After attaining viral status on the internet on his chants of ‘Go corona go’ in February last year, Ramdas Athawale, MoS of Social Justice and Empowerment, said in the Rajya Sabha today that how despite the slogans, “corona mere paas hi aagya" (he became infected with Covid-19).
In February 2020, a video of Athawale, Chinese Consul General in Mumbai Tang Guocai and Buddhist monks chanting “Go corona, go corona" at a prayer meeting went viral on social media. The video was shot at Gateway of India on February 20 during a prayer session to stop the spread of the coronavirus in China.
On Tuesday, while speaking in the monsoon session of the Parliament, Athawale, while referring to the discussion initiated by the government on Covid-19 after a devastating second wave, also recited a poem on the situation.
“Main batana chahta hu ki corona ki aagyi hai mahamaari,
jaag gayi hai dunia ki janata saari,
Pareshaan rahi gaao gaao ki naari,
mere upar bhi aagyi thi admit hone ki baari."
“The pandemic has arrived, the world has become alert. Women in various villages are concerned, and even I became admitted," the Minister said in Hindi, after which his fellow members erupted into laughter.
He recited a few more lines of his poem in Hindi, and then said that various frontline workers - ward boys, nurses, doctors, police personnel - had worked really hard during the pandemic despite risk to their lives. He said he had also been admitted to a hospital in Mumbai for ten days. “Aur maine bola tha go corona go, corona, lekin corona mere paas hi aagya (I had said “go, corona, go" but the infection came to me)," he added, igniting laughter from the benches.
“I had said ‘go, corona, go’ in February 2020 at the Gateway of India in Mumbai. And coronavirus came after me only," the Minister reiterated, after which his time of speaking ended.
Athawale’s last year’s slogan had met with much ridicule and questions as critics questioned the efficiency of the government’s approach to handling the Covid-19 pandemic in India. In April, however, Athawale doubled down on his creation and claimed that the “Go Corona Go" slogan that he coined has now become famous all over the world.
The MoS in December last year had issued a rejoinder to his own statement, amid concerns of a newly emerging strain of Covid in UK at the time. “Earlier I gave the slogan ‘Go Corona, Corona Go’ and now corona is going. For the new coronavirus strain, I give the slogan of ‘No Corona, Corona No’, Athawale had told news agency ANI in a press conference.