What is the exit strategy?: Rahul Gandhi asks Centre

. Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 26, 2020

We are the only country where the virus is exponentially rising and we’re removing the lockdown, the former Congress president says

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday asked the Centre to explain the exit strategy from the lockdown as Covid-19 cases "rose exponentially".

He said the lockdown has failed, and urged the Centre to come up with a strategy for health and economy. 

'Failed lockdown'

Addressing reporters in New Delhi, Gandhi said that two months ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the country is going on a 21-day fight against the coronavirus. "It was his expectation that we would defeat the virus in 21 days. We are now 60 days into lockdown and we are the only country where the virus is exponentially rising and we’re removing the lockdown," he said.

He added that it was pretty clear that aim and purpose of our lockdown has failed. "What India is facing now is the result of a failed lockdown. What we, in the Congress party, and a lot of others, want to understand is what is the Government’s view going forward," he added. 

"What is their strategy? It is pretty clear that four stages of lockdown has not achieved what PM and his advisory staff had expected, as they said the disease would start to reduce by end of May. It is clear the disease is not decreasing, but is increasing. With utmost respect we want to ask the PM and the Government, now that we have a failed lockdown, what is their strategy going forward?" the Wayanad MP said.

"What is the strategy regarding opening India? What precautions will they take to now curb the disease? How will they support migrants? How will they support State Governments and MSMEs? We had great expectations and there were multiple press conferences regarding the package. The PM said 10 per cent of GDP but the reality less than one per cent of GDP is being given & mostly in loans. Hardly any cash is being given to people," Gandhi said.

Need Centre's help

He said Congress governed States are giving cash directly to farmers and labourers, but not getting any support from Central Government.

"It is increasingly becoming difficult for our States to function without adequate support from the Centre. What is Govt's plan going forward? Congress-ruled States have a strategy: we’re giving money and food to poor, we’re managing migrants & increasing testing. But States cannot have a strategy without help from the Centre," Gandhi said. 

He said the Congress Chief Ministers say that they are fighting a lonely battle. "They are confident and understand what has to be done but what is the Central govternment planning to do?" he said, adding, "I don’t think it is either health or economics. We are smart enough to work out a way that will successfully create a balance between health and economy."

Published on May 26, 2020

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