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Chidambaram, Tharoor lead Congress support for PM’s COVID-19 speech, but with a caveat

While former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has yet to react to the PM’s address, many of his party colleagues offered support to his ‘call for solidarity’.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation Thursday night on COVID-19 got the backing of a host of senior Congress leaders even though Rahul Gandhi has maintained silence. 

The former Congress president was critical of the government earlier, saying India would pay a heavy price because of the government’s inability to act decisively.

Gandhi’s silence over Modi’s address indicated no change in his assessment of the government’s action. His party came out in support of the PM, nonetheless. 

The Prime Minister had called for a ‘Janata Curfew’ on Sunday and also appealed to the people to show solidarity with the health workers and others who were putting service to the nation ahead of their own safety. 

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted that he welcomed “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to solidarity” even as he added “Sunday is the easiest day” to try the Janata Curfew. 

Former finance minister P. Chidambaram voiced his support in a similar vein in a series of tweets, stressing the need to impose tougher measures in the coming weeks. 

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said his government was with the Prime Minister in the fight against coronavirus.

Addressing the media at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi following the PM’s address, party spokesperson Ajay Maken said, “The Congress and its workers will stand by the government in all their endeavours to fight COVID-19.” 

He said the Congress and its leaders would help spread awareness regarding preventive measures and extend help with any emergency services.

Maken also urged the government to pay special attention to slum clusters where the high population density left little scope for social distancing, which is being cited as a key preventive measure.

Congress national spokesperson Pawan Khera told ThePrint that it was “only natural for all of us to come together during such a time”. 

“While we will have political and ideological differences with the government in power, we owe this to the country we love and be collectively responsible,” Khera said, adding that Rahul had been proactively taking up the issue of employing “coercive measures” to fight the situation at hand. 

Also Read: PM address: ‘Janata curfew & Thank You’ in Express, ‘one hand on thaali’ says Telegraph  

‘Quick aggressive action’ 

In a tweet earlier, on Wednesday, Gandhi had called for “quick aggressive action” to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. 

On 12 February, Rahul had shared a Harvard Gazette article on his Twitter page and said the government was not taking the threat posed by coronavirus to people and India’s economy seriously.

He re-shared the tweet on 13 March, reiterating his point and stating that “the Indian economy will be destroyed if strong action is not taken”. 

Some other members of the Congress have been as unsparing, taking a stern stance on the PM’s speech. 

Rajya Sabha MP and former Union minister Anand Sharma said “Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi… must walk the talk, and not pontificate”.

Spokesperson and MP Manish Tewari said the PM’s address underscored not just the government’s seriousness but also its “helplessness”.

Also Read: Janata curfew: Brilliant nudge or Modi should’ve assured more about India’s preparedness?


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  1. One fails to understand Rahul Gandhi. Considering the steps taken by both Center and the State governments, and favourable statistics of COVID 19 spreadin India, can anyone say that the problem has been ignored, or has not been handled aggressively? He should know when to put an end to his defiance and sullenness. It is good to see that politicians across political spectrum are willing to support the move. I think, this curfew should continue for at least two weeks, not just one day, Sunday being the easiest to follow.

  2. Today CORONA-19 become a threat to the global community.It is now an health emergency.Presently there is emergent need to take all necessary precautions to stop spreading of the disease to save the life of human community. Without loosing a minute everyone should take all necessary measures to maintain social distance and personal hygiene and to abide by the advisory given by the government from time to time.We must extend our support to the Prime Minister,who by his address asked our countrymen to observe janata curfew on 22 nd of march next from 7a.m. to 9 p.m. Such steps will generate more awareness among the masses an about the diseases and help to take precautions. We should remain isolated in our house to help to subside the disease.

  3. It seems Coronavirus’ greatest achievement is that it has succeeded in an impossible area by forcing even Congress party to support PM Modi and his govt, at least for once!!!

    This virus cannot have any bigger achievement anymore and hence being satisfied, must leave the earth immediately.

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