Written byShalini Ojha
Addressing the media on the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi had several messages for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Perhaps the most prominent one was where he said that he disagrees with the BJP leader on various issues, but now is not the time for that.
Rahul said lockdown won't solve the crisis and India needs to take an aggressive approach.
Rahul, who is a Lok Sabha member from Wayanad, spoke just two days after PM Modi extended the countrywide lockdown for 19 days till May 3.
On the restrictions, he said, "In no way does a lockdown defeat the virus. It helps only to stop the virus for a short while."
He added the only way to defeat the pandemic is by testing.
"Currently testing levels are too low. I am proposing scaling up testing. One advice to the government is, push testing aggressively. Maximize testing and use testing strategically, to assist states in their fight," he said.
Further, Rahul said that testing can be used to create a map to understand where the virus is moving.
He also called for the decentralization of power.
"To fight against coronavirus, our main force is working at the state and district levels. Success has been achieved in Wayanad, Kerala, because of the effective machinery at the district level," Rahul asserted.
Rahul also underscored that the pandemic has started a bloodbath of sorts in the economy and pointed out the first wave of unemployment was already here.
Stressing that it's important to create a minimum financial net, he added, "You don't have to call it NYAY scheme. Don't take it as criticism."
To recall, NYAY was the name of Congress' big pre-poll promise.
Before 2019 polls, Rahul said his party would transfer Rs. 72,000/year in the pockets of the underprivileged. He said this "Minimum Income Guarantee" scheme would ensure no one sleeps hungry. Despite the mega announcement, Congress lost miserably in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Towards the end of the interaction, Rahul said he didn't want to dwell in the past. At this juncture, it was important to stay together.
"Let's use our resources carefully and give money to states and districts. I disagree with Narendra Modi with a lot of issues but now is not the time to fight. Unite and fight the virus," he said.
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