CPI(M), TMC hit out at PM Modi over his address to nation on COVID-19 situation

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New Delhi, Apr 20 (PTI) Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his address to the nation on Tuesday on the coronavirus situation, the CPI(M) said it was an 'admission of disaster' that last year's lockdown had been and an attempt to shift the onus of dealing with the pandemic on state governments, while the TMC alleged that he was trying to 'fool' people with words.

Amid a staggering surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday said a lockdown should be the 'last resort' to deal with the raging pandemic and asked states to convince migrant workers to stay put at their places of work with a guarantee for their lives and livelihood.

Modi said, 'In the current situation, we need to save our country from a lockdown. I would also request states to use the lockdown as the last resort. We have to do our best to avoid a lockdown and our focus should rather be on micro containment zones.' Lashing out at Modi, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, 'He sounded defensive when he said that lockdown was not an option. He seemed to blame the states for the lockdown and it felt like he realised that the manner in which the lockdown was announced by him last year and its implementation thereof was a mistake. It is an admission of disaster that the lockdown had caused.' Yechury also alleged that PM Modi did not say a word on what the government will do but shifted the responsibility to the states.

He said that with the migrant crisis appearing to be as critical as last year, he seems to have left even that issue to the states to control. 'He did not say a word on the super-spreader events that took place like the Kumbh Mela. He did not say how he was going to address the fact that India's vaccination levels are the lowest in the world in terms of population,' said Yechury.

He also held the government responsible for the dearth of oxygen in Delhi hospitals, accusing it of “callousness and irresponsible governance”.

“When full preparedness was required and the country was fighting the pandemic, our central govt was exporting oxygen from India,” he alleged.

TMC national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien said that the prime minister's speech was just “words” and mere “rhetoric”.

“Words words words. You lust for power and then fool people with just words. Enough. Where are the #vaccines,” he asked in a tweet.

More states went for partial-to-full lockdown, night curfew and other restrictions on Tuesday as India's active COVID-19 cases crossed 20 lakh after 2,59,170 new coronavirus infections and a record 1,761 new fatalities.

The Centre stressed that the next three weeks will be critical for the country reeling from the worst medical crisis as it announced a series of measures to shore up medical infrastructure and supplies and scale up vaccination. PTI ASG SMN