Cong playing cynical politics at time of national crisis: BJP

New Delhi, May 22 (PTI) Accusing the Congress of playing 'cynical' politics over the COVID-19 crisis, the BJP said on Friday the opposition party's president Sonia Gandhi and her 'family' have 'indulged in drama' at the time of a national catastrophe.

BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao hit back at the Congress after Sonia Gandhi slammed the Narendra Modi government, claiming that it has abandoned any pretence of being democratic and forgotten the spirit of federalism.  The government's Rs 20 lakh crore package and its details have turned to be a 'cruel joke' on the country, Gandhi said at a meeting of opposition parties.

Hitting back, the BJP said it is the Congress president and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who have 'played cruel jokes and cynical politics on migrant workers'.  'They did nothing for migrant workers except the mother-daughter duo making some grand announcements. Except indulging in drama and petty politics at a time of national crisis, Sonia and her family did nothing to contribute to nation's united fight against the pandemic,' Rao said in a statement.  'Never before have a principal opposition party indulged in such cynical politics and the Congress will pay a political price for playing negative politics,' the Rajya Sabha MP claimed.

Congress-ruled state governments have shown utter lack of sensitivity towards the migrants and refused to allow their own citizens to use Shramik special trains, he alleged.  'The whole world is appreciative of our handling of the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown strategy in controlling the spread of the pandemic in India. Sonia Gandhi is perhaps regretting why India didn't turn out to be like her native Italy,' Rao said.  Only today, he noted, a study by the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) showed how India averted 20 lakh cases and up to 78,000 deaths by imposing the lockdown timely and implementing it effectively.

Every relaxation, like inter-state travel of migrants on Shramik special trains or of bringing home Indians stranded abroad by Vande Bharat evacuation flights, has been allowed with elaborate Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to be strictly followed by all state governments, Rao said.  The strategy to exit the lockdown has been designed in a very thoughtful and systematic manner, he added.  The BJP leader said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership in successfully controlling the COVID-19 challenge has been praised by world leaders.  'The Gandhi family is unable to digest the fact that PM Modi has emerged as truly a global leader and his image has surpassed that of every leader from its dynasty,' he claimed.

Addressing a meeting of 22 opposition parties convened through video-conferencing to discuss the situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, Sonia Gandhi alleged that the government is uncertain about the criteria for enforcing lockdowns and has no exit strategy it. PTI KR NSD NSD