Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday chaired the first all-party meeting since the announcement of a 21-day lockdown on March 24 following the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Reaching out to the Opposition amid the ongoing countrywide lockdown due to Coronavirus, PM Modi interacted with floor leaders of various parties via video conferencing, whose combined strength in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha adds up to 5 MPs.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah.
Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, TMC’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, BJD’s Pinaki Misra, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav, SAD’s Sukhbir Singh Badal, BSP’s SC Mishra, YSRCP’S Vijay Sai Reddy and Mithun Reddy, JDU’s Rajeev Ranjan Singh are some of the leaders among others who attended the meeting.
Earlier, it was reported that TMC leaders are unlikely to attend the interaction.
The strategy to fight COVID-19 pandemic including the lockdown is expected to have dominated the discussion of leaders of various parties with Modi.
However, there is unlikely to be any immediate announcement on lockdown, before April 11 when the Prime Minister will hold a second meeting with the chief ministers.
The current shutdown is slated to end on April 14.
Meanwhile, another point of discussion in today’s meet is likely to have been the economic impact of the shutdown and how to deal with it. Money released to states, future of daily wage workers who are the worst hit due to total shutdown and scope if any possible economic package were also reportedly on the table to discuss in the meeting.
The government has been expecting some opposition to the ordinance to suspend MPLAD scheme for two years. PM Modi will hear their views and try to reason with them.
The virtual all-party meet comes as India’s Coronavirus cases on Wednesday crossed the 5000-mark with the total infections rising to 5,194 including 149 deaths.
India recorded 773 fresh COVID-19 cases and 10 new deaths in the past 24 hours.
On April 2, PM Modi had interacted with chief ministers, including of states ruled by non-NDA parties, on the issue of tackling Coronavirus outbreak.
On April 5, in one of his first such initiative amid 21 day lockdown, the Prime Minister called up the heads of various political parties.
The telephonic calls came as per the requirement of taking everybody on board in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic which has engulfed the country with the cases piling up with each passing day.
The Prime Minister’s conversation was on the lines of taking all political parties along to fight the virus collectively.
The PM spoke to the Congress’ interim President Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, DMK chief M.K. Stalin, TRS chief and Telengana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, and Akali Dal chief Prakash Singh Badal.
The Prime Minister also spoke to former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Devegowda and also former President Pranab Mukherjee.
The Congress had, after its Working Committee meet on Thursday, demanded an all party meet to discuss the strategy for the Coronavirus crisis.