Stim­u­lus pack­age a ‘cruel joke’, says oppn

Ud­dhav: Maha govt, Cen­tre co­op­er­at­ing to tackle Covid-19

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Su­bodh.Ghildiyal

New Delhi: Ac­cus­ing the Modi gov­ern­ment of “fail­ure” in tack­ling the Covid-19 pan­demic and in­dulging in “mean­ing­less grand an­nounce­ments”, the op­po­si­tion on Fri­day termed the Rs 20 lakh crore stim­u­lus pack­age as a “cruel joke on the coun­try” and de­manded the Cen­tre come out with a re­vised stim­u­lus that would stim­u­late de­mand.

The op­po­si­tion meet­ing con­vened by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi warned that the post-Covid eco­nomic cri­sis could be cat­a­strophic. It also ac­cused the Cen­tre of “un­abashedly” usurp­ing the pow­ers of states in the name of fight­ing the pan­demic. The 22 “like­minded” par­ties also de­cided to form a com­mit­tee to chalk out the protest plan for fu­ture.

Af­ter a marathon meet­ing, the par­ties is­sued an 11-point char­ter of de­mands to the Cen­tre, prom­i­nent be­ing pay­ment of a monthly amount of Rs 7,500 for six months to fam­i­lies out­side the in­come tax bracket, dis­tri­bu­tion of 10kg of food­grains for a sim­i­lar pe­riod to needy fam­i­lies and “re­ver­sal of all uni­lat­eral pol­icy de­ci­sions, par­tic­u­larly the an­nul­ment of labour laws”.

The gath­er­ing also asked the Cen­tre to re­lease sub­stan­tial funds to the states, ur­gently re­store “par­lia­men­tary func­tion­ing and over­sight” and to spell out if it had an exit strat­egy from the lock­down.

The high-pow­ered de­lib­er­a­tions in­cluded Rahul Gandhi, chief min­is­ters Ud­dhav Thack­eray, He­mant Soren, Ma­mata Ban­er­jee and re­gional satraps like Sharad Pawar, DMK pres­i­dent MK Stalin, Te­jashwi Ya­dav of RJD, NC’s Omar Ab­dul­lah and CPM gen­eral sec­re­tary Si­taram Yechury.

Mean­while, BJP on Fri­day ac­cused op­po­si­tion par­ties of do­ing “pol­i­tics of neg­a­tivism” at a time when the coun­try was bat­tling the cor


had good lev­els of co­op­er­a­tion with the Cen­tre in fight­ing the Covid-19 pan­demic and this was needed as states and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment to­gether had to com­bat the dis­ease, chief min­is­ter

told a meet­ing of op­po­si­tion par­ties on Fri­day. Thack­eray, who par­tic­i­pated in a meet­ing called by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, said the next 15 days would be cru­cial in de­cid­ing the course of the dis­ease. He ex­plained steps taken to counter the spread of the pan­demic and the mea­sures that have been found ef­fec­tive, Shiv Sena sources said.

on­avirus cri­sis.

Union min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar said sev­eral nonBJP gov­erned states were not giv­ing per­mis­sion to ply trains to evac­u­ate mi­grant labour­ers, who were be­ing forced to march on foot.

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