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‘At least Modi is feeding us’ — migrants, poor say lockdown is tough but give PM a thumbs up

The outrage among labourers and those most affected by the lockdown across India seems to have diminished. They credit Modi for doing what he can for them.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘lockdown’ measure to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus might have inconvenienced millions of people across India, especially the migrants and the poor, but it has only added to his personality cult.

ThePrint’s interactions with people, especially those on the margins of this crisis across geographical locations, suggest that the measures, termed as “harsh” by the opposition parties, have all-round support.

After the implementation of a 21-day nationwide lockdown on 25 March, the Modi government decided to extend it further up to 3 May. Migrant labourers, who had exited major urban centres en masse to try and get to their villages, have settled at their present locations for the time being, and even their outrage over the lockdown, which took away their livelihoods, seems to have diminished.

Among the labourers and homeless people in national capital Delhi, while the distress of food and shelter remains, a large majority supports Modi’s decision. Their resentment is directed, instead, at implementing agencies.

Many migrants on the streets or in shelter homes still hope they will be allowed to leave for their villages once the lockdown is lifted. But they also hope to receive the relief measures announced by the government, especially free rations for their families and money in their bank accounts.

Also read: Covid-19 does not see race, religion, caste before striking, says PM Modi

‘No other way out’

Anil Gautam, daily wage labour from Palamu in Jharkhand, who works in Delhi’s Satsang Vihar, has been spending his nights in the market area while surviving on food donated by local residents. It has been a struggle for him to find food and shelter, but he says he feels assured that his family would at least get free rations announced by the government.

“We are used to fending for ourselves through hardship but at least our family must be getting free ration and money. Modi will also take care of us later,” he told ThePrint.

Anil says the strict lockdown is perfectly in line with the grave nature of the disease, which he calls “Kruna”. “If it’s spreading by touch, what’s the big deal in staying home for a few days? If we survive, we can earn more money. Modi wouldn’t have shut down everything without a lot of thought,” he said.

Shyam Jeswani, a kirana store owner in Bhopal, agreed. This is very important for the kind of circumstances we are living in. This situation affects everyone. It’s important that the sickness doesn’t spread now. We are happy with the government’s decision.”

Sunil Notani, national working committee member of the Travel Agents’ Association of India, also from Bhopal, said: I am okay with the decision because there doesn’t seem to be any other way out. We are definitely facing trouble because of this, but it could happen that we face an even bigger problem because we don’t have a proper treatment for this.

“It is only because of social distancing that India is doing better than other countries. The lockdown is the only way, until and unless the vaccine comes.”

Notani said this despite the travel sector seeing its biggest setback ever. “In the 25 years of my career in the travel trade, I never thought that such a day would come,” he added.

In the temporary shelters set up for migrant workers in Uttar Pradesh, people have a lot of complaints against the administration, especially the fact that it has locked them down without any timeframe to ensure they’re reunited with their families. Life at these temporary camps is tough, with migrants having to live on one or two meals a day, with a common toilet for dozens of people. They have no complaints against Modi, though, even as they pick holes in the way the local administration has “failed”.

Those stranded in Pune too agree with the lockdown, such as Sumant Singh from Sripur Gahar village in Bihar’s Samastipur district. “Even if someone else was the Prime Minister, what else could he do? It’s such a contagious disease. It (lockdown) has to be done for our safety.”

Also read: ‘Thank you PM Modi’: Govt’s flagship schemes get publicity on DD amid Covid-19 crisis

‘At least he’s feeding us’

Families distressed due to the lockdown too seem have a soft corner for Modi and the central government, because they have received a portion of the promised rations and are hopeful of getting money in their accounts.

Geeta Devi, who lives near Delhi’s R.K. Puram with a family of four, was sacked from her job as a domestic help. Her husband, who worked as a cleaner for the shops in Mohan Singh Market, also lost his job. But Geeta told ThePrint: “We have received rations from the PDS shops, and will go to the bank to get the money after the lockdown.”

