Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Monday that the government may have made a “mistake (galti)” or “fallen short (kam pad gaye honge)” while dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak and the ensuing migrant workers’ crisis, but its commitment (nishtha) was clear.
“Kuch vakradrishta log hai, jo vipaksh ke log hai… Main unko sawaal poochna chahta hoon… humaari toh kahin chook bhi hui hogi, par humaari nishtha barobar thi. Humsein galti hui hogi, hum kahin kam pad gaye honge, kuch nahin kar paaye honge. Magar aapne kya kiya. Koi Sweden mein baat karta hai, angrezi mein, desh ki corona ke ladai ladne ke liye. Koi America mein baat karta hai. Aapne kya kiya, yeh hisaab toh janta ke desh ko do jara. Main hisaab dene aaya hoon. Narenda Modi sarkar ne, jaise hi corona ki aafat aayi, desh ke 60 crore logon ke liye, Rs 1,70,000 crore ka package, desh ki janta ke liye diya. Aap humein sawaal poochtein hai? Interview ke alaava, Congress party ne kuch nahi kiya,” he said.
(Some short-sighted people, some people in the Opposition… I want to ask them… there may have been lapses on our part, but our commitment was clear. We may have made a mistake, we may have fallen short, we may not have been able to do something. But what did you do? Someone talks in Sweden, in English, to fight against corona in the country. Someone talks in America. What did you do? Give an account to the people of the country. I have come to give an account. When the corona crisis hit, the Narendra Modi government gave a package of Rs 1,70,000 crore for 60 crore people, for the people of the country. You ask us questions? Apart from interviews, the Congress did nothing.)
Shah said migrant workers who made their way home during the lockdown had “certainly faced hardship”. “Even in Odisha, more than 3 lakh people returned. They have certainly faced hardship. I have also seen this. There is sorrow at this. Even our Prime Minister has sorrow… Modiji started Shramik trains on May 1. From all the camps, city buses and interstate buses were made to reach railway stations. State governments took on the expenditure. Railways gave them food and water. Whenever they exited railway stations, state governments took them inside quarantine centres, took them to their villages. Food and lodging was arranged, and they were given Rs 1,000-2,000… The states and the Centre have thought about this problem. And that is the reason 1.25 crore people have reached home safely, with their wives, children and old parents,” he said.
“I believe that every state government in the country has done well. The central government has cooperated with them. Video conferences have been held five times. We have tried to understand what is in everyone’s mind, taken their solutions on board…rising above partisanship, we have fought a joint fight. That is the work the BJP has done,” he said.
Shah said that compared to other countries, India was well-placed. “Big countries have been destroyed in front of it (Covid-19). Since Independence, there have been many epidemics and natural disasters. Earlier, the governments would wage a fight. But Narendra Modiji took people along. The result is that even as the government is fighting, people are also alert,” he said.
“First of all, Modiji announced a janta curfew. For the first time, I saw that at the call of a Prime Minister, 130 crore people stayed inside their homes. When the history of the fight against this pandemic is written, the janta curfew will have to be written in golden words… Lighting diyas, ringing bells, clanging utensils… to show respect to our corona warriors. I have seen tears in the eyes of our corona warriors, our doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, policemen when flowers were showered on them,” he said.
Shah underlined that the Prime Minister has made an appeal for an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, where people will only use Indian products and boycott all foreign goods.
Listing the Centre’s economic packages for Odisha, Shah said that at the time of Cylone Amphan, “apni jaan ko jokhim mein daalkar, Narendra Modi ji Odia vaasiyon ke saath, chattaan ki tarah khade hue (risking his own life, Narendra Modi ji stood like a rock with the people of Odisha).