Coronavirus (COVID-19): Opposition parties Tuesday hit out at the BJP government over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation, saying it lacked any concrete measures to tackle problems related to the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown.
Extending support to the decision to extend the lockdown, the Congress slammed PM Modi for not spelling out a concrete roadmap for revival of the economy, ramping up coronavirus testing, harvesting of crops and restoring the supply chain, besides financial support for the vulnerable and facilitating the travel of stranded migrant workers. Former finance minister P Chidambaram said the government has left the poor to fend for themselves.
“It is obvious that livelihood for the poor — their survival — is not among the priorities of the government. Chief Ministers’ demand for money elicited no response. Not a rupee has been added to the miserly package of March 25. From Raghuram Rajan to Jean Dreze, from Prabhat Patnaik to Abhijit Banerji, their advice has fallen on deaf ears. The poor have been left to fend for themselves for 21+19 days… Cry, my beloved country,” he said.
Former party president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “India delayed the purchase of testing kits & is now critically short of them. With just 149 tests per million Indians, we are now in the company of Laos (157), Niger (182) & Honduras (162). Mass testing is the key to fighting the virus. At present we are nowhere in the game.”
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, accused the Centre of wasting precious time in January and February in dealing with the unfolding pandemic.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the “Prime Minister spelt out what he expects the people of India to do, but did not spell out what his government is doing for the people of India”. He said the PM was silent on demands for ramping up testing and providing personal protection gear to frontline health workers.
The TMC and the CPI(M) said there was nothing new in the PM’s address. TMC leader and West Bengal minister Subrata Mukherjee said, “Mamata Banerjee had announced that lockdown in West Bengal will remain in place till April 30. As most of the states did the same, PM Modi had no choice but to extend the lockdown. This is not surprising at all.”
CPI(M) leader Tanmoy Bhattacharya said Modi did not say anything about daily wage earners. “PM Modi did not say anything about how these workers will return to their homes, and if not then how will they survive the entire lockdown period?”
DMK chief M K Stalin said the PM’s address was disappointing as it lacked measures to help the needy. “What people had expected was not advice but measures. When will PM Modi deliver a speech with answers to questions in the minds of people suffering,” Stalin asked.
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