New Delhi, May 4 (PTI) Questioning the government's priorities during the COVID crisis, the Congress on Tuesday said it should deploy all resources in saving the lives of the people instead of building a new prime minister's residence.
The opposition party's criticism came following reports that the prime minister's residence would be completed by December 2022 as part of the central vista project.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that the prime minister's 'ego is bigger than people's lives' and asked why Rs 13,450 crore was being spent on the central vista project and not for fully vaccinating people or providing them oxygen or financial help during the pandemic.
'Rs 13450 crores for Central Vista. Or, for fully vaccinating 45 crore Indians. Or, for 1 crore oxygen cylinders. Or, to give 2 crore families NYAY of Rs 6000. But, PM's ego is bigger than people's lives,' he said on Twitter.
Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said at a press conference that while the people are gasping for life, 'the Sultan is busy building his castle'.
'At a time when the people of the country are struggling with a shortage of oxygen, vaccines, hospital beds, medicines, it would be better if the government deploys all resources in saving the lives of the people rather than building a new house for the PM at Rs 13,000 crore,' Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in a tweet in Hindi.
'Such expenses send a message to the public that the government's priorities are elsewhere,' the Congress general secretary said.
Gohil urged the government to reconsider the decision and spend the money on improving health infrastructure to save people's lives instead.
'Today the priority should be to help save people's lives, provide them with vaccine, oxygen, medicines and ICU beds,' the Congress leader said.
'Thousands of people are falling prey to Corona every day and 'Faqir' is building a new house for himself? What more will the dreamer show the country,' Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet in Hindi.
Gohil, who is an MP from Gujarat, alleged that 'even as chief minister, his (Modi's) priority was to build a big palace for himself'.
The Congress spokesperson said experts are now saying that only a lockdown can break this chain of the virus transmission and the government should follow their advice.
But do provide for the poor by putting Rs 6000 in their accounts, he said.
Gohil said 14th century Delhi Sultan Mohammed bin Tughlaq had ruined the country's economy by changing its currency 'as Modi has done after demonetisation'.
The Congress leader said the entire country is looking up to the government and its leader for saving their lives.
He said the Congress party's sympathies are with all those who have lost their loved ones. PTI SKC RT