Ban public gatherings, victory rallies for six months: Deve Gowda to PM Modi

By Express News Service
BENGALURU: After Dr Manmohan Singh, another former Prime Minister, HD Deve Gowda, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Covid-19 situation in the country. In his four-page letter, Gowda has urged a ban on all public gatherings, political rallies and post-poll victory celebrations for the next six months. In a strongly worded, yet gentlemanly letter, the JDS supremo first sought pardon and went on to suggest 16 points on vaccination, coordinated efforts and immediate need for long-term public health infrastructure investment.

“Science has to be placed above every belief we may have, and faith we follow,” he said, insisting that the government had not given a clear message on the vaccine front. “The pricing of the vaccine has created a lot of confusion.

Private players are talking out of turn when such an enormous public health issue threatens humanity. Pricing should be done keeping in mind the poorest in the land,” Gowda insisted, asking the Union government to consider free vaccination.

“All barriers of identify proof should be dropped for poor people who come forward to get themselves vaccinated. Not having access to the internet or sufficient knowledge to register on the government’s vaccine portal should not become a barrier to get vaccinated,” Gowda said, asking for a vaccination trial for children aged 12-15, so they can resume academic activity.

With the government yet to renew insurance for healthcare and frontline Covid workers, Gowda said it was important to update it, and extend it to Covid warriors in the private sector.

Gowda suggested three months’ paid leave for pregnant women government staffers, grace marks in NEET postgraduate exam for doctors who worked on the frontline, government job for a family member of a frontline worker who died due to Covid, etc. “The virus doesn’t understand political partisanship. This is a national crisis. We should fight as one nation,” Gowda said, as he impressed on the government the need to rope in opposition members with administrative experience to manage the pandemic.