NEW DELHI: India will lose the coronavirus battle if the government continues to centralise the decision-making and is restricted only to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday, urging Narendra Modi to work with chief ministers as colleagues to handle the epidemic.
ddressing the media through a video-conference, the former Congress president said the lockdown is not an on/off switch and it is a transition which requires the cooperation of all - Centre, states, district magistrates and the people of India.He also questioned the centre’s exit strategy post-May 17 lockdown, as the total lockdown has unleashed on India an “economic tsunami” of unimaginable proportions.“We need to decentralise and take it to the district level. Then we will win. If we keep it in the PMO, we will lose the fight. The PM should talk to the CMs more, not as a boss but as a colleague,” he said.
On being asked about experts’ predictions that the country may see a “peak” in coronavirus cases in June-July or August, Gandhi said: “We are in the middle of the lockdown 3.0. A lockdown can’t be perpetual, one will have to exit it someday... What will change on May 17, would guide the government decision. The government needs to do is to give a little bit of transparency on its actions.”
BJP attacks Rahul over NYAY scheme demand
As Rahul Gandhi reiterated his demand for the implementation of the NYAY scheme, the BJP on Friday said the Centre has already implemented PM Garib Kalyan worth over Rs 1.75 lakh crore. BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sudhanshu Trivedi said there’s no basis to the claims of Gandhi on lack of transparency since Modi held four interactions with the CMs of all the states to chalk out the collective plan to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Massive stimulus package required’
Rahul Gandhi emphasised on the urgent need for a massive stimulus package to get the economy moving again. “We cannot continue without providing support to the people, who are suffering as a result of this lockdown... People are scared, the government has to turn this into a sense of confidence.”