New Delhi: Opposition leaders from across the country have so far supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clamping of a nationwide lockdown and its extension to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Though pressure was being built by a section of experts to weigh in the economic loss caused by the lockdown, the PM chose people’s health over economic loss.
Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor expressed his support to the Prime Minister’s decision to extend the lockdown.
Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi found PM Modi’s address “amazing”. However, Singhvi also took a jibe at the PM for not announcing some relief packages.
The chorus was also joined by former finance minister P. Chidambaram, but he mostly expressed concerns about the poor facing a crisis situation due the lockdown.
Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said that the Central government was not following the advice of eminent economists, including Jean Dreze, Prabhat Patnaik, Raghuram Rajan, and Abhijit Banerjee.
Apart from Congress leaders, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too said that his government would fully implement the lockdown measures announced by the PM.
In a measured reaction, the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) welcomed the extension of the lockdown, but added: “Modi’s address lacked substance as he did not suggest ways to strengthen the economy or announced any relief package for the poor and those hit hard by the lockdown.”
BSP leader Mayawati accused the Prime Minister of not ensuring relief for the poor and the marginalised. Similarly, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav accused the Prime Minister of not taking timely action to control the Covid-19 crisis.
Most Chief Ministers favoured the extension of the lockdown and many states, including Maharashtra, Odisha, Delhi, Telangana, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu, have already announced an extension until 30 April.
The Sunday Guardian has learnt that in the backdrop of the virus crisis, the PM has “widened’ his approach and spoken to a number of leaders from different political parties from almost all the states. The leaders include Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh), Parkash Singh Badal (Punjab) and DMK leader M.K. Stalin (Tamil Nadu). Also, in recent days, the PM spoke to four Chief Ministers, including Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, Naveen Patnaik of Odisha, K. Chandrasekhar Rao of Telangana and Nitish Kumar of Bihar. Besides this, the PM also spoke to many junior and senior MPs across parties.
PM Modi on Tuesday announced an extension of the lockdown till 3 May and emphasised the importance of the next one week in the fight against coronavirus. He appealed to all countrymen to stop the spread of the Covid-19 disease to newer areas.