Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of the free foodgrain scheme till November, the Congress on Tuesday hit out at him for neither unveiling any substantive step to provide relief to the people and bring the economy back on track nor giving China a tough message. It said his address was much ado about nothing.
“Tu idhar udhar ki na baat kar/yeh bata ki kafila kaise luta/mujhe rehzano se gila to hain/par teri rahbari ka sawaal hai,” tweeted senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, rephrasing an Urdu couplet, soon after the address.
“We had great expectations from the Prime Minister, and once again, he belied all our expectations. We expected the prime minister to talk about a substantial step against the pandemic. We were expecting him to talk about the fact that there has been a massive economic ruin. How is the economy going to come back on track?
“We thought he was going to speak about the 14 crore jobs that are extinguished. How will those jobs come back? We thought he’s going to talk about people whose wages have been cut down, how could that be restored. We thought he is going to talk about 10 crore workers who have gone back to their villages….about them, about their well-being,” Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said.
Leaders of Left parties too criticised the Prime Minister.
CPI general secretary D Raja said, “It has taken such a long time for the Prime Minister to understand the huge devastation of livelihood caused by Covid-19 like mass unemployment, poverty and hunger in the country and the migrant labour crisis.”
He said all the parties have been demanding free ration and Rs 7500 cash transfer to the poor for six months. “But no word about cash transfer and no word about universalisation of the public distribution system even though he referred to one nation, one ration card and no word on increasing the work days and wages of MGNREGA and no increase in MSP for farmers. The government is burdening the people by hiking the fuel prices every day…” he said.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted Tuesday evening, “Modi must release money from the thousands of crores of rupees collected in the private trust fund to combat Covid for free provision of 10 kg grains per month for 6 months to all needy.”
The Congress said the expectation was that the PM would “look China in the eye and gather the courage for some tough talk.”
“But clearly, it was all much ado about nothing. In short, that sums up the Prime Minister’s address. Despite all the euphoria and the massive build up, in his 17-minute long speech Modi made what at best is an administrative decision,” Shrinate said. She said the Prime Minister’s assertion that the Covid-19 situation was under control was shocking given the fact that India now has 5.67 lakh cases, the fourth highest in the world.
“In June, India witnessed the highest global growth in Covid cases… almost 20,000 new cases were reported every day.. .our test positive rate is at 11.4%… The government has to get out of headline management and instead address core issues that plague our country. Decisive steps and not empty words are required to deal with both Corona and China,” she said.
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