New Delhi: After giving a call to the country to clap and clang vessels, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday once again asked people to light ‘diyas’, candles or mobile phone flashlights to spread light as the country battles COVDI-19.
The PM’s video message, while appreciated by many, also invited a flurry of memes and jibes in the social media. The Opposition parties, too, took on Modi for not making any statement on a massive section of the population that’s facing the worst ever crisis after the sudden lockdown on March 24, bringing all economic activities to a standstill and forcing the largest ever migrant exodus.
Reacting to the PM’s address, Congress leader and former Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, told ANI that while lighting ‘diyas’ was fine, Modi should listen to advice from epidemiologists and economists to tackle India's economic woes.
Chidambaram said the PM had ignored the poor amid the lockdown and was expecting a financial assistance plan for all those rendered jobless and out of business.
"What we expected from you today was a generous livelihood support package for the poor, including for those categories of poor who were totally ignored by Nirmala Sitharaman (Finance Minister) on March 25," he wrote on Twitter.
Hitting out at the PM, the Congress leader said not just symbolism, ideas and measures were equally important, especially at a time when there was a global economic crisis and well as a global health emergency that has spared no country.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, too, tweeted, his disappointment with Modi’s video address, wondering whether he was leaving the country and its poor ‘Ram Bharose’.
— Tapan Sharma (@Tapan_999) April 3, 2020
Convey scientific facts on coronavirus: Left
Left parties asked the government to focus on "scientific measures" to fight the disease, saying the PM’s address at a time when the country is reeling under lockdown "quite disappointing".
"The entire nation is geared up united and showed its strength to fight and contain the deadly coronavirus. The prime Minister says that "to defeat this darkness, we have to show the light in all directions". Days and nights are natural process in the universe as much as the light and darkness," the Communist Party of India (CPI) said in a statement.
The party said people need scientific measures such as vaccines, medicines and other immediate health projects to fight the deadly virus. "Many medical facilities have to be created all over the country. Special efforts should be taken to extent adequate support to doctors, nurses and other paramedical staff who are on duty," it said.
The CPI(M) also urged the prime minister to convey scientific facts.
"Curb fake news and communicate scientific facts about the pandemic. The central government should urgently intervene to ensure that this fight against COVID-19 is a fight in which all of us are united and determined to defeat it," it said