In a series of tweets shared immediately after the PM's address, Chidambaram said he supports the decision to extend the lockdown but there was no relief for the poor in the PM's speech.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Tuesday backed the government’s decision to extend the nationwide lockdown till May 3 with a view to control the spread of coronavirus. However, beyond the lockdown, there was nothing in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation for the poor. COming down hard on the Prime Minister for not announcing an economic package, the former finance minister said that the poor have been left to fend for themselves for another 19 days.
In a series of tweets shared immediately after the PM’s address, Chidambaram said he supports the decision to extend the lockdown but there was no relief for the poor in the PM’s speech.
“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,” he tweeted. “Cry, my beloved country,” the Congress leader said as he expressed disappointment over the government’s alleged negligence of its own people.
“We reciprocate the PM’s New Year greetings. We understand the compulsion for extending the lockdown. We support the decision,” Chidambaram said.
“But beyond the lockdown, what was ‘new’ in the PM’s new year message?” the Congress leader said in another tweet.
Launching a scathing attack on the Centre, he said that the survival of the poor does not figure in the list of priorities for the government. He said, “It is obvious that livelihood for the poor — their survival — is not among the priorities of the government.”
He said that the Chief Ministers are demanding money from the Centre to fight the crisis but the Prime Minister didn’t present the blueprint on how to fulfil their requirements. He noted that from Raghuram Rajan to Jean Dreze, from Prabhat Patnaik to Abhijit Banerji, “their advice has fallen on deaf years”.
“CMs’ demand for money elicited no response. Not a rupee has been added to the miserly package of March 25, 2020,” he said.
In a nearly 25-minute televised address to the nation, PM Modi announced that the lockdown across the country will be extended till May 3 to fight the coronavirus pandemic. He said that the measure has produced a significant outcome in containing the spread of infection. The PM, in his speech, made special mention of daily wage earners and said that ensuring their well-being was on top of his priority list.
The death toll due to coronavirus infection in the country has risen to 339 while the number of cases have soared to 10,363 on Tuesday. As many as 1,035 people have been cured and discharged so far, the Health minister informed.