Hold regular conversations with CMs, make them partners in dealing with the pandemic: Rahul to PM
Politics

Hold regular conversations with CMs, make them partners in dealing with the pandemic: Rahul to PM


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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told reporters through video-conferencing that the government must start giving transparency to its actions by cooperating with the states and making them partners in decision-making.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday stressed the need for decentralisation of power to fight the coronavirus, and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold regular conversations with chief ministers and make them partners in dealing with the pandemic.

“The current fight is too centralised and need to decentralise. I would request the Prime Minister to start talking with the chief ministers not as the boss but as a colleague as someone who is helping them,” Gandhi told a news conference.

“Forget about Congress-ruled states, BJP-ruled states or CPI(M)-ruled. They are all Indian chief ministers and should all be working together with the Prime Minister. If I was to advise the Prime Minister even though it is not my place definitely he should call to every chief minister in 1-2 days in a partnership type call,” he said.

The Congress leader told reporters through video-conferencing that the government must start giving transparency to its actions by cooperating with the states and making them partners in decision-making.

He said the lockdown is not an on-off switch and it is a transition which requires cooperation of all – the Centre, chief ministers, district magistrates and the people of India.

“We need to decentralise power in dealing with the virus. If we keep this fight only in the PMO, we will lose. The Prime Minister must devolve power. If we centralise, there will be a calamity. The Prime Minister has to trust chief ministers and the chief ministers in turn have to trust the district magistrates,” he added.

This was Gandhi’s second press conference during the lockdown period. The former Congress chief had earlier addressed the media on April 16, when he insisted that the lockdown is not a solution to defeat Covid-19 but a pause button and stressed the need for having a comprehensive exit strategy in place to ensure that the coronavirus does not come back once the restrictions are lifted.

This time also, Gandhi called upon the government to tell the people what criteria it would use to open the lockdown or continue it post May 17.

He reiterated his demand for immediate direct cash transfer to 50% households in the country to enable the people to tide over the crisis triggered by the Covid-19.

Gandhi said the financial assistance is immediately needed because the Indian economy has stopped and the businesses have started collapsing.

“There is a need to start businesses immediately otherwise there will be catastrophe and we might end up creating more problems. India is all about domestic consumption and we need to start the engine now. We are losing time. I believe there is a sense within the government that this might lead to large deficit and create problems externally. I would tell them stop worrying about that,” he said.