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Modi asks people to light lamps on Sunday; Opposition says, ‘stop the symbolism, act’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 03, 2020 Published on April 03, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

PM calls for a show of solidarity in fight against Covid-19

People should light lamps or candles at 9 pm on April 5 to show their solidarity in the fight against Covid-19, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a video message to the nation on Friday. The Opposition urged the Prime Minister to stop symbolic activities and start taking concrete steps to fight the pandemic.

“This Sunday, on April 5, we must all, together, challenge the darkness spread by the corona crisis, introducing it to the power of light. On this date, we must awaken the superpower of 130 crore Indians. We must take the super resolve of 130 crore Indians to even greater heights,” Modi said in his video address.

“On the 5th of April, on Sunday, I want 9 minutes from all you, at 9 pm. Listen carefully, turn off all the lights in your homes, stand at your doors or in your balconies, and light candles or diyas, torches or mobile flashlights for 9 minutes. I repeat, light candles or diyas, torches or mobile flashlights, for 9 minutes at 9 pm on the 5th of April,” he said.

Modi said that while doing so, people must not step out of their houses. “No one must assemble or gather anywhere while participating in this programme. Please do not go out on to the roads, lanes or your localities, do it at the doorstep or balconies of your own homes. One must never cross the Lakshman rekha of social distancing,” he said.

Reacting to Modi’s video message to the nation, former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram said symbolism is important, but serious thought to ideas and measures is equally important. In a series of tweets, he said people will listen to the Prime Minister and light diyas on April 5. “But, in return, please listen to us and to the wise counsel of epidemiologists and economists. What we expected from you today was FAP II, a generous livelihood support package for the poor, including for those categories of poor who were totally ignored by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 25.”

“Every working man and woman, from business person to daily wage earner, also expected you to announce steps to arrest the economic slide and re-start the engines of economic growth. The people are disappointed on both counts. Symbolism is important, but serious thought to ideas and measures is equally important,” he said.

Left parties urged the Centre to ensure that in all urban centres, particularly in the large urban slums, there was supply of foodgrains and essentials for the needy. This is urgently needed to prevent hunger, starvation and the community spread of Covid-19.

“This is the harvest season. Farmers need to be supported to ensure that the food crop is not wasted which is essential for our food security. The Food Corporation of India must be directed to procure at MSP to prevent distress selling,” the parties said in a joint statement.

 

Published on April 03, 2020

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