New Delhi: Coronavirus has increased disturbingly “both in spread and speed” in the past three weeks but suggestions to the government have been acted upon “only partially and in a miserly way”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said today at a key leadership meeting of her party on the crisis because of the global pandemic. The government had failed to show “compassion and alacrity” in softening the impact of the lockdown, she said.
For the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, the Congress president took on the BJP and sounded concern on what she called the “virus of communal hatred” spread by the ruling party – it should worry each and every Indian, she said.
“Let me also share with you something that should worry each and every one us Indians. When we should be tackling the corona virus unitedly, the BJP continues to spread the virus of communal prejudice and hatred. Grave damage is being done to our social harmony. Our party, we will have to work hard to repair that damage,” she said.
The Congress president said she had written several times to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, offered constructive cooperation in the coronavirus fight and had also made suggestions to alleviate the suffering of both rural and urban people. “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,” Mrs Gandhi said.
While the coronavirus lockdown continued, farmers and migrant workers were still facing acute hardship and distress, “particularly our kisans and khet mazdoors, migrant labour, construction workers and workers in the unorganized sector”, the Congress president said. Trade, commerce and industry had come to a virtual halt and crores of livelihoods had been destroyed.
“The Central Government does not appear to have a clear idea on how the situation will be managed after May 3. A lockdown of the present nature after that date would be even more devastating,” she warned.
The Congress chief commented that testing remained low, testing kits were still in short supply and safety gear for those on the frontline of the COVID-19 battle was of poor quality. Food grain had not reached beneficiaries and 11 crore people remained outside the Public Distribution System. “It should be our commitment to provide 10 kg of food grains, 1 kg of pulses and half a Kg of sugar to each person of the family every month, in this hour of crisis,” she said.
Stating that 12 crore jobs had been lost in the first phase of the lockdown, Mrs Gandhi asserted that it was “imperative” to provide at least Rs 7,500 to each family to tide over this crisis.
Mrs Gandhi also said in the middle of the battle against COVID-19, “funds legitimately owed to our states” had been held back.
She had a word of praise for “every single Indian leading the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic inspite of the absence of adequate personal protection equipment” and for the efforts of Congress-ruled states.(NDTV)