be more planning,” said Srinivas, adding that he was shaken by the stories of misery and death over the last few weeks.
“I have left myself to god. Every morning, I wake up and go for relief work. The stories which I see make me forget myself,” he added.
The team behind the relief work
Srinivas, who has been credited with massive relief work in New Delhi and adjoining areas, said there is a team of about 100 people that has been divided into smaller teams looking at the different issues of demands, deliveries, hospital and supplier coordination, etc.
“Each district has its office…The Indian Youth Congress is the biggest youth organisation in the world. We have crores of workers right up to the block level,” he said.
Responding to critics who question how the team has access to medicines, oxygen cylinders, etc. at a time of widespread shortages, the Youth Congress leader said where there is a will to do relief work, there is a way.
(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)