The Congress on Sunday said it is for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP government to decide whether political rallies should be banned in the wake of the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and asserted that it will follow whatever decision is taken.
Asked whether the Congress would demand that there should be a ban on rallies, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala at a press conference said it is for the government to decide on it.
"Who is in power--BJP. Who is Prime Minister--Narendra Modi ji.Who is ruling in Uttar Pradesh--BJP. Who has scientific data available--Modi government. To whom may the on-the-ground information about the Omicron threat be available -- the government," he said.
"Responsibility, authority to impose restrictions has been given to whom in the law and Constitution--the government. Who has the power to stop rallies or allow it--the government. So how will Congress decide or Samajwadi Party, or Bahujan Samaj Party or Left parties decide?" Surejwala said.
This decision has to be taken by the prime minister and the chief minister, after knowing all the facts, he said. "Our job, like an aware citizen, is to wake up the country and the government, as Rahul Gandhi has been doing continuously since the first wave of the coronavirus," Surjewala said.
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The decision that the Modi government will take, keeping in mind the interest of the people, the Congress will follow it, he asserted. Asked if Rahul Gandhi, like in the West Bengal polls, will take the initiative to not hold rallies, Surjewala said that everyone has to take responsibility.
"In Bengal, when Rahul Gandhi took this decision...we had to suffer politically. We have to pay the political price for it even today, so we have paid that price. But neither the government of Bengal nor the government of the country thought about it, so... I would humbly tell the countrymen and political parties that the ban cannot be for one person," he said.
"Ban on Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and exemption for Modi ji to use government money, install government buses, blow crores of rupees and hold rallies and ban Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, this cannot happen, this is double standards," Surjewala said.