NEW DELHI: While extending support to the coronavirus lockdown extension, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday accused the Central government of neglecting the needs of the poor and said that "not a rupee" has been added to the economic package announced to tackle the coronavirus ills.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation wherein he announced the extension of coronavirus lockdown till May 3 and urged people to follow the norms.
Chidambaram, however, extended his support to the coronavirus lockdown extension. "We reciprocate the PM's New Year greetings. We understand the compulsion for extending the lockdown. We support the decision," Chidambaram said in a series of tweets.
However, he accused the government of not releasing money or food and said that the poor have been left to fend for themselves. "The poor have been left to fend for themselves for 21+19 days, including practically soliciting food. There is money, there is food, but the government will not release either money or food. Cry, my beloved country," he added.
Chidambaram, a former Union Finance Minister, asked what was "new" in the Prime Minister Modi's latest address to the nation.
"But beyond the lockdown, what was 'new' in PM's new year message? It is obvious that livelihood for the poor -- their survival -- is not among the priorities of the government," Chidambaram tweeted.
"CMs' demand for money elicited no response. Not a rupee has been added to the miserly package of March 25, 2020. From Raghuram Rajan to Jean Dreze, from Prabhat Patnaik to Abhijit Banerji, their advice has fallen on deaf ears," he added.
The Centre had announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package to provide relief to those impacted by the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Notably, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has also extended support for lockdown extension even though Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had earlier criticised the lockdown claiming it will devastate the poor and the weak.