Coronavirus pandemic: NDA minister Ram Vilas Paswan responds after Rahul Gandhi’s ‘sanitisers for rich’ charge against Centre

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Updated: Apr 22, 2020 12:58 PM

Ram Vilas Paswan also said that the government has over 18 months stock of grains to supply over 81 crore beneficiaries of the PDS and that the priority of the government is that nobody goes hungry.

Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan. File photo

The Modi government has fielded Lok Janshakti Party leader and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan to respond to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the government’s decision. Paswan, who is Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, slammed Rahul for his remark questioning the government’s decision to allow the use of surplus rice to produce sanitisers.

Paswan advised Rahul to shun his negative mindset and asked if he does not want the poor to use sanitisers and masks. The minister assured that there was no shortage of food grains for the poor in the country.

“Does he (Rahul Gandhi) want only the rich to use sanitisers and masks while India battles the coronavirus? Should the poor be left to die? It is our long-term planning to have so much sanitisers that the poor can also afford it. He should shun this negative mindset which is dangerous for the country,” Paswan said.

Paswan also said that the government has over 18 months stock of grains to supply over 81 crore beneficiaries of the PDS and that the priority of the government is that nobody goes hungry. “I think it is wrong to say that things like sanitisers or masks are for the use of the rich. We want even poor people to use sanitisers and masks,” he said.

His reaction comes after Rahul tweeted that the poor are dying of hunger and questioned the government’s decision to allow rice to be used for making sanitisers.

“After all, when will India’s poor wake up? You are dying of hunger and they are busy cleaning the hands of the rich by making sanitisers from your portion of rice,” he had tweeted.

Meanwhile, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 640 and the number of cases to 19,984 in the country on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry. The number of active COVID-19 cases is 15,474, while 3,869 people have been cured and discharged, and one patient has migrated.

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