She added: “There is so much Modiji can do for everyone whose businesses have lost money. But at least he is feeding us for the time being, and even paying us.”

For many migrant labourers in shelter homes, even getting food once a day is enough to believe that the government is making a conscious effort for them, and they are not “forgotten, like in normal times”.

Sanjay Kumar, a rickshaw puller from Khagaria, Bihar, who sleeps in his rickshaw alongside either others outside Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, said: “Earlier, the food was also provided to outsiders at night shelters, but people use to cram in there, so the police had to use force and it was closed to us.

“People should also maintain discipline — Modiji is getting food distributed, but he won’t come and ensure everyone is in queue.”

Also read: India needs more discipline, better coordination between Modi and states till 3 May

‘We are in this together’ 

With the lockdown being enforced more strictly with each passing day, the movement of people and vehicles is being checked stringently. But the feeling of “we are in this together” seems to be growing among the people, even those who are stranded outside Delhi’s top hospitals due to non-availability of beds.

Vikas Singh, who had come for cancer treatment, is now taking shelter at a makeshift camp outside AIIMS. He said: “AIIMS was never closed and deserted like this, and we have never been turned away by the staff here. There must be something serious happening out there, because of which Modiji and everyone else is trying to control it for our betterment.”

Pankaj, who had come to AIIMS to get his liver treated, added: “All of us stranded here are patients awaiting treatment, but everyone understands each other’s pain, as every second person has a life-threatening disease like cancer, heart or kidney ailment. Everyone in the country is cooperating in the lockdown, and so are we.”

According to some reports, even state chief ministers including Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal urged Modi to extend the lockdown after the initial 21 days. Kejriwal had tweeted about the decision before any formal announcements were made by Modi.

(With inputs from Angana Chakrabarti in Bhopal and Prashant Srivastava in Lucknow)

Also read: There’s no ‘How to revive economy after Covid’ playbook. But Modi’s India can have an edge


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  1. Well, i really appreciate the hardwork modiji has put in by trying his best to cope down this dangerous stuff which has spread all over the globe killing lakhs of people. Even though i understand the fact that he cant be at every place at everytime to watch what is going on and that is why some places where things can be eased are not eased which is causing lots of trouble for ordinary people. Hope, this could have been researched more and strategy was developed. Shayad aur zyada effective hota. Time is very precious and so is life. We should understand that no one is above life and time. I still would request honourable PM to atleast keep meetings with state CM once a week and not after 2 weeks or more to keep an effective check as to what measures they have taken and how effective they have been and how it has affected local people because many people are getting affected because of this lockdown and if it is extended, then many people’s livelihood will be affected and they might take actions which will be more dangerous than spreading of this deadly virus like losing lives etc as we still have many below poverty line people who is not able to live their life to the fullest and not able to provide for their family. Young kids are also getting affected. They are the future of this great nation. Please do keep this in mind before any action is taken. I have full faith in PM. Lets hope he will bring harmony to this great nation during this tough time and take the right decision taking people lives in mind and not only the situation.

    Jai Hind,
    Vande Mataram

  2. Sorry to say, but Modiji has disowned the Expatriate community, who come back home once or twice in a year and in exchange add to the economy by earning and bringing Foreign exchange all round the year plus 90% of them are no nonsense, no nuisance stuff and spend heavily whenever they are back home. He is not allowing the Int’l flights to operate and forcing us to not come back to India but has he been successful in stopping the below.
    1. Gathering of thousands of migrant workers at Anand vihar Delhi.
    2. Gathering at the Markaz in Delhi.
    3. Gathering at Bandra, Mumbai.
    4. Gathering in Bengaluru for the Marriage event.
    5. Lynching of Sadhu’s in Palghar.

    If he was unable to stop all these then why does he want to stop the expatriates and he should thank the UAE Govt who have asked to arrange to lift only the Corona negative expatriates. Any positive expatriate will be treated by the UAE Govt in UAE.

