Accusing Congress president Sonia Gandhi of playing “petty politics” over the government’s efforts to combat coronavirus, top BJP leaders on Thursday rejected her criticism of the lockdown as “brazen lie” and asked the opposition party to play a responsible role.
BJP president J P Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad were among the senior leaders of the ruling party to hit out at the Congress, with Shah asking it to think of national interest and stop “misleading” the people.
India”s efforts under Prime Minister Narendra Modi to combat the virus is being praised world over, they said, asserting that he is taking everyone, including all states, along in this fight.
Nadda asked the Congress to put up a united front in the nation”s fight against the endemic and said this was not time for petty politics. Gandhi”s comments will weaken this battle, he added.
Top BJP leaders” broadside against the opposition came after Gandhi at a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting slammed the Union government for its “unplanned” implementation of the 21-day lockdown. The CWC is the apex decision making body of the Congress.
“The 21-day national lockdown may have been necessary but the unplanned manner in which it has been implemented has caused chaos and pain in the lives of millions of migrant workers all over India,” she said.
Hitting back, Shah accused the Congress of playing “petty politics” over the novel coronavirus outbreak and asked it to think about national interest and not mislead the people.
“Under PM Narendra Modi”s leadership, India”s efforts to fight the coronavirus are being lauded domestically and globally. One hundred and thirty crore Indians are united to defeat COVID-19. Yet, the Congress is playing petty politics. High time they think of national interest and stop misleading people,” he said in a statement.
The former BJP president said the Congress has this “old habit” of always walking a different path in matters of national interest, and that it has sought to divide the country for its “selfish interests”.
“When will the Congress put national interest above its selfish politics,” Shah asked.
The Congress president, Nadda said, is being “insensitive and indecent” in her comments.
“This is not the time for politics but to serve the nation unitedly. We have to fight this together and win it. The statement of the Congress president will weaken India”s battle. Her comments that the lockdown was implemented without preparation is a brazen lie and defy facts,” Nadda said.
“The entire country is today fighting decisively and unitedly against COVID-19 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At such a time, Sonia Gandhi”s statement is condemnable, insensitive, indecent and irresponsible,” he added.
The BJP president said Modi is taking along all state governments to lead the fight of “team India” against the pandemic and asked the Congress to play the role of a responsible political party in this difficult time.
The Indian government”s efforts are being praised across the world, he said.
Javadekar said the need of the hour for everyone is to join hands and to take on the pandemic unitedly.
There will be time for politics after the coronavirus is defeated, this should not be done now, he told reporters.
Prasad said the country is showing “united resolve” in the fight against the coronavirus and, at such a time, it seems shocking in many ways that Gandhi has chosen to question the lockdown with her criticism that it was announced without preparation.
“India is facing challenging times. The need of the hour is that everybody forgetting political divide should speak in one voice and manifest united determination. For the Congress to raises question on this life-saving initiative of lockdown is not only regrettable but also painful,” he said.
Despite hardships, people have accepted this “willingly and wholeheartedly”, Prasad said, asserting that Modi announced this with due consultation with experts.
The prime minister has been talking to all chief ministers, speaking to medical and drug associations, and consulted industrialists and civil society members among others to seek their suggestions, he said.
Prasad noted that the government announced a Rs 1.70 lakh crore package, which provided for free ration to 80 crore people, assistance to farmers, insurance to doctors and paramedic staff besides others reliefs to the poor. Migrants have been accommodated and provided help, he said.
(With the Inputs of PTI).