Jaipur: As former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot turns 43 on Monday, his supporters plan to celebrate his birthday in a novel way, organising blood donation camps across the state with an aim to set a record in collecting units of blood.

Pilot has himself appealed to people to not come to Jaipur and crowd in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, asking party workers and supporters to come forward and donate blood instead.

Though the drive comes as a gesture of social service to mark his birthday, it is also seen by many as political messaging conveying that Pilot still enjoys the support of party cadres and youngsters throughout the state despite not being the Rajasthan Congress chief and deputy chief minister after he rebelled against Ashok Gehlot’s leadership.

The political standoff in the state was resolved last month after the former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi met Pilot in the national capital and a three-member AICC panel was formed to look into issues raised by him.

Pilot’s supporters aim to carry out blood donation camps in all the 200 assembly segments of Rajasthan and create a record by collecting thousands of units of blood.

“I have made an appeal to everyone to not congregate in Jaipur in order to wish or greet me on my birthday on the 7th of September. The health and safety of the people is of paramount importance and we all have to follow the protocol and guidelines issued by the authorities,” he said in a statement ahead of his birthday.

As hospitals and blood banks are facing shortages of minimum reserves because the number of donors has reduced drastically in the recent months due to the fear of coronavirus, it will be helpful if party workers and volunteers come forward and donate blood in these challenging times, he said.

“That would be a humane gesture and will be a great service in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by helping all those in need. The support and affection of the people of Rajasthan has been a great source of strength for me in my public life and I am thankful for the blessings I have received,” Pilot said.

Mahesh Sharma, Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary, said blood donation camps will be organised in all 200 assembly segments and nearly 450 locations have already been finalised where the camps will be set up.

“Pilot ji himself has said that all COVID-19 protocols must be followed and people should not come to wish him in Jaipur. He has said that tree plantation and blood donation would be the best idea if they want to celebrate his birthday staying wherever they are,” he said.

Sharma said youngsters and supporters of Pilot are determined to set a record in collection of units of blood.

Asked about reports of Pilot supporters aiming to set a record by collecting 43,000 units of blood, six-time MLA Hemaram Chaudhary said there is tremendous enthusiasm among youngsters and it seems that the target set by them will be achieved comfortably.

He said that in several places so many people have already come forward for joining the blood donation drive that it may exceed the capacity of blood banks.

Cooperative Minister Udailal Anjana also said that there was enthusiasm among party workers for Pilot’s birthday and it could be seen in various hoardings put up across the state, wishing Pilot on his birthday.

Pilot will also be doing a live session on his social media platforms where people will be able to connect with him personally.

Source : PTI