    Expatriate in Dubai.

  3. Hai. Why don’t you express that you are supporting Modiji and his government and thereafter only you come out for your better interests but not the guise of real articles like

  4. This writer seems to be a puppet , a brainwashed follower , having no understanding of the pain and suffering of the lakhs and lakhs of labourers and unorganised workers stranded in unhealthy conditions , unhealthy food ( once in 24 hrs ) , one bottle of unfiltered water ( for whole day ) ,no money and work , walking home thousands of kms to get home , and Govt., refusing to help them , most of them do not have ration card so are deprived of all Govt., help , are worst off .
    In Feb. when first Corona patient was detected , this Govt. , was to busy fighting Delhi elections and rounding up CAA -NRC protestors , when Kerala was being hit by the virus in large numbers , this Govt., was busy in instigating communal riots in delhi , leaving atleast fifty dead , thereafter when the virus was spreading rapidly throughout the world and india , this Govt., was busy in welcoming and rallying in lakhs another moron in Ahemdabad , and worst part is that till 19th March this Govt., was busy in exporting PPE kits to China , who are responsible for spread of this virus in the first place , and now our frontline workers , doctors , nurses , cleaners and para medical staff are getting infected and dying due to lack of PPE kits , Well-done Mr. PM and his Govt., great work by getting people bang utensils and light candles , maybe it destroyed the virus eh !

  5. Yeh page pakka BJP ko bik gaya hai…last article mein Maharashtra ke CM ki burayi kar raha tha without any logic or without knowing about the ground level situation….jab ke CM is doing a great job…ab is article mein Modi ki achayi bata raha hai jab ke yeh kuch bhi nahi kar raha….btw ek question tha…yeh gareeb janata aapko kaha mili? 😂😂 grow up yaar…itna bhi bhakt giri mat dikhao…thoda maturity dikhao…media neutral honi chahiye biased nahi! Agar yeh malum nahi hai toh please pehle jake achhe se journalism padho fir articles likho

    • Tumhari itni jali Kyun? Agar Gareeb Janta jo Lakho me thi border pe Delhi k, unko khana nahi mil Raha hota toh Abhi tak Bach pate kya?
      Aur Maharashtra k cm ki politics toh sabne dekhi, khud lockdown pehle extend karwa k, pm waale speech k din, Bandra me bheed ikkatha karwa di. Mumbai police paise dekar bollywoodias se tweet karwa Rahi hai. Wo bhi social media pe Urvashi Raoutela ne pol khol di.Palghar me lockdown k wakt raat k 12 baje gaari rok kar lynching ho jaati hai. And “he is doing a great job”. Tumne jàake dekha kya?

  6. Yes ,Modi and his Govt is doing their best.And no one could have done better.Give him a helping hand.


  8. Good. Atleast the credit goes to someone. Its tuff. Good that they feel secure with our PM. Good Modiji. It’s tuff for you. Yet, you are trying hard to cope with every people of our Country. Keep well and healthy all times.

  9. During my life I have never seen such target practice on one man – our saviour Modiji. The whole world is lauding him for diligence and care for his countrymen. But in India we have some brainless buffoons who having sensed defeat are hellbent on digging up the pitch.

  10. Oh my god who told them to say Modi is feeding. The poor seems to have been given an impression that Modi is feeding them using his pocket money. I am shocked that the journalist instead of checking the ground reality and reporting seems to be singing hosanna.

    • Yes he is. It is happening under his leadership. If it would have been some one else, then 80% of the allocation for the poor would have been squandered away and only 20%would have reached the poor. You think it is a child’s play to rehabilitate and arrangements for the food and shelter for so many migrants? Try managing to feed 50 people at your place. You will understand.

  11. Hats off Modiji. Live long with blessings of your followers, Indians.

    We feel proud to be Indians under your leadership.


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