The Shiv Sena Saturday heaped praises on Rahul Gandhi over his stand on the coronavirus pandemic, saying the Congress leader has “shown how a responsible opposition party should behave” during a crisis.
The Sena, who is in alliance with the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra, also lauded Gandhi for his call for a united fight againt the virus, and for his remarks that he might disagree with Prime Minister on several issues but this is not the time to “fight” or indulge in “tu tu mein mein”.
Taking to the party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, Sena said the Prime Minister and the Congress leader should hold one-to-one conversations to discuss the pandemic which has infected over 14,000 and claimed nearly 500 lives so far.
“There can be certain opinions about Rahul Gandhi. Well, there are opinions about PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah as well. Half of the BJP’s success is due to tarnishing the image of Rahul Gandhi. This continues even today.
“But Gandhi has to be praised for the stand he has taken in the present crisis. He has created a model code of conduct on how an opposition party should behave when the country is faced with a crisis,” the Uddhav Thackeray-led party said.
Taking a jibe at the BJP over the collapse of the former Congress-led Madhya Pradesh government, the Sena said, “Gandhi recognised the coronavirus threat well in advance and continuously warned the government to take necessary steps. When everybody was busy pulling down the (Congress-led) Madhya Pradesh government, Gandhi was trying to wake the government up to tackle the coronavirus crisis.”
Gandhi repeatedly urged the government to stop the export of medical equipment required in the treatment of coronavirus patients, it added.
“On Thursday, Gandhi again said that this is not the time to quarrel. He said, he might have difference with PM Modi, but this is not the time for it. He said that we need to unite in the fight against coronavirus pandemic and if we quarrel, we will not succeed in it,” the party said.
“He also said that lockdown was not a remedy, but just a ‘pause button’ in the coronavirus fight. He said once the lockdown is lifted, the virus will once again spread, which is why tests should be conducted on maximum number of people. His statement that lockdown doesn’t kill the virus, but allows the government to create medical facilities is completely true,” it added.
“We need to have a concrete strategy to come out of the lockdown,” the Sena said.
The party said that the thoughts expressed by Gandhi are like a “chintan shibir” (brainstorming session) for the government and opposition parties, and would benefit the country.
“After hearing Gandhi’s views, we feel that he and PM Modi should hold direct talks over the coronavirus crisis at least once,” it added.
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