M'rashtra leaders slam PM's 'light' call on April 5

Mumbai, Apr 3 (IANS): All major political parties in Maharashtra, including the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for lighting candles, lamps or mobile torches on April 5 at 9 pm, here on Friday.

Leading the charge, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut referred to the March 22 call asking people to clap and beat plates in praise of the medical fraternity fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

"When people were asked to clap, they crowded the roads and beat drums. I just hope now they don't burn down their own houses," said Raut.

The Sena leader said "we will light the lamps but people want to know what the government is doing to improve their condition."

Ruling Nationalist Congress Party's Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad and Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik also came down heavily on Modi questioning the need for such a move in the face of a massive challenge confronting the nation.

"The whole world is fighting a fierce battle against Covid-19. Governments, doctors, scientists, paramedics are dropping everything else and are focused on this. And the PM of India asks people to light lamps and candles. Is this some kind of a joke," said Awhad.

Huge financial packages are announced, production of necessary medical equipments is up in full swing, poor and marginalized are being looked after in other countries, R&D laboratories are burning midnight oil to invent a vaccine or antidote. And the Prime Minister of India asks people to light lamps and candles. Is this some kind of a joke?," said Awhad, who holds the housing portfolio.

"We were expecting him to speak on lighting the stove, but the PM talks of lighting candles. People expected him to speak on what measures the Centre has taken for combating the Covid-19 pandemic, but were instead told to light lamps," Malik said.

State Congress President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that "after the taali-thaali, now the PM is presenting the lighting of lamps event".

"The country doesn't need an event, it needs hospitals, ventilators and testing labs to fight Covid-19, a livelihood package for daily wagers and migrant workers. Stop these PR stunts and take some firm steps," said Thorat sharply.

Attacking the move, Mumbai Congress Vice-President Zakir Ahmed said the PM has become a ‘Nirmal Baba' by giving such superstitious calls for lighting lamps and candles.

"First, there was negligence despite WHO warnings, and lockdown should have been implemented much earlier with proper planning, informing people in advance to enable them to reach homes and the country could have tackled the crisis better. When the country wants stern action, the PM has become a ‘Nirmal Baba' now," Ahmed said.

Terming it a "gimmick" to hide the government's failures on the economic and farmers' front, All India Kisan Sabha President Ashok Dhawale demanded protection to millions of stranded migrants, safeguard medical health of medical fraternity, increase testing rapidly, provide an adequate relief package and care for those on the verge of hunger deaths.

Calling upon Modi to get "serious", state Samajwadi President Abu Asim Azmi said that such ‘theatrics' will not do any good when people are dying of hunger.

"Its high time you stop taking things so lightly and do some serious work. People are dying of hunger, there is tremendous fear and panic, address these issues first. Immediately transfer cash to poor, (set up) 24x7 kitchens and better hospitals across the country," Azmi urged.

The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have supported the Sunday move and Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis posted the PM's video and poster appeals to the masses to join the April 5 event.

The PM's call evoked mixed, often extreme reactions, memes and cartoons from supporters and opponents, leading to slanging matches on social media circles.



Title : M'rashtra leaders slam PM's 'light' call on April 5


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