On a day coronavirus cases in Maharashtra crossed the 1000-mark, the Shiv Sena, taking a veiled dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the war against COVID-19 cannot be won by clapping, clanging of plates or lighting lamps.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said people “misconstrued” PM Modi’s appeal while stating that the PM should clearly spell out what it expected from citizens and those not obeying orders should be punished.
At 9 pm on Sunday, the country participated in the nine-minutes ‘lights-off’ exercise as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to display the country’s “collective resolve” to defeat coronavirus. In response, people enthusiastically switched off their home lights, lit diyas and candles in balconies, blew conches and even burst crackers.
On March 22, Modi had urged people to observe ‘Janata Curfew’ and clap to show gratitude to health and other essential service providers.
“Claps, thalis and lights…like this we will lose the war. There are many aspects to how people responded to these appeals. Citizens misconstrued the prime minister’s appeal…either the PM cannot communicate with citizens or he himself wants such a festive atmosphere,” the Shiv Sena said.
On the other hand, the editorial said Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had been urging people to maintain self-discipline, and communicating with them while ensuring there was no confusion.
“In the fight against coronavirus, you need such a commander. We lost the Panipat battle because of rumours and lack of planning. The war against coronavirus should not end up like that and people of the state shouldn’t meet the fate of Sadashivrao bhau (Marathaarmy commander in Panipat battle),” the Marathi daily said.
It said PM Modi should clearly tell people what is expected from them.
“Those who don’t obey should be punished. It is not that only Markaz (referring to Tablighi Jamaat’s congregation in Delhi last month) breaks rules. Are those blaming the Markaz for the coronavirus spread themselves maintaining discipline and social distancing?” it asked.
The Sena cricitised incidents of people coming out on streets with candles, torches and mobile phones and dancing, and said due to bursting of crackers there was a fire incident in Solapur.
In Wardha, BJP MLA Dadarao Keche celebrated his birthday (during the lockdown) and more than 200 people gathered for the party, it noted.
The Sena also pointed out similar incidents in other parts of the country, including that of a BJP women’s wing leader at Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh firing in the air to ‘chase away’ the coronavirus.
With 150 new cases on Tuesday, the total number of infections in the state has reached 1018, including 48 deaths. The total number of cases across the country has climbed to 4789 while the death toll has increased to 124, the Union Health Ministry said in its latest briefing on Tuesday.
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