Some leaders from Mamata Banerjee’s party, Trinamool Congress, have criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for asking people to switch off lights and hold candles, lamps or mobile flashlights in a show of unity amid the coronavirus pandemic. The West Bengal Chief Minister, a forceful critic of PM Modi, however, reacted with restraint.
“Why should I poke my nose into the Prime Minister’s affairs?” Ms Banerjee said when she was asked about the Prime Minister’s appeal to citizens.
Ms Banerjee refused to rise to the political bait, reinforcing, instead, her focus on tackling the coronavirus crisis.
“Should I manage corona (coronavirus) or should I do politics? Why do you want to start a political war? Please don’t start a political war,” she said.
She said those who like PM Modi’s idea must answer his call. “If I want to sleep, I will sleep. This is totally a personal matter.”
Several Trinamool Congress leaders were at variance with the Prime Minister’s idea amid the pandemic, which has killed 62 people in the country.
Mahua Moitra, a party MP, in a sharp attack on PM Modi, said he must “get real”.
“Turn out lights and come on balconies? Get real Mr Modi! Give India fiscal package worth 8-10 percent of the GDP. Ensure immediate wages to construction and other labour during lockdown- laws exist permitting this. Stop gagging real press in name of curbing fake news,” she tweeted.
Turn out lights & come on balconies?
GET REAL MR. MODI!
Give India fiscal pkg worth 8-10pc of GDP
Ensure immediate wages to construction & other labour during lockdown- laws exist permitting this
Stop gagging real press in name of curbing fake news
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) April 3, 2020
Bengal Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the country expected some direction from PM Modi. “Will lighting lamps end coronavirus,” he said.
Poll strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor, whose firm IPAC is assisting the Trinamool in its efforts to return to power in the state, also tweeted a restrained response on PM’s appeal.
“While we must appreciate all efforts that showcase our solidarity and demonstrate our resolve to fight Covid-19, these can’t be substitute for a robust, well thought-out plan and response that is rooted in scientific evidence and is guided by data and best professional experience,” he tweeted.
While we must appreciate all efforts that showcase our solidarity and demonstrate our resolve to fight #Covid these can’t be substitute for a robust, well thought-out plan and response that is rooted in scientific evidence and is guided by data and best professional experience.
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) April 3, 2020
Mamata Banerjee’s exchanges with the centre have been restrained in the last few weeks. Earlier this week, however, she, in a letter, asked the centre to release funds. Ms Banerjee complained of the shortage of health equipment like PPEs but at the same time, she highlighted the fact that such inputs were in short supply because of the coronavirus outbreak.