New Delhi [India], April 3 (ANI): Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's video message was "disappointing" as he did not address the needs of people who "felt left out" of financial package announced by government earlier and there are many issues on which he could have taken people into confidence.
Tharoor told ANI that he will light `diya' on April 5 on the call of Prime Minister but the country was expecting a lot from his video message telecast on Friday morning.
"I will light a diya in solidarity with people of India. But it was disappointing for me to see the Prime Minister devoting his speech to this only because there is so much more the nation was expecting from him," Tharoor said.
He was asked about Prime Minister's appeal to light diyas, candles, torches or mobile flashlights for nine minutes on April 5 as a reflection of collective resolve to win the battle against coronavirus.
Tharoor, a former union minister and Congress MP Thiruvananthapuram, said the earlier financial package announced by the government for vulnerable sections during the lockdown "was not adequate as a lot of people have felt left out and marginalised".
"He (the PM) has not addressed their need. He has not dealt with the lack of personal protective equipment, of rapid testing kits. Even doctors are complaining that they cannot do their work without having gowns, masks, and gloves...to be able to work in safety. A large number of doctors are vulnerable to infections. These are issues that need to be addressed," Tharoor said.
"He has not taken the nation into confidence. Not that he has to announce a conclusion to the 21-day lockdown today but at least he could tell us what are the factors and considerations he is weighing in his mind," he added.
Tharoor said there were so many issues on which the Prime Minister could have taken the people into confidence .
"Are we going to rely on rumours? Will there be lockdown extension? Will there be an end to lockdown or will there be a staggered lifting of the lockdown? These are so many issues that he could have taken the people into confidence. He could have addressed their financial anxieties and worries. All this was about symbolism like preparing a giant photo-op for the nation. Photo-ops will not solve the problems created by the coronavirus," he said.
Asked about his assessment of the steps taken by government to fight coronavirus and what measures were needed, he said the party has three criticisms of the government in otherwise good handling of coronavirus.
"The first is the government was slow to wake up. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi signaled the importance of the issue of February 12. For a month the government took no concrete steps even while the bad news was coming out of east Asia, China, Japan and Korea so on," he said.
"The second is that lockdown was announced with no planning and very little notice. Mr Modi gave the nation two days notice for one-day Janta Curfew on a Sunday but he gave the nation only four hours notice for 21-day lockdown," he said, adding that the government should ideally have planned to give people enough time to reach where they wanted to before shutting down trains, buses and planes.
The Congress leader said the government should have thought about migrant workers.
"Either to make arrangements in place, or to feed them and secure them to live or to facilitate their return and to give them enough time before the lockdown started rather than to see the unplanned chaos and mayhem in the country. Even the unnecessary incidents of violence, vigilantism and police brutality that we saw on the first day when people came out to streets to buy essential provisions, that could have been avoided," he said.
Tharoor said that the third criticism is inadequacy of the kind of support system given to individuals, employees, workers and businesses to be able to cope with the lockdown.
"We are not challenging the lockdown, but it seems extremely important to be able to use all financial resources in the command," he said. (ANI)