Former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Sunday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for lighting lamps in the context of solving  the coronavirus epidemic. He sought the “hidden agenda” of BJP and challenged PM Modi to offer a credible scientific and rational the explanation for his call.

“Has the PM slyly asked the nation to observe a candlelight vigil on the eve of foundation day of BJP? April 6 being its foundation day, what else can explain the choice of date & time for this event? I challenge the PM to offer a credible scientific and rational explanation,” the Janata Dal (Secular) leader tweeted.

“It is shameful to convert the national crisis into an event of self-aggrandisement and it is beyond shameful to push the hidden agenda of his party in the face of global calamity. May sense prevail upon the PM,” he tweeted.

The government, he alleged, is yet to provide personal protective equipment (PPEs) for doctors and make test kits affordable for the common man.

Without telling the nation what concrete steps are being taken to combat COVID-19 menace, the Prime Minister is giving meaningless tasks to an already exhausted population, the son of former Prime Minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda claimed.

The Prime Minister on Friday urged people to switch off lights at their homes and light up lamps, candles and hold mobile phone torches for nine minutes from 9 pm on Sunday to display the country’s “collective resolve” to defeat the coronavirus.

COVID-19 pandemic has claimed  77 lives across India, while the number of positive cases stands at 3,374, Health Ministry said on Sunday. Over 33 per cent of the cases have been linked to the religious gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat at Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz in March whose positive patients are spread across 17 states and Union Territories, the Health Ministry said.