Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to light candles on Sunday at 9 pm, leaders from opposition parties hit out at him calling his video message a mere “symbolism” and asked if he has any concrete relief measures or vision of the future.
In a new appeal to the countrymen, Modi on Friday asked people to switch off the lights in their houses for nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday, April 5, and light lamps at their doors or balconies. “You are not alone, no one is alone in the fight against coronavirus. The light from the lamps will show that we are together in this battle,” he said.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram, in a series of tweets, called for steps to boost growth and said: “serious thought to ideas and measures” was as important as symbolism. “Every working man and woman, from business person to daily wage earner, also expected you to announce steps to arrest the economic slide and re-start the engines of economic growth. The people are disappointed on both counts,” he tweeted.
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Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor called Modi a “Photo-Op PrimeMinister.” “Listened to the Pradhan Showman. Nothing about how to ease people’s pain, their burdens, their financial anxieties. No vision of the future or sharing the issues he is weighing in deciding about the post-lockdown. Just a feel-good moment curated by India’s Photo-Op PrimeMinister!” he tweeted.
Learnt nothing about government’s steps to
1) contain the virus
2) protect our medical practitioners
3) provide testing kits
4) reach food and supplies to the poor
5) finance migrant labour , the jobless
Light the ‘ Diya ‘ of reason
Not that of superstition !
— Kapil Sibal (@KapilSibal) April 3, 2020
Criticising the prime minister, TMC’s Mahua Moitra called for fiscal package to protect poor workers. She also asked the government to “stop gagging real press in name of curbing fake news.” “Get real,” she tweeted. NCP leader Nawab Malik, meanwhile, called the PM’s call a “mockery of poor and helpless” and “mindless political gimmicks.” “Instead of providing fire to help poor lit “chulla” and cook meal PM is speaking of lighting lamp,” he said.
However, BJP leader B L Santosh slammed the opposition, likening PM Modi to a “guardian” who is “instilling confidence and hand holding the countrymen.” “Every day a joint press conference is held by Govt. All questions are answered with facts, figures there. These usual suspects think it is below dignity to attend or listen to it,” he said.
This was the prime minister’s third address to the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In his first address to the nation on March 19, Modi had called for a Janata curfew for 14 hours from 7 AM to 9 PM on March 22 and follow the mantra of “resolve and restraint” to fight the coronavirus. A day after the Janata curfew on March 23, Modi announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days to break the coronavirus transmission chain.
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