PM holds talks with former Presidents, ex-PMs, party heads

NEW DELHI: Hours before people across the country came to their doorstep and balcony for the ‘light-a-diya’ event as a show of their resolve to unitedly fight the coronavirus, PM
Narendra Modi on Sunday reached out to prominent politicians, including former Presidents, PMs and heads of some parties, to discuss the current situation arising out of the pandemic.

Modi called former Presidents Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil to discuss Covid-19 related issues. He also called two former PMs Manmohan Singh and
H D Deve Gowda to discuss the situation in the country.

Besides, the PM called up Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and its national president
Akhilesh Yadav, TMC chief and
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao, DMK chief Stalin and Akali Dal leader
Parkash Singh Badal.

Sources said Modi’s call to the top politicians and state chief ministers was to discuss about modalities to restore normal life in the country once the 21-day lockdown period is over.

In a recent interaction with the chief ministers through video conferencing, Modi had urged them to think about a staggered approach to restore normal life after the lockdown ends.

As the 21-day lockdown period, which started on March 25, is half way through, the government is contemplating ways to ease out restrictions in phases and Modi’s call to politicians was also to seek ideas on how to go about it.

The PM will also interact with floor leaders of various political parties via video call on Wednesday. He has already held interactions with sportspersons and journalists besides two rounds of interaction with chief ministers.

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