Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], May 31 (ANI): Slamming poll strategist Prashant Kishor over his criticism of the Central government over financial assistance to children orphaned due to COVID-19, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lanka Dinakar on Monday said that he is behaving like "Ashanti Kishor".
"The whole country is welcoming the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assist children who lost both parents and were orphaned due to the Covid pandemic. Funds from PM CARES are being used to assist these children," Dinakar told ANI.
"Prashant Kishor is unable to digest the scheme, which is why he is criticising it. The Prime Minister is securing the future of the children who have been orphaned due to Covid by providing them with free education, health assurance and even Rs 10 lakh rupees deposit that can be used by these children after they reach 18 years of age and Prashant Kishor is trying to criticise the government...He is behaving more like Ashanti Kishor," he added.
The BJP leader further alleged: "People have witnessed the kind of bad and violent strategies that Prashant Kishor plans in Andhra Pradesh and even in the recent West Bengal elections, the post-poll violence was his plan."
Dinakar also said that Kishor is not aware of the current status of the availability of beds and oxygen in hospitals.
"Before the second COVID-19 wave, we only had 9,000 metric tonnes of oxygen. Now we have nearly about 90,000 metric tonnes. Prashant Kishor does not know facts and figures and is anyhow criticising the government. Ayushman Bharat is already providing medical assistance to over 50 crore people including oxygen, beds, medicines and treatment," he said.
In a tweet, Prashant Kishore had said, "Another typical masterstroke by Modi sarkar this time redefining empathy and care for children ravaged by Covid and its catastrophic mishandling. Instead of receiving much-needed support now, the children should feel positive about a promise of stipend when they turn 18".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that all children who have lost both parents or guardians due to COVID-19 will be supported under the 'PM-CARES for Children' scheme.
The PM CARES will contribute through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when he or she reaches 18 years of age.
"This corpus will be used to give a monthly financial support/ stipend from 18 years of age, for the next five years to take care of his or her personal requirements during the period of higher education and on reaching the age of 23 years, he or she will get the corpus amount as one lump-sum for personal and professional use," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.
As many as 577 children lost their parents due to the pandemic, the government sources had told ANI. The central government is constantly monitoring all these orphaned children in coordination with the state governments, they added. (ANI)