In a bid to forge bipartisan support over India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that has seen the country enter its 11th day of lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to former Presidents, Prime Ministers and leaders of Opposition parties.
According to government sources, Mr. Modi dialled former Presidents Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil as well as former Prime Ministers H.D. Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh on Sunday. “He also called up Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Odisha CM and Biju Janata Dal leader Naveen Patnaik, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Prakash Singh Badal and DMK chief M.K. Stalin,” said government sources.
In his call with Mr. Stalin, Mr. Modi also enquired about the health of his mother Dayalu Ammal. “The calls all pertained to the challenge that the COVID-19 pandemic presents before us as a country and the need to be united to combat it,” said a source.
Mr. Modi has called for a video conference on April 8 with floor leaders of political parties whose combined strength in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha tots up to five MPs. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress had, however, declared that it would not be attending the meeting. Today’s calls are being seen as an attempt to make up for any feelings of neglect the Opposition parties may have to such an outreach.
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