Covid pandemic not political but humanitarian issue: PM Modi to BJP MPs

By PTI
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the Covid crisis is not a political but a humanitarian issue and asserted that the government has ensured no one goes hungry during the pandemic.

Such a pandemic has been witnessed by the world after a very very long time, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi quoted the prime minister as telling MPs at the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting.

The prime minister also said that it was ensured not a single poor person “sleeps” hungry, Joshi told reporters.

Modi stressed that despite the pandemic, a huge population got ration, and told BJP MPs that providing relief to the people was their responsibility and not a favour, according to Joshi.

He said the prime minister asserted that the pandemic is a humanitarian issue and not a political one.

The prime minister expressed concern about the attitude of the opposition, especially the Congress, and said it still believes, it has the right to be in power, Joshi quoted Modi has saying at the meeting.

He also told BJP MPs that the government was willing to hold discussions in both Houses of Parliament, but the opposition was showing a most irresponsible behaviour, Joshi said.

Sources said that in the meeting, Modi asked BJP MPs to be effectively counter the allegations of the opposition about the government’s Covid response and the availability of vaccines.

He also told the MPs that considering the anticipation of a third wave of the Covid pandemic, they should prepare and be ready to put boots on the ground, the sources said.

On the Covid vaccination drive, Modi emphasised that BJP MPs should ensure that the drive in their respective constituencies is carried out without glitches.

Taking on the opposition, the prime minister pointed out that in Delhi nearly 20 per cent of frontline workers are not till now vaccinated against Covid, they said.

The opposition has been attacking the government, alleging “mismanagement” in handling of the second wave of the pandemic.

It has also demanded a statement in Parliament on the issue.

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday said if PM Modi wants to give a presentation on COVID then the discussion on the matter should be held first in the House.

“First discussion and then presentation. If Prime Minister wants to give a presentation on COVID, then he should give it in the Central Hall separately. MPs should be allowed to discuss COVID-related issues in their constituencies,” he said.

The Congress leader’s comment comes in light of Modi asking leaders of the parties if they can take out some time so that he can brief them about the COVID situation on Tuesday evening.

“I have urged all floor leaders that if they can take out some time tomorrow evening then I would like to give them all detailed information regarding the pandemic. We want discussion inside the Parliament as well with the floor leaders outside the Parliament,” the Prime Minister said on Monday.

On Pegasus Project media report, Kharge said, “We will raise Pegasus issue…Nobody is obstructing the nation’s development. It is the BJP that has obstructed it. They have earned lakhs and crores of money by imposing cess, hiking fuel price, wasting money on projects.”

Kharge’s remarks came against the backdrop of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s tweet regarding the matter.

“Late last evening we saw a report which has been amplified by a few sections to humiliate India globally. Disruptors will not be able to derail India’s development trajectory through conspiracies. Monsoon session will bear new fruits,” reads Shah’s tweet.

The development comes after the names of over 40 Indian journalists appeared on the leaked list of potential targets for surveillance by an unidentified agency using Pegasus spyware, according to a report published in The Wire on Sunday.

According to the report, the journalists who were targeted work for some news organisations in the country including Hindustan Times, The Hindu, India Today, Indian Express and Network18. Many of them cover matters related to Defence, Home Ministry, Election Commission and Kashmir among others.

(With ANI Inputs)