'Go Corona Go': Know the man behind the slogan

'Go Corona Go': Know the man behind the slogan

Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale (Twitter Photo/@RamdasAthawale)

A few weeks ago, a video with a peculiar slogan went viral on social media, evoking smiles and laughter. In the video, a person named Ramdas Athawale raised the slogan accompanied by Chinese Consul General in Mumbai, Tang Guocai, and a few other people at the Gateway of India. The slogan 'Go corona, go' was raised as an attempt to stop the coronavirus outbreak in India and other parts of the world. The video triggered a wide range of response, and in no time, Ramdas Athawale became an even more well-known person than he was earlier.

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For those wondering who Ramdas Athawale is, he is the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in the Narendra Modi government. A social activist and a Dalit leader, Athawale is the president of of the Republican Party of India (A), a splinter group of the Republican Party of India and has its roots in the Scheduled Castes Federation led by B R Ambedkar. In 2014, Athawale was elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament. He became Minister of State in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on July 6, 2016, working under Thawar Chand Gehlot.

Athawale is known for creating a storm. In 2017, he suggested that Dalits should renounce Hinduism in favour of Buddhism to stop the atrocities meted out to them. He advocated inter-caste marriage as a way to prevent atrocities on Dalits, citing his marriage to a Brahmin woman as an 'example'. Once, he said that a reservation quota of 25 percent for Dalits should be introduced in sports, including cricket, after India was defeated by Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Final, further adding that the armed forces should also have a quota regime.

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It is a mystery how the slogan 'Go corona, go' will help in the effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Bewildered netizens have tried to derive various meanings, leading to the birth of memes and even songs. In an interview to Times Now, he said that it was an appeal to people to get out of the places where the virus goes and a way to make people alert and watchful.

For now, we can only hope that Ramdas Athwale's chant turns into a reality and the ongoing pandemic fades into oblivion.