Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday warned that the extension of lockdown in the present nature would be more devastating and that the Union government appears to not have a clear idea on how manage the situation once the scheduled lockdown ends on 3 May.
Gandhi’s comments came in the opening remarks at the apex meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC) on 23 April. The meeting also saw chief ministers of Congress ruled states highlighting the need for more testing and for an immediate financial package from the Union government to deal with the crisis. This was the second virtual meeting of party’s top decision making body in the last one month, since the national lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus was announced.
“The lockdown continues and all sections of our society continue to face acute hardship and distress—particularly our kisans and khet mazdoors, migrant labour, construction workers and workers in the unorganized sector. Trade, commerce and industry have come to a virtual halt and crores of livelihoods have been destroyed,” Gandhi said in her opening remarks to CWC on Thursday.
“The central government does not appear to have a clear idea on how the situation will be managed after 3 May. A lockdown of the present nature after that date would be even more devastating,” she added.
Gandhi went on to say that since lockdown was imposed, she wrote several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi based on suggestions by stakeholders including chief ministers from Congress ruled states. “Unfortunately, they have been acted upon only partially and in a miserly way. The compassion, large-heartedness and alacrity that should be forthcoming from the Central Government is conspicuous by its absence,” she said.
While Gandhi had criticized the Union government in the past saying that the rollout of the national lockdown was poorly implemented, the Congress party has now positioned itself as extending “constructive support” to the Centre, a point she reiterated in the meeting.
Among other issues which she raised on in the meeting included, lack of testing, poor testing kits, low resource support to state governments and need for direct cash support to the needy.
Pertinently PM Modi is scheduled to hold a meeting with all chief ministers of states and governors of It’s on 27 April to review the situation (PTK)