Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Lockdown has failed, Centre must spell out reopening strategy: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, May 26: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the four phases of nationwide lockdown have “failed” and not given the results that Prime Minister Narendra Modi expected as he urged the Centre to spell out its strategy for “opening up” the country.
Addressing an online press conference, the Congress leader expressed concern that if the government functions haphazardly during the non-lockdown period, the country will face a second wave of coronavirus which will be “extremely devastating”.
Gandhi further said if money is not given in the hands of the poor and small and medium industry, there could be “serious economic damage” in the country as he sought to know the government’s plan to support migrants and various states in fighting the COVID19 pandemic.
“We want to ask the government, what is their strategy as far as India’s opening up is concerned and what precautions they are going to take, how are they thinking and how they are going to support the migrants and our states?” he asked.
It is clear that the aim and purpose of the lockdown have failed even after 60 days and the disease is growing exponentially in the country, he said.
“What India is facing now is a result of a failed lockdown. It is pretty clear that the four stages of lockdown have not given the result that the Prime Minister expected,” he said.
Gandhi noted that India is the only country in the world which is relaxing the lockdown when the virus is “exponentially rising”.
The former Congress chief said though he is not an expert but “we need to open up with planning and systematically and not in an ad-hoc way”.
He said the country’s economy needs to be restored and that needs to be done by infusing money into the hands of the poor and the small and medium businesses.
“The central government must infuse cash into hands of people and it will be fatal if they do not do it,” he noted.
A dangerous situation will arise if financial support to people and industry is not provided, he warned.
Gandhi also called for financial support to states, saying it will be difficult for states to function without central aid.
Gandhi also called upon the central government to be transparent about what is happening in Ladakh and Nepal.
“We would like the central government to make it clear to people on what is happening on the border with China,” he said.
Asked about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, where Congress is a partner in the government, Gandhi said there is a difference between running the government and supporting a government.
“We are supporting Maharashtra government, but we are not in the key decision-making role in Maharashtra,” he said, adding that Maharashtra requires full support of the central government as the state is fighting a very difficult battle. (PTI)